Saturday, March 14, 2009

First Annual Las Vegas KillerCon

The First Annual Las Vegas KillerCon will take place September 17 through September 20, 2009 at the Palace Station Hotel/Casino in Sin City. The Horror, Thriller, and Paranormal Romance genres collide in this inaugural multi-genre writer’s convention.

This event will feature panel discussions, readings, two writing contests, parties, book signings, and author Q&As with guests of honor Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, L.A. Banks, Heather Graham, and Edward Lee as well as many other top talents in Fear Fiction who will be in attendance.
Joe Lansdale’s books include the newly released “Leather Maiden,” “Lost Echoes” and “The Bottoms.” Brian Keene’s works include “Dark Hollow” “Ghoul,”“The Rising,” “City of The Dead” and “The Conqueror Worms,” among others. Leslie Arsdaile Banks has written more than 30 novels including the first few novels of her 12 book “Vampire Huntress” series as well as a werewolf series “Crimson Moon” debuting this spring. Heather Graham is a New York Times Bestselling author who has dozens of novels under her belt, with recent titles including “A Kiss of Darkness,” “If Looks Could Kill” and “The Death Dealer.” Ed Lee’s brand of literary mayhem can be found in recent releases “Brides of The Impaler” and “House Infernal”. He is also the author of “Infernal Angel” and “City Infernal” as well as “Fresh Gothic”, “Slither” and more than a dozen others.
KillerCon is the brainchild of author Wrath James White, who is not only enmeshed in the horror/thriller community as a writer (author of Succulent Prey, Population Zero, and His Pain) but has extensive experience in coordinating and promoting sporting events and concerts.

Wrath is joined by writer Monica J. O’Rourke (author of Suffer the Flesh, Experiments in Human Nature, and co-author of Poisoning Eros along with Wrath James White.) Monica chaired the 2005 World Horror Convention in New York City, as well as several New York City-based Stoker Awards banquets, and has many years’ marketing experience.
Come join us for this exciting event or no one will ever love you.
Go to www.killercon.org for more information and to register for the convention.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mo*Con IV: A New Hope*

“The Love and Business of Writing”

May 15th – 17th , 2009

What is Mo*Con?

Brought to you by the Indiana Horror Writers, Mo*Con is a friendly convention focused on conversations revolving around horror literature and spirituality. If you enjoy writing, horror, fantasy, poetry, and food, you’ll find plenty to enjoy at this convention

Who Will Be There?


Tom Piccirilli
Tom Piccirilli is the Edgar nominated author of twenty novels including THE COLDEST MILE, THE COLD SPOT, THE MIDNIGHT ROAD, HELLBOY: EMERALD HELL, THE DEAD LETTERS, HEADSTONE CITY, A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN, and NOVEMBER MOURNS.






Gary Braunbeck
Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 19 books; his fiction has been translated into Japanese, French, Italian, Russian and German. Nearly 200 of his short stories have appeared in various publications.




Lucy Synder
The author the author of a trilogy of novels that are set be published by Del Rey starting in 2009; the first book in the series is entitled Spellbent. Also the author of Sparks and Shadows, a cross-genre short story collection from HW Press, Lucy A. Snyder may be most known for her humor collection Installing Linux on a Dead Badger (And Other Oddities). With over 70 short fiction sales and over 20 poetry sales, her fiction goes all over the road, although she does tend to write genre stories (science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, etc.) more often than straightforward mainstream fiction. She also writes a column for Horror World on science and technology for writers.


Linda Addison
Linda D. Addison grew up in Philadelphia and began weaving stories at an early age. She moved to New York after college and has published over 200 poems, stories and articles. Ms Addison is the author of “Being Full of Light, Insubstantial” (Space & Time Books) and the first African-American recipient of the world renowned Bram Stoker Award. She was honored with her second win in April 2008 for her latest collection.

Gerard Houarner
Gerard Houarner is a product of the NYC school system who lives in the Bronx, was married at a New Orleans Voodoo Temple, and works at a psychiatric institution. He's had over 250 short stories, a four novels and four story collections, as well as a few anthologies published, all dark. To find out about the latest, visit www.gerardhouarner.com, or drop by and say hi at www.myspace.com/gerardhouarner or his board at www.horrorworld.org

Wrath James White
Succulent Prey marks his first mass-market release from Leisure Books. If you have a taste for extreme fiction with socio-political and philosophical messages that push boundaries, break taboos, and leave you thinking long after the book has ended then check out Teratologist co-written with Edward Lee, Poisoning Eros co written with Monica O-Rourke, The Book of A thousand Sins collection, His Pain novella, Orgy of Souls with Maurice Broaddus, Hero novella with J.F. Gonzalez, and Population Zero. If you have a weak stomach, a closed mind, rigid morals, and Victorian sexual ethics, than avoid his writing like the plague.

When/Where is it?

May 15, 16, and 17th

Trinity Church
6151 N. Central Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46220

There are plenty of nearby hotels (MicroTel has served well in the past). This page will be updated as more guests and details are confirmed. [We can also make special arrangements, just drop me a line at MauriceBroaddus@gmail.com]

Programming

Friday
7:00 p.m. Doors open
8:00 p.m. Guest Dinner/Reception
10:00 p.m. Poetry Slam

Saturday
10:00 a.m. Doors open
11:00 a.m. Panels on spirituality, writing, horror, and readings. Lunch.
5:00 p.m. The Dwelling Place Gathering, featuring sermon by Wrath James White. Dinner afterwards.
[After party to be announced]

Sunday
11:00 a.m. Farewell Brunch

Cost: $35 per Person
Money will be accepted at the door or it can be sent to my paypal account [Maurice Broaddus - MauriceBroaddus@gmail.com memo: Mo*Con IV]

There will be several debut projects, so this blog will be updated accordingly. More details to come (as will a re-vamping of my web site to feature a Mo*Con page to include footage of previous Mo*Cons).

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fear of the Dark

A couple months ago I finished reading Ray Garton's book about werewolves terrorizing a small town titled Ravenous. For several nights afterwards, I walked downstairs naked in the dark and had a moment of fear where I thought how easy it would be for a werewolf to lunge out of the dark and disembowel me with a single swipe of its claws. My imagination being what it is, I could even pictures the beasts slavering mouth and two-inch fangs its silver eyes catching the starlight and casting it back from the shadows. I could see its sharp yellowed claws reaching out for me from the blackness. Quickly I would grab a glass of water and hurry back upstairs to the safety of my bedroom. I had similar thoughts after watching 28 Weeks Later and reading Brian Keene's zombie apocalypse novels The Rising, City of the Dead, and Dead Sea. I still have moments where I imagine zombies lurking in the dark as I go down to the kitchen to raid my refrigerator.

What's even weirder is that I have the same fears as I write my own novels. Right now, I am finishing a novel about a serial killer who lives across the street from a couple that he repeatedly rapes and kills and then brings back to life. The novel is called The Ressurectionist and in my mind, it takes place in my neighborhood, in my house. As a result of living with these characters for the past few months, every time I go down stairs it is the antagonist from my own novel that I see lunging out for me from the darkness. I imagine how easy it would be for a killer to slash my throat or even decapitate me with a single stroke of a well-honed blade. I imagine all the terrible things he might then do to my family... and then I go back upstairs and write about it.

That's what a lot of readers do not realize about horror writers. Most often we are writing about the things that terrify us in the hopes that you share our same phobias. When someone asks me how I can think of such terrible things my first thoughts are always, "How can you not?" See, horror writers cannot shy away from the unpleasantries of life. They are our stock and trade. Thinking about the very worst things that can possibly happen to human beings is how we make our living, Part of writing in this genre means constantly researching and brainstorming about the very worst elements of human nature, life, nature, death, the afterlife, and the supernatural. We scour the headlines for tragic events to turn into stories. Rather than turn the channel when we hear of some horrific crime, natural disaster, disease, accident, or genocidal war, we listen attentively, filing away every detail to be used later. We even reach back through time and across continents to research myths and legends and atrocities from the past. Our minds are filled with more terrible things both real and imagined than most people can scarcely conceive of. And here's the secret. They scare us too.

Readers love to imagine the ghoulish horror writer that delights in madness, death, and perversity. But this is largely a myth. Most horror authors are outraged at the atrocity and inhumanity of which the world is everywhere full. That's why we write about it. We want you to be outraged too. We want you to be aware of it. We hate the fact that others are able to turn the channel and ignore even the most horrific events and pretend that they do not exist. We hate it because we can't do it. We see the serial killers lurking in the dark. We see the monsters under the bed. We see the Bogey man in the closet and the werewolves and predators that gobble up lost children and make men and women disappear never to be seen again. We see them in every unsolved murder or disappearance. We see the possibility of genetic mutations in every government funded biological experiment, the apocalypse that awaits us in every new nuclear weapon that is created, every new disease that is discovered and every newer, faster, smarter, more powerful computer we invent. We are terrified by it all and we want you to share our terror.

