Scares that Care Weekend Recap

Conventions come and they go, especially in my life. I do a lot of them in order to promote myself and my books to the general horror/reading public. Mostly, this is because I’m horrible at doing interviews and podcasts and generally being social when I’m not behind a selling table.

I attended Scares that Care Weekend down in Williamsburg, Virginia. I had fun, which is usually the case, but I have to say that this event was somewhat special. Most of you know that I’m a father (and step-father and grandfather), but if you really know me, you also know that being a father is one of the things that frightens me most (right behind dying). And to know that there’s an organization like Scares that Care who embodies the horror that I love and is specifically designed to help sick children and their families is outstanding. Mayhap it even warms this cold dead heart… and that said, you know, the convention stands out and hopefully I’m able to attend next year as well.

It wasn’t a perfect convention (none of them ever are), but you know how I roll; since it wasn’t a total suckfest, the minor problems won’t get mentioned beyond this short paragraph, except on whatever survey comes out. Needless to say, nothing shitty happened to detract from the convention at all, unless you count two shots of whiskey on top of Alfredo sauce making me hurl on Saturday. Granted, the convention had nothing to do with that.


The Red Vein Army!

So, where to really start? How about the haunted house run by The Red Vein Army? This thing was built in 22 hours in two adjoining hotel rooms, and was seriously fucking cool. No, I don’t mean it scared me, really, which is hard to do, but they had a kick-ass story attached to the event, and a few good jump scares in there. There was a line-warmer, a bloody nurse, who was an absolute riot. The man never broke character while on the clock, though he did make at least one person break down in tears. The picture there to the left is the whole cast and they were fantastic. They raised a serious chunk of change for the Scares that Care organization Check out their website, give them some love.

The convention also had a ton of pretty cool items up for silent auction. I didn’t take pictures of them all (there were literally dozens), and while the wife and I donated money over the weekend, I sure wish I’d have had more to get some of the items. They had a few Tim Curry items that were just made to be hanging on the wall in my office. Not to mention a Strain poster signed by the entire cast. Yeah, I like that show for what it is, and if you don’t, feel free to go back to The Vampire Diaries.

There were celebrities, which as you know aren’t a thing for me. But, for those keeping score, saw David Naughton, Sid Haig, Kim Coates, Robert Maillet, Lochlyn Munro, Larry Drake, and Tiny Lister. There were others, but I didn’t see them. In all fairness, one of these days I’m going to have to get David Naughton to sign something werewolf for me, and Lister to say pretty much anything from Friday, in character as Deebo.

More exciting for me, naturally, were the authors present. I’m pretty much one of those people who doesn’t say shit to anyone that I don’t know personally and this weekend wasn’t an exception to that. I did get to speak to Tim Waggoner, Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia, Hunter Shea, Jacob Haddon, and John Boden from Shock Totem. I stood a few feet away from F. Paul Wilson, rode in an elevator with Jeff Strand, and nearly ran Brian Keene over once. I think he’s taller, but I’m wider, so it could have been ugly. Of course, I didn’t speak to any of them, because, well, I don’t know them. Plus, Saturday night was dairy beats whiskey night, which ended poorly. And yes, I understand I’ll never get to know them if I don’t speak, but we all have our crosses, don’t we?

So, after making the maids scream, Willow made them tuck her in...

So, after making the maids scream, Willow made them tuck her in…

Another highlight… apparently my wife’s “werepup,” Willow, freaked out a maid. As in, the maid ran from the room, screaming. After the staff calmed her down, we returned to the room to find Willow propped up in bed, watching television. There’s just something awesome about having a hotel staff be just as creepy as you are. Check out the picture here… and to the first person who says that damn thing looks like me, I’ll personally introduce my foot to your ass at some point. To quote Sgt. Barnes: “I’m personally gonna take an interest in seeing you suffer. shit you not.”

As always, a thank you to Post Mortem Press for publishing my work and letting me tag along to these interesting gatherings. Scares that Care Weekend fostered a great environment for an outstanding cause, and I can’t wait to go back next year. Be sure to check out the rest of the pictures over at the Scares that Care Weekend Photo Gallery!


