Saturday started with vampires. I was the lone female and the one who hadn’t published a vampire novel on the vampire panel at 10 am, a full 1.5 hours. Other members of the panel were Steve Niles, Marcus Pelegrimas, Joe Garden, David Wellington and Nate Southard moderating who confessed to disorganization. However they started the panel with a short video highlight movie vampires and various book titles.
The interest in vampires seems as eternal as the creatures themselves. We talked about the monster vs humanity aspects, the romance vs grotesqueries, the myths, legends and variations throughout place, time and culture, memorable vamps both horrific or noble, movies and books. We talked about our portrayals of vampires in our stories (I have three published stories and two unpublished) as well as other author portrayals, and once in a while zombies and a few other monsters like werewolves would sneak into the discussion. All in all the panel went well and we didn’t run out of topic.
I had my pitch sessions in the early afternoon, where each person who signed up had about 10 minutes with an editor or agent. I
pitched to agent Robert Fleck (who does indeed look like Clark Kent) and to Katharine Critchlow of Tor. Both said to send the novel on but now I must work to finish it. There were many readings throughout the convention besides those as part of book launches. Unfortunately I missed many of them though I did catch Claude Lalumiere’s dramatic presentation. I then read “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” published in Horror Library Vol. IV and an honorable mention in the Year’s Best Horror. While my name hadn’t been on the program and I was replacing Wayne Allen Sallee who couldn’t make it, I think it went well. I’m used to having not many people at a reading because you tend to stay relatively unknown until you have a book published but there was enough of an appreciative audience.
Many of the panels throughout the weekend involved selling, publishing, writing, editing and what happens along the way, as well as the future of books, horror and writing. I missed the rest of the panels and opted to wander through the dealer’s room again. I chatted with the people at Damnation Books and Dark Continents, including Sylvia Schulz, Adrian Chamberlin (who had the hugest Cadbury chocolate bar I’ve ever seen) and J. Prescott. I also met S.L. Schmitz as well as writers Brent Hayward, Bob Boyczuk, Ron Marks, Lincoln Crisler, Ron Marks and John Nakamura Remy who read a sick and twisted tale from Edge Publications’ Rigor Amortis (zombie love). There were so many people and conversations that I just can’t list them all.
I went off for dinner with a few Canadian writers to Papadeux, a Cajun restaurant that was across the street. I didn’t find it fantastic but I did find the prices high for what it was. After we came back and mingled through the mass author signing. I chose not to have a spot as I have no book published except for a chapbook of my speculative verse (which I forgot to bring) so I grabbed a drink and wandered through the signing talking with authors. I met fellow poet, the lovely Rain Graves and bought a book of her poetry.
Saturday night wound up with the Cutting Block Press party. The Austin publisher includes R.J. Cavender as editor on some of the anthologies and Boyd Harris. I have to give a special shout out to Boyd and award him the most awesome host dude award. Not only did he open his house to some authors the night before the convention he ferried us back and forth for dinners and lunches, constantly schlepped hot dog and margarita machines, kegs of beer, bottles of wine and other items for all of the parties. The parties were all in the con suite and Boyd never stopped, even on Saturday which was his birthday. I got to see what was meant by Southern hospitality and Boyd embodied that. We need more people like him in the world, so thanks very much, Boyd.
If I had a criticism it’s only that some of the rooms in the hotel were far too cold and it would have been great if there been a band because Austin is famous for music. The hotel was too far from the downtown so it’s the one thing I missed. The committee should have supplied itineraries for all those doing readings or panels and updated changes on schedules. Some were updated, others weren’t. But those are fairly minor criticisms. I’ve been to many World Fantasy cons and this was my first real World Horror con. I can say it rates as one of the top four cons I’ve attended for content, friendliness and never-ending amounts of food and alcohol.The Austin crew should be proud of the convention they put on and the overall camaraderie of the attendees. It’s sold me to attend another.