Programming Schedule

M. Wallace, Nicole Cushing, Hank Schwaeble, Alvaro Zinos Amaro, Stephen Graham Jones, Stoker Con 2017.


The Stoker Con 2018 Convention Committee is pleased to announce our preliminary programming schedule!

Please note that programming planning is still in progress. All days, times, and moderators posted here are subject to change. Panels will be added, and some may be dropped. A final programming schedule will be published by mid-February. This schedule does not include Horror University Workshops, readings, or other special items. Questions or comments may be sent to

The author reading schedule has now been posted! Click here.



Programming Item Time Description
Independent Publishing: Outlook for the Future (Moderator: Kate Jonez; Panelists: John Edward Lawson, John McIlveen, Olivia Monteleone) 4:00 PM Indie publishing accounts for more and more books published each year. Quantity doesn’t equal quality, but many indie presses are giving major publishing houses a run for their money. What are the best practices for independent publishing. What does the future hold? What advantages do independent publishers offer to authors? What risks? What opportunities exist for major publishing houses and indie publishers to work together?
Mr. Vampire and Bio Zombie: The Hong Kong Horror Film (Moderator: Lisa Morton; Panelist: Grady Hendrix) 4:00 PM Once upon a time, the Hong Kong film industry produced nearly 500 feature films a year, and a lot of those were horror movies with titles like Mr. Vampire, We Are Going to Eat You, and A Chinese Ghost Story. Join two acknowledged experts in Hong Kong cinema – Grady Hendrix, co-founder of Subway Cinema and the influential New York Asian Film Festival, and Lisa Morton, author of The Cinema of Tsui Hark, for a freewheeling exploration of some of the world’s wildest horror flicks.
What’s Left to Say About the Dead that Walk? (Moderator: Marc Abbott; Panelists: Jennifer Brozek, Scott Edelman, Craig Engler, Kristine Scheiner, Daniel Waters) 4:00 PM Have we reached “peak zombie?” Given the seemingly endless popularity of zombies in horror fiction and media it seems unlikely! Why do zombies remain so beloved by horror fans after more than twenty years of non-stop popularity in fiction, comics, television, and movies? What makes the walking dead so resilient? Are there still fresh, original stories to tell here?
Beta Readers – The Secret to Better Writing (Moderator: JG Faherty; Panelists: James Chambers, Patrick Freivald, Chris Marrs, Rena Mason) 5:00 PM Ten eyes are better than two! Self-editing can only take 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 provide insight not only on how to effectively beta read, what to look for when seeking out beta readers, and how to use your beta-readers’ feedback.
Crowdfunding for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (Moderator: Angel Leigh McCoy; Panelists: Michael Bailey, Rob Boley, John McIlveen) 5:00 PM While the publishing industry continues to evolve in response to new technology and media platforms, crowdfunding via Web sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have become more popular for authors and publishers. Panelists will discuss the ups and downs of crowdfunding, what to expect from a crowdfunding campaign, and tips for success.
Public Readings: Tips for Success (Moderator: F.R. Michaels; Panelists: Marc Abbott, Teel James Glenn, Ricky Grove, Elizabeth Massie, Thomas F. Monteleone) 5:00 PM Some authors love them Some authors dread them. All authors want to know how do them well. What are some of the best techniques for delivering a successful public reading? How can authors overcome nerves? What are some tips and techniques for engaging listeners and keeping their attention?
Word Games: Writing Fiction vs. Games (Moderator: Danielle DeLisle; Panelists: Karen Bovenmyer, Bill Bridges, Crystal O’Leary-Davidson) 5:00 PM How do writing fiction and writing games differ? How are they the same? Map out the Venn diagram of game writing with our panelists.
Robert H. Barlow Centennial Celebration @ The John Hay Library (Presenter: Paul LaFarge) 5:30 PM Join Paul LaFarge of Brown University’s John Hay Library for a special discussion of author, poet, and Lovecraft associate R. H. Barlow on the centennial of his birth year. Please note: This free event takes place off premises at the John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, but requires pre-registration online or at convention registration. Click here to register. (90 minutes)
Monster TV: Zombies, Vampires, and Beyond (Moderator: Brad C. Hodson; Panelists: Craig Engler, Michael Gingold) 6:00 PM Horror fans are living in a golden era for horror television. Television series such as American Horror Story, Bates Motel, The Walking Dead, Z Nation, and many others have brought serious and inventive horror to the small screen and wider audiences than ever before. Why is horror TV so popular now? How are current horror series different than popular shows of the past? Where does horror TV go from here?
The Scariest Guy In America: A Jack Ketchum Tribute (Moderator: Douglas E. Winter; Panelists: Linda Addison, Michael Bailey, Jack Haringa, Christopher Golden, Elizabeth Massie, Thomas F. Monteleone, F. Paul Wilson) 6:00 PM Join a group of leading horror writers in discussing the life and works of horror grand master, Jack Ketchum.
OPENING CEREMONIES (Moderator: Lisa Morton; Panelists: Ramsey Campbell, Craig Engler, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Massie, Sam Weller) 8:00 PM The official welcome and opening of Stoker Con 2018! Come meet our Guests of Honor, mingle with fellow attendees, and learn about what’s in store at Stoker Con 2018. Reception with light catering and cash bar.
