Con Report: Things I Did at (and After) NecronomiCon 2019

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H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday has come and gone again once again, and with it another trek to NecronomiCon Providence, a biannual convention for writers, readers, artists, and academics working in and around that tentacle-wrapped eldritch realm known as weird fiction.

This year I not only attended the con but also visited with some close friends who live in the area, and I took my mother with me for the purpose of treating her to a post-convention mini family vacation in New England. Altogether I was in Rhode Island for about a week, seeing the sights, eating delicious food, talking horror, blowing money on things I absolutely cannot afford, and just generally having a good time. I thought I’d share some of that with you now.

But first a note: Back when I went to NecronomiCon 2017, I wrote an exhaustive two-page write-up about the entire event. I’m pretty sure no one bothered to read it, and anyone who did was probably bored out of their mind. So for that reason, for NecronomiCon 2019 (and likely any literary cons I blog about in the future) I’m going to use the same format I used for my blissfully short StokerCon 2018 report.

Besides, let’s face it, my life sounds a lot more interesting as a series of out-of-context bullet points.

That said, here’s what I did at (and after) Necronomicon 2019:

I…

…picked up my contributor’s copy of Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror from Muzzleland Press.

…talked Zardoz, ethical cannibalism, and obscure leprechaun movies with Scott R Jones, Sonya Taaffe, and Teri Zin over steaming plates spicy squid and pork belly at Mokban.

…got to meet (and hug!) Farah Rose Smith, who is not only one of my favorite writers working today but also one of my favorite human beings living today.

…bought a Deep One fetus in a jar from sculptor Joe Broers.

…shared burgers and milkshakes at the Haven Bros. Diner with Christopher Ropes and Barry Lee Dejasu.

…rambled on about my love for the novel F4 to its author, the incredibly talented and kind Larissa Glasser.

…paid my respects to Sam Gafford and Wilum H. Pugmire at a special memorial event.

…met Mississippi Bones frontman Jared Collins, who inflated my already swollen ego by telling me he liked my story “Reset” from Terror in 16-Bits.

…attended a surprise late-night event by Matthew M. Bartlett and Jon Padgett, where the pair took turns reading the entirety of their new collaborative novelette, The Latham-Fielding Liaison (available for preorder now from Nightscape Press).

…geeked out about Japanese mushroom-monster b-movies with kindred monster-kid Orrin Grey.

…took a tour of the Lizzie Borden murder house, which is now a combination museum and bed & breakfast.

…went comic book-hunting at a local indoor flea market (I found some nifty ol’ Atlas/Seaboard issues for hella cheap).

…stopped off in New Haven, Connecticut, to indulge by pizza obsession by eating the famous coal-fired “tomato pie” at the original Pepe’s Pizza location on Wooster Street.

…made a new friend:

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Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh is Finally Here!

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Summer is almost upon us. The sun is shining and the temperature’s rising. If you’re a normal person, that means backyard cookouts, trips to the beach, and vacation plans. If you’re a shut-in like me, though, it means cranking up the AC and curling up with a couple dozen books. Luckily, there’s a brand new anthology out today that’ll make a perfect addition to that stack. And best of all, I’m in it.

The debut anthology from Silent Motorist Media, Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh is available now in both paperback and ebook formats. It features 16 stories about glassy eyes that should not see, wooden mouths that should not speak, porcelain bones that should not break, and plastic hearts that should not hate… but they do. They do.

My story, “Husks,” is about a man plagued by guilt over refusing to make amends with his estranged, now deceased father. Upon inheriting the family farm he becomes obsessed with making its soil flourish once again, even if doing so wreaks havoc on his marriage, his health, and his sanity. All the while, his efforts are overseen by a lone scarecrow, its burlap face blank but for a garish painted grin.

Check out the full contributor list below, then click on over to Amazon and order yourself a copy.

Ramsey Campbell
Michael Wehunt
Christine Morgan
Richard Gavin
Kristine Ong Muslim
Nicholas Day
William Tea (hey, that’s me!)
S.L. Edwards
Matthew M. Bartlett
S.E. Casey
Austin James
Jon Padgett
Duane Pesice
Daulton Dickey
Justin A. Burnett
C.P. Dunphey

Introduction by Christopher Slatsky

Cover & Contributor List for Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh

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Do you walk a little faster whenever you pass a storefront with still, silent figures standing sentinel in the window? Do you feel their blind plastic eyes watching you, hear their painted rictus grins laughing at you? Do you ever worry that maybe they’re not the ones on display for us, but that we’re on display for them?

If you don’t now, you will after reading Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh, the debut anthology from Silent Motorist Media (the same good folks who named me one of their “Ten Weird Writers to Save Us All“). Showcasing 16 stories of deadly dummies, diabolical dolls, and other eerie effigies, Mannequin promises to plunge readers deep into the darkest region of the uncanny valley. And the best part? I get to help!

Marvel at the Don Noble cover art above, then drool over the recently announced list of contributing authors below:

Ramsey Campbell
Michael Wehunt
Christine Morgan
Richard Gavin
Kristine Ong Muslim
Nicholas Day
William Tea (hey, that’s me!)
S.L. Edwards
Matthew M. Bartlett
S.E. Casey
Austin James
Jon Padgett
Duane Pesice
Daulton Dickey
Justin A. Burnett
C.P. Dunphey

Introduction by Christopher Slatsky

Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh is due out in June, and will be available in both paperback and ebook formats wherever eldritch tomes of forbidden knowledge are traded for human souls. So, like, Amazon.

Bow Down to the Savior of Modern Literature!

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Don’t mind the post title, I’ve just gone a little bit mad with power. It seems Silent Motorist Media has named yours truly as one of their “10 Weird Writers to Save Us All in 2018.”

While my kneejerk response is to quote a certain Stabbing Westward song (“I cannot save you / I can’t even save myself”), I can’t deny that it’s insanely flattering to see my name listed alongside writers I myself look up to, such as Jon Padgett and Betty Rocksteady and S.L. Edwards and… well, I don’t want to spoil the whole list for you. Give it a read yourself; hopefully you’ll discover some authors you haven’t heard of yet.

That is, after all, what the list is really all about. That whole “savior” thing is just a fun way of bringing together a motley mismatch of under-the-radar and up-and-coming writers beneath the same umbrella. As the folks behind Silent Motorist Media themselves said to their readers when asking for authors suggestions a few weeks ago, this list is meant to shine a light on “weird, bizarro, horror, and otherwise experimental writers who haven’t quite received the exposure you think they deserve.”

And that, more than anything, is why my inclusion on this list means so much to me. It’s not just a list put together by some random blogger rattling off his or her own personal favorites; every writer on this list is there because actual readers liked their work enough to email Silent Motorist Media. As a relatively new author with few published credits to my name, Imposter Syndrome weighs heavily on me. I often find myself wondering if anyone even reads my stories, let alone likes them.

So thanks to anyone and everyone who nominated me for this list, thanks to Silent Motorist Media for putting it together, and thanks to the other writers on it for being such damn good company.