Tag Archives: h.p. lovecraft

Cthulhu Mythos 101

Cthulhu Mythos 101

If you’re looking for a decent primer on H.P. Lovecraft’s work and the Cthulhu mythos in general, this video from TedEd and author Silvia Moreno-García is a solid start. It’s surface level—but an easy entry into the world of cosmic horror and not a bad way to spend five minutes.

If you enjoyed that and now want a deeper dive into the man and the mythos—tragedy and all. I highly recommend checking out Frank H. Woodward’s 2008 documentary Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown. It’s fantastic and quite a bit longer. Plus it features a ton of interviews from a variety of authors and artists working in the subgenre.

I’d personally love to see a fresh take on the documentary going into 2020. While Fear isn’t that old—just over ten years—so many more amazing and talented creators have spent time in cosmic horror and added so much over the last decade. Today, the genre as a whole is stronger than it’s ever been and I think their take on the lore and legends would be most welcome.


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My Top Five Posts of 2018

My Top Five Posts of 2018

The year is coming to an end in a few weeks, and in these twilight days of 2018, I’m one to reflect on the things I’ve accomplished. Last year, I revisited my top five posts of 2017, and I thought it’d be interesting to do that again this year.

This has been a banner year for my blog—I’ve seen a lot more traffic than I ever have before, which is always exciting. After all, I’ve wanted to make this site my primary focus rather than spreading bits and pieces of myself all over social media. My hope is that this becomes a place where readers can find more than just generic author-bloggy stuff but also interesting content. Based on my top posts, I think I’m finding that balance. So, let’s see what resonated, we’ll start at number five and work our way to number one.


Eight Writing Tips from Eight Different Writers5. Eight Writing Tips from Eight Different Writers

Writers are often asked to offer up their personal “rules” for writing, and unless you’re Jonathan Franzen, other authors (or aspiring authors) love to share and discuss their thoughts. I noticed a correlation between the number eight and decided to riff off that—and then things went out of control. There is good advice to be had here from masters in the field, glean from it what you can.


Mapping Resources for Authors4. Mapping Resources for Authors (and GMs)

My background is in graphic design, and as a reader, a good map has always drawn me in—many fantasy authors (and game masters) need maps for their various projects, and they don’t have the skill set to render them in a useful way. My hope with this post was to deliver a handy guide for the more artistically challenged authors (or GMs) by exploring the map creation software and sites currently available.


Your Fav is Problematic—That's Okay3. Your Fave is Problematic—That’s Okay

If there is one post I am most proud of this year, it’s this one—for a long time I thought it’d be number one. Consider this my manifesto. An appeal for the wicked, as it were. I want you to write fiction that makes people uncomfortable. Give us perspectives outside our echo chambers. Make us care. Let our hearts be in conflict.


The 2018 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide2. The 2018 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

As always the internet loves a good gift guide. For the fifth straight year, my Lovecraftian gift guide has attracted all manner of visitors who are eager to see what strange and unusual items I’ve discovered over the year. This year’s list is no different. There’s a ton of great gifts, and there is still time to get your orders in on many of these products.


That brings us to number one… the most prominent post of 2018 was…


H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry1. H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

I’ll be honest, this one took me by surprise. For a while now, during the holiday season, I’ve often shared Lovecraft’s weird Christmas poems, but this rarity quickly took off, in a single day it surpassed all other posts for the year. That’s the weird internet for you. Go figure.


So, there are the top five posts decided by you, the reader! I’m disappointed that none of my Raunch Review series made the top five, but I still have high hopes for those posts. I firmly believe they’ll eventually find their audience and I’ll get some crazy email from someone adamantly disagreeing with my judgments.

Thank you to all my readers who read, comment, and share the stuff I post on I Make Stories. Sharing my posts on your blogs and social media accounts makes a difference. It means a lot to see your excitement and that excitement makes it all worthwhile. With your help, you made 2018 the best year ever, and I’m excited to see what 2019 holds.

❄️ 💀 ❄️


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 →

H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

H.P. Lovecraft Really Liked Sending Christmas Poetry

Hey, it’s December 2nd, how’d that happen? For a while now, I’ve taken the holiday season as an opportunity to share some of Lovecraft’s more seasonal, often strange, and always festive poetry. I even put a handy guide together last year. Many of these poems are filled with inside jokes and were written for specific individuals (and sometimes cats.)

But there was one poem that, until recently, I hadn’t been able to track down. Lovecraft’s 1918 verse: To the A.H.S.P.C., on Receipt of the Christmas Pippinhplovecraft.com, my go-to respiratory didn’t have it, and it wasn’t in any of the books in my collections. After some searching, I finally found a copy on the Hungarian site hplovecraft.hu and I present it here as written.


