|Do writers socialize? Hell yeah we do!|
Writing seems like such as solitary thing. There’s the image of the novelist walking in the snowy woods to the single-room cabin, outfitted with only an ancient typewriter, a fireplace, an endless supply of coffee, and, of course, a cat who requires chin scritches every fifteen minutes. The writer spends their day there, eight hours or more, writing five thousand words and cutting half of them. The writer emerges only upon exhaustion, armed with the knowledge they will do the same thing tomorrow, and the day after, all alone, always alone, until the work is done, which, of course, it never is, and such is the burden and the beauty of the literary journey.
The truth is writing is much more of a team effort than most people realize. Sure, the act of writing is a solo one, but I rely on feedback and interaction about my work from my agent, editor, marketing team, PR team, critique group, film/TV agents, Jessica, my family, and more (all the while still giving my cat chin scritches every fifteen minutes). Beyond that, most writers want to socialize, get to know one another, and support each other.
Networking is as important to writers as it is any other industry. Did you know there are entire conferences just for writers? There are, and they’re RAD. I try to go to a couple each year, and now that conferences are slowly becoming a thing again, I’ve been hitting the road once more. My first stop was in Denver (near my home) for StokerCon, which is the annual conference presented by the Horror Writers Association (HWA). I’m not a member of HWA but was excited to attend. I sat on a panel (“Writing the First Line”), did a signing, and went to a friend’s house for a gathering of authors and alcohol. Aside from some COVID scares, I had a good time!
Then it was off to NYC for Thrillerfest, the annual conference for the International Thriller Writers (ITW). I’ve been a member of ITW for more than a decade, and the conference is always a blast. This year I taught a class at CraftFest (“Marketing the Thriller Writer”) and then sat on a panel (“The Writer Who Influenced You the Most”). And when I’m not speaking, you can bet I’ll be attending some of the other panels, which have titles like:Inventive Ways to Kill Off CharactersVarying Your PacingMemorable VillainsSurprising Your ReaderCreating SuspenseAnd so on. Then, of course, are the cocktail parties and the swanky awards-banquet. I had the honor of being an ITW Thriller Award finalist a few years ago, but lost to Jane Harper (damnit). And over the past decade, I’ve developed friendships with many other novelists, all of whom I can comfortably hang out and bitch about the publishing industry with.
So, yes, writers do congregate and socialize at conferences, just like accountants, software engineers, and Amway sales reps. But I would venture none of those other folks are learning how to poison someone without leaving a trace of evidence.
|Top: Thrillerfest Banquest (credit: Alan Jacobson)|
Middle left: With S.A. Cosby
Middle right: With Megan Miranda
Bottom left: With Clare Mackintosh and Lynne Constantine (credit: Clare Macintosh)
Bottom right: With Stephen Graham Jones (credit: Josh Viola)
|“Eerie, disturbing, and violent, Wilson’s psychological thriller packs a real punch, with a shocker of an ending.” — Booklist on The New Neighbor|
|Making It Up|
Newly added episodes of my conversation series Making It Up are out!
This month I chatted with debut thriller writer Katie Lattari (Dark Things I Adore), brilliant horror/thriller author Katrina Monroe (They Drown Our Daughters), poet Ananda Lima (Mother/land), and D.P. Lyle, the award-winning author of 22 books.
All episodes are available on my YouTube channel and wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Check them out now here!
|Making It Up clip of the week!|
Katrina Monroe and I discuss the label “horror.”
|September 8-11, 2022|
Make sure to check my calendar for the more up-to-date information. Also, if you’re interested in having me speak at your event or book club, please reach out to my PR team.
|What I’m Reading|
The Ghosts of Eden Park, Karen Abbot (Crown, August 2019)
So I met Karen Abbott (Abbott Kahler) at a book festival, at which we were both speaking. She stood and gave a riveting talk about her book The Ghosts of Eden Park, a non-fiction account of infamous 1920’s bootlegger George Remus and Mabel Walker Willebrandt, the U.S. Attorney General who doggedly pursued him. After Abbott was done with her presentation I knew I’d be reading that book. Hell, I’d remembered Remus from the portrayal of him in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.
Simply put, The Ghosts of Eden Park is fascinating, as is most masterfully told non-fiction. The characters seem unbelievable in their idiosyncrasies, the display of wealth delightfully gaudy and obscene, and thirst of the press covering every facet of the Prohibition players unquenchable. Most impressive of all is the fastidious research Abbott employed in writing book. From the opening pages: “Everything that appears between quotation marks comes from a government file, archive, diary, letter, newspaper, book, or, most often, a hearing or trial transcript.” Pick this riveting book up now–you won’t be disappointed.
|What I’m (no longer) Watching|
Severance (Apple TV+, 2022). From direction Ben Stiller comes this alternatingly chilling and humorous story of office workers who’ve had their minds surgically altered to separate their work lives from their personal lives. Now, going into this nine-part series, I knew it had already checked a lot of my boxes. It’s wonderfully shot and acted, has a serious echoing of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (one of my favorite movies), is strange and quirky, and, as a major bonus, features Christopher Walken!
Yet there’s something about this show that burrows under the skin and festers. Maybe it’s the completely windowless office setting, or the constant yearning for freedom, or just the subtle, simmering despair. Whatever it is, it’s hard to take. Jessica stopped watching after the second episode, and I made it two additional episodes before calling it quits. This is a rare example of a show that’s excellent on all counts and yet one I can’t watch. Do with that what you will.
|Photo of the Month|
Say hello to Penny, my sister’s Corgi. She is more otter than dog in terms of the time she spends on her back commanding belly rubs. WHO’S A GOOD GIRL??
|Update from My Kids|
When I was on a 9-day trip to NY, my kiddos were spending the same dates in Hawaii. In addition to cliff jumping, volcano climbing, and beach dwelling, they also went to the wedding of their cousin, who married her longtime boyfriend. Here’s a shot of my little ankle-biters from the wedding.
|Update from My Cat|
When a well-positioned sunbeam makes you look like Emperor Palpatine.
|Humor of the Month, sent to me by a friend|
|Book-Love Instagram Post of the Month|
|Thank you @nurse_bookie!|
|That’s it for now – until next month!|