Brian Keene took to Facebook yesterday to issue a statement on behalf of himself and Mary SanGiovanni. Keene, who has published more than four dozen novels and is slated to write for DC House of Horrors, apologized to fans who had expected to speak with either him or SanGiovanni at the Ghost Town Writers Retreat as solicited. According to Keene this did not happen.
We were told this would be a Writer's Retreat (where we could advise and counsel writers) and a Tribute to our dear departed friend Tom Piccirilli. Obviously, we learned -- as did many of you -- that it was neither of those things.
As Keene and attendees shared, there was little to no opportunity to focus on writing. Keene even alleges that no space was designated for writers to write, and his appearance at the convention did not include an opportunity for him to speak with fans and writers. He attempted to remedy the latter by establishing an impromptu Q&A, but this was shut down due to "insurance concerns," a reason that was suspect to Keene.
When I realized that I would also not get the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion with new writers, I tried to schedule an impromptu Q&A at the hotel. This was initially approved by the organizers, but then cancelled. I was told it was due to "insurance regulations" which seems odd to me, as in the over 20 conventions I've helped organize/run, insurance always covered the ENTIRE venue.
But perhaps the most bizarre occurrence in all of this was what happened to Lavina Kohl Award winner and upcoming DC House of Horror writer Mary SanGiovanni. According to the Ghost Town Writers Retreat site, SanGiovanni and fellow author Shelley Adina were to be available to "[t]alk about tea and writing." According to Keene however, this was not accurate, and the women were resigned to simply drink tea without an ability to talk with attendees.
Rather than allowing Mary -- an accomplished, award-winning female novelist of over a dozen books -- to share her knowledge and passion with new writers, the organizers instead had her host a tea party, during which she did not get a chance to talk writing -- or indeed, discuss anything at all.
The Outhouse has reached out to the Ghost Town Writers Retreat for comment.
To hear more about the story, be sure to listen to The Horror Show with Brian Keene this Thursday where Keene will no doubt address the debacle in what reporters expect to be the most profanity laden podcast since Tom Brevoort accidentally recorded himself talking about fans.