This past weekend (October 23-25, 2015), I attended the fourth annual DogCon, the annual convention hosted by my publisher, Raw Dog Screaming Press. Its a wandering convention, and this year we took over Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

The first event on Friday night was a lecture by Michael Arnzen, who spoke about the “popular uncanny” (think uncanny valley) at Neumann University. Arnzen is releasing a nonfiction book on this topic soon from Guide Dog Books, RDSP’s nonfiction imprint!

Michael Arnzen lectures, with bonus cackling.
Michael Arnzen lectures, with bonus cackling.

Because RDSP started life publishing a lot of horror, we had a lot of horror themed events. (The Dog Star authors need to do something about that next year….) On Saturday morning, we toured Eastern State Penitentiary.

View of a cell block in Eastern State Penitentiary.
“Other Absences” Art installation by Cindy Stockton Moore showing 50 portraits of individuals murdered by inmates who would eventually be sent to ESP.

That afternoon, some friends and I split from the main group. We headed for the Mütter Museum, which holds a collection of medical oddities. It was pretty crazy how much knowledge I’ve accidentally gleaned from working at a medical journal for 10 years.

Alas, no photography allowed inside the museum.

That evening was the main event, the Nightmare Before Halloween at PhilaMOCA. There were readings by a dozen RDSP/Dog Star authors, we launched ALL THE DARKNESS IN THE WORLD by Andy Deane, and Steven Archer (of Ego Likeness) played his solo project, Stoneburner! For me, the highlight of the event was when Matt Betts passed on the fancy belt to this years Reader’s Choice Award winner, Stephanie Wytovich, for her poetry collection MOURNING JEWELRY!

John Edward Lawson, master of ceremonies
I read from STEEL VICTORY! (Photo credit: William Pauley III)
Stephanie Wytovich receiving the coveted belt from Matt Betts for her Reader’s Choice Award!

I finished up the evening way too late at a bar (as writers do), hanging out and catching up with so many great friends. The next morning, a smaller group of us toured Laurel Hill Cemetery. Our tour guide tailored our visit with literary highlights!

John Edward Lawson posts a lot of cool pics on his Instagram account (@bizarroguy). Here is the artist in action.
Final resting place of the poet who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”!
My lovely editor, Jennifer Barnes.

For the final event of the weekend, we headed up to Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where D. Harlan Wilson launched his latest collection, BATTLE WITHOUT HONOR OR HUMANITY: VOLUME 1.

D. Harlan Wilson signs a book for a fan.
I missed my cats over the weekend, but I got to hang out with this handsome fellow! Butters the flame-point Siamese is Farley’s resident bookshop cat.

And finally, my book haul for the weekend! I’m excited that I got a jump on my Christmas shopping for this year.