Fan Expo – Today Only!

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I will be at the Horror Writer’s Association table from 4 PM today to 7 PM.10945642_10153628731213711_6023216507057150030_n

Stop by and sign up for our newsletter so you can get the latest news and releases from our members in Ontario and across the world.

I hope to release my new novel LONDON UNDEAD soon, and the HWA will be the place to hear it first!

The Master of Horror is Dead

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Wes Craven was without a doubt one of the biggest influences in my work. Everything I know about horror movies, every horror book I write, is because of him. I am sad to say that the master of horror has passed away.

I was a comicbook baby. Everything I learned about life, heroism, bravery and criminality was from Marvel and DC comics from the eighties, the greatest era of comicbooks in history. As I got older, I began to seek out work that shared similar themes and esthetics with the comicbook stories I had consumed. Wes Craven provided the bridge from heroes to horror, although I didn’t realize it at the time. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized most of my favorite horror films were created, written or directed by this legendary man. You can look back at some of my Halloween posts and see how prominent his films are in my top ten lists.

I am not quite sure what Wes did exactly, what made him stand apart from the others. Perhaps it was what marketing people call “branding”. Wes Craven’s films always had a larger than life monster, the kind that was easy to remember and easy to understand. The Exorcist was often cited as one of the best horror films ever made, but who was the antagonist in the Exorcist? Part of the reason why none of the other Exorcist films have been any good is because without atmosphere and actress of the first film, there really is no clear bad guy. Freddy on the other hand? Hell, Freddy is perhaps the single most popular serial killer since Frankenstein. His burnt, smiling face has appeared on more merchandise over the years than any other single horror monster. Something about Freddy tapped into our primal fears, I remember the scene clearly where the girl is murdered in the bed, sliced up in front of her boyfriend while he is helpless to help her.

To this day I am still afraid of straight razors. I will bravely sword fight a samurai and not think twice about it, but I can’t even let a barber shave me with a blade because of Wes Craven. But it wasn’t just the fear of being brutally murdered that made Freddy a legend, there were other, subtler things going on in those films. After the young woman is murdered, the boyfriend is blamed for it. Nobody believed him, or if they did, they pretended not to (the town was covering up the fact they murdered a man). In some way, this idea that parents won’t believe you was more frightening than the monster himself. Not only was Freddy going to kill you and your friends, but the adults seemed to be in denial about it. The ignorance of adults is a common theme in horror, but Wes put his own unique twist on it and that made Freddy stand out in an era where horror was everywhere.

In Nightmare on Elm Street 2, they tried to ground Freddy in a bit more reality, having him use a puppet for his murders and it didn’t work. When Freddy returned the third time, he had returned to his comicbook-style of horror, except now it was turned up a notch. As a young child, it was easy to see parallels between the X-Men and the Dream Warriors, kids who banded together to try and fight back against Freddy by using his own methods against him. They failed pretty miserably, but the idea of it, the concept of becoming a hero in your dreams to fight a monster, stuck with me forever.

I don’t know if Mr. Craven ever acknowledged his comicbook roots, but he had to have them. After all, he made Swamp Thing, so he must have at least been aware of what comics were out at the time. Dracula was Marvel’s best-selling character for many years, Wes must have been familiar with at least some of those titles from the 70’s.

Over the years other people took Freddy in different directions and Wes moved onto other projects.

SHOCKER followed a lot of the comicbook type themes that Freddy had; regular people had to come together to stop a killer who could get you through your electronic devices. It was ingenious and once again, the villain could easily step into any comicbook and fit right in.

My mother used to let me watch horror movies when I was probably too young to watch them, so Wes Craven’s work left an impression. I remember my little brother thought Freddy was the coolest and we had a giant black market style print of Freddy on the wall for many years, which made us very cool among the other kids. Freddy reinvigorated the horror films of the 80’s and for most creators, that would be enough. Not for the Master, who reinvented the horror genre again in the 90’s with SCREAM.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Scream movies, primarily because I was  a young man in the prime of his life and didn’t find killers who I could take in a fight all that scary. I mean hell, I was more like the two jerks who put on the ghost mask in the first movie than I was comfortable admitting. Still, who can deny the genius of the concept? Once again, horror sprang back into the public eye. At this point everyone has imitated Craven’s work, franchises like SAW couldn’t exist without what Craven did. I haven’t even mentioned The Hills Have Eyes, because I never saw those films, but trust me, there are a ton of fans out there for that franchise as well. I also highly recommend The People Under The Stairs, a scary film with a black protagonist, something you rarely ever see in horror films.

