This past weekend I attended Scares That Care, a benefit horror convention in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’ve put off doing conventions and signings since I started publishing, but this year I decided it was time to get my face out there and from what I’ve heard, there’s no better event than the Scares That Care Weekend. For those who might not know, it’s a charity horror convention that donates its profit to families in need.
So many awesome things took place this weekend and I’ll do my best to pack it all in here. It started off rough—I was sick on Friday, so ill I almost didn’t make it to my table on the 2nd floor vendor area. Special shout out to my brother who ran out to get me medicine and saved that first day.
Friday night was slow, but I managed to sell a few books and meet some awesome people. We didn’t stay out too late; the drive down a congested I-95 completely sucked all the energy from my body. I had to pack it in early and get some sleep.
On Saturday, the event was cranking. I sold and signed a bunch, met people I had previously communicated with exclusively via Facebook, bought some kick-ass T-shirts, and saw author Bryan Smith get hitched. I visited one of my favorite authors, Ronald Malfi, and he told me he wanted a copy of Worlds Between My Teeth. I was shocked to say the least. It’s not everyday one of your biggest influences wants a signed book from you. I don’t remember what I scribbled on the title page, but I’m sure it wasn’t legible.
Saturday night at the bar, I watched the most entertaining hour of karaoke I’ve ever seen. I had no idea Malfi and Glenn Rolfe were rockstars. Their performances alone were worth the price of admission. I think Glenn will need a full week before he gets his voice back.
Sunday was insane. I ran into Malfi in the lobby and he told me he was leaving a little early, and if I wanted his spot in the celebrity room, he could probably make it happen. I was gobsmacked. A few hours later, I sandwiched myself between Kristopher Rufty and John Urbancik, a table over from Brian Keene, and two from Joe R. Lansdale. Somehow I managed not to faint. I sold more books in the three hours there than I had in the two days upstairs. I met Brian Keene, got him to sign my Leisure copy of Castaways, and snapped a picture with him. I must have thanked him a thousand times for letting me crash the celebrity room.
A little later, Joe R. Lansdale approached my table to grab a book from Urbancik. He commented on one of my covers and that sparked a ten minute conversation. About what, I barely remember. Mostly because I was listening and nodding and trying not to have a full-blown, fanboy panic attack. He told me he enjoyed talking to new writers, then invited me over to his table, where he signed a copy of Honky Tonk Samurai (new Hap & Leonard) and told me to keep in touch. Hands down one of the nicest people I have ever met. I could have spent the entire convention talking to him.
After that, I packed up and headed back to Jersey, back to my wife and son, both of whom I greatly missed. I had a lot of fun, but I’m glad to be home with them again.
Special thanks to Ronald Malfi who made my first convention nothing short of spectacular. Brian Keene, too. Also, Joe Ripple, CEO of Scares That Care! We never got a chance to talk, but without him, none of this would have been possible. I highly recommend checking them out next year. If you want to donate, click here!
One of the best weekends ever.