SPOILER WARNING: I didn’t win a Stoker.
On Saturday morning, I finally ran into Don D’Auria, my editor at Leisure, and we made plans for a quick chat in-between his pitch sessions. Then at 10:00 AM I did my reading, which consisted of two excerpts from BENJAMIN’S PARASITE (the scene with the experimental cow going on a rampage, and the scene with Benjamin being given ever-so-disturbing news by the doctor) and one from THE SEVERED NOSE (involving a severed…toe).
During Don’s free moment, we sat down and he explained that my novel PRESSURE was bankrupting the company. He cried for a while while I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair. Then, without warning, his expression transformed into pure rage, and he lunged at me, fingers curled into claws, reaching for my eyes. It took three people to subdue him. “I’ll destroy you!” he screamed as they dragged him away. “I’ll ruin you the way you’ve ruined me! This isn’t over, Strand!”
Actually, we talked about the cover for my next Leisure novel, DWELLER (March 2010 at bookstores everywhere!), and some other cool stuff, which I won’t share here because if it doesn’t work out I don’t want people saying “Hey, Jeff, whatever happened with [Insert Cool Possibility Here] that you shared on your blog?” because that would be awkward.
At noon, I went to watch the “Marketing Tips for a Recession” panel, with Lynne Hansen, Nanci Kalanta, Matt Schwartz, Del Howison, and Deborah LeBlanc, which was a darn good panel chock full o’ handy tips that I’m going to greedily hoard for myself.
Lynne and I went to a Greek restaurant for lunch with Greg Lamberson and Rue Morgue’s Monika Kuebler, where I had fluorescent yellow chicken kabobs, and then returned for our official booksigning in the dealer’s room. (Side note: I’d gotten to sign quite a few books over the weekend, and it’s always amusing to me when people say “Sorry to bother you” before asking me to sign something. You’re sooooooooo not bothering me. It’s hard to quantify how little you’re bothering me with that request.)
After the official signing ended, I sat down at a table and went to work on the signature sheets for THE SEVERED NOSE. Alan Rodgers came over and said hi. Holy crap, I hadn’t seen him since World Horror Convention 1995!
Then I got into my tuxedo, decided that all of my Stokers material sucked, and headed downstairs. My pre-show process for emceeing an awards ceremony is to wander around trying not to throw up, so I continued that fine tradition until the ceremony began. I sat at the front table with HWA Prez Deb LeBlanc, future Stoker winner Lisa Morton, future Silver Hammer Award winner Sephera Giron, and future Stoker winner and future Richard Laymon Award winner John Little.
There was supposed to be a live online feed of the ceremony, but there were technical difficulties. Fortunately, Feo Amante taped the entire thing, so you can see all of the glorious moments, including fake from-the-stage Tweeting, because you know you love to watch fake from-the-stage Tweeting.
The fact that I was a Bram Stoker Award finalist (GLEEFULLY MACABRE TALES was up for Best Fiction Collection) was completely overshadowed by being master of ceremonies, and even while the presenters were reading the names in my category I was busy arranging some papers to use in a joke if I lost. The award went to Stephen King’s collection JUST AFTER SUNSET, so I did indeed get to use my “losing” joke.
With the Stokers over, I ditched the tuxedo jacket and headed over to the WHC 2010 party (the convention is gonna be in Brighton, England!) where Greg Lamberson, Nate Kenyon, Joel Sutherland, Bill Breedlove, and I shared the joy of being Bram Stoker Award LOSERS!!! I’m not sure what the conversations amongst the winners are like, but I guarantee you that the losers’ are more entertaining.
Ellen Datlow was very complimentary, which was very cool.
Sunday was mostly comprised of “Nooo! It can’t be over! Come back, Stoker Awards Weekend, come back!” and a very long flight back to Tampa. Scott Edelman was also at the airport, but he accepted an offer to get bumped from his flight in exchange for a free ticket, and happily returned to the hotel to squeeze another day out of the experience.
It’s now Friday. My brain is still sizzled. That’s what a really good convention will do to you. Thanks to everybody who put in eight billion hours of work to make it a success.
Next weekend, I’m off to Seton Hill University!