Arcana 39, A Convention of the Dark Fantastic, is this weekend in St Paul.
It's held at the Best Western, 1010 Bandana Boulevard W, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55108-5107
Phone: 651-647-1637 Fax: 651-647-0244 http://arcanacon.com/
The guest of honor is Kim Harrison, best Selling author of The Hollows series. http://www.kimharrison.net/
This is only the second year attending Arcana. It’s a small convention compared to some, but the only convention in the Twin Cities that is focused on dark fiction. Movies are a big component as well, but only to watch and appreciate them. I will also be going to Crypticon 3 the weekend of November 6th. It is much more focused on the generic horror fan and is focused on movies. It’s also much larger and has as many a dozen guest, almost all of which are actors or special effects artists.
Arcana has panels dealing with all dark media, but the guests seem to be mostly writers. Last year it was F. Paul Wilson and in 2007 it was George Clayton Johnson. So while the convention may be small as compared to others like Convergence, the guests of honor are never small time. The smaller size also makes it much more personal, which has its advantages and disadvantages. For someone who is naturally introverted like me showing up as the new guy, in a group of people that have known each other for more than a decade, is a challenge. I need to work at being more outgoing. It should be easier in a group like this since all of the attendees have similar interests.
At Context 22, I was able to visit with friends I had already made and meet some new ones. Some of the people I met online and some I had met the year before at the same convention. Breaking the ice is the hardest but once I have at least somebody I know, I open up. Luckily, Roy C. Booth is coming to Arcana this year, and while we don’t know each other that well, I will say we are becoming friends. He's a talented writer and we have some common background, not the least of which is that he currently lives in my home town of Bemidji.
For those of you that don’t know, Necrotic Tissue is the best horror magazine in Minnesota without a doubt. Sure, it's the only horror magazine, what's your point? My hope is that being the only horror magazine I can build a fan base here in my home state. I'm also one of the few horror writers in Minnesota. Compared to the east coast, we have relatively few. There may be some that I'm unaware of because they are not getting actively published, but even counting them, I estimate that no more than 100 horror writers live in Minnesota. There are more Sci Fi and Fantasy writers based on the attendance of participation at conventions like Convergence, but a fewer number of horror writers. There are only five listed as members of the HWA, and as for the membership of our local MinnSpec (Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers) group, I know of only five that claim to dabble in horror.
Skullvines Press is also located here in the Twin Cities. I know and like (don’t tell them) S.D. Hintz and Jerrod Balzer who are the owners. Skullvines prints all kinds of wonderful things. Since Minneapolis and St Paul are consistently ranked in the top ten of literate cities, you would think there would be oodles of horror fiction fans. I have yet to find them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here. Marketing is not only my least favorite part of the job (yes, even less than self editing), I suck at it. The challenge with small business is that if you suck at marketing, then it's too bad, because there is not money to hire help.
So why did I start writing this blog post? Great question, I think I've lost the stream. I know I wanted to let people know that Stygian Publications will be at Arcana and will have a vendor table. I will be sharing the table with myself, R. Scott McCoy, horror writer but not self publisher. Even I get confused when I have a vendor table with my writing on one half (mostly through Shroud Publishing, so some people think I'm from Shroud), and Necrotic Tissue magazines and our Malpractice Anthology on the other half. I do have plenty of copies of my new novella, Feast that I am happy to sign and of course, sell for the low, low price of $7.00 dollars. Copies of NT go for $5.00 and Malpractice goes for $15.00. This mean I will need to pick up some change and hope that I will need it.
If you are in the Twin Cities area this weekend, come on down to the Marriot and have some Dark fun. If not, try to make it out to Crypticon in November. http://www.crypticonminneapolis.com/