The other day, I made the decision that it was time for me to step down as the Co-Chair of the New England Horror Writers /NEHW formerly known as HWA-NE.
I’m not sure when I joined the Board exactly. I think it’s been about four years. I remember though the first time I ever attended an NEHW event. It was called HWA-New England back then and was an offshoot of the HWA. It was in 2003. It was a a pub in New Hampshire. I don’t recall all the players but do know Rick Hautula and Holly Newstein were there as well as John McIlveen, Lauran Soares, Mike Arruda, John Harvey and Jack Haringa. I’d only just met everyone a few months before at my first NECon (my first conference at all for that matter).
Over dinner, where we discussed horror movies and the correct way to use commas, good and bad writers and paying markets, Rick Hautala told me about a message board called Shocklines. “Everyone you need to meet is there. You should sign up.” I did. Almost all the friends I have now I met at NECon, on Shocklines or as spinoffs from one of those places. I’m grateful to the Booth family, namely Bob Booth for creating NECon, a haven for writers who arrive as strangers and leave as kindred spirits. To Matt Schwartz who created Shocklines which kept me in touch with so many, and granted me new friendships. And to whoever actually started the HWA-NE/NEHW. I think it was Mike Arruda and John Harvey and hopefully they will confirm.
After several years of attending sporadic NEHW meetings, someone asked me to join as the Events Coordinator. I agreed. Back then we only met a handful of times a year so it was an easy post.
When Lauran Soares opted to step down as Co-Chair (serving with Dan Keohone). Dan asked me if I wanted to be Co-Chair. I agreed. The Board then consisted of Tim Deal (Shroud Magazine), TJ May, Dan, Michael Todd and me. Small group. We often talked about doing an anthology but it was hard to get it off the ground.
It seems within a matter of months or so though, everything changed. Michael Todd, our newsletter guy, left and we asked Jason Harris to step in. Then I saw Danny Evarts at Writers’ Event. Till then I only knew him online but he was so filled with energy and exuberance I asked him on the spot to join. We soon after voted him in.
We had our first meeting with all the new staff in the basement of a pub in Portsmouth, NH. Stacey Longo Harris tagged along with Jason, and suggested someone take notes so I said, “Hey, want to be our secretary?” We had a quorum so boom, she was voted in.
To say the time that followed was dizzying and intense would be an understatement. We suddenly had a group of folks who were really high energy. At that meeting, in March 2011 we decided we were going to publish an anthology to release at AnthoCon’s debut on 11-11-11. It was a crazy time. We had no money or bank account or plan. But we were going to do it.
As you know, we succeeded. We opened a bank account, assigned a treasurer, Dan Keohane. He changed positions and so we voted Stacey as my Co-Chair. We sold t-shirts to raise money, and held raffles. We got a new website, published the book, Epitaphs, in time, paid our authors, got a Stoker nomination for it and came out ahead financially. Not way ahead but we had a bank balance.
There’s been some Board member turnaround since then, as it’s damn hard to maintain that level of energy. Some great people have left but new ones have joined.
Jason has graduated us from a once a month newsletter, to adding almost daily updates on the NEHW blog. We’ve got a busy Facebook NEHW page with over 200 members, and a Twitter Account. The NEHW members are up to over 300. We have group signing/selling events almost monthly, and now started the process for our next anthology. And we just released the new t-shirt designed by Jesse Young.
And so now it’s time for me to step down and take a much needed break. I’ve paid my dues and leave the smoothly running NEHW in very good hands.
Kudos to the Board for all their past and future hard work. I know the new anthology will be spectacular!
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