DEAR ROSE: An Open Letter to a Fan I Met This Weekend (with stuff for the rest of you, too)

Joe Ripple and I, sending regards to our biggest fan.
Joe Ripple and I sending regards to our biggest fan.

So, like I said last week, I intend to start Blogging here regularly again, because Tumblr is a cesspool filled with nitwits on both sides of the political aisle, and I am too old for that shit.

Hi. I’m Brian Keene. Here’s this week’s Blog. I’ll be talking about the possible small heart attack I had on Saturday, and new book releases, and a regretfully cancelled upcoming appearance, and how the premiere of my new film, FAST ZOMBIES SUCK, went, and some other stuff.

But first, I’d like to talk to Rose.

The rest of you indulge me for a moment.

***

I met a lot of awesome readers and fans at this past weekend’s 2nd Annual Scares That Care Weekend, a charity horror convention which took place in Williamsburg, Virginia. (And yes, there will be a third one next year). There was Tom, who is my age, and shipping off to Afghanistan soon, leaving behind his loved ones, and doing it without complaint because that’s what he promised to do when he enlisted. There was Syko, whose name I spelled incorrectly when I signed his books. There was the young couple who I met in the bar on Thursday night (whose names I regretfully can’t remember) who were nervous and excited and absolutely wonderful, and laughed with delight when I called their family member (also a fan) and wished him a happy birthday. And the couple who drove down from New Jersey whose names I also can’t remember (the guy wore an Opeth shirt). And these folks were just the tip of the iceberg. So many great and wonderful people stopped by during the weekend, and I appreciate them all.

But it is you, Rose, who stayed in my head during the six-hour drive home last night, and who has remained in my thoughts ever since. I don’t know your last name, and I don’t know if you’re on social media, and I don’t know how else to reach you, so I’m resorting to this. I apologize in advance for using this method, but I’m pretty sure I’ll keep your identity secret despite this public letter.

When you came up to my table, I saw the nervousness in your stance and your body language, and heard it in your voice. When you told me you suffered from agoraphobia, I was absolutely blown away. I can only imagine what attending a convention is like for you, especially inside the dealer or celebrity rooms, where masses of people are pressed together like cattle in chutes, and the cacophony of raised voices seems to batter at you from all sides.

Except that, as I told you, I don’t have to imagine it, because I get pretty anxious in such situations myself. I’m able to flip my “ON” switch — to transform into the public Brian Keene, rather than my real self, and cope with it long enough for everyone to have a good time, but yeah… when it’s all over, I need to go somewhere quiet and sit by myself and be alone and not talk for a long while.

The fact that you braved all that, and came out to support the charity — a charity that is near and dear to my heart — means the world to me. You have my absolute respect and admiration, and I would really be delighted to send you some more signed books. Email me at briankeene@live.com so we can make that happen. And to weed out the pinheads who will say they are you just to get books, tell me the location of that quiet spot I pointed out to you — because that’s our secret, known only to us (and maybe also to author Kelli Owen and my podcast co-host Dave “Meteornotes” Thomas).

Seriously, Rose. You rock. You touched me, and your grace and determination are something I won’t forget (and that’s saying something, because my memory ain’t what it used to be. I’ve apparently met author Armand Rosamilia seven times, and each time has been the first).

Thank you for braving it all to support the charity. The world needs more people like you.

***

Mike Lombardo, myself, Matt Blazi, and Dave Thomas on stage at the premiere (photo by Lynne Hansen)
Mike Lombardo, myself, Matt Blazi, and Dave Thomas on stage at the premiere (photo by Lynne Hansen)

FAST ZOMBIES SUCK, a short indie film which I financed and served as Executive Producer on and was based on my short story of the same name, premiered in Williamsburg on Thursday night. We showed the movie, and then some of the folks involved with the production (Mike Lombardo, Matt Blazi, and Dave Thomas) came out on stage and we did a Q&A for about 45 minutes, followed by a general Q&A with myself for another 30. My favorite part of the evening was F. Paul Wilson getting the microphone and saying, “That didn’t suck nearly as bad as you said it would.”

The entire thing was recorded, and we’ll be airing the Q&A portion on next week’s episode of my podcast, THE HORROR SHOW WITH BRIAN KEENE.

***

Speaking of the podcast, Dave has created a Facebook page for it. He wants all of you to go ‘Like’ it.

***

And speaking of FAST ZOMBIES SUCK, we’ll be putting the film up on my YouTube Channel shortly. Everyone just needs a few days to decompress before we do it.

***

Speaking of having a few days to decompress, I may have had a small heart attack on Saturday afternoon, or I may have just staved one off in the nick of time. I’m not sure which. I was signing books and my arm started to tingle, and then go numb, and then a fist started squeezing my chest. These are symptoms I remember from my last one, so I excused myself from the table (and thanks to John Urbancik and Thomas F. Monteleone for keeping an eye on it for me), went upstairs, swallowed four baby aspirin, and rested for about an hour. I felt better afterward, but I am still tired, and my body is telling me to rest. At 47, I’ve learned to listen to my body. I’ve been doing too many appearances and too much traveling this summer, and it’s starting to take a toll. Later this month, we’ll be shooting the trailer for the film adaptation of THE CAGE. I can’t miss out on that, but I also need to do less, so something has to give.

Therefore, it is with my sincerest and deepest apologies that I regretfully inform you all I won’t be at the Lewisburg Literary Festival in two weeks. I was looking forward to it for many reasons, not the least of which is that I have a family reunion nearby the same weekend, and this would have been an opportunity to do both. But not having a heart attack is more important than either of those things, so instead, I’m going to take it easy for the rest of the summer.

Hopefully, you’ll all understand that. If not, then you probably suck.

***

A reminder that KING OF THE BASTARDS, a Howard-esque Conan pastiche I co-wrote with Steven Shrewsbury, is out now in paperback and e-book. You should snag one.

The book features Steven’s recurring characters Rogan and Javan matched up against my character Meeble. It also serves as a stand-alone novel. You don’t need to have read anything else to read and enjoy this one.

***

LIBRA NIGRUM SCIENTIA SECRETA by myself and J.F. Gonzalez, has shipped. Twitter and Facebook are full of readers posting pics of their copies. This was the last thing Jesus worked on before he died. Indeed, we were working on it the morning he went into the hospital. He never got to see the finished book, but I’m glad the rest of you did.

The book will never be reprinted, as it was designed as a collectible for collectors. If you missed out, I’m sure they’ll start turning up on eBay soon.

***

This week will be spent boxing up manuscript critiques and getting them to the post office, sorting through the next batch of Lifetime Subscriber books I just received from Deadite Press, going through the bazillion emails that came in while I was traveling for the past two weeks, responding to a ton of business voice mails, writing a new chapter for Patreon, reading the galleys for WHERE WE LIVE AND DIE (coming soon), and finishing a novel called THE COMPLEX which has gone sideways on me.

Thanks for being patient.

 

10 thoughts on “DEAR ROSE: An Open Letter to a Fan I Met This Weekend (with stuff for the rest of you, too)

  1. Mr. Keene,

    What an amazing shout out to a great fan. Thanks for taking the time to acknowledge how difficult it was for her to venture into the madness of a convention. I am not a sci-fy fantatic or comic book person, but am in a relationship with someone who is. In addition, I have had the pleasure of the charity that I work for being the beneficiary of these conventions and have met truly the nicest and most philanthropic folks on this (and possibly others) planet. The vibe and enthusiasm of these conventions are inspiring. Hope you take the time to heal yourself and again thank you for taking the time to mention her in particular.

    Diana

  2. *tries to say something nice and keep coming up with gibberish* Ok, keep it simple. Kudos to Rose for doing something very difficult, Kudos to Brian for being the kind of writer who cares. *smile*

  3. Cant wait for my copy of Libra Nigrum. The worst thing about living in Scotland is it takes so long for the delivery of books. Well that and the fact that I never get to go to all the conventions lol.

  4. I hope that one day I will be able to meet you. Not to sound like so much of a school girl, but you are my favorite author and when I read about how much attention and love you give to your fans, it makes me all the more wish that I could one day be one of them, smiling until my face hurts and making a dream of mine come true. Please rest and stay healthy because a world without brian keene would be a terrible place to live in.

  5. As someone starting out as a fan and then having the honor to work with you and then finally getting to meet you and find out that you are the great person I had always assumed you were. Rest, we can all wait.

  6. hope you’re feeling better and as a medical professional, I second the motion to get checked out if you haven’t already done so. anxiously awaiting new books!

  7. Missing J.F. Gonzalez and David Silva – cannot imagine you not being with us – Take care of yourself Brian!

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