RTS 12: Convention Aftermath

This week Kevin and Jeremy come to you live from Horrorhound Weekend Cincinnati 2017 for three days of stories about Kevin trying to teach a hotel maid english, Jeremy expertly selling gay jesus chap books, fights with waffle makers, trying to sell loch ness porn to discovery channel monster hunters and much more as shit got weird in Ohio!

This week’s read is part 2 of the strange barbarian saga JORECK AND THE SWAMP PHANTOMS OF IKK. With Orilious missing, Joreck works tirelessly to find his blood brother, but when he does, well, Orilious has other plans.

Back from Break, the boys discuss all the twists and turns in the Joreck story and set up next week’s Swamp Phantoms finale along with more stories from the road show.

Don’t forget to like our page at Facebook.com/ReadingToStrangers and drop us a buck at Patreon.com/KevinTheStrange if you like what you hear and want to support the podcast!

Till next week, gang. Keep reading!

New Extreme Horror/Bizarro Book Club And Award [Interview with Marc Ciccarone and K. Trap Jones]

Several months before I left Facebook, I got wind of a brand new group dedicated to splatterpunk/extreme horror fiction. I was excited to see someone pick up the ball for my favorite sub-genre of horror because I feel like it’s been neglected for the past half decade or so as genre fiction has grown more and more PC.

After I bailed on FB, I forgot all about what these guys had been putting together. But they sure didn’t! A couple of weeks ago, The Splatter Club popped up across social media boasting itself as an extreme horror and bizarro book club AND award.

A new extreme horror and bizarro award? Color me intrigued! We haven’t seen a literary award exclusive to extreme horror in… well I don’t think ever. And everyone knows there’s only one bizarro award out there.

I contacted Marc and K. Trap and asked them for an interview to clarify the goals of The Splatter Club and give us some info on these awards. The following is that interview. Thanks Mark and K. Trap for your quick response. Now on with the interview!

KS: What motivated you guys to start the Splatter Club?

Ciccarone: The idea of a reading club dedicated to our small niche of literature is one that I’ve been kicking around for almost a year now. However, with running Blood Bound Books I was concerned that I would not be able to dedicate the time required to properly manage a book club. Things have a way of working themselves out though and a few months back I caught a post by K. Trap Jones talking about Splatterpunk opportunities. I made sure to comment. And I am very grateful that when the time came, he reached out to me to help.

KS: Will The Splatter Club be a writers association at some point or stay a book club on facebook?

Jones & Ciccarone:  We will always primarily be a reading club, but are very open to the possibilities of expanding. With the right people, it’s very likely that the evolution of the club will lead towards an Extreme/Bizarro Convention, and with a convention, I think a writer’s association is very possible.

KS: Who runs the Splatter Club and the corresponding Splatters award? Are the positions appointed or elected?

Jones & Ciccarone:For now, the Splatter Club is run by K. Trap Jones and Marc Ciccarone.

As for the Splatter Awards, we have not decided on the specifics of the voting process or the panel positions. Our goal is to create an award that means something when authors put it on a book that has won. It should involve fans, but it should also involve professionals in the publishing industry. The trick is finding the right balance. For 2017, we may just have a group vote on only the books we’ve read together, and have everyone involved. However, we are discussing how to best set-up a publicly-involved award so that when 2018 arrives, we will be ready. As soon as we have decided, we will make the process very transparent to everyone and would be happy to share it in another interview on your website.  

KS: Do you see the Splatters as competition for the Stoker (for horror) and the Wonderland (for bizarro)?

Jones & Ciccarone: When we eventually reach the level of a Splatter Convention and Award, no, we don’t see it being a competition against the Stoker or Wonderland award. Much like in publishing, we don’t view other presses as competition. Everyone needs to do their own thing and if you’re doing the best you can and treating people fairly, you will contribute positively to the indie writing/reading community as a whole.

KS: Are any of the organizers members of the HWA or BWA?

Ciccarone: Neither K. Trap or myself are members of the HWA or BWA.

