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How to sum up Crypticon KC? I split a table with the inestimable Sean Demory, who is a gentleman and a scholar. I sold a few books. I got to participate in a guerilla reading, thanks to the generosity of author guests Brett Williams and Alan Ryker. I saw a guy on stilts dressed as Pyramid Head, a giant decaying clown, Tiny Freddy Krueger, and Stargate Wolverine. My compatriot Lydia got to make out with the Predator. I got interviewed by a zombie ballerina. Our table was right across from Richard Kiel, and Bai Ling asked me to break a twenty. I gave Doug Jones a copy of Never Bet the Devil, signed “Thanks for all the monsters,” and this is what I got in return:

doug jonesAs this was my first Crypticon, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up having a really good time, in spite of it falling right in the middle of the most stressful of a string of really stressful recent months. The con was varied, dynamic, and a lot of fun, and I’ll definitely be back next year in some capacity. Thanks to everyone who put the con together, to all the vendors and guests, to everyone who came by our booth and said hello, and special thanks to everyone who bought a book or two! If you didn’t make it by, I recommend checking out something by my table-mate Sean Demory. His Ballad of the Wayfaring Stranger and the Dead Man’s Whore recently snagged an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, and Zobop Bebop is a Voodoo gangster novel. What more do you need?

I’m sure there are scads of things that I’m forgetting to mention, and I know there are some incriminating photos floating around on social media, so chances are you haven’t heard the last of this, though you have for now!

As a result of a conversation on Facebook some three months or so ago, several of my friends recently presented me with my very own, framed, official certificate of monster expertise. So now it’s official! Here’s a look at the certificate:

Monster Certificate

Thanks to Bear Weiter, Steve Scearce, Jeremy Tolbert, Marlyse Comte, Selena Chambers, Molly Tanzer, and anyone else who had any hand in this! I have the best friends!

In other news, some publication-related announcements. First off, Tales of Jack the Ripper, featuring my story “Ripperology,” is now up on Goodreads, so you can add it to your lists. It should be out in August. You can also catch a glimpse of the finished cover there, featuring some of the many fine authors with whom I’ll be sharing company.

A bit farther down the road, “The Lesser Keys,” my Lovecraftian Goetic demonology story set in 1920s Kansas City, will be appearing in Jazz Age Cthulhu in 2014, alongside new novelettes by Jennifer Brozek and Avery Cahill.

Since it’s become a cliche by now, I’ll try to refrain from opening this post with an apology directed at the Internet in general for my long absences of late. Suffice to say that I’ve been incredibly busy of late, and that sadly shows no signs of abating, at least through the beginning of the new year. But I’m on the downward slope of a four-day weekend from the day job, and that’s allowed me to finally get around to getting some pictures taken/uploaded that I’ve been promising for a while now. So, in the spirit of seasonal festivity, here they are.

Books

First off, here’s a pile of my books that were just released. There are a lot more copies of Never Bet the Devil in the pile than there are copies of Fungi only because I currently have a lot more copies of Never Bet the Devil than I do of Fungi, but that copy of Fungi on the bottom of the pile there is one of the incredibly sharp hardcovers, which I’d recommend picking one of up if you haven’t, because they look great. (I’d say something like “if I do say so myself,” but I really had nothing to do with how they look, that was all Silvia.)

That picture was taken in my newly-renovated office, which is finally in some kind of usable state for the first time in I don’t know how long. All the books are on the shelves, all the shelves are in the room, and about all that’s left now is to go through some piles of paperwork, which may take a while. In the meantime, I’m typing this from my desk in my office, under the watchful gaze of my office mascot:

Mascot

He’s a Hellboy Skelanimal, one of a limited batch they made for comic-con. He’s on my top shelf, next to one of my Maltese Owl bookends (not their official name, I just found them in an antique store and they remind me of the Maltese Falcon) and my author copies of all the books I’ve ever been in.

On one of my other shelves is this guy, who I just got from my good friends Reyna and Gavin Sparby. I’ve never read the comic he’s apparently from, but he’s a skeleton in a bow tie, so I immediately approve.

Skullboy

He’s standing in front of my Fritz Leiber and Edgar Rice Burroughs books, which is a pretty good spot to be in.

Finally, even though tomorrow is Christmas, today was the biggest Relevant Seasonal Festivity celebration we’re likely to have around here. My parents came up for dinner, and I got several nice presents over the past few days from lots of awesome folks, most of which aren’t necessarily as photogenic as our skull-headed friend up there, but all of which I appreciate very much, so thank you everyone! To end my post on a seasonally appropriate note, here’s our Relevant Seasonal Festivity Tree this year, decorated mostly by Grace, though the topper was my doing:

Seasonal Festivity Tree

I hope you all have a happy whatever, and I’ll have more updates coming soon!

Happy Halloween, one and all! I’ve been at work all day, and I’m going to a party this evening, so I’ll keep this short, but it wouldn’t be right to let Halloween go by and not say something. So I’ll give you some seasonally appropriate links.

For starters, however you feel about Trick ‘r Treat, there’s really no more seasonally appropriate movie around. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend giving it a look, and if you have, there are a plethora of short films from the same director produced by FearNET that are available on YouTube. There’s also the original animated short film that started the whole shebang off, which you can see right here:

If you’ve already seen Trick ‘r Treat, or are otherwise looking for more stuff to watch this most ghoulish of seasons, the Onion AV Club is doing their annual 24 Hours of Horror movie marathon list, this time with the great Joe Dante. And while you’re at it, you can also check out last year’s list with Edgar Wright. One of these years, I’ll do up my own list, but this year won’t be that year.

(I haven’t actually gotten to read all of Dante’s list yet, but I’m looking forward to finishing it up soon. And I think I own most of those movies, so if I was insane I could actually do the marathon!)

Maybe the most exciting thing to happen so far today, though, for me and anyone else who is unhealthily obsessed with the work of Mike Mignola, is that Dark Horse released a free 119-page digital sampler of a bunch of their horror titles, including a new Baltimore story, B.P.R.D. 1948, and, best of all, a new preview of Hellboy in Hell!

That’s pretty much it for me. Have a safe and happy Halloween, and I’ll see you back here in November for the start of my Hitchcock marathon, and more of the same. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a drawing that artist Chris Sanders (of Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon, among others) shared on his Facebook, and that has become my new favorite Halloween drawing of the moment.

Today I’m celebrating the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft by watching The Call of Cthulhu and reading “The Picture in the House,” along with whatever else comes to hand. I might also watch some of Bride of Re-Animator or play a bit of Night of the Cephalopods! 

If you’re looking for something to commemorate the occasion, the Lovecraft eZine has posted a couple of lists (here and here) of Lovecraftian movies that you can watch online. I trust that everybody’s already got their favorite collection of Lovecraft stories laying near to hand, but if you’re looking to expand beyond the tales of the Old Gent himself, you can’t do much better than The Book of CthulhuAnd if you’re already in possession of that fine tome, you can pre-order the second installment, which features my story “Black Hill,” alongside many others.

Or of course you might check out Historical Lovecraft or Future Lovecraft from Innsmouth Free Press, featuring the original appearance of “Black Hill” and my story “The Labyrinth of Sleep,” respectively. And if you’ve got a Kindle, you’ve still got a little bit of time to take advantage of the absolutely free edition of Innsmouth Magazine: Collected Issues 5-7 that they’re giving away in honor of the occasion.

So that’s how I’m celebrating, and some suggestions on how you can, too, and to paraphrase my good friend Jesse Bullington, a very happy birthday to you, HPL, you cranky old weirdo!

Roddy McDowall and H.P. Lovecraft are a match made in heaven. I’ve lamented before that McDowall never got to star as one of Lovecraft’s deranged, bookish protagonists, but now I’ve found the next best thing: Roddy McDowall Reads the Horror Stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

Unfortunately, there are only two stories (“The Outsider” and “The Hound“), but they’re enough. I first heard about this when somebody posted the cover of the record on tumblr, but I found the mp3s through this guy’s LiveJournal.

You’re all very welcome.

I forgot my hat when I left the house today, which was an unusual and discomfiting experience for me. As such, I of course posted about it to various social media, explaining how, if I were a character in a turn-of-the-century book, this would be indicative of panic or emergency of some kind. It was generally agreed upon by my commentors that even in this enlightened era, it could not be looked upon as anything less than a dire omen. So traumatic and far-reaching was the experience, that it was actually immortalized in art by the supremely talented Drazen Kozjan, as can be seen below: