Tag Archives: cthulhucon

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

2015 in Ten Awesome Photos

Last year, I published a post summing up my 2014 In Ten Awesome Photos. It was a fun challenge because a lot of stuff happened and it was a good way for me to reflect on the year. Going forward, I want to make this post a regular thing, I like the idea of a yearly recap of the ups and downs of my year condensed into ten pictures.

Going back through these photos has made my 2015 seem so much longer. Since I have made the decision to focus on my writing in my free time, I’ve noticed that time for me has slowed down. It feels like ages since I launched The Stars Were Right, but the reality is that it has only been three years. Losing myself to the creative process has forced me to enjoy the moment so much more, as Ze Frank says in An Invocation for Beginnings, “life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.” For me, the journey has become as engaging as the destination.

So let’s take a look at ten stops in my 2015 together…


2015_01Like every year, Kari-Lise, myself, and some friends started the year off with a hike. This photo was taken on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound at a National Historic Reserved named Ebey’s Landing. It’s also a great place to see incredible views of both the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Baker. The first hike of the year has become a right of passage for Kari-Lise and me, and it’s a good way to start the year out right. I wonder where we’ll end up in 2016.

2015_02In February, I put The Stars Were Right on sale for 99¢ and promoted it through BookBub. The result was astounding, I sold hundreds and hundreds of copies, and the book was propelled to the top of the Amazon Bestseller List for a day. I wrote a whole post about it.

The Stars Were Right hanging next to Hugh Howey's Wool

There’s always a bit of nervous excitement when this happens, but overall I was excited to see how many new readers loved the story and continued on to Old Broken Road.


2015_03Kari-Lise and I went down to San Diego for the opening of her show Inflorescence. The show was fantastic, and we were able to spend some time exploring the city and its environs. While there we made the trip out to Joshua Tree National Park. I haven’t visited this stretch of desert in over a decade, and the return was purifying in a way you can only experience in a desert.


2015_04In March, I went to Norwescon 38. It was incredible. I sold out of books. I met a lot of amazing people, and I was threatened by Rorschach! I had so much fun that I’m doing it again in 2016. Norwescon 39 here I come!


2015_05After Norwescon, I hit up CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon. It was great to gather together with so many fellow mythos fans. There was short films, tons of books, great panels, amazing art, and so much more. The show was a big success, and I was able to not only participate in a reading of The Stars Were Right, but I also sat on the “Creating a Mythos” panel moderated by Ross Lockheart. Like Norwescon, I met some great people along the way, and I’m hoping to return this year.


2015_07In the summer, I was asked to be a best man at the wedding of Steve and Sarah, easily two of the best people I know. The weekend was centered around a group camp and held at Dash Point State Park here in Washington. It was a fun weekend, and that’s coming from a guy who isn’t generally much of a camper. The wedding was incredible, and it was touching to see Steve and Sarah share their love in front of a whole bunch of pretty amazing friends and family. I was so glad I attended and honored to be a small part of it.


Remembering JakeSadly, this summer my friend Jake Rogers lost his battle with cystic fibrosis. Jake was one of the kindest, caring, and supportive people I’ve known. He has been an inspiration to me and many others, and he is and will always be missed. (I didn’t take this photo, but I needed to include Jake in this list.)


2015_08At the end of the summer, Kari-Lise and I went to Iceland. It was a quick trip (only a week) but we saw a lot of the country and we’re plotting a return. Getting out into the world with Kari-Lise has had a fundamental impact on both our lives and my writing. I’m glad that we’re able to do it together. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are many ways to explore this beautiful world. Do it. You’ll thank me later.


2015_09In September, we traveled to San Francisco for the opening of Kari-Lise’s second solo show of the year, A Lovelorn Theft. The opening was terrific and like her previous show, it did really well. It was great to see so many fans coming out to support her and check out the work in person.


Red Litten WorldIn October, we returned to Lovat when I launched The Bell Forging Cycle, Book III: Red Litten World. It was my largest book launch yet, and the book continues to do well. People seem to really enjoy Waldo Bell’s latest adventure that makes me happy. With its release The Bell Forging Cycle has become a trilogy!  You can buy it right now!


Behold my 2015! There’s a lot in those ten photos, but there is so much I left out: Mariners games, Seahawk games, Kari-Lise’s documentary, book research, I finished another manuscript, I took more pictures of Iceland, I spent more time in the mountains, I went to other conventions, I took pictures of my dogs, I explored my city, and so much more. I gleaned a lot of these images from my Instagram account which I like to keep as a running record of my life (and I’ll occasionally talk about my books.)

