NecronomiCon 2015 Post-Con Summary

If you care to zoom back-weird through time and read my preview of NecronomiCon Providence 2015, zoom HERE.

So, now it’s over, in fact it’s been over for a month already!

I used to write a lengthy and extremely detailed report after every convention. While I love reading posts like that, and they’re actually fun to write, they’re just too time consuming.

So instead, how ’bout a photo or two, and a brief rundown of highlights?

NecronomiCon 2015 in Providence seemed to be the big 2015 convention most people were anticipating with excitement. The 2013 event was a lot of fun for everybody I spoke with. It was the last opportunity I had to meet some of my favorite writers like Laird Barron and Richard Gavin, who don’t attend a lot of events. I heard from several people who said they may not make it to any other conventions in 2015, but they were definitely not going to miss NecronomiCon.

Our room in the Omni Hotel

Our room in the Omni Hotel

At the 2013 NecronomiCon, almost everyone stayed at the Biltmore Hotel, where most of the panels and readings were held. This time, though, many of us stayed at the Omni Hotel, on the other side of the road destruction between the two main hotels. We were pleasantly surprised at our room — big and modern and clean!

The bathroom (not pictured) was almost as big as the rest of our room, and included not only a huge stone tile walk-in shower, but also a giant tub. If I ever need to stay in Providence for weeks on end, this is the room I want. As it turned out, we were so busy on this short trip, we didn’t spend much time here.

An interesting thing about the Omni is that the rooms are primarily split into two towers (secretly code-named Barad-dur and Orthanc), and each tower’s elevators require a room key card. But the key cards from one tower are compatible only with the one elevator, not the other. This created a situation where we wanted to meet up with friends who were staying in the very same hotel, but we couldn’t take the elevator up to get to each other’s rooms, and had to text each other and meet up down in the lobby. I can’t think of a great reason why your room key gets you access to half the Omni’s zillion rooms, but not the other half.

Shoggoth at the Omni

Shoggoth at the Omni

Speaking of the Omni’s lobby, it had the most interesting glass sculpture hanging overhead. Everyone who saw the photos compared it to a shoggoth, so the shoggoth sculpture it will forever be named.

Wild Pulver

Wild Pulver

A few people had gifts for Joe Pulver (photo above) since his birthday was the month before, and mailing gifts to Germany is all insane-crazy expensive.

Our first dinner was in a big group at the Viva Mexico Cantina. The food was pretty good, but down at the end of the bar, the music was loud and TV sports blared, creating a pretty awful cacophony which left even those of us with perfect hearing unable to follow conversations happening only a few feet away.

Every time I go to a convention, one of the main things I come away with is a determination that next time I will avoid large group meals in noisy venues!

Toasting to Caligari

Toasting to Caligari

Late at night, after at least one of us had a successful business meeting, my wife Lena and I had a drink with Joe Pulver and his wife Kat to toast Joe’s brand-new contract with publisher Fedogan and Bremer for an anthology in tribute to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

I love this movie, and know how long this project has been a dream of Joe’s, so it’s wonderful that it has the support of an excellent publisher. Many great writers have already agreed to participate. I’m sure we’ll hear more information from Joe and F&B soon about this very promising book.

My contributor's copies of The Doom That Came to Providence

My contributor’s copies of The Doom That Came to Providence

… and speaking of Joe, AKA Joseph S. Pulver Sr., one of my first priorities upon arriving in Providence was to get my hands on copies of The Doom That Came to Providence, the round robin project Joe edited as a special treat related to this event. All the stories relate to the “Water Fire” event from the 2013 con, with everybody taking a different angle on strange happenings that may or may not have gone down that night. The books turned out great – check out the beautiful cover art by Nick Gucker!

Reading from "I'm Looking For Nick Cowan or Cody Steele"

Reading from “I’m Looking For Nick Cowan or Cody Steele (photo by Matthew Carpenter)”

Here I am reading my story “I’m Looking for Nick Cowan or Cody Steele from The Doom That Came to Providence. I thought the reading went pretty well, and a very good crowd attended. I read along with Scott Thomas, David Neilsen and Peter Rawlik.

Above photo by Matthew Carpenter.

Cisco and Nikki

Cisco and Nikki

Speaking of the audience for my reading, I snapped a couple of pictures of those assembled. Above you see the kind of wild and crazy folks who show up to events like this. That’s the reclusive genius Michael Cisco on the left and darling Nikki Guerlain on the right. See, public readings of weird fiction inspire folks to all kinds of public displays of affection, and the crowd was generally draped all over one another!

