I have returned from NECon, and it was another incredible weekend. There was a beautiful and moving memorial to Rick Hautala, a roast of Linda Addison, awesome panels with new talent and seasoned talent, and great talk with great friends. There was reminiscing of friends lost, and as mentioned elsewhere, many opportunities to reconnect with friends and remind them how much they are loved and appreciated.
There were deep talks and big laughs, a trip to Lovecraft’s grave which was a wonderful experience, great dinners, and a ceaseless feeling of love and support, of belonging.
Bob and Mary Booth have helped me through some incredibly difficult personal times and have also been there to share in some great personal joys. Their kids, by blood and by love — Dan Booth, Sara and John Calia, and Matt Bechtel — move mountains. The NECon family members love and appreciate them. As I told them, I leave a piece of my heart and soul in RI every time I leave.
I really believe a big reason I’ve persisted in my writing career was because of the support I’ve received from friends I’ve met/see at NECon — friends who are family to me now– uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters (and in one case, an adopted son). Chris Golden, Paul Wilson, Tom Monteleone, Doug Winter, Dallas Mayr, Jim Moore, John MacIlveen, Jack Haringa, Rio Youers, Nick Kaufmann, Bev Vincent, Chet Williamson, the Booths, Gary Frank, Holly Newstein Hautala, Shawn Bagley, Dave Thomas, and of course…Brian Keene. I love you all very much, and am blessed and honored to have you in my life. Your love and support for the last 15 years move me to tears and smiles.
And I met some new folks who were awesome, such as my fellow panelists, Chris Irvin, Bracken MacLeod, Kristin Dearborn, and Meghan Arcuri-Moran. Thanks, folks, for making awesome panel-ness.
There are so many people I see at Necon that just make my weekend — Hal Bodner, John Harvey, Heather Graham, Hank Wagner, Jeff Strand, Lynne Hansen, the superawesome John Goodrich, Charles and Cara Colyott, JP Behrens, Monica “Pudding Shots” O’Rourke, Sephera Giron, Rich Dansky, Linda Addison, Craig Gardner, Dan Foley, Mike Penncavage, Ginjer Buchanan, John Dixon, Mike Morris, Cort Skinner and Beth Massie, Trish Cacek, Gordon Linzner….
God, the list goes on an on. I’d end up listing nearly all of the NECon campers at this rate. When the brain is sooo tired, you run the risk of leaving out someone, but rest assured, if you were there that weekend, then you helped to make it one of the best of my year, and I thank you for that. You are not shout-out lists. You are people that mean something to me, that made the weekend mean something, that have helped me grow as a writer and as a person, and I keep you warmly and fondly in my heart.