HPLFF 2016 Day 3

We’re getting ready to head down to the Hollywood district for day 3 of HPLFF.

I’m reading with Cody Goodfellow at 3PM at the EOD center. Hope to see some of you there! I’ll be reading from Far From Streets, for the first time.


Portland 2016 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival Schedule

I can hardly believe the 2016 Portland HP Lovecraft Film Fest begins this evening! Actually, regular events don’t start until tomorrow, but tonight is the VIP Party at Lan Su Chinese Garden, for Guests and people who pledged the Kickstarter at the VIP level.


Here’s the link to the schedule: http://hplfilmfestival.com/hplfilmfestival-portland-or/schedule


I’m doing the “Weird Tales: Beyond H.P. Lovecraft” panel Saturday at 10PM with Ross Lockhart (moderator),, Anya Martin, Ed Morris and Wendy Wagner. Scott Nicolay is also on the schedule but I understand he had to cancel at won’t be at HPLFF this year.


I’m also part of Reading 3: Goodfellow, Griffin, Rawlik – Sunday at 3PM

Last I heard, Peter Rawlik was going to have to miss the festival as well, because of the hurricane approaching Florida, where he lives. If so, either Cody and I will both read extra long, or we’ll see if the organizers add a new 3rd reader.


I’m also taking part in the group signing Saturday at 10AM, and will be glad to sign books. I assume Ross E. Lockhart will have copies of The Lure of Devouring Light for sale, along with Eternal Frankenstein which will make its debut at HPLFF, and the rest of the excellent Word Horde catalog.

(here’s the 2013 HPLFF installment, dinner at Columbia River Brewing)

This is always one of my favorite events of the year, another installment of the first convention I ever attended, the first convention at which I was a guest, or did an author reading. This will be a little unusual, in that Lena and I usually try to host a few con guests at our home, but because we’re putting the house up on the market, the place is empty and ready to sell, so we won’t have any of the usual weirdos traveling with us.

If you’re there, I look forward to seeing you again, or meeting you for the first time. Don’t hesitate to say hello, especially if we’re online friends but I might not recognize you in person! For those of you who won’t be in attendance, I’ll try to post lots of pictures and give updates of all the events, as much as possible.

Kickstarter Ending for H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Portland 2016

The Kickstarter for this year’s Portland H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival ends tonight, so now’s your chance. I’ll be a guest at the festival again, and taking part in the VIP Party at Lan Su Chinese Gardens, and the Shanghai Tunnels tour. I’m also one of the contributors to the Challenge From Beyond 2016 book, which includes a round robin story as well as another story by Peter Rawlik.

This is the cover of the book, illustrated by Shelby Denham.


And here are the event details:

The 21st Annual H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival® will feature independent short and feature films, plus featured guests Stuart Gordon (director of Re-Animator and From Beyond), author John Shirley, and many more!
Deluxe and VIP Ticket packages available now in our Kickstarter at http://kickcthulhu.com/ Regular tickets will go on sale around September 10th.


Thursday, Oct 6 8-11pm VIP Party
Friday, Oct 7 4-6pm Guest Meet and Greet
Friday, Oct 7 6-11pm Films and other programming
Saturday, Oct 8 Noon-11pm Films and other programming
Sunday, Oct 9 Noon-11pm Films and other programming



The Lovecraft Film Fest is a lot of fun every year, so if you’ve never attended before and you’re considering it for the first time, I really think you should. Even if you’re not the world’s biggest Lovecraft fan, and care more about horror or weird fiction in general, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. Films, panels, readings and more. Hope to see you there!

Portland’s H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Kickstarter

One of my favorite events every year is the Portland H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, the next installment of which happens October 7-9, 2016. This year I also visited the San Pedro, California version for the occasion of my book release, and they’re also doing a Providence, Rhode Island version which just happened this past weekend. The Portland event is the biggest of the three, and the original.

While I was busy with other things this weekend, I neglected to post about the new Kickstarter for the Portland HPLFF. It looks like it won’t have a lot of trouble meeting its goal… in fact, literally as I type this sentence, it just watched it click over the $15k mark in another browser window. Congratulations, Gwen and Brian Callahan – funded!

Now, just because they’ve reached their goal doesn’t mean you won’t want to pledge. This is the best way to get your package of tickets, t-shirts, art and other goodies related to the event. I’ll be a guest again this year, and for the first time I’m participating in a fiction round robin, a collaborative story written along with John Shirley, S.P. Miskowski, Nikki Guerlain, Andrew S. Fuller, Wendy Wagner and Aaron Besson. If you want to read that story in the souvenir book, it’s a $10 add-on to any other pledge level.