 To the A.H.S.P.C., on Receipt
of the Christmas Pippin

Like some astronomer, whose dazzled gaze
Looks for a star, but finds the moon’s bright rays,
The carping critick trembles with surprise
As the new Pippin greets his awestruck eyes!
Precocious train, whose infant genius glows
In faultless verse and Addisonian prose;
Whose countless talents scintillate and shine
Thro’ polish’d paragraph and lustrous line;
What ag’d assemblage can compare with you?—
Your gifts so many, yet your years so few!
High o’er the band euphonious HARPER tow’rs,
Blest with a poet’s and a cynic’s pow’rs;
Who can with equal skill and vigour shew
A press club’s virtues, and November’s snow,
And hold with majesty the office of a MOE.
Not less in altitude, nor less in wit,
See mighty GALPIN on his dais sit;
Swiftest of bards, whose hasting pen can trace
Impromptu numbers—foremost in the race!
From him we turn to THAYER—refulgent star—
(Tho’ inter nos methinks we turn not far:)
Experience gleams thro’ each pathetic verse—
O leer ye not—some day you’ll suffer worse!
But see!—above the present’s tawdry theme
Soars a fleet WING, with high auspicious dream;
Prophetic singer! ere thy lines are done,
Rejoicing Freedom views the vanquish’d Hun!
All hail, FRANCISCO, who canst rhyme so well
Of the once-potent autocrat of h***:
Proud Lucifer a rival King must own,
Who keeps his evil, tho’ he lose his throne!
Now comes the prose, but sure, the change is slight
When we behold YEED’S ethereal flight:
With airy grace she sails celestial deeps,
And finds the wealth that pleasing Fancy keeps.
More fancy shines as we admiring look
At Santa’s tale—Pieria’s undamm’d brook;
With tranquil tide the stream melodious flows,
And poesy beams thro’ the faultless prose.
The page now blazes with collegiate fire,
As M. PATRICIA smites the sounding lyre;
In classic halls a virtuous phantom see,
To mould the lives of heroes soon to be!
Christmas again! This time a RYAN’S quill
Describes the w. k. season of good will;
Each reader praises, as his eyes behold
A noble theme, and classic style, unroll’d.
Such are the parts—what language can we find
To sing the merits of the whole combin’d?
Superlatives in vain the critick tries
In praise of aught so witty and so wise
Old age, with friendly grandpaternal glance,
Surveys each prodigy in swift advance:
If in the youthful mind such art appears,
What heights of glory wait your riper years?


As far as Lovecraftian holiday verse goes, it’s not my favorite (that honor goes to Yule Horror.) I have no idea why “hell” is censored when he uses it freely in other work. (Call of Cthulhu comes to mind, among others.) Maybe the AHSPC was more prudish?

For those wondering: a “pippin” is a type of apple, not a 90s NBA star. I’m guessing the capitalized words are names calling out members of the AHSPC. Galpin shows up in other works as well (and was reportedly the inspiration for Old Bugs.) Lovecraft didn’t stop with this poem, he also wrote a similar one thanking the AHSPC for the May Pippin. Because of course.

All this and much much more is collected in S. T. Joshi’s The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft so if you’re hankering for more of Lovecraft’s weird verse, it’s a solid collection and a good place to start (and end actually, it has everything.)


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 →

Sing us a song, you're the Lovecraft Man... sing us a song tonight!

Nemesis & Piano Man

Last week on Twitter, Captain Video noticed that Lovecraft’s beloved poem, Nemesis has the same meter as Billy Joel’s Piano Man. Well, it didn’t take long for the internet to respond and the result was as charming as you’d imagine. You can listen to Julian Velard’s version below or over on YouTube.

This will come as no shock, but I find this absolutely brilliant. Lucky for all of us, it wasn’t the only rendition. The blog Birth. Movies. Death. put together a post sharing several other variations, you can check it out here.

Now, all we need is someone to write a chorus. I’m no poet, and I’m a lousy songwriter, but here’s my amateur attempt.


Spin us a tale, you’re the Lovecraft man
Spin us a tale tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a horror story
And you’ve got us feelin’ a fright


💀 🦑 💀

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 →

H.P. Lovecraft and his pumpkin pal

H.P. Lovecraft’s Halloween Poem

When he wasn’t writing cosmic horror about indescribable beings, H.P. Lovecraft considered himself a poet. I’ve mentioned his Christmas poetry in the past, and since today is Halloween, I thought it’d be fun to take a gander at another holiday poem.

Hallowe’en in a Suburb was originally published as In A Suburb in The National Amateur in March of 1926. The poem was later renamed. I spent some time researching why the name was changed, but I couldn’t find an answer. The poem stands on its own without the Halloween association, but there is a definite fall/harvest feel with reflection on sheaves and chill winds. Perhaps it was marketing?


Hallowe’en in a Suburb

The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
Never shone in the sunset’s gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
Where the rivers of madness stream
Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves thro’ the rows of sheaves
In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral pow’r
Spreads sleep o’er the cosmic throne
And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
Sprung out of the tomb’s black maw
To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
Shall some day be with the rest,
And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
Of horror and death are penn’d,
For the hounds of Time to rend.


It’s not half bad as far as creep poetry goes, and it’s certainly better than his cat-centric silly Christmas poetry. The very talented Andrew Lehman cut a record for Cadabra Records where he reads several of Lovecraft’s poems including this one. The record doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but you can listen to Hallowe’en in a Suburb and The Cats below.


Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone! Remember that today is the last day to get FREE SHIPPING on any signed paperbacks from my store. Just use the code BFCMONTH on checkout. You can see all the details in this post.


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 →