As before, why not keep this ten awesome photos thing going? Post ten awesome photos of your own on your blog and leave a link in the comments below so others can see what happened in your year. I’ll even update this post to include links to your ten photos!

Friday Link Pack 05/01/2015

Happy Friday! It’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

Writing:

A Question About Editing
Interesting post from Hugh Howey about editing, today’s reader, and the modern expectation of perfection in writing.

The State Of Storytelling In The Internet Age
A quick overview covering how amazing things are to how much of the industry is in flux. It’s now so much easier to reach so many people, and the internet has opened up so many new channels for creators, but new struggles have emerged.

Little Triggers
I am wary of the phrase “trigger warning”, and I’m glad to see Neil Gaiman is with me. I highly recommend checking out this post from his new book Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances. In this excerpt Neil explores how fiction is supposed to push us, teach us things, and help us grow.

The Story You Want to Read
Fellow author and writing group pal, Michael Ripplinger, explores a specific story arc—the return of an ancient evil—that attracted him to writing. It’s always fun recognizing these sort of things in our writing.

A CthulhuCon Debriefing
Last weekend we didn’t have a Friday Link Pack because I was heading down to Portland for CthulhuCon. How did it go? Fantastic! I break it down in this post, hit the highlights, and share a few pictures.

Art:

Artist Transforms The 12 Zodiac Signs Into Terrifying Monsters
I love monsters. Who doesn’t? So I was on board when I saw Damon Hellandbrand‘s take on the familiar zodiac signs. Libra is my favorite.

Catch My Fade – Seamus Conley
So one of Kari-Lise and my favorite artists is Seamus Conley. There’s something so emotional in every one of his pieces. His latest series, Catch My Fade, currently being show at the Andrea Schwartz Gallery in San Francisco, California is nothing short of amazing.

Re-Covered Books Contest: ‘The Old Man and the Sea’
I really enjoy these recover contests that the Fox in Black does occasionally. They’re really handy for indie authors to get some good ideas on cover designs, plus you always find some really beautiful pieces. April’s contest for re-covering Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea is no exception.

Random:

The Dezeen Guide To Brutalist Architecture
Not everyone is a fan of brutalism, but I am. There’s something so combative about the buildings, something arrogant. I love the brash unapologetic retro-future style. In this article Dezeen Magazine explores brutalism architecture, and discusses how we should preserve the legacy.

It’s Time to Retire “Boob Plate” Armor. Because It Would Kill You
I think we’re all well aware at how ridiculous (and often sexist) “boob plate” armor can be, but armor’s job is safety, and in this article for Tor.com writer Emily Asher-Perrin gives us the best reason to avoid it: it would kill the wearer. [Thanks to Spencer for sharing this.]

18 Delightfully Artistic Vintage STD Posters
These vintage PSAs from the U.S. Army shows their focus of stamping out VD. They are amusing, terrifying, and well… a bit strange. It’s interesting how it seems to point the finger at women and not the male soldiers who were the guys actually doing most of the sleeping around. Ah, good ol’ sexism solidly alive and well in postwar America.

The Wikipedia Entry For Guam, Retold As A YA Novel
The fake-wikipedia article you always wanted to read. Tropes delightfully abound. [Big thanks to Christine for sharing this one. Hilarious stuff.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

The Hyphen War
“The Hyphen War (in Czech, Pomlčková válka; in Slovak, Pomlčková vojna—literally “Dash War”) was the tongue-in-cheek name given to the conflict over what to call Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Communist government.”

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Other Gods
Barzai the Wise and his disciple Atal climb a mountain to gaze upon the gods of the earth and discover more than they bargained for.

Gif of the Week:

gotta go fast!

My Cthulhu Con Schedule

CthulhuCon PDX Vendor Room Romp

Want to hear my book pitch? Well, last weekend I was lucky enough to be recorded giving my pitch alongside other vendors in the Dealers Room at CthulhuCon PDX. You can watch it below:

I come in around 5:28. Big thanks to Cat from the Northwest Horror Podcast for putting this all together and sharing it with the internet. She’s posted the full list of vendors with links to their site over on their blog and you can check it out here. (Also, you should subscribe to their podcast via iTunes or Stitcher. It’s a lot of fun.)

