A Newbie Shares His Experiences of NECON 33

by Nicholas Conley


NEHW member Nicholas Conley holding his book, "The Cage Legacy."

NEHW member Nicholas Conley holding his book, “The Cage Legacy.” Photo by Jason Harris.

For writers, the process of actually writing a book is one of the most painfully brutal tasks imaginable.  It’s a meticulous, painstaking, heart-stopping (and often heartbreaking) procedure that truly changes a person.

See, once the plucky creative-minded person decides that he or she has aspirations to become (of all the things in the world) a writer … and once that foolish, foolish person decides to embark on the god-awful,  painful task of writing a book, well … that creative person quickly becomes wrapped up in his or her own world.  And inside that world, it often seems like the only thing you’re working toward is that last page, that final period.

Once you finish the book, you’ll be done, right?   The world will just end, won’t it?  Everything will be complete! Your life is finished!

No, not quite.

As it turns out, completing your book isn’t the end of the story.  No, not by a long shot.  Now that your work is out there – now that this collection of inner demons that you’ve been carrying around in your head is finally out in the world, and it’s available for people to read — now, it’s time to get YOURSELF out there.  It’s time to meet people, form new friendships and make new connections.  You’ve done the introverted part, and you did it well — but now, it’s time to gather up your extroverted energies and, uh … mingle.

But … mingling?  How are a bunch of socially awkward WRITERS suppose to MINGLE?

See, this is why going to fiction/horror/comic etc. conventions can be difficult, but it’s also why the good conventions are so much fun.  Conventions force all of us introverted writers, artists and other creative types to get to know each other and interact.  Above all else, these conventions force us to get out of our writing shells.


Photo by N. Conley.

This is also why NECON (short for the Northeastern Writers Conference) is by far the most entertaining, lively and just plain entertaining convention I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend. Yes, it certainly features a smorgasbord of genre authors, artists and publishers, as well as plenty of enthusiastic genre fiction fans. But what makes NECON unique is that, really, it’s a surprisingly small, personal con; within a few hours, it’s as if you’ve known everyone there for years.

At NECON, the walls are down. It’s a highly casual affair, wherein all the big names (for example: Jack Ketchum, F. Paul Wilson, Kealan Patrick Burke, Christopher Golden, Brian Keene, etc.), small names and middling names are all on equal ground, and everyone freely interacts with one another. Everybody shares beers, trades corny jokes and gets to discuss their passions. Throughout my NECON experience, if there was one thing I heard quoted over and over again, it was this:

“Necon isn’t just a con, it’s a family.”

Yes, that’s definitely the feeling that one gets from attending. It doesn’t feel like a conference at all. Really, it just feels like a family reunion – the good kind, the kind where everyone cheerfully pokes fun at each other and catches up on what they’ve been doing for the last year.


Photo by N. Conley.

For genre writers, the Northeastern Writers Conference in Rhode Island is something you hear a lot about, and always in highly enthusiastic tones. Put on every year by the Booth family, including founder Bob Booth (who is affectionately referred to as Papa Necon). Booth is a truly inspirational figure; currently battling lung cancer. Bob and his family’s perseverance is absolutely amazing to see.

NECON is the Booth family’s baby, and what a creation it is; most people I’ve spoken to refer to NECON as “the best con,” or “the only con I go to every year,” and now that I’ve attended, I can definitely understand why.

(Before we move on, allow me to insert an embarrassing side note and a tip: Yes, NECON is pronounced Knee-Con, not En-E-Con, Neck-on and definitely not Neeh-Cone. This seems obvious, but I’ll admit I actually made sure not to say Knee-Con out loud until I’d heard someone else say it first. Oh, the shame, the shame…)

Now, how did my weekend get started?