Alfredo–A Tragedy (Moderator: Kevin Wetmore Jr.; Readers: Marc Abbott, Ramsey Campbell, James Chambers, Teel James Glenn, Ricky Grove, Lynne Hansen, Grady Hendrix, Elizabeth Massie, Lisa Morton, Jeff Strand, Amanda Trujillo) 11:00 PM A special dramatic reading of H.P. Lovecraft’s only play, directed by Kevin Wermore Jr. and read by a selection of Stoker Con GOHs and attendees.


Programming Item Time Description
Dangerous Dames (Moderator: Meghan Arcuri-Moran; Panelists: Mary Ann Back, Amy Grech, April Grey, Elizabeth Massie) 10:00 AM Published female authors discuss how they thrive in the male-dominated Horror genre. How do they navigate the wilds of publishing, scare up a captive audience, and keep them coming back for more…
The Doom That Came to Providence: Call of Cthulhu Live RPG (Moderator: Bill Bridges; Players: Oliver Baer, Danielle DeLisle, and Other Brave Souls Prepared to Risk Their Sanity!) 10:00 AM Bill Bridges leads a brave group of Stoker Con panelists through a live tabletop RPG game of Call of Cthulhu. Something’s not right in Providence! Can the players solve the mystery before they all go stark-raving mad? (Two hours)
Pulp Horror in 2018 (Moderator: Teel James Glenn; Panelists: Paul DiFillipo, Larissa Glasser, James Moore, S.A. Sidor, F. Paul Wilson) 10:00 AM Popular Horror fiction that began with Poe and Bierce and the penny dreadfuls entered its adolescence with the pulp magazines of the 20s, 30 and 40s. Books like Dime Mystery, Horror Stories, Terror Tales, Spicy Mystery, Thrilling Mystery and the legendary Weird Tales allowed modern masters like Bradbury, Bloch, Lovecraft and Howard to perfect their craft. This panel will explore pulp horror then and its modern incarnations now. What are the tropes that make it “pulp” and who are those writers exploring and warping those tropes today?
How (Not) to Win the Bram Stoker Award (Moderator: Rena Mason; Panelists: Patrick Freivald, Eric J. Guignard, Lisa Morton, John Palisano, Marge Simon) 11:00 AM Sometimes called “the Oscar of the horror genre,” the Bram Stoker Award is horror’s oldest and most prestigious award. This panel will discuss the award’s history, how the awards are administered, facts and trivia about the award, and how authors can and cannot promote their own works for the award.
Knock Out Fight Scenes (Moderator: Lee Murray; Panelists: Alan Baxter, Teel James Glenn, James Moore, J.H. Moncrieff, Tim Waggoner) 12:00 PM This how-to panel will dissect the elements of a kick-ass fight scene, with insights and suggestions from real-life experts to have you writing visceral, realistic action. Covering all manner of weapons from ball-points to ballistics, and arming you with blow-by-blow writing techniques, this panel will give your hero all they need to know to take on a soldier, a section, or a supernatural being
Shirley Jackson: Master of Horror (Moderator: Jack Haringa; Panelists: Jennifer Barnes, Karen Bovenmyer, Nicole Cushing, Gwendolyn Kiste, Paul Tremblay) 12:00 PM Any list of major horror authors in the 20th century typically includes H.P. Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, and Clive Barker—but only in recent years has it become standard to see Shirley Jackson’s name listed too. Jackson’s classic short story, “The Lottery,” and two of her best-known novels, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, have earned her a rightful place in the horror canon. But Jackson wrote many more stories and novels. The panelists will discuss her work, why it was overlooked in the horror genre for so long, the current growing appreciation for her writing, and Jackson’s major contributions to literature.
What’s Vlad Got to Do with It? (Presenter: Dacre Stoker) 12:30 PM Take a tour thru Romania with Dacre Stoker and learn about the real Vlad Dracula lll and the places he lived, ruled and impaled, and also see the places where Bram Stoker set his novel Dracula. (90 minutes)
Don’t Be A Social Media Train Wreck (Moderator: Stephanie Wytovich; Panelists: Jennifer Barnes, Patrick Freivald, Bracken MacLeod, Amber Newberry, Steven Van Patten) 1:00 PM A popular image in social media is the animated gif of someone chomping down popcorn, most often posted by spectators to epic rants, incredible meltdowns, and white-hot flame wars. Authors and readers rely on social media to keep in touch, to promote and learn about new books, to share industry news, and build readerships. But navigating social media sometimes seems like walking through a minefield—and every so often an author goes stomping around setting off every possible mine. The panelists will discuss good social media practices for authors, positive uses of social media, proper techniques and etiquette for authors and readers, what kind of information to share, and how to react if you find yourself in the social media crosshairs.
Roll Initiative: Horror Gaming for the Brave (Moderator: Danielle DeLisle; Panelists: Karen Bovenmyer, Bill Bridges, Kathleen Kaufman, Joanna Nelius) 1:00 PM Want to try horror gaming but don’t know where to start? This is the panel for you! Find out what types of games are out there and which ones are best for beginners.