Even if you won’t be able to attend, you can support the event and get some cool stuff. There are several packages available for non-attendees, allowing you to obtain various souvenirs just as if you were going to attend.

I assume there will be some cool stretch goals, as there have been in the past. Who knows what kind of interesting special guests might be on the horizon?

Images From San Pedro HPLFF 2016

I was about to summarize my recent ReaderCon experience when I realized I have a folder of photos I meant to share, along with a summary of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, California. It’s been over for about 2 1/2 months and I forgot to post, until now!

Many of these photos are borrowed, so I’ll give credit to the photographer where I can. If I’m sharing your photo and you’d prefer I take it down, please just let me know.

Cody Goodfellow was one of the primary organizers of the convention and was good enough to pick me up at the airport and drop me off at the end of the weekend. When I arrived at Cody’s house, I had to obtain a live photo to convince certain parties overseas who wanted reassurance that Joe Pulver had survived the trip intact. Here is “proof of life.”


At the convention’s opening ceremony, Cody acted as emcee. Cody is one cool cat.


Here I am behind the Word Horde table. My book’s official release date happened to fall on the weekend of the convention, which made it easy for me to decide to head down to LA for the long weekend. I believe Ross Lockhart took this photo.


Here I am outside the Warner Grand theater, the primary venue for the convention, in old downtown San Pedro. Photo is by Nick Gucker.


Speaking of Nick Gucker, another book released at the convention was S.P. Miskowski’s excellent Stag in Flight, published by Dim Shores and illustrated by Nick. Dim Shores and Word Horde shared a dealer table so I was able to spend lots of time with Ross Lockhart, Sam Cowan, Nick Gucker and S.P. Miskowski.




This was my first time meeting S.P. in person (along with her husband Cory), a real highlight for me. Here we are clowning for a selfie.


I also picked up my copy of Michael Cisco’s The Knife Dance, another Dim Shores release. The hardcover is super beautiful! As I write this, they’re pretty nearly sold out, but you can still get the trade paperback. The Dim Shores store is HERE


Something I’ve experience at almost every convention I’ve attended is that there always seems to be one restaurant to which everyone returns at least once a day. Here’s a crowd gathered outside Happy Diner, where I ate breakfast four days in a row.

The photo by Mike Davis shows (L-R) Nick Gucker, Sam Cowan, Ross Lockhart, Kelly Young, me and Leeman Kessler. Excellent gentlemen, all but one.


This is the kind of thing I ate every day, severed with a generous jar of fresh-made salsa.


After this many of us were interviewed one at a time by Leeman, then we ended up at Sacred Grounds, a pretty cool coffee shop next door to the theater. This time Mike Davis included himself in the photo, and you can also see Leeman, me and Kelly Young. It’s got to be very, very early because Kelly and I have soft drinks.


Soon after this, we migrated down to the “Annex,” a little theater down the block where author readings and panels took place Saturday. Here’s yet another Mike Davis photo of several of us preparing to read, namely (L-R) Cory Herndon, S.P. Miskowski, Joe Pulver and me.


Matt Carpenter very kindly brought a bottle of one of our favorite libations, which lubricated many of the readings, and later panel discussions. Several of us read, all in a row. Here’s S.P. reading from Stag in Flight.


Here is the great Pulver reading!


After the reading, I posed with the sole existing “proof” copy of Autumn Cthulhu. Everyone was trying to get a look at this book, which was set to be released a week after this event.


The Cosmic Horror panel was a lot of fun, featuring Mike Davis, Leslie Klinger, S.P. Miskowski, Cody Goodfellow, me, Joe Pulver, Kat Rocha and Ross Lockhart.


Pulver at the Skinner mural in downtown San Pedro.


Leeman Kessler in the lobby of the Warner Grand…


… and later gazing into Lovecraft’s eyes.


One of the best fun parts of every convention is the night everyone stays up way too late, talking and laughing and drinking and who knows what else. I’m pretty sure the next 3 photos are by Sam Cowan. Here we have John Skipp, Ross Lockhart, me and Pulver out on the patio outside the hotel very, very late at night.


Nick Nacario, Nick Gucker and Leeman Kessler.


And me, Joe Pulver and Kelly Young.


Ross on the left, Sam on the right. The final day’s events were off-site, in this big warehouse down by the water. Everyone was exhausted, as is usually the case by the end of a long convention weekend.


