Necon 37: The anthology and the roast

Last weekend was my annual camping vacation, also known as Necon. Probably my twelfth time attending that writing conference, plus or minus. It’s always a great time. There’s a core group of people who almost always attend, together with a healthy injection of newbies to keep things fresh and interesting.

Compared to others, I had a trouble-free journey there and back again. Flew into PVD via Philadelphia and picked up one of the newbies at the airport. Went out to dinner at Jacky’s Galaxie, an annual tradition, with a bunch of friends and another newbie.

On Friday, when many others were out playing Miniature Golf (a Necon Olympics event), I was on a Kaffeeklatsch where five us discussed our recommended books from the past year. That afternoon, I was interviewed by Tony Tremblay and Matt Bechtel for the Taco Society Presents. All of the attending authors who were part of the Necon charity anthology Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep were interviewed briefly about our work and read a short excerpt from our stories. That was fun.

In the evenings, after the organized events, people normally congregate in the quad (on some nights there’s a saugie roast—i.e. hot dogs), chit-chat and drink, staying up to the wee small hours. Lack of sleep is a Necon thing, so much so that I often found myself in need of an afternoon nap.

On Friday night, we had the mass signing event. The Necon anthology was a hot property (all proceeds go to the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) and I signed my story many, many times during the evening. Another annual Necon tradition is the “roast,” where an unsuspecting victim is lampooned, teased and tormented. Last year was the first time I participated in a roast, part of the lightning round. This year, I got bumped up to a full player, and I think my bit went over pretty well. I don’t get many chances to be funny in public, so it was a neat experience.

Before the roast, a bunch of us went to Thames (not pronounced like the river!) on the waterfront for dinner, another semi-regular tradition. We had been evacuated from the hotel in the midst of the last panel session of the day when the kitchen set off the fire alarm. Something to do with roast garlic, I hear. One unexpected benefit of the fire drill is that we took our first group picture. I’m somewhere in the back of this motley crew (photo credit: Tony Tremblay):

For the first time in years, I was able to get a morning flight back to Texas that didn’t require me to leave the venue at 5 am. I actually got to have breakfast! My return journey, via Charlotte, was uneventful and more or less on time, although we did have to divert around a storm as we approached Houston, which got the flight in a few minutes late. Not bad compared to many of my friends, who spent extra hours, even into the following days, trying to get home.

Necon is a wonderful time, always. Great to see people who I interact with throughout the year online, and to make new friends and acquaintances. Even do a little business, although no writing whatsoever. Takes me a couple of days to recover from the excesses in consumption and the shortfall on sleep, but I enjoy every minute of it.

Here is the lineup for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: a fine anthology, edited by PD Cacek (this year’s roast victim) and Laura J. Hickman, with cover art by Cortney Skinner:

  • Foreword by Christopher Golden
  • Mother and Daughter by Jack Ketchum
  • Messages by Errick Nunnally
  • Sleepless by Mark Steensland
  • The Vacant Lot by Thomas Tessier
  • blood, cold like ice by Doungjai Gam (Doungjai Gam Bepko)
  • A Life Unremembered by G. Daniel Gunn (Dan Keohane)
  • Wired by Elizabeth Massie
  • Blue Stars by Tony Tremblay
  • Happy Now Mother? by John Buja
  • Nina by John M. McIlveen
  • Housing the Hollygobs by Marianne Halbert
  • Inertia Creeps by Charles Colyott
  • Leave Here Alive by Bracken MacLeod
  • Sleep Well by Angi Shearstone
  • The Fine Art of Madness by Gary Frank
  • The Beach by Cara M. Colyott (Cara Marie)
  • Angel Tears by Jill Bauman
  • Darkness on the Edge of Town by James A. Moore
  • Would You, Could You, In the Dark? by Craig Wolf
  • Wishing Won’t by Richard Dansky
  • The Phobia Where You’re Afraid of Words by Paul McMahon
  • Nightly Rituals by William Carl
  • White Wings by Mark Morris
  • The Other Side by Paul McNally
  • Truth or Dare? by Bev Vincent
  • Unexpected Attraction by Matthew Costello
  • The Ritual Remains by Jonathan Lees
  • The End of All Stories by Trevor Firetog
  • Duality by Brian Keene
  • The Lake Children by Izzy Lee
  • The Circus Under the Bed by T.J. Wooldridge (Trisha Wooldridge)
  • 1-2-3 Red Light by Gregory Norris
  • The Old Men Know by Charles L. Grant
  • The Oldest Fear (internal art) by Shikar Dixitby

Available as a trade paperback exclusively from Amazon, and soon to be available in eBook format as well. Great stories for a very good cause.


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