Con Report: DogCon 5

Author J.L. Gribble beats everyone to the punch with a DogCon5 report!

J.L. Gribble

img_7165Steel Magic makes for lovely beach house decor.

It’s kind of crazy to think that it’s been 5 years since I’ve been involved with Raw Dog Screaming Press. There are other dates to mark that anniversary that might be more “official,” such as the date my first book with them was announced (at DogCon 3), but I quietly mark the beginning of this journey from my official invitation to the very first DogCon. That was when the Dog Star Books SF/adventure imprint was announced, and when I started to get the idea that I might have found a home for my urban fantasy/alternate history novel.

Funny story: I wasn’t even at the first DogCon! (Even though lots of people seem to think that I was.) I received the invitation after I’d already scheduled the housewarming party for my new home, and since I had not yet met John Edward…

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How to Get Published: Why Submissions Aren’t the Only Important Step

Over the years we’ve evaluated thousands of manuscripts in our various editorial endeavors, from The Dream People magazine to numerous anthologies and our publishing imprints. One thing we realized is that as editors you are never merely signed an author, you are entering into a business partnership.

We also learned the hard way that when investing a book it’s best to meet the author first. That way we ensure everybody is on the same page, so to speak, concerning the publishing process. We also make sure there’s no issue with personality conflicts, or any other potential problems.

Likewise, we feel it’s a good thing for authors to vet any publisher they might work with, and do so by meeting them in person. Second-hand accounts are great, but you know best what you want and need. If something doesn’t click with the publisher you’re better off knowing prior to being locked into a multi-year deal.

One function our yearly DogCon event serves is to provide a platform for authors to meet us. There’s still time to get tickets and join us. Of course, if you can’t make it to the Broadkill Resort you can join us for the highlights online free of charge.

You don’t absolutely have to attend DogCon5 in order to get to know us…instead you could be patient and come to one of our workshops, but they have a higher price tag.

KW Taylor came to our second Bourbon Ridge retreat, during which she had a sit down with us to discuss her writing. The result? A year later we published her novel The Curiosity Killers.

Jessica McHugh was awarded the scholarship to attend our first Bourbon Ridge retreat after we ran a successful crowdfunding campaign. The result? Next year her novel Nightly Owl, Fatal Raven will be published by Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Jim and Janice Leach also attended our first Bourbon Ridge retreat, and their collaborative poetry collection all soon be published by us.

We’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with many others at our events, many of whom we’d like to work with at some point. Some we don’t, and others still are uninterested in working with us. Not everything is about signing contracts—there is such a thing as just having a good time.

horror-workshop-skyscraperMaria Alexander? She was one of those people we just hung out with back in the early 2000s. Over a decade later her debut novel Mr. Wicker came our way, and when we published it she won the Bram Stoker Award.

Lucy A. Snyder? She was somebody who happened to be at a bookstore where we were doing an event. She asked if she could read as part of our lineup, we said yes, things were cool. Years later she put together her collection Soft Apocalypses, which won a Stoker Award when published by us.

You never know where just being cool and hanging out will lead.

The next similar opportunity is our From Concept to Market: Create a Horror Book in One Week workshop in November. While it is an online workshop, the best way to take full advantage of getting to know us is in person by reserving your room with the on-site upgrade.

What is included? You learn the secrets of the most prolific writers, editors, graphic designers, and publicists in this week-long workshop. From coming up with your idea, writing and editing, to cover design, interior layout, uploading your files, and executing your PR plan, we guide you step-by-step through the process.

This workshop has a total value of $1,356.68…but you get $774.68 in value free when you act now! We hope to get to know you better in the Create a Horror Book in a Week workshop.

Big News Coming

There is a lot of news coming from both me personally, and also for Raw Dog Screaming Press and the Broadkill Writers’ Resort. To keep up with it all I strongly recommend subscribing to our newsletter, which we try to pack with valuable information such as job openings in the publishing industry, fun events and free downloads unrelated to us, and other opportunities.

To sample our newsletter without actually having to subscribe you can take a look at our most recent addition in the archive online. We send our newsletter once a month at the most. What do you lose by subscribing and getting tips about free stuff? You can subscribe here. If you do so please ensure that our email address is whitelisted in your account. Thank you!

What counts as “big news,” anyway? There’s only one way to find out…

2 Ways to Save Your Future Self – Today

You know what I regret?

We played hard at our Bourbon Ridge retreats

I missed –––––– when it happened, even though I was involved in the scene at that time. Why? There were people to take care of, although in retrospect it’s clear I could have called on others to cover for me while I took a weekend to be part of that event.

I didn’t ——————— even though I was invited. Why? There was work to finish, none of which was so important that I can actually remember them now.

I wasn’t part of –––––––– because I wasn’t born yet. That’s the cause of me missing so many other cool things.

[Names and dates have been redacted to protect the innocent.]

There’s a real science behind happiness, and the role of experiences in your happiness. As it turns out that experiential investments–time, money, effort–bring long-term happiness by becoming part of our identity, while material purchases only bring short-term happiness.

Shared experiences also bring greater happiness by providing deeper connections with people. Some of my best friends are people I’ve been on the road with at book signings and conventions. One reason I lament missing so many of those aforementioned events is that I’ve missed even more bonding moments.

The hot tub is always a hit at our Bourbon Ridge retreats

You’ve been at ground zero for something that turned out to be a big deal, right? Either for your personal circle, or people you are connected with on the internet, or for the public at large, you can list at least one great thing you were a participant in, a witness to. Hopefully more than one.

Do you really want to settle for “hopefully more than one,” though?

There are plenty of instances where I should have taken advantage of an opportunity. Or, better yet, created the opportunity for myself. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I don’t believe it is egotistical to assume other people are like me and have similar regrets.

Save Yourself

So, let’s save our future selves a bad case of hand-wringing and indigestion. We can get ourselves to DogCon5, and wrangle our friends and associates into coming along for the ride. I’ll sleep better knowing I spread the word, and you won’t have to hear about the news on the internet after the fact.

Tattoos were given on site at the first DogCon

The news? Yes. There will be several new developments unveiled at DogCon5. What constitutes a new development or big news for us? Well, we have been steadily launching or acquiring new imprints, winning awards, publishing international music stars, and having movie deals and foreign translations. I won’t reveal details here, but those in attendance will have the opportunity to be beta testers.

Other than being an early adopter getting in on the ground floor…at a secluded, pristine beach…what else is scheduled?

What if you can’t attend? Well, you can still have access to:
•    Simulcasts of select event programming
•    Free downloads
•    Post-event videos, slideshows, and more
•    A total lack of all the cool things you would get in person

Goth industrial music star and author Steven Archer reads to kids we steampunked at DogCon2

I feel as though I’ve missed it all, even though I have done a lot of things. And, realistically, nobody can do everything. However…you can take this one action:

Imagine your future self asking Do I regret being part of a cool indie publishing event on the beach?

In your mind’s eye do you see yourself angry and depressed by memories of bonfires on the beach, meals and games with artists, and swag?

If not then visit to learn what all the various ticket levels offer you.

Oh, and we’ll be debuting new books during the event. Will you have a new product? Maybe you’re excited about what somebody else is doing? Whatever it is please bring it along and share it with us in person. Thanks!

Upcoming Workshops and Events

Catch me at the Baltimore Book Fest this weekend!

September 25, 2016, 5-6PM
Horror, Dark Fantasy & Paranormal
If it goes bump in the night then it probably belongs here. Join us as we talk about our deepest fears and learn how authors catch just the right feeling of dread to keep you up all night.
Authors: Jeremy M. Gottwig, Richard Groller, John Edward Lawson, Emmie Mears, Damien Angelica Walters.


September 30-October 3 • DogCon 5

DogCon is a big shindig RDSP holds every year to celebrate books, authors and all our supporters. It’s a chance for the RDSP family to get together, meet each other, show off the latest works and begin new creative ventures. Activities will be running Friday to

Monday but Saturday, October 1 & Sunday October 2nd will be the main event. Each DogCon is different and this one will be more about strengthening the RDSP author community than having public book events. Activities on Saturday & Sunday afternoon/evening will be aimed at the public but other times will be more for the authors. However, anyone is still welcome to hang out the whole time. Plans are evolving but here are some of the things we will definitely do:

  • ticketGuest speaker publicity expert Beverly Bambury will give two workshops on book promotion techniques
  • Group meals/snacks (likely a shrimp boil, s’mores, Gooey donuts and a cookout)
  • Readers Choice Award winner announcement, presentation of the championship belt
  • Beach bonfire (weather permitting) sponsored by Carrion Blue
  • Instigation workshop by Michael A. Arnzen
  • State of the Dog Address, what does the future hold for RDSP?
  • Visit to Dogfish Head brewery (tours are available but are 1st come, not guaranteed)
  • One-on-one sessions with Beverly will be available for a fee
  • Story Swap: authors will swap short pieces & perform each others’ work aloud
  • Thunderdome death matches (just kidding…maybe)
  • Readings by RDSP authors

Book Here

Also, mark your calendar for the very first event organized by the Diverse Writers and Artists of Speculative Fiction, free to the public at the Long Branch Library in Silver Spring, MD on Saturday, October 22.
There will be four workshops and panels covering a wide array of subjects, from Imagery in Film to world building. More details to be announced!