Being driven back to the airport by Cody Goodfellow was an experience I will never forget. The important thing to understand is that this is a convertible and we’re driving something like 95 miles per hour. The wind knocked me around so much, I think I lost consciousness.


I had a great time, signed many books, met a lot of cool people and spent time with great friends. Convention success!

An October Festival and Book Release

I’ve just been confirmed as a guest for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon coming up October 7-9 here in Portland. The Facebook event page is here, and I’m sure there will be a Kickstarter before long.


This is always one of my favorite events of the year, not only because it’s local. The HPLFF always manages to be one of the biggest and best gatherings of cool and interesting writers, editors, publishers, artists, filmmakers and enthusiasts of Cosmic Horror and the Weird. The event is not just Lovecraft-related, so if you’ve ever thought “Sounds fun, but I’m not super-Lovecrafty, myself,” you’d probably enjoy attending for the readings, panels, films and especially the people. At least a partial guest list should be available soon.


Also happening at this event will be the release of the next Word Horde anthology, Eternal Frankenstein. My own novelette “The Human Alchemy” will appear alongside works by a really interesting selection of writers, many of whom will be at the convention and ready to sign your books! I imagine there will be some kind of reading event associated with the book release, and/or possibly a group signing.

You can preorder Eternal Frankenstein now from Word Horde and later this summer from the usual outlets. Here’s what’s inside:

Table of Contents
Amber-Rose Reed – Torso Heart Head
Siobhan Carroll – Thermidor
Autumn Christian – Sewn Into Her Fingers
Rios de la Luz – Orchids by the Sea
Edward Morris – Frankenstein Triptych
Michael Griffin – The Human Alchemy
Betty Rocksteady – Postpartum
Scott R. Jones – Living
Tiffany Scandal – They Call Me Monster
Damien Angelica Walters – Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice
Orrin Grey – Baron von Werewolf Presents: Frankenstein Against the Phantom Planet
Nathan Carson – Wither on the Vine, or Strickfadden’s Monster
Anya Martin – The Un-Bride, or No Gods and Marxists
G. D. Falksen – The New Soviet Man
Kristi DeMeester – The Beautiful Thing We Will Become
David Templeton – Mary Shelley’s Body

H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest & CthulhuCon Stretch Goal

If you’ve followed this blog much at all in the past, you’ve seen me mention the wonderful H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest & CthulhuCon we have here every year. In 2014 it’s in April, and I’ll be appearing once again as a guest.

Last year we hosted Mike Davis of Lovecraft eZine and the mad writer and editor Joe Pulver. Mike Davis is already confirmed for this year’s event, though it’s a bit more expensive to arrange for Pulver to fly over from Berlin.

This morning I was very excited to see Gwen and Brian Callahan, the organizers of HPLFF&CC, have set the next “stretch goal” level on the event’s Kickstarter. If they make it to $18,500 they will bring Joe to the event from Germany. We’ve already offered to host Joe at our place if he can get here, so all we need to make this a reality is to boost that Kickstarter to the next level.

Here’s the link: Kickstarter Update #5

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival – Con Report, Part V – After

Earlier installments of this con report include Part I – Before, Part II – Friday, Part III – Saturday and Part IV – Sunday.

This fifth installment concludes my H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival convention report. It covers the aftermath of the event itself, and is mostly intended for people who know me, Lena and Joe, or those who enjoy looking of pictures of beach vacations, or reading recaps of excessive seafood and pizza consumption.

Early Monday morning, I dropped Mike Davis at PDX. I had to work a half-day, after which I hurried home to pick up Joe and Lena and we drove to Lincoln City. On arrival, I found a missed call (no cell phone coverage in the coast range) and voicemail from Gwen Callahan saying Mike Davis’s flight was cancelled, and he was stuck at airport!

Panic! We scrambled around, calling and texting and emailing people, trying to figure out what happened. I thought most likely we’d need to go back to Portland and pick up Mike. To our relief, an updated Facebook post informed us that American Airlines had given Mike a hotel, and a ticket on an early flight home the next morning.

So, back to relaxation mode. We took Joe for a walk down to the beach, specifically the main Roads End access point at the extreme north end of Lincoln City.


This was Joe’s first time ever seeing the Pacific Ocean. It was great to see him acting like an excited kid.


Lena and I go to the beach all the time, but it had been many years since we’d taken off our shoes and gone out into the water. Joe inspired us to give it a try.


We were lucky to get a beautiful, sunny, blue-sky day.


