Why and When I Will Begin Boycotting the HWA (UPDATED x3)

The following does not necessarily reflect the opinions, stance, or beliefs of the Scares That Care charity, the Project iRadio Network, or any other group or organization with which I am involved.

The HWA (Horror Writers Association) is a non-profit organization founded in 1985, for the purpose of promoting the interests of Horror and Dark fantasy writers, publishers, and other professionals in the field.

In its thirty-plus year history, here are some of the ways it has promoted the interests of Horror and Dark fantasy writers, publishers, and other professionals in the field:

*Allegations of a former President embezzling membership funds.
*Allegations of a former President and Vice-President delaying publication of the newsletter until a story regarding possible malfeasance within their administration was dropped.
*Multiple, multi-year allegations of inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the Bram Stoker Award nominating and voting process.
*The organization’s failure to act or protect their members when the editor of an HWA anthology spent the advance on home repairs rather than paying it to the writers in the anthology.
*Former officers, including multiple Presidents, who used their position in the organization and official organization communications to lobby their own works for the Bram Stoker Award.
*The organization’s negligence in allowing known stalker Nickolaus Pacione access to the membership directory, which he then used to obtain the home addresses and phone numbers of a number of members, whom he then threatened and harassed, and the organization’s slow response to this despite increasing reports from members that it was occurring.
*Forgetting to hold elections for officers in 2016.
*Elections inconsistent with the organization’s bylaws.
*The organization’s refusal to respond to the Dorchester Publishing debacle, or to act on behalf of its members who were impacted by said debacle, until public pressure from their members forced them to.
*Ditto their Samhain response.
*Asking members to vote twice (and reportedly three times in some cases) in the most recent Bram Stoker Awards voting process. (NOTE: See update)
*The public relations disaster in which several prominent HWA members (including the then-President) cyber-bullied the innocent daughter of serial killer Dennis Rader, aka BTK, including body shaming and comments about her mental health, which was then picked up by national press.
*The public relations disaster of the current President’s exclusionary and dismissive essay on what constitutes a professional author, which earned the ire and recriminations of prominent members of the field including Neil Gaiman, John Scalzi, and Chuck Wendig.
*The organization’s refusal to let valued and prominent members of the community such as bestselling writer Carlton Mellick III join because he was self-published.
*And most recently (as of today) allowing an avowed white supremacist and fascist who has previously demonstrated a bias against others based on their race, religion, etc. to participate as a Bram Stoker Award Jury member — an award which will include candidates of various races and religions.

Those are some of the ways the HWA has promoted the interests of Horror and Dark fantasy writers, publishers, and other professionals in the field. These are the tip of the iceberg.

Who is responsible for letting these things happen? The HWA membership, and the fact that new members don’t know their genre’s — or organization’s — history and are therefore doomed to repeat it.

But that excuse stops today. Today, the HWA released the following statement regarding their decision to allow an avowed white supremacist and fascist serve as a Bram Stoker Award Juror. Quote: “The HWA does not support discrimination of any kind, including discrimination based on political views. Not only is this form of discrimination specifically illegal in a number of U.S. states, HWA’s Board of Trustees also does not believe it’s in keeping with our principle of supporting and practicing freedom of expression. In specific regard to HWA’s Bram Stoker Award juries, the HWA will certainly act if/when a juror’s personal views have a provable impact/bias against a writer or his/her works.” End quote.

So, I’m speaking now to all current members of the HWA. If, after today, after learning that the HWA will allow this to continue– if, after today, after learning that the HWA will allow a person who has previously demonstrated a bias against others based on their race, religion, etc. to participate as a Bram Stoker Award Jury member — an award which will include candidates of various races and religions — IF AFTER TODAY, you intend on renewing your membership and paying membership fees when they come due again on January 1, 2017, or if you are paying to attend any of the organization’s Stoker Cons or awards banquet events in future years, then you are part of the problem.

Effective immediately, I will no longer work with the HWA or any of its regional chapters in any capacity, official or unofficial.

Effective immediately I will not participate in any HWA-sponsored event, including Stoker Con, Stoker Award banquets, or any future World Horror Conventions in which HWA acts as an official partner or underwriter.

Effective immediately I will refuse any future award I may be given by the organization, including any potential Lifetime Achievement Award. (“What about the two Bram Stoker Awards you already own?” several of you are asking. In truth, I’ll keep them, because it is my hope that when I die my sons can flip them and all my other awards on eBay and make some money off of them.)

Effective 1/1/17 (when the new year’s memberships become active) I will no longer work with anyone who is a then-Current member of the HWA, including writers, publishers, editors, etc on anything sponsored by, presented by, or affiliated with HWA. I will not give cover blurbs, introductions, or anything else. I will not promote events. If I am asked to be in an HWA-affiliated anthology, I will decline. If I am asked to submit a novel, and the publisher is a then-current HWA member and their line is being endorsed/underwritten/sponsored by HWA, I will decline.

So… if you’d like to work with me on anything in 2017, or you’d like my help with something going forward, I’m very happy to — provided it’s not something connected to, affiliated with, or supported/underwritten by the HWA as of January 1, 2017. Consider this an eight-month notice, which I think is more than fair.

I realize that this decision will put me at odds with both dear friends and fellow mutually-respected peers. That’s okay. It won’t be the first time that has happened. But this is my decision. I am not a Conservative or a Progressive, and I hold the extremists in both camps with contempt. But I am a human being, and a father, and I know what is right and what is wrong. Discrimination of someone based on their race, religion, gender, etc. is wrong.

We endorse things by our participation in them. This current debacle — and previous debacles — are not things I endorse, and I will not, in good conscience, contribute my name, my money, my talent, my draw, or my platform to them. I’m not asking anyone else to follow suit. But I have championed this genre for over twenty years, and I’d like to think I’ve done my part in promoting the interests of Horror and Dark fantasy writers, publishers, and other professionals in the field. It is my belief that the HWA has not, and that their actions impact not just their members — but all of us who make up this community. Therefore, I can no longer be involved in any aspect with anything connected to the HWA.

UPDATE #1: Nearly twenty years of posts like these have taught me one thing — wait a few hours, and invariably, the bits that people are misreading will become clear. This is especially true for Facebook skimmers. So, to clarify a few things.

*It was not implied above that all of these are recent grievances. Indeed, some of these stretch back to the late-Nineties/early 00s. The list is to demonstrate that somewhere along the line, the train came off the tracks and it has remained there, regardless of which administration is in power. I stand by my assertion that it is important to list these, as it demonstrates a pattern. And as Jeff VanderMeer said on my public Facebook page, ” I’ve had nothing to do with HWA for more than 15 years because of the pattern.” The pattern is the entire point.

*In some cases (self-publishing for example) the HWA eventually changed its stance. But it is a demonstrable record of being slow to act and respond to things that impact the interests of Horror and Dark fantasy writers, publishers, and other professionals in the field.

*HWA member Patrick Freivald writes “The extra voting this year was due to a technical glitch in the database–a regrettable thing but nothing even kind of seedy, painted as something rather seedy.” I agree it wasn’t seedy. But there were MANY HWA members who expressed frustration and confusion over how it was communicated and handled. Again, demonstrating a pattern.

*Things that are allegations are reported above as just that.

*Some of these things are old news to those of us who have been around a while. For younger writers and newcomers, this is their first time hearing about some of it. That’s why it’s important to have the conversation.

UPDATE #2: I have amended and clarified paragraph 12, which begins “Effective 1/1/17…” after a suggestion from Stephen Dorato in the comments below, because the way it was phrased was causing confusion with some (my fault — I should have communicated more clearly).

UPDATE #3: HWA have just released the following statement. Quote: “In regards to the situation involving David Riley, who announced on his blog that he would be serving on the Anthology jury: We’ve reached out to Mr. Riley, and both Mr. Riley and the HWA have agreed that it’s in the best interest of all for him to step down. Mr. Riley will be replaced on the jury immediately by Nicole Cushing. The HWA thanks Nicole for stepping up, and we would also like to thank everyone who has shared their opinion on this matter.”

My dear friend (and HWA member) John Skipp asked me if I will continue to personally boycott anything affiliated with, sponsored by, or underwritten by the HWA were this outcome to occur. Now that it has, in fact, occurred, my answer is yes. Yes, I will.

I used to be one of those HWA members who sought and battled to change the organization. As former President David Niall Wilson says in the comments below, there used to be a lot of us who sought to do that. We discovered that it was impossible for us to do so.

I believe there are a number of fine next-generation individuals currently inside the HWA who wish to change the organization (some of whom have also sounded off in the comments below), and while I respect and applaud their efforts, that is not something that will happen overnight or next week or next month or next year. There is a systemic pattern of incompetence (as demonstrated in the initial post) that goes back decades. Every time HWA steps forward to fix a scandal, things are forgiven, and everyone returns to normal, and then another scandal occurs. This is damaging to our industry and community. It is my personal belief that the HWA does more harm than good to our field and its practitioners, and my decision to no longer interact with it, endorse it, or lend my name, talent, or platform to anything officially associated with it stands.

I’d be happy to change that stance, but first you’ll have to prove me wrong…

As always, this is one person’s opinion. Your mileage may indeed vary.

155 thoughts on “Why and When I Will Begin Boycotting the HWA (UPDATED x3)

  1. It has been alleged by some people that I would be prejudiced against anything written or published or edited by non-white writers/publishers/editors. Utter twaddle. Yes, I am so prejudiced that I have paid for covers on two of the books I have published by Vincent Chong – one of my favourite artists. I am also in an advanced stage of negotiating with a black British writer to publish a collection of his stories – the only thing holding it back is for him to send me a few more stories to include in the collection, which I intend to bring out within the next few months, certainly before Fantasycon.

    1. Nah. The only thing that’s “utter twaddle” is you serving your own ego rather than the organization. Your beliefs are yours. You’ve owned them previously. It’s all documented and available to anyone with a computer. And while I don’t agree with your beliefs, and find them repugnant and loathsome, I will absolutely defend your right to them, as long as they break no laws. However, given that your views *are* well documented, it’s self-serving to place yourself in a position where you will have judging authority over individuals who may feel threatened by such views.

      I don’t care for modern-day superhero comics (with the exception of Warren Ellis’s Moon Knight). I would never judge or vote on them in the Harveys or Eisner Awards, because my views on modern-day superhero comics are well known, and today’s comic creators would be justified in doubting my sincerity or fairness in regards to them. I’d put the integrity of the awards before my own ego.

      1. I don’t see where the word “ego” comes into this. Serving as one of a number of jurors in any given category of the Stoker Awards is hardly prestigious. It does mean a lot of hard work, though, as I know from having previously served as a juror for the First Novel Award. I do believe I could fulfil the task without prejudice, but it’s obviously how others perceive this that matters. I have already told Lisa Morton that, in the interests of the HWA, I am willing to stand down as a juror. It will save me having to read a great many anthologies, some good, some not so good, a task that can very quickly grow burdonsome – only someone who has already done this will realise just what a chore this can be.

        1. David — a few things:

          1. Janet Holden has a question for you below (don’t know if you saw it or not). But it’s something I see being echoed elsewhere across the Internet. if you’d like to set the record straight here — do you actually categorically disavow those previous beliefs with which people have an issue? (And again, to clarify, I personally support your right to believe whatever you want to believe, even if I vehemently disagree with those beliefs. I just think it creates a conflict of interest and bad PR to serve as a juror where impartiality is key to the process).

          2. You believe you could fulfill the task. Fair enough. But can you acknowledge why others –especially writers or editors of color — might have misgivings about you serving in such a role? And if so, can you acknowledge that such misgivings might taint the entire process, and therefore, not benefit the organization for which you are volunteering your time?

          1. Interesting development. I had the chance to publish Mr. Riley a few years ago, but when his views and history were brought to my attention by some of my British authors, we didn’t go forward with his manuscript. I wondered what had become of him.

    2. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      does this writer know that you’re a white supremacist that has been active for about forty years, including helping START yr local chapter of a white supremacist organisation that has since gone on to have a long history of racially motivated violence?
      does this hapless writer know that you literally think he’s less than human?
      does this poor writer know that you ran for office on a platform (three times) to see him thrown out of england in order to keep england pure and white?
      face it, riley, you’re an absolute coward and you are literally the single most dishonest person involved in the british horror scene (and, let’s face it, that’s saying quite a bit.)

      like, the only thing worse than a racist piece of shit is a racist piece of shit who’s too cowardly to own up to his bullshit when he’s caught spewing it over and over again.

    3. like, this is a direct quote from you- ‘How he would have viewed the suicidal swing towards multi-racialism now being compelled upon the “cream of humanity” should not be difficult for anyone to imagine. Not only was Lovecraft an outstanding exponent of the particular literary genre which he made his own, he was also, importantly, a staunch racialist who despised and abhorred the liberalising degeneracy which now imperils the future survival of our race.’
      so of course it’s not ‘utter twaddle’ to think that an avowed white supremacist would be prejudiced in such a case.
      in fact, it’s impossible to argue, in good faith, that you would be anything BUT prejudiced.

  2. Wow, I’ve heard that they needed it to get it together but this takes the cake! It’s an insult to think people would be okay with it in the first place. I would assume they just lost quite a bit of business

  3. Well here is a complete stranger who greatly admires your stand but doing so clearly and thoroughly in the the public eye. Kudos sir! Would love to “work” with you some day. I let my own membership drop some months ago and I had only seen the tip of the iceberg you detailed.

  4. All volunteer-run organizations have good years and bad, but HWA hasn’t had a good year in a very, very long time. I think it’s well-past time for something disruptive to rise up and replace the shambling zombie that currently exists. Of course, given the small pool of people who could potentially run such an organization now or in the future, or who would want to invest so much of their lives into doing so, I just don’t see that happening.

    1. And I don’t know what a new org could offer that isn’t already available online via social media. Health insurance, maybe, or free legal counsel or a dedicated literary agent. But everything else can be had via Facebook.

      1. They tried health insurance, but that’s a tricky thing, and I don’t blame them in the least for it not working out. It requires a considerable head count to get premiums low enough for the average Joe to afford them. They did have (may still have) free legal counsel as well, though what that covered I have no idea. Despite the good they’ve attempted (and in some cases managed), it’s faltered in too many ways over the years for me to support the org.

      2. Legal counsel would be a big benefit, I’d think. Health insurance would be huge, of course, though with the Marketplace crap most authors can at least get *some* coverage. What could really be a benefit, though, would be some sort of dedicated advisory committees related to things like contract negotiations, self-publishing, and other matters. Groups of people who are not only experienced in the area but have committed to helping members of the organization with questions they have. Social media is great, don’t get me wrong, but often one will toss out a question to the hive mind and be met with crickets. It would be nice, I’d think, to have a group upon whom you know you can rely for accurate information in a reasonable amount of time.

      3. That’s the real issue for me. I joined as soon as I was eligible, but quickly wondered what I was paying dues for. There was no added value in terms of marketing, information, or access above what I can get for free elsewhere. Very little in terms of useful advice or meaningful guidance. No meaningful guild or professional association protections, influence,or benefits. I don’t think an award and perpetuation of the organization is enough. Membership is swelling with new members but I doubt retention is good. I didn’t renew last year. I am sympathetic to the difficulty involved in running a volunteer organization, but if over a thousand people are paying dues, there should be enough money for some basic administrative assistance.

    2. With everything, people feel the need to start some group or organization for it, and that’s usually when things fall apart. There are always good intentions, but there is that lust for power, the lust to be noticed, the lust to own some piece of plastic each year, and it corrupts everything. It all needs to be nuked from orbit (only way to be sure) so authors can get back to what’s most important: writing.

  5. does this writer know that you’re a white supremacist that has been active for about forty years, including helping START yr local chapter of a white supremacist organisation that has since gone on to have a long history of racially motivated violence?
    does this hapless writer know that you literally think he’s less than human?
    does this poor writer know that you ran for office on a platform (three times) to see him thrown out of england in order to keep england pure and white?
    face it, riley, you’re an absolute coward and you are literally the single most dishonest person involved in the british horror scene (and, let’s face it, that’s saying quite a bit.)

    like, the only thing worse than a racist piece of shit is a racist piece of shit who’s too cowardly to own up to his bullshit when he’s caught spewing it over and over again.

  6. Damn. I actually qualify for the HWA now because of my story in Daughters of Frankenstein and it’s ironic that being qualified comes 2-3 years after I was tempted to be join. But what really bothers me is the official statement from this guys. Nice waffling lawyer talk to bring up discrimination in the criticism over a white supremacist on the jury for the Stoker award, even going to the point of stating that it’s illegal to not let a white supremacist be on the jury. I suppose that’s the Dr. Laura argument where the First Amendment gives you the right to have a syndicated radio talk show.

  7. I applaud your commitment to standing up for what you think is right.

    I was a member of HWA last year but did not renew this year. Partially this was a financial decision, but mostly it was a practical decision. I’d been a member of the HWA for about four years, and as of the beginning of 2016, I realized that a) they’d literally done nothing for me that I couldn’t have done myself–for free, and b) I was pretty much throwing my money into a hole. So I decided not to renew. That was without knowing any of the above, which I think has pretty much assured me that my decision was likely the right one.

    1. This ^. I’m in my second year as an Affiliate member and as far as I can tell, all my membership has done is cost me $65.00 a year. It certainly hasn’t widened my exposure as a writer or boosted my sales. Even the publishing markets they provide access to through their website can be found via a diligent web search. With all of this other drama added into the mix, I’m almost certainly going to decline to renew.

    1. Lisa: The incident with Carlton Mellick (and other self-published) authors took place a number of years ago. I’m sure, given the changes in the marketplace, HWA has changed their stance regarding self-publishing. (They would have to in order to remain financially solvent). It is included here to demonstrate recurrent problems throughout multiple years and administrations.

    2. It’s not just authors that this happened to. I was told my numerous members that I wasn’t important enough to apply for the professional membership despite having the largest independent horror review site in Europe with monthly viewing figures of over 200,000, and yet the owner of a shitty arse website that only ever published reposts from other websites was allowed to join in that category. But that was because their face fitted.

  8. So happy. I said all this not too long ago and got threatened and blackballed. Thank you for speaking out. I guess you have to have status to be listened to. At least the truth is now exposed. Bravo!

    1. You’re not the only one, Theresa. I went through the exact same shit a few years ago; my publisher at the time was threatened as well. Worse, more than a few of the writers I was speaking for were “taken into the fold” via nominations the very next year. Including my publisher. All coincidentally, of course. On the plus side, I learned a lot about how genre works…and who my actual friends were.

      1. oh hey, look, it’s serial harasser ennis drake who has a long record of stalking women and threatening violence against them.

        1. I *thought* that name sounded familiar. Thanks, S.J. Yeah, Ennis — I’ve seen screen shots of some of your past behavior. Find another comments section to haunt.

          1. I don’t doubt you saw something, what exactly I don’t know, but I’m willing to bet it was out of context and presented with every effort to manipulate the truth of the thing. But, no worries. It’s your space. Just be sure you know what you’re perpetuating.

        2. That’s quite the accusation, S.J.. And while it’s deeply distressing to see it in the open…it’s just the one I needed. Your little clique’s days of running slander campaigns against me are done.

          1. it ain’t slander if it’s true, shithead.
            like, there are five women that i have actually seen you threaten violence against.
            hell, yr old twitter was full of threats against other writers.
            and, again, here you are with yr blustery bullshit.
            you are a serial stalker and harasser of women and writers and you have threatened women with sexual violence.
            literally hundreds of people have screenshots of yr bullshit so it’s beyond disingenuous to try and pretend anyone’s ‘running a slander campaign’ against you.
            you are literally what would happen if nickolaus paccione knew how to form a complete sentence and tricked someone into publishing him and everyone who has ever had any involvement with you knows this and knows exactly what a piece of shit you are.

          2. I have, literally, never threatened any women with violence–sexual or otherwise. You have, literally, never witnessed me do any such thing. I’m fucking beside myself that these accusations are being laid at my feet. I highly recommend you to cease and desist: what you are doing right now is defaming me. Like, uh, literally, everything you’re alleging is an outright lie. I don’t care what you think you’ve seen, but I assure you it is not what you claim, and I assure you I can back that up. Have I threatened a lawsuit? Yes, I have. That’s the threat I’ve made…in response to rumors I was being slandered. So, again, I recommend you cease and desist, and I recommend Brian Keene pull these posts, as well. And you’ll be hearing the same thing from an attorney before the day is out.

          3. “I recommend Brian Keene pull these posts, as well. And you’ll be hearing the same thing from an attorney before the day is out.”

            Excellent! I look forward to hearing from this attorney.

          4. This is my LIFE and my LIVELIHOOD, and if you think I’m going to respond with anything less than legal action now that I have confirmation of the allegations being made against me, now that I can see the, at best, willful disregard for the damage being done to me personally and professionally–never mind the MALICE–you “literally” have another thing coming, Brian. That goes for you, too, Laird. If you want to be dragged through the mud with me, that’s your choice to make.

            I won’t comment again. I’ve made myself as plain as humanly possible. Rest assured, this is not a joke. Continue to defame me and a cease and desist will not be the last thing to come your way.

          5. “Continue to defame me and a cease and desist will not be the last thing to come your way.”

            So… vague threats AND a cease and desist? JACKPOT! Boy, howdy. This is like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas all rolled into one!

            And I didn’t defame you. I’ve stated:

            1. I’ve seen screen shots of your behavior.
            2. I’ve asked you to go elsewhere.
            3. I’ve said I look forward to hearing from your attorney.

            (Will it be soon, by the way, because I was thinking about heading out for lunch here in a bit. Should I wait?)

          6. Oh man! The anticipation of this Lawyer’s C&D letter makes me want to go make some popcorn! Literal popped corn in an epistemically conformable bowl with observably existing butter!

          7. hey, remember that time you threatened laird barron on twitter and then posted a picture of a handgun (implying a further threat of violence?)
            again, you fucking jackass, people actually have screenshots and records of all the threats and bullshit you’ve pulled so why not maybe go fuck yourself and try and learn what the difference between ‘slander’ and ‘an actual record of the gross shit that you’ve done’ is.
            face it, bro- you have 100% stalked and threatened a whole bunch of people, everyone knows it, and you ain’t fooling anyone with yr EVERYONE IN THE WORLD IS LYING BUT ME AND I’M GOING TO PRETEND TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD A LAWYER bullshit.
            like, you are literally on the same level as nickolaus paccione (except that that poor actually has to deal with real mental illness issues and you’re just a gross fucking scumbag so i guess you’re actually worse than him. huh.)

  9. My favorite, still, is how authors could rack up Stoker recommendations for a book that wasn’t even put together yet, let alone published, and going by the emails still in my possession, this was encouraged by the then-president.

    1. Rena Mason does make the point that Riley wasn’t vetted because everyone’s so damned busy, and he volunteered, and the rest of you chumps should volunteer more, etc., etc. (I’m paraphrasing, if you can’t tell), and Freivald echoed her.

      I applaud the HWA’s efforts toward inclusivity. On the HWA forum, I took part in a discussion on Lovecraft’s racism that stayed pretty open and non-dogmatic, probably less stupid than most Facebook discussions I’ve read on the same topic.

      There are some fine people, some unbelievable narcissists, and only one outright asshole I met through the HWA, probably pretty much like anywhere else, but I’m pleased to be out of it for personal reasons, too ignorant to see the broader picture you paint, Brian.

      I let my membership lapse in January. I went through the motions for a few years, even put a novel up for Stoker nomination, but I got very bored with HWA very quickly. I’m not even sure most HWAs recognize what I write as horror, so I was square peg anyway. I’m a lot more in tune with Robert Dunbar’s Literary Darkness group on Goodreads than anything I came across in HWA. Read the current Stoker list, and you might see why.

      Whatever. Fewer zombie ARCs coming over my transom this year. I can live with that.

  10. 1) I’m not boycotting the HWA. I’m a member of their diversity committee, and I figure I can do far more good within, than without.

    2) To be honest, I’d like to know what David’s position is. From the horse’s mouth, as it were. All I can find online are a bunch of opinions based on references to old articles.

      1. I see further up the thread, that David has responded and has offered to step down. David, thank you. Now, let’s see if everyone out there is willing to put their money where their mouth is, and diversify their reading matter. Comments on issues are easy. This, not so much.

        As for the HWA in general, I realize, as part of the Los Angeles chapter, I’m standing in the rainbows and unicorns corner – lots of support – events where I can promote my books etc etc. I’m also on hand to see Lisa and John do a great job, nationally and locally (seems it’s like wrangling a bull, at times). Brian, it appears right now we’re at odds, on a number of issues and our professional paths are unlikely to cross, but I wish you the best, nonetheless. 🙂

  11. Man, alive. When I started writing horror, all I wanted to do was join the HWA. It was the yard-marl of a beginning author. I watched, witnessed a litany of things occur and still held up hope that the powers that be would do the right thing. Shame on me.

    Sadly,my 48-year-old delusional self has to face the whiskey and realize that it was all just wishful thinking and a world of best intentions, gone wrong.

    A sad moment indeed.

  12. Oh look another whiny author trying to garner attention by bully tactics. Who cares if you won’t accept any awards from the HWA. You are already assuming you will write stuff worthy be being awarded?! Cocky much?! You won’t work with folks who refuse to submit to your demands of banning the HWA. That is bullying. Bullying is not cool You are a bully. By the way, if you really believe in this drivel that you wrote, if you really felt strongly against the HWA you would publicly destroy and be rid of those racist, horrible, evil awards. But you keep them. Why? Because this is a publicity stunt. A pitiful stunt. You won’t approve this, but you will read it. Grow up. There are better ways to fight injustice. This method of banning and bullying people is not the way. Because, who cares if you don’t like it? No one. Instead of crossing your arms and declaring that you are boycotting the HWA, go be a part of the HWA and BE THE CHANGE! Creating animosity and “wars” is not productive. If you really care about us people of color then go support us. Don’t be another white man riding our coat tails trying to promote your own means by “supporting” us. Support us by being someone we can stand with! The HWA will go on, I would feel way better with it going on with people who cared that injustices were going on and want to work on a better way. Prove to minorities, people of various races and all that jazz that this isn’t a pitiful attempt to go viral with empty words. Thanks.

    1. Dick, you clearly don’t know who you’re speaking to in your reply to Brian Keene. This might be a superb moment for you to give yourself a couple of spritzes of Eau de Fermez La Bouche. You could learn something,

    2. Richard, using your logic, when Chick-fil-A was found giving a lot of its profits to organizations that are anti-LGBT, those people who chose to boycott it were not only bullying, but they should have all gotten jobs at the fast food joints to attempt change from the inside. That’s bullshit. You don’t see Keene telling this to media and blasting it all over TV and radio, pounding his chest, do you? See the site you’re on? It’s Keene’s. He does things like posts his own thoughts, regardless of how small or important. If he has something to get off his chest, this is where to do it, and if he chooses not to work with anyone associated with a crooked org, that’s his choice. He’s not pushing anyone around, which is something a bully might do. In fact, his objection is someone who associated himself as a Nazi, the ultimate bully! If you want to talk about bullying, like showing up on blogs to attack people for no other reason than to show your ass and stir up shit, try looking in a mirror.

  13. David Riley sounds like a serious asshole of the first order. I am a forever aspiring writer. I have read more horror/splatter/bizarro in my 40+ years than most readers. Besides being one of my favorites, Brian Keene has been a champion of the genre and an example of what the industry and writers in general should strive to achieve. I believe in this boycott and will follow the events as they run their course. I do not take history of racism, fraud, or favoritism lightly. I remember the crap that writers went through with that crazy Pacione guy. Carlton Mellick is another of my favotites, If he didn’t self publish I might never had a chance to read his legendary stuff. (Seriously, I finished Quicksand House last week and still can’t get it out of my head) I would hope that the HWA would quickly sort and rectify the problems. Perhaps they have outlived their necessity? -Just a fan paying attention and about to crack open ‘The Complex’ 🙂

  14. Brian please don’t blank me for still being a member next year, as I imagine I’ll still be a member despite four years of emails asking for them not to renew my membership. It’s on auto renew and they either refuise to or can’t be bothered to remove it. I’ve lost all of my login details so can’t even log in to the website. The did send me knew details but surprise surprise they don’t work.

    1. I know you’re in the UK, so I’m not sure about banking laws, but here in the US you should be able to dispute the charge or even block it. If they don’t get their money, your membership probably would lapse.

  15. Well said, Brian! I would love to say I would drop membership just for a chance to write with you, but I’ll never be a member. I don’t like racists, drama, or group mentality.

  16. An incredible bit of doublethink considering you saw fit to mention and apparently approve of members of the SFWA as comprising some principled benchmark of moral authority. The SFWA is an organization whose most activist and influential members have not only publicly colluded to discriminate and no-platform SFF writers based on nothing more than their race and sex, but normalized, institutionalized, advocated and celebrated vicious racists, supremacists, racial-sexual slurs, segregated anthologies, revenge genres, racial review-censoring, and ideological theories meant to demonize and hound those writers right out of their own genre. Those bigoted members are far more active, current and obsessive in their remarks than the man you have mentioned. At worst, Riley’s rhetoric is nothing more than the opposite side of the coin from people who openly celebrate racial-sexual demographic shifts based on outright racist and sexist lies they propagate about the 100 yr. history of weird fiction in magazines in America. And given Nick Mamatas’ continued support of Requires Hate, his comments amount to nothing more than gibberish.

    In short, you seem to be a man with no principles. Morton’s piece was an innocuous nothing compared to Scalzi’s rancid racist post about white male privilege. Your stand is the same as the SFWA’s: one member gets expelled for racial incitement, another 5 Nebula nominations.

    I only wish the broader culture of SFF signed a petition against the SFWA exactly like yours, which would include writers with floating definitions of group defamation and equal protection just like you. Why in the world would you work with Scalzi or Wendig, or with an SFWA member who recently publicly cursed out an anthologist and called for a boycott because his Table of Contents was top-heavy in males? She did that the same day she was promoting PoC Destroy Horror, a racially segregated anthology. Forget her long history of racist remarks. Apparently they don’t count; not in your world of punching up/power/privilege theory.

    This is not a question of taking a side but in establishing what a side is. Frankly, if a group of writers in the 21st century cannot come to a consensus on what the term “group defamation” means nor that it is always wrong, rather than having a racial-sexual points-shaving scheme and historic rewards points attached, then that culture of writers deserves the charge of the destruction of its own genre. People who can’t understand what rules and law are for have the minds of bratty children; Orwell’s children. To that you can attach the charge of being self-evidently bored with your own genre, turning it into a race-sex version of a gossipy National Inquirer. TRIGGER WARNING FOR SLUT SHAMING: BRAM STOKER DIED OF SYPH!!!

    I can only hope others follow your lead and the HWA can be saved. The SFWA is long past the point of being saved; its default orthodoxy is racial and sexual supremacist dogma and it is reiterated every… single… day.

    As always, thanks for wrecking my hobby. Apparently I must pay for the East India Company, the internal misogyny of Dorothy McIlwraith’s 15 yrs. at Weird Tales and mid-century American women preferring to read Ladies’ Home Journal rather than SFF/Horror forever by way of segregated anthologies, rooms, dinners, awards, symposiums, reviews and other charming sweet nothings.

    1. James wrote: “you saw fit to mention and apparently approve of members of the SFWA as comprising some principled benchmark of moral authority.”

      Please link or quote where I did this. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Fact is, I was critical of the SFWA probably before you discovered the Internet was a thing.

      James wrote: “And given Nick Mamatas’ continued support of Requires Hate, his comments amount to nothing more than gibberish.”

      This is not Nick’s Blog. It is my Blog. That being said, Nick has been a dear friend for nearly 20 years, but that doesn’t mean I agree with him on everything. The behavior of Requires Only That You Hate is one of the things we vehemently disagree on. Doesn’t change my love for Nick. Nick has done more for professionals in this genre, regardless of their politics, than most people will ever know. I would take a bullet for him.

      James wrote: “In short, you seem to be a man with no principles. Morton’s piece was an innocuous nothing compared to Scalzi’s rancid racist post about white male privilege. Your stand is the same as the SFWA’s: one member gets expelled for racial incitement, another 5 Nebula nominations.”

      Oh, I’ve got plenty of principles. I think what you mean to say is I’m a man whose principles you disagree with. And that’s okay. I like John Scalzi. I think he’s a man who cares very deeply about his field, and holds true to what he personally believes. I don’t always agree with him politically, but I support his right to express those political beliefs. On the flip side, I find Vox Day’s beliefs abhorrent and loathsome. But I equally support his right to express those beliefs. I don’t know. Maybe that’s hard for you to understand.

      James wrote: “Frankly, if a group of writers in the 21st century cannot come to a consensus on what the term “group defamation” means nor that it is always wrong, rather than having a racial-sexual points-shaving scheme and historic rewards points attached, then that culture of writers deserves the charge of the destruction of its own genre.”

      Well, I’m not a member of any group, but in my view, discriminating against blacks, whites, Liberals, Conservatives, heterosexuals, homosexuals, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, and any other group is wrong. I realize this puts me at odds with both your camp and the SJW camp (as seen in Richard’s comment above). Which makes me think I must be right.

      James wrote: “As always, thanks for wrecking my hobby.”

      You’re welcome! Do you have any other hobbies I can destroy? I have thoughts on stamp collecting and beer bottles from around the world that I’d be happy to share!

      1. One time, I made this really cool castle out of Legos and Brian ran into the room, kicked it over, stomped on it, then ran away laughing maniacally. Thanks for wrecking my hobby, Brian.

      2. One time, Brian wrecked my hobby by eating all of my four sided dice. As he crunched the last one, he yelled, “Let’s see you attack the darkness now!”

        Then he farted on my head and ran off giggling. I will have revenge, Keene!

      3. Were all you wrote in reply to me true then Riley wouldn’t have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. You are the one who talks about racial discrimination and racial supremacy but has no neutral definition of that. Apparently some straws are made of lead and there are camels with hinged spines.

        Your reply to me recognizes no principles that I can recognize as such, but it does allow some racial discrimination to pass without notice and some racially supremacist doctrines to become invisible. It is that double standard which I addressed, you did not, and which has destroyed this hobby.

        You may not have thought this through but if the only racial supremacy is white, then that itself is a racially supremacist doctrine. And save the points shaving scheme and power/privilege theory; there has been no institutional trend of or support for racially (and sexually) segregated anthologies in the 100 yrs. since fantastic literature in America first began to become a genre with a fan base. However, today they are a cottage industry. The lies which drive that industry are predicated on irrational suspicions of that 100 years in which an innocent demography is transformed into a menacing supremacist ideology determined to maintain its racial and sexual centrality.

        That is not righting a ship nor is it justice; it is racial and sexual discrimination and hatred flying a false flag. There is no light without dark, but there are transparent double standards that aren’t fooling anyone. It’s self-evident you in fact do not believe in what you stated about discrimination. If you did you wouldn’t have written this post.

        But carry on wrecking the equal protection on which Brown vs Board of Education was predicated and which shot down the very ’60s Calif. Proposition 14 Rod Serling was so angry about in his Nov.11, 1966 UCLA speech. You may have seen Serling’s horror paperbacks from those ’60s but he couldn’t make it into PoC Destroy Horror because the morons who make that trash have unfortunately overthrown equal protection and declared Serling guilty of something or other – perhaps standing up for “PoC” in 1966 and Emmett Till in the ’50s. If Serling read this post today he’d be wondering what the hell he, and other men with actual principles like Ray Bradbury and Al Feldstein were standing up for in the ’50s. It sure as hell wasn’t to create a Frankenstein’s monster that would include them out, but you have. Congratulations on wrecking my hobby. There is nothing in Famous Monsters of Filmland about “male tears,” the gender binary and “white saviors,” and thank God for that.

        1. Well, I disagree with all of that 100%, but thanks for expressing your opinion. I’ll bet you’re fun at parties.

          And apologies again for ruining your hobby.

          1. Well, Brian, I do admire your ability to invoke horror in your writing. I’m confident Feldstein, Serling and Bradbury would be horrified reading such a Janus-faced post in the year 2016. For reasons which escape me, you can’t figure out why Feldstein went right to the wall to defend a comic book story in 1956 against a judge determined to censor it. At some point in your life you may figure out the function the space helmet served in that story, although I’ll tell you in advance it is the same as all those statues of ladies with blindfolds and scales. Someday you may even read the letter Bradbury wrote to that comic in response. This same battle was being fought on TV and in comics and SFF stories back then. You have thrown that over. I can’t believe you mentioned people who don’t know the history of their own genre.

            Okay, so Riley is a white supremacist. Compared to who, what? I have observed many times that people who use shallow racial and sexual identities as a moral ethos are unable to make simple comparisons or use metaphor or analogies. Such things are simply unavailable to them. It doesn’t matter whether I’m reading a post by you, Scalzi, Wendig, Mamatas or all the rest. What passes for philosophy among you reminds me of a school of fish which suddenly darts about here and there. Things like radar guns and umpires are such terribly complex things to understand.

          2. James, you’re welcome to continue debating/commenting, but you deserve to know I’m not really paying attention — just sort of skimming what you post. You’ve made your opinion clear. It’s one I disagree with. That’s pretty much the end of it, far as I’m concerned. Selah–

          3. I think we’ve made our positions clear. At least your not censoring my comments, which is one of the things I think has created a lot of anger around this whole subject.

    2. So, James May’s argument is that people interested in making up for a history of racism/sexism etc are just as bad as fascists, but fascists like Riley aren’t so bad so why complain, but Requires Hate really is the bad one?

      Sure is a lot to go through to explain why you had to self-publish your novel on your website, Jimmy.

      1. Where is this history of racism and sexism in fantastic literature in America since 1912? It doesn’t exist. I never said Riley wasn’t so bad. I asked who and what you’re comparing him to. Requires Hates is a mentally ill sociopath and a supremacist, and one you give covering fire to. I could list 15 of the new progressive SFF writers who make Lovecraft look like an amateur when it comes to obsessive racism. What standards are you using here? Why not just admit there are none? Given their non-fiction comments, I wouldn’t want to be judged by N.K. Jemisin or Chesya Burke. If I had only them to go by, I’d think Octavia Butler was the greatest SFF writer who ever lived. But no, no bias there. In your world, they are some kind of angels of virtue, though they are clearly supremacists.

        As for self-publishing, I have never been a writer nor wanted to be one. I wrote that while under somewhat constricted movement in regard to the Egyptian Revolution. I did it to stop from going nuts. When that ended I stopped writing it, never finished editing it or even finished the series. it. It was a lark, like jarring peaches. Having said that, what I did during that time was more exciting and dangerous than your fiction, especially your life, if your sleeping pill of a Wiki is anything to go by.

        Can’t wait for your memoirs: “That Time I Never Hiked the Inca Trail… Twice!”

        1. Of course it does exist. You’re just an idiot liar. (Third parties who are not idiot liars may wish to check out the book The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction by Justine Larbalestier.)

          And yes, if you equate someone like Nora Jemisin to the regional organizer of a neo-fascist political party, you are saying that Riley isn’t so bad. You’re committing a false equivalency. ‘Gee, editors should solicit more women writers for anthologies’ isn’t the same sort of thing as ‘Smash the Pakis!’ You have spent years insisting that is because you’re a stupid lowlife.

          And RH is a ____ supremacist? Really, being a supremacist is like being a genius—you have to be a supremacist for something. It’s not like your job of being the world’s biggest moron, which doesn’t require an object. You’re an omnidirectional imbecile.

          Also, if you wrote that junk on your website to keep from going nuts, I have some bad news for you, son…

          1. I’ve read Larbalestier’s book. It is biased propaganda. She set out to find a thing and – surprise – she found it. She used no control mechanism whatsoever and cherry-picked obscure stories that confirmed her bias. Anyone who’s read her Twitter feed knows why. The funniest part about Larbalestier’s book is some of the material comes from a Joanna Russ essay which in turn comes from an anthology put together by an actual SFF historian – Sam Moskowitz. You don’t need to comb an archive for that, do you? Moskowitz had to dig like crazy to find enough for his 1972 anthology When Women Rule and that includes the nothing from nowhere story “The Priestess Who Rebelled” by Nelson S. Bond published in Amazing Stories in 1939 subsequently used by Larbalestier.

            Here’s some real history and context: In 1955 there were 40 commercial American magazines with a monthly circulation of 1 million or more. 16 were aimed at women, 8 at men. The women’s magazines totaled 44.7 per issue, the mens’ 11.8. The other 16 general interest magazines amounted to 51.4. There’s your “male elitism” Ursula Le Guin mentioned in a short essay in 1975 in referring to old school SFF pulps. The only thing which kept women out of SFF was the reading tastes of American women. Why didn’t Dorothy McIlwraith double the circulation in her 15 yr. run at Weird Tales by publishing women? Because they weren’t there to publish.

            I’m not sure what you mean by “smash the Pakis.” I see no difference between that and Jaymee Goh and K. Tempest Bradford using slurs at whites like “sour dough-faced” and “cracka ass cracka” and then following it up with a racially segregated room and off-campus dinner at WisCon they co-created as an exclamation point. Requires Hate has used such vulgar slurs against whites and men I can’t repeat them here, but one I can repeat is “… we consider buffaloes especially stupid as animals go. The perfect analogy for white men.”

            Stop pretending a discriminatory affirmative action movement based on a lie about our genre’s history is just soliciting more women. One doesn’t solicit talent by race or sex in the first place; they’re either there or they’re not. Who’s keeping whites out of boxing and the NBA or blacks out of hockey? Publicly cursing out an editor you don’t know and then calling for a boycott of him over too few women in an anthology is not soliciting, nor is her segregated anthology a cure for any injustice. It is a racist snow job.

            I’m not surprised you don’t know what a supremacist is, and if Jemisin isn’t the most obsessively vicious non-anonymous (See: Requires Hate) racist in SFF history, I’d like to know who is. Her Twitter feed reads like a B&W negative of Stormfront and has for years.

      2. Read this post from a few days ago by a couple of Third Wave Feminists and understand what “supremacy” really is. It reads just like Nazi scientific literature on Jews:



        Read it and then let me satirize it to make a point, because there is no awareness or irony in racist feminist-land:

        “Now let’s take the case of the Jew. For many Jews, they experience an intense emotional reaction to being talked about badly as an entire group. This is in line with their fantasy about so-called “anti-Semites.”

        “To understand the mind of the Jew, one must understand they have arrogant but fragile mentalities based on their group consciousness of their glory days of King Solomon and making the seas part for them.

        “For one example, when asked questions by Dr. Mengele like ‘what does it mean to be a Jew?’, they will invariably answer something like ‘I don’t know, human?” The Jew you see, doesn’t think of itself as a Jew, or as a race, which is where its vast feelings of racial supremacy and arrogance come from. The Jew actually thinks it works hard and any privilege is ‘earned,’ rather than the truth of the Jewish money tree they shake for shekels.”


        Radical Third Wave Feminism is indistinguishable from the original core beliefs of Nazism to have Aryan Germans under a single roof and eliminate Jewishness from mainstream life. In the case of these sick racist feminists, the quotes below are from the famous 1969 Redstockings Manifesto published in an anthology titled “Sisterhood is Powerful” the New York Public Library included in its list of the 100 most influential books of the 20th century:

        “We identify the agents of our oppression as men. Male supremacy is the oldest, most basic form of domination. All other forms of exploitation and oppression (racism, capitalism, imperialism, etc.) are extensions of male supremacy

        “We identify with all women. We define our best interest as that of the poorest, most brutally exploited woman.

        “We repudiate all economic, racial, educational or status privileges that divide us from other women.

        “We call on all men to give up their male privilege and support women’s liberation in the interest of our humanity and their own.”

        If you want a lesson on how to mainstream hate speech as “social justice,” there it is; a half-century of it now. What other group of paranoid, hateful morons could take mid-century American women not reading as much fantastic literature as men while buying 48 million women’s magazines a year and translate it into “male elitism” and then launch segregated “diversity” crusades complete with a “diversity committee”? It seem “diversity” and “inclusion” are mysterious one-way streets.

        You don’t have to substitute “women” and “men” with “the German people” and “Jews” to smell the stink of what these people are selling. Mamatas in particular is not just hobnobbing with N.K. Jemisin and Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Editor of PoC Destroy Horror) or promoting “social justice” on his Facebook. He is a man with no principles whatsoever using semantic gibberish signing off on an actively hostile supremacist racial doctrine while boycotting a racial supremacist doctrine. That is purest Orwellian doublethink. Go read the last year of Justine Larbalestier’s Twitter feed to see what noble “social justice” smells like; it is a rancid cavalcade of relentless attacks on straight white males. Requires Hate is far, far worse.

        So, I say again: compared to what? What standards, what principles which can benefit us all? Tell me the rules, because I am not seeing them. I am seeing cheating and stacked decks.

        1. So you really can’t tell the difference between calling someone dough-faced and calling for (and later carrying out) violence in the streets against Pakistani immigrants.

          Thanks for admitting that I’m right; you don’t think Riley or his fascist pals are a big deal.

          Also thanks for pointing out that women published widely, though not in SF, for decades. It’s funny that you think, without evidence, that this is just “taste.” Talk about cherry-picking. How weird that women, who published so widely in an era where one could and had to produce 100k+ words a year on short subjects just happened to ignore a major section of the marketplace that just happened to be filled with anti-women sentiment.

          Try to strangle yourself a bit less next time you wank. I know you like danger and all but your IQ is taking some big hits.

  17. “Effective 1/1/17 (when the new year’s memberships become active) I will no longer work with anyone who is a then-Current member of the HWA, including writers, publishers, editors, etc. I will not give cover blurbs, introductions, or anything else. If I am asked to be in an anthology, and the anthology is being edited by a then-current HWA member, I will decline. If I am asked to submit a novel, and the publisher is a then-current HWA member, I will decline.”

    I agree that Riley shouldn’t be a juror and that this has not been handled as well as it should have been . But the organization is also doing some wonderful things for writers these days–it has established a scholarship fund for newer writers, it has been doing outreach to libraries, it has been helping to shine a spotlight on horror poetry and helping to fund programs like Writer Beware (a project that alerts aspiring writers to various predatory scams).

    I choose the throw my lot in with the folks who are building something (however flawed) rather than those who want to destroy something. I will stay a member of HWA.

    1. I can respect that, Nicole. A lot of friends have echoed the same thing. I do want to clarify, however — I’m not trying to “destroy” anything. I’m simply stating that I won’t lend my personal talents, name, or platform to anything connected to an organization which has shown a decades-long repeated pattern of doing things I disagree with, cannot support, and feel is harmful to the genre as a whole. Everyone else is welcome to do whatever they want. This is a decision for me personally, made by me personally.

      I have been an HWA member. I have worked to better the organization. I am no longer a member. There are many fine people who are still members. Some of my best friends continue to be members. And the HWA has had good moments and good administrations — Laymon, Moore, Gardner, etc. But from where I sit, looking at the field as a whole, rather than at a particular organization, at this point the bad outweighs the good, and I think that’s detrimental to us all. I personally do not believe it can be fixed, but I applaud those willing to try, and wish them nothing but luck and progress. But I will not lend my name or talent to something which I personally feel is detrimental.

    2. I can see where HWA might assist a new author. What it offers an established author was never apparent when I paid my dues, and still isn’t.

      1. Right. I can’t even call myself established at this point and I didn’t think I was getting my money’s worth. Seems like they are doing a great job of attracting novices, but can they keep them past that point? A true professional organization has something to offer the top people in the field.

  18. Hi Brian. The only part of your original statement that made me think “hang on” was that you wouldn’t work with any current members of HWA. How does that make sense? There are a lot of good folks in the org, which suffers more from ineptitude than from malice IMHO.

    1. Heya Steve. See my response to Nicole. There are indeed a lot of fine folks in HWA — including some of my best friends. Jeff Strand, for example, who disagrees with me on this 100% (and whom I’m sure will be debating with me privately long into the night at the bar at WHC in a few weeks). Bev Vincent is another fine example. These are people very dear to me. But I’m not going to lend my name or talents to support an organization which I believe at this point is doing more harm than good.

          1. “I’d be happy to change that stance, but first you’ll have to prove me wrong…” Just to be clear, this is not an escape clause on your boycott, correct?

    2. Actually, Steve — I went back and re-read that paragraph, and yes, you are right. I can see how that was confusing folks and open to interpretation. I’ve fixed it so that hopefully it is clearer. Thanks for pointing that out.

  19. Well, there you go, destroying teh genre again. Btw, did you ever get that B&N signing together? Because if you can’t destroy the genre, B&N, and north-east Pennsylvania, what good are you?

  20. I honestly have paid just about zero attention to the HWA for so long that I don’t even know (year to year) what is going on. I’m in because I was President once upon a time… I vote every year… that’s about it. Other than those aforementioned awards, nothing of much interest that isn’t already available through social media, conventions, etc. goes on… every now and then an anthology pops up that you wouldn’t see if not a member, but honestly- what was once an organization that excited me because it gave me the chance to meet the famous authors I read on a daily basis on a more personal level – is not much now but a support system for a (mostly) broken award system. It’s barely noticed by those aforementioned famous authors. And whoever it was upstream that said, don’t boycott, become part of the fix has clearly never wasted long months of their life volunteering in such an organization. The reward for that is generally chronic headaches, in my experience, and I had a lot of it. I have never really understood the need for organizations… I met more lasting friends attending NECON than I ever did through years and years of association with HWA / SFWA … and have to say, I came into more conflicts because of those associations than through any other situation in my writing career… I wasn’t aware of this particular new situation, but won’t hesitate to distance myself from anyone who believes their own race, religion, etc. makes them superior to anyone else… that way lies the 1950s and the world I have worked hard not to be a part of…

  21. TL; DR. You’re a dick.

    Oh, I’m kidding. The post isn’t that long.

    I would have no problem with David A. Riley serving on a Stoker jury *if* he took full responsibility for and unconditionally renounced his associations with fascist organizations and beliefs. I believe in redemption. In fact, I believe that those who redeem themselves from such abhorrent philosophies deserve our full-throated support.

    But, before redemption there must come honesty and transparency. From what I’ve seen and read, Riley has been lacking in both areas. In fact, I believe that within the past year or so he attempted to attribute examples of his extremism to the non-fascist David Riley of Colorado (who may want to seriously consider a pseudonym…).

    His statements above that he works with and seeks to publish a diverse range of authors are a good sign, but does not crack the book open far enough to justify his being on a Stoker jury.

    With regards to the HWA itself, I haven’t been a member for many years and I’m saddened that I’m only reminded of their existence when they organizationally step in dog shit.

    I have been deeply involved in not-for-profit trade organizations (jewelry manufacturing), volunteer-driven non-profits (historic preservation), and charitable non-profits (animal rescue). I have *many* opinions on how the organization could repair itself and move, but I’ve expressed them before, while I was a member, and to the leadership at the time. It had the cumulative effect of farting in a windstorm. So, I’m not keen to repeat them all over again. Sorry.

    Also, I’m composing this on my phone. If I’m going to get tendinitis, this isn’t how I want to do it.

    Brian, thank you for posting this blog and taking this stand. Good man yourself.


  22. To go way back on the thread, it’s impossible for the HWA to offer health insurance. HWA is not a US organization, it’s world-wide. The plans they looked at for the US didn’t work in Canada and I’m sure they didn’t work in Australia or Europe etc. either. I can’t imagine how a world-wide healthcare plan could be offered. I think sometimes people forget that the HWA is not a US specific organization.

    1. I think it’s important to point out thatBrisn is not boycotting the HWA based on just the views on race of one juror. This isn’t fodder for extremist culture wars, if one reads and comprehends the whole post, this is a cataloging of a PATTERN, as mentioned above, of behavior by international professional organization in our genre, not traditionally for hobbyists but professional writers, that has been ineffective at best and detrimental at worst in meeting the needs of its target membership. Decide what kind of writing career you want. Decide how much influence, negative or otherwise, you’ll allow the HWA to have over your career. Brian did. I did. And others have. I think B presented a fair case to consider whether mbership in the HWA is a worthwhile professional and financial endeavor. Right now, it’s not, IMO. That may change. But I’m not interested plans for change; I’m interested in results. So when and if the HWA amends the rest of the flaws that a sign octant percentage of professionals have outlined over the years and stop creating inexcusable new ones, then I’ll feel more willing to reconsider my above opinion.

      And for the record, I was an HWA member for almost a decade, and a board member working for change to boot. I wanted to be part of the solution. I quit when I realized the group either couldn’t or wouldn’t protect its members or indeed, horror writers in general, in the ways I believe it should have.

  23. I find this all very interesting and very new. As a newer member of both SFWA and HWA, I find the information about the history of the organization’s foibles and failings very educational. At this point, I have to evaluate my decision to renew membership on a plus/minus basis, and your boycott of HWA and affiliated persons in the industry certainly qualifies as a minus. I’ll take time over the next eight months to see if the plusses outweigh that, but I certainly admire your willingness to draw a line in the sand and make it known to everyone. Good for you for being steadfast in your beliefs and for bringing attention to these issues.

    You’ve certainly given me plenty to think about.

  24. I didn’t know about most of these things. I knew there were glitches in the Stoker voting in that I had to ask for a ballot for the prelim (a problem I’ve never had in the past). I was told to add the admin email to my address book to clear up that problem in the future. I did. Still didn’t receive the final ballot. I didn’t bother asking for it.

  25. So why stir up the shitpot? Brian if you want to boycott then boycott. All this does is get everyone flared up. All of this stuff you mention is nothing new and most fans of horror should already know of it. I don’t see the sense in “airing the laundry” just so everyone can get a smell.

    1. “All of this stuff you mention is nothing new and most fans of horror should already know of it.”

      Clearly, as evidenced by comments here and elsewhere, that is not the case.

  26. Nobody cares who you’re boycotting and why. Hopefully, you’ll stop spending all your time up your own asshole and come to realize your own insignificance.

        1. No, no. There’s room for Puppies and SJWs alike. Finally, a place to bring both your groups together! And then the rest of the world can be rid of y’all.

  27. I can’t rightly say how disappointed I am in the HWA with this. I only joined less than two weeks ago, against my better judgement, in the hopes I could take advantage of a couple of their programs at least. I knew about a few of the controversies, but not the expanded list that you’ve shared here. I wish that I had, now. I’m certainly not proud to have joined at this point, and I have no plans on renewing.

        1. Theresa — yes, the David Riley situation was remedied (see Update #3 above). The other things listed were events that have taken place over the years (included to demonstrate a pattern of these types of things occurring on a regular basis, despite various membership rosters and officers). I’m not a member, so I’m not really aware of anything else inside the org that is currently happening.

