Tag Archives: K. M. Alexander

Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle

Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.


Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle
Raunch Review: The Bell Forging Cycle
The Author: K. M. Alexander
Work in Question: The Bell Forging Cycle
The Profanity: “By the Firsts”

Sometimes you need to taste your own medicine, and here I am tasting mine. I’m proud of the strange and wonderful world of the Territories. I think it’s different and unique and yet in exploring those differences, it remains approachable. Although I believe my worldbuilding is excellent, I sometimes find myself wishing I had pushed it a bit further.

I feel this particularly in regards to language, and especially with the declarative: “By the Firsts.” It’s a fairly standard pseudo-oath and is used throughout the series. But it lacks the punch it should have—the Firsts, within the context of the story, have faded into myth and legend. The few who have transcended into deity status aren’t considered Firsts by the time the book rolls around. The word itself is also quite common, “firsts” holds no sacred place in the lexicon. So, it fails at being faux-blasphemous. (I’m not doing so well.)

If anything, the phrase ranks as a minced oath. This isn’t uncommon in language drift—we see it all the time as language evolves. Take “by Jove”—“pro Iovem,” in Latin—it means “By Jupiter,” but by the time it caught on Jupiter was myth. The phrase had long ceased being blasphemous. For minced oaths to truly work, the original intent needs to be hidden, often by layers. While “by the First,” is intended to follow a similar cadence, it lacks the obscurity that makes minced oaths so prevalent.

So, I earn some points with the minced roots. But overall it’s a low score for me. It’s always fun and enlightening to look at your own work, and being able to discuss successes and failures is essential for any growth. I would have done much better had I picked “Carter’s cross.” A lot more to unpack there. Perhaps for another time.

Score: Half Swear (2.5)

🤬 Previous Raunch Reviews


Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made-up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.


The 2015 Lovecraftian-Inspired Gift Guide

The 2015 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide

Last year I assembled a fun little list of Lovecraftian gift ideas for the holidays. It ended up being popular so I figured since the holiday season is upon us yet again I’d do it one more time! As before, if you’re a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos or have someone on your list who is, I figured it’d be helpful to put together a little gift guide linking to some of my favorite Lovecraftian merchandise from across the web.

Like before, I’ve organized the list by category and ordered them by price making it easy to browse. Have a favorite New Weird or mythos-themed item I left off? Leave a comment and let us know!


❅ Quick Jumps ❅

BooksMusicApparelGamesMiskatonic


[About the Art:] This year’s gift guide’s Featured Image comes from the artist Mark Helwig. Check out the full-color version on Deviant Art.


❅ BOOKS

Chapelwood by Cherie PriestChapelwood by Cherie Priest
$11.98 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
Last year I featured Maplecroft, the first in Cherie Priests New Mythos series, The Borden Dispatches. I’m pleased to say that book two is even better than the first. Borden finds herself assisting an old friend in the deep south investigating strange disappearances and an even stranger church.


Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs
$13.30 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
Part southern gothic and part Lovecraftian, John Hornor Jacobs debut novel from 2011 follows the story of muscle-for-hire Bull Ingram as he’s tasked with following the trail of the musician Ramblin’ John Hastur, who has been rumored to have sold his soul to the devil.


Red Litten WorldRed Litten World by K. M. Alexander
$15.00 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $4.61 (eBook)
In the third installment of my Bell Forging Cycle, Caravan Master cum Guardian Waldo Bell returns to the multileveled megalopolis of Lovat and finds himself thrust into a conflict that will lead him to the cities blood-soaked spires.


Cthulhu Fhtagn!Cthulhu Fhtagn! Anthology
$19.99 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $9.99 (eBook)
A fantastic anthology assembled by Ross Lockheart that happens to be one of the best Lovecraft-inspired collections to date. There’s a lot to love here. Cosmic horror tales from names like W. H. Pugmire, Laird Barron, Cameron Pierce, Wendy N. Wagner, Ann K. Schwader, and loads more.


The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft edited by Les Klinger
$27.78 + Free Shipping (Hardcover) $22.99 (eBook)
I’m keeping this on here from last year. This gorgeous coffee table book annotated by Les Klinger is now the definitive collection of Lovecraft’s best work. If you have a fan on your list or wanted to spend a little bit of time with Lovecraft’s works, this is the book to get.


Not finding a book you like? Check out last year’s list →


❆ MUSIC

 Azathoth by Cryo Chamber CollaborationAzathoth by Cryo Chamber Collaboration
$9.00 (Digital Download) $20.00 + Shipping (CD)
Once again the dark-ambient label Cryo Chamber has created another collaboration named after one of Lovecraft’s monsters. This set is themed around the Azathoth, the outer god, and the album has a tone of ancient otherworldliness drenched with vast echoes, terrifyingly wonderful.


