Programming Schedule

Here is the official programming for StokerCon™ 2019. Panels and times are subject to change without notice.


12:00pm – 1:30pm Thornapple Room. Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference: Panel 1 — Good and Evil in Life and Death

Speakers: Michael Potts, Amanda Trujillo

Panel Chair: Sean Woodard

  • Sean Woodard, “Genre Morphology and Hypertextuality: Suspiria and the Classic Fairy Tale”
  • Gavin Hurley, “The Affective Dialectics of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist
  • Michael Potts, “William Peter Blatty’s Character ‘Chris’ and the Fear of Death as Annihilation”
  • Amanda Trujillo, “Psychic Detectives in Lit and TV”

12:00pm – 3:00pm Berkey Room. Reserved for HWA Board and StokerCon Business

1:45pm – 3:15pm Thornapple Room. Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference: Panel 2 — The Capitalist Path to Horror

Speakers: Michael Duda

Panel Chair: Elsa Carruthers

  • Elsa Carruthers, “Poverty as Monstrosity: How American Horror Films Reinforce Capitalist Values”
  • Michael Duda, “Of Bugs and Bludgeons: Horror and Late Stage Capitalism”

3:30pm – 5:00pm Thornapple Room. Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference: Panel 3 — Gender Interrupted

Speakers: Deirdre Flood

Panel Chair: Khara Lukancic

  • Chelsea Covington Maass, “Gothic Feminism: The Rise of Domestic Suspense in the Age of #MeToo”
  • Bridget Keown, “’She is very lovely…very toothsome’: Hegemonic Masculinity and Vampirism in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot
  • Deirdre Marie Flood, “Who is Allowed to Be a Hero?: Gender and Race in It and Stranger Things”
  • Khara Lukancic, “’He’s Waited for Me, I’ve Waited for Him’: Laurie Strode’s Evolution from Final Girl to Neoconservative Militant in Halloween

4:00pm – 5:00pm Emerald Room. Lifetime Author Earnings

Speakers: Ethan Ellenberg

The birth of the internet and ebooks has transformed the careers of book authors.  They have income potential from traditional publishers as well as self publishing and subsidiary rights.  In order to realize that value authors must inventory, manage and exploit all their books over very long periods of time.  This presentation will discuss how to manage your traditional publishing agreements, how to realize the most value from your own book publishing and subsidiary rights and how contracts and careers age.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 1

S. Kay Nash, Brandon McNulty

4:00pm – 5:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Websites, Blogs, Newletters, and Facebook: What Do I need?

Moderators: Mary Ann Back

Speakers: Beverly Bambury

Newer authors need guidance when it comes to designing and building websites, blogs, and newsletters. Which ‘do it yourself’ products provide the best results? Which are the most user friendly? What features should authors include on their sites? What functionality should the site/blog have? How do you use Facebook to promote your work? Our panelists discuss what they have seen that works, and what to avoid.

4:00pm – 6:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — The Art of Suspense

Speakers: Tim Waggoner

In this workshop, you’ll learn techniques to create pulse-pounding fiction that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. Topics covered include creating dilemmas for your characters, creating memorable villains, developing unpredictable plots, and using suspenseful pace.

4:00pm – 7:00pm Grand View Room A. GAME: Dire Multiverse

Moderators: Angel McCoy

Using the Dire Multiverse setting, and a simplified version of the Savage Worlds rule system, players will play characters thrown into a fantastic modern world of mystery, puzzles, and adventure. This gaming session (tabletop roleplaying) will be dark and dangerous. Come play with Angel Leigh McCoy, the setting’s creator and 20-year veteran of game writing.

This game is limited to six players. Gaming experience is strongly suggested.

4:00pm – 8:00pm Ambassador Ballroom East. Dealer Room

The Dealer Room opens.

5:00pm – 6:00pm Berkey Room. Foundations of Horror

Speakers: Johnny Worthen

HORROR, a genre based in the most primal places of our psyches. We’ll look at its structure and forms, its psychological underpinnings and its strange but tantalizing connection with its sister genres Romance and Erotica. We’ll explore the nuance and levels of fear and when when we have a handle on it all, slipping and sliding at the corners of our courage, we’ll look at effective techniques to bring out the reactions we want in our writing.

5:00pm – 6:00pm Emerald Room. Professional Etiquette: The Business Side of Art

Moderators: James Chambers

Speakers: Brian Matthews, Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Maberry, Cherry Weiner

Writing is a business. Although authors spend much of their time alone behind the keyboard, they cannot afford to lose sight of professional etiquette and behavior. The panelists will share their insights into what constitutes professional and unprofessional behavior in the publishing industry, how to cultivate good professional etiquette, and how to cope with unprofessional behavior directed at you. Topics will include approaching and interacting with agents and editors, how to handle bad reviews, seeking advice and mentorship from experienced authors, remembering that a social business event is still a business event first, and keeping up good relationships with colleagues.

5:00pm – 6:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 2

Patricia V. Davis, Amanda Trujillo, David Busboom

5:00pm – 6:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Rise of the Pod(cast) People

Moderators: S. Kay Nash

Speakers: Karen Bovenmyer, Scott Edelman, Brian Keene, Lisa Kroger, Tonia Thompson

Podcasting is growing into an entertainment powerhouse. Horror-focused podcasts have been around for over 10 years, new pods are entering the field, and nearly every pro-paying magazine has added a podcast as part of their platform. Formats range from audio magazines to horror news, film and book discussions, author interviews, fancasts, and fully-dramatized serials. How do creators distinguish themselves from the pack, get funding, and grow their audience? Are there opportunities for under-represented authors and subgenres? Aside from delivering pure, unadulterated fear directly to your brain, what other opportunities do podcasts offer the horror community?

5:00pm – 6:30pm Ambassador Ballroom West. BIRD BOX: From Book to Movie

Speakers: John Skipp, Josh Malerman

Bram Stoker Award® Winning Author John Skipp interviews StokerCon™ 2019 Guest of Honor and BIRD BOX author, Josh Malerman, about the experience of taking his idea from book to movie.

5:15pm – 6:45pm Thornapple Room. Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference: Panel 4 — Food and Domesticity a la Horror

Moderators: Kevin Wetmore, Jr.

Speakers: E.F. Schraeder, Crystal O’Leary-Davidson, Karley Pardue

Panel Chair: Kevin Wetmore, Jr.

  • E. F. Schraeder, “Renfield’s Craving: Horror Cinema and Animal Ethics”
  • Karley Pardue, “The ‘Undertaste’ of Unkindness: Food and Deception in Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby”
  • Crystal O’Leary-Davidson, “Home is Where the Horror Is: Ari Aster’s Hereditary and the New Horror Renaissance”
  • Kevin Wetmore, Jr., “Corn is the Grain of Horror: Sinister Scarecrow Cinema”

6:00pm – 7:00pm Berkey Room. Coming-Of-Age Horror In The Era Of Netflix

Moderators: N.R. (Nancy) Lambert

Speakers: Kyla Lee Ward, Tom Deady

The popularity of Stranger Things, IT, and The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina suggests a resurgence in coming-of-age horror. Our panel explores the fascination with—and the allure of—this sub-genre, from its metaphors about puberty and and loss of innocence, to the visceral fears evoked by child endangerment and abuse, to potential opportunities writing fiction in this market.

