World Horror Convention 2014 – Rock & Roll and Horror Panel

I never got around to documenting much of the 2014 World Horror Convention, which took place here in Portland, and was the first time Lena and I had attended WHC.

One noteworthy event in which I participated was the “Rock & Roll and Horror” panel, moderated by Anya Martin and also including John Skipp, John Shirley and Scott Nicolay.


In this first photo, we’re still waiting for the panel to begin. Scott Nicolay has not yet shown up. While the audience settled in, we played music from Anya’s surf-horror compilation CD on a little boombox to set the mood.


Here we’ve gotten underway. From left to right, that’s John Skipp, John Shirley, Anya Martin, Scott Nicolay and me.


Here we are after the panel, getting ready to pose in front of some cool World Horror Con room decor. We brought the head of Joe Pulver, because he belongs!


And this one captures the fun atmosphere of the event. John Skipp is pure rock and roll. We all had a blast!

Many subjects were discussed, including the earliest examples of rock and roll music appearing as a subject in horror stories or films, and ways in which we as writers use music as a story element, or as background while we write.

Here are a few short videos my wife Lena took during the panel. She didn’t want to record anybody else this way, because she didn’t have permission, so the videos are mostly limited to the three times I spoke at length.

In the first video we’re introducing ourselves, explaining our own background with music and horror. You can see the end of Scott’s introduction, then my introduction, then Anya getting the panel started.

In the second, we’re talking about our first recollections of where we first encountered rock and roll connected with horror books or films. Scott is talking about a crazy rock and roll book, and I mention a couple things that came to mind: Stephen King and Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The third video is nearer the end, where we’re talking about how we use music as writers, what we listen to, and what music contributes to what and how we write.

We spent a fair amount of time talking about Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground and other mutual favorites. I was content to speak less than the others, as this was my first panel appearance of any kind.

The last time I spoke at greatest length, there’s no video, but we had moved on to talking about similarities and differences between making music and writing. I tried to explain how much alike my approaches are between the two — how most often I start with a very simple, almost uninteresting overall pattern, and try to add new layers and complications to it until it becomes interesting. Often then as it becomes more complex and many layers have been added, some of the earliest layers added might be removed. Very often by the time I’m finished, not only is the flavor different from what it was when I started, but even the general shape has completely changed.

I wish there was video of what I said, because some of these thoughts were things I hadn’t really realized until I was asked the question, and tried to answer it on the fly in front of an audience.

Overall, the panel experience was a lot of fun, and I’m fortunate to have been a part of this fun and interesting discussion at 2014 World Horror along with other great people like John Skipp, John Shirley, Anya Martin and Scott Nicolay.

WHC 2014 Day One Summary

Thursday, the first day of World Horror Convention 2014, was an enjoyable start. As I expected, a lot of people haven’t arrived yet, others have arrived but are so exhausted from travel and jet-lagged that they’re either heading straight up to bed, or wandering around dazed and confused. But there were plenty of us having fun, exploring and making new friends.

Lena and I arrived early, checked in, bought a parking pass, checked out our “swag bag” contents, and grabbed something to eat and drink at the hotel’s bar/restaurant, which was packed.


Just as we were almost done eating, I started receiving frantic texts and emails from my workplace – an extended power outage, and the technology problems that follow downstream from that. I spent the next 60-90 minutes emailing, texting and calling work, trying to do what I could to get things back online once power was restored. It didn’t exactly ruin the evening, but it did take my attention away from the art opening, and completely wiped-out my cell phone battery, hence the limited number of pictures I posted from day 1.

We met up with Scott Nicolay and Anya Martin, and though my phone was dead, Scott informed me of the news that The Grimscribe’s Puppets, the Thomas Ligotti tribute anthology edited by Joseph S. Pulver Sr. to which both Scott and I contributed stories, had been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award for best anthology. On top of the nomination of the same book for the Bram Stoker Award in the same category, this has been a great year for that anthology and for editor Joe Pulver.


If you haven’t purchased this book yet, well, maybe you should!

The last event of the evening was a reading block by Anya and Yvonne Navarro. Both readings were emotionally powerful and went over very well. After, a few of us posed for photos with the creepy stuffed monsters in the corner, and Yvonne’s husband Weston Ochse (sure-thing winner of the Best Shoes award for the 2014 con) was good enough to snap photos of our group. Left to right, that’s me, Lena, Dominique Lamssies, Anya Martin and Scott Nicolay.


Ready For World Horror Convention 2014

It seems like H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon was just a few days ago, but it’s already time for the next thing. World Horror Convention 2014, also here in Portland, gets underway starting today.

It’s a Thursday-Sunday convention, four days, though the schedule is only really lengthy on Friday and Saturday. Thursday, it’s just evening programming, and Sunday it’s just late-morning to 2PM. The event takes place at the Double Tree hotel in NE Portland, adjacent to the Lloyd Center mall. It’s the same hotel where my company Christmas party happens. I expect the crowd and atmosphere to look a lot different this time!

Many of the same friends from the HPL Fest are back in Portland, while others are absent. Others are here in Portland for the first time, or at least the first time since I’ve known them. I look forward to a chance to meet up with new friends, associates and colleagues.

I’ll post lots of pictures – keep an eye on my Facebook or Twitter to see the pictures as I upload them.