So I don't turn on the lights when I get up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. I allow myself to experience the terror so I can give it all back to you and make sure that when you get up in the middle of the night, you turn on every light in the house. Because something from the mind of your favorite horror author just might be coiled in the shadows, waiting to strike.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Expanding the Ten Bears

In my recent interview on NPR I mentioned Stephen King's "Ten Bears" and how I thought those "bears" might have risen to fifteen during the past two decades. I think I may have been too conservative in that estimation. Here's a look at King's original list of common fears:

1. fear of the dark
2. fear of squishy things
3. fear of deformity
4.Fear of snakes
5. fear of rats
6. fear of closed in spaces
7. fear of insects
8. fear of death
9. fear of others
10. fear for someone else

To these I would add:

11. Fear of technology
12. Fear of authority
13. Fear of Poverty/ Fear of the poor
14. Fear of Insanity
15. Fear of Sex and Sexuality
16. Fear of Disease
17. Fear of Apocalypse
18. Fear of Isolation


Fear of technology is, of course, nothing new. Science fiction has been tackling this fear for years. Ray Bradbury and Phillip K. Dick were masters at exploiting this fear. Movies like The Terminator have made millions off our own paranoid distrust of our own creations. In today's world where people walk around with computers ten times as powerful as the one that launched the first space shuttle in their pockets, where the power of computers double each year, the idea of a massive computer revolt never seemed more possible.

Likewise, fear of authority is not really a new one either. George Orwell's 1984 was perhaps the quintessential treatise on this particular phobia. After eight year's with a President who did his own thing regardless of what the country wanted resulting in the deaths of thousands, it is easy to understand this fear.

Fear of poverty and fear of the poor have been around for quite some time as well and as poverty has driven more of the lower class to crime, you don't have to be the French aristocracy to get a bit nervous about walking through an impoverished neighborhood. The idea of living there, even for someone like me who was born and raised in the ghetto, can be truly terrifying. Gangs, drugs, guns, rage, frustration, and desperation combine for one hell of a deadly mix. And now, with the world in economic ruin, and people losing homes and jobs all around us, the idea that we may soon join the unwashed masses of the poor is a terrifying thought to those of us who have worked hard all of our lives. The idea that we may someday be unable to provide for our families, that we may someday sit helplessly while our children starve, or that we may turn to crime to feed them, is as scary as any dark squishy thing a horror writer could throw at us.

Fear of Insanity. Imagine if you suddenly began hearing the voice of God and he was telling you to murder your children. Imagine if you began to see monsters and demons everywhere but only you could see them. Imagine if there was a worldwide conspiracy against you and even the people on the TV were watching you. I can think of few things more terrifying than losing my mind.

Fear of Sex and Sexuality. As bizarre as it seems, I could write a story about completely legal consensual sex between adults that would terrify and apall as many people as it aroused. Societal taboos have rendered many sexual acts abhorrent and even terrifying to many people. Fear of deviancy including our own is quite real. If you were to read Succulent Prey and imagine that it was a man trying to find a cure for homosexuality rather than cannibalism or a homosexual man who was suddenly overwhelmed by unwanted heterosexual urges that he couldn't control, it would still be just as terrifying on many levels. Imagine being the only freak in a world full of painfully normal, uptight, judgemental, vanilla sex and having to hide it from everyone for fear of shame and ostracism, trying desperately to suppress your desires and be like everyone else, always afraid that someone would find you out.

Disease, like Stephen King's fear of deformity, is one of those body horrors that can make you want to crawl out of your own skin. The age of HIV and AIDS has spawned an increasing paranoia around deadly diseases. Even Robin Cook never conceived of anything like AIDS or Ebola or the flesh-eating Necrotizing Fascitis. The idea that the apocalypse might come in the form of a super-flu is a very real fear for many.

The Apocalypse. As a kid who grew up in the eighties expecting to wake up any day to the sound of Strategic Defense counting down the minutes until the bombs struck, the idea of Armageddon has always been very real and very terrifying. Now, with a world overrun by religious extremists, any one of which might acquire a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon and decide that we would all be better off in heaven, that threat is no less real and no less terrifying.

Fear of Isolation is one of those fears that too few writers ever tackle but one that is at the core of what it means to be human, to be a social animal. I'm not just talking about your loved ones abandoning you but being abandoned by everyone, being totally alone. As much as computers and technology have brought us together with our distant neighbors from around the world they have isolated us from our neighbors next door. We live now in a world of hundreds of acquaintances and few friends. We are terrified of each other. We shutter ourselves in our homes and talk only from the safety of a computer screen. Since the days of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, the idea of total isolation has horrified us and continues to frighten us to this day.

And there you have it. Eighteen Bears to terrify and delight you. With all of these very real and natural terrors lurking everywhere around us it seems almost unnecessary to invent supernatural horrors. Perhaps that's why I have always found psychological horror so much more disturbing than tales of zombies, vampires, and demons. Then again, if you include the supernatural you might just add another five or six bears to our list. How about fear of the undead?