6:00pm – 7:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 3

Amy Grech, Patrick Freivald, Michael Kozlowski

6:00pm – 7:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Reserved

6:00pm – 7:00pm Emerald Room. The HWA: Days of Future Past

Moderators: Lisa Morton

Speakers: Marge Simon, JG Faherty, Brad Hodson, John Palisano, Becky Spratford

The Horror Writers Association’s Board  discusses the HWA’s past year, what to expect in 2019, and the long-range goals of the organization.

6:00pm – 8:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — How To Pitch A Story

Speakers: Jennifer Brozek

In general, there are four basic pitches you can do to help sell both short and long fiction: two verbal, two written. We will discuss how and why each pitch is used and when. This is a workshop where participants will be asked to present both verbal and written pitches during the workshop based on prompts given.

6:00pm – 8:00pm Crown Foyer. Omnium Gatherum Book Launch Event

Join Omnium Gatherum in the Crown Foyer (outside the Ambassador Ballroom) for cake and cocktails as we celebrate the release of our new books for 2019.  Meet the authors and editors, win prizes and meet and mingle with old friends and new.  

7:00pm – 8:00pm Emerald Room. “Whatever Walked There, Walked Alone”: Bad Places in Contemporary Horror

Moderators: Eli Holden

Speakers: Melanie Anderson, Rob E. Boley, Nicole Cushing, Usman Malik, Crystal O’Leary-Davidson.

Haunted houses, weird landscapes, shopping malls, outer space, and the Internet. These are the “bad places” of contemporary horror, from Hill House to the Southern Reach to the Dark Web. Join us for a discussion of how the “haunted house,” a traditional Gothic setting, has morphed into a place of annihilating terror.

7:00pm – 8:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Be A Diamond In The Slush Pile Rough

Moderators: J.L. Gribble

Speakers: Norman Prentiss, Dragon’s Roost Press, J.D. Barker, April Grey

Tired of getting lost in the stack of unread submissions? Do you want your work to stand out as the diamond in the rough? Learn the top editing tips that can help you rise above the slush pile and get published.

7:00pm – 8:00pm Berkey Room. Guest of Honor Welcome Event- By Invitation Only

7:00pm – 8:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 4

John Taff, Megan Hart, Violet Castro

8:00pm – 10:00pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Opening Ceremonies

Moderators: Lisa Morton

Speakers: Josh Boone, Kathe Koja, Josh Malerman, Graham Masterton, Robert R. McCammon, Kaaron Warren, Stephanie M. Wytovich

StokerCon™ 2019 Opening Ceremonies. Join us to cheer the start of the convention, welcome our guests of honor, mingle with other attendees, and find out what’s in store for StokerCon™ 2019. Appetizers will be served, and a cash bar will be available for drink purchases.

11:00pm – 12:00am Ambassador Ballroom West. Midnight Special: Dramatic Reading — Unbury Carol

Moderators: Josh Malerman

“The last thing I wanna see is myself at a podium, awkwardly trekking through what should be an immersive, electric story.”
                                                                                                                                    – –Josh Malerman

From the day his first book, Bird Box, was released, Malerman eschewed the traditional (and practical) ways of a public reading, opting instead for something closer to Grand Guignol theater. Using live actors, live music, costumes, and props, Malerman and his crew of freakish friends (featuring fiancé Allison Laakko most of all) have been recreating scenes from his books on stage. Sometimes this re-creation is literal; others, like with Unbury Carol, find the performance a bit more meta, as the scenes come to life around Malerman, who seemingly creates them as the reading unfolds.

Catch this thrilling, unique, and even important performance as Malerman and crew change what readers and writers can expect from a book tour, and the way in which that book is presented.


8:00am – 10:00am Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Beyond Branding: Discovering the Writer You’re Meant to Be.

Speakers: Nicole Cushing

While the development of an “author brand” can be helpful for many writers, it can also be restricting and reductive. This workshop will help participants discover (or re-discover) their unique creative identity, and how to use that identity as a guide to developing meaningful writing goals.

8:00am – 4:00pm Ruby Room. Hospitality Room

A place to rest and recharge. Coffee in the morning. Water in the afternoon.

9:00am – 10:00am Emerald Room. Circle of Confusion and the HWA

Speakers: Lisa Morton, Antonio D’Intino, John Palisano.

The HWA recently partnered with Circle of Confusion, the group behind OutcastDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and the hit television series, The Walking Dead. Come meet Antonio D’Intino, Circle of Confusion’s literary manager, as he and HWA President Lisa Morton discuss the benefits of this exciting new partnership, including a special announcement you will not want to miss.

9:00am – 10:00am Ambassador Ballroom West. Librarians Day — Even Immortals Have Their Beginnings: The Research and Writing of Dracul

Speakers: J.D. Barker, Dacre Stoker

The story and images behind the research and writing of DRACUL, by international best-selling authors Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker. This multimedia presentation contains Bram Stoker’s own notes, insight into the 101 missing pages from the DRACULA manuscript, the recently discovered “sister edition” of DRACULA in Iceland and Sweden, and Stoker family tales that function as a backdrop for the fictional plot.

When DRACULA, a compilation of the Harker Papers and other related accounts, was first published in 1897, the first 101 pages of the novel were excised from the text, believed to be too frightening, too dark, for the masses. Bram Stoker never meant for his words to disappear, only sleep, waiting until it was time. More than 100 years would pass before they would rise again, drawing breath between these pages. A story only he could tell, a warning of sorts.

9:00am – 10:00am Winchester Room. Reading Block 5

Kathleen Kaufman, Kyla Lee Ward, Ken MacGregor

9:00am – 10:00am Berkey Room. Reserved for HWA Board and Stokercon Business

9:00am – 10:30am Thornapple Room. Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference: Panel 5 — Myth and Femininity

Speakers: Michele Brittany, Carina Bissett

Panel Chair: Rhonda Jackson

  • Anthony Gombol, “The Genesis of Myth”
  • Carina Bissett, “Fragmenting the Female in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Rhonda Jackson, “Rendering the Invisible Visible: Black Femininity in Horror”
  • Michele Brittany, “Bringing to Light the Darkness of Garth Ennis’ Sci-Fi Space Horror Caliban

10:00am – 11:00am Emerald Room. Historical Horror: Inspiration, Research, and Storytelling

Moderators: Sara Tantlinger

Speakers: Kathleen Kaufman, Lisa Kroger, Lisa Morton, Alma Katsu, Kevin Wetmore, Jr.

Drawing inspiration from historical events can provide writers with a rich arena in which to create incredible stories, whether based loosely or more closely on the past. Why are we so interested in true crime, serial killers, and the blood of the past? How can we avoid falling down the research rabbit hole and never emerging? Are there certain past events we shouldn’t use in our writing? During this session, our panelists will discuss their thoughts on our lure into true horror, research tactics, inspiration from their own work, notable writers of historical horror fiction, when to stop researching and start writing, and much more.

10:00am – 11:00am Winchester Room. Reading Block 6

Norman Prentiss, Bill Bodden, John R. Little

10:00am – 11:00am Grand View Room B-C. The Press Kit That Ate New York

Speakers: Matt Betts

Behind you! Look out it’s… a PRESS KIT! Huh? Press Kit? What is that? Why should writers even care? Join Matt Betts as he discusses what makes up a basic press kit (or media kit), how to put one together, and how to use one effectively to get interviews and speaking engagements.