I caught crabs. You’ve got to watch out — these things will creep up on you.


Back at the house, we decided to order pizza. I’ve been eating pizza from Gallucci’s Pizzeria in Lincoln City since I was a wee lad. It’s fantastic! This pizza, just a medium, weighed as much as three normal pizzas.


We all ate Gallucci’s Combo, Lena and I drank tiny bottles of Red Stripe, and Joe drank one of his gallon jugs of iced tea. While we ate, we watched Under the Sand. François Ozon is solid. Charlotte Rampling is amazing!


This being post-convention vacation mode, we all crashed pretty early.

Tuesday morning was gray and cool. That’s not uncommon at the Oregon coast, even in July or August, but it was still a let-down after yesterday. We scrounged some cold pizza for breakfast. That Gallucci’s pizza was HUGE. Joe’s like me, always eating whatever’s left of last night’s dinner first thing. Anyway, we weren’t focused on breakfast today. We were ready to knock seafood off Joe’s “must eat” list.

Lena and I go to Kyllo’s, right on Highway 101 where it crosses D River, every time we visit Lincoln City.


We wanted to get as many kinds of seafood as we could. Joe was excited to find they had a Cajun shrimp and cod lunch special.


To that, we added two appetizers: oysters and calimari. Four kinds of seafood!


Even after all that, Joe was unable to resist the offer of key lime pie.

On the way out, we showed Joe “D River,” which is (used to be?) the world’s shortest river, which runs right under the restaurant. It’s a tiny little outlet from D lake, right under Highway 101 and the restaurant, to the ocean. The Wikipedia page for D River includes an exterior shot of Kyllo’s, and tells me the river is no longer the world’s shortest.


After lunch we drove about twenty miles south, down to Depoe Bay, trying to give Joe a sense of a different kind of beach. Most Lincoln City beaches are flat and sandy. Down in Depoe Bay, you get to see cliffs and rocks.


Depoe Bay is known as a hot spot for whale watching. Unfortunately, during Joe’s visit the only whale visible was this very small non-aquatic variety, which seemed to be in some kind of stupor. This Miniature Gray Whale sat there long enough to let Joe pose for a picture.


On the way back through town, stopped at Robert’s Books, a great used and antiquarian book shop in the Nelscott part of town. I recommend this place if you ever visit LC. Here Lena is ready about something spooky!


We had to make sure to show Joe the King in Yellow first editions (both British and American) locked away in the glass case. Too expensive to buy, but fun to check out. Also, there were two whole shelves of Arkham House hardcovers. It’s fun to browse a bookstore with another writer, make suggestions and compare notes. Joe and I talked a lot about Jack o”connell and Andrew Vachss. Then Joe asked to take a look at my “to buy” pile, as well as Lena’s, and sneakily went up front and paid for them.


Here’s my Cthulhu t-shirt with a design from a woodcut by Liv Rainey-Smith. I love this, and I need to buy more of her art.

All fun things — conventions, visits from friends, vacations — must come to an end. Goodbye, beach!


Back to Portland. All of us were starting to run on fumes, feeling happy from all the fun times, yet exhausted. There was still time to make Joe one more special USA-ian dinner — grilled steaks, with baked potatoes and Caesar salads. After that, we were all starting to think we might need a week or two break from food.

Wednesday morning, we dropped Joe at PDX and said goodbye. All three of us kept reminding each other that soon we’d see each other again. August in Providence… August in Providence. Not just the three of us, but many of the new friends we met and the old friends we’d seen again, this past wonderful week.

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival – Con Report, Part IV – Sunday

Earlier installments of this con report include Part I – Before, Part II – Friday, and Part III – Saturday. Part V is forthcoming. My apologies for the gap between part III and this one. Illness interrupted my “one installment per day” intentions.

No early events were scheduled Sunday, the third and final day of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. We were able to sleep in a bit, and stop for a Mexican brunch buffet. Mmmmm, all you can eat bacon and eggs, beans and rice and enchiladas, with a half-dozen different kinds of salsa! All kinds of variety in endless quantity, which is perfect for this crew.

Despite the short Sunday program, our group had a busy day planned. Joe had a panel, Mike was planning on doing a live Lovecraft eZine webcast from the festival hall, the webcast including visits from Joe and many other guests. Also, Sunday I would be reading my work to an audience for the first time.

Waiting for the theater to open, I had a chance to meet the eminent Lovecraft scholar and editor S.T. Joshi, here in his Lovecraft eZine t-shirt beside Mike Davis.


S.T. told us about the huge number of books he has pending with Centipede Press (he actually tried to list them all from memory, and couldn’t quite), and further mentioned that he had roughly two dozen books pending release with his various publishers! Speaking of Centipede, that’s a press you need to check out if you enjoy finely crafted hardcover editions of weird, horror or noir fiction.

I also met writer, editor and filmmaker Jason V. Brock, who joined the group and told hilarious anecdotes about meeting and interviewing Harlan Ellison (for Jason’s Charles Beaumont documentary), complete with a pretty good imitation of Ellison’s amusingly gruff way of speaking and cantankerous manner.

Our group of casually chatting writers and editors and readers continued to grow, as more and more people drifted over. It was like sitting at the cool kids’ table, being at a Lovecraft-related event, and standing there in a circle with S.T. Joshi, Mike Davis, Ross Lockhart, Joe Pulver, Jason V. Brock and too many others to list.

My 4PM reading, listed on the schedule board.


Once inside, as had happened all weekend, we managed to spend hours bumping into people and talking, without seeing much of the scheduled programming. Finally Joe’s panel was coming up, and though I knew I’d have to leave early to make my reading, we watched most of that. This was Writing Supernatural Fiction, with Nick Mamatas, Camille Alexa, Amanda Downum and Cody Goodfellow).

While this panel was going on, Mike Davis set up his laptop in the downstairs hallway, next to Nick Gucker’s vendor table outside the main theater. In that incredibly loud and distracting environment, Mike commenced the every-Sunday Lovecraft eZine web chat or “hangout” on Google+. You can watch the full recording on YouTube below.

(Ross Lockhart appears at about 4:30)
(Nick Gucker appears at about 25 minutes)
(I appear briefly at about 45 minutes)
(Neils Hobbs appears at about 48 minutes)
(Wilum H. Pugmire appears at about 53 minutes)
(Alicia Graves at 63 minute mark)
(Joe Pulver at 64 minute mark)
(Kelly Young at 70 minutes)

The webcast software did a great job filtering out background noise, so the video doesn’t convey how noisy the theater hallway was. When I briefly appeared, I mentioned I couldn’t hear anything at all being said by the others on the webcast. One of them, I think Pete Rawlik, asked someone on his end to be quiet as if we couldn’t hear over them, but the “too much chatter” I mentioned was entirely in the theater hallway.


Above, Ross Lockhart guests early in the webcast. Below, Niels Hobbs and Wilum Pugmire are interviewed near the webcasts’s midpoint — or possibly checking out something 3D on Mike’s computer. I only stopped by briefly to explain that I couldn’t participate in the webcast, because I had to hurry to my reading.


Lena (my wife, for those of you just joining this recap) intended to take video of my reading, but her camera’s memory card filled up just after my self-introduction. I may post that video later, in case it’s of any interest, but these photos give an idea of the scene.


Bizarro author Bradley Sands read several short pieces from his book, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy, all of which were funny and very (intentionally) strange. Jim Smiley read a portion of an early chapter of a novel-in-progress, which also went over well.


I went last. All three of us had selected something short to read — I read my story “The Need to Desire” which you can find on my blog, free to read here — so the reading portion was over in less than a half hour. I bullied the audience into asking questions. We all talked a bit about our own work, and how we got started. Overall, a successful first reading. I thought with so many other events happening at the same time, the audience might be just a few people, but a respectable number turned out.

The reading finished up at about the same time as the Lovecraft eZine webcast, so we all met up for one last Columbia River Brewing meal.


Lena and I and Joe and Mike were joined by Dominique Lamssies — and another guy we thought was with Dominique, but it turned out none of us knew. (EDIT: In comments to this post, HPLFF co-boss Gwen Callahan reports the gentleman at our table is Todd Ellner. Hi, Todd!) Also, Niels Hobbs, prime mover of the NecronomiCon Providence convention. That’s Niels seated to my right, talking with Mike Davis.


Above, Joe displays Dominique’s miniature Cthulhu plushy. Not only was Dominique very organized about getting her books signed (see Saturday entry) but she also managed to get a lot of pictures of people holding her tiny Cthulhu.


Some super-fabulous-folk hang out on Wilum’s bench. That’s Alicia Graves with him.


Artist Nick Gucker and trouble-maker Joe Pulver, starting to face up to the looming end of the convention.

Below, Joe and Niels discuss exciting possibilities upcoming in Providence. What’s the best antidote for sadness about one event ending? Excited anticipation of another event upcoming!


Back inside, Lena and I talked with Nick Gucker, then spent some more time talking with Molly Tanzer, who was in fine form. With her was writer, editor and provocateur Nick Mamatas. I re-introduced myself to Nick. We’d previously been acquainted through some editing work Nick did on a few of my stories maybe eighteen months ago. I also spoke with Orrin Gray, a truly nice fellow, and one of several I wish I’d spent more time with.

Outside, there were some goodbyes, but nothing too formal. Events like this don’t end all at once. People drift off, some leave early, some linger upstairs. Again and again, I heard people reminding themselves and each other, “Providence will be soon. See you in Providence!”

The upcoming Part V will conclude this con report, and will cover events after the HPLFF itself, mainly our trip to Lincoln City with Joe Pulver.

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival – Con Report, Part III – Saturday

Earlier installments of this con report include Part I – Before and Part II – Friday. Parts IV and V are forthcoming.

Saturday morning we left the house before 8AM so we could get down to the Hollywood district by 8:30. Robert Price, who in addition to being one of two performers at the Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast is also a very close personal friend of Joe Pulver, warned us these events always fill up, and we shouldn’t arrive late.


The problem with arriving at 8:30 is that Columbia River Brewing (yes, the same place we’d been eating most of our lunches and dinners so far) didn’t even open until 9AM, a minute or two before the event was supposed to start. So a bunch of Lovecraftian weirdos gathered out on the sidewalk, waiting, scaring the neighbors, and causing a general decline in property values.

I checked my phone, thinking I’d answer the text messages Alicia Graves left last night. I found there were also missed calls from Scott Nicolay, a writer friend of ours from New Mexico who had really hoped to be able to attend this year’s event, but hadn’t been able to come. Scott knows Alicia, and had been texting back and forth with her all along. I figured maybe when she’d been unable to reach us last night, she might have asked him to try to reach us. Hmm… the mystery deepens? Still too early to call Scott back.

Finally, we got inside, and snagged a table. We guessed where Robert Price and Cody Goodfellow would be setting up, and sat nearby. We guessed wrong! Their “pulpit” was actually the hostess station at the front of the restaurant. We ended up sitting behind the action, hence the weird angle on some of the photos I posted.

The breakfast aspect of the event was straightforward — eggs and potatoes and bacon and little pancakes served banquet style.


Above, Joe explains something to me and Lena, while Robert Price chats with Mike Davis.

Below, Lena and I were dressed for a funeral we needed to attend later in the day, while Ross Lockhart, seated behind Lena, signs a copy of his kick-ass book Chick Bassist for Dominique Lamssies, who was at our table. Dominique was constantly getting books signed by everybody. I was nowhere so organized, so all my books authored by HPLFF guests remain at home, still unsigned, except for the copies bEast Pulver stealthily signed like the tooth fairy while we were sleeping.


Ross Lockhart and I both take a lot of iPhone photos, and constantly quick-post them to Facebook while the event is still happening, to a degree that either delights or infuriates everyone around us, depending on whether or not they’re cool. Ross and I joked that we could both view the same events from a very slightly different angle, in very nearly real time, by checking in with each other’s photo feeds.


On the next table, woodcut artist Liv Rainey-Smith. You can see an example of Liv’s woodcut art on her t-shirt here. I ended up buying myself one of these shirts, but not until the future. See, at the time I’m writing this blog post, I’m looking back on the past event of the shirt purchase, but as of the morning here depicted, Liv had a shirt like this, but I didn’t yet. I realize this is complicated, like trying to unravel Primer or Memento or something. Just trust me. You’ll see the shirt — my shirt — in Part IV.


Cody Goodfellow kicked off the ceremony with a shout. For the following video, everyone thank Mike Davis of Lovecraft eZine, because I have stolen this from him.

Here’s a photo for those of you disinclined to watch moving pictures, or may be reading this in a workplace that can’t deal with crazy, pseudo-religious shouting. After Cody’s portion, writer and editor Robert M. Price came on like a Cthulhu-flavored Southern Baptist preacher. This event really was a lot of fun, and had the restaurant full of about 140 people rocking.


The breakfast ended at 11. Afterward, we goofed around in the restaurant until we were the last people there. Mike Davis posted some photos, and maybe even the above video. The rest of us went outside, where cool weirdos were hanging out. Lena and I were entertained by Cody and Joe and Nick Gucker, among others, during the hour break between the prayer breakfast and the beginning of events in the main theater at noon.