How to Make Ordinary Things Scary (Moderator: Jennifer Brozek; Panelists: Meghan Arcuri-Moran, E.A. Black, Angel Leigh McCoy, Steven Van Patten, Tim Waggoner) 2:00 PM Monsters and villains are meant to frighten readers but they are obvious, known quantities. To cast unexpected fear upon your readers, terrify them using the most ordinary of objects: a pen, a phone, a mirror, a book, a door. Things we interact with every single day without thought. Horror is what happens when one of these ordinary things becomes an object of terror. Our panelists will discuss how to make anything, and everything, frightening.
Representation in Horror (Moderator: EF Schraeder; Panelists: Marc Abbott, Linda Addison, Larissa Glasser, Delona Southerland) 2:00 PM The horror community—creators and fans together—is vast and varied. So is horror fiction. But the representation of different peoples and cultures in horror fiction and media can sometimes leave readers unsatisfied or even shaking their heads. The panelists will discuss examples of works where authors or creators in other media succeeded in this regard. They’ll talk about what made these works successful. Who are the great diverse and memorable characters of horror literature and what makes them so? What are some works where the author or creators got it wrong and why? What are the biggest mistakes made and how can authors avoid them?
STATE OF THE GENRE, 2018 (Moderator: Lisa Morton; Panelists: Ramsey Campbell, Craig Engler, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Massie, Sam Weller) 2:00 PM HWA President, Lisa Morton, will lead our Guests of Honor in a discussion of the horror genre today. What are the current trends? Where does horror fit in mainstream literature and pop culture? How has the genre changed in the 21st century? What might the future hold?
Beyond the Borders: Writing and Reading Outside the USA (Moderator: Dan Rabarts; Panelists: Alan Baxter, Ramsey Campbell, Chris Marrs, Lee Murray) 3:00 PM Join our panelists as they discuss the challenges, pitfalls and opportunities of writing outside the U.K., Canada, and the far-flung edges of the planet, namely New Zealand and Australia, and learn how the experience of an outside perspective can help writers in the U.S. broaden their own horizons.
Dark Carnival: The Writing Prompts of Ray Bradbury (Presenter: Sam Weller) 3:00 PM Bram Stoker Award-winning author and renowned expert on Ray Bradbury, Sam Weller presents the creative prompts Bradbury used to write his first book of American Gothic Horror, Dark Carnival.
Working with Editors (Moderator: Ellen Datlow; Panelists: Michael Bailey, Jennifer Barnes, Jennifer Brozek, Don D’Auria, J.H. Moncrieff) 3:00 PM Congratulations, you finished your novel or story! Now it’s time to publish—and that means working with an 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.
Scream Queens (Presenter: Stephanie Wytovich) 3:30 PM This presentation introduces the concept of the final girl and tracks her evolution through slasher film history. The presentation will discuss women in horror with a particular focus on body image and empowerment both on and off the screen. There is no registration fee for this presentation. (90 minutes)
Building Your Readership (Moderator: Jeff Strand; Panelists: Larissa Glasser, Bracken MacLeod, Jeff Menapace, Dan Rabarts) 4:00 PM If you publish it will they come? Not always! Budding authors need help building their readership! Our panel will provide tips on how to create newsletters, websites, giveaways, and other activities, as well as how to draw traffic to those sites and use them to sell your work. What is the benefit of public readings, book signings, and conventions? What catches a reader’s interest and keeps them engaged?
Dark Poets Face to Face Redux (Moderator: Marge Simon; Panelists: Linda Addison, Michael Arnzen, Karen Bovenmyer, David E. Cowen, James Dorr) 4:00 PM A select panel of talented contemporary horror poets read and discuss each other’s works. The audience is encouraged to participate and will be given copies of the poems for comments as well. Panelists will be asked for three poems, 50 lines max per poem. I will share all the poems with everyone in advance and they pick another poet’s poem to read to the audience. They must pick 3 poems by different poets on the panel.  After reading it, they will state why they chose it, and/or what sparked their feelings about it. Audience will have copies of all poems read. The round continues until time is up, so every poet will have at least one or two poems read aloud and discussed.
Universal to Hammer: The Classic Screen Horrors (Moderator: Gwendolyn Kiste; Panelists: Ramsey Campbell, Michael Gingold, Christopher Golden, Amanda Trujillo) 4:00 PM For decades, the classic monster and horror movies defined the genre for mass audiences and inspired generations of horror fans and creators. Mention horror and most people once thought of Bela Lugosi pulling his cape across his chin as he threatened to suck your blood, or Boris Karloff’s stiff-legged Frankenstein walk. These films re-envisioned literary monsters and themes for the cinema, often becoming better known than their source material. Are they relevant today? In an era of CGI blockbusters and visceral independent horror, is there a place for horror thick with atmosphere where the gruesome bits happen mostly in the shadows or off-screen? Do modern audiences still want gothic settings, sympathetic monsters, and romance?