10:00am – 11:00am Grand View Room A. The Writer’s Process

Speakers: Jonathan Maberry

Writers can get in their own way. They do it all the time by mishandling their writing time, not understanding how the business works, having a faulty process, and more. All of that is fixable as long as you know how to do it! This presentation discusses how to run your writing life as a business, how to assess and improve your process, time management, resources for writers, managing social media, personal branding, business etiquette and more.

10:00am – 12:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Writing Characters of Color

Speakers: John Lawson

As our world is diverse, our writing should reflect that diversity. This workshop is designed to help you write fleshed-out realistic characters of color by building a complex backstory, while avoiding stereotypes.

10:00am – 7:00pm Ambassador Ballroom East. Dealer Room

The Dealer Room opens.

10:15am – 11:15am Ambassador Ballroom West. Librarians Day — Fandom Programs @ Your Library

Moderators: Emily Vinci

Speakers: Konrad Stump

Emily Vinci, a national expert at fandom programming in libraries, will lead a panel of experts, including local library workers, authors, and publishers as they share their secrets to providing programming for fandom communities, regardless of genre and across all age ranges. Confirmed to appear and share their experiences are Konrad Stump from the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Missouri and Rebecca Baumann from the Lilly Library and Indiana University.

10:45am – 12:15pm Thornapple Room. Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference: Panel 6 — Creeping, Crawling, Cosmic Monsters

Speakers: Nicholas Diak

Panel Chair: Rocky Colavito

  • Douglas Ford, “Of All Nights in the Year: Walpurgis Night and ‘Young Goodman Brown’”
  • Rebecca Baumann, “’A Splotch, a Blotch’: The Protoplasmic Monster”
  • Nicholas Diak, “Cullzathro Fhtagn! Magnifying the Carnivalesque in Lovecraft Through the Comic Book Vinegar Teeth
  • Rocky Colavito, “’A Mechanical Semblance of Life’: Reading Get Out Through the Lenses of Post-Colonial, Appropriation, and Zombie Studies”

11:00am – 12:00pm Grand View Room A. Ambiguously Haunted Houses

Moderators: Marc Abbott

Speakers: Weston Ochse, Kathe Koja, Amanda Trujillo, Kaaron Warren, Graham Masterton

2019 marks the 120th and 60th anniversaries of The Turn of the Screw and The Haunting of Hill House, respectively. Both are renowned classics in horror literature, both were recently adapted anew for television, and both feature haunted houses–or do they? Each novel remains open-ended as to whether the purported ghosts actually exist or are products of the characters’ imaginations, relying on subtlety and unreliable narrators rather than gore or explicit, externalized terrors to make an impact.  This panel will explore the enduring appeal of both works. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the merits of the various adaptations of each novel, as well as similar novels and films within the genre. Further, the discussion can address relevant storytelling aspects (e.g., When is less more? When does ambiguity enrich a story and when does it confuse the audience?).

11:00am – 12:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Ask the Agent!

Speakers: Cherry Weiner

Literary Agent Cherry Weiner will take your questions about publishing, what to expect from the relationship with your agent, or any other questions you may have. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to ask an agent directly.

11:00am – 12:00pm Berkey Room. Meeting of the Ohio Chapter of the HWA

Speakers: Tim McWhorter

A general meeting of the Ohio Branch of the HWA. Anyone is welcome to attend and meet the chapter members.

11:00am – 12:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 7

John Skipp, Autumn Christian, Ryan Lieske

11:00am – 12:00pm Emerald Room. Writing to Prompts: Prose, Poetry, and Sources of Inspiration

Moderators: Marge Simon

Speakers: Karen Bovenmyer, Michael Bailey, Linda D. Addison, Michael Arnzen, Angela Yuriko Smith

We will discuss the difference between writing longer stories and writing flash/short fiction or prose poetry. Panelists will select examples to read (either their own or by another author) to demonstrate how short fiction works. Writing to visual or other prompts, such as those provided for Ladies of Horror Facebook group, will be explored. Open to audience questions or comments.

11:30am – 12:30pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Librarians Day — Introducing Summer Scares a horror reading program for libraries presented by the Horror Writers Association in partnership with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal.

Speakers: JG Faherty, Becky Spratford, Grady Hendrix, Daniel Kraus, Stephen Graham Jones, Brian Keene

Join Summer Scares committee members Becky Spratford, Grady Hendrix, J.G. Faherty, and Carolyn Ciesla as they introduce you to both the titles and some of the authors identified as official 2019 inaugural “Summer Scares Selections.”

12:00pm – 1:00pm Emerald Room. Creature Feature Fiction

Moderators: Lee Murray

Speakers: Tim Waggoner, Jonathan Maberry, Rena Mason, Matt Betts, F. Paul Wilson, Thomas Monteleone

From amorphic blob to prehistoric beasts and rampaging apes, and even the humble rat, the creature feature has become a staple of horror fiction. What is it about creature feature fiction that continues to appeal to readers and movie goers alike? What are the key elements of an engaging creature feature story? And is it all just pulpy fun or can it also be high prose?

12:00pm – 1:00pm HWA Scholarships: How Do I Get Me One of Those? Grand View Room B-C.

Moderator: Lisa Morton

Speakers: John Palisano, Carina Bissett

The HWA offers several scholarships to its members: the HWA Scholarship, the Mary Shelley Scholarship, the Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship for Non-Fiction Writing, the Dark Poetry Scholarship, the Scholarship From Hell, and the Young Adults Write Now Endowment Program. But what are they, and what do they offer? Our panelists discuss each scholarship, how to apply, and strategic tips to make your application survive the first round of cuts.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Grand View Room A. Promoting Your Work

Speakers: Beverly Bambury, Mark Matthews, Zoje Stage, Jennifer Barnes, Brian Kirk

Explore the various ways you can promote your work: what to do, when to do it, here are some ideas for how to go about it. How do a first-time authors get their work noticed? Moderated by publicist Beverly Bambury, our panel will discuss what has and hasn’t worked for them, and where social media comes into the promotional game.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 8

Jeff Strand, J.L. Gribble, Peggy Christie

12:00pm – 1:00pm Berkey Room. Turn Your Fictional World Into an RPG

Moderators: Angel McCoy

Speakers: Joanna Nelius, Bill Bodden, Donald J. Bingle, William Bridges, Jennifer Brozek

Do you have a rich world in which you write your novels and short stories? Would you like to develop another income stream? Would you like to give your readers another way to enjoy your world and the characters that live there? Would you like another avenue through which to pollinate your promotions? Why not turn it into a tabletop roleplaying setting? You have an array of options for doing so. Let’s talk about what they are, explore some ideas, and see if you can get inspired!

12:00pm – 2:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Novel Writing with Scrivener Software

Speakers: Steven Hopstaken

A general overview of using Scrivener software to research, outline, write and compile a novel.

