One thing you learn in the arts is that things rarely shape up the way you anticipate. While it is imperative to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can, many of the opportunities fall apart at the last moment or take a sour turn as they unfold and achieve completion. It is rare for things to exceed your expectations.
Over the last 14 years since adding editorial responsibilities to my work as an author I have not had time to do the things that people are supposed to do. I don’t have birthday parties, I don’t hang out with friends, I don’t watch TV, or go to the latest movies, or play lots of video games, or do much of anything that does not feed into writing and editing or raising my son. My attitude is if people remember my birthday it’s great, and if they don’t that’s okay, I’m just doing my thing.
However, my wife and I have been trying to do actual people stuff in 2015, by making time for getting together with friends and family, going to everyone’s birthday celebrations, or when traveling somewhere we’ve been trying to visit with people instead of making it just business.
So…we were hosting one of our authors, Stephanie M. Wytovich, over last weekend to participate in the women in horror panel at Ukazoo Books in Towson on Sunday. I thought we would take her around to some of the various interesting sites in our area and have a good time.
Instead I was duped into a surprise birthday party with several the people we work with, alongside my in-laws. We had a squid-themed birthday party which was lots of fun, completely unexpected, and made me very happy — although I think my son might have even been happier about the whole deal. He loves executing tricks and surprises, and he enjoys cupcakes and balloons.
Then, as planned, we went to the Ego Likeness performance in Baltimore. Donna and Steve, the core members of Ego Likeness, are authors and artists we work with on a regular basis, and this was their first Baltimore performance in three years. It was great seeing them again away from writing events, and also to see them perform music again. In fact, theirs was one the best live performances I’ve seen. While Donna was in the midst of her banter with the audience, supplying information about the other bands performing that night and giving an update about their forthcoming album, Donna also put the spotlight on me and told everyone to wish me a happy birthday. The crowd obliged, and I just about fell over. It was unexpected, to say the least, to have rock stars wish me happy birthday from onstage even if I know them.
The panel we put together for the next day was one the best panels I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve been to many, many conventions over the years. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all the panel participants, to the wonderful crowd, and to the store for their enthusiastic and generous support — and their consummate professionalism. For an in-depth breakdown of the women in horror panel read the report over at http://rawdogscreaming.com/events/women-in-horror-panel-at-ukazoo-books/.
Every step of the way throughout the weekend things turned out far better than anticipated, and not just for me. As the people who participated can tell you there are always bizarre stories that come out of the Raw Dog Screaming Press gatherings, and this was no exception. The photo gallery below allows you a partial glimpse.