Above photo is a treatment by Nikki Guerlain of my original photo.

The Future of Weird Fiction panel (photo by Scott Nicolay)

The Future of Weird Fiction Panel (photo by Scott Nicolay)

The other programming I participated in was the panel discuss, “The Future of Weird Fiction,” moderated by SJ Bagley and with fellow panelists Simon Strantzas, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Justin Steele and Joe Pulver.

The panel was well attended, and the discussion was a very good one, with lots of interesting talk about the state of weird fiction, how it’s changed since the old days. Most interesting was the section in which each of us suggested writers (or in a few cases, editors or publishing venues) we thought likely to be part of the vital future of our subgenre.

One disappointing aspect of the panel is that I had offered to help Scott Nicolay record the audio of the panel, which Scott hoped to feature on his interview podcast The Outer Dark. Unfortunately, we must have fumbled the handoff of my digital voice recorder, and we only captured the first few seconds of preliminary murmuring, and none of the good stuff. My apologies! This would have been an interesting recording to revisit later.

Above photo is by Scott Nicolay.

Lena Griffin, me and Scott Nicolay at Viva Mexico Cantina breakfast

Lena Griffin, me and Scott Nicolay at Viva Mexico Cantina breakfast

Speaking of Scott and The Outer Dark (note my t-shirt), here we are after breakfast at Viva Mexico Cantina.

Two Lagavulins are better than one

Two Lagavulins Are Better Than One

All these photographs of readings and panels and other such events might lead one to believe the convention experience to be something formal or at least organized. This is not true. The most important aspect of the convention experience is the informal meeting with friends and associates we meet in hotel lobbies, on the sidewalk, in various bars, or in that most honored off-schedule event, the room party.

I photographed these bottles of Lagavulin in John Langan’s room party. I brought the bottle of Lagavulin 16 in honor of the 2013 Langan/Barron room party, where both Michael Cisco and I brought a bottle of the same, without advance planning.

This is the kind of thing you might get when you come to these conventions. Remember, kids, when the writing pros say “conventions are important for networking,” what they really mean is good Scotch whisky.

Prosecco Sangria at McCormick's

Prosecco Sangria at McCormick’s

Room parties are great, but I also mentioned hanging around in bars. Here’s a photo of me in the McCormick’s bar. At this event, I met for the first time (in person) my wonderful friend, the excellent writer Damien Angelica Walters. She was drinking many, many of these light, fragrant and sort of flowery beverages, the Prosecco sangria. I told her these were eroding her talent and weakening her writerly fortitude, and that she’d be much better off to drink good, brown Scotch and bourbon.

She convinced me to try one of these. Look, I’m drinking it! I tried to make the most insipid face I could for this photo, but I don’t look appreciably more or less silly than usual. What conclusions should be taken from this, I remain uncertain.

The drink sure did smell pretty, though. All herbs and sugar and spice and flower petals and unbearable lightness.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Damien Angelica Walters

Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Damien Angelica Walters

Speaking of Damien, here she is alongside Silvia Moreno-Garcia, who was a Guest of Honor at the event, as well as my co-panelist on the Future of Weird Fiction panel (see above).

It’s a wonderful and unusual thing to see convention attendees wearing something other than black t-shirts with pictures of tentacle things!

Everyone was lining up to touch Simon's beard

Everyone was lining up to touch Simon’s beard

More loitering and tomfoolery in hotel lobbies. Here Paul Tremblay and John Langan gather to stroke the sultry facial hair of noted Canadian beardist, Simon Strantzas.

This takes place in the lobby of the Biltmore hotel, a classy joint, despite the presence of persons such as the ones shown here.

Lena with Charles (left) and Sean (right) of Miskatonic Musings podcast

Lena with Charles (left) and Sean (right) of Miskatonic Musings podcast

Speaking of disreputable types, here we have Charles (left) and Sean (right) of Miskatonic Musings podcast, with my wife Lena in the dealer room. I should have spent more time in the dealer room this year! It was a wonderful thing.

Matthew Warren Richey carrying the Word Horde banner in the dealer room

Matthew Warren Richey carrying the Word Horde Banner in the Dealer Room

Also in the dealer room, here we have Matthew Warren Richey in his excellent shoggoth costume, carrying the Word Horde Banner. This costume is the boss of all costumes. Good job, Matthew!