12:30pm – 2:00pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Librarians Day — Lunch and Meet Gabino Iglesias

Moderators: Anita Siraki

Please enjoy the buffet lunch included in your registration and take time to network with your colleagues and our panelists. Then at 1:30, join librarian, author, and 2017 HWA Mary Shelley Scholarship Recipient, A.E. Siraki as she interviews Gabino Iglesias, live on stage. Gabino is a critically acclaimed novelist and reviewer whose critical pieces have appeared in among other places, LitReactor, The LA Times, and NPR. They will talk about literary criticism and genre, the writing world from the perspective of marginalized authors, and more. This will be a frank and fun conversation you will not want to miss.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Grand View Room A. Body Modification: It’s More Than Just Earrings And Tongue Studs

Moderators: Dr. Edward Rosick

Speakers: Donna Lynch, Gwendolyn Kiste

The art and practice of body modification is as old as human history itself, yet many horror writers only delve into the superficial aspects of the ancient practice. Besides the low hanging fruits of fantastical tattoos and ritual suspensions, body modification is ripe with horrific imagery and terrifying concepts, from self-amputations to flaming urethral implants that horror writers can incorporate into their work and bring their writing to the next dark level.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Thornapple Room. Creating The Collection: Collaborative Anthology Publishing Projects

Moderators: Megan Hart

Speakers: Erik T Johnson, Brian Kirk, John Taff, Rob E. Boley, Rena Mason

Indie publishing is no longer a dirty word and has instead become a viable option for writers looking to get their works out into the world. One of the ways to utilize the new platform is through collaborative works. Learn the pros and cons of joining forces to create an independently published anthology, what to watch out for, what mistakes to avoid and how to make the project a fun success for everyone involved. It’s not the right choice for everyone, but it might be the right one for you.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Berkey Room. Flash Fiction for Fun and Profit

Moderators: Wagenblast Munro, Donna

Speakers: Michael Arnzen, Asher Ellis

“Flash fiction is so hot right now.” Mugatu  

Strengthen your writing skills, rack up writing credits, play with a new form that is finding more and more traction in the changing spec fic world. Come learn about flash fiction, suitable markets, and maybe write a piece of your own before you go.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Magick: A Seminar of the Occult

Speakers: Johnny Worthen

An introduction and accurate explanation of the Western Magical tradition. From the sacred geometry of the Qabalah, to the symbolic language of the Tarot, we will explore the history, tools and uses of High Magic. Circles, wands, and sacred names are just the outer signs of a deep associative philosophy that shapes will into reality.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Emerald Room. Out There In The Dark: Horror — The Original Literature

Moderators: Kevin Wetmore, Jr.

Speakers: Josh Boone, Kathe Koja, Josh Malerman, Robert R. McCammon, Kaaron Warren, Stephanie M. Wytovich

From the earliest cave paintings to the introduction of Frankenstein’s monster two hundred years ago, horror has been a part of literature from the beginning. Join our guests of honor as they discuss horror throughout the ages and the impact it has had on literature, specifically, and on culture, in general.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 9

Thomas F. Monteleone, Jonathan Maberry

2:00pm – 3:00pm Thornapple Room. Beyond The Sale: Working With Editors

Moderators: Michael Bailey

Speakers: Jennifer Barnes, Ellen Datlow, Leza Cantoral, Don D’Auria, Kate Jonez

We all hope to make that first sale. But what happens next? Enter the editor. Our panel will discuss what authors should know about the editorial process, how it can differ by editor or publication, how to accept and incorporate edits into your work without losing your voice or intent, what editors expect of authors in a professional sense, and how to protect your work from unprofessional editing.

2:00pm – 3:00pm Grand View Room A. Facts in Fiction: Drawing Readers Into Your Fantasy World By Telling Them the Truth

Speakers: Patricia V. Davis

When the world and the characters in your fiction are so believable that they seem real, your reader is primed to accept every fantastical, spooky, or otherworldly event and creature you weave into your story. But how to get the facts we need to enhance our writing without spending months on research? The answer is to go directly to the source.   For her magical realism trilogy, The Secret Spice Cafe, author Patricia V. Davis was able to procure an interview (and a book blurb) from the greatest living magician in the world, David Copperfield, a private hour with a genuine, reclusive voodoo priestess who revealed secret rituals, a podcast interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Mark B. Perry (Ghost Whisperer) and several other busy and guarded professionals who are hard to reach. How does a midlist author make these valuable connections without spending thousands of dollars for publicists who have those contacts? In this workshop, she’ll tell you just what she does—the right and wrong ways to approach people, and how you can do it too.

2:00pm – 3:00pm Berkey Room. Horror Comics in the New Millennium

Moderators: James Chambers

Speakers: Crystal O’Leary-Davidson, Weston Ochse, Steven Graham Jones, Chad Stroup, Michele Brittany

In the 1950s, horror comics employed the commonly horrific—vampires, zombies, ghosts, werewolves—to explore themes of paranoia/McCarthyism, threats of foreign invasion, the dangers of promiscuity. Changes in Post-World War II society that some people saw as threatening the status quo.  In the new millennia, comics like Come Into Me (social media) and Infidel (racism) have risen in popularity and explore new social issues. Join our panelists as they discuss this how the themes of horror comics have changed over the years, and what they think the future holds.

2:00pm – 3:00pm Emerald Room. Interview with our 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient — Graham Masterton.

Moderators: John R. Little

Speakers: Graham Masterton

Bram Stoker Award® winner John R. Little interviews the HWA’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient—Graham Masterton.

2:00pm – 3:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 10

Kathe Koja, Carol Gyzander

2:00pm – 3:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Writing Horror For Kids and Teens

Moderators: N.R. (Nancy) Lambert

Speakers: Jonathan Maberry, Lucy A Snyder, Linda D. Addison, Josh Malerman, Gaby Triana

Kids love scary stories. But how dark is too dark? Our panelists discuss how to write entertaining, age-appropriate horror literature for younger readers, including the upcoming HWA members only anthology, New Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.

2:00pm – 4:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Master Plotting Crash Course

Speakers: John Skipp

Learn Skipp’s ultimate tag team storyboarding technique! You’ll uncover more about your next novel or screenplay in two short hours than you can possibly believe, and walk away with huge chunks of your outline in hand. The tricks you learn in this class will last you a lifetime.
Course requirements: pack of 3 inch X 5 inch index cards (at least a hundred), one bold Sharpee, your best penmanship, and a story you’re excited to tell.

2:15pm – 3:15pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Librarians Day — Podcasting 101

Moderators: Scott Edelman, Brian Keene, Lisa Quigley, Mackenzie Kiera

Join award winning Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror writer and editor, as well as podcaster [Eating the Fantastic] Scott Edelman as he moderates a panel about those who have started their own successful podcasts and YouTube book channels. Already confirmed to appear is author and podcaster Brian Keene, as well as Lisa Quigley and Mackenzie Kiera, the team behind the popular Ladies of the Fright podcast.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Beta Readers: The Secret to Better Writing

Moderators: Rena Mason

Speakers: James Chambers, JG Faherty, Patrick Freivald, Chris Marrs

Twelve eyes are better than two! Self-editing can only get a writer so far; having good beta readers to review your work can make the difference between getting that story or novel published or having it produce nothing but rejection letters. A panel of award-nominated and award-winning writers will provide insight not only on how to effectively beta read, but also what to look for when seeking out beta readers.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Grand View Room A. Exit Stage Death: Writing Horror for the Stage

Moderators: Kevin Wetmore, Jr.

