My e-lawyer has informed me to admit nothing.

Make no mistake about it: the World Horror Convention is a party convention where some work may get done. For a variety of reasons, I decided early on that it was going to be a lazy convention for me. I didn’t want to sit on any panels (in fact, I usually only went to panels in the first place if I was on them or my friends were on them). I didn’t do the (formal) pitch sessions – though the sad reality/realization of that is that I have to write more this year. However, I did my first reading ever (thank you Loren Rhoads, who asked me to read my story from Morbid Curiosity #8 for their Open Mic) – a story I may post here soon.

Cons are what you make of them. The reason to attend any con boils down to networking and exposure. Sometimes exposure means making new fans by doing readings or panels. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting faces to names of folks that you’ve interacted with on message boards. Networking can take the form of chatting up fellow writers, editors, publishers, agents. It never hurts to make new friends. By networking, you may find out the inside scoop on markets or anthologies quietly accepting submissions. Sometimes you, as a writer, simply need to get away and recharge yourself, commiserating with fellow writers. As interesting as some of the panels may be, remember that a lot of the real networking gets done in the bar (though be warned: Jesus turned water into wine, not tequila, for a reason).

Make no mistake, the true purpose, the true joy, of attending cons boils down to networking (read: hanging out with friends). All in all, WHC was more of a reconnecting and hanging out with friends sort of con.

Like I said, I’m not allowed to say too much about the actual convention. Simon Wood and I received our customary spine-ectomies as we became Chesya, Chesya, Chesya Burke’s personal throne of boys. I hate to get into lists of folks, since inevitably people will be left off the list. It was great to see old friends and new. Karen Taylor, Barbara Ferrenz, Tina Jens and the ladies of Persephone. Mort Castle, Nick Kaufmann, Brian Knight. Jen Orosel, Chris Golden, Jim Moore. Debbie Kuhn. C.N. Pitts. Tracy “Catwoman” West. Cullen Bunn. Jeff Strand. Dan Fox and Susan Taylor. David Solow. Matt and Deena Warner. The mighty men of Night Shade Books.

So, in lieu of an actual con report, I’d like to apologize to the following people, though they helped make my con experience:
Brian Keene (whose prank call of me haunted me for the entire convention); Weston Ochse (who owes me 40 acres and a mule) and his lovely bride, Yvonne Navarro. Eunice (and Mr. Eunice) – remember: back of the hands only. Feo (whom I think I scared with my random declaration of man love). Michelle Mellon (so young and innocent – welcome to the dark side). Eric Tomblin (and his fear of mannequins). And my fellow “bastard sons,” Lucien Soulban and John C. Hay, on general principal alone.

On a special note, this is an open letter to guitar guy. You know who I’m talking about: that guy who arrives at a party and it doesn’t matter what is going on, but he breaks out his guitar and starts singing classic rock tunes–and I don’t care how good he is, but when guitar guy shows up at a party, it’s time to call it a night. And if he has a harmonica attached to his guitar, it’s really over.

One more time, heck no, I’m not giving a con report. I don’t care what you hear, I deny everything.

Everything.

What happens at a con stays at the con.

Unless you hang out with the ladies of Horror-Web.

[And I might have to re-learn the lost art of imprecatory prayer for my message board. One for their play, mice, play antics as well as my brother suddenly deciding to be the Billy Carter/Roger Clinton of my writing career. I may never leave home again.]

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I don’t have time to always check the comments all the places where this rant is posted. If you want to make sure that I see it or just want to stop by and say hi, do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.