November 5-12 • From Concept to Market: Create a Horror Book in One Week

broadkillcourselogoHave you ever wanted to take advantage of a great idea? Have you wanted to get a book into the marketplace quickly to take advantage of a holiday season, current events, or just plain beat a competitor to your audience’s wallet? Learn the secrets of the most prolific writers, editors, graphic designers, and publicists in this online workshop. You will receive daily training and personal attention, have access to a members-only online community, learn how to save thousands of dollars by doing your own book design using free online tools, compose a manuscript in days, and initiate your publicity campaign. Hosted by John Edward Lawson.

Book Here

You Are Invited to the Party!



The DogCon yearly event has grown more bold with each year, and DogCon5 this September 30-October 3 promises to be the best yet!
Step behind the scenes with your hosts John Edward Lawson and Jennifer C. Barnes, the founders of Raw Dog Screaming Press as they look back over 13 years in the publishing industry, and share hard won insights.
That includes lessons from past DogCons, and the user experience upgrades the DogCon team has implemented to take things to the next level in 2016.


  • Get the goods without committing to purchasing DogCon tickets. Find out what all the hype is about!
  • Raw Dog Screaming has repeatedly shaken things up in the publishing scene, inspiring a new wave of imitations by competitors with each new move. Learn why!
  • Those who register will be on the inside track. Don’t let everyone get ahead of you, join the pre-party now!
  • Thinking about a career in publishing? Come spend time hanging out with publishers and editors!


Cover Reveal: Poems of My Night


Coming September 15

Poems of My Night by Cynthia Pelayo is now available for pre-order here!

“These poems are cautionary tales for those who choose not to cover their eyes, warnings for those who refuse to find the light.”

Urban Poetry from Beyond the Veil

Cynthia Pelayo constructs a narrative in her poetry in response to the work of Jorge Luis Borges that examines the themes and subsequent consequences of insomnia, death, and blindness. There’s a visionary quality to her work that dances along the line between the present world that we inhabit and the other world that lingers beyond the veil. Her poetry folds back this blanket of darkness, and shows readers the quiet violence and beauty that hides beneath waiting to be exposed, experienced, and encompassed.

A Poet in the Dark

cynthia-pelayo-1Pelayo showcases this scream of silence through an urban and metaphysical night as she reflects on the spiritual, the occult, and the everyday happenings that become extraordinary in their own rights. Her poems are sermons, prayers to the voices that surround us in the dark, and comforts to those who watch over us as we sleep. Her style is honest, raw, and her voice will leave readers asking questions about what waits for them in the beyond, and whether or not their sins and frustrations are trapping them in the here and now. She shows us that all too often, there is nothing to be scared of when the sun goes down, but that sometimes, we have every reason to be afraid, especially as we enter her world of blackness and decay, of smudged fingerprints and burnt pictures.

These poems are cautionary tales for those who choose not to cover their eyes, warnings for those who refuse to find the light. And when our dreams come to roost, when our sleep eases us in, Pelayo shows us what nightmares are made of, and why there are some stories we can never escape.

About the Cover Artist

Steven Archer is an artist and musician living in Baltimore, MD. When not recording, DJing, or producing art, he and his wife, author Donna Lynch, tour with their dark electronic rock band Ego Likeness. He has a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC and has shown his work at galleries and other venues throughout the east coast.  His work has also been shown internationally in the form of album art and magazine illustrations. He is the author and illustrator of the children’s book Luna Maris. For more information about Ego Likeness, please visit Steven’s solo electronic project can be found at

Additional DogCon Opportunities


UPDATE: Add-on madness!

New DogCon Opportunities: Special guest Beverly Bambury provides the following presentations for DogCon 5 attendees (these are included in the base ticket price):

Class 1Social Media for Authors (even Misanthropic Authors)

No matter how you’re published, it’s a tough world out there having to constantly promote your work. Authors have to do more than ever before, and one of the least natural efforts for many is social media. This session will focus mostly on Twitter and Facebook, but other things will be discussed, such as Goodreads, Pinterest, Snapchat, and blogging. And if you actually hate people and want to think about being social as little as possible? Well, this session can help with that, too.

Class 2Building a quality review and promotional pitch list

Asking people to review and promote your book is most authors’ least favorite thing. Sure, we all have our usual suspects, friends, and family, but how do we find new people? How do you find the right kind of reviewers and blogs? Not sure what to say when you finally find them? This useful, hands-on workshop will let you leave DogCon with a list of appropriate reviewers and websites, as well as a query letter template to use when asking for reviews and other promotional opportunities. Being your own publicist has never been so easy!