A (Haunted) House with Many Rooms—Horror Sub-Genres (Moderator: Tim Waggoner; Panelists: Don D’Auria, Frazer Lee, Jennifer Loring, Donald Sidney-Fryer, Paul Tremblay) 5:00 PM The horror genre encompasses a multitude of types: action, bizarro, body, extreme, gothic, Lovecraftian, psychological, slasher, splatterpunk, the supernatural, vampire, weird, Western, zombie, even old-fashioned ghost stories, and many others. The panelists will discuss how these sub-genres come into existence, whether inspired by a single, ground-breaking, original work or true life events. They will talk about the criteria for what qualifies as a horror sub-genre versus a trend. What are some of the key works that have defined or inspired a sub-genre? Can authors become typecast in a sub-genre? What about sub-genre mash-ups—does anyone want to read a work of bizarro, vampire, Western horror? What new types of horror do they expect to see in the future?
The Importance of Locale and Setting in Horror (Moderator: Kevin Wetmore Jr.; Panelists: Ramsey Campbell, Craig Engler, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Massie, Sam Weller) 5:00 PM Locale and setting are important elements of horror. It’s not uncommon for authors to stake out territory, such as a city or region, or even a fictional landscape of their own invention. A selected group of our Guests of Honor discuss the importance of these choices for the genre, why some authors choose to associate their work with a particular place, and the pros and cons of working in a recurring locale. (90 minutes)
Professional Etiquette for Authors (Moderator: Christopher Golden; Panelists: Michael Arnzen, Matt Bechtel, Ellen Datlow, Lynne Hansen, Alec Shane) 5:00 PM Writing is a business. Although authors spend much of their time alone behind the keyboard, they can’t afford to lose sight of professional etiquette and behavior. Panelists will share 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, 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.
Summerland Lost: A Ghost Story (Presenter: Grady Hendrix) 6:00 PM Grady Hendrix’s dramatic spoke word presentation of the true story of the Fox sisters, key figures in the dawn of the Spiritualist movement.
Writing from a Dark Place: Writing from Depression, Trauma, and Grief (Moderator: Lee Murray; Panelists: James Arthur Andersen, Eric J. Guignard, Brian Kirk, Leslie Klinger, Brian Matthews) 6:00 PM Horror master Clive Barker stated, “Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” What influence can depression and trauma have on our writing processes and on the quality and nature of the work produced? How has depression shaped the work of some of horror’s most iconic writers?
Final Frame Film Competition(Presenter: Jonathan Lees; Guest Host: Grady Hendrix) 8:00 PM The Horror Writers Association is proud to host the Third Annual Final Frame Film Competition. Final Frame celebrates the darkest, weirdest, and most fantastic short horror films from around the globe. Select films will be screened for all StokerCon attendees. The Final Frame Award and $1000 cash prize will be awarded to one film and one filmmaker as decided by our panel of judges and presented during the Final Frame Cocktail Reception following the screening. (Two hours) Reception with light catering and cash bar to follow.
MONSTER MASH (Moderator: James Chambers; Panelists: Linda Addison, Ramsey Campbell, Craig Engler, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Massie, Sam Weller) 11:00 PM Dracula v. Frankenstein! Godzilla v. King Kong! Mummies v. Sea Monsters! Zombies v. Devil Children! Who would win in a fight? For this fun, late-night panel two teams featuring our GOHs will each be randomly assigned classic horror characters or creatures and given time to make a case for who would be victorious. The audience and judges then decide the outcome.


Programming Item Time Description
All the Screaming: Writing Sex and Romance in Horror (Moderator: Megan Hart; Panelists: Amy Grech, Heather Herman, Pamela K. Kinney) 10:00 AM What’s scarier than falling in love? What’s better than a royalty check? Writing horror, sex, and romance are more similar than one might think. After all, if you do it right, both will feature a lot of screaming!
Discover the world of paranormal romance and where your scary stories fit in a market geared toward a happy ever after. Talk about how to blend horror and romance to reach a new audience eager to read stories with bite. Discuss what does (and definitely does NOT) make a romance work.
H.P. Lovecraft in Gaming (Moderator: Danielle DeLisle; Panelists: Edward P. Cardillo, Angel Leigh McCoy) 10:00 AM Lovecraft has been the inspiration for hundreds of board games, video games, RPGs, card games, dice games, and more. Discuss the how, what, and why with our panelists.
Legal Issues for Writers (Presenter: Leslie Klinger) 10:00 AM Leslie Klinger, author, editor, and lawyer, discusses everything authors needed to know about copyright, publishing contracts 101 (including a handout), and tax rules for authors. (90 minutes)
Old Time Radio for Horror Authors (Moderator: Mike Hance; Panelists: Oliver Baer, Teel James Glenn, Grady Hendrix, S. Kay Nash) 10:00 AM For half a century Radio was the dominate form of entertainment, now it is an often forgotten treasure of  inspiration for writing. This panel will get you started with some of the best series, ideas for using some of the techniques in audio books, the legacy of the medium, and great horror radio programs being produced today.
Essential Works of Graphic Horror–Comic Books (Moderator: Paul DiFillipo; Panelists: Michele Brittany, Robert Payne Cabeen, Nathan Carson, Scott Edelman, James Moore) 11:00 AM Horror comics have a long and gruesome publishing history. From the 1947 publication of Eerie # 1, the first dedicated horror comic, through the E.C. Comics of the 1950s, the horror renaissance in the 1970s, and into the Vertigo era of the 1980s and 90s, horror comics have been a mainstay for publishers. Today, The Walking Dead is among the most popular comics in print. Creators, such as Mike Mignola and Scott Snyder, keep the genre dark and spooky. What are the landmark works of horror comics? Why are they so significant? How do they illustrate the evolving nature of the horror genre?
Promoting Your Book to Libraries & Book Sellers (Moderator: JG Faherty; Panelists: Grady Hendrix, J.H. Moncrieff, Becky Spratford, Jeff Strand) 11:00 AM Every writer wants to get their book into libraries, top review magazines, and bookstores. But it’s not that easy, especially if you’re published in the small press or independently. Becky Spratford, a Readers Advisory librarian, author, and creator of the RA for All and RA for All: Horror blogs, and a panel of authors will demonstrate how to craft a book summary that effectively showcases the key points reviewers and buyers want to see. This is a must-know not only for writers but also publishers.
The Vital Importance of Tone (Moderator: Jason Parent; Panelists: Gregory Bastianelli, Matt Bechtel, Christa Carmen, Donna Lynch) 11:00 AM Sometimes the line difference between horrific and hysterical lies only in the delivery. Horror straddles the absurd, the laughable, and the terrifying, often all in the same work. How does tone affect works of horror both in print and on screen? When does humor work with horror? What tonal elements contribute to successful horror/comedy/parody, and what tonal elements can be used to intensify the fright factor?
Happy 200th Birthday Frankenstein! Mary Shelley in the 21st Century (Moderator: John C. Tibbetts; Panelists: Michael Arnzen, Jennifer Barnes, Leslie Klinger, Gwendolyn Kiste, Victor LaValle) 11:30 AM In honor of the recent 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, our panelists will discuss the  circumstances of the novel’s publication, the scope of it’s influence in the past two centuries, how its themes remain relevant today, and why Frankenstein and his infamous Creature remain among the most popular fictional character of all time.
HWA Dark Poetry Showcase (Moderator: David E. Cowen; Panelists: Rob E. Boley, Elsa Carruthers, Renee DeCamillis, James Ebersole, Leadie Jo Flowers, Megan Hart, Rhonda Jackson, Allan Rozinski) 12:00 PM Join editor David E. Cowen and many of the contributors to the HWA’s Dark Poetry Showcase, Volume 4 for readings, discussions and autographing.
HWA Into the Future (Moderator: Lisa Morton; Panelists: Brad C. Hodson, JG Faherty, John Palisano, Marge Simon) 12:00 PM A group of the Horror Writers Association’s officers and volunteers discuss what’s going on in the HWA today, and possible future directions. This panel will look at educational opportunities, anthologies, additional promotional opportunities for authors, expansion outside the U.S., member resources, and new initiatives that benefit members.
Women In Horror Month (Moderator: Carol Gyzander; Panelists: Linda Addison, Meghan Arcuri-Moran, Amber Newberry, Kathleen Scheiner, Sara Tantlinger) 12:00 PM Women In Horror Month (WIHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Mary Shelley founded the horror genre, and Shirley Jackson wrote some of our best classics–and today many of the strongest voices in dark literature are women. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Panelists will discuss the major works by contemporary women horror writers and how to support them during WiHM and year-round.
Stoker on Stoker,  The Mysteries Behind the Writing of Dracula (Presenter: Dacre Stoker) 12:30 PM Dacre Stoker, descendant of Bram Stoker, presents an audio-visual tour through the mysteries of Bram Stoker and his literary masterpiece, Dracula. (90 minutes)
Diverse Works of Horror Literature (Moderator: John Edward Lawson; Panelists: Linda Addison, Catherine Grant, Jonathan Lees, Steven Van Patten) 1:00 PM The contributions of horror fiction written by women, people of color, LGBT authors, international authors, and others who may fall outside the mainstream of horror publishing sometimes goes overlooked. Readers may perceive those works as niche publications intended for a specific audience, but often they are accessible and relevant to readers of all kinds. What are some major works by these authors? The panelists will discuss overlooked classics, hidden gems, and obscure masterpieces that reflect the diversity of the horror community and their place in the horror canon.
Horror Fiction and the Literary Canon (Moderator: Mathias Clasen; Panelists: Andy Davidson, John C. Tibbetts, Jaime Weida, Sam Weller, Stephanie Wytovich) 1:00 PM Some of the greatest horror classics–Frankenstein, Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, for example–are also considered literary masterworks. Yet horror is often thought inferior to literary fiction. That bias seems to be fading as horror literature gains more recognition. What makes horror literary? When does literary fiction cross over into the horror genre? Our panelists will discuss the nexus between the horror genre and mainstream literature.
