Monday, July 30, 2012

Camp NECon 2012 Report: Part Two

(with the Sisters Dent, Karen and Roxanne)
I woke rested on Friday, July 20, the first full day of NECon 2012.  Down to the lounge area, where the mythical sofa from 2008 was sadly missing from the landscape (the matching ottomans remain, set before other less-comfortable sofas).  At just after six in the morning, I uncapped my pen, withdrew a fresh pad of lined paper, and began writing "The Eclipse," one of the short stories for my new collection forthcoming from editor Rob Reaser, 13 Creature Features (deets to follow).  The cafeteria's manager-ess graciously brewed a pot of iced coffee.  Based upon my request (read: groveling), she took pity and the iced coffee flowed 24/7 throughout the rest of the weekend.

It poured for most of our gray Friday in Rhode Island. Karen and Roxanne, Scott Goudsward, and I pulled off our Lovecraft panel at 3 that afternoon.  Though the panel was not what I originally conceived and presented to the NECon committee -- one specifically devoted to The Call of Lovecraft -- the hour went well and my wonderful authors in the anthology were still able to discuss their stories to a decent-sized audience.  The heat in the conference room was borderline volcanic; following the panel's conclusion, I returned to my igloo under the a-c upstairs and wrote for an hour before moseying back downstairs for dinner.  After the meal, sisters Dent, the talented Morven Westfield, and I headed to the farthest corner of the lounge to write.  Rain flowed down the greenhouse-style windows.  It was like writing beneath a waterfall, an experience similar to one I enjoyed at a writer's retreat in North Conway, New Hampshire.

Friday night saw a multitude of events -- movies, social mixers, music.  I retired early, passed out quickly, and woke to a gorgeous and sunny Saturday.  The rain blew the humidity out and after a decent breakfast buffet, I returned to my room and slid open the big window facing down on the central courtyard.  Fresh, sweet air swept through the room.  I wrote "The Eclipse" to conclusion just in time to welcome Evil Jester Press publisher and good pal Charles Day, who drove up from Long Island for his first-ever NECon.

(with Scott T. Goudsward on the Lovecraft Panel)
At dinner, which boasted delicious roasted pork and a variety of cakes, I, Charlie, Sisters Dent, Scott, David Bernstein, Sandy Shelonchik, Morven, and others flocked to the longest table at the back of the cafeteria, jokingly referred to as 'the naughty table.' Conversations about writing flowed until well after dinner service concluded and most of the conference's 140-plus attendees disbanded for the next leg of the Saturday schedule.  This, like writing at the desk in my hotel room beside the open window, became one of those wonderful recollections that will stay with me forever.  I returned upstairs and wrote for an hour or so, promising the others that I would join the gang downstairs for the traditional NECon roast.  The victim/guest was Darrell Schweitzer, the Lovecraft authority who moderated our panel a day before.  In the hellish heat of the main conference room, we were entertained by numerous musical numbers from which the official anthem of NECon was chosen.  At 11:30, I excused myself from the roast and headed back upstairs, barely conscious of my own name when my head hit the pillow.

Up early on Sunday, the conference's final day, I wandered downstairs, guzzled iced coffee, and completed the longhand draft of "Sticks and Stones," my second full story penned while at NECon 2012. Before breakfast service, I also got down another 1,000 words on a new novella aimed as my follow up to "Mason's Murder," available on August 3, my first release from the fine folks at MLR Press.  Another decent lunch and then NECon officially concluded.

(Dinner with the cool kids -- Charlie Day, Karen, Roxanne,
and David Bernstein's elbow)
When all was said and done, I had been invited to submit a short story to an anthology, another to a new graphic novel line, and was given four solid professional market leads.  Agent Lori Perkins asked if I would be interested in penning a pop culture book on the TV series Glee -- having never watched it, I declined; instead, I pitched a similar book on a show that I'm more than conversant with, Project Runway. There was also discussion about other novels, my back list, and new projects at the front.  The level of excitement I returned home with was supernatural in its intensity.  That wonderful energy, I am sure, will sustain me until next year's conference.  NECon 2013, I'm so there!


  1. What a wonderful writer-retreat! Lovely post, meester Norris! Iced kawfee, copious amounts of word-sauce, lovely company, what's not to like?

    1. It really was a great conference, Dale -- highly recommended!

  2. I had so much fun. And this article just brought all those wonderful memories back again. Can't wait to room with you and enjoy all the fun times again, Gregory, at ANTHOCON in NOV!!

  3. I'll be there next year for sure :D Can't wait!!! For now, I'll see you at Anthocon 2012 Gregory. :) MUAH!