Okay, so I made the two-hour drive down from New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon. Immediately upon opening the doors, the welcoming nature of the whole event was made extraordinarily apparent. Once I got my badge, collected my bearings and started emptying all the empty candy/chips/highly-stereotypical-road-snack wrappers out of my bag, I was immediately greeted by Mark Angevine and artist Duncan Eagleson, both of whom did a terrific job at explaining everything, telling me the history of Camp Necon and showing me around. Seriously, I really can’t emphasize enough how great these guys were; I enjoyed many intriguing conversations with both of them throughout the weekend. From there, Mark offered me a cup of coffee – very, very strong coffee. I got the pleasure of enjoying a brief demonstration of his talented musical abilities, in particular his undeniable skill at playing the shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese end-blown flute.

From there, I met up with Scott Goudsward of the New England Horror Writers, a great guy who really does an admirable job at organizing all of these group events. There was a whole slew of NEHW members all over NECON, so all of us got to freely navigate throughout the convention. Sometimes at the table, sometimes at the panels or sometimes just walking around, you could always spot an NEHW member somewhere. Among those in attendance were Charles Day (The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief), Bracken McLeod (Mountain Home), Tracy L. Carbone (Restitution), David Price (Dead in the USA), Kristi Petersen Schoonover (Bad Apple), Michael Arruda (In the Spooklight), Eric Dimbleby (The Klinik) and Scott and Trisha Wooldrige (UnCONventional), as well as Jason Harris and Stacey Longo Harris, owners of the horror-themed Connecticut bookstore Books and Boos, which I’ll be doing a reading at on August 24.

Now, NECON is a four-day event , so naturally, there’s an enormous amount of great moments to talk about. However, since I’m far too aware of my own tendency to turn every article into a novel-length work (yes, I’m one of those guys, ugh), I’m going to force myself to whittle this down into a neat, tidy, manageable length. To accomplish this daunting task, I’m going to write out a concise list of highlights:

Rick Hautala

Rick Hautala

1. The Rick Hautala memorial.  Rick, who was famously known as “Maine’s other horror writer,”  was the author of over 30 novels and short stories; his recent death this past March was an enormous shock to many in the literary community. As a regular attendee of NECON – an event that was, according to his close friends, “Rick’s Christmas,” – most of the first night of NECON 33 was devoted to a moving tribute of the man and his work. Touching speeches were given by many of Rick’s friends and loved ones, including Christopher Golden and Rick’s wife, Holly Newstein Hautala. I’m sorry to say that I only had the opportunity to meet Rick once, back at Anthocon 2012. However, even in my limited interactions with him, Rick’s kindness and generosity were truly remarkable, especially for someone who so many young horror writers (myself included!) have looked up to for so many years; he was truly one of a kind. Rest in peace, Rick.

2. For the next highlight, going back to speeches; I can’t go without mentioning that every speech given by Mike Myers and Rio Youers was absolutely gut-bustingly hilarious. Great job, guys.

3. The Hawaiian shirt contest! Ridiculous as it might sound, this was totally one of my most anticipated events of the weekend. Since I consider myself to be something of a Hawaiian shirt connoisseur (and with that, the crowd groans), I was excited to give this a whirl. As it was, my shirt – a white and red number – placed in third, winning me a set of googly eyes. I was happy with third place, since my fellow top fivers (including the winner, Barry Dejasu) had some really terrific shirts. My personal favorite was probably Errick Nunnally’s Spider-Man number, which displayed almost all of the major Amazing Spider-Man issues of the last fifty years.

4. “That Damn Game Show,” hosted by Craig Shaw Gardner and Doug Winter. This is the sort of event that could only happen at NECON; a relentlessly silly “game show” with a head-smacking number of “simple rules.” Truly, an enormous amount of fun.

5. The artists’ reception – complete with coffee! – where everyone got to chance to spend some time exploring all of the amazing art pieces at the show, and discussing them with the artists themselves. Artists in attendance included Jill Bauman, Caniglia, Stephen Gervais and the aforementioned Duncan Eagleson. Overall, I probably spent the most time speaking with him. Duncan is an exceptionally interesting guy with a lot of great insights, as well as being a truly remarkable artistic talent; his Lovecraftian “Homo Avis” piece was absolutely fascinating.

6. …and finally, the courtyard! Why the courtyard? Because when it comes down to it, those nights in the courtyard – the long, late nights spent drinking an ocean of alcoholic beverages, chatting with friends and eating saugies – are truly where the warm, beating heart of NECON becomes most alive. The friendly, even affectionate atmosphere of the whole event is truly something special.

Photo by N. Conley.

Photo by N. Conley.

Special. That’s what NECON is, really — special.

And this, right here – right when I’m beginning to really, really enjoy reminiscing about what an amazing time NECON 33 was – is where I’m going to cut myself off, before I go into the aforementioned novel length territory. I’m already sailing ahead at almost 2,000 words, so I’d say it’s time to call it a night.

But in all seriousness, I just want to thank everyone who organized, contributed and attended NECON this year for creating an absolutely extraordinary event, one which even a “NECON newbie” like myself will never forget. Necon doesn’t just live up the hype, it surpasses it. There’s no other con like it, and I guarantee that I’m going to make a point to come back.

Debut Novel is One of Revenge

by Stacey Longo

Dawn of Broken GlassGordon Anthony Bean’s debut novel, Dawn of Broken Glass, is a story of revenge, conceived by World War II Kristallnacht survivor Michael Carson and largely executed by his grandson, Ryan. Michael’s revenge is focused on the ancestors of the soldiers who mercilessly slaughtered Michael’s family.

The story opens by setting up the scene that results in Michael’s unwavering desire for vengeance. The scenario is gruesome, and Michael comes off as unlikable and warped. Ryan, too, seems motivated to carry out his grandfather’s plot mostly out of spineless fear, which makes him unlikable as well. Stick with it, though: once the soldiers’ living family members are collected and sent into a twisted, trap-filled labyrinth, that’s when the fun begins.

The maze is full of all sorts of ghoulish delights, from killer rats to tunnels wrapped in barbed wire. Each turn reveals a new horror, and our hapless victims work hard to try and escape. On top of the pitfalls that each tunnel offers, there’s also a monster stalking them, and a true baddie—Michael Carson’s assistant, Jason Froemmer—intent on making sure nobody makes it out alive.

As the story moves on, Ryan is fleshed out more, and the reader finds that he’s not such a bad guy, after all. He makes his way into the labyrinth to try and help some of his grandfather’s helpless quarry, and manages to redeem himself amid the chaos. The golem, which Ryan might possibly be able to control, yet doesn’t, is a satisfying recapturing of a centuries-old monster myth. And one of the descendants of the soldiers embodies all that was terrible about the Holocaust. You’ll be rooting for most of the participants to survive, but Paul Kaufmann, a racist and disgusting human being, will be the one you kind of hope doesn’t make it.

Dawn of Broken Glass offers a glimpse at the true ugliness of revenge and human nature. But it also offers hope: for survival, for redemption, and for faith in the kindness of strangers.

Pre-BCC Faneuil Hall Cosplay Event on Wednesday


The Boston Comic Con, Dick’s Last Resort, Newbury Comics, and Faneuil Hall Market Place are teaming up for the first PRE-BOSTON COMIC CON COSPLAY EVENT, being held at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Wednesday, July 31st 11:45am to 1:00pm!

This event is in addition to The Boston Comic Con’s regular annual costume contest being held Sunday August 4th at 3pm at The Seaport World Trade Center.

Contestants of all ages are encouraged to dress up as their favorite comic book, anime, sci-fi, horror, or fantasy character. The contest will kick off with a costume parade around Faneuil Hall, beginning and ending at Dick’s Last Resort, and will culminate in a costume contest for which the winners will receive prizes.

The 1st place winner will receive two weekend passes to the 2013 Boston Comic Con, a limited-edition Boston Comic Con T-shirt, and Boston Comic Con poster. The 2nd place winner will walk away with a $100 gift certificate to Dick’s Last Resort, a t-shirt and poster; and the 3rd place winner will be awarded a $50 gift certificate to Newbury Comics, t-shirt, and poster.

