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WHC/Stoker Weekend Wrapup

A writer never gets to do everything he or she wants at a convention. For most of us, there are simply not enough hours to spend time with every friend, to meet all the Facebook friends, to make new friends, to conduct business, to speak on/attend panels, to volunteer to help out with the running of the show....

With that being said, this year at World Horror/Stoker Banquet weekend in Atlanta, I managed to cram a lot into 4 days. Mainly by limiting sleep to 4 hours a night!! And even then, I didn't see everyone/do everything I wanted.

I arrived on Wed. and was picked up at the airport by John Farris. A great guy, he coordinated all the media activities (radio, video) for the con as well as getting many of the guests and attendees back and forth from the airport. We arrived at the hotel and had a nice drink with Lisa Tuttle and my good friend Erinn Kemper. Then I said hello to my other good friend Rena Mason, and it was off to bed. Thursday would be be a long day and this guy needed his sleep.

Thursday started with a few hours helping out at the Registration Area, getting everyone their badges and goodie bags. I love helping there, because you get to say hello to everyone. I also managed to take some time to chat with a few friends and finally put faces to some people I'd only known from Facebook. Had a nice lunch with Patrick Freivald and Brian Matthews. The rest of the afternoon consisted of our annual HWA Board Meeting and opening ceremonies for the WHC/Stoker Weekend. Then it was time for dinner with my beta reader group (Rena Mason, Erinn Kemper, Patrick Freivald, Peter Salomon, and Chris Marrs). We had a great time, then headed to our panel on – you guessed it – The Importance of Beta Readers. Apparently it was a big hit, as all weekend long people told us how much they enjoyed it. Following that, we spent some time in the lobby lounge, eventually heading off to bed at 3am.

Going to bed at 3am makes it tough to get up in the morning, but I made it to my 9am panel (Horror and Current Events) in time, thanks to coffee. Another very interesting panel, with some great discussions among Nickolas Cook, L. Andrew Cooper, Michael Huyck, Erinn Kemper, and Erik Williams. After that, I went right to my first book signing of the weekend, The Cure launch at the Samhain Publishing table. Got to hang with Jacob Hammer, who is quite the fun guy. Signed some books and then had lunch with my editor, the amazing Don D'Auria. After a short break in the room to check emails, I headed down to the Mass Book Signing, where I sold copies of The Cure as well as my older novels and had a wonderful conversation with Hollywood producer/writer Daniel Knauf, who is most definitely one of the nicest – and hilarious – people I know. After the signing, I went back to Daniel's suite for his traditional WHC party, complete with a circus/freak show by Lolly Gagger and Theo Polidori and their troup, which included sword swallowing, beds of nails, staple guns, brain piercing, tasers, and jokes. Lolly and Theo are a hoot besides being excellent entertainers. Following that, we had a poetry slam and a lot of great conversation with Daniel and my good buddies Sydney Leigh, Beth Murphy, John Palisano, Gardner Goldsmith, and Erik Williams. We had the best time not only talking (and perfecting the fine art of selfies) but people watching. Also got to see a private screening of Jizzly Bear. Eventually left there at 4am, in time to catch another 4 hours of sleep.

On Sat., I crawled down to the business floor and managed to catch a panel, help out at the Registration table, and say hi to a few people before moderating my third panel of the weekend, YA Literacy. I am very proud of how well this one went, not only because my panelists Courtney Alameda, Jake Bible, Lynne Hansen, and Susan McCauley provided excellent information, but because afterwards I got their interest in being involved with some of the HWA's literacy programs. At 2pm, I got interviewed by an Atlanta radio station about the launch of my new book. My plan after that was to nap before the awards banquet, but ended up forsaking the nap to spend some time with Gard Goldsmith, Chris Golden, John Skipp, Daniel Knauf, and James Moore discussing a variety of important topics that ranged from Bigfoot to midget Mexican wrestlers to the fine art of mentoring.

Saturday night's awards banquet will probably go down as my favorite one to date. Spent time with my Samhain publishing buddies, got to co-present the award for YA Novel with Chris Golden (our skit went off without a hitch!), and saw so many of my friends win awards. Then it was the after party in the Con Suite, where I hung with Frazer Lee, Aaron Dries, Beth Murphy, and Angela Yuriko Smith until the closed the party at 2am. As it was the last night, no one wanted to go to bed, so we headed to the lounge and conversed with Erinn Kemper, Rena Mason, Mikey Huyck, and Chris Marrs until the wee hours (4am). Then it was up to the room to pack and catch a nice 90 minute nap until I had to catch my shuttle to the airport.

Some pictures are below, and you can see all my thank you's and shout outs on my Facebook page,


  1. Congrats, JG, and thanks for the insider's view on what looks to be an awesome convention. Sorry I missed it!

  2. Looks like you all had amazing time. Expect you're just about recovering! Wish I could have been there to share this experience. Ah well, one day...

  3. It was a great time, professionally and socially. Just what you want from a con. Well, that and sleep deprivation!


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