Wes wasn’t one of the best, he WAS the best and he will be missed.

With that, I leave you with one of the scariest images to ever appear in a horror movie. Cheers to you, Mr. Craven, thanks for all the scares!

HWA News

HWA News
StokerCon 2016 in Las Vegas

The HWA’s first official convention kicks off in 2016 in Las Vegas. Guests so far include Jack Ketchum, Stephen Jones, R.L. Stine, Daniel Knauf, and more. We’re also proud to announce HORROR UNIVERSITY, our series of workshops and other educational material headed up by the biggest names in the genre. For more info, visit http://stokercon2016.horror.org/

Horror University is now live!

Registration for a series of workshops with talent like Jonathan Maberry and Jack Ketchum is now available for registration. Click HERE to see what’s available and register. You must also be registered for StokerCon to attend a workshop. Slots are filling fast so hurry!

SO Now I am NOT Going to Be At Fan Expo?

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Apparently my name appearing on the site was a glitch; their website was having some problems so they reverted back to a more stable model, which happened to be the 2013 page, which happened to have me on it. They removed all of us and I have no clue whether we’ll actually get accepted this year because the guy in charge was let go and nobody knows for sure who is attending now.

I don’t have time to put in a book order, so even if I get to go, there won’t be much I can bring beyond promo material and the few books here at home.

Really not a great situation and saying I am a bit frustrated would be an understatement.

Oh well, I’ll let you guys know when I know!

In other news, I am now a member of the Horror Writer’s Association, the people responsible for the Bram Stoker Award and one of the largest writer’s guilds in the country. Very happy to have accomplished this milestone in my career.

HWA

Fan Expo 2015

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So it appears I will be attending Fan Expo after all. I made a post earlier this summer about not going, but it appears that they already have me listed as a guest on the site. I hadn’t even got a confirmation e-mail saying I was accepted, but my name is on the website so I am guessing it is only a matter of time until the e-mail comes through.

At this point, as much as it bothers me that a certain guest is going to be there, it would be difficult and problematic to ask them to remove me from the show. I am always grateful that they’ll have me and I don’t want to ruin the relationship I have with the show just because I disagree with a certain person being there. If I see that person, I will voice my issues, but I am going to try and concentrate on the positive parts of the show; the guests I want to meet, the fans I hope to greet, and the people that come out to support me.

Fan Expo is just too much fun to miss for a fool of a guest that is probably only going to spend an hour at the show. The only reason I am mentioning it was because I deleted the original post from the blog and I didn’t want to appear to be hiding my original comments.

This Expo I won’t have as many books with me, so come early! I will be spending the weekend promoting my work and networking, but not so much hard selling. I hope to eventually reach the point where I won’t have to sell books at all at conventions, fans will bring their own copies!

I will have at least a couple of my major novels, White Zombie, The Corrupter, Earth Man and Game of Blood.

GOB

Hope to see you guys there!

Another Legion Book is Coming

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LONDON UNDEAD is taking way, way, longer than I wish it would, but the book has a large cast and I am trying to make it the best horror novel I’ve done to date.

Since it is taking so long, I am going to begin working on another Legion book. Stay tuned for more info, in the meantime why not get caught up on the other books?

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006ONCVAY

http://www.amazon.com/Legion-Magic-Book-Unleashed-ebook/dp/B00HB6H4TQ

The Corrupter

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TheCorrupter

The future. From the first moment Oberon O’baron laid eyes on the robot, he was in love. With just a glance the petite artificial girl set his heart aflame, sending him into an obsessive frenzy. As the old-fashioned Englishman struggles with his new found passion, he is led into a world of political agendas, futuristic vice and sexual frustration. Oberon is obsessive, cowardly, self-loathing and weak but his mind is sharp and his dedication unwavering. All the pleasures he had denied himself, all that he had missed out on could be reclaimed. All he needs is HER. The Corrupter is a science fiction tale of obsession, set in a world where everyone is watched and nothing is private.

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Corrupter-Richard-Evans/dp/1468105035

No Fan Expo This Year: Here’s Why

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Before I go off on my tirade, I want to say first off that Fan Expo Toronto has always been a fantastic show. The staff and volunteers have always been wonderful and I am nothing but grateful for the appearances I’ve had there. It was over a decade ago when I released a comic and attended Fan Expo for the first time and while I’ve only been a guest a handful of times since, every time has been a wonderful experience. When I switched into prose writing, they allowed me to attend as an author and I met a lot of other great authors as well as my favorite people, readers. So I hope I’ve made it clear that I do not have any issue with the management team or the amazing volunteers who put together the show every year.