CthulhuCon + K. M. Alexander

A CthulhuCon Debriefing

The Spring is apparently convention season for me. Norwescon was at the beginning of April and I just wrapped up a weekend in Portland at CthulhuCon PDX. I really enjoyed myself. The convention is an official spin-off from the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon it had a lot of great guests and I was honored to be apart of the festivities.

K. M. Alexander on a panel at Cthulhu Con
Left to Right: Lockhart, Pugmire, Klinger, Komoda, Alexander, Steele, Hoade.

This was my first time at a convention doing more than just slinging books from behind my table. I not only did I do a reading, I also spent time signing books at the author’s signing, and I participated on a panel. This crowd was different than other conventions, there was zero cosplay which was surprising, and the crowd definitely skewed older. I also received some of the toughest questions I have ever been asked which was fun. You could really see the passion from the attendees. I really appreciated everyone’s excitement for weird fiction.

Reading the Prologue from The Stars Were Right on Saturday evening.
Reading the Prologue from The Stars Were Right on Saturday evening.

Books sales were solid, especially for such an intimate convention. If it had lasted four days like Norwescon 38, I would have sold out again. Still, even with the shorter time frame sales exceeded what I had expected. It was great to meet so many new readers and it was cool to see folks get excited about the world of The Bell Forging Cycle. It really made me eager to get Red Litten World out into the wild.

On to the highlights:

  • Having the first person I talked to tell me they saw my book on the Lovecraft eZine, had already picked it up, and were excited to read it. If you’re a mythos fan and you’re not reading the eZine you should rectify that now. Mike Davis is a great guy and runs a good site.
  • Doing my reading on Saturday night. This was my first Con reading and I loved it. I read the Prologue from The Stars Were Right in all its grisly detail. Afterward I had a reader approach me afterward and tell me it was not only beautiful, but it also encouraged him to pick up a copy.
  • New friends and readers! Thanks to all you amazing people who picked up my book. Enjoy! Feel free to email me when you finish and let me know your thought. Also, please tell your friends and leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads they help a lot.
  • Meeting and talking with Matt and Cat from the Northwest Horror Podcast. Good folks. Cat recorded me doing my pitch, which was fun. I’m now a subscriber and working my way through past episodes.
  • I loved being a member of the “Creating a Mythos” panel. Ross Lockheart was an excellent moderator and it was an honor to be up there with folks like Wilum Pugmire, Leslie S. Klinger, Paul KomodaJustin Steele, and Sean Hoade. It was a fun discussion. Wish we had a lot more time for questions from the audience but we were all long winded. I know the panel was recorded, if it gets uploaded I’ll be sure to post it here.
  • Hanging out with the other writers at the Carbload for Cthulhu signing. It was fun, and a nice change of pace.
  • All you people who picked up on all the mythos references throughout Stars and then came and talked to me about them. I tend to Easter egg a lot of little details like that and it’s awesome when folks find them.
  • The art show was fantastic. A lot of really great pieces. Thanks to my buddy Sky for dragging me away from the table. Was totally worth it.
  • While I didn’t get a chance to see him live, Kari-Lise really liked Leeman Kessler’s Ask Lovecraft segment. Mr. Kessler is a wonderful actor and scholar and very entertaining. If you haven’t seen his portrayal of ol’ Howard Philip I encourage you to check out his youtube channel.
  • Portland food. In particular Tiny’s coffee, Teote’s plate of pork belly, and Montage’s late night martini’s and macaroni.
  • Portland people. Especially Sky and Zach, good dudes. Thanks for hanging out.
  • I leveled up my table. (See the photo below.) I think the new banner looks real nice. Wouldn’t you agree?
  • Having a guy stop by and buy a Bell Caravans patch specifically for his new OC cosplay. Looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.
  • All the compliments I receive about the quality of my books. It’s really good to hear. I put a lot of time and effort into each of them so when it stands out to folks I get really excited.
  • Hanging out with the lovely people in the The Mall of Cthulhu.
  • Talking Machen with a fellow fan. Love the Machen.

K. M. Alexander's booth at CthulhuCon PDX

Overall I came away really happy. Nice to see so many folks come together out of a love for a small segment of literature. Over the course of the con I had several times people asked me if I had read Neil Gaiman’s Hugo winning short story: A Study in Emerald. I haven’t! However, I will be rectifying that tonight. (For those who don’t know it’s a mashup of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraftian Mythos originally published in the anthology Shadows Over Baker Street.) It’s available to read it for free from Gaiman’s website.