The New Horror Cinema: Influential Horror Movies of the 70s and 80s (Moderator: Adam Cesare; Panelists: Nathan Carson, Nicholas Diak, Brad C. Hodson, Chad Stroup) 1:00 PM The emergence of a new generation of horror filmmakers in the 1970s—especially John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, and George Romero—heralded the end of the classic era of horror cinema and the beginning of a new one. Night of the Living Dead announced the arrival of modern horror on the silver screen. Gothic monsters creeping through castles or stalking the fog-draped woods gave way to chainsaw wielding maniacs, soulless babysitter murderers, and child molesters who haunt the dreams of their victims. What contributed to such a stark change in the status quo? What new themes did modern horror tackle that classic horror couldn’t? Are those landmark works of the new horror cinema still meaningful today? How did they shape the evolution of the horror genre? What are the most important films of this era and why?
Pitch Sessions Pre-Pitch Panel (Moderator: Brian Matthews; Panelists: Rick Chillot, Don D’Auria, Pete Kahle, Kate Jonez, Jess Landry, John McIlveen, Lee Murray, Alec Shane, Cherry Weiner) 1:00 PM The agents, editors, and publishers taking pitches during our Pitch Sessions talk about what they look for in a pitch, how to present your work, and what they’re hoping to see. Includes a Q&A period.
The Classic Weird in 2018 (Moderator: Darrell Schweitzer; Panelists: Ramsey Campbell, Larissa Glasser, Victor LaValle, Donald Sidney-Fryer) 2:00 PM Weird fiction of the early 20th century, works by authors such as Clark Ashton-Smith, Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft, and Arthur Machen, illuminated strange, unsettling, bleak, and nihilistic world views with a pulp sensibility. Today their work has become the foundation for much of modern horror and for the so-called New Weird movement. The panelists will discuss how 21st century horror writers have drawn inspiration from this formative era in horror literature, how readers and writers can understand and navigate the world of weird fiction, and where it fits into our modern view of dark literature.
Cross-Genre Writing (Moderator: Danny Rhodes; Panelists: Michael Bailey, Nathan Carson, Amy Grech, Ed Kurtz, Dan Rabarts) 2:00 PM Blending genres is common today, but it wasn’t always. Publishers and readers alike, however, have embraced it, and it has breathed new life into genre writing in general. But mixing genres can be harder than it looks. Each genre possesses its own conventions and clichés, rules of thumb, and research requirements. The panelists will talk about these differences among genres and how to use them to strengthen a story, the “rules” of different genres, how reader expectations differ, and what preparation and research is needed to make sure you don’t commit a genre faux pas that hurts your work. They will also discuss examples of great cross-genre works and authors who have been particularly successful blending genres.
Fairy Tales: A Child’s First Taste of Horror (Moderator: Leslie Thomas; Panelists: Edward Ahern, April Grey, Gwendolyn Kiste, Charie LaMarr, Trisha Woolridge) 2:00 PM A reader’s first encounter with horror often comes in the guide of fairy tales. Children’s stories and nursery rhymes are full of trolls, evil stepparents, witches, giants, and other terrifying characters. Our panelists will discuss these stories as the roots of horror, the brutality done to children in the tales, and the perpetrators. Where do these tales overlap with folk lore? And what do they say about society?
How to Choose Good Markets (Moderator: Alan Baxter; Panelists: Meghan Arcuri-Moran, Jennifer Brozek, Erik T. Johnson, Brian Kirk, Jeff Strand) 2:00 PM Horror authors face a broad spectrum of publishing possibilities from fanzines to pro-markets. Choosing the right market involves many considerations: payment, reputation of the publisher, contract terms, distribution and promotion, editorial expectations, and more. The panelists will discuss what authors should weigh when submitting their work or accepting a publication offer, with insight into researching publishers, finding the right market for your work, and why you should avoid “for the love” markets.
Long Fiction Renaissance (Moderator: John F.D. Taff; Panelists: James Chambers, Nicole Cushing, Ellen Datlow, Tom Deady) 2:00 PM For many years, novels dominated genre fiction. Now novellas are giving them 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. Have e-readers and low price points contributed to this resurgence of the form or is just a result of shortening attention spans? What does it mean for authors? What are some of the most notable works of long, horror fiction of recent years?
Pitch Sessions (Moderator: Brian Matthews; Participants: Rick Chillot, Don D’Auria, Pete Kahle, Kate Jonez, Jess Landry, John McIlveen, Lee Murray, Alec Shane, Cherry Weiner) 2:00 PM Agents, editors, and publishers hear pitches from authors. Pre-registration required! Open only to those assigned a pitch time in advance. Please be on hand at least 10 minutes before your scheduled time. (Two hours)
Getting Your First Novel Published (Moderator: Christopher Golden; Panelists: Andy Davidson, JF Dubeau, Megan Hart, Brian Kirk, Douglas E. Winter) 3:00 PM Months, possibly years of hard work, dedication, rewrites, edits, and revisions, and you’ve finally finished your novel. Congratulations! Now the hard work begins. Our panelists discuss what it takes to bring a finished novel to publication, how to find the right publisher, editor, or agent. What’s expected of authors pitching their book? How can networking help? What are the pitfalls to watch out for?