My Kind of Asshole

trueassholeHopefully the title isn’t too inflammatory, but if it is, I suppose that’s kind of how things fall out sometimes. No one likes everything (myself included), so it’s only natural for someone to dislike my title. And if you don’t like it, you have many choices on how to react to it: bitch me out (here, privately, or on other social media), bitch about me without telling me, ignore the title and this blog post, tell your friends I’m an asshole and have them bitch me out, or dislike the title and read the post anyway, or politely tell me what you thought of the title/post/title and post, or… you get my point. Nearly endless choices on how to react. An old man in a movie once said, “Choose wisely.”

It’s this idea of choosing wisely I want to talk about today. I know in last week’s post I said it’d be about the writing community, and it is, but the advice applies to every community we belong to: personal, professional, hobby. And, lately, the writing community has chosen poorly.

If you’re in the community, you’ve at least heard about the whole Puppy thing, the “all writers are assholes” blog, the lack of respect toward female writers in all genres, how each and every award is basically some tainted piece of shit that no one (read: everyone) wants to win. I’m on the fringes of these conversations because, let’s face it, I’m a small fry compared to the people throwing out enough bullshit gas to ignite the universe. It’s not just that, though, because I do hear about them, and I surely could hop on over to this author’s Facebook page or that author’s blog and throw down an opinion, because yes, I am an asshole and I do have an opinion on all these topics. Instead, I choose not to get involved.

This blog post is as close as I come to offering an opinion on anything, and it’s a very neutral opinion at that. In these situations, when someone is shitting on someone else’s hush puppies and the world is on fire, I’m reminded of an exchange between John McClane and Major Grant in Die Hard 2:

McClane: “Guess I was wrong about you. You’re not such an asshole after all.”
Maj. Grant: “Oh, you were right. I’m just your kind of asshole.”

And that, Brownies, sums everything up for me.

We are all assholes.

Whether you believe you’re an asshole or not is irrelevant, someone thinks you are. And invariably, that someone is right. They are, after all, entitled to their opinion.

So why don’t we, as a whole, choose our assholes more wisely? Why do we insist on surrounding ourselves with people we think are assholes and then shout that out on our blogs? This makes no sense to me. The people in my little inner circle are my kind of assholes. I enjoy them, their assholishness, and what their puckered parts bring to my life. That’s why I keep them around.

And make no mistake, I do keep them around. I’m in total control of who I spend my time with. And I know you may be saying something like, “Well, Chris, I don’t really know these assholes, but they’re in this group on Facebook–”

Just stop. You even control who you interact with on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, any writing organizations forum boards… it’s all you. I actively choose not to be involved with many people on a daily basis. Why? Because they’re not my kind of assholes.

Now, sure, there are going to be times when you have to be around these people who aren’t your kind of asshole, you’re going to have to interact with them, and, dare I say, be nice. I go to conventions (lots of them, actually) and I’ve met writers who weren’t my kind of asshole. I wasn’t a dick to them, not in person, and I didn’t come back here and I didn’t blog and tell the world about it. I smiled, shook hands, bought beers, whatever.

correctassholeThere’s a simple reason for that: I like to think I’m a professional. (And for those of you who’ve encountered me drunk at any number of conventions, I apologize. Maybe I’m not your kind of asshole. You know, it happens.) And at some point, I might have to work with this asshole or that asshole, or one of those assholes might be heading a project I want in on. While the writing community is large enough, it’s still a business and reputation counts. It seems that more than a fair share of us have forgotten that our reputation is one of the few things we actually have complete and total control over.

You can’t control an editor or publisher’s opinion, you can’t control whether someone will buy your book or whether they’ll like it, you can’t control whether they’ll leave any sort of review. Shit, let’s face it, most of the time we can’t even control our fictional characters.

But we can control ourselves. We can control how much of our puckered hole we put on display to the community at large. That’s all on us, individually, and I’d like to be the old asshole that reminds us all to “Choose Wisely.” Surround yourself with like-minded assholes, the kind whose farts you can tolerate, laugh about, and yes, maybe you even like sniffing that asshole.

And when you come across the other kind of asshole, you know the one whose farts are so fucking rancid you can’t decide if you should puke now or later? Let them be, go about your business of puking, safe and secure in the knowledge that you only have to smell their shit every once in awhile–you know, when you choose to–but there are others who want to smell it all the time. There’s no need for the entire world to know you don’t like that asshole.

Come back next week and hear me take this conversation along down the road and talk about the rising tide again…

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