About six or seven years ago, I sat down to write a list of things I’d like to professionally accomplish. I wouldn’t call it “a bucket list,” as it doesn’t contain feats of mental and physical strength, like jumping out of an airplane, or climbing Everest. It’s merely a list of around a dozen plateaus I’d hoped to reach as a professional scribe. I’m proud to say I accomplished some of these goals and prouder still that I haven’t accomplished others.
One thing I’d always wanted was to win a Bram Stoker Award for my efforts in fiction writing. I’ve wanted one of these awards so badly and for so long that I printed out a picture of one and tacked it to my cork board as a reminder to work harder and continue plugging away so that maybe I could one day achieve this honor. In the world of horror fiction, having “Bram Stoker Award-winning author” before your name really means a tremendous lot. Or at least it used to.
Another in my list of goals: becoming an active member of the Horror Writers Association. I have no real excuse as for why I never joined. I suppose I continued to allow life and personal projects to get in the way year after year. Needless to say, I’m beyond grateful to never have had any association with the HWA, or the Bram Stoker Awards, especially after some pretty horrific events have been brought to light.
I will not rehash these stories here, as they are not my stories to tell. For those of you unable to quell your curiosities, some minor Internet sleuthing will undoubtedly answer all of your questions. So much has come out about the HWA, the Stokers, and some pretty high-ranking members that I admit I’m ashamed to have ever wanted any part of such a crooked organization. All this time I believed to grasp that brass ring and reach a higher strata occupied by so many authors I’ve respected and admired over the years, these were the steps I must take. Oh, how wrong I was.
I have no interest in winning a Stoker, no interest in reaching this higher strata if being a part of this upper echelon means being what some of these truly detestable people are. So as not to confuse the issue, I want to stress that thee are, in fact, respectable members of the HWA and not everyone involved are of questionable morale. There are enough, however, for me to believe that they are, in fact, corrupt. Therefore, I shall continue to keep my distance.
For now, I will remain dedicated to my craft and keep hoping that one day this dedication pays off. Whether that means landing a contract with a major publisher, acquiring the interest of literary agents, or winning an award presented by a more respectable organization remains to be seen.