I will be back. It was an honor to mingle with some of the greats and introduce a few folks to my own brand of Lovecraftian stories. I cannot say enough how exciting it is to see so many fans come together around a small microcosm of speculative fiction. It’s time now to forge ahead. Convention season isn’t quite over for me. In a few weeks it’ll be time for Josh Montreuil and me to descend upon Lilac City Comicon. In the meantime I have more books to write.

My Cthulhu Con Schedule

My CthulhuCon Schedule

Since we’re now less than a week away from the start of CthulhuCon in Portland, Oregon. Since I’m an active participant I figured it’d be handy for me to post my schedule. All this is penciled in, and meant only as a guide. Stuff can change. However, I’ll try to stick to this as much as I can.

[UPDATE 4/22] – I’m now doing an author signing on 10am in Bellmont B and I’ve also gone ahead and updated my schedule with room information as well.


FRIDAY:

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm — Hello, Portland!

I’ll arrive Friday afternoon and I’ll be around. There’s a party that night, but the con really doesn’t kick off until the following morning. But, if you see me, stop me and say hello!


SATURDAY:

10:00 am – 7:00 pm — Hanging out in The Mall of Cthulhu [Bellmont C]

I’ll be in the Dealers Room, selling and signing books all day. The dealers room isn’t large, so look for my big black banner. I’ll have copies of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, as well as a ton of free swag.

Along side me you’ll find a lot of other awesome folks selling their wares. You can see the full vendor list here →

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm — Author Reading 3 [Foyer]

I’ll be joining fellow authors Jim Smiley and Christine Morgan in the Foyer reading an excerpt from The Bell Forging Cycle, Book I: The Stars Were Right.


SUNDAY:

10:00 am – 10:45 am — Author Signing [Bellmont B]

Me and the fourteen other authors attending the convention are going to be hanging out in Bellmont B signing our books.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm — Creating A Mythos Panel [Bellmont B]

Join me and names like: Leslie S. KlingerRoss E. Lockhart, Wilum H. PugmireJustin Steele, and Sean Hoade as we discuss the pluses and minuses of working within a mythos. Full description below:

“One of the mainstays of Lovecraft’s legacy has long been the Mythos he created. Many authors, both before and after Lovecraft, have created a Mythos of their own: Pugmire’s Sesqua Valley, Chambers’s King in Yellow stories, Barron’s Old Leech universe, Dunsany’s Pegana, Clark Ashton Smith’s Hyperborea. Some have outgrown their creators and have opened their doors to many authors to contribute. What is the allure of a Mythos? What are the benefits of writing in one? What are the pitfalls?”

12:00 pm – 4:00 pm — Hanging out in The Mall of Cthulhu [Bellmont C]

After the panel I’ll be found back by my table in the Dealers Room until the end of the convention at 4:00pm.


So there’s my schedule. This weekend my lovely wife, Kari-Lise, will be joining me, so anytime I’m not in the dealer room she’ll be at my table.

Really looking forward to meeting folks and discussing Lovecraft, Mythos, the Territories, weird fiction, and anything else that comes up! I can’t wait, see you at the convention!

Let’s Do A Live Reading

Let’s Do A Live Reading

So, my good friend Jake had an idea: with the arrival of Periscope people can stream anything to the world. So why not use this awesome new technology to do a live reading of one of my books for the whole internet. Brilliant, right? So, it’s going to happen and best of all it’s going to happen this weekend. I am going to do a reading of the Prologue of The Stars Were Right and you can tune in.

How can you tune in? Well there’s two ways:

  1. If you have an iPhone all you need to do is download Periscope, create an account, follow me (I am @KMAlexander) and then this weekend when I go to do my reading you’ll be notified and you can view my stream directly from your phone. It’s as simple as that.
  2. Don’t have a smartphone or using an Android phone? Fret not, you can still watch. Just follow me on Twitter and when my stream goes live Periscope will automagically tweet and you be able to tune in live from the web.

The plan is to do this on Saturday afternoon (PST). I’ll make another blog post before I begin. So keep an eye out. The way Periscope works I won’t see any questions while I read, but I’ll be happy to take any questions after. If Saturday works out, I’ll do it again on Sunday.

Writing this out is getting me all excited. I’m really looking forward to this, it sounds like it’ll be fun. Plus, it’ll be good practice for my reading at CthulhuCon next weekend. So follow along… readings are coming.