Killer Con IV

This past weekend I once again attended the Killer Con convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is number IV. Any convention is good. KIller Con is great. It’s smaller, so it’s easier to meet people. The parties by Samhain Books, Shock Totem, Cutting Block Press/Deadite Press, and Dead Dog Publications were real winners if the size of the crowds, the noise level and the shocked and befuddled expressions the next morning were any indication. The booze and the conversation flowed freely. I sat with William F. Nolan of Logan’s Run fame at the Shock Totem party and had an opportunity to talk with him at length about life in general and swap a few stories about Harlan Ellison. Something we now have in common – he wears hearing aids and I’m getting them. (Yeah, I’m almost deaf according to my doctor and my wife)

The panel discussions are always informative. The Dystopian Future panel was lively and funny.There were panels on how writer’s are screwing up the genre, the book was so much better than the movie, sex and pain in horror, writing young adult novels, cliches to avoid, and the psychology of serial killers. I attended as many as I could and still enjoy Vegas (And the casino).

Of special interest were a zombie make-up exhibition by Mike McCarty, an alien autopsy by Pat MacEwan, and workshops on self-editing by R.J. Cavender and grammar tips by Mignon Fogherty. A mass autograph session allowed everyone to see their favorite author.

My main reason for attending were the pitch sessions. This year I pitched a middle grade horror to Angelic Knight Press. Last year I sold a yound adult science fiction novel to Montag Press. Samhain Publishing, Night Shade Books, Fungasm press, Ravenous Shadows, Bad Moon Books, Cutting Block Press, Dark Continents Publishing, Deadite Press, Nightscape Press, Blood Bound Books, Nameless Magazine, Cycatrix Press were all represented. A panel discussion before the pitch sessions allowed the publishers to explain exactly what they were looking for. This avoids pitching the wrong novel to the wrong person. These one-on-one sessions are great for intimate pitching.

The real star of Killer Con is Las Vegas. It’s a magical city unlike any other, artificial and extravagant but beautiful. The Stratosphere is at one end of the Strip, but shuttles carry guests to the heart of the Vegas Strip. The Stratosphere has casinos, restaurants, shows and, of course, the Tower. The view from the top is spectacular with a bar for wetter viewing. This trip was more sedate for me. I tire easily and have to take it easy. Still, I enjoyed myself immensely and met old friends and made new ones.

I have photos up on my Facebook page – James Gurley. Drop by and check them out.

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