From what I was able to tell, at the Word Horde vendor table Ross Lockhart sold out everything, and his table-mate Scott R Jones did as well. I also know Sam Cowan was happy with how sales went at the Dim Shores table. I love to hear of vendors doing well, because it means publishers and sellers of books are moving lots of the things, and that readers are eager to grab them up.

Cross-town trek seeking dinner, with Lena, Erin, Nathan, Ross, Scott, Heidi, Justin and Tom

Cross-town trek seeking dinner, with Lena, Erin, Nathan, Ross, Scott, Heidi, Justin and Tom

Here a large group of us dared to leave the immediate circle of the Omni and Biltmore, and ventured across Providence in search of food. I love a good walk, and it was nice to see a different part of town.

Everyone wanted to stop by this creepy old horror house (sorry if you live there and are offended by this characterization, but it can’t be helped — a bunch of visiting weirdos wanted to be photographed in front of your place for a reason) just down the street from the restaurant.

Pictured here (L-R) we have Lena Griffin, Erin Jane Laroue, Nathan Carson, Ross E Lockhart, Scott Dwyer, Heidi Ash, Justin Steele and Tom Lynch. I was also present, behind the camera, and will forever regret not appearing in this photograph.

Conversation with the nightmare demon John Langan

Conversation with the nightmare demon John Langan

At every horror-centric convention, it’s best to expect to rub shoulders on at least one occasion with true horror.

Here I am in conversation with the nightmare demon who had taken the form of John Langan just moments before.

Nick Gucker carrying great reading material for the trip home

Nick Gucker carrying great reading material for the trip home

All good things come to an end… don’t they?

Deliriously happy yet exhausted, we made our way to the airport for our return home. But the convention was not yet over! Right behind us in line, who should appear but artist extraordinaire and all-round top fellow Nick Gucker, cover artists of The Doom That Came to Providence (see above).

Nick was carrying some excellent reading material for the flight, one of my very favorite short story collections of the past half-decade or so, AT FEAR’S ALTAR by Richard Gavin.

You see, even when you think the time of your life is done, it’s not really over. See you next time!

Autumn Cthulhu Coming Up

One of the books I’ve been really looking forward to this year is AUTUMN CTHULHU, edited by Mike Davis and to be published by Mike’s Lovecraft eZine Press.

I’m excited about it because I really like my story “The Smoke Lodge” and look forward to getting it out into the world, and also because it’s fun to appear in a book alongside many of my favorite writers.

There’s not an exact release date yet, nor final cover art, but Mike Davis has released the final Table of Contents along with this very appealing piece of promotional art by Dave Felton (not the actual book cover).


Table of contents:

Laird Barron – “Andy Kaufman Creeping Through the Trees”
Nadia Bulkin – “There is a Bear in the Woods”
John Langan – “Anchor”
Richard Gavin – “The Stiles of Palemarsh”
Scott Thomas – “The Night is a Sea”
Damien Angelica Walters – “In the Spaces Where You Once Lived”
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. – “Trick or the Other Thing”
Gemma Files – “Grave Goods”
Jeffrey Thomas – “After the Fall”
Daniel Mills – “A Shadow Passing”
Ann K. Schwader – “Lavinia in Autumn”
Pete Rawlik – “Memories of the Fall”
Michael Griffin – “The Smoke Lodge”
Trent Kollodge – “The End of the Season”
Wendy Wagner – “The Black Azalea”
Evan Dicken – “Cul-De-Sac Virus”

This looks to be a great mix of established superstars of weird/horror fiction, and newer or emerging writers. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and check it out!

The Release of Cthulhu Fhtagn!

With such anticipation of the run-up to NecronomiCon Providence (see prior entry), I failed to note an important event… the release of CTHULHU FHTAGN! by Word Horde Press.


You can purchase the book several ways:

Direct from Word Horde

From Amazon

From Barnes and Noble.

