by Jay Wilburn
I want to start off by thanking Joe Ripple, Brian Keene and the entire Scares That Care team for all the work they put on before, during, and after the event in front of and behind the scenes to make this weekend great. It is not about us, but they worked hard to make it great for us anyway. Joe is very quick to turn any thanks or praise outward to his volunteers and everyone else. He took the time to pull aside authors to thank us for supporting the event before things started on Friday. He did this in the celebrity room as well. Everyone put a lot into the convention for a good cause and a lot of money was raised for the charity. The final total raised should be available soon.
Also want to thank Armand Rosamilia, Shelly, the Hands from Subculture, Mark Tufo, Tracy Tufo, and Devil Dog Press for their support over the weekend as well. It wouldn’t have been the same experience without them. Enjoyed meeting up with Frank Edler, Jamie Johnesee, Suzi M, Chuck Buda, D Ward, Jacob Haddon, Greg Ferrell, Tim Feely, Eric Beebe, John Boden, Stephen Kozeniewski, Aaron, Wayne’s Father, their families, and many more.
Quick shouts from the convention: Chuck Buda’s debut novel Pay Up and Die is a great read. It shows his potential as a writer and promises great things to come. Read it and then grab up everything else he’s putting out. John Boden’s Jedi Summer debuted at Scares That Care. He sold well and I look forward to what he has coming in the future.
I ate breakfast with John Urbancik and got to talk with him about his Ink Stains projects past and future. I saw Sid Haig and Michael Berryman eating breakfast together. That blew my mind a little. My table in the celebrity room was next to Brian Smith and he got married while at Scares That Care this weekend.
Met lots of great fans and Facebook friends over the weekend. Naming some is leaving out many, but still I loved getting to meet Lucille, Christy T, Karen D, Lori, Holly, Christine, and so many others.
The convention started off with a Facebook joke. Armand and Shelly Rosamilia posted they were driving into South Carolina on Thursday. As a joke, I commented that they should come get me. They said, okay. I had been planning to come up early Friday morning. I told them I was kidding because I was actually about two or three hours closer to the coast than they were coming, but they said they would come get me anyway. My wife was concerned about me driving alone due to my health, so she encouraged it too. In the end, a road trip with Jay Wilburn proved to be too much of a temptation to avoid, so they drove to my house to pick me up.
The whole family went out to Chic-fil-A for lunch. It turns out that Shelly just wanted to meet my kids in person. So, it appears these two finally saved me some gas money.
After that, it was Jay Wilburn sing-a-longs, books on tape, gas station candy, and hours of pure joy for everyone all the way to Williamsburg. The traffic even magically parted and I rode the last couple miles in on a pink unicorn.
We actually stopped at this same gas station by complete coincidence on the way home. Or maybe it was destiny. I got two unicorn stick horses for the boys. Sure … they were for the boys. We had a productive convention and I could afford to splurge on a stable of unicorns.
We found out we were going to be able to set up in the celebrity room at Scares That Care. That made for an exciting atmosphere for fans and readers coming to see us and those discovering us brand new this weekend. I also got a chance to sell books next to some of my heroes from the world of writing.
On Friday, I shared a reading time with Mark Tufo. That was a lot of fun. He surprised his fans by having his narrator Sean Runnette tag in to read the beginning of Zombie Fallout 1 for him. It was a cool surprise especially for all those that enjoy the audio books from Tufo’s series. I got a chance to hang out with Sean, Mark, and the rest of the crew in the bar afterward. It was great to talk shop and about nothing at all with them for an evening
I read an original, unpublished flash fiction piece I wrote specifically for this night. It was also a zombie piece and was titled “What She Said.” It proved quite popular in the room and readers swung by the table and gave my books a chance based off that performance in a few cases. I wanted to entertain and the story was written for that reason, mixing the gore and peril with some bawdy humor. I had not thought about it dovetailing into my series, but the mix of zombie fiction and the edgy humor actually made for a good sell for the series. After a few people bought it, I had more than one person come back to the table to ask me about Luke Spooner’s art. His covers and interior illustrations are stunning and they got some attention.