Speakers: April Grey, Brad Hodson, Kyla Lee Ward

Theater brings a proximity to the audience that movies simply cannot replicate. The recent success of Hamilton shows that people still crave live interaction. Even Guest of Honor Josh Malerman chose to contribute a stage play for the souvenir book. Horror theater is alive and well! Panelists will discuss the history, theory, and practice of putting elements designed to cause fear on the stage, as well as the challenges of adaptation, practical tips on how to write scary for the stage, and how to confront the challenges of writing plays for audiences raised on cinema and television.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 11

Donna Lynch, Sara Tantlinger, Saba Razvi

3:00pm – 4:00pm Berkey Room. Representation in Horror: Writing Disabled, Disfigured, and Chronically Ill Characters

Moderators: Krystal Hammond

Speakers: R. Leigh Hennig, Linda D. Addison, Josh Boone

The horror genre is full of disabled, disfigured, and chronically ill characters (e.g. A Quiet Place, Misery, Hush, The Shape of Water, and Before I Wake—just to name a few). But sometimes these portrayals fall short, playing into negative stereotypes or falling into “inspiration porn” that actually perpetuates stigma against disabled people. As horror writers, we can do better. At this panel, we’ll tackle a number of questions, including: What are some good (and bad) examples of disabled representation? What are the big pitfalls to be aware of, and how can a writer avoid them? Why does good representation matter? And, what are some tools that a writer can employ while creating a unique cast that is inclusive of these types of characters?

3:00pm – 4:00pm Thornapple Room. The Truth Inside the Lie: An Examination of Peter Straub’s Use of the Unreliable Narrator

Moderators: Brian W. Matthews

Speakers: Anton Cancre, John Taff, Douglas Winter

Koko. lost boy, lost girl. In The Room. The Throat. Common among these Peter Straub novels is one thing: the unreliable narrator. Someone who cannot be completely trusted in a story. The unreliable narrator confuses readers, leaves them unsettled about his role—what he is about and what are his goals. This creates an atmosphere of psychological tension throughout the novels, especially The Throat. Our panelists discuss Straub’s use of the unreliable narrator and the techniques he and other authors have used to create such memorable characters.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Emerald Room. Thrills And Chills: Horror And Cross-Genre Thrillers

Moderators: Jonathan Maberry

Scary is back! Cross-genre thrillers that draw on elements of the paranormal and supernatural are burning up the bookshelves in the adult and young adult markets.  New York Times bestseller and multiple Bram Stoker Award® winner Jonathan Maberry shares the inside scoop on how to write and sell this new breed of fast-paced shiver-inducing cross-genre thriller.

3:30pm – 5:00pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Librarians Day — Small Publishers, Big Voices

Moderators: Becky Spratford

Speakers: Lesley Conner, Don D’Auria, Christopher C. Payne, Jonathan Janz, Erik T Johnson, Josh Malerman, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Gwendolyn Kiste, Jennifer Barnes

Becky will moderate a panel of some of her favorite small presses whose books you should consider carrying in your libraries. This panel will present the upcoming titles for each publisher and highlight some of the authors. These presses may be small but they are attracting big name and award winning talent. If you are only ordering your horror from the “Big 5,” you are missing out.  Confirmed to appear:

  • Grady Hendrix talk about his Paperbacks From Hell line debuting in 2019 from Valancourt Books.
  • StokerCon 2019 Guest of Honor Josh Malerman and Erik Johnson talk about their upcoming book.
  • StokerCon 2019 Guest of Honor Stephanie Wytovich and Jennifer Barnes from Raw Dog Screaming Press discuss their upcoming titles.
  • Christopher Payne and Gwendolyn Kiste discuss JournalStone’s upcoming titles.
  • Don D’Auria from Flame Tree Press and author Jonathan Janz discuss their upcoming titles.
  • Lesley Conner from APEX Publications and author Jerry Gordon.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Berkey Room A. How to Start a Regional HWA Chapter

Moderators: Andy Davidson

Speakers: David Powell, Jeff Strand, Crystal O’Leary-Davidson, Brian Kirk, Cherry Weiner

Being part of a supportive, like-minded community of writers is one of the many benefits of the HWA. But what happens after StokerCon? How can we continue to be active members of the horror-writing community throughout the year, and what are the benefits of doing so? In this panel, members of the HWA’s newly formed Atlanta Chapter will discuss the process, challenges, and rewards of setting up a regional chapter of the organization.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Emerald Room. Poetry Open Mic

Speakers: Linda D. Addison

Poets unite! Bram Stoker Award® and Lifetime Achievement Award winning author and poet Linda D. Addison hosts an open mic session for poetry readings.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 12

Sarah Hans, Usman Malik, Nicole Cushing

4:00pm – 5:00pm Grand View Room A. Setting and Tone: How to Create the Fright Mood

Moderators: Eric J. Guignard

Speakers: Alma Katsu, Michael Kozlowski, John Palisano, Patrick Freivald, Yvonne Navarro

You have a great story, but now you want to set the right mood for your reader. A creaking door. A rattle of a tree limb against a window. A whisper you can barely hear. These can help set your tone, but you have need more tools in your repertoire. Our panelists discuss the techniques they have used to get the perfect tone for a story, what elements have fallen into cliché, and what will break the tension you’ve worked hard to create.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Thornapple Room. Triumphs and Tribulations of Underrepresented Voices in Horror

Moderators: Leza Cantoral

Speakers: Larissa Glasser, R. Leigh Hennig, Violet Castro

Over the past decade, the strive for diversity in speculative and horror fiction has gained traction. No longer content with old-guard monoculture, audience and creators have indicated their propensity for minority voices in literature and readiness to become part of the cultural landscape. This has been met with backlash from certain sources resistant to change in the genre they love. The #MeToo movement has also given agency to voices previously underrepresented. This panel will examine what drew us to writing as a way of confronting oppression, the obstacles we face as content creators, audience expectations, and how we might succeed moving forward and encourage others to do the same.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Grand View Room B-C. When The Mission Goes FUBAR: Horror In The Military

Moderators: Weston Ochse

Speakers: Lee Murray, Jonathan Maberry, Brian Keene

Do you love the weird? Do you love action? Do you love the military? This is the panel for you. Join award-winning authors Weston Ochse, Lee Murray, Brian Keene, and Jonathan Maberry as they discuss the use of military in horror stories, their love of the characters they create, and how they craft realistic action scenes involving the military.

5:00pm – 6:30pm Crown Foyer. Mass Autograph Session And Ice Cream Social

Join us in the Crown Foyer and Dealer Room for a mass autograph session, along with an Ice Cream Social. While you’re there, check out what our vendors and exhibitors have to offer. While the mass signing lasts from 5 pm – 6:30 pm, the Ice Cream Social will only last from 5 pm until 6 pm.

7:45pm – 9:45pm Ambassador Ballroom West. 4th Annual Final Frame Short Film Competition

Moderators: Jonathan Lees

Speakers: Antonio D’Intino, Lynne Hansen, Lisa Morton, Josh Malerman, Josh Boone, Jonathan Maberry, John Skipp

The Final Frame Film Competition has become a fixture at StokerCon™. This year’s lineup promises to be truly terrifying, including two short films recently screened at the Sundance Film Festival. 