Costume contestants will be asked to arrive at Dick’s Last Resort (4 North Market St., Faneuil Hall, Boston) at 11:45 a.m. to check in and register. The parade will begin shortly after 12 p.m. and the final winners will be announced at 12:45 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. However, space is limited and contestants will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. Adults and children of all ages are welcome to compete!

Judges will include representatives from Newbury Comics, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and The Boston Comic Con.

For general inquiries please call 617-646-1066

‘From Beyond the Grave’ is a Solid Collection of Ghost Stories

by Stacey Longo

from-beyond-the-graveFrom Beyond the Grave is the debut anthology from Grinning Skull Press, a solid collection of ghost stories from a variety of authors. In the introduction, editor Michael J. Evans states “When I first set out to compile this anthology, I challenged the authors to scare the crap out of me, but they did more than that. Yes, they sent chills down my spine, but they also moved me in ways I wasn’t expecting.” Evans is correct—this collection of 19 ghostly tales is eclectic and intriguing. Personally, I couldn’t put it down.

Standout stories for me included “Cold Calling” by LisaMarie Lamb, the story of an artist who travels door-to-door selling paintings and fails to obey an all- important “no solicitors” sign. The description of the interior of the house and the odd little twist in the tale were vivid and satisfying.

“Spiritus Ex Machina” by Nelson Pyles is the story of a haunted car, and reminds the reader that you can exorcise a demon, but make sure you know where the demon’s headed once you evict it. It conjured up images of James Dean’s cursed silver Spyder and The Exorcist all in one package.

The anthology ends with “It All Comes Around in the End” by Jennifer Word, a modern-day ghost story set in Ireland with roots dating back 600 years. Most intriguing in this story is the farmer, Kell O’Donough, who tells his hapless tourists the history behind his plot of land. It’s a strong narrative with which to end the anthology, which I’m sure the editor was aware of when he was putting this together. Overall, I found this collection to be above par—no real clunkers found amid its pages—and a good, creepy read.

Editor’s Note:

Michael Evans will be at the New England Author Expo – Book Sale in Danvers, MA. next Wednesday (July 31) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. He will be at the Books & Boos table and will have copies of From Beyond the Grave available for purchase.

Books and Boos and the NEHW at the Upcoming New England Author Expo – Book Sale

The New England Author Expo – Book Sale is a week away. It happens next Wednesday, July 31 from 4 p.m to 9 p.m. in Danvers, MA.

This expo has over 50 authors attending it. You can find out who is attending here.

The Expo will also be attended by artists, illustrators and photographers such as KC Bowman, Brian Codagnone, and Lisa Greenleaf.

There will also be publishing and writing related groups such as Independent Publishers of New England and the New England Horror Writers organization. There are a number of NEHW members attending this show. There will be three members at the NEHW table; Scott Goudsward, Rob Smales, David Price, and Ken Wood. There will be six members at the Books & Boos table; Michael J. Evans, Stacey Longo, Erin Thorne, Rob Watts, and T.T. Zuma. A few members, Tracy Carbone, Dale T. Phillips, and Vlad Vaslyn have their own tables at the expo.

This expo has been happening for a number of years. It was started and is organized by Christopher Obert and his company, Pear Tree Publishing. It takes place in the Harborview Ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA. from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The yacht club is located at 161 Elliott Street (Rte. 62) in Danvers.


You’ve seen him in everything from Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) to his current role on HBO’s breakthrough series True Blood and now you can see him live at Rock & Shock 2013. That’s right, T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick, will be signing autographs and taking photos as part of the 10th Annual Rock & Shock!

Following a short appearance in Die Hard 2 (1990), Robert Patrick’s breakthrough role came as T-1000 in James Cameron’s now legendary Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The role catapulted Patrick into the pop culture lexicon and solidified him as a bona fide movie star. After roles in Last Action Hero (1993), Fire in the Sky (1993) and Striptease (1996), Patrick made the transition to television with an arc on HBO’s The Sopranos. Not long after he was brought on to fill the very large shoes of David Duchovny on the classic television series The X-Files, which he followed up with a three year stint on CBS’ The Unit.

