From the time I learned to read until my early thirties, I read books from various genres of fiction. Mainstream best-sellers, mysteries, thrillers, adventures, a few classics here and there. Pretty much everything except romance and Sci-Fi. When it came to horror, I was a King, Saul, Koontz kind of guy. Once the 90s were over, however, and I’d blazed my way through most of their stuff, I got bored and went through a dry spell where I didn’t read much horror at all. So around 2008 or so, when the horror bug bit me again, I turned to that all too helpful tool called Amazon, searching for what everyone else was reading in the horror world. Eventually, I ended up purchasing three paperbacks to get me started: Brian Keene’s Dark Hollow, Bryan Smith’s Depraved and Wrath James White’s The Resurrectionist. And let me assure you, my life would never be the same.
I read Keene’s Dark Hollow first and thought, ‘Holy crap! Is this what I’ve been missing out on?’ It was so much different from King’s sometimes slogging prose. It was fast-paced, concise, thrilling. Then I read Smith’s Depraved and thought, ‘Holy crap! This is what I’ve been missing out on!’ More of the same. A modern take on horror. Finally, I read White’s The Resurrectionist and thought, ‘Holy shit! What was that???” (Let me just say that, while Mr. White is a very talented writer, he’s not for everyone, folks.) So for the next year or so, I went back and forth reading everything of Keene’s and Smith’s I could get my hands on. And that, my friends, is when I decided to take a break from writing heartfelt stories of everyday life and dip my pen in blood and start writing the horror. And I haven’t stopped since.
Fast forward to July of this year, where I had the surreal experience of attending a convention with these two horror masters. While I ended up in the same room with both Keene and Smith numerous times over the weekend, passed them both in the halls here and there, I never once spoke up and said hey, much less introduced myself. No fear of me embarrassing myself by being a fanboy, because, well, I’m just too shy for that nonsense. Besides, I’d convinced myself that the last thing they wanted that weekend was one more nobody kissing their ass. Especially an aspiring horror author. But, it was still cool spending a weekend in the company of these two, not to mention numerous other masters of the horrific that I have discovered and befriended over the years.
So why am I telling you all this? Jump ahead to next weekend. Imaginarium. Louisville, Kentucky. I’ve attended this con every year since its inception. And this year, I’m looking forward to it more than ever. Why, you ask? Well, because this year’s guest of honor is none other than Mr. Brian Keene. While I recently found out that we will not be sharing any panels that weekend (probably a good thing considering I’d undoubtedly get too nervous and make myself look like a wannabe amateur), I will, in fact, be doing a signing with Mr. Keene on Saturday afternoon. Though I’m sure he’s not nearly as excited about it as I am, I think I can handle it without embarrassing myself. Hell, I might even say hello to the man. But blabbering on and on about how his books not only brought me back to horror, but ultimately influenced me to start writing horror myself? Not a @#$% chance. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Until next time, my friends…