Hosted by Jonathan Lees, this year’s judges include Josh Boone, Lisa Morton, John Skipp, Josh Malerman, Lynn Hansen, Antonio D’Intino, and Jonathan Maberry. Door open at 7:45 pm. The event starts at 8:00 pm. We kindly ask that participants remain in the room while films are screened. If you need to leave, please wait until there is a break between film screenings.

9:45pm – 10:00pm Crown Foyer. Final Frame Short Film Competition Reception

The Final Frame Short Film Competition is finished! Now join us in the Crown Foyer for a catered reception, including a Beer City Mac and Cheese bar, along with a cash bar for drinks.

10:00pm – 10:15pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Final Frame Short Film Competition Awards Presentation

Join us for the presentation of the Final Frame Short Film Competition award presentation.

11:00pm – 12:00am Ambassador Ballroom West. Midnight Special: The Art of Darkness Ballroom West

Speakers: Kathe Koja

Darkness can be a friend or a foe, or both—and it can be art. StokerCon™ 2019 Guest of Honor Kathe Kojais a playwright and director as well as a novelist, producing live immersive performances, shows that offer the audience a chance to breathe deep, listen hard, and become part of the experience. Some of her past shows include “Dracula” and “ALI<E.” 

Join Kathe as she creates “The Art of Darkness” along with the audience and convention guests, making a story in real time, together, in the dark.

The show starts promptly at 11 pm. Due to the nature of the performance, we request that event attendees stay for the entire forty-five minute presentation. Entering during the performance will be prohibited, and leaving will be discouraged.


8:00am – 10:00am Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Saying More With Less: Word Economy in Writing Genre Fiction

Speakers: Patrick Freivald

Through examples and work on their own 500-word sample, participants will explore common types of overwriting and how to get more out of each word they put on the page, while maintaining content, tone, and style.

8:00am – 4:00pm Ruby Room. Hospitality Room

A place to rest and recharge. Coffee in the morning. Water in the afternoon.

9:00am – 10:00am Winchester Room. Reading Block 13

Michael Potts, Nicole Castle-Kelly, Shad Kelly

9:00am – 10:00am Berkey Room. Room reserved for HWA Board and StokerCon business

9:00am – 10:30am Ambassador Ballroom West. Inclusiveness in the Horror Genre: Are We Doing Enough?

Moderators: Linda D. Addison

Speakers: Gabino Iglesias, Norman Prentiss, John Lawson, Kaaron Warren, Stephanie M. Wytovich

Horror lives independent of gender, race, sexual orientation, or religious belief. While efforts have been made to elevate the importance of inclusiveness, are we as a group doing enough to promote and advocate for inclusiveness, not only in our writing, but among ourselves? Bram Stoker Award® winning author and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Linda Addison moderates a discussion of inclusiveness with Guests of Honor Kaaron Warren and Stephanie Wytovich, Norman Prentiss, Gabino Iglesias, and John Edward Lawson. The session will include a question and answer period.

9:00am – 11:00am Thornapple Room. Horror University — Research and Write Horror Non-Fiction

Speakers: Kevin Wetmore, Jr.

This course will review the different types of non-fiction, examine the different venues in which such material can be published (magazines, websites, journals, blogs, publishers of books, etc.), review research processes, examine the pitfalls and challenges, and finally consider the actual process of writing non-fiction. Participants will walk away with a list of potential markets as well as the beginnings of a piece of non-fiction writing to be developed for publication.

10:00am – 10:30am Ambassador Ballroom East. Meet the Authors —JournalStone

Speakers: F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry

10:00am – 11:00am Grand View Room A. Fairy Tales: A Child’s Introduction to Horror

Moderators: Carina Bissett

Speakers: April Grey, Gwendolyn Kiste, Donna Munro

Most children get their first exposure to horror reading the tales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (The Brothers Grimm). Replete with scary monsters, cruel step-parents, and evil forces, the fairy tales highlighted the dangers of strangers, greed, and independence (or what parents at that time would call rebelliousness). Join our panelists as they discuss the evolution of the fairy tale and how the dangers they portray translate into today’s society.

10:00am – 11:00am Emerald Room. He Said… What? How Dialogue Can Make or Break A Story

Moderators: Meghan Arcuri

Speakers: Amy Grech, Tatisha Booker, John R. Little, Sarah Read

For many, dialogue drives the story. It helps establish character, motivation, mood, and pacing. But dialogue isn’t easy. Writers often use too much dialogue when a little goes a long way. Our panelists explore the uses and abuses of dialogue and how you can fine tune your dialogue skills to make your story hum.

10:00am – 11:00am Grand View Room B-C. Library-Author Partnerships: How To Work Together To Find Readers

Moderators: JG Faherty

Speakers: Cathleen Russ, Lesley Conner, Becky Spratford, Emily Vinci, Anita Siraki

Join a panel of librarians, who together have amassed decades of experience working with horror authors and readers, to learn how to work with your local library- public or academic. Learn how to get your book into your library’s collection, how you can help with programming, and most importantly, how NOT to behave. The panel will also discuss, in detail, the brand new HWA Summer Scares initiative aimed at connecting horror books with more readers across all age levels and how every HWA author can participate, even if your title is not one of the nine official selections.

10:00am – 11:00am Berkey Room. Little Bites: Writing the Short Horror Film

Moderators: Lenore Sagaskie

Speakers: Asher Ellis, Brad Hodson, Lynne Hansen, Jonathan Lees

The short film, much like the short story, is often overlooked in favor of its larger and longer counterpart. However, short horror films can be an immensely rewarding experience for both their creators and audience. With the help of film festivals and the internet, short films can even evolve into full-sized monsters, as proven by films like CARGO (2013) and LIGHTS OUT (2013).   This panel will explore where to find ideas, how to contain a narrative to ten pages, and what venues to explore once the script is complete.

10:00am – 11:00am Winchester Room. Reading Block 14

Angel McCoy, Chad Stroup, Mark Hauer

10:00am – 12:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Making the Reader Squirm

Speakers: Michael Arnzen

This two hour workshop will cover insider tricks and tactics for crafting horror imagery — not just by employing familiar horror tropes, but by making direct appeals to the reader’s sensorium — generating feelings that really hit readers in the guts. It will include a live writing activity with the aim of improving description of a gory or scary scene. Open to novelists, poets, flash fiction writers … anyone looking to sharpen their writing skills — from the crafty suspense writer to anyone eager to “go for the gross out.”

10:00am – 6:00pm Ambassador Ballroom East. Dealer Room

Dealer Room opens.

11:00am – 12:00pm Emerald Room. Author Readings: Captivating Your Audience Is As Easy As…

Moderators: Thomas F. Monteleone

Speakers: Ricky Grove, Tim Waggoner, F. Paul Wilson, Josh Malerman, Jonathan Maberry

Multi-award winning author Thomas Monteleone hosts a panel of top readers to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and innovative ways to capture your audience.

11:00am – 12:00pm Grand View Room A. Promoting Yourself for the Bram Stoker Awards®

Moderators: Angel McCoy

Speakers: James Chambers, Rena Mason

Learn what you can and can’t do to promote your work to HWA members for the Bram Stoker Awards. We’ll give you tips you can use to get the word out about your publications and will answer questions from the audience. Publishers and authors both will find this useful.

