Tag Archives: lovecraft

I’m On Horror Brew

Last week I was lucky enough to join Matt and Cat from Horror Brew, one of my favorite horror-themed podcasts for Episode Thirteen! (Yeah, creepy thirteen! Kismet right?) I had a great time and was happy to be apart of the show. We talked about my books and the world of the Bell Forging Cycle. After that we delve into the weird west and then talked about horror in general; everything from Stephen King’s The Mist to Netflix’s Hemlock Grove. Give it a listen. I’ve embedded it below, so you can listen here or click one of the links and be sure to subscribe!


iTunes • Stitcher • PlayerFM • Libsyn


You can follow Matt and Cat on Facebook, Twitter, Letterboxd, and Instagram. Make sure you subscribe and leave them a review. They put out a great show and are a passionate voice for the horror community. If you’re in the Portland area, check out their weekly horror trivia night at Home, A Bar. It’s a good crowd, and there are usually great prizes. Speaking of…

Horror Brew + K.M. Alexander Giveaway

From now until July 17th you can enter to win a signed copy of my first Lovecraftian urban fantasy novel, The Stars Were Right and a Bell Caravans patch. (I’ll probably throw in some other swag as well.) Entering is super easy, and there are ways you can win bonus entries to better your chances for success. All it takes is a few clicks, enter today and tell your friends!

Enter Today →

The 2016 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide

The 2016 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide

It has started snowing on my blog, which means it’s time for my annual Lovecraft-themed gift guide! A big ol’ list of Lovecraftian items I’ve found throughout the year and gathering into one place. Here you can find gifts for the mythos-lover in your life or for yourself. There’s a lot of great stuff, something for all ages. Enjoy! (Thanks to those who sent in submissions!)

As 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 at the bottom and let everyone know!


❅ Quick Jumps ❅

BooksMusicApparelGamesHousewaresMiskatonic


[About the Art:] This year’s Featured Image was created by the artist Rebecca Kemp. Check out the full-color version on Deviant Art. You can see more of her work and shop her store on her website. (Some great Lovecraftian art there as well.)


❅ BOOKS

Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValleThe Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
$9.99 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $2.99 (eBook)
Jazz Age New York is a dangerous place for a man like Charles Thomas Tester. It gets even more dangerous after he runs a quick delivery job involve sorceresses and occult tomes. Written as a response to Lovecraft’s own, The Horror at Red Hook, LaVelle writes a novel of intrigue that is as engaging as it is subversive.


The Stars Were Right by K. M. AlexanderThe Stars Were Right by K. M. Alexander
$14.00 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $0.99 (eBook)
In celebration of the holidays, eBook copies of my first book, The Stars Were Right, are on sale everywhere for only 99¢! Join Caravan Master Waldo Bell as he tries to clear his name in the coastal megalopolis of Lovat. Mysteries and monsters, chases and cults, fights and food trucks, and a whole lot more.


bookcisforcthulhuC is for Cthulhu by Jason Ciaramella & Greg Murphy
$15.00 + Shipping (Board Book)
Kids need to learn their letters, so why not have them learn with this absolutely adorable alphabet book featuring the mythos from Lovecraft himself? Make sure you check out the C is for Cthulhu Coloring Book and other goodies as well.


Lovecraft Country by Matt RuffLovecraft Country by Matt Ruff
$15.99 + Free Shipping (Paperback) $7.99 (eBook)
A Lovecraftian horror set during the tumultuous period of Jim Crow America. The story follows Atticus Turner, his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and a childhood friend as they embark on a road trip to New England.


HPL's Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers by R.J. IvankovicHPL’s Call of Cthulhu for Beginning Readers by R.J. Ivankovic
$19.95 + Shipping (Hardcover)
What if Dr. Seuse told stories of ancient evils slumbering beneath the waves? In this adaptation of Lovecraft’s most famous work, The Call of Cthulhu, R.J. Ivankovic explores that very idea. Charmingly illustrated this is a must for any Lovecraftian fan.


bookscodexseraphinianusCodex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini
$91.99 + Free Shipping (Hardcover)
Not really weird fiction, but certainly weird. Last Christmas, Kari-Lise bought me this gorgeous art book, and I instantly fell in love. Imagining an encyclopedia of a strange and surreal world, Serafini asks questions about literacy (as of yet the book is unreadable) and the sharing of knowledge. It’s weird, hypnagogic, and absolutely beautiful.


