Category Archives: horror

Ghost Hunting with the Horror Writers

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Photo Credit: Callie Stoker

Last Friday night the Utah chapter of the Horror Writers Association went on a paranormal investigation at the Benson Grist Mill with the Pod Goblins. I caught my first EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) on audio – currently waiting (impatiently of course) for the professionals to clean it up and figure out the entire message but there’s definitely a man’s voice that starts out saying what sounds like ‘Hello’. The thing about EVPs are that you only hear them after you play back the audio, not when its happening real time. I can’t describe hearing that voice the first time. I still get goosebumps!

Once I get the audio back, I’ll post it here with a full write-up.

In the meantime, one of the other Horror Writers, Caryn Larrinaga, who experienced ghost hunting for the first time that night, did a full write-up. Some of her experiences were shared ones with me so I asked her if I could link my readers back to her site for a little taste of what the night entailed. Check it out here: http://carynlarrinaga.com/blog/2016/10/16/ghost-hunting .


The Truth In the Details

I wanted to title this “Learning to kill” but refrained from tempting the search engines and NSA quite so much. I’ve finally got time to recap the best things about recent appearances – namely World Horror 2016 and Spring Into Books.

World Horror was a convention rich in guests and very lean in attendance. It was a shame for the organizers but those of us who were there got unprecedented access to authors and other guests that normally would never happen. I’m not complaining that I’m now on hugging terms with greats like Kevin J Anderson after spending a convention weekend in Provo – we even talked politics and religion for an hour over drinks.

Best part of World Horror was the ballistics gel presentation by D.K. Goddard, a local author and publisher. He brought a lifelike slab of ballistics gel and let us all pretend to stab and maim it with weapons. All in the name of authenticity when we are writing action scenes. I learned that if you’re going to stab someone, it is much easier to push the knife into flesh than I anticipated and far more difficult to pull the blade out. Fully-engage-your-muscles difficult. Also, slicing someone’s throat – something that looks as easy as cutting through room temperature butter in the movies – takes great effort. It’s more like dragging the blade through six inches of crusty bread. If your weapon of choice is a hammer, you can do far more damage using the pointed side designed to extract nails than the blunt side. Here I am in the throws of intense research…

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Best take-away from this intense experience was realizing that the truth is in the details. It’s sufficient in my writing to say a character was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. But it’s much more intense to describe the sensations of what it feels like to wield the weapon. The lesson was invaluable and will be called upon in the future for certain.

A month later, at Spring Into Books, I got to meet an adorable eight year old who loves horror. (Shown here with permission from his mom.)

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I had the pleasure of teaching a presentation on writing for beginners, the last half of which we spent plotting an action scene where a mutant zombie destroyed a tank. We took that one sentence and showed how it happened rather than telling that it happened. It was both interactive and fun and I thrilled to see several attendees pause to take notes during the workshop. I love giving back and mentoring young writers. This annual event put on by the League of Utah Writers is a great place for young and old to find free workshops and meet local authors and I enjoyed being a part of it.


World Horror Con 2016 Schedule

Here’s my schedule of appearances at World Horror next weekend.

Thursday, April 28th

2:00-3:00pm – Utah Horror (Come see how the horror scene has grown in Utah and where it’s going.)

8:15-9:15pm – Steampunk and Horror: A match made in hell (What is Steampunk Horror, how do you write it and how do you twist the two effectively.)

10:00-Midnight – Utah Horror Writers Party in the Con-Suite – Welcome to Utah!

Friday, April 29th

7:15-9:45PM – Book Signing

10:00-Midnight (Co-Hosting) League of Utah Writers Party in the Con-Suite – come mix and mingle with local authors

 

When I’m not making official appearances, I’ll be around – either manning a table for registration, selling books and talking about Utah Horror Writers Association, or answering questions about The League of Utah Writers.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have an official schedule of appearances at an event of this magnitude. It’s almost unreal but then I remember that I’m living my dreams… Hope to see you there!


World Horror Con 2016 – I’m a panelist!