KS: How can authors and publishers make their books eligible for a Splatters award? How will you avoid common award/association political pitfalls?

Ciccarone: I think once we decide on our voting and panel-selection process, it will be easy for all authors, mainstream & indie, to be eligible, and it will be clear how we hope to avoid political pitfalls.

KS: Where can relevant parties find and contact you on the internet?

Splaterclubinfo@gmail.com & join our group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Splatterclub/

KS: Thanks for your time, guys! Was there anything else you wanted to add for our readers before we let you go?

Jones & Ciccarone: Overall, we want members to know that this is more than just reading and discussing a book. We are incorporating the authors at every chance possible into the discussions. We are giving away prizes and having interactive contests for each month’s reads. We are interviewing publishers, editors, authors, musicians, artists, and anyone having to  do with the ‘extreme’ side of horror.  We have been able to get a lot of books at a discount and can pass that on to our members so they are not going broke buying books each month, and publishers are offering the group exclusive deals on their future publications. We really want this to become a group that promotes the literature we love. The deals are exclusive, but we’re very inclusive. Please join us and let’s have some fun!

Thanks for having us, Kevin! 


HorrorHound Weekend: Cincinnati 2017 Recap

Horrorhound Cincinnati 2017 marks over 10 years of road life for me. My first con was in 2006. I printed up 80 copies of my first feature film DREAM REAPER and took it to a small show in northern Ohio with an attendance of maybe 150 people over three days.

We sold 7 movies. Mostly to other vendors who felt sorry for me because I brought 10 actors with me to celebrate the release of my first film. We were all cramped around a single six foot table.

We had a magic show in the corner. We dressed a guy up like the Pumpkin Monster. We traveled in two trucks and rented two hotel rooms. I don’t think our sales even covered our gas money.

The upside was, the con was so slow, we were able to get Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman to do the video introduction to the movie. (Which meant that the 80 copies I’d already pressed up were useless because I needed to re-burn the DVD with the Troma intro.)

A lot has changed in these 11 years. Everything has changed.

But the one thing that remains constant is that horror fans still love horror conventions. And all these many years later, I’m still out here. Lloyd Kaufman is still out here. He’s still slanging Troma films.

I made the switch from feature films to fiction in 2012 and now, five years later, I can set up a small table, only bring one guy to help work the booth (big shout out to READING TO STRANGERS co-host Jeremy Daniels who sold more gay jesus chap books this weekend than ANYONE thought possible!), and sell as many copies of my novels as I BROUGHT of my first film to that first show.

That’s what’s supposed to happen, right? You do something long enough, you stay humble and you pay your dues and then you become successful at it.

When I think of all of the adventures my friends and I have had over the years, all the great people and crazy people we’ve met on the road over the years, I can’t help but smile. This is a crazy, stressful, maddening, but ultimately fulfilling life.

I really truly can’t think of another lifestyle I’d be more content living. I get to write anything my imagination can dream up and then I get go out on the road with my best friends and put those insane stories into the hands of my fans and give them a small portal into the mind of a mad man.

The last few months have been especially challenging. As I’ve broken away from the toxic writing community that seems totally happy playing gossip games on facebook rather than chasing success and adventure, I wondered how I would be received by the horror fans at large on the midwest con circuit.

Would they side with the full time drama queens on social media and ghost me like they never knew me? Would they start drama of their own over my non-PC social and political views?

Of course not. They treated me exactly the same way they always have. With smiles and open hearts. Like family. The Strangeheads don’t give a single fuck about online drama. In fact, NO ONE does outside of the tiny little circle of wannabe writers who start it.

Think about it, I signed almost the same amount of books in three days as the actual amount of people in the shitty little gossip communities who try to drag me down to their level.

When you’re at a con and you hear Iron Maiden playing in the distance, rest assured you’re about to stumble upon the green and purple world of Strangeville, full of drunk weirdos who all look vaguely like the ugly headed Kevin Strange leering down on you from the table banner behind us.

Come buy some books, gang. There’s a decade worth of stories in them. And don’t believe what you hear on the internet. They’re just jealous they don’t live here.