Category Archives: Random

Abraham Lincoln

As a Nation, We Began…

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

Abraham LincolnLetter to Joshua Speed

Mark Twain - Samuel Langhorne Clemens

Two Most Important Days

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Mark Twain


This quote resurfaced in an article from 2014 that was shared by my friend and fellow author Michael Ripplinger. The article itself, The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna is an excellent read, and worth spending some time with before the start of a new year—especially if you sit on the cusp of following a dream and you find yourself terrified.

❄️ 💀 ❄️

Criticism is Okay - A Twitter Thread

Criticism is Okay: A Twitter Thread

The following is a series of tweets from last night that were well received. I’m reposting them here for posterity mainly, and because it sucks to read Twitter threads. The thread was sparked by a variety of things: my opinions of The Last Jedi (I didn’t like it), how I’ve noticed some creators complaining about criticism and critique in general, and how respectful debate and discussion seems to have disappeared. As with everything on my blog, criticism and comments are welcome.


Know what? You can absolutely dislike something. You can tweet about your hate, and you can write hot-takes all day long on the platform of your choice. Look at you go.

Gotta go fast!


But, you have to be willing to accept that other people may love the thing you despise. Their opinion is just as valid as yours.


Share your opinion. (They’re welcome!) Lay out your case. Invite discussion with those who are willing. But, let them come to you. No one likes the person who saddles up into someone’s mentions/comments to zing ‘em by telling ‘em why they’re wrong.


Oh and understand, if you say something no one likes, they may take their toys and go home. Or just ignore you. Often both. Does it make you wrong? Not necessarily. But it’s entirely within their rights.


Of course, if you listened like a reasonable person and engaged in a respectful manner, you’ll probably come to an understanding. (Fingers in the ears, insults, and shouting isn’t reasonable or respectful.)


This all goes both ways. BTW.


Oh, and the nature of public posts on a site designed for public engagement inherently invites comment. Thems the breaks ’round here. Welcome to the internet. (Yes, even if you’re all: “don’t @ me.” 🤔 Maybe especially.)


Don’t want to discuss? No problem! 🎉 There are tools to help with that as well. Consider a less public forum, make your account private, keep an IRL journal. Also, fan forums/sites exist for this very reason.


I think review, debate, and discussion make creative work better. We can (and should) learn from it. I learned a lot from design critiques in college, and I learn a lot from reviews now as a writer. So, yeah, I’m all for it. Just don’t be *that* person. Ya know?


Should you wish, you can read the tweets over on Twitter. If you have any thoughts or opinions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Top Five Posts of 2017

My Top Five Posts of 2017

As many of you know, I’ve been doubling down on my blog versus sharing and spending time on social media. This blog and my newsletter, Dead Drop, are the best locations to discover what I am working on and find major announcements. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Since the year is wrapping up, I thought it’d be great to revisit the most popular posts I’ve shared in 2017. I’m actually really excited about this list. A lot of work went into the posts in this top five, work I was proud to share. It’s nice to see people found them enjoyable. (I’m considering my experiment a success.) So let’s take a look at the best of the best! We’ll start at number five and work our way to number one.


Making Magnificent Mountains5. Making Magnificent Mountains

It’s no secret that I love making maps, and I am a minor participant within several communities across the internet dedicated to the mapmaking process. So I’m not surprised that when I offered a set of 19th-century hachure-style topographical brush for download that people were interested. I plan on more offerings like this one in the future.


Riverboats at War4. Riverboats at War

This year I started sharing research for my manuscript, Coal Belly, in particular, research surrounding American steamboats. In these posts, I offer bits of knowledge and include a whole mess of photos gleaned from the historical record. (Usually the Library of Congress) War, and the history of war, always captures people’s attention, and this post about the brown water navy used in the American Civil War sparked excitement.


How Passenger Airships Work3. How Passenger Airships Work

Airships have always been something of an interest for me. But I never quite understood how they worked as passenger transport. I thought everyone crammed into the small gondola that hung below. So for my own education, I looked into it. What I discovered was something that many others found fascinating making this one of my most visited posts for the year.


Hunting the Yellow Sign2. Hunting the Yellow Sign

Robert Chambers’ collection of short stories, The King in Yellow, features some of my favorite cosmic horror tales. For years, I’ve seen a wide variety of artist renditions of the titular king’s yellow sign, but none of them quite hit the mark. I too wanted to know more. What was this mysterious symbol? How it was described in the work? Why was it rendered in various ways? I wanted to see if I could get to the bottom of this mystery. And a great many of you were just as engaged. Did we solve the secret of the yellow sign? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out.


And the number one post of the year is…


The 2017 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide1. The 2017 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

My Lovecraftian Holiday gift guide is always incredibly popular, so it is no surprise that this post ended up being my number one post for the year. (Despite being the youngest on this list.) It’s full of fantastic gift ideas for yourself or the cosmic-horror fans in your life. I make sure to try and find items for every budget. If you have an idea for next years list, why not shoot me an email and let me know.


So those are the top five posts of the year! I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to those who read, subscribe, and share the stuff I post here on I Make Stories. You make it all worthwhile. Thanks for making 2017 one of the best years for this blog, and stick around, there’s a lot more to come in 2018.

❄️ 💀 ❄️


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Revisiting Lovecraft's Holiday Poetry

Revisiting Lovecraft’s Holiday Poetry

For the last few years, I’ve been sharing H. P. Lovecraft’s strange yuletide poetry here on the blog. Since we’re in the middle of the 2017 Holiday Season (you can tell because it’s snowing), I figured it’d be fun to revisit his poems and collect them into a single place. So sit back, pour yourself some eggnog, mulled wine, or a mug of spiced cider and settle in for some heartwarming “Lovecraftian” poetry.


If you want something creepy, try…

Yule Horror

Lovecraft’s creepy Christmas Poem! It’s got cannibals, chanting, feasts, death, and “pow’rs”! I mean what more could you want in a creepy Christmas poem?


If you want something a bit cheesy

Christmas

Lovecraft writes a Hallmark Holiday Card! It’s saccharine and silly, not something you’d suspect from the grandpappy of cosmic horror.


If you’re seeking a poem for a cat, consider…

Christmas Greetings to Felis

Lovecraft’s wrote a poem for Frank Belknap Long’s cat. No seriously, he sent the cat a poem. Not Frank, the cat, Felis. Happy Christmas, Felis. Sorry, Frank.


If you’re really into cats and that last poem wasn’t enough…

Christmas Greetings to Felis #2

Lovecraft’s really loved that cat, I guess.


If you’re looking for Santa-related poetry, don’t worry…

Christmas Greetings To Eugene B. Kuntz et al.

Gotta go for the classics. This is a Lovecraft poem about Santa: presents, chimneys, and stuff!


If none of those work, and for everything else

See Lovecraft’s other little poems here

You’ll find a few other bits of poetry in this post, from winters greetings to descriptions of pigeons in flight. You know, plenty for everyone!


Lovecraft was both a prolific poet and a prolific Christmas-themed poet. There are a few more poems out there that I’m going to track down over the next year. So enjoy this recap this year and tune in next Holiday Season for more of H. P. Lovecraft’s Christmas poetry.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →