Bloodshot Books has unveiled the cover for the 15th anniversary edition of my first novel, THE ORGAN DONOR. He wisely hired Deena Warner to create the cover image and design. It’s a beautiful piece of art.
Deena also released a cool “behind the scenes” essay about how she created the cover. Read that by clicking the below image:
Finally, a cool new book trailer is in the works in cooperation with Darkstone Entertainment. Here’s a production still of Mike Nguyen playing Shen:
More info on that and the book’s exact release date soon!
It’s been a while since I posted anything here, but rest assured my little elves are hard at work on goodies for you. Here’s an update.
The Organ Donor
The 15th anniversary edition of my first novel, The Organ Donor, is on track for a November release from Bloodshot Books. I went all self-indulgent with this one, penning a 6,000-word afterword for the new edition, laying out the whole sordid story about my real-life encounter with Chinese organ trafficking. The publisher hired the estimable Deena Warner to do the cover art and design, which I hope to show you soon. I’m again working with filmmaker John Johnson to foolishly spend any royalties I earn from this edition on a fun book trailer. (Watch past book trailers at this link.) More information about The Organ Donor.
The Dagger of God
The what?! What ‘chu talkin’ about, Willis? That’s right; there’s another novel in the sausage-making factory. This one is a trunk novel, a ghost story about the Civil War, Ku Klux Klan, and ugly racial violence. As if that’s topical. I enjoy reading/performing stories, so I’m trying something new: recording my own audio book. It’s been a fun experiment so far but fraught with frustrations as my basement office isn’t exactly a sound booth (chugga-chugga laundry machines behind me, and idiot felines scratching on my window screen), and my microphone picks up every breath pop, inhalation, and squishy lip parting that I make. Probably the most successful aspect of this venture will be the blooper reel. There’s also the challenge of keeping character voices distinct. My main character is a Southern belle who alternately sounds like Scarlett O’Hara or Matt-Warner-forgetting-his-character’s-voice. But when it’s done, I nevertheless intend to release it on the Amazon ACX platform and possibly on Youtube. If successful, it will make one long car trip bearable for you. Listening to an audiobook really is the best way to travel.
And on the personal front . . .
The website design business keeps the “busy” in business. I mean, day-um. Deena Warner Design continues to be in high demand for author websites. I’m also spending a significant portion of time working for First Arriving, a marketing firm in high demand for fire department websites. My writing career currently occupies the 530-630am hour most weekdays, and these two firms occupy everything else — that is, everything not taken up by my high-energy 6- and 8-year-old boys, who are scary smart.
On top of all that, I’ve become ever more entrenched in Total Defense Martial Arts, which provides boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu instruction to the Staunton area. Starting in January, I’ll assume primary responsibility for teaching BJJ to kids between 6 and 16. I’m also in talks with Staunton Montessori School to volunteer for two months as a self-defense instructor to 7-9th graders, teaching them the joys of escaping headlocks, bear hugs, and chokes.
That’s about it. Please stay tuned for all the happenings this fall.
Today, I sent the updated manuscript for the 15th anniversary edition of THE ORGAN DONOR to Bloodshot Books. In honor of this, I share with you this cool video a friend recently posted on his Facebook wall. My only reservation is I don’t think I’d want this guy’s liver. Click “More Info” below.
Bloodshot Books and I have signed a deal to reprint my first novel, The Organ Donor, in 2017, in eBook and trade paperback. This will be a 15th anniversary edition with a new author’s afterword. (It will also be a great opportunity for me to correct any lingering typos!) Cover artist to be announced.
They knew it was wrong to purchase a kidney off the Chinese black market. But what the Taylor brothers didn’t know was that its unwilling donor was an executed prisoner—and an immortal 5,000-year-old being from Chinese mythology. Pursuing them to Washington, DC, this ancient king will stop at nothing to recover what was once his.
Inspired by the true story of how the People’s Republic of China sells organs harvested from its deathrow prisoners.
“I couldn’t believe how good it was. . . . Matt Warner took the used up idea and sowed a story full of old myths born anew. . . . The Organ Donor is a straight-on modern classic of Horror.”
— Feo Amante. To read the entire review, click here.
Matthew Robertson of the Epoch Times sent me his thorough investigative report on the current state of the organ trade in the People’s Republic of China. It seems the practice of harvesting human organs for transplant from questionable sources shows no signs of letting up.
The practice of harvesting organs from executed prisoners for transplant, in contravention of human rights and medicolegal ethics, inspired my first novel, The Organ Donor. In particular, my research was into the conditions in Tianjin, which Mr. Robertson’s article is about.
Being able to grow kidneys in petri dishes can’t get here soon enough. . . .
He’s still alive. He doesn’t have to go back to China.
Let me explain.
Readers of my first novel, The Organ Donor, might remember the protagonist of the first chapter, Dr. Li Jun of the Jianshi Paramilitary Police General Brigade Hospital. He was a doctor with a conscience, sick of the role he played in the extraction of organs from executed Chinese prisoners for sale to his patients. Dr. Li defected to the United States and testified, in exposé fashion, to the U.S. Congress concerning the PRC’s trade in human organs.
My character was based on a real man, Dr. Wang Guoqi, who in 2001 defected to the United States to do exactly what Dr. Li did. Unlike Dr. Li, however, Dr. Wang was soon in danger of being deported back to China. The United States doesn’t give political asylum to those it considers criminals. Still, any fool could see that Wang had extenuating circumstances, first and foremost that he defected to get away from the very place compelling him to participate in these crimes to begin with. Besides which, didn’t he do Congress a favor by testifying? And didn’t the Immigration and Naturalization Service realize that if Dr. Wang were sent back, he would assuredly be executed (and his organs sold) for embarrassing China to the world media?
Soon after my book was published, I met Harry Wu, the director of the non-profit Laogai Research Foundation in Washington, DC. Wu was Dr. Wang’s representative when he testified before Congress, and Wu told me about the doctor’s predicament. At the time, I was working for a large DC law firm, so I introduced Dr. Wang to a pro bono attorney who took up his case with immigration. My firm invited me to write about my experiences for a newsletter, which I did, and life went on.
That was eight years ago.
Since then, I’ve periodically stayed in touch with the original attorney, who told me that Dr. Wang’s case was embroiled in a lengthy series of appeals. The doctor eventually switched lawyers, and as far as I could tell, the world forgot about him.
Meanwhile, the Chinese organ trade continued, with its hospitals and court systems colluding to tissue-match their death row prisoners with wealthy foreigners buying organ transplants. According to my notes from writing my novel, this often meant that a death row prisoner’s legal appeals could be affected by the need for his organs. In 2007, in response to international pressure, China finally banned the practice of human organ trading. But as recently as two weeks ago, ABC News (that’s the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) had this to say in its story, “Australian organ tourists drive sinister trade”:
Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas says he has uncovered evidence of organ harvesting from death row inmates and political prisoners in China.
He says evidence suggests that most of the 10,000 organ transplants which happen each year in China are the result of organ harvesting.
“We had investigators phoning in to Chinese hospitals, asking the hospitals if they had organs of Falun Gong practitioners to sell and we get admissions throughout China, which we have on tape saying, ‘Yes we do’, or ‘No we don’t, but you can go to this hospital’,” he said.
It’s fascinating, isn’t it, how the Chinese government apparently looks the other way when there’s money to be made.
Back to Dr. Wang. After I read that ABC News story, I did my periodic Googling to check up on him. This time I got lucky by finding a legal decision from a year ago, GUO QI WANG, Petitioner, v. Eric H. HOLDER, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, Respondent, before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. The upshot of the decision was that although Dr. Wang was ultimately denied political asylum because of his “participation in a scheme to sell organs for profit on the black market,” he was nevertheless granted permission to stay in the United States — or, in the decision’s parlance, they granted his “application for deferral of removal.” Today, I exchanged emails with the attorney who represented him, and he confirmed that Dr. Wang remains in the country and is able to work. What kind of work, I don’t know. Certainly not practicing medicine. When he first came here, I read somewhere that he was working as a sushi chef in New Jersey.
So, after nine years elapsed time, I think we can finally close the chapter on Dr. Wang Guoqi. He wasn’t granted political asylum, but I’m not sure that means very much since all he wanted was to avoid being deported back to his death. I imagine it’s just a matter of status, and that it will complicate any efforts he might make toward gaining citizenship. A friend of mine recently told me of the bureaucratic hell he went through to get his own U.S. citizenship. But that’s a rant for another day. . . .
The headline of this post is not only the tagline of my forthcoming horror novel, but it also describes my feelings in writing and selling it.
Blood Born, coming from Sonar4 Publications early next year, tells the story of an epidemic series of rapes in the nation’s capital that becomes the apocalyptic vanguard of a new type of monster. The story resurrects characters from my previous novels — Detective Christina Randall from The Organ Donor and the evil CalPark Biotech corporation from Eyes Everywhere — and is intended as a horror story especially for a female audience. Its main characters are women, the monster preys upon women, and the story’s resolution relies upon the brains, cunning, and biology of — you guessed it — women. Fans of Ed Lee and zombie stories will enjoy the book as well.
The story is dark, explicit, and brutal. It took me to places that made me uncomfortable to write about. And ultimately, I have to confess, those very qualities made it a tough sell. As one editor put it, he wasn’t prepared for the story’s “weird and violent sexual stuff.”
So be it. Sonar4 has decided to take a chance, dipping into the more extreme realm of horror. I hope that when it comes out next year in trade paperback and e-book that you will take a chance upon it as well. The publisher, thankfully, has hired Mrs. Warner to do the cover image, so keep an eye out for a novel that will be as fun to look at as, I hope, it will be to read.
I’ll keep you apprised as things develop. For now, please set a bookmark on the Blood Born information page.