May 1, 2017 by Philip Fracassi
This year’s StokerCon took place aboard the haunted, and quite stationary, Queen Mary cruise ship in Long Beach, CA. I was able to attend Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29.
Overall, Stephanie and I had a wonderful experience.
Conventions are tricky. There are so many people you’d like to meet who you maybe sorta know, or know via Social Media, or just “know of.” There’s folks you want to meet for fun (fellow authors, etc.), and folks you want to meet for networking purposes (editors, publishers, etc.). For the most part, this is a good, positive experience. There are times when it can also be not so positive, but I prefer to focus on the positive.
First off, Lisa Morton and Kate Jonez did an amazing job putting this together. It was organized, efficient, and well-stocked with panels, signings, readings, book buying opportunities, and easy access to all the food and drink and events you could want to fit in. So, Bravo! to the HWA organizers.
My personal experience with the conference was incredible. I was on the “Business of Screenwriting” Panel and had a lot of fun talking about my experiences in the field of selling and producing screenplays.
Ultimate fan-boy moment: George R.R. Martin signing our copy of “Game of Thrones” (yeah, first printing).
I was able to do a reading along with 7-time Stoker nominee Scott Edelman, and shared a signing table with folks like Michael Marshall Smith, Stephen Jones, Peter Atkins and – a highlight for me – Dennis Etchison, who is one of my favorite short story writers. Appreciated the awesome Nick Gucker bringing some loot for me to sign as well.
There were so many people who were gracious and kind and who I really enjoyed meeting over the two hectic days, not least of which was Christopher Payne, President of JournalStone Publishing, who made sure my drink glass was never empty; having dinner with Chris, Jonathan Maberry and his lovely wife, Sarah Jo, was another dream-like highlight.
The other amazing moment for me was getting to hang with horror writer / director Mike Flanagan, who was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in an industry I’ve worked in, on and off, for more than 20 years. Thanks to the gracious Jonathan Lees for coordinating the Film Festival portion of the StokerCon event. I wish I had a photo, but I’m not the most aggressive picture taker.
Quick shout-outs to all the amazing folks I met (often briefly) who could not have been kinder to an upstart horror writer: John Joseph Adams, Tim Waggoner, Mike Flanagan, Stephen Graham Jones, Kate Jonez (again) for being an amazing host, Dennis Etchison, Jonathan Maberry, John Skipp, Grady Hendrix, Taylor Grant, Leslie Klinger, Scott Edelman, Greg Bastianelli, Autumn Christian (whose hand I shook not once but twice), Richard Thomas, Ted Grau, Robert Payne Cabeen and Cecile Grimm-Cabeen, John Palisano, Nick Gucker, Nikki Guerlain, Jonathan Lees, Christopher Payne and the indomitable Jake Marley.
All photos by Stephanie Simard.