Category Archives: Events

Today’s the day: StokerCon 2021

StokerCon Logo for FB

Very excited to spend the next four days attending StokerCon 2021–the Horror Writers Association’s annual conference. It’s being done virtually, and the amount of work that went into planning this was probably gargantuan. I’m so grateful!

The conference runs through Sunday. There will be three hang-out bars (like Zoom calls where you basically pop in and pop out to have cocktails and socialize with other con-goers), and over 200 programs, both live and on-demand. They cover the gamut from academics to the writing biz, the horror genre, and the craft. I’m especially excited to attend Horror after COVID, Financial and Literary Estate Planning for Writers, Portrayals of Mental Illness in Horror, and A Revelation in American Horror film: Intergenerational Traumas and Transmissibility in Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Right now, I’m watching a YouTube tutorial on StokerCon 2021 Spirits (cool mixed drinks to enjoy with the con–I may have to try that Blood Orange Bourbon Sour)!

I also can’t wait for the Final Frame Film Competition–14 short horror films (I love me some horror shorts!). I’ve got my Jiffy Pop at the ready!

Escape to free stories for an hour this Saturday night!

Author Reading 03-20-21

I’ll be reading THIS SATURDAY NIGHT, March 20, 2021 at 8 pm in one of a series of special Virtual Reading Events set up by writer extraordinaire Terri Bruce! Grab a glass and a snack and join me for this free event!

Each writer will read for six minutes, and most of us are doing giveaways, so this is a chance for you to get a taste of some really good stories and maybe even get some free stuff!

Once again, the event is FREE and will last an hour. If you’d like to sign up, just go to this link: https://forms.gle/YNSkjkHq159N8eyh7

Writers presenting:

Alma Alexander – Fantasy author of 30 books including the Worldweavers series

LJ Cohen – Science Fiction/Fantasy author of over 20 books including Derelict

Lindsey Duncan – Science Fiction/Fantasy author of several books including Scylla and Charybdis

Tracy Townsend – Fantasy author of the Thieves of Fate series

Sarah Smith – Historical Mystery author of several books including the ghost thriller The Other Side of the Dark and the Titanic-centric (yay!) Crimes and Survivors.

Hope to “see” you there!

Save the date … virtual reading this Saturday, March 20

This coming SATURDAY, March 20th, at 8 pm EDT, I’ll be reading alongside some wonderful writers in one of a few special virtual events! I plan to read from my short story “Immolation,” and will be doing a giveaway. More details coming soon! Save the date and get your snacks ready!

Save the Date March 20, 2021 reading

 

Breaking: NECRONOMICON 2021 moved to 2022!

Earlier this week, NecronomiCon Providence—a celebration of Lovecraft and Cosmic Horror which takes place every other August in the city of Providence, RI—announced that it was postponing this year’s event. It will now be held August 18-21, 2022.

NecronomiCon is just plain awesome. It’s four days of Lovecraft-related panels, performances, art, short films, walking tours, writing, and unique parties like the Eldritch Ball and the Cthulu Prayer Breakfast. While I know that there are many people who are disappointed, since the event typically draws a couple of thousand people (possibly more), I think this is just a smart thing to do at the moment—although another issue is that this intricate event takes a lot of advanced planning, and with the world still in its uncertain place, Read the rest of this entry

Virtual toast to Edgar Allan Poe tonight!

Edgar Allan Poe Tarot Deck
The Edgar Allan Poe Tarot Deck (Santa was good to me this Christmas!)

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s 212th birthday, and the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia will be holding a virtual online birthday bash tonight from 7 pm to 8 pm ET.

This follows a day of streaming events. You can tune in for the free content on YouTube here NOW, and at 7 pm this evening for the toast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2wiocfvTHs Grab a drink (amontillado, anyone)? And join in the fun! The night will feature a reading of “The Masque of the Red Death” (appropriate for this year, no?)

“Arbor Day” is here—join me for a reading with other WICKED WOMEN at the virtual COFFEEHOUSE OF THE DAMNED tonight at 7 pm!