Not finding a book you like? Check out one of the previous guides.
2014’s Books2015’s Books


❆ MUSIC

 The Shadow Out Of Tim by The Darkest of the Hillside ThicketsThe Shadow Out Of Tim by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
$10.00 CAD + Shipping
I don’t really know how to describe The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. On the surface, it’s surf-rocky alternative music, but it’s also a love letter to H.P. Lovecraft, cosmic horror, and weird fiction as a whole. This 2007 rock opera follows Dr. Timothy Vess descent into madness. It’s fun and real weird.


Shoggoth on the Roof Cast AlbumShoggoth on the Roof by HPLHS 
$15.00 + Shipping
What do you get when you mix one part H.P. Lovecraft mythos with one part Fiddler on the Roof? You get one of the strangest (and hilarious) cast albums available on the market. It’s funny, familiar, and perfect for musical fans in your life. Wait until you hear If I Were A Deep One.


Nyarlathotep by Cryo Chamber CollaborationNyarlathotep by Cryo Chamber Collaboration
$15.00 + Shipping
Dark ambient is my go-to music for when I work on the Bell Forging Cycle, and at the top of my list is the label Cryo Chamber. Once again, they have released a Lovecraftian themed soundscape album. This time influenced by chaos himself. It’s good stuff, haunting and mysterious.


Not finding any music that interests you? Check out one of the previous guides.
2014’s Music • 2015’s Music


❅ APPAREL

Bell Caravan Patch Now Available

Bell Caravans Patch
$5.00 + Shipping (Order by Dec. 9th 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.


Elder Sign Lapel PinElder Sign Lapel Pin
$10.00 + Shipping
This protective and yet incredibly classy lapel pin comes from Dagon Industries and is fancy enough for cocktail parties, investigative archeology, or even on fancy boat trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you do it in style.


Cthulhu Cardigan
$79.99 + Shipping
It’s said, that in his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming. So why not don a fancy cardigan until he wakes up? Perfect for your holiday parties or for reading ancient and leather bound books while you smoke a pipe. Whatever floats your boat, or… yacht, I suppose.


Not finding any apparel you like? Check out one of the previous guides.
2014’s Apparel • 2015’s Apparel


❆ GAMES

CrawlCrawl
$9.99 on Steam
In this delightful (and violent) dungeon crawl, you take on the role of the hero while your friends try to best you playing as a variety of horrific Lovecraftian monsters. A fresh take on a classic game Crawl is intense, hilarious, and loads of fun for groups.


NecronomicardsNecronomicards
$25.00 + Tax and Shipping
In this competitive card game for 2-4 players, you work to summon Lovecraftian monsters and other creatures from myth and legend and pitch them against your opponent. The art is incredible, and the gameplay is fun and fast-paced.


A Study in Emerald BoardgameA Study in Emerald
$65.00 + Free Shipping (Price can vary)
Based on the Neil Gaiman short story of the same name. There’s a secret war brewing. In this game, players build decks and either work with the Restorationist towards freeing humanity from the Old One’s reign or siding with the Loyalists and fighting to preserve the kingdom.


Mansions of Madness 2nd EditionMansions of Madness 2nd Edition
$150.00 + Free Shipping (Prices can vary.)
The newest version of my favorite boardgame of all time removed the work of the Keeper and replaces their role with an app. The benefits are immense, games can be saved, set up time is significantly lessened, and the app handles a lot of the rules. A must for fans of the original.


Not finding a game you like? Check out one of the previous guides.
2014’s Games • 2015’s Games


❅ HOUSEWARES (New!)

Funko Cthulhu FigureFunko Cthulhu Figure
$10.00 + Free Shipping
The most adorable little horror you’ve ever seen. Funko’s stylistic take on the Great Old One is available for locations other than the sunken city of R’lyah. Also comes in an exclusive glow-in-the-dark version as well. Terror has never been so cute.


Cthulhu Tree TopperCthulhu Tree Topper
$19.99 + Shipping
I mean, this is a Christmas gift list after all, so we have to include something festive, right? I think it’s a rule. Why not adorn your Christmas tree with this scary Cthulhu tree topper! It’s a nice way to add a little more terror to your holidays. Angels are so passé.


Squishable CthulhuSquishable Cthulhu
$42.00 + Shipping
It’s winter in the northern hemisphere, and during the cooler months it’s always nice to cozy up to a pal. Especially if that pal happens to be a plushie version of everyone’s favorite Great Old One. Adorable and enormous (15″) he’s perfect for both companionship and cuddles.


Cthulhu SteinCthulhu Stein
$70.00 + Shipping
Steins are the cool way to store beverages. Cthulhu steins are even cooler. Enjoy not only your delicious drink of choice (a nice oatmeal stout is fitting for this time of year) but the gorgeous relief work on the side of this stein. Madness-inducing and yet so delicious.


Housewares is a new section this year, so I don’t have any links to previous years. However, I am planning on making this a regular category going forward.


❅ MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY

Miskatonic University Parking PermitMiskatonic University Parking Permit
$3.00 + Shipping
It has been said that campus security is notorious for cracking down on illegal parking. So why spend all your time worrying? Get yourself a student parking permit! Besides, you have more important things to fret about, non-Euclidean geometry isn’t going to study itself.


Miskatonic Pin CollectionMiskatonic University Pin Collection
$6.49 + $2.25 Shipping
This fun little set of four 1″ pins commemorates all manner of Miskatonic-centric events that never happened, from the ill-fated Antarctic expedition to class and alumni reunions. Great little stocking stuffer for those Miskatonic fans in your life.


Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition KitMiskatonic University Antarctic Expedition Kit
$30.00 + Shipping
This wonderful little prop set comes with all manner of goodies recovered from the doomed Antarctic expedition, a field journal, a star stone, a photo taken by Professor Dyer, a page from Professor Lake’s notes, and more! It’s a great little collection.


Not finding any Miskatonic stuff you like? Check out one of the previous guides.
2014’s Miskatonic Goodies • 2015’s Miskatonic Goodies


❅ Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! ❅
100 Years of Cosmic Horror

It’s Cosmic Horror’s 100th Birthday

In November of 1916, Howard Phillips Lovecraft published his first short story, The Alchemist, in the United Amateur Press Association. While his commercial work would come later, there is an argument to be made that November should be considered the birth month of cosmic horror as a genre.

Lovecraft wasn’t the first to write weird fiction; even Lovecraft had his influences. Writers like Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Lord Dunsany, Robert Chambers, and Edgar Allen Poe were all writing of the strange and macabre before ol’ Howie. Most cosmic horror fans will acknowledge their impact, but I think we’d all agree that it was Lovecraft’s writing that became the definitive work of the genre. Lovecraft’s mythos has gone on to influence a myriad of people; it was his stories that encouraged others to delve into writing and working within the genre. His writing helped forge the genre into the beast it is today.

In celebration, I figured it’d be fun to explore the current universe of cosmic horror and look at some of my primary sources for Lovecraftian fiction on the market today. This will be just a tiny sample of the ever expanding universe of weird fiction. If you have recommendations of your own, leave a comment!

The Bell Forging CycleThe Bell Forging Cycle

Why not start with my books? (Buy ’em here.) Don your keff, lace up your boots, and enter my dystopian genre-bending vision of the Territories. A world where humanity is no longer alone and strange creatures inhabit vast multi-leveled megalopolises built upon the backs of drowned cities. A place of violence, where killers stalk narrow streets, and shadowy cults work ancient rituals to awaken forgotten elder gods. Standing in their way is one soul, a road-weary caravan master armed with an antique revolver, a droll wit, and a hardened resolve. Read an excerpt at any of the links below.