World Horror Con is just around the corner – two weeks away now. I’ve been excited about this Convention for a long time. Horror is really my home and this is the first World Horror in my backyard. I’ve know for six months that I would be attending both to help promote the Utah Horror Writers Association chapter and the League of Utah Writers. This week I learned that I’ll also be a panelist. Proof that the answer is always ‘no’ unless you ask. This is the year of putting myself outside my comfort zone as a professional author and it’s paying off all over the place. I don’t have the final programming line up but I’ll share it when I do.

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The convention is closely associated with the Horror Writer’s Association so, thanks to my membership, I’ve been heavily involved as a volunteer on the convention committee behind the scenes. It’s fascinating to see how something of this magnitude is planned and how many people it takes to pull it off. There are some amazing folks giving a lot of their time to make this a fabulous event.

I’m also a party organizer with The League of Utah Writers. If you’re attending, make sure you pencil in the Friday night party to mix and mingle with local authors. It’s going to be great fun.

If you’re planning on attending World Horror, make sure you say hello. I’ll be the extroverted writer talking to everyone!


2016 World Horror

You guys. It’s no secret I’m a lover of all things dark and scary. But did you know there is a convention for people like me? It is called World Horror Con. As part of my membership in the Utah Horror Writers chapter, I have the privilege of knowing some of the organizers. The more I hear about all the things they have planned, the more interesting the weekend becomes.

A discussion of all the ways you can kill people with food? Panels about police procedures? True crime discussions? Whether you’re a writer looking for inspiration and specifics or if you’re just a fan who wants a glimpse behind the scenes, this is going to be a killer convention. (No pun intended, of course!) It’s being held this year in Provo, Utah – my back yard. As a bonus, if you’re into art, the art show and vendor booths are open to the public.

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Here’s the official press release. I hope you’ll join me! This Con travels all over the country and there are no plans for returning to Utah – let’s send them on their way with all the love! (And if you’re out of town, think about a nice weekend in Utah. It’s a beautiful place and we’re having a hell of a ski season that should still be in full swing then!)

Horror Comes to Utah!
Provo, Utah.

The World Horror Convention, an international gathering of horror writers, artists, editors, filmmakers, and fans, will converge on the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Provo, Utah, April 28 to May 1, 2016.  This premiere event has been to Salt Lake City twice.  For the third, and final, appearance in Utah, it will be in Provo.

WHC, a semi-professional conference, will have panels and presentations featuring professionals in the field on subjects as diverse as current literature, true crime, horror poetry, dark fantasy, horror art, Vincent Price, the developmental stages of a serial killer, Cracking the Story Code, Police Procedurals for Writers, and the dark side of Disney.  A special “killer tea” will feature a keynote speaker who will help authors find creative ways to kill people with food.  The event includes an art show, vendors’ room, horror film festival, kaffeeklatsches, and book signing by 100 horror authors.  Workshops and pitch sessions will be available for writers and an artist alley will showcase artists at work.  Guests will also have the opportunity to go on a real ghost hunt.

The event will feature some of the top authors in horror fiction, including Darren Shan, Sarah Pinborough, Jack Ketchum, Joe McKinney, Brian Keene, Kevin J. Anderson, Michaelbrent Collings, Michael Arnzen, and Dan Wells.  It will also feature poet Linda Addison, cover and concept artist Keith Thompson, graphic novel and cover artist, Carter Reid and scholar, editor and author, Michael R. Collings.  In addition, Victoria Price, daughter of famed actor Vincent Price, will do a presentation on her father and have some of his work available for sale.  There will also be a number of academic presentations on true crime.

The World Horror Convention, established in 1991, is the premiere event for horror fans and professionals alike.  It is held in a different location every year and celebrates the horror genre.  The 2016 World Horror Convention will showcase a growing community of professional authors and artists in Utah as well as a number of guests from around the world..

Help Utah welcome the world to The ZomBee State!  Go to http://whc2016.org for more information on the convention and how to become a member.