I’m thrilled to announce that my short story “Arbor Day”—creepy trees and bodies is all I’m going to reference—is now available in the newest New England Horror Writers anthology, Wicked Women!

Want a preview of this awesome antho and my story as well? Tonight at 7 pm, I’ll be reading with Christine Lajewski, Jennifer Williams, Elaine Pascale, Sara Marks, and Morgan Sylvia, and I’m the last one of the evening.

You can watch the open ZOOM meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89312013237…

Coffeehouse of the Damned Wicked Women Poster

Want to hear more about my story? You can get behind the scenes at Morgan Sylvia’s blog here: https://morgansylvia.com/2020/12/20/wicked-women-blog-hop-kristi-petersen-schoonover/

Want to purchase Wicked Women? You can do that in paperback and Kindle here: http://bit.ly/WWArborDay

New England Horror Writers Wicked Women anthology cover

Join me for SCREAMS OF AUTUMN Halloween afternoon!

Screams of Autumn Night of Scary Stories

Looking for a short, sweet thing to kick off this very unusual Halloween?

Join me on Halloween, Saturday October 31, at 2 pm at Brookfield Theatre for the Arts in Brookfield, CT as I present a perennial favorite (Poe’s “The Raven”—not really read by women too often), a forgotten classic (Julius W. Long’s “The Pale Man”), and one of my own: “Screams of Autumn,” which was published back in 2010 in the online lit mag, Spilt Milk.

The event is FREE and is OUTDOORS! SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASKS ARE REQUIRED. Bring your own chair (there will be markings on the parking lot pavement), dress warmly, and bring blankets if you wish. Goody bags for everyone in attendance will include a bonus, never-before-published short story that I just wrote this summer.

The show should last about 45 minutes to an hour. So come on, kick back for a bit, and get your scare on! The theatre is located at 184 Whisconier Road, Brookfield, CT. More information and RSVP to BrookfieldTheatreCT@gmail.com

Writing in the Time of Weirdness: How to Focus in Chaos

Bad Omen Bird

Creating art—any kind of art—demands two things: time, and focus. Right now, time, for many of us, is no longer a factor. We’re working from home or in half-empty offices where no one is calling, there aren’t any social obligations (except virtually), activities and trips are cancelled, and we’re not spending hours in the car commuting or running errands. If not all the time in the world to write, we at least have more than we did before. But what I’m hearing from many of my writing friends is this: “I’m like that guy in the Twilight Zone episode who finally had all that time to read … and his glasses broke.”

Why?

Because right now, there is no routine, no stability, no telling what the hell is going to happen tomorrow, and no hope of it ending any time soon. Anxiety, even in those who aren’t chronic sufferers, is taking over. For artists of any kind who need to have stability in the rest of their lives to create, it’s debilitating.

But there are some things writers can do to get themselves back on track.

I grew up in a completely destabilized household. Between the ages of 8 and 18, I lived my daily life at the level of anxiety, dread of the scary unknown, intense worry, and constant distraction that most “normal” people are feeling now. While my mother was dying of cancer—and then following her passing—I would come home from school every day, stand at the bottom of the porch steps, and think, What fresh hell is going to be beyond that door today? Death, contagious illness, cancelled activities because of whatever was going on, lack of food, a giant mess the kids made, the news that we had to go to Yale New Haven and sit in waiting rooms for a week, we were leaving our church and going to a different one, your brother burned down the woods again and is in jail—there was no routine. Not ever. That was my daily life. I’d wake up and have absolutely no idea what was going to happen to me or those I loved. Quite frankly, the only thing I could count on was the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head.

As C-19 began to spin out of control, I was, at first, in the same boat as everyone else—unfocused and crippled by the terrifying uncertainty. Then, one afternoon, I suddenly recognized what I was feeling—and it was familiar. I realized that I was uniquely qualified to keep focused and working when others couldn’t. I said, “Holy s***. I’ve been here before! I got this!” After all, despite all of that, I graduated from high school with fantastic grades, participated successfully in several after-school activities, kept up my personal hygiene and always looked put together, and managed to not only write, but complete many creative projects.

How did I do it?