The first event we wanted to see was Pickman’s Apprentice, which is the contest in which artists try to create a piece of art in real time based on key words provided by the audience. Last year, we watched Nick Gucker, Lee Moyer and Mike Dubisch spend two hours rendering a shoggoth in a circus. This year, the same three artists, plus Liv Rainey-Smith (see above, woodcut artist, t-shirt, et cetera) tackled the challenge of depicting the King in Yellow (guess which audience member shouted that out?) in a sushi bar.

I didn’t get any good photos of the challenge this year. Lena and I needed to leave before 1PM for the funeral. Before that, I went out to the main upstairs landing, aka the “Mall of Cthulhu” where vendors sell their Lovecraftian wares. I was trying to find Joe, who had two packages I needed to mail while we were out. When I found Joe and Mike Davis, they pointed at the opposite end of the upstairs, and asked, “Did you see Scott yet?”

I turned and looked where they were pointing. There was a guy over there who looked like Scott Nicolay, sort of. I figured they were kidding, because an ongoing joke all weekend had been how badly Scott wanted to be here, and couldn’t make it. We kept teasing Scott, who wanted to meet Alicia in person, that we were hanging around with her, and too bad he couldn’t be here!


Turned out, it really was Scott. He really had shown up, surprised everyone. In fact, that was the surprise that was supposed to happen the night before. Scott had arrived late, and Alicia had brought him down to shock everybody… but we were already heading toward sleep.

Better late than never, with something like this. We were all overjoyed to see Scott, finally meet him in person. Alicia let us know that was the reason she had been repeatedly calling and texting last night. We took a few pictures with Scott in the theater, then Lena and I had to leave for a couple of hours.


We came back and changed into more comfortable clothes in the car. Nearby, we found a pair of dentist’s offices with giant metal toothbrush sculptures embedded into the sidewalk out front, so Lena took a moment to freshen up her dental hygeine.


We had to miss Joe’s reading, but arrived in the middle of Ed Morris’s, then saw Cody Goodfellow’s. Ed and Cody both read well, with lots of energy and enthusiasm. Here’s Ed reading his piece. (thanks to Thérèse Elaine for the photo)


I was glad to see the room in which my own Sunday reading would take place, off-site in a place called “EOD Center” a block from the theater, next door to Columbia River Brewing. The room, essentially a mid-sized classroom with room for plenty of chairs, was walled on one side by a sliding vinyl partition. On the other side of that was an open area full of vocal, enthusiastic gamers. The amount of chatter audible through the partition wasn’t really a problem, at least it wasn’t loud enough to prevent the audience from enjoying the reading, but I was glad to know in advance that I’d need to speak up, and could expect distractions from the next room.

After the Pulver-Goodfellow-Morris reading, we returned to the theater. We were too late to watch Nightbreed: Cabal Cut, which had started an hour earlier. This is a restored version of Clive Barker’s poorly-received 1990 horror/fantasy film. The restoration was accomplished utilizing material from VHS rough cuts, and while my understanding is that the Cabal Cut greatly improves the story’s impact and coherence, the quality of the restored materials does not match that of the original. It’s been suggested that eventually a fully-restored Cabal Cut, going back to original camera negatives or at least first-quality optical materials, may be released on DVD or BluRay. I hope so, as we had to miss this screening.


Someone had adorned the theatrical posters outside with googly eyes, creating an amusing spectacle many people wanted to photograph.


Here’s the official H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival poster, featuring artwork by the great and wonderful Nick “The Hat” Gucker. For a while, this had googly eyes all over it, but by the time I took my picture, the poster had been de-googly-ed.


Because all events were mid-stream, we went back upstairs, to the vendor area. Lena and I bought t-shirts, then talked for a while with Nikki Guerlain, a Portland area writer. I asked about Nikki’s son, as she had mentioned on Facebook the possibility of bringing him to the festival. This led to Lena and I mentioning not having kids, which led to Nikki freaking out about how much younger Lena looks than her age, and this led finally to Nikki revealing her age and both Lena and I freaking out about how much younger she looks.

Nikki and Lena compared notes about many subjects relating to diet, health and nutrition, the various keys to looking 10-15 years younger than their actual ages. Then Nikki and I spent a while talking about writing and publishing, about moving from one genre to another, about the benefits and drawbacks of critique groups. We both had stories appear in Phantasmagorium weekly, and both have stories upcoming in Mighty in Sorrow, the Current 93 tribute edited by Jordan Krall. In fact, several others present at the HPLFF will be included as well, such as Ross Lockhart and Joe Pulver — possibly others I’m forgetting. That book will be released at NecronomiCon, another Lovecraft festival happening in Providence, Rhode Island (Lovecraft’s home town) in August.