The Stars Were Right • Old Broken Road • Red Litten World

Cosmic Horror Small PressCosmic Horror Small Presses

Weird fiction is still alive and well, recently Penguin re-released a limited edition paperback, and a quick search for “Lovecraft” will usher forth all sorts of collections. However, some of the most exciting work in cosmic horror can be found among the small presses.

  • Word Horde

    Publisher of original novels, substantial collections, and some great anthologies, Word Horde, is one of my favorite small presses. The quality of their end product is great, Ross Lockhart and the team there does an excellent job in seeking out new talent and releasing it into the world.

  • Lovecraft eZine Press

    Born from one of the titans of the weird fiction community, the Lovecraft eZine, this cosmic horror press publishes modern mythos and releases some solid anthologies.  Very much worth checking out.

  • Dark Regions Press

    Specializing in horror and dark fiction since 1985, this indie publishing house serves up all manners of terrors from some fairly big names. If you want something collectible, make sure to check out their special hardcover editions.

  • Hippocampus Press

    This small press focuses on collected works from cosmic horrors greats, men like Ramsey Campbell, Lovecraft himself and Clark Ashton Smith. They also delve into nonfiction as well, featuring work from scholars like S. T. Joshi.

Cosmic Horror PodcastsCosmic Horror Podcasts

Some of my favorite podcasts focusing on Lovecraft and cosmic horror.

  • Miskatonic Musings

    While Lovecraftian fiction is often at the center of discussion, this podcast covers a wide variety of horror in general as well as other strange and often weird tangents.

  • People’s Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos

    This podcasts focuses on deeper dives into specific categories within the Cthulhu Mythos and cosmic horror.

  • Northwest Horror

    While not specific to Lovecraftian literature, the crew at NWH does excellent work exploring the ever expanding world of horror. (They also occasionally host a trivia night in Portland, OR. So if you’re ever in the area, check ’em out.)

  • The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast

    Chris and Chad take on a new story each week and get into the nitty gritty details. They also have some excellent readings available on their site.

  • The Black Tapes

    This serialized docu-drama follows Alex Reagan and Dr. Strand as they investigate a series of strange recordings, the titular Black Tapes.

  • Limetown

    Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women, and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. What happened to Limetown?

Other Cosmic Horror NovelistsCosmic Horror Novelists

This list could get long, so I will keep it to novelists of whom I have read and who’s books I’ve enjoyed. If there’s someone I missed (highly likely) or a writer that you’d like to recommend (also highly likely,) leave a comment! Links attached to the author’s name will go to their website or blog; book links will go to Amazon. (But you should buy from your local indie shop.) Also, don’t forget to leave a review!


This has been just a tiny sampling of the world of cosmic horror as it exists today. The genre hasn’t gone away. If anything, we see its influence grow more and more in all forms of popular culture. It has reached beyond books and into movies, table-top games, toys, comic books, television shows, and video games. The fundamental terror brought by the fear of the unknown and the creatures that lurk in spaces beyond is something that draws readers even today. So join me in wishing Cosmic Horror a lovely one-hundredth birthday! It’s been a great one hundred years, and here’s to a hundred more!

Cheers!


Did I miss something? Have a favorite writer, podcast, or small press house that I missed?Leave a comment and let us know!

#My5: The Bell Forging Cycle

Welcome to #My5, a project that I’ve started, with a few of my fellow authors, across the internet. In this and other posts, we’re going to delve into five things that had influenced our current projects: it could be five people, five books, five songs, five comics or a mixture of some or all—you never know. Why five? It’s an arbitrary limitation, but it’s digestible and prevents these posts from running away from us. If you’re an author and you’re interested in joining us, you can read the introduction post or check out the info at the bottom of this post. So, without further ado, here’s #My 5: The Bell Forging Cycle.


Inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere, and it’s different for each writer. For me, there are key instances that trigger something in my mind that inspired me to create the world of the Territories.