11:00am – 12:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 15

N.R. (Nancy) Lambert, Kaaron Warren

11:00am – 12:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Introduction to Deconstruction

Speakers: Johnny Worthen

Deeper reading for deeper writing. Consciously or unconsciously, meaning is hidden beneath signs and facades in literature, layered in word choice and focus. Through shared reading, discussion and meaning and themes, we will learn to consciously see what our subconscious feels within a text, those elements that unite and undercut, but always elevate craft into art. Once you understand deconstruction, your reading and your writing will never be the same.

11:00am – 12:00pm Thornapple Room. Why Does Horror Matter — an Exploration of the Relevance and — Dare We Say —Necessity of Horror in a Tumultuous World

Moderators: Mackenzie Kiera, Lisa Quigley

Speakers: Gabino Iglesias, Stephen Graham Jones, Kathryn McGee, Becky Spratford

A LIVE recording of a Ladies of the Fright podcast! Dive into what horror means to the panelists and what it means to society. What has it been? What makes horror relevant and compelling in our current socio-political times? Why do you write and read horror? What is horror, for that matter?

11:00am – 12:30pm Ambassador Ballroom West. From Books to the Big Screen: Screenwriting and Adapting Novels into Screenplays

Moderators: Lisa Morton

Speakers: Josh Boone

HWA president Lisa Morton and Hollywood writer/director Josh Boone discuss their experiences with screenwriting and adapting novels into screenplays. The panel will include a Q&A session.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Grand View Room A. Bloody or Creepy: Can It Ever Be Too Much?

Speakers: Nicole Cushing, Asher Eillis, John Taff, Jeff Strand, John Skipp

Sometimes horror writers feel the need to resort to gore to try to make the story scary. What are the pros and cons of going the route of gore in the work?

12:00pm – 1:00pm Emerald Room. Clive Barker’s Books of Blood — 35 years on

Moderators: Larissa Glasser

Speakers: John Lawson, Paul Christop, Douglas Winter, Graham Masterton

When Clive Barker published The Books of Blood in 1984, horror fiction readers took to its storytelling power, diversity of setting and character, and astonishing gore. As 2019 marks the 35th anniversary of The Books, their power and relevance persist. What are some of your choice stories? What do you think of some of their adaptation to film? What might explain Barker’s path from theater to horror fiction to film directing? Do you have any technical/craft issues with some of the stories? What from them inspires you? What do The Books suggest about life during the Thatcher/Reagan era? Barker was one of the first dark/fantasy fiction authors to come out as gay before it was fully above-ground in mainstream Western culture–did you see his work in a different light than other writers?

12:00pm – 1:00pm Berkey Room. Financial Planning for Writers

Moderators: JG Faherty

Speakers: Yvonne Navarro, Patricia V. Davis, Weston Ochse, Brian Matthews

JG Faherty moderates a panel discussion about financial planning for writers. Brian Matthews has worked in the financial planning field for twenty years and is a Certified Financial Planning Professional (CFP®). Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, and Patricia Davis will add their personal experiences regarding the need for financial planning for the writing professional.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 16

Meghan Arcuri, Tim Waggoner, Andy Lockwood

12:00pm – 1:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Weird Poetry Panel: Weird, Horror & Otherwise Speculative Poetry

Moderators: David Cowen

Speakers: Donna Lynch, Sara Tantlinger, Marge Simon, Frank Coffman, Randy Rubin, Mary Turzillo

A panel of published Weird Poets (horror, supernatural, and otherwise speculative) discuss the nature of Weird/Horrific poetry and the state of same today.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Thornapple Room. Reading Block 17

James Chambers, Alma Katsu, Donald J. Bingle

12:00pm – 2:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — More Scary Forms: The World of Structured Poetry for All Writers

Speakers: Linda D. Addison

For poets, fiction, non-fiction writers: a workshop to play with the different forms of poetry to increase the ability to use less words, to say more; heighten reader emotional reaction, clarify your style/voice and handle writing blocks. We will explore several poetry shapes and their rules to understand how they are created. Time will be available for attendees to practice writing, including creating writing “seeds”.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Grand View Room A. Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past

Speakers: J.L. Gribble

Join author and editor J.L. Gribble for an overview of the alternate history genre, followed by world-building activities with audience interaction to create various alternate histories of our own. Appropriate for both readers and creators.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Reserved

1:00pm – 2:00pm Emerald Room. Not One Word Wasted: The Art of the Short Story

Moderators: John R. Little

Speakers: Yvonne Navarro, John Palisano, David Busboom, Lisa Morton

When you have less than five thousands words to tell a complete story, you must be simple and direct, while keeping your reader interested. Our panelists discuss the art of the short story: how narrow a scope, where to place your emphasis, and how to wrap up the ending.

1:00pm – 2:30pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Robert McCammon Q&A

Speakers: Jonathan Maberry, Robert R. McCammon

Multiple Bram Stoker Award® winning author Jonathan Maberry interviews special Guest of Honor, New York Times bestselling author and co-founder of the Horror Writers Association, Robert McCammon, including a question and answer period after the interview.

1:00pm – 4:00pm Berkey Room. Vampire: An All Female RPG Game

Moderators: Karen Bovenmyer

Speakers: Joanna Nelius, Lee Murray, Kaaron Warren, Kathleen Kaufman

A gaming session of all-female players. Attendees are welcome to come and cheer on your favorite player.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Pitch Session Panel

Moderators: Rena Mason, Chris Marrs, Anita Siraki

Speakers: Antonio D’Intino, Jennifer Barnes, Norman Prentiss, Christopher C. Payne, Leza Cantoral, Lesley Conner, Johnny Worthen, Kate Jonez, Don D’Auria, Cherry Weiner

Are you scheduled to pitch a story during Stokercon™? We recommend you attend this session to hear the do’s and don’t’s from the people who will be hearing your pitch. And if you have never pitched before, we strongly recommend you attend. The information you learn could make your pitch all the more effective.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Thornapple Room. Reading Block 18

Stephanie M. Wytovich, David Cowen

1:00pm – 2:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 19

April Grey, Michael Arnzen, Bob Eccles

2:00pm – 3:00pm Emerald Room. The Agony and the Ecstasy of Writing Workshops

Moderators: Thomas F. Monteleone

Speakers: Douglas Winter, Tom Deady, Anita Siraki, Meghan Arcuri, F. Paul Wilson

Join Borderland Bootcamp instructors and alumni as they discuss their experiences with this writing workshop. 

2:00pm – 3:00pm Grand View Room A. Writing Just Enough: The Novella

Speakers: JG Faherty, Ellen Datlow, Angela Yuriko Smith, Usman Malik, Michael Bailey

Advances in technology have resulted in a surge of new novels entering the market yearly, making competition for readers even more fierce. How do we adapt? Enter the novella. These works of longer fiction are giving novels a run for their money. Independent presses have published increasing numbers of novellas and novella collections, while major houses have launched dedicated novella programs online. What does this mean for authors? What are some of the most notable works of long, horror fiction of recent years?

2:00pm – 4:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — From Indie to Traditional: Every Dirty Little Secret You Need to Know

Speakers: J.D. Barker

J.D. Barker successfully published his debut as an indie and sold enough copies to land on the radar of the traditional publishers in a BIG way including seven figure advances, two feature films and a television program. He’ll open his toolbox and explain exactly what he did to make it happen. This is a not-to-be-missed session for any aspiring author or seasoned veteran trying to find their place in today’s publishing world.

2:00pm – 3:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Going Wide – How to Reach an International Audience with E-books

Speaker: Kinga Jentetics

Today publishing has never been more diverse, inclusive and global with the help of self-publishing. The best way to increase your book sales is into tap new markets such as Europe, China, or India, and to be among the first authors who understand how these multi-billion-dollar markets work. Speculative fiction at large, and horror in particular, are both doing well in self-publishing. So, if you want to understand how you can reach an international audience, this is your chance. This session by Kinga Jentetics of PublishDrive will cover the best examples and case studies to leverage the power of global publishing, and learn new tactics that you can work with immediately.

2:00pm – 4:00pm Pantlind Ballroom. Pitch Sessions

Speakers: Antonio D’Intino, Jennifer Barnes, Leza Cantoral, Lesley Conner, Johnny Worthen, Norman Prentiss, Don D’Auria, Christopher C. Payne, Kate Jonez, Rena Mason, Cherry Weiner

The StokerCon™ 2019 Pitch Sessions. Preregistration required. If possible, please arrive thirty minutes prior to your assigned time slot, as pitch sessions sometimes run ahead of schedule.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Ambassador Ballroom West. 120 Years of Dracula from Myth to Movies and much, much more…

Speakers: Dacre Stoker

A fast-paced survey originating with the actual vampire hysteria of the 1700’s in Europe through vampires in literature, on stage, movies, television, musicals, opera, merchandise, etc. This presentation appeals to the casual and hardcore Vampire fans alike.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Emerald Room. African American Images in Horror

Moderators: Marc Abbott

Speakers: Rhonda Jackson Joseph, Tatisha Booker, John Lawson

African Americans are becoming more widely seen in the genre. This panel will look at and discuss how their stories are being told. We’ll look back at the genre over the years at African American involvement as it pertains to shaping memorable characters, their take on traditional horror monsters and themes and how POC are being developed to be more than just sidekicks or tropes.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Grand View Room A. Married and in the Business

Moderators: Brian Matthews

Speakers: Lynne Hansen, Jeff Strand, Crystal O’Leary-Davidson, Andy Davidson, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse

What’s it like to be married and in the business? 

2:00pm – 3:00pm Thornapple Room. Reading Block 20

Weston Ochse, Brent Michael Kelley

2:00pm – 3:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 21

Scott Edelman, Marc Abbott, Steve van Patten

3:00pm – 4:00pm Grand View Room B-C. When Your Life Becomes the Horror Story: Writing Through Personal Tragedy

Moderators: Krystal Hammond

Speakers: Cynthia Peyalo, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Brian Keene, Mary Turzillo

Life is terrible sometimes. Loved ones die. Disease threatens. Disasters tear a stable, productive life to rags. How do we, as writers, approach our craft in times of personal crisis? Is it even possible to write when you’re in the middle of a catastrophe? Hear from writers who have been through life’s ringer about how they handled hardship and writing, and how they came through on the other side.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Emerald Room. 100 Years of Horror Movies: The Legacy of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Moderators: Nicholas Diak

Speakers: Stephanie M. Wytovich, Andy Davidson, Amanda Trujillo, Josh Boone, John Skipp, Jonathan Lees

Made in 1919, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is widely recognized as the first true horror movie and continues to be upheld as a sophisticated example of film-making. This panel will evaluate the impact of the film on horror over the next 100 years, from specific influences (e.g., the twist ending, Expressionism in Universal horror films) to general trends in horror films (e.g., monsters, serial killers, psychological thrillers–all of which descriptions could apply to Cabinet of Caligari) and how Cabinet of Caligari continues to be relevant a century later.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Grand View Room A. Creating Memorable Villains

Moderators: John Palisano

Speakers: Brandon McNulty, William Malmborg, J.D. Barker, Lucy A Snyder

Count Dracula. Annie Wilkes. Hannibal Lecter. Norman Bates. The names alone evoke a feeling of dread. Creating a memorable villain is arguably the pinnacle of storytelling. But… what made them infamous? Our panelists explore horror literature’s great villains, what characteristics made them stand out, techniques the authors used to make them so notably evil, and what you can do to try and create the next great villain.

3:00pm – 4:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 22

Gwendolyn Kiste, Valerie Williams, Michael Cieslak

3:00pm – 4:00pm Thornapple Room. Reading Block 23

Kevin Lucia, Matt Betts, Chris Ringle

4:00pm – 5:00pm Grand View Room B-C. Twisted Tropes: Making the Common Uncommon

Moderators: Rob E. Boley

Speakers: John Kachuba, Kyla Lee Ward, Meghan Arcuri, Michael Arnzen

Tropes in horror writing are recognizable: vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts. Most get in the way of good stories. This panel will discuss past successes at twisting these tropes into something fresh and explore how you can create your own unique approach to tropes.

4:00pm – 6:00pm Heritage Hill Room. Horror University — Audiobooks: Another Revenue Stream For Writers

Speakers: Angel McCoy

Do you have a box of short stories, novelettes, or novels that you’d like to resurrect? These days, you can do so without having to pay any money up-front. Learn how to get your works into the audio format and added to the  as audiobooks! We’ll go over what it takes to have someone else record your book, or what it will take for you to narrate it yourself. Bring an excerpt. Everyone will have the opportunity to practice narrating with a session director.

4:00pm – 5:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 24

Adam LaFrance, Robin Reed, Brian Keene

4:00pm – 5:00pm Thornapple Room. Reading Block 25

Gavin Pate, Yvonne Navarro, Michael Bailey

5:00pm – 6:00pm Thornapple Room. Reading Block 26

Randy D. Rubin, John Lawson, Linda D. Addison

5:00pm – 6:00pm Winchester Room. Reading Block 27

Janice McLeach, Lucy A Snyder, Carina Bissett

6:00pm – 7:00pm Crown Foyer. Bram Stoker Awards® Cocktail Reception

Join us for a pre-banquet cocktail reception. Cash bar available.

7:00pm – 8:00pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet

Speakers: Lisa Morton

The Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet. Ticket purchase required.

8:00pm – 10:00pm Ambassador Ballroom West. Bram Stoker Awards®

Speakers: Jonathan Maberry

Join emcee Jonathan Maberry for the presentation of the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards®, as well as the Specialty Press Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Mentor of the Year Award, Richard Laymon Award, and the HWA Silver Hammer Award.

10:00pm – 12:00am Pantlind Ballroom. Bram Stoker Awards® After Party


9:00am – 12:00pm Ambassador Ballroom East. Dealer Room

The Dealer Room opens.

11:00am – 12:00pm Emerald Room. HWA General Meeting

Moderators: Lisa Morton

Speakers: JG Faherty, Linda D. Addison, Ellen Datlow, Brad Hodson, Marge Simon, Becky Spratford

HWA General Meeting. Learn about the current state of the Horror Writers Association.

12:00pm – 1:00pm Emerald Room. Closing Ceremonies

Moderators: Lisa Morton

Speakers: Josh Boone, Kathe Koja, Josh Malerman, Robert R. McCammon, Kaaron Warren, Stephanie M. Wytovich

Come celebrate the closing of StokerCon™ 2019, and hear about StokerCon™ 2020.