Just back from my first ever trip to New England. I spent three days in Rhode Island, mostly in Bristol, but also in Shadow Haunted Providence. I was there for Necon, the North Eastern Writers Conference, an annual get together for writers and readers of Horror, Dark Suspense, and other forms of speculative fiction. My pal and frequent collaborator James A. Moore had been telling me for the last couple of years I should attend, and this year, since I am now officially an author I figured it was time to go.
Necon is hard to describe. Somewhere between a writer's workshop,
a convention, and a family reunion. And believe me the attendees are
a family. You can tell these folks enjoy being together. Some of
them have been coming to the conference for over two decades, and
for some of the authors, this is the only con they attend.
I should mention here that that the Necon crew certainly made me
feel like part of this extended family. They were very welcoming. I
think that was partly because I was a friend of one of their
members, Jim Moore, who seems to be universally beloved there.
It would take forever to tell about all the fun I had so I'll
just hit some highlights. I got to meet one of my favorite writers,
F. Paul Wilson, who was a great guy. At one point I was sitting
across from him at a sing along in the con hotel's inner courtyard
and I thought, "Jeez, I'm singing along with F. Paul Wilson."
Also got to meet, and be on a panel with, C.J. Henderson, a
writer I've been reading for years. Very witty and intelligent
fellow. He had a big selection of his books available in the
dealer's room, and I picked up a couple of his collections.
I spent a lot of time talking to writer Kealan Patrick Burke.
Very smart and funny guy who tells some great stories. I'll be
reading his novella "The Tent" tonight. Kealan was accompanied by
his girlfriend, the lovely Adrienne Wallace, who is now on my Zombie
Apocalypse Survival Team because of her mad foraging skills.
Got to sit across the dinner table from Christopher Golden,
author of Baltimore and too many other books, comics, games, etc to
mention. Had a nice time talking about old movies with he and Holly
I had some amazing food at a local Bristol restaurant, The
Lobster Pot. I had the lobster salad roll and some of the best
coleslaw I've ever tasted, all while watching the gulls out in the
bay. Really knew I was in New England there.
On Saturday, Jim and I braved the 105 degree heat index heat to
go into Providence to walk around in the neighborhood where H.P.
Lovecraft lived. Stood outside the gates of Miskatonic (Brown)
University. Visited the Providence Library where HPL used to get
books. Saw many of the Colonial Era buildings that Lovecraft would
have seen on his night time walks. Very cool experience. Special
thanks to Dan Foley, who drove us into town.
I got to meet Bob 'Papa Necon' Booth, a man I once thought
fictional since he appears as a character in the Joseph Payne
Brennan novel "Act of Providence". Bob has been valiantly battling
cancer and once you've met the guy you'll figure cancer is the one
who's outclassed in that fight. Bob gave me the lowdown about Act of
Providence, which was darn fascinating.
And I met a lot of great folks, including Tony Tremblay, Kurt
Criscione, Bracken MacLeod, Rio Youers, Mary SanGiovanni, Brian Keene, David
Dodd, the aforementioned Dan Foley and his lovely and talented
granddaughter Cat, Jeff Strand, Anya Martin, Lynne Hansen, and some
other folks I've doubtlessly forgotten.
Anyway, it was a great trip. Hit a road bump on the way home when
my flight out of providence was cancelled at the last moment, but
Delta put me in a cab that took me to Boston and gave me a first
class seat home. Didn't make it in until close to midnight, but at
least I got to fly in style.
Glad to be home, but already missing some of the new friends I made.