Monday, October 24, 2016

A Haunting Time at HallowRead!

Reading poetry at the vineyard
on a windy autumn day.
I spent my weekend at the writerly and readerly genre book convention "HallowRead" - it was simply a great time, and I thought I'd share some of the highlights.

I wanted to attend the con first and foremost because I wanted to meet other genre writers in the local area.  Even though I've been in Maryland for more than ten years, I still haven't met many other writers.  I was hoping I'd come away with a few new contacts for writerly advice and friendship.  I also was hoping to learn and have fun!

My tarot spread - apparently I'm gathering
my resources for a change my friends already
know is coming.  Hmm.
I flew back into the area after attending a conference for work on the west coast - my red eye flight didn't let me attend the first two workshops on Friday, but I did make it to the next three, held at the Decoy Museum in Havre de Grace - a lovely location right on the water.  The first workshop I attended was Vonnie Winslow Crist talking about writing short fiction - pitfalls to avoid and guidelines to follow.  Then C.J. Ellisson shared her organizational techniques for working on multiple writing projects at the same time.  This included scheduling not just the writing itself, but things like research time, promotion milestones, and release dates.  We ended the workshops with Chris Stewart talking to us about grants and marketplaces.  This was particularly useful to me, as I was not really aware of all the opportunities for art and writing grants in the general Maryland area.

We got to wrap up Friday with a ghost tour.  I'd never been on one before, and I enjoyed crunching through the leaves on dark streets, hearing about hauntings.  But the best was the final stop.  We spent an hour in an antique shop having our tarot read, and listening for ghosts on the upper floor.  Very atmospheric and not just a little bit creepy!

The Fanged, Furry, and Fabulous Panel!
Glad to be a part.
Saturday was filled with panels and book signings.  From 9am to almost 3pm we had panels on a plethora of subjects from how to write ghost stories, to the nature of magic in fiction, to creatures and monsters.  If you are a fan of paranormal romance you would have loved it - many of the writers on hand were active in that genre and were giving away teasers and even whole books!  I was very happy to be on the Fanged, Furry, and Fabulous panel representing horror poetry.  I was one of the few poets present, and was really pleased to have the chance to provide that perspective.  In the afternoon, the authors with books headed to the new Havre de Grace library to sign and sell.  I stopped by and spent my book budget, coming away with some new reads.

The last of the group hanging out at
the vineyard on Sunday.
Sunday was such a pleasure, as we wrapped up the event at the Mont Felix Winery for "Read Between the Vines."  Those writers in attendance, including myself, all had the chance to read a bit of their work while tasting wines from the winery.  It was fun and relaxing, and I particularly enjoyed the warm mulled pumpkin wine they were bringing around!  I was so surprised and pleased at the reception my poetry received!  People really seemed to enjoy it, and it has solidified my resolve to get a chapbook out as soon as I can.

It was a fine weekend, and I encourage any lovers of fantasy, horror, or sci-fi to come out next year and join in the fun!  Many thanks to Rachel Rawlings, who organized the event!

Image Credits:  My pix of the panel, and the tarot, Rachel's pix of me reading and the group.

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