Wednesday, September 28, 2011

KillerCon 3: The New Convention on the Block

Now it’s time for my much belated recap of KillerCon 3, an exciting new convention catering to horror and dark fiction held right here in Las Vegas, NV.
As to being belated, my poor computer was raped by a computer virus the day after the convention.

Those pictures of your mom were so not worth it.

Luckily I backup regularly (if you don’t, start NOW) but it still meant a few days downtime while I wiped the hard drive and reinstalled the OS. Fun!

But what was fun was KillerCon.

KillerCon exists because a small group of hyper dedicated people like Wrath James White, R.J. Cavender, Boyd Harris, Bailey Hunter and crew at Cutting Block Press decided that Las Vegas needs a convention, dangit! (ok, so maybe that wasn’t the reason they began KillerCon, but I’m sticking to it). These dudes and dudettes know how to make things happen.

Mercedes and I furiously trying to outwrite each other in the Creative Writing Contest
(She won... "I'll get you next time Gadget!")
Only in its third year, KillerCon in some ways shows its age—or youth—by being somewhat small and loosely organized. But far from being a distraction or detraction, those very qualities lent itself a real sense of bonhomie among the crowd of writers.

In between panels and readings and mass book signings, these veteran writers were casually rubbing elbows with us n00bs, offering us good advice and just being plain ole wonderful people.

I don’t know what the attendance numbers were for the entire weekend, but I can say that I generally saw a good 25-40 people mixing freely in the hospitality room where well-established writers—such as Jack Ketchum, Mort Castle, John Skipp, Ray Garton, Weston Ochse, Jonathan Maberry, Robert Devereaux, Jeff Mariotte and Edward Lee—connected and invested in writers just starting their careers.

In fact, it was Señor Mort Castle who really made an impact on me with his bottomless passion for writers. I mean, this guy loves writers—they energize him! After Mort did an intimate and intense two-day writers’ workshop I cornered him and pestered him with all sorts of questions about the craft—and he never flagged.

Mort Castle, Honorary Member of The Illiterati
 For that, Mort Castle has earned my respect, and the respect of the other Illiterati members who were in attendance, granting him the envious title of: “Honorary Member of the Illiterati.”

Speaking of the Illiterati, our very own Mercedes M. Yardley won 1st place in the absolutely crazy Creative Writing contest. We had 15 minutes to write a short story which had to include a list of inane words chosen by the cruel-hearted judges (OK, so it wasn’t as bad as last year where one of the words was calzone, but “chartreuse?” come on…)

KillerCon is a young convention, and suffers from the usual growing pains such as occasional chaos and “Where’d all those name badges go?” syndrome. But let me tell you, I’d take a little disarray if the pay-off is solid connections with quality writers and editors/publishers.

So, overall, KillerCon might not be the largest or most well-known horror/dark fiction writers’ convention, but you just watch next year, and the year to come. Good things are in store.

A special (alphabetical) thanks to my new friends:
Leah Anderson and Vincent Daemon of “Grave Demand”
Steven Booth
Christopher Boyle
Mort Castle
R.J. Cavender
Eddie Coulter (look, dolphins!)
Misty Dahl
Robert Devereaux
Brad C. Hodson
Bailey Hunter
Laura J. Hickman
Chris Marrs
Jason S. Reinhardt
Wrath James White
Rhonda Wilson of Monster Librarian
(Forgive me if I missed someone, I’m still recovering!)

(Also, if I missed your link, let me know in the comments!)


  1. Go-Go Gadget WINNING!

    Great recap, Mason. I walked out of that conference feeling absolutely energized. I think it'll take me weeks to come down from the writer's high. :)


    PS. The captcha word is "brumpoof". I'm sure that'll be a creative writing contest word for next year.

  2. Mason! Wonderful post! So happy you enjoyed the convention and so happy your computer is healed. Like I said before, you and the literary illuminati rocked my soul! Thank you! See you in San Diego next month my comrade.

    PS are the captcha words real words? Exteria?