Nerd in a Bar with a Book

I’m still in the afterglow of AuthorCon / Scares That Care! March 31-April 2 in Williamsburg, Virginia—my first horror writing conference. I met so many cool people, attended some readings that made me grateful for this new golden age of horror, learned a ton at various panels, lost my glasses, had my glasses returned to me, and bought a ton of books! By many people’s standards, my haul was modest, but for me, more than a dozen books at anything other than a library sale is a lot of books!

I can’t drive through mountains without stopping. So I built in time for some hiking. Not enough time! But better than no time. I drove the Newfound Gap through the Smokies, and part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Also, I visited my very good friend Pam Schmalenberger in Raleigh! We stayed up until 5 a.m. and could easily have kept going with the catching up another all-day and all-night.  Pam is a reader, too. She and I and fellow Hogwarts supporter Ashley Wiehle-Framm waited in line, wands in hand, for the release of the last of the Harry Potter books, then slunk off home to begin a reading marathon. Pam finished first, as I recall.

But the trip also gave me a chance for some fun Nerd in a Bar with a Book places to read! #nerdinabarwithabook

The Siren and the Specter by Jonathan Janz is a high-octane story that features several kinds of hauntings—a house, a river, a man’s past. I picked it for the trip because it’s set right down there in Virginia in AuthorCon territory.

I read it at Gatlinburg Brewing Company (where I should have bought one of their cool shirts or something!) and paired it with a guest tap from the Gypsy Circus Cider Company, the Lotus Dream Orange Blossom Cider.

I picked up Crescendo by L. Marie Wood at AuthorCon. So cool to get to meet Lisa! Seriously, everyone was gracious at AuthorCon, kind, and encouraging—it was a pleasure! This is another haunted house, haunted man, haunted family story, but very different from the Janz book. This one takes a deep dive into the role of a person’s mental state in a haunting, and how brushes with malevolence can take a toll on a person’s sanity.

This one was at Blowing Rock Brewing Company, and let me just say I’ll be back to Blowing Rock some day. I ordered a flight. We have here: Kölsch, Chai Kölsch, Long Moon wheat beer, Honey Amber—all of them Blowing Rock beers. I bought some Kölsch to go.

Happy reading, y’all!

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