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Beyond The Darkness 13
Virginia is for (book) Lovers
Before we get started, I want to let you all know I’m having an Easter Sale over at my webstore. If you use the code “EASTER” at checkout, you’ll receive 15% off your entire order. All of my books are currently in-stock and ready to ship. Sale ends on Sunday April 16th. www.wesleysouthardhorror.com
Well hello! It’s been a few weeks since we last spoke. Scares That Care Presents AuthorCon II took up quite a bit of time the last week or so, so I’ll quickly break down my time in Williamsburg this year.
Much like last year, I couldn’t leave for Virginia until I got off from work on Thursday, but I fortunately wasn’t alone this year. Filmmaker and author Mike Lombardo was along for the ride. He was able to procure a vendor table last minute and ended up sharing my room with me to help cut costs. We left on Thursday evening and got to the hotel in Williamsburg around 10pm after multiple congested areas of traffic slowed us down. If you’ve ever taken I-95 in Virginia, you’d know that particular Interstate was designed by Lucifer himself. I’ve been going to Williamsburg for six or seven years and the road work has never seemed to come to an end. I fear it never will. Anyways, we got to the hotel late and I was already ready to go to bed. Since I get up every day at 6AM for work, and usually at the same time on the weekends with my son, I was dead tired and wanted to get some rest. After saying hello to some friends, I got a text from Brian Keene, inviting me and Mike to a private room party. I figured why not? Stay up for a little bit, then go to bed. We ended up staying up until nearly 2AM.
That was the latest I stayed up all weekend.
Mike and I got up around 9AM the next morning and we went to set up our tables in the vendor room. I was so excited to see where I was located, right up front, pretty much the very first table you see when you walked in, which was perfect. After a little bit, authors Wile E. Young and Stephen Kozeniewski wandered down and the few of us took our yearly trip down the road to Rick’s Cheesesteaks. Look, I’ve had cheesesteaks from all over the country, including what’s considered the absolute best in the city of Philadelphia, but the best I’ve ever had have come from Rick’s. Their sandwiches are fantastic, as is their staff, who are always welcoming to the STC crowd.
Later that afternoon, during the pre-show gathering, author Jonathan Janz was given the inaugural Wilburn-Thomas Award, which recognizes "exceptional individuals in our community, individuals who uphold the values of Scares That Care, who help those in need, and assist those around them." Janz was more than deserving for the honor, and it made for an emotional presentation that he had no idea was coming. After that was over, the vendor room was open and readers began to drive in. Sales were pretty decent for a Friday, although I may have missed out a bit since I was off the floor for nearly two hours that night. I had a panel about Collaborations, and then I had a reading at the end of the night with authors Lucas Mangum and John Wayne Comunale. I ordered a couple of pizzas from Mellow Mushroom (probably my favorite pizza chain) and Keene, Kozeniewski, Young, Lombardo, and Mangum came back to the room to eat and talk for a while. By the time 11PM rolled around, I passed out for the night.
The vendor room opened at 10AM the next day, so I was up early and got down the floor before the show started. Sales were almost immediately and stayed consistent throughout the entire day, which was great. The only time I had to be off the floor, was for the panel I was on, which was about being a regularly touring author. Keene had me moderate, which was the first time I had ever done so. I was pretty stressed about it for the few weeks leading up to it, but I think I did okay. I’m sure I’ll end up moderating again at some point, so hopefully my nerves won’t get to me. It’s weird that feel more comfortable reading in front of a large crowd than talking shop. I think I just like to disappear to the story and command the crowd that way.
When the floor closed, a small group of us went for dinner at the Italian restaurant behind the hotel, where a few of us randomly drew up and hashed out what could be the most ridiculous round-robin story idea imaginable. I have no idea if it will actually happen or not, but God help us all if it does. After filling up on pasta, we went back to the hotel and, you guessed it, I passed out at 11PM once again. I used to stay up unbelievably late at STC, but the older I get, the less appealing it is. I feel bad I miss out on the shenanigans, but I’d rather feel well-rested the next day and no miserable.