Paperbacks from Hell (Presenter: Grady Hendrix) 3:00 PM Grady Hendrix presents an audio-visual presentation of his popular book Paperbacks From Hell, celebrating the outlandish stories and cover art of horror novels published from the 70s to the 90s. (90 minutes)
Terrifying Teaching Tactics (Moderator: Michael Arnzen; Panelists: Heather Herrman, Frazer Lee, Thomas F. Monteleone, Sara Tantlinger) 3:00 PM Educators who write and teach horror fiction, poetry, and film are a rare and darksome breed! Come learn their classroom strategies that engage learners with horror entertainment and help new writers enter the field we all love. The discussion will include not only books and movies that have educational value but also actual activities that use the craft and technique of horror writing to advance learning. What should those considering a career in horror education know?
Voice, Tense, and Narrators (Moderator: Scott Edelman; Panelists: Marc Abbott, Ed Kurtz, Curtis Lawson, Elizabeth Massie, Kathleen Scheiner) 3:00 PM How authors tell a story is as important as the story they tell. The choice of voice and tense directly affects the reader’s experience and defines their connection to the characters. What are the pros and cons of different voices, such as third-person limited, first person, and second person; tense, past or present; and narrators, from unreliable to omniscient. How do these choices shape one’s storytelling? How can they influence the reader’s experience and affect your work’s chances of being published?
Breaking Barriers with Horror Poetry (Moderator: Linda Addison; Panelists: John Edward Lawson, Randy D. Rubin, Marge Simon, Sara Tantlinger, Stephanie Wytovich) 4:00 PM Horror poetry allows writers many different opportunities to explore themes and expand the limits of the genre than prose and non-fiction. How can writers push their personal boundaries by writing poetry? How can readers, especially those who aren’t typical poetry readers, read poetry to expand their own experience within the genre? How does poetry help authors write about topics or themes too dark or challenging to face head on in prose?
Traditional v. Indie v. Hybrid Publishing (Moderator: Kathleen Kaufman; Panelists: J.D. Barker, Rob E. Boley, Megan Hart, Jeff Menapace, Paul Tremblay) 4:00 PM Authors have more options than ever before for publishing their work thanks to dramatic changes in the publishing industry in recent times. The lines between indie, hybrid, and traditional publishing have blurred. What are the pros and cons of each publishing channel? What are the risks? How can authors choose the best channel for their work? How do these opportunities differ for new and experienced authors? What should authors know choosing and preparing to publish in any one of them?
Vampires: The Next Generation (Moderator: James Dorr; Panelists: Andy Davidson, Lisa Kroger, Tom Deady, Steven Van Patten) 4:00 PM Sparkly vampires are dead! Long live ugly vampires! With the popularity of young adult vampires in books, such as the Twilight series, and television shows, such as The Vampire Diaries, finally waning, where do vampires go next? There are plenty of vampire romance novels. But there’s also a swing back to the vampire as a monster, as seen in The Strain books and television series and Justin Cronin’s Passage trilogy. What’s next for horror’s favorite undead bloodsucker?
Deadly Pictures: How Comics and Graphic Novels Shape the Horror Genre (Moderator: James Chambers; Panelists: Craig Engler, Christopher Golden, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Victor LaValle, Sam Weller) 4:30 PM Many horror authors cite horror comics as their first encounter with the genre. Often this exposure to horrific images shapes and inspires the imaginations of future horror readers. From E.C. Comics to the Warren Magazines to Swamp Thing to Sandman to Hellboy, horror comics have pushed the boundaries of the genre and kept horror alive during the ups and downs of the publishing business. How do horror comics help shape the genre? What kinds of unique storytelling opportunities do comics provide? (90 minutes)
Book to Screen: How to Market Your Work for Film and Television (Moderator: Lynne Hansen; Panelists: J.D. Barker, Michael Gingold, Frazer Lee, Daniel Waters, Douglas E. Winter) 5:00 PM Think your book would make a great movie or television show? So do a lot of other authors! What does it take to attract the interest of producers and filmmakers? What makes a novel or story a good candidate for film or TV. What works against it? How do you go about getting your work into the hands of filmmakers? How do you protect your intellectual property in the process? The panelists will answer these questions and more about the path from print to screen.
Science in Horror Fiction (Moderator: Patrick Freivald; Panelists: Linda Addison, Edward P. Cardillo, Rena Mason, F. Paul Wilson) 5:00 PM Sometimes the scariest monsters are those that could be real! Our panelists will discuss how science can enrich horror fiction, how authors can do accurate research to get the science right in their stories, examples of great science-based horror fiction, how bad science can sink your readers’ interest, and much more.
Unspoken Clichés (Moderator: J.H. Moncrieff; Panelists: Theresa Braun, Mathias Clasen, Ed Kurtz, Lee Murray, John Palisano) 5:00 PM Horror fiction is laden with familiar, beloved clichés. Lonely haunted houses inherited by hapless protagonists. Killing vampires with a stake through the heart. Psychic children linked to the supernatural. Ghosts who vanish when their bones receive a proper burial. What are the new and emerging clichés? What trends and tropes in horror fiction are newly overused and why? What can authors do to shake them up, refresh them, or avoid them?
