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As reported in Locus and at File 770…I am now officially the President-Elect of the Horror Writers Association. None of this was ever meant to happen, yet somehow everything I've done professionally put me on the trajectory I now find myself on. My gratitude to the voting membership is overwhelming.
One odd side note, beyond the honor and responsibility of being put in a position to lead such a vibrant writers' organization, is that in the four decades of its existence I'm the first Black person to do so. The feeling that it was happening, and that I was the one doing it, was surreal for a minute there. Okay, Maybe more than a minute.
The number of authors and editors who, on learning of this, either pledged to rejoin the HWA or have already done so is heartening. I understand the urge to leave a group that you don't feel—for whatever reason—has your back, and I thought I'd have to lay a lot of groundwork before winning people back. Now that effort will instead be put into working with the rest of the organization to ensure membership lives up to expectations, and continue the impressive work already underway to bring in even more members.
On that note, I'll be returning to my spreadsheet of comments, suggestions, and concerns generous contributed by both members and nonmembers alike during my campaign. While I do have my own thoughts about goals for the organization, my belief is that my work for the HWA should be guided by what members feel they would most benefit from.
These notes have all been sorted though and have been broken down into short term and long term solutions. While I can't guarantee the board, committees, and volunteers will be able to address or implement every suggestion, I have put together a 100-day plan drawn from public input.
A 100-day plan? Like in the White House? It started as a joke with me, but after I said it, I realized…wow, there are so many moving parts at play here that I'll have to have that kind of plan if I want to stay afloat! Part of this process will be establishing office hours when the membership can interact with me on a regular basis once I'm in office.
Until then, President John Palisano remains at the helm and I wish him all the best in wrapping up his tenure. His hand has been involved in so many of the advancements by the HWA over the last decade, as a volunteer and Vice President and, of course, in his current position. I'll miss his presence at this level, but at the same time I'm looking forward to reading more of his writing now that he'll be free to focus on his career.
My thanks to the membership, and to the hardworking volunteers and administrators who made the election possible.
As a reminder, we find ourselves in the midst of our national voting season here in the United States so I urge everyone who can to vote, and please be kind to the volunteers operating our polling places across the country.
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