In 2012, Patrick found a home on not one but two television series, as Master Chief Joseph Prosser on ABC’s Last Resort and as werewolf Jackson Herveaux on True Blood. He also maintained his impressive film career with roles in Clint Eastwood’s The Trouble with the Curve (2012), mega-hit Safe House (2012) and the star-studded Gangster Squad (2013).

Also on board for Rock & Shock 2013 is Katherine Isabelle. Best known to audiences for the title role of Ginger in the contemporary horror classic Ginger Snaps (2000) and its sequels Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004) and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004), Isabelle has also appeared in the films Disturbing Behavior (1998), Carrie (2002), 30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010) and was most recently seen as Susanna Waite on the SyFy series Being Human.

Patrick and Isabelle will be joining previously announced Rock & Shock guests Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), Jordan Ladd (Cabin Fever, Death Proof), Lew Temple (The Devil’s Rejects, The Walking Dead) and IronE Singleton (The Walking Dead).

For a complete list of attendees or for more information about this event, visit http://www.rockandshock.com.

The 10th Annual Rock and Shock will be taking place October 18-20, 2013at the DCU Center (http://www.dcucenter.com) and The Worcester Palladium (http://thepalladium.net) in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Pictures from Necon 33

by Jason Harris

The 33rd Northeastern Writers’ Conference (Necon) has wrapped up another fun filled year. It was great seeing old friends and making new ones, talking about writing and marketing and just having a good time.

Throughout the four-day convention, there were panels including That Line We Crossed: How Explicit is Too Explicit and We’ve Got You Covered: How Print Cover Art Happens. There were also the Necon Olympics: bowling, darts, foosball, and hi-lo-jack.

There was an Meet the Author party on Friday night and an Artist reception on Saturday. A Hawaiian shirt competition, Necon Update, That Damn Game Show and the Infamous Necon Roast also took place during this fun weekend.

Necon campers remembered Rick Hautala, who passed away in March, on Thursday night during his memorial tribute, which was introduced by Christopher Golden.

2013-07-20 03.13.00

Christopher Golden on the panel, “I’ll Buy That for a Dollar: Resurrecting Your Backlist & Marketing the Hell Out of Your Writing (a.k.a. The Business Panel)”

Author Jeff Strand during the Necon Roast.

Author Jeff Strand during the Necon Roast.

Author Heather Graham

Author Heather Graham on the panel, “I’ll Buy That for a Dollar: Resurrecting Your Backlist & Marketing the Hell Out of Your Writing (a.k.a. The Business Panel)”

From left to right: Craig Shaw Gardner, Christopher Golden, Elizabeth Massie, Nicholas Kaufman, and F. Paul Wilson participating in That Damn Game Show.

From left to right: Craig Shaw Gardner, Christopher Golden, Elizabeth Massie, Nicholas Kaufman, and F. Paul Wilson participating in That Damn Game Show.

Author and NEHW member Nicholas Conley holding his book, "The Cage Legacy."

Author and NEHW member Nicholas Conley holding his book, The Cage Legacy.

Craig Shaw Garner about to talk about the prizes for winning That Damn Game Show.

Craig Shaw Garner about to talk about the prizes for winning That Damn Game Show.

Authors Trisha Wooldridge and David Price at the NEHW table.

Authors Trisha Wooldridge and David Price at the NEHW table.

Jeannine Calia finishing shaving author Rio Youers who shaved his head for charity, The Jimmy Fund.

Jeannine Calia fixing the shaving job author Rio Youers had done for charity, The Jimmy Fund.

Author P. Gardner Goldsmith having some fun as he shaves some of Rio Youers' head as Author James Moore films it.

Author P. Gardner Goldsmith having some fun as he shaves some of Rio Youers’ head as author James Moore films it and the blurry Christopher Golden watches.

John M. McIlveen's dealer table.

John M. McIlveen’s dealer table.

The Dealer and Art room at Necon.

The Dealer and Art room at Necon.

Bram Stoker winning poet Linda Addison being roasted.

Bram Stoker winning poet Linda Addison being roasted.