In case you’re not yet convinced… check out this table of contents:

Introduction: In His House at R’lyeh… – Ross E. Lockhart
The Lightning Splitter – Walter Greatshell
Dead Canyons – Ann K. Schwader
Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window – Michael Griffin
Into Ye Smoke-Wreath’d World of Dream – W. H. Pugmire
The Lurker In the Shadows – Nathan Carson
The Insectivore – Orrin Grey
The Body Shop – Richard Lee Byers
On a Kansas Plain – Michael J. Martinez
The Prince of Lyghes – Anya Martin
The Curious Death of Sir Arthur Turnbridge – G. D. Falksen
Aerkheim’s Horror – Christine Morgan
Return of the Prodigy – T.E. Grau
The Curse of the Old Ones – Molly Tanzer and Jesse Bullington
Love Will Save You – Cameron Pierce
Assemblage Point – Scott R. Jones
The Return of Sarnath – Gord Sellar
The Long Dark – Wendy N. Wagner
Green Revolution – Cody Goodfellow
Don’t Make Me Assume My Ultimate Form – Laird Barron

Editor Ross E. Lockhart is the man who brought the world The Book of Cthulhu and Book of Cthulhu 2, two of the great Lovecraftian anthologies of the past decade or so. I’ve started reading CTHULHU FHTAGN! and I’m really enjoying it so far. Lots of variety, very different approaches to the subject. It’s a real honor, and a very exciting occasion, to be part of this book.

NecronomiCon Providence 2015

Wow, it’s almost time! Wednesday night, Lena and I will fly to Providence, Rhode Island for the 2015 NecronomiCon event.

I’m looking forward to seeing friends and taking in all the amusements on offer. Also, I’m a guest of the convention, and will be participating in a group reading and a panel discussion. You can see the entire schedule HERE.

My events:

Friday 2:30 – 3:45 PM
AUTHOR READINGS – L’Apogee, Biltmore 17th Floor
Michael Griffin, David Neilsen, Peter Rawlik, Scott Thomas

Sunday – 10:30-11:45am
FUTURE OF WEIRD FICTION – Grand Ballroom, Biltmore 17th Floor
What is the future of weird fiction? Is it chained too strongly to the ghost of Lovecraft or can it still explore new vistas of horror? This panel discusses the current state of weird fiction today and where it might go in the future. Or, is there NO future?
Panelists: Laird Barron, Mike Griffin, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Joe Pulver, Simon Strantzas
Moderator: s.j. bagley

If you see me around, feel free to come up and say hello. If you’ve got a copy of a book in which my work appears, I’ll be glad to sign it.

Everybody had such a great time at the last NecronomiCon in 2013, and this one promises to be even bigger and better. Hope to see you there!

ReaderCon This Weekend

This coming weekend (actually Thursday through Sunday) I’ll be at ReaderCon in Burlington, MA.

Last year’s ReaderCon was my first, and I had a great time. It seems to be a less “fannish” convention than most. Almost everyone I met was a writer, editor, publisher, reviewer. I’m not attending as a guest, though, and won’t be part of any programming, though I plan to check out a few readings and panels. I’ll probably spend a lot of time in the bar, and take plenty of pictures.

The Shirley Jackson Awards are on the final day of ReaderCon. Last year, I was very pleased to accept the “Best Edited Anthology” SJA for Joseph S. Pulver Sr. for The Grimscribe’s Puppets. In that same category this year, I’ll be rooting for The Children of Old Leech, edited by Ross E. Lockhart, and my roommate at ReaderCon, Justin Steele.

As with any convention, the aspect I’m most anticipating is reconnecting with friends, and meeting new ones. If you’re attending, I’ll see you there!

Now Available: Surreal Worlds

The new anthology Surreal Worlds is now available from editor Sean Leonard and Bizarro Pulp Press. I just received my contributor copy, which looks great!


Surreal Worlds includes my story, “Jewels and False Memories: The Origins of a Lunatic.”

It can be ordered from Amazon:


Table of contents:

Steve Rasnic Tem – Paula Breaks
John Palisano – The BiPolar Express
Gabino Iglesias – aaaaaaaaa
Robin Wyatt Dunn – A Shadow of a Princess’s Dream
Bruce Boston – Surreal Chess
Rhys Hughes – Bones of Jones
R.A. Harris – The Noise that Stains
Seb Doubinsky – Goodbye Babylon (excerpt)
Thomas Logan – The Continued Instances of George Marthis within the Singularity, wherein the Instance Knows No Rules (George is Old When Our Story Starts)
Daniel Vlasaty – Everything is Colors, All of Them
Michael Griffin – Jewels and False Memories: The Origins of a Lunatic
Max Booth III – One Day I’ll Quit this Job and Rule the World
Dustin Reade – House Party
Adrian Ludens – I Can Do What I Need to in the Dark
Andrew Wayne Adams – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
Wol-vriey – The End of the World Pie
Allen Griffin – I, Autocorrect
Tom Bradley – Mr. Fuck You, Okay?
Chantal Noordeloos – Labels
Don Webb – The Last God
Bob Ritchie – The Mahler Stream
Eli Wilde – Snowflakes Falling, Pages Turning
Antonio Magogoli – The Inmost Plague Bell Swims
Chris Kelso – The Statement of Tom Tryout
Carter Rydr – Pain Pig’s Pilgrimage

Cover Reveal: The Doom That Came to Providence

I love this cover! NecronomiCon Providence has just revealed the cover to this round-robin book assembled by Joe Pulver. I’ve got something in here, and can’t wait to read the rest! THE DOOM THAT CAME TO PROVIDENCE….


Art by Nick Gucker

From a forthcoming book project helmed by Joe Pulver, featuring the talents of an astounding array of authors and artists and itinerant madmen:

Nick “The Hat” Gucker
Michael Davis
Tom Lynch
Anya Martin
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Gage Prentiss
Selena Chambers
Robert M. Price
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Scott Thomas
Pete Rawlik
Lois Gresh
Daniel Mills
Sam Gafford
Justin Steele
Michael Griffin
Damien Angelica Walters
Jeffrey Thomas
Niels Hobbs
Ramsey Campbell
Michael Cisco
Ann K. Schwader
Sam Cowan

Summer 2015 Outlook

Time for a quick update. I haven’t posted since CthulhuCon last month, having kept busy with life and reading and writing.

Lately I’m working on a long novella. Several times in the past few years I’ve had good luck with picking up one of my abandoned short stories and thinking about why I never finished it. In many cases, the problem was that the story I wanted to tell needed to be longer than a short story. From my perspective of 2011-2013, when I first tried to write these things, I wasn’t sure how or where to publish anything longer than 6,000 words or so. Now I realize some of these story concepts need to be novellas or novels. I’m now ready to write longer, as these ideas require.

The first example of this was Far From Streets (published in a 2014 Dunhams Manor Press chapbook, and now out of print, but it should appear in my upcoming first collection). The next was an even longer (39k words, very nearly a short novel) novella I intend to close that collection.

The first collection is complete, no room to add anything more. This new piece is something I’m writing without any specific plan for where to send it, or how I hope to see it published. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything that way.

I should finish this in a month or so, then I intend to return to a new long novella I intended to write near the end of last year.

The next few months will be busy with convention-going activities:

ReaderCon in July

NecronomiCon in August

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in October.

I’m looking forward to these events, especially for the opportunity to see friends.

It will also be a summer full of publications.

Xnoybis #1 just came out, with my story “The Tidal Pull of Salt and Sand.”

Very soon we should see Surreal Worlds, including my story “Jewels and False Memories: Origins of a Lunatic.”

Also coming soon, A Mythos Grimmly and my story “Apprentice, Muse and Mancer.”

Several books in which my work appears should debut at NecronomiCon.

Cthulhu Fhtagn! (Word Horde) including “Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window”

Autumn Cthulhu from Lovecraft eZine Press includes “The Smoke Lodge”

I’m hoping Leaves of a Necronomicon is still forthcoming from Chaosium. This includes my story “Miles and Kathrine at the Crimson”

I also have one more short piece in another still-secret book that will be released at NecronomiCon, but hasn’t been announced yet. Soon, I hope!

Another of my stories has been accepted for publication, but I haven’t signed the contract yet so can’t name the story or the magazine yet. It’s a good one.

And as always, other items are out on submission for which I have hope of future good news leading to more announcements!

Reading at CthulhuCon 2015

Here’s video of my reading at CthulhuCon in April 2015.

I read the first part of my story “Delirium Sings at the Maelstrom Window” which will appear in CTHULHU FHTAGN! edited by Ross E. Lockhart and to be published by Ross’s excellent press, Word Horde.

The story is an odd sort of sequel to my favorite H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Music of Erich Zann.”

It’s a bit difficult to hear, because the readings were held in a foyer with a lot of foot traffic to the dealer room right behind the audience. Thanks to my wife Lena for recording this, and to our friend Dominique Lamssies for taking over the camera when Lena had to exit due to a coughing fit.