Glad to pass along the news — the Horror Writers Association confirmed they’ll be at this summer’s Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s conference in Seattle. Great to have the HWA in house (btw, the 2013 Bram Stoker Award recommendations are currently open). In case you hadn’t heard, the Stokers and the World Horror Convention are in New Orleans this year, June 13-16th.
This July the PNWA’s keynote speaker will be Greg Bear, author of many novels including the recent Hull Zero Three (Orbit), Halo: Cryptum and Halo: Primordium (Tor) and co-founder of San Diego’s Comic Con. You can find out more about Greg here. Be sure to check out his bio.
This past year the HWA gave lifetime achievement awards to Clive Barker and Robert McCammon. You can find out more about the HWA here and the PNWA here. Early registration for the PNWA conference runs until April 1st.
Sad news yesterday to hear about the passing of author Ray Bradbury at 91. Few authors understand theme and prose as well as Bradbury did, and to have him write Science Fiction was even greater treat, as such talented writers cross genre with such ease.
Author SL Stebel — my mentor in graduate school at USC — had been very close friends with Bradbury over the last 70 years. When I learned of Bradbury’s passing, I e-mailed Sid (SL) to offer my condolences. Oddly enough, when I was in LA a few months back visiting Sid, Ray had phoned, asking Sid for advice on an eulogy for a close friend of theirs. In reply to my e-mail yesterday, Sid shared a poem written by Ray, which was being e-mailed between members of their writing group. The poem touched me so much, I thought I’d share it with you.
Somewhere a band is playing
Oh listen, oh listen, that tune!
If you learn it you’ll dance on forever
And yet June…
And death will be dumb and not clever
And death will be silent forever
In June and June and more June.
—“Somewhere A Band Is Playing”, Ray Bradbury
I remember when I moved back to Seattle from LA years ago, and a member of Cornish School for the Arts contacted me because they were performing a play based on one of Bradbury’s stories. They wanted permission from Ray to perform the play, so I got them in touch with Ray via Sid. And, of course, the play went on. We get to read the words from writers like Bradbury far too seldom. To me, only the poet Robert Frost had such similarly sweet control of prose. Over the last few months, I’ve often picked Ray’s novel Halloween Tree from the shelf as reference for my current manuscript. The next time I pick it up, it just won’t be the same.
The Horror Writers Association has announced the winners of 2011 Stoker Awards. Congrats to the winners, and a big congrats to Richard Matheson for winning the Vampire Novel of the Century Award for I Am Legend. Well deserved. Man is a master writer. Truly inspiring. If you haven’t read I Am Legend, do. Then go read Hell House. Just can’t say enough about Matheson’s writing.
More of the awards are listed on the HWA website, here. Straub, King, Oates make the winners. As does Alan Moore for this graphic novel Neonomicon. And a big congrats to Jonathan Maberry, winning a Stoker for his YA novel, Dust and Decay.
If you’ve never had a chance to take a look at the actual Stoker award, here’s a photo of the haunted house.
Yeah, I know. But we only get three of these this year. Another in April and July and who cares about Friday the 13th in July unless you’re camping.
Random thoughts/notes: You’d be one of the few, but if you’re not watching Masterpiece Theatre’s Downton Abbey, do. Julian Fellowes is crafting some truly special dialogue (and when did Thomas become such a likeable character? I’m going to miss booing him from the sidelines).
On fiction and why it’s good for you: Friend and bestselling thriller writer Boyd Morrison tweeted some interesting stuff on the benefits of reading fiction yesterday, from the Harvard Business Review: The Business Case for Reading Novels by Anne Kreamer.
And a plug: For my mentor from my USC days, SL Stebel (Rad Bradbury calls him “the best writing teacher that ever was“). His thriller The Collaborator is available on Amazon’s new audiobook website audible.com, narrated by Michael Bell. Get a copy here.
And lastly, some true Friday the 13th material: A new poster for the 20th Century Fox/Tim Burton produced film, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. How long before someone spins off Downton Abbey full of zombies instead of wounded soldiers?
Been too long, true believers. Been a writing fool. I also recently had a great time at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference. If you’re looking for an agent or an editor, it’s worth attending. Usually crops up somewhere near Seattle in late summer.
Anyway, I wanted to post a quick blurb about the novel The Passage. From Iowa Writers’ Workshop, author Justin Cronin has crafted a vampiric masterpiece worth reading. A truly wonderful narrative thread. Superb characterization. Unique, while staying true to vampire lore. From Ron Charles at the Washington Post:
In the same way that “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” gave us a mature alternative to “Harry Potter,” “The Passage” is for adults who’ve been bitten but can’t swallow the teenybopper misogyny of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series.
And Mike Peed at the NY Times:
“The Passage,” is a 766-page doorstop, a dystopian epic that’s the first installment in a projected vampire trilogy. Ballantine Books bought the lot for over $3 million, and the film rights to the novel sold before the book was completed.
More interesting notes: the vampire epic sold before the manuscript was completed. Ridley Scott gobbled those up in 2007.