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  • Writer's pictureCandace Nola

STOKERCON 2023


So yes, this is a month overdue, apologies for that but I can say that it’s been a very hectic summer for me, and I can’t believe we are in August now. I’ve had several releases come out since StokerCon, signed a couple of contracts, and attended Texas AuthorCon.


But I digress, this is about StokerCon and the magic that it was for me to be there, surrounded by so many incredible peers and colleagues. Readers and fans, established authors, and aspiring ones, the well-known and the many rising stars. To be in that place and have the realization that many of these very same people know me or know of me was surreal and overwhelming.


The first evening, I joined Paul Tremblay, Gemma Amor, Ally Wilkes, John Crinan, Eric LaRocca and his partner Ali, Daniel Willcocks for drinks and a chat by the bar, then most of us went to dinner. Ask Gemma John, Ally, or Daniel about the cheese, so much cheese. We had such a lovely evening with the best conversation that I could have hoped for. Being able to spend time with Gemma was one of my highlights as we’ve been Twitter friends for a while now and met briefly at AuthorCon in April.


Over the next several days, I rotated between volunteering at registration as part of the Pittsburgh chapter of the HWA, directing attendees on where to go, and handing out swag bags. I was able to browse the vendor room several times and I kept coming out with books, we won’t discuss that. LOL.


I was able to spend quite a bit of time with my long-time UK friend, CC Adams, who is an absolute treasure. We’ve chatted often over Zoom over the last three years or so but to finally meet in person was simply wonderful. I was able to meet the incredible Lee Murray and give her the author copies that I owed her from her work on my anthology, Trapped, from last fall. She is every bit as beautiful in person as she is online, truly a kind spirit.


Many of my usual suspects were there and made sure that I was doing okay and wasn’t wandering around too shell-shocked or lonely. Brian Keene, my mentor and one of my favorite people, Wile E. Young, whom I consider a brother, along with Wesley Southard and Stephen Kozeniewski, all were there to hang out with, and we had a great time catching up. Pizza one night, dinner another evening, or two evenings, I believe, along with Ron Malfi and Philip Fracassi. I even got to meet Nick Cutter, a true highlight, as I’ve been a fan of his work for many years.


Another highlight for me was the mass signing event and being asked for my books even though I didn’t have a table. Luckily, I had several with me in my bag and my fans all went home happy. I was able to meet Gabino Iglesias who was simply charming. Gabino is another Twitter friend that knew immediately who I was, and happily took a selfie with me. It was my pleasure to see him take an award home that night along with so many other wonderful authors, such as Cynthia Pelayo, Lee Murray, Robert Ottone, Daniel Kraus, James Aquilone, Alma Katsu, Mercedes Yardley, Ellen Datlow, Tim Waggoner, Elizabeth Massie, Nuzo Onoh, John Saul, Meghan Arcuri, Karen Lansdale, and David Jeffery. Cannot forget Cassandra Khaw, Scott Derrickson, and Robert C. Cargill, and Christi Nogle.


The list is too long to name everyone that I got to meet for the first time or to list all the pictures that I took and all the conversations that I had. I can tell you that this event, the knowledge, and the energy that was generated that weekend was amazing in every way and one of biggest highlights of my writing journey thus far.


To the Pittsburgh HWA chapter, thank you for an incredible event. To everyone that spent time with me, took a picture with me, or simply took a moment to greet me, thank you for being amazing, and for being kind.



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