I tend to pitch The Bell Forging Cycle as “Lovecraftian Urban Fantasy,” which is a relatively narrow descriptive. In my article for Fantasy Book Critic, I described the series as a “dark cyberpunk post-post-apocalyptic dystopian weird western cosmic horror urban fantasy adventure,” which, yeah, was a mouthful. Instead of explaining how all that works, I figured it’d be fun to use #My5 in a way that lets me share how all of those pieces come together.


Five Influences, #1 - The Lovecraft Mythos1. The Lovecraft Mythos

This is the obvious one, but it’s important enough that I need to mention it first. I didn’t start reading H.P. Lovecraft until I was in my early twenties and attending college. While Cthulhu, Azathoth, Yog-Sothoth were on my mind, it wasn’t until a conversation in 2007 with my friend, Josh Montreuil, that I had the idea of mixing the mythos with a story like the one I wanted to write.

Longtime readers of the Lovecraftian mythos can see the signs in the world. The books are set in a world rebuilt after Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones returned, caused an apocalypse, and once again faded into myth. Their influence has a fundamental impact on the world. Landmasses have been reshaped, and humanity is no longer alone; exotic species lifted from the mythos now inhabit the world alongside us. Dark cults from stories like The Call of Cthulhu, The Haunter of the Dark, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth have risen to become large organized religions. While a knowledge of the mythos isn’t necessary to enjoy the books, there’s no denying that Lovecraft’s influence is scattered through everything.


Kowloon Walled City2. Kowloon Walled City

It’s probably no secret that I’m a cyberpunk fan. Books like William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Neil Stephenson’s Snowcrash, and movies like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner are seminal works in my life. Cities of cement and chrome, coupled with the compression of humanity, were a draw for me. In each of those worlds were millions of stories. So, when I discovered a real world example of those strange, stacked cyberpunk cities, I was fascinated.

Kowloon was a densely populated neighborhood that existed in Hong Kong during the middle of the 20th-century. Thirty-three thousand people lived within 6.4 acres of space stacked atop each other up to a height of 140 ft. The result of this mass was an isolated, multileveled community, filled with all manner of individuals, organizations, businesses, schools, and unique cultures. (Check out this fascinating cross section map or this detailed illustration to see how dense it was.) Kowloon’s existence became the spark that eventually became Lovat. It was the real-life example that triggered my concept of the vast megalopolis by the sea.


Five Influences, #3 - The Dark Tower3. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower

Stephen King’s opus is an early forerunner of genre mixing; an intense blend of western tropes, fantasy locations, and science-fiction problems, mixed with a post-apocalyptic road story starring gunslingers. I started reading the series in high school and quickly devoured what I could until it finally ended in 2004. Up until The Dark Tower series, most of the sci-fi and fantasy I read was fairly conventional.

Seeing this strange new world presented in such a way opened my eyes to what fiction could become. I can still picture walking with the Ka-Tet of Nineteen throughout Mid and Endworld. There is so much to love. The Lobstrosities, Shardik, Blaine the Mono, the city of Lud, the plains of Mejis, the Wolves of Thunderclap, and Devar-Toi are all vivid in my mind, and I continually find myself revisiting the series to this day.

And, if you’re wondering, I absolutely remember the face of my father.


Five Influences, #4 - Bas-Lag

4. China Miéville’s Bas-Lag

I love worldbuilding; I love seeding the potential of new locations and stories throughout prose. If it was King who showed me my first glimpses of weird fiction, China Miéville refined it. Perdido Street Station constructed a world that proved to me that fantasy didn’t have to be elves and dwarves, hobbits and men, orcs and dragons.

His Bas-Lag series—my favorite of which is The Scar—takes those ideas to a whole new level. Strange species crawl through Mieville’s books: bug-headed women, vampires, half-machine hybrids, sentient cacti, tiny gargoyles, disembodied hand-shaped parasites, scabmettlers—the human-like creatures who’s blood congeals to the point that it can become a sort of armor—and that’s just the start. That same approach is applied to everything from governmental structure to economics. Each book opens up new lands and strange new species, and throughout it all, Mieville does it right. He mixes and blends and creates a profound concoction that still stick with me.