  28. I joined HWA in 2011 so i missed a lot of these issues. I was wary going in, but i found the org to be largely supportive. This whole furore though could have easily been avoided if Riley had publicly refuted fascism/racism & the organisations he has been affiliated with in the past. Riley made a conscious choice to volunteer, so the onus should have been on him. As you said Brian, his concern should have been awards integrity over ego from the get-go. I’m glad he stood down, but HWA should also have called it sooner (rather than issuing their 1st statement, which i think only served to undermine the diversity remit of the org). They need a check-box for Jury volunteers that says “i am not affiliated with hate organisations, and if i ever have i am willing to publicly refute them or lose my membership”. I have decided to keep my active membership of HWA and to continue to do First Novel Jury service for a 3rd year in the hope that i can be an insignificant but nonetheless present advocate for change. Wish me luck 🙂

  29. I’m gonna send you a case of hemmoroid cream Brian, cause you sure know how to make a bunch of assholes very uncomfortable!

  30. Every time I read your blog I regret not getting to know you better at the ONE Con we were both at! You are too kewl Brian… If you are ever in NC, we totally need to hang. Maybe Tonia could come , if you think she can handle our awesomeness!

  31. Don’t lose sight of what happened with Riley, whether he is a racist or not. He was ousted because of information 30 years old that was revealed through stalking by the HWA members on Facebook, HWA sees nothing wrong with that although cyber-stalking is a crime. A witch hunt was launched by members of an entrenched clique who had vested interests in having someone else in that committee seat. So there really is nothing noble or redeeming about their actions. They’ve acted based on information garnered by the crime of stalking and therefore acquired illegally and condoned the public crucifixion of someone for their seat on a committee based on that illegally obtained personal information revealed in a personal attack on him. Several people were recently perma-banned from Facebook for doing that very thing in another group. HWA may condone such behavior from its members but Facebook does not.

    1. Rick, with all due respect — how are public statements Mr. Riley made in 2011 “information 30 years old that was revealed through stalking”? Math was never my strong suit (which is why I became a mid-list pulp writer instead of an astronaut) but I don’t think 2016 – 2011 = 30

      Also, Mr. Riley had an opportunity here yesterday to repudiate that information from 30 years ago. See the comments above. He answered other things but strangely, not that. Now, certainly, that’s his right. But — as many claim — he has repudiated such beliefs and opinions, and wishes to move on from it, wouldn’t this comment thread — which he was already participating in — have been an ideal opportunity to do so?

      1. A rabid facebook group in full personal attack screaming for one’s blood would be the ideal place to repudiate or defend ones beliefs. 🙂

        Even if the info is only 5 years old someone still had to stalk to find it.

        I am by no means defending Riley, I am saying two wrongs don’t make a right and I see what was done to Riley was far worse than what he is alleged to be guilty of.

        1. But this isn’t a rabid FB group. This is my Blog. And as evidenced by the comments above you, we’ve seen each and every viewpoint, and have allowed them all to be expressed without censorship. Mr. Riley has had several people defending him above. He’s been allowed to speak for himself above. If he’s already commenting, I think adding a simple “yes” or “no” to “Do you still hold those beliefs” would be a pretty simple thing.

          As for stalking, correct me if I’m wrong, but much of this info was originally sourced from public internet postings by Mr. Riley and other associates. That’s not stalking. I have a public FB page. Anything I post there, I do so with the full knowledge that anyone can read it and quote it. I also have a private FB that is just for family, close friends, old buddies from my days in the military, etc. It is private for a reason (mostly because I don’t need Internet weirdos finding out my kid’s names or what I had for dinner or how well I did at the shooting range last Saturday). If someone pretended to be someone else to gain access to it, or hacked it, or something like that, then that would certainly be stalking.

          1. Stalking is defined partly by intent. If you search someone online specifically looking for something to use as a weapon in a personal attack, it’s stalking.

          1. A neighbor showed me an antique dinner plate that she bought years ago, wondering how difficult it would be to locate matching pieces in the set. I proceeded to jump on Bing and screamed for blood on a rabid FB group called replacements.com. I stalked that plate good! Then, I used the illegally obtained information to tell my neighbor that a cup would run her about thirty dollars.

          2. They are the same thing aside from intent. If you’re googling someone with the intent of finding something to cause them damage, you’re stalking.

    1. I don’t know all the details behind this, but given the fact that there are currently multiple allegations of sexual harassment, malfeasance, and more involving Mr. Cavender, I would say the HWA had no choice but to remove him from any advisory or volunteer position he may have held, until the allegations are proven either true or false.

      1. Hell, I just found out about the sexual harassment allegations….I had no idea. Guess I’ll take RJ off that board. Damn, it’s just devastating if this is true. Judging from the amount of women I’ve heard are now coming forward, it feels pretty damning.
        Looks like the HWA made the right move here.

  32. What is alternative? I’m work time ghostwriting horror, they promise to help me find an agent, something I don’t have the time for, does anyone else offer this service?

    I have yet to join but I meet all the criteria, like, I think if you have beef about a service you should list the alternative so people know where to just ship to, if there is an alternative.

    1. There are plenty of alternatives. It’s hard to answer your question since you don’t say what you are looking for, other than an agent — which is something you can find on your own. (And to answer your second question — NOBODY REPUTABLE offers that particular service. That should tell you everything you need to know).

  33. Never spotted any HWA lit promising to help find an agent. Hell, they don’t even promise mentors from their standing program. Which is good, because as of December, when I let my membership lapse, that program was almost as moribund as the HWA user forum — a grim and dismal little corner of the Internet.

  34. I appreciate you taking the time to write about this, shady publishers, and for being an outspoken voice in the horror community. I’ve been following you closely for years and definitely take your opinions into consideration.
    The HWA has done some good things for me, but I’m still not sure the $65 per year is totally worth it. I do feel you’re in a good position to call these guys out as an established author, but I think for a lot of new authors, they feel like they must strive to be a part of some organization that will help them get their foot in the door and make them feel a part of a community.
    I really hope the HWA will take what you’ve said to heart.
    There seems to be a lot of drama, backbiting and negativity in the horror community, which is pretty disconcerting. I feel like you’ve always stood up for the underdog and stood up to the bullies (i.e. Nickolaus Pacione–I’m sure you can imagine the RANT he sent me on Twitter about you), which is very admirable. Please continue to write about these kinds of things.

  35. I realize this is an old post, but I would like to take the opportunity to let people know about my experience with HWA.

    I was a fairly active member back in the 1990s. I was not a professional writer. I was an Associate member who was writing short stories. I remember Brian, but I’m not sure if we knew each other. I attended at least one Stoker award weekend in New York City, maybe two. It’s all a bit hazy. I used to write for the HWA newsletter.

    Don’t spend any time trying to to remember me because my name here is a pseudonym.

    I lived in the New York City area during 9/11. After the attack, I lost my taste for reading and writing horror fiction because I had just lived horror. So I never renewed my HWA membership.

    A few years ago, I decided to rework a horror short story and turn it into a novel. I realized I needed some help. Since HWA offered a mentor program, I decided to join again so I could take advantage of this service.

    After joining, I didn’t receive anything from HWA. No e-mails. No newsletters. No communication at all. So I sent an email to HWA, and while it was probably angry (something along the lines of “Why don’t you people get your act together?”) it wasn’t full of expletives.

    At the time, the president of HWA was someone who lived in Australia and shared a name with a famous cartoon flying squirrel. It seems he recently shuffled off this mortal coil.

    I have a website for a freelance copywriting business. After I sent the email to HWA, I began to receiving a number of insulting and harassing emails that were sent from the contact form on my website.

    Since these messages included the IP address of the sender, I was able to trace them back to a server in Australia. Yes, these emails were coming from the president of HWA.

    I contacted someone on HWAs Board. I explained that the president of HWA was sending me harassing emails, which I forwarded. I also sent the information I had that showed they came from a server in Australia.

    After a few exchanges, the Board member acknowledged that the emails came from the president. At the very least, I expected they would take some sort of disciplinary action against this flying squirrel, but they didn’t do anything. I resigned, and I got them to refund my dues, prorated. The president continued on for a few years until he passed away.

    While there has been controversy surrounding HWA forever, back in the ’90s, I didn’t get involved with any of it. I made some connections and met some wonderful people. But this incident demonstrated that something had gone horribly wrong.

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