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2015 Tucson Festival of Books

HWA member and Bram Stoker Award®-nominated editor R.J. Cavender hosted the first ever Tucson Festival of Books Writers Retreat at the historic and haunted Big Blue House Inn located on University and 6th Avenue in Tucson, Arizona.

The Tucson Festival of Books took place just minutes from the retreat’s bed and breakfast on the University of Arizona Tucson campus, March 14th and 15th from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Saturday morning, RJ Cavender, John Mulhall, and I were up bright and early since we were given the unloading time of 7:30am. We set up our fantastic corner booth across from the Arizona Daily Star tents, and we were ready to go as soon as the event opened to the public, despite some minor wind gusts that sent bookmarks and cards up in the air and to the ground.

Curious and interested locals commented on our booth and the HWA’s presence at the festival. Horror fans were happy to see us, and fans of other genres were happy to see we appeared normal, just like them (but much cooler, of course.) We were sure to get anyone interested in the organization to sign up for the newsletter. Since the event was on a college campus, there were quite a few creative writing students that stopped by for information. Even a few parents came by for pamphlets to give to their kids wanting to become writers of the genre.

Throughout the day, the festival had some horror-related panels, and we’d hear from other retreat attendees, Delia Remington, Shawna White, Cathleen Marshall and festival attendee Linda Addison, that there was standing room only. At 10am The Next Big Thing: Trends in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, which included HWA members Jonathan Maberry and Weston Ochse. At 1pm members Yvonne Nvarro and Jonathan Maberry were on the panel The Undying Appeal of the Undead, and then at 4pm Weston Ochse was on the panel guest for Blood and Bravado along with Jeff Mariotte and Brian Keene. We’d like to thank them all for mentioning the HWA booth to the panel attendees. Many people stopped by and inquired because of this.

To our delight, the panel guests also came by the booth to say hello. It was great to see them all and chat for a bit. They all discussed how pleased they were that the panels had been so well attended. Member and multiple Bram Stoker® Award winner Linda Addison stopped by and brightened the table with her books and brilliant personality. HWA member and Arizona local James E. Gurley also worked the table for a while.

Sunday began with extreme wind gusts that forced us to get some rocks to keep everything on the table down. In good HWA fashion, we started a trend and forced the event to beef up their security in front of the small rock quarry. How many police officers does it take to keep people from borrowing rocks? —Apparently four.

It was a great event with good book sales, and promotional opportunities for the organization. Many thanks to the HWA for sponsoring the booth and to RJ Cavender for setting it up.

For more information on the event:

For the writers retreat aspect of it contact RJ Cavender at

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