Sunday, June 14, 2009

Little Deaths

Yea, the Stokers are now a big game of Grip 'N Grin. As mentioned, these goofy certificates mean nothing, though the award itself does look cool, as Bob mentioned. For those not in the know, the first Stokers were in 1991, and when they were a bit more legitimate, a writer had to have a certain pedigree to get on the ballot, a certain amount of stories in print that paid 3 cents a word, something like that. The awards are given out by the Horror Writers Association, and now it is just a joke, unless, of course, you can parlay the joke into getting a book deal you wouldn't otherwise. The closest I cam to winning was with my novella "Lover Doll," from LITTLE DEATHS, which has been in print continually since 1994. I lost out to Stephen King, came in second by about 45 votes. I still get decent royalty checks, mostly because it is about my longest story.

I have a friend, he loves to try and hook anybody in paying dues to join the HWA, even though the news you get each year has dwindled to nothing. When Dean Koontz was running it the first few years, there were a half dozen newsletters a year with columns, news, and everything you'd expect in a world without the ubernet. Well, this fellow really has his own agenda, because the only people who can vote on stories or novels are those who belong to HWA. Someone who does NOT belong to HWA can easily have something nominated, but this is why the Stokers amount to a game of you play with mine and I'll play with yours. The guy I know simply wants people to join so that he can play this up, I can vote for you, and you me, etc. Over the winter, he was babbling over the current awards for work published in 2008, the preliminary vote, which gets pared down, then finally the finalists. He is one of the authors in HELL IN THE HEARTLAND and I asked him, curiously, why he hadn't nominated my story for a Stoker? Actually, no one did, I'm sure its more a new generation of writers who network much better than I ever will. I, of course, said that I couldn't vote for his tale because of not belonging to HWA. So, even though he has denied ever thinking the Stokers were nothing more than what I and everyone who has quit the HWA over the last twenty years know to be, he simply did not have an answer. It was one of those, ah, well..., things people say while they are looking for an escape route. Again, I don't give a shit. But it sure was nice having him by the hairs.

The coolest part about being a five time finalist without ever winning? I have lost five times in five DIFFERENT CATEGORIES. I revel in that.