Important: to get the most out of this session, attendees should bring an internet-enabled device for searching and should be able to create a document for their list on the spot, whether digital or pen-and-paper.

If attendees wish to brush up on their search skills prior to the workshop, Google offers a free class on power searching here:

More DogCon Opportunities

Available for purchase with your ticket. (If you already purchased and want to add any of these items just email us.)

Get started with fully customizing your DogCon5 experience today Combine with the “Con Boss” package to build the ultimate indie author toolkit.

A Congregation of Jackals Book Deal

WRAITHSOFBROKENLANDFEATRaw Dog Screaming press has just signed a book deal with S. Craig Zahler to release his out-of-print first novel A Congregation of Jackals. As an author, screenwriter and director Zahler has taken both Hollywood and the publishing world by storm. His gritty and unflinching style is undeniable. Bone Tomahawk, which he wrote and directed, was a critical and financial success. It was one of the most talked-about horror films of the year. The acclaim of that project garnered a movie deal for his novel Wraiths of the Broken Land, with 20th Century Fox. Famed director Ridley Scott (The Martian, Avatar, Alien) and the production team behind The Martian, including Drew Goddard, have signed on to produce the film. This makes it the perfect time to re-release his debut novel, A Congregation of Jackals, the one that started his ride down this trail of extreme Westerns.

Three Westerns

Zahler sees all three works, Bone Tomahawk, Wraiths of the Broken Land and  A Congregation of Jackals, as part of a thematic trilogy. They share similar settings, subject matter and atmospheres, though they don’t share any characters. A Congregation of Jackals received critical acclaim, including a starred review from Booklist and nominations for both the Peacemaker and the Spur award. But it had a shortened publication life because Dorchester Publishing went out of business soon after its release. Until now the book has been largely unavailable. Raw Dog Screaming Press is excited to be publishing the Authors Preferred Text edition of A Congregation of Jackals this December.

Author’s Preferred Text

Zahler has gone back and refined the prose to bring it up to his current standard. The new text is as crisp and biting as one could hope. Meanwhile he is directing his second movie, Brawl in Cell Block 99. Deals for translations of his work into French, German, Russian, Hungarian and other languages have been piling up. Expect to see the name S. Craig Zahler in entertainment industry news on a regular basis.

SNOWED Excerpt: Meet Charity Jones


Meet Charity Jones, An Excerpt from SNOWED

We’re celebrating Maria Alexander’s birthday by giving YOU a present, please enjoy this SNOWED excerpt:

I open my eyes the next morning to the sight of Mr. Spotty’s yellow oval eyes. Mr. Spotty’s grounded because I used his catapult arm to throw rocks at Charles. I didn’t mean to hurt him. He was hiding in the bushes with his friends smoking pot. I just wanted to startle them, not take a hunk of flesh out of my brother’s forehead.

Although, I’m kinda glad I did.

The other two robots aren’t grounded, just temporarily decommissioned as I work on a new, far more sophisticated robot. Her name is Les Femmes Nikitas and she flies. In three parts. She could seriously wreck the house — even the garage — so I only test her outside.

I claim the bathroom before the boys can. As I brush my teeth, I glower at my ridiculous hair in the mirror. My dad is black. My mom is a ginger. My hair is doomed. By the time I’m out of the shower, Charles is banging on the bathroom door.
“Innaminute!” I yell.

Charles continues to assault the door. Mom chimes in. “What’s going on in there?”
“Just doing my fracking hair!”

Mom yells, “Some women would kill for your hair! Ask Alex Kingston! You look just like her.”

“Alex Kingston,” I yell back, “is perfect in every way and is married to The Doctor.” I punish the rebellious strands with more conditioner, tie them back, and apply mascara.

My dad shouts from the master bathroom, “River Song is not married to The Doctor, honey. That was in a timeline that no longer exists.”

“River Song is totally married to The Doctor!” I burst out of the bathroom. “Love is—”

Aidan stands there, toothbrush in hand.


His eyes are a milky blue color, like that neon fluid you find inside glow sticks. Otherworldly. Alien. Beautiful. I fall into them for a moment.

I then realize my bathrobe is open. I clutch the collar closed and feel embarrassment burning up to my earlobes.

“I’m so sorry,” he says. “Your mother said to wait here.”

“It’s okay,” I sputter. Did he already shower? He smells good. I can’t even look at him, I’m so mortified that I might have flashed him. “I’m done.”

“Thank you,” he mutters. As if paralyzed, he doesn’t move until I try to step past.

Pre-order SNOWED, coming November 2nd

We hope you enjoyed this SNOWED excerpt!

The man your librarian warned you about…

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