I learned how to shut everything down.

If you’re a writer, I hope these tips on how to get back to work will help you. We are the chroniclers of these extraordinary happenings, the people who will tell the tales of what this was like to live through it, the people who will tell the first-person stories of the nurses, doctors, truck drivers, and others on the front lines while the rest of us were quarantined, the people who will share the stories of tragic loss and heartbreak. Our fiction, drama, poetry, and creative nonfiction will, one day, provide a snapshot of this historic event on a personal, emotional level. Honestly? Some really f***** good work is going to come out of this, whether it is actually about this situation or not.

TIPS

1 Find, or make—yes, even if your home life is now disrupted by children—the time to go into your writing office each day (if possible) and shut the door. Light a candle, put on your music, whatever it is that you normally do, as though the world isn’t losing its mind. Think of the closed door as that barrier between you and chaos. Whatever is going on beyond it? Not your problem until you emerge. You see, hear, smell, and are distracted by nothing while you are behind your door. If your “office” is in a shared space in your home, then make a temporary place in a closet, laundry room, or wherever. But it should have a door that closes. That part is very important. Also, tell the people in your household you cannot be disturbed for the hour. There is nothing that could happen in an hour—short of burning the house down or someone getting sick or bleeding to death—that they can’t handle. It can wait.

2 Set a designated time to watch the news or get C-19 updates, but don’t be checking all day long. I was writing in the early 1980s, and we didn’t have the Internet, but man, did we have TVs in every room and Atari video game systems, and believe me, it was just as tempting. This is an upsetting thing to watch unfold. Just step away from it—twice a day for ten minutes is enough to get the important things you need to know. It’s not necessary for it to be in your face every waking minute.

3 When you talk with your friends on the phone or through video conferencing, don’t dwell on what’s happening in the world. Talk, instead, about anything but: what you’re writing, what you just bought online, how your family is doing—whatever—just NOT the C-word. It’s important to feel as though life is going to carry on as normal, even if, deep down, you know it won’t. Dwelling on it makes it worse. When my mother was sick and I was living in that hell, only a handful of my closest friends knew what was happening at home, and none of us talked about it. When I was with them, when I was at school, I wanted things to feel normal. It kept me functioning and hoping for a brighter future.

4 Indulge in fantasy—check out when you can. That’s right. Sit around and day dream, think about being someplace else, and if you get the urge, write stories in which you’re the main character doing all of those things you wish you could do or being a different version of yourself. Your imagination is a powerful tool. Use it to go live the life you’ve always wanted (when I was 15 I was spending a lot of time with Indiana Jones).

5 When you’re tortured, get it out on paper. You’d be surprised how awesome spewing a bunch of emotional garbage onto a piece of paper or on a blank document makes you feel, and you might even get a story out of it.

6 Step back and realize that this, hopefully, will never happen again in our lifetimes, and watch the drama unfold as though it were not happening to you. This requires an almost disassociation with that of your physical body, but it can be done.

7 Frame the future and know that you’ll feel good again someday. Look at this time as a gift, and know that everything you do now is going to prepare you for something exciting later. Trust that the work you are doing now is important, and make it as much of a priority as you can, even as the world is heaping new demands on you and saying it isn’t. Never give up on your work or your vision of success, and believe that it will happen. All things come to an end—bad things, too.

Special extended TWL episode: Howe was the book signing?

 

I had a blast last week up at Howe Caverns for a signing of my new collection, The Shadows Behind. Rather than put up a bunch of pictures, I decided to do a special extended episode of my This Writing Life series. Enjoy!

 

GET READY FOR AUSTIN’S BAT FEST AUGUST 24!

Me with bat

Me posing with a new friend on the Congress Avenue Bridge at Austin’s Bat Fest, August 23, 2014.

On one of my many sojourns to Austin, Texas, I was lucky enough to attend the annual Bat Fest, which in 2019 will be held Saturday, August 24, from 4 p.m. to midnight on the Congress Avenue Bridge downtown.

What is that, you ask?

Texas is famous for its bat colonies, and the state is home to 32 species. In fact, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife, Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: