I let my membership in the Horror Writer’s Association lapse last year. I mean, $65 bucks is a lot to blow when you have groceries to buy. And don’t I have better things to do with my $65 than chase after industry elitists? The HWA can’t do a whole lot for me. I know that they’re tired of hearing that particular trope, but, without wishing to sound arrogant, it’s true. For example, networking I can do outside of the group. All that said, I like the idea, the ideal, of HWA. I like the notion of sparing new writers from re-inventing the wheel and making the same mistakes a lot of us did coming up. Sparing people the pain of PublishAmerica and other scams that prey on the dreams of would-be writers.

The organization seems to run from the criticism that it’s a country club full of elitists who conspire in some sort of cabal to keep newbies out. Heck, I want to be more of a country club. Some things should not be perceived as a country club, like church, even though it, too, often seems like a place that only lets people “like them” in. A professional organization should be difficult–granted, not inordinately so–to get into. That’s why I liked the rule changes that made it tougher to get into, even though it makes it tougher for me to make active rather than affiliate status. Normally I’d say who cares, after all, country clubs are full of elitist snobs who think that they’re better than everyone else. In this case, “elite” = “professionals”, interested in the best interest of all who take their craft, their chosen profession/hobby seriously.

Sure, I like the direction Joe Nassise has taken the organization, but I also missed my favorite curmudgeons. Bob Weinberg is one of my favorite grumpy old men. Don’t get me wrong, whenever he’s talking anything other than writing I disagree with him, but you can’t get mad (well, stay mad) at a guy who obviously loves the genre and wants the best for those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of serving their muse within it. Which brings me to the Nicks: Mamatas and my arch-nemesis Kaufmann. (It’s a little known fact that every writer should have an arch-nemesis. I’ve chosen Nick Kaufmann as mine. I’ve dedicated myself to stopping his evil wherever it rears its head. Unless I need advice on something writing related, then he’s my first call). My goal is to be the Nick Mamatas or Nick Kaufmann of my local branch of HWA, the Indiana Horror Writers. This means that at our meetings, I sit back, sip my coffee, and sling witty barbs-cum-advice.

Plus, no matter how many people poo-poo the organization, they still want a Stokers Award. So I figure that I’ll earn back my $65 in swag. That’s right, send me free copies of your stuff for consideration. Plus I’m a needy man. I know that when people find out that I’m an actual HWA member, they’ll sidle up to me with their offers of friendship, transparent though it may be, in hopes that I’ll recommend their stuff.

That’s the only explanation I have for Kaufmann’s popularity.