House of Skin Named Runner-Up at Darrell Awards/HorrorHound Cincinnati: Updates Galore!

I don’t have any much time for a blog post. I’ve been pretty much off the grid since my last blog and will disappear again until the end of March. I’m doing the very last edits on the upcoming serial novel Savage Species and preparing Dust Devils, my vampire western, to send to Don D’Auria for publication in February 2014.

Okay, let’s all be honest here. I know you weren’t aware that I disappeared, so you don’t have to pretend. Still…here are some updates:

House of Skin took first runner-up at the Darrell Awards last night. To have my work recognized for the second-best novel of the year by the committee is an incredible honor. Thank you so much to the jury, to the Mid-South Writers Group, and to Mr. Tim Gatewood, who did such a fabulous job communicating with me during the process.

#2 Ain't Bad!
#2 Ain’t Bad!

I attended HorrorHound Cincinnati on Friday night and Saturday morning, and to say it was a smashing success would be an understatement. The convention was insane—the line just to get in sometimes exceeded three hours—and the people there were incredibly kind. My books sold out faster than I would have believed possible. I met scores of great people, signed enough autographs to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, and had my picture taken more often than on my wedding day.

HorrorHound Banner

Ladies and Gentlemen, I know I’m biased, but I just have to say…Samhain Horror is an incredible thing, and just as you would suspect, the darkest imprint of Samhain Publishing had a huge weekend at the con (not to mention that Samhain, along with FEARnet, sponsored the whole darned shebang, which allowed innumerable folks to meet the likes of Norman Reedus, Michael Madsen, and John Carpenter). Three key people in Samhain’s success were Amanda Hicks, Mackenzie Walton, and Jacob Hammer. Each of these three individuals played a pivotal role in setting things up, marketing, keeping everything running smoothly, and generally making sure the four Samhain authors (Damien couldn’t make it, but I hope to meet her soon) were supported and placed in a position to succeed. A huge thank-you to Amanda, Mackenzie, Jacob, and the rest of the Samhain crew for kicking bootie in every conceivable way. You all are the best!

High on My TBR Pile...
High on My TBR Pile…

Another trio I’d like to recognize are Erin Al-Mehairi, Meli Hooker, and Tim Busby. Tim is a fantastic and supportive guy. Erin and Meli have been instrumental in giving Samhain Horror and its writers an opportunity to reach an even wider audience than it already has. Erin runs the excellent Oh, for the Hook of a Book! blog, which should be added immediately to your list of bookmarked sites. Meli is one of the brilliant and twisted minds behind Dreadful Tales and The Mortuary. And though the two women have different tastes in literature and different personalities, they do have some key traits in common—they’re smart, they’re incredibly generous with their time, and they’re passionate about books. Hanging out with Meli, Erin, and Tim on Friday night was definitely one of the best parts of the convention for me.

Another Upcoming Read
Another Upcoming Read

The last things I’ll say are these: I had to leave before Mr. David Searls arrived to sign books, but every seasoned horror reader I know that has read the upcoming release Yellow Moon claims that it’s one of the best vampire books he or she has ever read. Personally, I can’t wait to check it out. I hope to catch up with David soon, preferably after I’ve read Yellow Moon.

The two writers with whom I did sign books and hang out were Brian Moreland and Kristopher Rufty (who also brought his lovely and very cool wife). Brian wrote the haunting and deeply frightening Dead of Winter; Kristopher penned Angel Board, which is wild, violent, and entertaining. But aside from being outstanding authors, Krist and Brian are also marvelous human beings. Sometimes in our cyber-driven society a relationship is forged online only to sputter when people actually meet face-to-face. What a gratifying thing it is to learn that someone you’ve only corresponded with on the Net is even kinder and funnier in person. Brian and Krist, I’m honored to be published alongside you, and I truly hope we’ll get to do many more conventions in the future.

Did I Mention My TBR Pile Is Ridiculously High These Days?
Did I Mention My TBR Pile Is Ridiculously High These Days?

Oh yeah…one final last thing…

My own wife stayed home to look after our energetic seven-year-old, our also energetic five-year-old, and our Tasmanian devil of a extremely energetic two-year-old. Not only did my wife do her usual fabulous job of keeping the kids safe, fed, and entertained, she also managed to teach voice and piano lessons, coordinate the workers who arrived at our house on Saturday morning, and somehow keep her sanity.

So most of all, I’m thankful for such an incredible wife. You’re the best, Honey!