The Q & A after our readings went well too. We talked about specifics about writing and our work. I also fielded questions about ghostwriting and Summer of Zombie among other topics.
We got to all meet up again for a Devil Dog Press panel on Saturday. That was a lot of fun and informative as well.
The Scares That Care Weekend is a charity of course. They raise money to help three families each year including one child with terminal or severe cancer, one victim of burns, and one woman battling breast cancer. The money from the charity work before, during, and after the events of the weekend go to help them and their families directly with expenses and medical costs related to their illnesses and struggles.
The guys from the Arm N Toof podcast along with Joe Ripple and Brian Keene raised 2500$ toward this year’s total by agreeing to wear kilts as fans helped reach the goals for the Kilts that Care fundraiser. It made for an interesting Saturday at the event.
The fundraising overall went so well that they were able to give the first 10,000$ to one of the recipients in a surprise presentation during the costume contest this year. It was an emotional moment.
Special shout out from the convention: The good folks from Zombie Book of the Month, an active book club on Facebook (look them up), organized a raffle with a number of authors contributing books to the prize. The fundraising succeeded in raising an additional 800$ for the charity. Here is that presentation.
The zombie authors and fans were stepping up with the rest of the horror industry to fight the real monsters this year.
Special shout out from the convention: Project iRadio is doing some impressive things. Jess and his family were there to support the weekend along with a number of the hosts. They did podcast recordings from the event. Project iRadio is currently up to a million unique visitors. They are a great place to advertise for authors both new and seasoned along with retail stores including SubCulture.
It was cool to be there at Scares That Care with the folks from Project iRadio because there are a lot of neat little secrets cooking. Jess has some new shows in the works, expanding into new subjects that listeners have requested and they could potentially be working on something really great for fans with the help of great talent and sponsors. Big things are on the horizon for this group. Listen to the podcasts, join in as a sponsor even if you are an indie author just looking to get your name and work out there for the first time, and keep an eye and ear out for everything they have coming in the future.
Episode 113 of Armcast Dead Sexy Podcast with Armand Rosamilia on Project iRadio includes his wife Shelly and wraps up the Scares That Care Convention from their experience. They include several details and people I have left out.
There is too much cool stuff to be able to share every moment that happened. Scares That Care is a different sort of convention and atmosphere. It is for a great cause. It served me as a fan and as a writer. I had the opportunity to meet up with old and new friends. I was able to network and setup some good opportunities for my writing career. I had the chance to present myself and my work to new fans from other writers’ fan bases. It was cool to see them pick up my books and take me on as an author along side fellow authors they have been reading for a long time. I sold books, I sold tee shirts, I sold backpacks, and I sold CD’s. I sold out of book one of the series, sold out of a couple extra anthologies I brought along just because, and I sold a few older pieces of work I had too. It was a great weekend of getting my work and my art out there in front of eyes. That makes for a nice convention.
One of the coolest gets for me is The Zine. It was a side stapled magazine in the style of the old 80’s and 90’s fan zines that were so popular before the Internet and where many of the greats of the horror industry got their start. It was only available at this year’s Scares That Care convention and all the authors in it were there this weekend. Very Cool!!! It even had the throwback price of only 2$. You can’t beat that. I really hope they do this again next year with another Zine.
The only thing that might possibly be cooler is this sign behind Seth Gillian’s table.
This weekend was a cool reminder that the horror industry is at its best when it is reaching to lift others up. Greats and legends took the time to reach out to rising authors in a number of ways. Beginning authors found working, seasoned authors that were willing to reach out with support and real opportunities for growth and work. This is good for the charity and it is great for fans and readers that will have the work from these authors in the near future.
Be sure to sign up for next year and plan on coming out to see us!
Thanks for stopping by to see us and thanks for reading.
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com