Nikki is fun, super-energized, and overflowing with ideas. She talks as fast as anyone I’ve ever known! Here’s Nikki (r) with Alicia Graves (l).


Nikki gave me a copy of Imperial Youth Review, a new literary zine in which she had a story, as did Edward Morris and Nick Mamatas — and Nick Gucker had an illustration and Jess Gulbranson a review — to name only HPLFF guests. The second issue will have a Joe Pulver story.

Sam McCanna, the kindly mad genius behind Skurvy Ink (a t-shirt company that makes rock-and-roll style t-shirts, but instead of band logos and names, the shirts feature books, authors, and publishers, particularly in the weird, horror and bizarro genres) showed up with Imperial Youth Review t-shirts for me and Lena. The shirts bear the illustration from the first issue cover.


Sam also debuted a W.H. Pugmire t-shirt design, with art by Nick Gucker, in honor of Wilum’s birthday. Wilum seemed very excited and proud of the shirt, and everybody seemed to want one. Pretty fabulous! In the above picture, that’s Sam sitting next to Wilum Pugmire (both of them wearing the new W.H. Pugmire t-shirt, and Mike Davis, with Joe Pulver behind.

In the following picture, here’s Mike Davis showing off the artwork for the Pugmire t-shirt, with Wilum himself.


We met Dennis Weiler of publisher Fedogan & Bremer. They’re best known for Lovecraftian anthologies, but soon will publish Scott Nicolay’s debut collection Tuckahoe. I got my hands on the catalog Dennis is holding in the picture, and it looks like F&B has some interesting things coming up.


After the dinner break (we ate again at Columbia River Brewing — where else?). On our return to the theater, we considered watching the “At the Mountains of Madness Live on Stage” performance. We later heard this was really good, and wished we hadn’t missed it.

Instead, we Went upstairs for Shorts Block 2, and found it standing room only. In past years at the festival, Lena and I just went from theater to theater, always watching movies or panels or readings. This year, we found it easy to get into conversations in the halls and common areas, and barely watched any of the scheduled events..

Because we had skipped the after-party the night before, and didn’t need to get up early Sunday morning, we all planned to go to the after-party Saturday night. We also thought if we waited until 11, Tony Starlight’s would be packed, so we had what we considered a clever idea to skip the 9-11PM movie block and go to Tony Starlight’s at 9PM. Mike Davis had told Molly Tanzer we’d see her there, and Joe had said the same to Kelly Young and Brandi Jording (who were off having another nap). We tried calling and texting everyone to let them know we were headed over early. The problem was, the door person at Tony Starlight’s told us there was a $16 cover, and anyway they didn’t want any Lovecraftians in the place until 11PM.

We neaded back nearer the theater, to the Moon and Sixpence, a nice English-style pub where the after-party had been held in previous years. We found a table on the patio outside in the back, and discovered Molly Tanzer was already there with a bunch of people, including Nick Mamatas, Ross Lockhart, Cameron Pierce and his wife.

Joe had been claiming all weekend he’d drink a Scotch if somebody would buy him a good one — it had to be at least a 12-year-old single malt — which was noteworthy because, despite the bEast behaving in a way that might make some guess he’s intoxicated, he hadn’t actually had a drink in something like 15 years. I bought a 12-year Glenlivet for him, and one for myself.


While we sipped, I was lucky enough to listen in while Joe discussed a couple of anthology ideas with Ross Lockhart for Ross’s new publishing venture, Word Horde. It was interesting to listen to their back-and-forth, weighing possibilities and trying to determine which angles might be compelling. Overall, it sounded very much like the kind of discussion I’ve had many times, considering projects for my Hypnos record label. There seems so much overlap between music and literature, and I never stop being surprised how many of the lessons I learned running a label, and dealing with recording artists, translate directly to situations in the writing and publishing world.

Joe finished his Glenlivet, and claimed to enjoy it!

Before we left, Alicia mentioned that Scott Nicolay would be leaving early the next morning, and this was the last we’d see him. It was great to meet this good friend in the flesh. Too soon, he had to return home. The one thing that made it easier for everyone, saying goodbye, was that so many of us are planning to attend NecronomiCon in Providence, this coming August.

For most of us, though, HPLFF still had one more day yet to come.