After our quick trip to LA, we headed back out on the book tour. The next stop was Orlando, FL to do one of my favorite horror conventions, Spooky Empire. I had been down there the year before to follow Kane on the press tour for Hatchet 2. I didn’t get to stay for much of the con, but I had a great time and loved the hotel. In fact, that is what sets it apart from all the other cons. Spooky is in Florida, meaning its nice out. And the hotel the con is at is more of a resort than just a standard hotel. There is acres of land with pools, bars and all sorts of entertainment, not to mention you are in Orlando where there are a million things to do, unlike other cons where you spend 90% of the non-con time at the hotel bar or lobby. At Spooky, you have pool parties, outdoor bars, pool and ping pong tables under the sun and tons of other things to do during or after the con. With a few thousand die hard horror fans, the place becomes one huge, awesome party.
Months before the con, I talked to the owner, Petey about doing an event for the release of Kane’s book. He was more than enthusiastic about it and went way out of his way to work with us. Come to find out, they hold a VIP party every year, this year they would make the party about Kane. They were even going to give out copies of the book to every person that attended the party. Of course Kane and I were thrilled about this. Not only were we going to get to do a great convention, there was going to be a party in his honor! With so much going on, I had a few friends and my wife fly down that weekend to enjoy the festivities. It was going to be great… only there was one problem. The wonderful “Florida” weather… it didn’t want to cooperate with us.
From pretty much the second we got there until we left, it poured out. And when I say pour, I’m not talking about a light rain or drizzle. I’m talking the type of rain that even if you have an umbrella, you are getting soaked. This meant all the wonderful outdoor activities were mostly not going to happen. Sadly, rain also lessens the amount of people who attend events. Of course the die hards will go no matter what, but this rain was so hard I think even some of them stayed home.
Even though it was a monsoon out, there was one thing I didn’t let it stop me from doing… going to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. I didn’t care if I got soaked. Sadly the rain stopped anyone I wanted to go with from going with me, but it didn’t matter, I was going to stand in the rain and wait for hours to see the attractions. Soaked to the bone and with slight hypothermia I got to go through the majority of their houses the day before the convention started. While I loved every second of them, I was a bit disappointed in the fact that unlike the awesome Erebus, that we were at a few days earlier, these ones had giant EXIT signs everywhere and ushers every five feet to keep you moving. That and none of the houses lasted longer than five minutes. Regardless, it was a good time and the park turns into one amazing place after dark, so it was worth it.
When the con started on Friday, my friends and family had arrived, albeit, wet. I was really excited to have two of my fellow horror writers, Dan Loubier, author of the novel, Dead Summit and Brian Orlowski, the artist and writer of one of my favorite books of all time, Strange Guts: American Septic with me for the weekend. Neither of them had really gotten to do a convention before, though that wasn’t why I was excited to have them come. The real reason I like any friend going to a convention is so I can introduce them to Kane. Typically they are excited to meet the legend, but what they don’t know is I ask Kane to be a bit “rougher” with them. This means Kane will crush their hands during the hand shake, then he will push them around and almost knock them out with his famous “choke” hold he puts people in for a picture. Seeing Dan and Brian’s faces when they got choked was… priceless.