Sales on Sunday were fairly slow, but some more books were sold, and before I knew it the show was over. Goodbyes were abundant and sad, but inevitable. I was able to procure a few books to add to my TBR pile, which included new books from Young and Kozeniewski, as well as a new non-fiction collection from the late J.F. Gonzalez. I gathered up Lombardo and Mary SanGiovanni and her daughter Ada (both of which needed a ride home) and we headed out. This time we took an alternate route home, which avoided I-95 completely. The ride was great and full of great conversation and chicken fries (no context for you!). By the time I got home, it was nearly 10PM. I was thrilled to be back with my wife and child and my own bed. I truly do love being on the road, but it’s getting harder and harder these days. Thankfully AuthorCon and everyone who runs the show makes life away from home so rewarding and fun.
I cannot wait for next year.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support the charity and to buy books. You guys are what makes the charity a success year after year and how it affords to care of those unfortunate folks who need the boost. Much love to you all.
I was this week’s guest on the Brian Keene Live YouTube show. We spoke about life on the road, writing as a parent, and we answered tons of reader questions. It was a lot of fun. Check it out at the link below:
My Tales from the Crypt full series re-watch continues…
Séance (S4, E4)
Two con artist attempt to steal the fortune of a rich man they accidentally killed by creating a fake séance for his blind wife, but not everything goes to plan. This was yet another that was just perfectly fine. Not bad, not great, just fine. It fell right in line with Crypt’s love for 1940’s aesthetic and money hungry con people. I honestly had a hard time paying attention to this one because I was watching my son at the time and he was being fussy and I couldn’t fully concentrate. I do remember the man the woman was trying to con and screw was actually her cousin, which was interesting. I also couldn’t figure out where I knew the woman from, which bugged the shit out of me. Then it finally hit me that she was the thief from the 1990’s Casper movie. It’s funny how much she looks and talks like Madeline Kahn.
Beauty Rest (S4, E5)
Life's not been easy for actress, Helen. She's getting older and her dreams of hitting the big time are disappearing. When she gets a chance to take part in a beauty contest, she's determined to do ANYTHING to win. This one boasts quite the cast with Mimi Rogers, Jennifer Rubin (who I’ve weirdly hung out with before), Kathy Ireland, and Buck Henry, and was also directed by A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and Predator 2’s Stephen Hopkins. Lots of talent in this episode. I felt kind of lukewarm about this one. As I was watching it, I kept thinking I may have actually seen this one before when I was a kid, but I wasn’t sure. Then the ending happened and I definitely remember seeing it years ago. It had the type of bait and switch ending season three’s Top Billing had where the protagonist wasn’t in on the whole ordeal until it was far too late for them.
Things have been really picking up here. My novelette for the book I am putting together with Wile E. Young has now turned into a full-fledged novella, which I’m extremely happy about. I’ve been taking my time with it, letting the story breathe and become what it’s supposed to be. It’s also the first long piece of fiction I’ve ever worked on that was completely non-supernatural. I honestly believe this could be the best thing I’ve ever written to this point. I’m very close to the end, but I’m trying so hard to not rush the narrative. I want this to be perfect. I know Wile E. is working hard on his story and he’s equally about his story. More info as it comes, but I can tell you this book will be out by next month.
Currently watching: I just got the brand new 4K release of George A. Romero’s Martin, so I’m very excited to finally get to see this film.
Currently reading: About to finish Mary SanGiovanni’s Alien: Enemy of my Enemy (it’s fantastic) and will start Stephen Kozeniewski’s The Thing Under Your Bed right after.
Currently listening to: The entire Killswitch Engage discography as I get ready for their concert this Friday in Lancaster.
That’s it for this week. Thanks so much for stopping by!