Stoker Con ’18: Lessons and Good Friends

I rejoined the Horror Writers Association in January. I made the decision to dive back in and see what I could learn and what I could possibly give.  Stoker Con, held in Providence (a three-hour drive for me) was a no-brainer. I decided to bring my amazing wife with me, leave the kiddos with my parents, and looked forward to having a blast with friends, old and new.

We drove through the crazy rain and wind terrorizing the East Coast, but made it in safely around 5 pm on Friday evening. Got to catch up with one of my favorite people in the business, Brian Kirk. Love that dude! Also met Jason Parent for the first time. Another solid motherlover. Brian introduced me and Meghan to Chad Stroup. I think we’re gonna be buds for some time to come. See, and this is a huge part of any convention, meeting new, amazing people, and remembering why you love this community so much.

My wife and I split soon after the Final Frame short film thing started. We went back to our hotel, had beer and pizza, and enjoyed a night without distractions.

Saturday….well, that was a bit more complicated.

I started off at a panel on contracts, taxes, and such with Leslie Klinger (great info, great place to start, great job on Mr. Klinger’s part).  I split from there for a beer and some catch-up time with my old editor, Don D’Auria. I am just so fucking proud of that man, and honored to be one of his friends. We talked Flame Tree Press and writers and Samhain. It was great.

After lunch with my wife, I caught up with some fellas I won’t mention.   Good guys that seemed to come straight out of an 80’s movie (even though they aren’t quite old enough for that) the way they stuck together. After running into those fellas, I checked in with JG Faherty, went to Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks From Hell presentation (that dude is jacked up on like 10 bottles of 5 Hour Energy, or just really, really energetic and young.)

I had to cut out of that presentation early to get to the Flame Tree Press Coffee Hour (not it’s official name, but whatever).  This was the true Samhain Survivors Reunion. Don and his amazing wife welcomed my wife and I. Greg Faherty, Tim Waggoner, Brian Kirk, John Palisano, Frazer Lee (great dude that I finally got to meet), and also some new friends like Eric Guignard, and more. I could have hung with that crew for the rest of the night.

After that, we met up briefly with Trevor Firetog and his lovely lady. That led us to the bar… Chad Stroup, AlanBaxter, and Brian Kirk took up a table with the wife and I. Brian left for the Stoker Awards Banquet, but we were joined by Jason Parent, Morgan Sylvia, and some others for an impromptu panel moderated by my wife. So much fun.

Now, that’s where I probably should have said goodnight and went back to my hotel.

That didn’t happen.

Jason invited us upstairs, but there was also the Stoker After-Party.

Anyways, I remember hanging out with Greg Faherty, Don D’Auria, and Holli Moncreiff for a bit, the Chris Marrs showed me where the bathroom was, I came out and got caught up in conversation about loss and Land of Bones, I think, with Eric Guignard, tried to play a piano…and then I was back in the party room with Jason Parent, Morgan Sylvia, Bracken MacLeod, Brian Kirk, and many others.

So, I’d been drinking beer all day and night. Get to this room, and there’s no beer, but there is whiskey. Whiskey,  a drink I’ve had maybe three time my whole life. I tend to steer clear of hard liquor for good reason.

While I won’t give details about what followed (due to the fact that I only know what my poor wife filled me in on), I was a mess and I feel sorry for the good people that had to help me out.

Long story short, I blacked out. I remember adding whiskey in a cup and then waking up at 11:30 in the morning in bed.  Having never experienced a black-out before, I was shocked and frightened when I woke up and my wife explained the end of the night to me. It was jarring. I felt as though my body and mind had been hijacked. Probably the scariest thing that’s happened to me in a very, very long time.

As I said, I was lucky to have good people around me. Hearts of gold in that horror community. More reason to love them.

However, I just wanted to share this, not to glorify my madness, but to send a message to those of you attending your first con, or even you old pros that like to let loose at these fantastic gatherings. Drinking is fun and having a few brews or a couple mixed drinks with friends is awesome. Letting yourself slip over the edge and completely into a bottle is dangerous, careless, risky, and sad. I could have done more harm than I did. I’m grateful for my wife and the friends that stepped in and helped us out.

Anyone that knows me knows I like too have fun and get a little crazy at these events, but not like this.

I don’t want to extend the “legend” of Glenn the punk rock drunk guy. I want to have a good time with friends and be able to keep control of myself and remember every second of it.

I’ve promised myself to be more responsible with my drinking at these events. I suggest anyone skirting that edge do the same. You really don’t want to be like me.

I made mistakes, and I’m sorry to those that had to step in and save this fool from himself.  I will be forever grateful to you lot. You know who you are, better than I do.

I love you guys.


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