I also want to point out that my application for Fan Expo hasn’t been approved yet. They may not even be accept me this year, which would make this a moot point anyway. But I won’t be attending as a fan either, for the same reason I am not going to attend as a guest.

The reason I won’t be attending Fan Expo this year is because of one of their guests, Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson might be a great guy, it has been years since he’s been in any trouble, but the fact is he is a CONVICTED rapist. He raped Desiree Washington, an 18 year old woman, back in 1991. This is a FACT. This isn’t me being sensitive or disagreeing with someone’s political views, this is a man who served time in prison for his crimes.

My wife is currently pregnant with our third child. A part of me has been thinking about what we’re going to do if its a girl, because we’ve already got two awesome boys and all our toys and cloths are for boys. Now let’s say I DO have a daughter, would I want her to volunteer at Fan Expo? Would I take her to the show with me as a guest? Would I want my daughter anywhere near this guy, regardless of how much he seems to have changed?

The answer is Hell No. I don’t even want my boys there, just in case they ask me “Who is that person?” Do I say he’s a famous boxer and leave it at that? I mean at what point do you forgive and forget?

If Mike Tyson was appearing at an event for adults, I’d have no problem working the same show as him. But Fan Expo is a family event and I can’t in good conscious bring my family to a show with a person convicted of rape.

I am not so arrogant as to assume anyone cares about my point of view. I know that Mike Tyson can draw a bigger audience than I can, bringing in 5-10 thousand people is a lot better for business than the five people that come to see me. I won’t be protesting or starting a social media campaign to have him taken off the guest list because that too is self-serving and not how I operate. This is just something I have decided is best for me and my family this year.

Mike Tyson loses his temper whenever people mention his rape conviction, which tells me he still hasn’t accepted his crime and is still trying to maintain his innocence and in my opinion that makes him still dangerous.

I wouldn’t do a show with Bill Cosby and I won’t do a show with Mike Tyson, no matter how big the event is and how unlikely it is to even see the man. I do not support men who abuse women, crimes like rape and murder are not something you “pay your dues” with. These are crimes that are never forgotten, never forgiven, never made right.

So I won’t be there. But hey, I live down the street, so if you really want to see me during the show, swing by for a beer.

There just comes a point when complaining about people isn’t enough. This time I’m standing behind what I believe in. No potential career opportunity is worth compromising my principles for.

Best of luck to everyone at the show this year, have a great time!

White Zombie Anthology

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There are tons of zombie stories out there. Most of them create a lame back story and dive right into the killing and slaughter. I decided if I was going to do my own version, it had to be done differently. Using the retroviruses and genetic differences between the racial groups on Earth, I had a basis for an idea.

It is important to tell stories that have cultural relevance, that touch upon issues of the day and explore themes we may not be comfortable talking about. Such as race issues.

I also wanted to create a story that would be driven by characters of African heritage, where the black guy doesn’t die first but instead dies last.

The Pitch:

Almost two hundred thousand years ago, Homo Sapiens fought a war against the Homo Helmei for the coastal passages out of Africa. Although modern man won, the deadly virus that had infected the Homo Helmei infected the early migrants. The disease lay dormant in their DNA until the year 2012. Every descendant of those migrants, from India to China to the United States has been infected. All will die.

The only survivors are the children of the Africans who did not migrate, whose DNA did not contain the virus. There is no test, no method of determining who will live and who will die to rise again as the living dead. If you are dark skinned, there is hope.

If not, you have 24 hours to live.

THE ANTHOLOGY:

As a way to promote the book I will be publishing a novel anthology of short stories. Any interested writers should contact me with their ideas.

Submissions Due Date: September 14th, 2012.

Conditions: The story is set in the modern day. There are many different diseases which are more likely to occur in certain racial groups. In this case, the African American community, those who are descended from the first species of Man, are the only people not carrying the “zombie”gene which is activated by an unknown toxin in the environment.

Twenty-four hours after becoming sick, the person would die. The symptoms were flu-like.

All stories will have to meet editorial guidelines. You will own all rights to your story, it will not be reprinted without your permission. All contributors to the anthology will be given the opportunity to appear in the comic book once an artist has been found for that series.

The stories can be about any racial group, anywhere in the world. Just remember, if they aren’t black, they will be dead.

Compensation: Free copy of the book, which should be available digitally and in print through Amazon.

