The Other Side of the Table: Spooky Empire 2018

Spooky Empire Horror Weekend is done, and what an amazing experience. There is so much I could write about, but I want to share something I couldn’t find before I appeared on the Creator’s Track: how it felt as a horror writer just beginning to make appearances at conventions and conferences.

michael and victoria

What touched me the most was how welcoming the horror writer community was at Spooky Empire. The 2018 Creators Track list was exceptional, and many of them had appeared at Spooky Empire before. Check out the lineup:

creators track poster

Credit goes to our track organizer, A.D. Sams, for how well everything flowed. The green room was full of silliness and snacks, and the panels and signing tables broke and set up smoothly. Panelists were excellent presenters, and they supported each other’s books, comics, films and music in each session. 

This was my first event bringing books and swag to a signing table, and I’d scoured writer blogs for suggestions. I don’t have any photos of my rolling backpack filled with books, bookmarks, cards, a display stand, bones, pens, sign, and a pensive skeleton, but it was carefully packed to set up my display in a couple of minutes. The planning helped, because attendees came over to talk about writing once the bones came out.

signing table

Lastly, my role as a panelist took me by surprise. I’d hoped, and it happened, that I spent the weekend with creators and audiences who share my love of horror. I hadn’t expected the legitimacy granted from a badge, a Horror Writer Association T-shirt, and being in the program. People treated me like a “real” writer.

And I am. And so were the audience members who asked questions  after we coaxed them, and then gushed about horror writing. So were the folks who came to the signing table and got information about writing resources in their area. I sat in the Spooky Empire audience in 2017, and I still am sitting in the audience, learning from writers who know more than me. I really appreciated sharing the con with those writers, to share that the panel table doesn’t make imposter syndrome go away, and encourage their writing the way the Spooky Empire writers have encouraged me.

panel close-up

There is so much more I could write about Spooky Empire Horror Weekend, from the huge selection of horror vendors, to the exceptional cosplay, to the vibe of thousands of people loving spooky things and celebrating them together. Check out this video by Attractions Magazine to see just how big the Spooky Empire Ultimate Horror Weekend is:


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