I definitely should have stuck with my plan to do quarterly updates. But you probably know how it goes by now and have come to expect (and adore?) this kind of feast-or-famine communication from me. Here’s what I’ve been up to since the Spring 2019 update.
[Updated with new photos!]
StokerCon is always a good time, but this year was especially fun owing to the reading and panels on my schedule. So, without further ado, I present, What I Did at StokerCon 2019…
I did a reading!
I was incredibly honored to share a reading slot with Shirley Jackson Award Winner and StokerCon 2019 Guest of Honor Kaaron Warren. She read from “The First of Many Shudders,” which was recently published in The Unquiet Dreamer: A Tribute to Harlan Ellison (PS Publishing) and which was, of course, so SO good–I still think about it regularly. Also, go check out her new novella, Into Bones Like Oil.
For my part, I read a horror story inspired by my time working in hotels and in travel publishing…and I didn’t die from nerves. Actually, during this reading, I discovered that I really enjoy doing readings. Who knew! I don’t know if it’s the therapy kicking in (finally) or one of the delightful zero-f*cks-to-give side effects of aging, but I had a truly wonderful time and I hope the folks in the audience did too (even though, let’s be real, I was the one thing standing between them and a legend).
I also moderated two panels!
Kicking off the weekend, Coming-Of-Age Horror In The Era Of Netflix–a full house with my delightful, insightful, and wonderful panelists, Kyla Lee Ward and Tom Deady. I have zero pictures of this one, to my eternal regret. (I’m sorry, all!)
*Unrelated to this panel, Kyla also stepped in as a pinch hitter during Bedlam Hall: An All Female RPG Game, GM’d by Karen Bovenmyer, and featuring Joanna Nelius, Lee Murray, Kaaron Warren, and Kathleen Kaufman. Easily one of my favorite “panels” of StokerCon–and by far the funniest–I would 100% subscribe if these ladies made it a regular event on YouTube (or whatever the kids are watching these days…it’s TicTac, right?).
My second panel of the convention, Writing Horror For Kids and Teens, was another standing-room-only event, no doubt because we had Lucy Snyder, Gaby Triana, Daniel Kraus, Jonathan Maberry, and Josh Malerman all on the same stage!
Someone posted a great shot of this on FB, but I want to get official blessings before I link to it. Thanks to Mark Matthews, I have a picture proving this dream panel happened (at least in this timeline/dimension). I may be biased, but I thought these peeps packed a lot of great insight and advice into a mere 50 minutes. Also, this was just a whole lot of fun. I don’t think anyone recorded it, but if so, I will add a link.
Thanks to everyone at StokerCon 2019 for an amazing weekend! Looking ahead, I’m planning to attend StokerCon UK in 2020 and will post my schedule here once I have it.
Artist-In-Residence at Fire Island National Seashore
Hot on the heels of StokerCon, I left for a two week residency at Fire Island National Seashore, courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service. I’ve got a detailed post here, but for the tl;dr set: it was an incredible experience, both as a writer and as a human who loves this planet. During my time there I started a new novel, revised a novel-in-progress, and wrote several new short stories. (So productive! Who was that person and how do I get her back?) I also got *really* into bird watching, dabbled in being a morning person, and collected approximately ten million balloons from the beach. (Seriously, #banballoons forever, peeps.)
The folks at FINS were amazing and supportive, and really made sure I enjoyed every minute of my residency. If this sounds intriguing to you, please consider applying for a 2020 residency at Fire Island or check out one of the many other NPS residency programs.
Summer Dark Reading
Later in June, literally days after (reluctantly) returning from my residency, I took part in the Summer Dark reading series, hosted by the Horror Writers Association’s New York Chapter. On a lovely New York City summer evening (with requisite 3000% humidity), Steven Van Patten, Carol Gyzander and I read creepy stories in a gorgeous little gem of a garden–the appropriately named, Oasis Community Garden. If this sounds like something you might have enjoyed, fret not! The Summer Dark reading series will be returning in 2020, so keep an eye out for updates from HWA-NY.
Short Fiction NEWS
In case you missed it, Fireside Quarterly‘s Winter 2020 issue is shipping now and includes my story, “The Words I Starved For.” I’m in especially excellent company in this issue, so if you’d like a copy, it’s not too late to subscribe!
New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark has a pub date and a new title! Look for Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, which will include my story, “Tag, You’re It.” I’m guessing we’ll have cover art soon and I’ll do a separate post when we do. Don’t worry, I will never shut up about this anthology. Never.
Other writing news
For my day job, I worked on a few new magazine projects this year, including editing for PBS’s Secrets of the Dead (available now!) and writing for Entertainment Weekly’s The Ultimate Guide to the Office (February 2020). For more news from the freelance realm, visit my other site, wordcenary.com.
Coming Up in 2020…
Plenty of tears, anxiety, and insomnia!
(Not kidding at allllllll!)
If you are registered to vote (YAY!), consider volunteering to help others vote in upcoming elections. Rock the Vote, Carpool Vote, and When We All Vote offer lots of ways to volunteer, including by hosting voter registration events or offering rides on election days. There are also opportunities to volunteer with your local election board.
If you are not registered to vote, please register to vote. Do it now.
If you’ll need an absentee ballot, plan ahead.
Generally speaking, let’s just all try to do a better job taking care of each other and the planet we share in the new year (and beyond).
Happy 2020, all!