Okay. Back to editing…

18 thoughts on “House of Skin Named Runner-Up at Darrell Awards/HorrorHound Cincinnati: Updates Galore!

  1. First, super congrats! Awards and recognition couldn’t go to a better guy. And I’m psyched to hear that the con was a huge succcess. Those things are always hit and miss when it comes to people coming to get books. That’s a damn good reason for getting carpal tunnel. And Erin and Tim are the real deal. Jealous you got to meet them.


    1. Thank you, brother! My only lament is that you weren’t there. Hopefully, Samhain will do another con soon so you and I can reunite and sell a boatload of books. I know you do the Chiller thing. Should that one or a different one be our next odyssey?


      1. I’ll definitely be at Horrorfind in Gettysburg on Labor Day Weekend. Maybe I just need to come to your neck of the woods one day and we can do a joint signing somewhere. That would be fun.


      2. I hope this is incorrect, but someone said the other day that there won’t be a Horrorfind this year. I’d planned on going too, so if you hear differently, let me know.


      3. Oh no! That would suck royally. Even my kids love going to that one. I know that Samantha at Samhain had put that on the list of places to go. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll find another one somewhere.


      4. And that’s the one I absolutely can’t go to because I’ll be at huge conference for my company. I’m still praying for Horrorfind to pull through.


      5. I know, Meli! WHC would be amazing. I doubt that this is the year I’ll make it there, but I’m planning on slowly growing my convention-going. Two last year. Two or three this year. Three or four next year…


      6. OK, so what is Chiller? Should I do research? lol There are so many comments I can’t seem to find where to comment to the ones i want so I’m just putting it here. I’m glad that we were one of your highlights because I am still so happy from being with you in person. You’re smile is so warm and sincere. You’re the very very best, JJ!! I am so glad we all connected so well and look forward to seeing you soon.


    2. What?? Oh, Hunter. All those fabulous authors and people and you’re jealous he met me? *Blushing* I can’t wait to meet such a good friend in person. Tim and I are talking about Gettysburg. Jonathan can ride with us. 🙂 So I won’t even comment that you heard there isn’t one…*sad face* But there is HorrorHound Indy….then Hunter can ride with us…haha!

      And JJ, so proud of your recognition. Being first runner-up is amazing!! 🙂 You work so hard and so deserve it. And thank you for mentioning Tim and I, it meant alot. It was sooo fun talking and laughing with you.


      1. Hunter has great taste, so I’m not surprised he said such kind things about you and Tim!

        Thank you so much for coming, Erin. You two were definitely a couple of the most glowing highlights of the whole convention for me, which is saying a great deal since I had an AMAZING time. I can’t wait to come back to Cincinnati next year for HorrorHound 2014. You and Tim better start making plans! 🙂


  2. Congrats on being runner up. I have to agree, #2 ain’t bad!

    It was such a pleasure meeting you, Krist, Brian, Erin, and Tim. I had a great time, picked up some excellent books, and made new friends.

    I’m pleased to hear the rest of the weekend was a success. It sounds like you all sold a ton of books which as Hunter mentioned can be hit or miss at a convention that is mostly geared toward TV and movie.

    To your wife: as the Japanese would say otsu-kare-sama-desu. Which literally means “to you honorable tired one.”


    1. Thank you SO MUCH, Meli! I have to say…I had high expectations about meeting you. We’ve been online friends for a while now, and I’ve absolutely enjoyed our cyber-friendship. But despite the fact that you think you’re nicer online than you are in person (hah!), I found you to be even cooler in real life. I will pass on the Japanese message to my wife. That is, if you gave me the correct translation. For all I know, you might’ve had me say something really inappropriate to her as a joke. I wouldn’t put it past you! 🙂


      1. Glad I lived up to your expectations! That can be nerve-wracking. What if they think I am boring? Are these red pants making TOO much of a statement? Do I look TOO metal in this Zombie Liquorice shirt? Does he think I’m stupid because Ramsey Campbell’s SEVEN DAYS OF CAIN confused me? Tee hee hee…

        I promise you that is the correct translation. I don’t use my only power for evil, promise 🙂

        I also won’t be likely to make the WHC New Orleans trek, but if y’all were going I would DEFINITELY be there!

        We’ll all find eachother there someday, I just know it. I’ll be so happy I might cry.


      2. Okay, I’ll trust you. If indeed they do the HorrorHound Indy, that would be one potential reunion spot. If not, we’ll all just have to find somewhere else. But we all DEFINITELY need to mark next year’s HorrorHound Cincinnati as a must-attend! This year’s was amazing! 🙂


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