Monday, March 5, 2018

Paperbacks from Hell Wins the Stoker Award!

I am so excited to tell you that Grady Hendrix's Paperbacks from Hell (Quirk Books, Sept 2017), the book inspired by Too Much Horror Fiction and for which I did much research, organizing, identifying, brainstorming, and also wrote an Afterword, won the 2018 Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction. What an incredible thrill! After the nomination was announced, there was no way my wife and I were going to miss a first-time trip to the StokerCon at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI. It was literally a whirlwind weekend—never had time to get to HPL's grave, sadly—and Friday the whole region was beset by a ravaging Nor'easter, and practically trapped us all in the hotel, just like in a King novel! Enjoy some of the pix from that weekend.

Grady took our selfie right after we won. What an indescribable rush. "Jesus fucking Christ," I whispered aloud to myself when the book was called out as the recipient of the award. Talk about satisfaction and a weird kind of relief. All our work culminated in that moment!

At the after-party. You can see how good it feels.

Can't get enough pictures with this thing!

The list of nominees at the dinner banquet. We had some real competition and I certainly wasn't convinced we were going to win no matter what some very kind fans were telling us. However I feel no one has ever celebrated horror fiction the way that Paperbacks from Hell (and Too Much Horror Fiction) has!

Another hoped-for event actually occurred: at the awards after-party—emphasis on party, it was loud, energetic, and fun!—Grady and I got to chat with Thomas F. Monteleone and Douglas E. Winter, whose critical, editorial, and fictional contributions to the horror genre in the 1980s and '90s were vastly influential on me. We got into some fun anecdotes about people like Michael McDowell, Whitley Strieber, Dennis Etchison, and others, while I got to gush at Tom about how much his Borderlands series meant to me as a horror reader back in the day. Check out Grady's deathgrip on both the Stoker and his beer.

 (I did not take this pic)

Alas, there was only one award given, with Grady's name inscribed, so it was his to take home. I don't want to think about the night of passion that followed.

As I do in every new city I visit, I try to find the used bookstores right away. These pics are from Cellar Stories, only a block from the Biltmore. I know several attendees shopped there, so I can only imagine their paperback horror section is now a barren wasteland!

In the dealers' room we signed some copies of the book. I will never get tired of this.

Setting up Saturday afternoon for Grady's performance of Paperbacks from Hell. This was the first time I'd seen it myself, and everything I heard about the song about skeletons was true.

Saturday night, Ramsey Campbell and Caitlin Kiernan announcing the Stoker for Best Novel (which went to Christopher Golden for Ararat).

View from the stage, pic taken by Rose O'Keefe of Eraserhead Press, who won a Stoker for Specialty Press. I'm over on the left throwing the devil horns. What a happy, loud, enthusiastic crowd! Drinks were flowing freely I can tell you that.

This was one of the best nights, late Friday with booze and snacks, hanging and drinking with (L-R) author Adam Cesare, director of the StokerCon Final Frame Film Competition Jonathan Lees, and Nate Murray of IDW Publishing. There were plenty of other warm, friendly, funny, brilliant folks I met, and many who were fans of both Too Much Horror Fiction and Paperbacks from Hell. I love hearing about others' experiences with old paperbacks and their intro to various writers and books. It was all incredibly gratifying and humbling. Got to see some great panel discussions on Bram Stoker and Dracula, on Shirley Jackson, on horror film of the '70s and '80s, and on the Universal and Hammer horror classics (although no one, not even Ramsey Campbell, mentioned one of my faves, The Black Cat). So much to do and see and talk (and drink and drink) about!

Early Sunday morning I myself was on a panel of vintage paperback horror fiction moderated by Grady. It was maybe a bit subdued; a weekend of conventioning and drinking and talking late into the night and freezing weather had taken its toll! There's Jonathan Lees again, and also Elizabeth Massie, whose '80s short stories I found and still find to be disturbing, brilliant, and filled with real human emotion. I talked about my beloved Dell/Abyss series as well as Queen of Hell (not so beloved) and Book of the Dead 2: Still Dead (still beloved).

And look who attended the panel: yes, that is indeed horror legend Ramsey Campbell! What an encouraging, approachable presence he was at the convention.

The Horrors Writers' Association seems to be just filled with extremely talented people dedicated to horror (and it made me realize I need to devote some time to contemporary horror writers). To finally mix and mingle among them as an equal is something I'm proud of. Being recognized by them, me, who began as an amateur fan with a free blogspot domain, a scanner, and an obsession for cataloguing the wonderful past of the genre I love, is an immeasurable honor. It's spurred me on to continue looking for the lost and forgotten horrors of the paperback past!

A dream come true.

Thanks to the awesome Jonathan Lees for this lovely pic. 


K. White said...

Congrats on the award~!

Chris said...

Congrats! Well deserved! Love your metal shirts! \m/

wormface said...

I've been to Cellar Stories a few times but I've never seen Blood Knot by Bruce Algozin, one of Zebra's notorious "fruit stabbing" paperbacks from the early 80s. Just read the back cover synopsis online and it sounds shamefully sleazy 'n scummy. Onto the wantlist it goes!

Congratulations Will and Grady on the Stoker award!

John said...

Kongratulations, you guys! A fantastic book!

Dan Stout said...

Congratulations-- well deserved!

bookmovieguy said...

I’m just so proud of you and Grady both. You two put together one of my favorite books of last year and of all time. I mean that sincerely. I couldn’t see the award going to anyone else. Congratulations!

665+1 said...

As a long-time follower of this blog, not to mention an obsessive hoarder of horror paperbacks (something made all the more troublesome following the discovery of this blog in fact), it has been gratifying to see you receive so much recognition for your hard work over the years. There really is something to be said for those who recognize, admire and cultivate an appreciation for the kind of art that galleries or mainstream critics wouldn't deign worthy of their fireplaces. CONGRATULATIONS and keep it up!

Sam Verrall said...

Couldn't agree more. Love the blog, love the reviews. This award is well overdue. Thanks for keeping the freaky flame alive!

Mark West said...

That's excellent, many congrats to you! And you picked up a good copy of "Bloodletter"! :)

EegahInc said...

A well earned congratulations! One of my favorite reads from last year.

AndyDecker said...

Congratulations! This is well deserved. This must have been a great experience, meeting all these writers.

Zwolf said...

Congratulations, and the award is very well-deserved. Ya'll put out one of the best books I've seen in years... almost like a Psychotronic for paperbacks. :)

Kurt Reichenbaugh said...

Very cool to hear! Congratulations and well deserved!

Jesse B. said...

Congratulations, Will! Although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't massively jealous... looks like the Con was a great time. :)

Colum McKnight said...

Man, I’m so proud of you. I’ve been following you for years (as you probably know), and I don’t think there’s a better guy to get this award. You’re amazing. Congratulations!

Lisa Morton said...

So glad I got to meet you, Will! And if you're ever in SoCal, you need to hit the Iliad Bookshop...although the paperback horror section got seriously denuded by Josh Malerman's recent visit!

highwayknees said...

Of course it was inevitable that you guys should win that Stoker!Well deserved. One of my favorite reads of last year and one that helped me to find new/old undiscovered gems! Congrats from a longtime fan of TMHF!!!

Ray Hewitt

Larry Holloman said...

Holy Cow! That's awesome! Congrats! I read Paperbacks from Hell THE DAY that it was released.