Writing Scary for the Stage (Moderator: Kevin Wetmore Jr.; Panelists: Oliver Baer, Teel James Glenn, Brad C. Hodson) 5:00 PM In The Poetics, one of the seminal texts of theatre, Aristotle argues that one of the key elements of drama is to cause fear in the audience. In other words, the very nature and purpose of plays is to scare you! Panelists will discuss the history, theory and practice of putting things designed to cause fear on 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.
Bram Stoker Awards Banquet and Awards Ceremony 7:00 PM Join your fellow Stoker Con attendees for a banquet and the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards as well as the Independent Publisher of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Mentor of the Year Award, Richard Laymon Award, and the HWA Silver Hammer Award. Don’t miss author Jeff Strand’s final performance as the Bram Stoker Awards most dignified and erudite Master of Ceremonies!
Bram Stoker Awards After Party 10:30 PM Light snacks and cash bar.


Programming Item Time Description
The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Crazy: Favorite Horror Novels of the 70’s, 80’s, & Early 90s (Moderator: Thomas F. Monteleone; Panelists: Grady Hendrix, Jonathan Lees, Elizabeth Massie) 10:00 AM What are the favorite “classic” horror novels from the rebirth era of pulp/popular horror in the 1970’s through the 1980s and early 1990s? What makes these novel memorable? Were they unusually good, unusually bad, or just plain bizarre? Who were some favorite authors of those novels? What were popular horror novel themes at the time? Are these themes still valid? What makes “over the top” horror fun? Is there anything writers today could learn from the authors of these earlier novels? Are there stand alone novels from that time period for which sequels would be additionally fun or terrifying to read?
Horror Fiction Collections (Moderator: Michael Bailey; Panelists: Jennifer Barnes, Matt Bechtel, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Curtis Lawson) 10:00 AM So you’ve written ten great short stories. It must be time to put out your fiction collection, right? Maybe…but maybe not. Panelists will offer tips on how and when to start thinking about collections, and how to choose material and put it in the right order. You might also pick up a recommendation or three for a seminal collection you’ve somehow missed.
Outlining Versus Pantsing (Moderator: Pamela Kinney; Panelists: J.F. Dubeau, J.H. Moncrieff, Paul Tremblay, F. Paul Wilson) 10:00 AM Writing a novel can be a high-wire act. Many writers advise plenty of preparation and outlining before setting your first words down on paper. Others suggest simply hitting the keyboard and following where the story takes you. What are the pros and cons of each method? How does your choice to outline or not outline affect your story? Our panelists will discuss their experiences and recommendations for novel writing.
This Genre Gets No Respect… Or Does It? (Moderator: J.D. Barker; Panelists: Bracken MacLeod, Alec Shane, Kathleen Scheiner, Jaime Wieda) 10:00 AM For years, publishers avoided “the H word,” and filmmakers labeled their films everything but “horror.” But then a funny thing happened: horror book sales started to climb again, horror blossomed on the small screen, and finally, 2017 saw an explosion in horror at the movie houses, with films such as Get Out, The Shape of Water, and It garnering record ticket sales and awards galore. Is horror finally getting respectable?
Creating and Narrating Audio Books (Moderator: Angel Leigh McCoy) 11:00 AM Angel Leigh McCoy presents the basics of audio books, how to create them, what makes for good narration, and how authors can use the audio book format to reach a wider audience.
Edit Your Way Past the Slush Pile (Moderator: Karen Bovenmyer; Panelists: Ellen Datlow, Julie Day, Wayne Edwards, Erin Roberts) 11:00 AM The competition to stand out is stiff. Often slush readers review hundreds of submissions before selecting a mere handful to pass on to an editor. What are the top edits to make to any manuscript to help you skip the slush pile and get published? What are the mistakes to avoid?
YA Horror – Something for Everyone (Moderator: JG Faherty; Panelists: Elizabeth Massie, James Moore, Daniel Waters, Trisha Woolridge) 11:00 AM Interest in Young Adult horror is growing by leaps and bounds–and it’s not only for teens anymore. Join our panelists in a look at what makes YA horror so popular, why its popularity spans across age groups, and why the lines are so blurry between YA, new adult, and adult-oriented books.
Why Book Design Matters (Moderator: Pete Kahle; Panelists: Michael Bailey, Lynne Hansen, Erik T. Johnson, Kate Jonez) 11:00 AM How words are presented on the printed page can often be as important as those words. Bad design can turn off readers before they even open to the first page. What are the elements of good book design and why does it matter? How can authors and publishers use book design to enhance the reading experience? What challenge does the popularity of e-books present to book design?
Horror Writers Association General Meeting (Moderator: Lisa Morton; Panelists: Ellen Datlow, JG Faherty, Leslie Klinger, John Palisano, Marge Simon) 12:00 PM Annual meeting of HWA Board Members and Officers and general membership.
Closing Ceremonies (Moderator: Lisa Morton; Panelists: Ramsey Campbell, Craig Engler, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Victor LaValle, Elizabeth Massie, Sam Weller) 1:00 PM The final word! Bid farewell to Stoker Con 2018!