Five Influences, #5 - Hellblazer5. HellBlazer (In particular M. R. Carey’s run)

One of the granddaddies of urban fantasy, the Vertigo comic series, follows the magician for hire, John Constantine as he drinks and smokes his way through England, America, Hell, and all parts in between. There is something about his wisecracking ways and indifferent attitude that I love. Constantine is relatable; he isn’t some all-powerful superhero; he isn’t some wealthy playboy; he is a working class stiff who is more clever than good and more determined than heroic.

Constantine is relatable. He is Walter White, a man doing bad things for good reasons. While Waldo Bell isn’t Constantine, there is a similarity between the characters. Both are dogged and driven men who would stop at nothing and go to any lengths to defeat what they see as evil. Heroes don’t always need to be golden paragons of humanity. They can and should be flawed.


So those are #My5, my collection of properties that influenced The Bell Forging Cycle. Each has had a profound impact on me creatively. You can check out my series at bellforgingcycle.com or hit up any of the specific books at the links below to read excerpts and learn more about the world of the Territories.

The Stars Were Right – Old Broken Road – Red Litten World

I’m not alone in collecting #My5! Other authors have joined me and written their #My5. You can find their articles by following the links below. Make sure to look for links at the bottom of their posts as well.


Are you a published (indie or traditional) author who is interested in joining in the #My5 fun? Write your article following the format above (remember, the limit is five), link to your work and others’ posts, and shoot me an email at hello at kmalexander.com, and I’ll add you to the list above and the official #My5 page! You can download the #My5 logo at any of the links below.

Download the #My5 Logo600×600 PNGs: White | Black
1200×1200 PNGs: White | Black
(Vector version available upon request.)

Gift The Bell Forging Cycle this Christmas!

This Christmas, Send ’em to the Territories

We’re now past the date where I can ship signed copies and guarantee their delivery by Christmas. (Well, for a reasonable price.) However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t gift my books to your friends or family. Now is the perfect time to send them to the strange and mysterious world of the Territories. I mean, who doesn’t love action, adventure, murder, cults, and weird monsters? Particularly during the holidays! Plus, most booksellers ship quickly and usually for free. Any of the following links will take you right to listings of my books:

If you’re like me and want to support your local book shop (which you should) just ask and see if they have my books in stock. If they don’t they can usually order them in for you in a few days. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

And… while they’re not as much fun to gift, you can always give digital copies. I have DRM-free eBooks available through my store. Plus you can buy ebook versions from any of the major platforms: Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and Google Play. (The current trilogy is available for under $15 for all three books.)

Finally, make sure you check out my Lovecraft-inspired gift guide for other Lovecraftian gift ideas, it’s full of books, games, music, and lots more fun stuff.

William T. Riker shares your sadness about the lack of a new Friday Link Pack tomorrow.

There Will Be No Friday Link Pack Tomorrow

Wanted to make a quick post letting you know that there won’t be a Friday Link Pack tomorrow. [Sad trombone.] I’m the best man at a friend’s wedding and will be away from the internet. I do have a great quote queued for tomorrow, but no time to gather the links for a proper Pack. If you’re looking for some links for your Friday, why not check out some of these previous Link Packs:


  • Friday Link Pack 09/19/2014
    Some great links here. Confronting Lovecraft’s racism, working with beta readers, old maps online, the work of Sergey Kolesov, every tree in the United States, and famous paintings of Jacob wrestling with the angel, ranked by how much their actions resemble slow-dancing.
    Featured Lovecraft Story: The Mound

  • Friday Link Pack 01/17/14
    Kids reading digitally, twenty-two reasons why commas are so important, the onion reviews the Desolation of Smaug, Austin Parkhill paints “Ringle”, the Seattle Archipelago, the evolution of the scuba mask.
    Featured Lovecraft Story: The Hoard of the Wizard-Beast