Scares That Care V: An Adventure in Small Press and the Braking Road Trip


It truly was a fantastic weekend.  I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in a couple years, plus meet plenty of new ones. I got to participate in the WELCOME TO THE SHOW panel with Matt Hayward, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovani, Robert Ford, Kelli Owen, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, and Matt Serafini. The anthology made it’s debut and sold out!  I ended the weekend with a fun reading with Amber Fallon (whom I got to meet in person for the first time).

The main purpose for the trip was to see if I could run my own table and sell not only my books, but the books of some of my buddies. I’m happy to report that Alien Agenda Publishing had a successful debut. With only a few titles available, we nearly sold out.

Special thanks to Deborah Grace and Matt Manochio for watching my table so I could step away now and them. It was a huge help.  Thanks to all the folks who picked up copies of AAP titles, THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS, BECOMING, THE NIGHTCRAWLER, and LAND OF BONES.  And also thanks to those that picked up copies of my Sinister Grin Press book, CHASING GHOSTS.

I had a blast in the spaces and beats between multiple con functions. Friday night, I ventured into the bar and ended up spending the evening with Ron Malfi who introduced me to Rio Youers.  We had drinks and did some Scaryoke. Ron did his “I Alone” Live staple, I took on the spirit of the Lizard King for “Break On Through to the Other Side”, but it was Rio with his fist pumping, hip thrusting, hat borrowing, intimate eye gazing rendition of Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds” that hijacked the show and made it one for the ages.

Saturday night, I got to catch up with my dear friends, Russell Coy and Brian Picard. I also finally got time to hang with Matt Hayward. Matt’s a fantastic writer and just an all around great guy. He invited me to the WELCOME TO THE SHOW anthology and I owe him many beers for that alone. Sometimes, you talk to a person online and its cool and easy, then you meet them in person and its more awkward. This was not the case with Matt. It was great to see and hear his enthusiasm face-to-face for the anthology and all things writing and music.  He’s a great dude and i hope we get to hang many, many more times in the future.  It was also nice to meet Dan Padavona, and chat with him, Tim Meyer, Russel Coy, and Matt Hayward.  I also got overwhelmed and schooled on JAWS by the great Jonathan Janz and John Boden.

Sunday was much more chill. Got to talk GN’R with Brian Keene, do my reading with Amber, and then head for home in one piece.

The trip wasn’t without its challenges.

And that brings us to the brakes.  My wife’s car decided that Pennsylvania was the place where all things brakes would be taken care of.  On my way down, a loud noise scratching sound brought me to CJ’s Tire and Automotive in Exton. Luckily, Dalton and his crew got me back on the road (and thanks to my wife for taking care of the bill-love you, dear!). All was good the rest of the way down, and I had no troubles all weekend. On the way back, things were smooth, I had made my money back for the earlier repairs and we were smiling. Then, as I’m getting off my exit in Wilkes Barre, an even louder, more persistent grinding noise starts up from the back passenger side.  At this point, I’m asking what PA has against me and my brakes, but I make it to my hotel and call the wife.  Next morning, I find a place called KOST Tire and Auto Service.  And i have to say, after explaining my misadventures in brakes, Casey made all things right again. My mother-in-law came through helping me pay for this second stop (thank you, Laurie!), but Casey gave me such an amazing experience and deal that I left the shop in tears. The kindness and willingness shown by Casey and his staff at KOST to go far above and way beyond to help a crazy nimrod like me was just overwhelming.  Thanks to Casey and Dalton, and their crews, and to my wife and her mother, I made it to SCARES THAT CARE and home. I’m a lucky dude.

All said and done, it  was an amazing, costly, sure, but totally amazing trip.

Not sure when I’ll be back at Scares (aiming for 2020), but if you have a chance as a reader, writer, publisher or whatever, it is the best con I’ve ever been to.  AND it all goes to helping families in need.

i didn’t get a chance to chill with Patrick Lacey, Aaron Dries, or Mike Lombardo, but we’ll make sure to fix that next time around.

I put a few photos below.  See you guys again down the road!




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