Friday morning, the official Bram Stoker Awards weekend began. We registered, got our precious goodie bags, and then hung out in the lobby for a while. John Little and Lisa Morton, who’d organized the weekend and were rightfully worshipped by all, seemed remarkably sane. Greg Lamberson also looked remarkably sane, considering that he was up for two Stokers (for Best Non-Fiction and Best Novel), was three weeks away from shooting a feature film, and was there with his adorable and veryveryvery energetic three-year-old daughter.
At noon, I hosted the Opening Ceremonies, which basically just involved welcoming everybody and introducing the Guests of Honor. I wanted to point out in my introduction that Guest of Honor Richard Christian Matheson had written for B.J. AND THE BEAR, but decided against it because I don’t know Richard Christian Matheson’s opinion of B.J. AND THE BEAR and I didn’t want him to beat me up. (He didn’t actually show up for the opening ceremonies, but he could’ve beaten me up later.) Other guests included legendary author John Farris, artist Harry O. Morris, HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winners F. Paul Wilson and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Tor editor David Hartwell, Bloodletting Press dictator Larry Roberts, and filmmaker Mick Garris (whose mini-series adaptation of THE SHINING I liked a lot better than the feature). Gary Braunbeck was also a guest, but he’d spent most of his recent life sitting in an airport, thanks to tornadoes, and of course the big guest was Richard “I AM LEGEND” Matheson, who also didn’t make it to the opening ceremonies, probably because he’s 83 years old and had much better things to do than listen to me babble.
In my first column for Dark Recesses magazine, I talked about how my convention-going experiences have changed from “Gotta see all the programming!” to “I’m just gonna stand around talking to people,” and that’s pretty much how the Stokers went. Aside from doing a quick video interview for Feo Amante’s site, conducted by Thomas Sipos, my schedule was free, so I hung out with cool people like (let the name-droppin’ begin, kiddies!) my NECon roomie Nanci Kalanta, Matt Schwartz, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ocshe, Sephera Giron, Alice Henderson, Alex Sokoloff, Michael Dixon, Bill “AlienMotives”Lindblad, Jenny Orosel, Roy Robbins, Angel Leigh McCoy, Rain Graves, Wrath James White, Tracy Carbone, Vince Liaguno, Chad Helder, Lisa Mannetti, Kim Paffenroth, Hal Bodner, Bill Breedlove, Derek Clendening, Debra Roberts, Adam Pepper, John Everson, Robert Fleck, Dave Simm, John Palisano, Mort Castle, Andersen Prunty, P.S. Gifford, Martel Sardina, Tamar Lamberson, Jamie LaChance, Mark Worthern, Jeanne Eddy, Gord Rollo, Gene O’Neill, Robert Sabin, Lucy Snyder, Michele Calvillo, Corrinne de Winter, and a bunch of other people who, if I didn’t include them here, will be mentioned later.
Hank Schwaeble took Lynne and I, along with Rocky Wood, out on a field trip for Jamba Juice smoothies, which Rocky has now vowed to bring to his home continent of Australia. Brian Cartwright, being a cruel, heartless man with no soul, gave me a box of about 400 signature sheets for THE SEVERED NOSE to complete by Sunday.
I went to the Gory Ghoul Ball (hosted by Heather Graham and Helen Rosberg) for a while, and then headed over for a double feature of author readings and listened to a great excerpt from Hank’s upcoming novel and then a delightful reading by the always-in-motion Michael Louis Calvillo. Then I went back to the Gory Ghoul Ball for some surprisingly good pasta, and then gradually made my way back upstairs to bed.
To Be Continued…
(Next episode: Emceeing the Stokers–Brilliant Success or Humiliating Failure?)