by Gary A. Braunbeck
Okay, in case you haven't already heard (which means my scream of shock didn't reach all the way across the East Coast), this past Saturday night, June 5th, the Horror Writers Association honored my short story "Duty" with the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction.
That's right: I won a Stoker. I'm still reeling from it, still incredibly happy, and still half-expecting someone to come tap, tap, tapping at my chamber door, saying, ahem, there was a terrible misunderstanding and could they please have it back because Stephen King is waiting for it.
I will confirm that it's one hell of a humbling experience to receive one of these, and I am more grateful than I can put into words; but like I said in my acceptance speech: for those who claim the Stokers don't mean anything, try standing up on that stage with one of them in your hand and saying that.
After having visited NYC, I can say to all of you New Yorkers that you've got every reason to be damned proud of your city; everyone I met -- from the shuttle driver to the people who manned the hotel desk to the bleary-eyed guy who sold me a cup of coffee at 5 a.m. -- was friendly and (get this) courteous.
That's right, you read it correctly, courteous. Even though it was obvious to all of them (sometimes painfully so) that I was a visitor from Ohio, I was never spoken down to, never made to feel like a hick, never dismissed out of hand, and not once was I ever made to feel like they were doing me a favor by putting up with my presence in their city. The song is right: it's a helluva town, and I can't wait to visit again.
And for the record: the coffee I had in NYC was the most delicious coffee I've had in my life; and I want to move to Tower Records -- not near Tower Records, to Tower Records, as in: I wish to live in the building, preferably somewhere on or near the escalator that links the CD section to the DVDs one floor below. Yes, I have problems, but you already knew that.