Artist Courtney Skinner during the Necon Roast.

Artist Courtney Skinner during the Necon Roast.

Author Brian Keene during the Necon Roast.

Author Brian Keene during the Necon Roast.

From left to right: writers Catherine Grant, Stacey Longo, and Tracy Carbone.

From left to right: writers Catherine Grant, Stacey Longo, and Tracy Carbone.

‘Red 2’ Keeps the Action Going and The Laughs Coming


By Jason Harris

Red 2I didn’t care for Red when it was first released almost three years ago. I’m not sure why. I recently watched it again in anticipation of seeing Red 2, and this time around I enjoyed it and would like to own it. It is now a favorite action movie of mine, as is Red 2.

 Red 2 opens up with Frank (Bruce Willis) and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) shopping at a Costco. Frank doesn’t seem any worse for wear after running from the Moldovan Army at the end of Red. He excitedly comes up to Sarah with bulk bargain items. The look on Sarah’s face seethes with boredom. She wants action. This is shown by her enthusiasm when Marvin (John Malkovich) shows up to tell him that Interpol is after him because of Nightshade, a Cold War project to sneak a nuclear weapon into Russia. Frank wants nothing to do with Marvin or his information so he sends him away, much to the chagrin of Sarah.

Even after Marvin’s car explodes and he is presumably dead, Frank still wants to play things safe. With the Red movies, you can never be sure what to expect. Frank isn’t sure Marvin’s dead, and he tests his theory a few times at Marvin’s funeral. These moments are funny and cringe-worthy since you and Frank are thinking the same thing. Is Marvin really dead? I won’t spoil it for you.

It’s not long after the funeral that Frank is living up to his RED (retired, extremely dangerous) designation.

Helen Mirren’s Victoria is back. She’s given a contract by MI6 to kill Frank. There is a moment where it looks like she will fulfill that contract, but before long they are all together trying to stop world destruction.

Anthony Hopkins portrays baddie Bailey. It’s not Hopkins’ best performance since it didn’t seem to be even. This problem could lie in the writing, though. One moment, he’s crazy or just acting like a loon. The next minute he’s fine then he starts to slip back towards crazy. It was an off-putting performance.

The movie’s writers, Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber, took a page from The Fast and the Furious movies with the character of Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee). The audience is introduced to Han before he is contracted to kill Frank. Han is a cool character whom you want to survive and be in Red 3. This can’t happen if Frank and Han remain enemies. By the end of the movie, Frank and Han are working together. Hopefully there will be a third movie where we see more of Han.

The Red series could be considered Bruce Willis’ Expendables series (which he is in, but not in a starring role). Red is high on action and excitement, and there is definitely enough gas in the tank for a third movie.

Author Talks about First Novel and Writing


By Jason Harris

Dawn of Broken GlassGordon Anthony Bean recently published his first novel, Dawn of Broken Glass. It was released in June.

He has written two other novels, but shelved them since they didn’t feel right to him. He plans to revisit them at a future date.

Dawn of Broken Glass felt like a great story with fully developed [and] believable characters that the reader could identify with, so I decided this was the book I wanted to publish first,” Bean said.

Dawn of Broken Glass tells the story of Michael Carson, who witnesses the brutal and senseless slaughter of his family during Kristallnacht in the early days of World War II. The loss of his family has left him with deep emotional scars, and feelings of anger and hatred which become all-consuming to the young man. Years later, he seeks his revenge. Along with the mysterious Jason Froemmer, Carson begins a mission to eradicate the bloodlines of each soldier who partook in his family’s slaughter so many years earlier.

Bean wrote it over eighteen months. He spent the better part of a year doing multiple revisions on plot, characters, and writing style.

Bean is working on Bloodlines, a sequel to his first published short story, “From a Whisper to a Dream.” This story was published in the anthology, Sinister Landscapes, published by Pixie Dust Press. He does have a second short story, “Out of the Corner of His Eye,” in the Grinning Skull Press anthology, From Beyond the Grave.

“One interesting tidbit about my writing is that the stories are all interconnected. In my second novel, there will be an appearance of a central character from Dawn of Broken Glass. Basically, I’m creating a wholly contained universe where all my stories take place on the same earth,” Bean said.

His primary career is in finance, but he wants it to be writing.

“I’m trying to get my writing career to take off and hopefully be able to one day devote myself to it full-time.”

He has been writing his entire life. “In elementary school, I had a short story published in our school’s spring journal. In high school, my creative writing teacher told me that of all the students she ever had, she felt that I was best suited to be a writer.”

He belongs to the New England Horror Writers organization. He hopes to get exposure for his writing through the NEHW. This is what he hopes would happen with belonging to any writer’s organization.

“What I hope the NEHW or any other group would be able to do is help give exposure to this novel and future novels,” Bean said.

Bean has received good writing advice in his life, he said.

“The best I remember getting was to write for myself. Like most writers, I love to write. I am a huge horror fan and if I can leave a lasting imprint on a reader through my work, it’s all worthwhile.”

Besides writing, he enjoys reading. Michael Moorcock and Robert Heinlein were two early favorites and Clive Barker, who he loved when he was a teenager. He reads Christopher Golden, Brian Lumley, F. Paul Wilson, Joe Lansdale, Edward Lee, Jonathan Maberry, Dan Simmons, Richard Matheson, Douglas Preston & Lee Child now. His tastes vary, he said.

Director Talks about ‘Dirty Wars’: Part II


by Jason Harris

According to the movie’s website, Dirty Wars “begins as a report into a U.S. night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan, and quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).

As Jeremy Scahill digs deeper into the activities of JSOC, he is pulled into a world of covert operations, unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams ‘find, fix, and finish’ their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for the ‘kill list,’ including U.S. citizens.

Drawn into the stories and lives of the people he meets along the way, Scahill is forced to confront the painful consequences of a war spinning out of control, as well as his own role as a journalist.

We encounter two parallel casts of characters.

The CIA agents, Special Forces operators, military generals, and U.S.-backed warlords who populate the dark side of American wars go on camera and on the record, some for the first time.

We also see and hear directly from survivors of night raids and drone strikes, including the family of the first American citizen marked for death and being hunted by his own government.”

The world has changed so much since director Rick Rowley and writer Jeremy Scahill began Dirty Wars. When they started the film, there was no public discussion on the war on terror, Rowley said. No one was talking about drones, targeted killing, assassinations or any of that. There may have been some talk on the fringes, but nothing like there is now, Rowley said. It eventually moved from the fringes to the editorial pages of the Washington Post.

Rowley doesn’t know why it is being talked about now when it wasn’t when they started the film. He thinks this discussion should have happened a decade ago so people would know why the war is being waged, what it’s doing to the world, and doing to us as a people. “It’s wonderful that it is, but the rhythms where they take us are difficult to explain.”

He’s not sure how these things happen, but after Sept. 11 it was bound to take some time before we could soberly look at what was going on, Rowley said. He thinks it could be happening now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected and he won’t be facing a challenge from a Republican contender.

“I think its safe for them to come forward and begin to talk about issues that they would feel differently talking about if you were about to go up against [Mitt] Romney.”

Rowley hopes his film is a part of the conversation that is going on at the moment. There are more than a dozen wars going on in the world at this time.

“There are a dozen of those countries where wars are being fought in our name, but without our knowledge and without our consent. And at home, they have assumed the right to execute American citizens without formal charges and without a trial.”

Rowley believes fundamentally important decisions have been made about who we are as a country and how we operate in the world, and it has all been made over the last decade in secret without a national debate. These wars have been orchestrated by the secretive and powerful JSOC, which Scahill is about to sue, he said. The lawsuit is coming about because of all the freedom of information requests that have not been answered by JSOC.

Scahill was also pressured not to publish certain articles, Rowley said. Scahill was threatened and his computer was hacked. Some of these instances are chronicled in the film. The film also delves deeper into JSOC’s activities.

You can find out where Dirty Wars is showing on its website, http://dirtywars.org/.