The Curious Sea Shanties of Innsmouth, Mass.The Curious Sea Shanties of Innsmouth, Mass.
$15.00 (Digital Download or CD) + Shipping (CD)
What do the sailors of Innsmouth, Massachesues sing while out on their boats? You’d be surprised. In this collection, the Miskatonic Connolly Memorial Men’s Chorus explores the Innsmouth variants of classic shanties. The tunes might be familiar but the lyrics… the lyrics are very different.


Dark Adventure Radio TheaterDark Adventure Radio Theater
$12.00 (Single Downloads) – $200 (Full Collections) + Shipping
Dramatizations of H. P. Lovecraft’s words done radio-theater style. The quality is fantastic, and I highly encourage getting the CDs that include the props as well. Makes it all the more fun to follow along with the story.


Not finding the right music? Check out last year’s list →


❅ APPAREL

Bell Caravan Patch Now AvailableBell Caravans Patch
$5.00 + Shipping (Order by Dec. 11th for Christmas Delivery.)
This beautiful 3″ patch, designed by illustrator Sean Cumiskey, is the perfect way of declaring your loyalty to your beloved caravan master. Put it on your backpack, a tote, or display it on the sleeve of your jacket, just make sure the world knows who you roll with.


Cthulhu BandanaCthulhu Bandanna
$10.00 + Shipping
Bandanas are handy, but why not have one that is slightly different from the rest. Featuring an original border design that incorporates Cthulhu, Nightgaunts, The Hounds of Tindalos, and more! Available in black, green, red, teal, and hot pink.


Cthulhu Varsity JacketCthulhu Varsity Jacket
$90.00 + Shipping
When a tee shirt just isn’t enough and you need to take your love of the mythos to the next level. Features a wool body and leather sleeves with an embroidered HP on the chest and a large Cthulhu on the back.


Looking for something else? Check out last year’s selection →


❆ GAMES

The Last Door: Season 2 Collector EditionThe Last Door: Season 2 – Collector’s Edition
$7.99 (Digital Download) FREE (In-Browser)
I loved Season 1 of this old school adventure game and Season 2 was just as gripping. Heavily influenced by turn-of-the-century horror and the writing of H.P. Lovecraft, The Last Door: Season 2 places you at the center of a mysterious conspiracy of darkness and terror.


Sunless SeaThe Sunless Sea
$18.99 (Digital Download)
After playing and loving Failbetter Games’ browser game Fallen London, I immediately ran out and picked this up from Steam. One of the few games I have spent any time with this year. The tone and music are wonderful, the locations and exploration superb. What will you find the in vast oceans of the Unterzee?


Eldritch HorrorEldritch Horror
$43.64 + Free Shipping
In this cooperative board game (similar to Pandemic), you and your fellow investigators travel the globe in an attempt to thwart the plans of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones while trying to stay sane in the process.


None of these games sounding interesting? Here’s last year’s list →


❅ MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY

Miskatonic University StickerMiskatonic University Sticker
$3.50 + Shipping
With these handy stickers you can make anything in your home an official product of the Miskatonic University. Slap ’em on a notebook or a mug or a water bottle. It’s a handy (and cheap) was to show your pride in your school.


Miskatonic University Lapel PinMiskatonic University Alumni lapel pin
$10.00 + Shipping
An elegant little lapel pin features a purple logo of Miskatonic University. A nice subtle way to confuse your coworkers as well as show your alumni allegiance to the Ivy League school that never was. Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; Ex Luce Ad Tenebras.


http://store.cthulhulives.org/collections/apparel/products/miskatonic-antarctic-expedition-sweatshirtMiskatonic Antarctic Expedition Sweatshirt
$55.00 + Shipping
The “official” gear from Professor Lake’s ill-fated 1931 Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition. Features the logo of the MU Biology Dept. on the front and the Expedition logo on back. Comes in a combo ($72 + Shipping) with the sweatshirt, a radio play, and a personalized letter from Professor Dyer.


No Miskatonic related items you wanted? Here was last year’s list →


❅ Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! ❅

Gaze into my eyes…

Over the weekend I was blown away when my talented friend Dave Bastian posted an amazing portrait of me he created. I had to share it here:

K. M. Alexander by Dave Bastian

See what I mean!? Part magician, part count, part The Phantom of the Opera, all amazing. Not going to lie, I think Dave might be onto something, I’m now seriously inspired to start dressing like this every day.

You can see more of Dave’s amazing portraits on his instagram feed (there’s a ton more) or check out more of his work at his website: http://davebastian.com. Thank you so much Dave! I’m so flattered by this, didn’t expect it at all.

The Stars Were Right is available on Nook!

The Stars Were Right on Nook

I am pleased to announce that “The Stars Were Right” is finally available on Nook. It’s been a slog, but the formatting kinks are now worked out and it’s at a place where I feel comfortable releasing it! Jeeze! Finally!

Get “The Stars Were Right” for your Nook!

I hope you all enjoys the book! Don’t forget to add “The Stars Were Right” to your Goodreads profile, and when you’re done let me know what you think!