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
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
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
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.