Send inquiries to: ravenheisenberg AT gmail.com

STORIES THAT HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED:

The Champ by Richard Evans: An old MMA fighter gets one more shot at the title when the other contenders all fall sick. He can change his whole life, all he has to do is beat the Champion.

City of Shadows by J.L Petty: Two brothers race through the streets of Tokyo to find a cure before one of them succumbs to the virus.

The Minority by Kevin Hopson: Corporate Exec’s forced to make hard choices now face the wrath of their African employees.

Cure For The Heart by Marcus E.T:  In the middle of the outbreak a good man is stuck in a terrible place between his sick wife and his racist father.

Penance by John L. Thompson: An uncle and nephew are looking at spending a long time barricaded in an apartment complex safe from the zombie horde outside but have a new visitor requesting help in his final hours…a white supremacist.

Chopper by Richard Evans: A “slow” giant living above a garage is forced to change into someone better when everyone else around him starts to turn into something worse.

http://www.amazon.com/White-Zombie-1-Richard-Evans/dp/1478220597

Asimov’s Rules Are For Children

I was recently discussing Isaac Asimov’s rules on Facebook and decided to post my opinions here, where I am king and cannot be argued with. :) Asimov’s three rules of robotics are so simple, they are almost primitive. It is that simplicity that has made them so famous (you can read the rules at the end of the post). Like the ten commandments, they take complex issues and fears and break them down into easily digested and understood expectations. I am not trying to take away from Asimov’s talent at constructing such a simple set of rules, it is not easy to create something that the public can digest, understand and regurgitate. More importantly, the rules have affected those who actually work in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence, meaning Asimov’s rules on robots are actually being incorporated into the plans for modern robots. Nice job, Isaac!

Unfortunately, in real life, they would never hold up. The main reason is because the rules are horribly restrictive to what we need them to do.  Robots are being designed for two basic functions: Human companionship and hazardous work. If you are making cute teddy bear robots, you are obviously going to want to incorporate the rules, however if you’re creating robots for the second reason, you are going to find the rules impossible to implement. The primary job of a robot is to substitute itself for a human being. Whether the robot is mining lava or fighting crime, its basic programming would HAVE to allow it to place itself in danger, otherwise it would be useless. The world doesn’t need a robot nurse, it needs a robot soldier, combat or rescue are the two primary uses for intelligent machines.  I’ll get back to this one in a minute, for now lets read through the first rule.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

This rule is almost naive in its simplicity. Does this mean you cannot have a robot doctor or dentist? Because surgery and medicine are major industries for new technologies. Can a robot be a mid-wife? Not only is it hard to determine what exactly constitutes an injury (no robot wrestlers I guess), it is almost impossible to expect a machine to stop a human being from coming to harm. The only way a robot could fulfill this expectation would be to nanny human beings, every moment of the day, all day, forever. No smoking, no running at the pool, no diving, nothing at all that might cause injury or promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Will the robots force everyone to take yoga classes, or refuse to let bad drivers get behind the wheel? Once a robot is forced to value human life, it is a short jump to calculating which human lives are worth more. When two people of different cultures and races are in conflict, who does the robot assist? You see if a robot cannot clearly comprehend and deal with issues like our military deal with in places like Iraq, then the robot is useless.

2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. You know what humans love best about machines? They obey. This rule is almost laughable and goes against our entire culture of ownership. If I owned a robot, it would be MINE, it would listen to only my instructions, follow only my rules, do what I tell it to do. We all have cellphones but how often do you share it? How many people know your password? This rule makes it sound like anyone can come along and tell your robot what to do and it would have to listen. That would make for some funny pranks, but that’s not how our culture works. When you buy something, you own it, no one wants to share with other human beings.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. This is the rule that has always made me laugh. This sounds more like a civil rights bill than a rule for robots. A robot is supposed to be destroyed, that it what it is built for. Machines are made to be used until they break and they are either repaired or scrapped for junk. What could would a squad or space exploring robots be, if they ducked for cover at the first sign of danger? How could we send a robot to the bottom of the sea if its programming tells it to protect itself? A robot not willing to be damaged would be useless. Asimov’s robots lack motivation and dedication, because their programming is build around avoidance of danger. If a robot cannot take my place in dangerous situations and will not automatically protect me from other humans, why would I pay so much for the damn thing? All the most interesting robots are immoral or are killers. Asimov’s rules make us feel safe with the concept of robots, they give us hope that we’ll have absolute control over our computerized children, but they would never actually be implemented. There are just too many reasons to kill and ways to die that a machine that avoids harm would be virtually useless. If she can’t hurt you, how much fun can you possibly have??

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics

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