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2020 in Ten Significant Photos

2020 in Ten Significant Photos

Today is December 19th, also known as March 294th, around our house. 2020, man. 2020. I think we can all agree it’s been a terrible year. If not personally, then nationally and globally. And we still have twelve days left. Feels like it’s been forever and yet, somehow, no time at all.

The tradition around here dictates I need to assemble a post wherein I share ten photos from the year representing the most significant moments of my personal past 365-ish days. Normally, I look forward to this, but 2020 was tougher than most. This time around, I wasn’t so eager to ponder how the year went. I didn’t want to dwell on the events that have unfolded. But I did. And below is the culmination of that effort, for better or worse.

The rules are simple but firm, pick ten photos from your past year that are the most significant to you: positive or negative—significance can be found in either. But it can’t be more, it can’t be less. Some moments will have to fall by the wayside—and that’s intentional—culling is essential. It’ll help create a more realistic picture of your year. Some years will be harder than others, and sometimes you’ll need to discover significance in the smaller, quieter moments. The ten are irascible, and they’re relentless. It is the way.

So, enough talk! Let’s take a look at my 2020 distilled into ten significant photos.

The Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland

We began our 2020 by going on a trip to celebrate Kari-Lise’s birthday. Ah, those carefree halcyon days. Feels like a lifetime ago. This time we took an extensive food-focused trip to Portland and Hood River, Oregon. It was easily one of the best trips we’ve taken together and a wonderful way to celebrate Kari-Lise’s birthday. We ate and drank and tasted so many incredible things. I had planned to put together one of my standard travel posts a few months after we returned, but 2020 had other plans. It’s odd to looking back. It feels like a different era.

Amberlynn being cozy. (Photo by my brother, Nick Alexander.)

Not long after our return from Portland, my brother Nick and my sister-in-law Hallie welcomed their second child, Amberlynn, into the world in February. With Liesel and Blakely arriving last year and Amberlynn this year, I now have three nieces that have all shown up in a very short time. Can’t wait to watch them grow up and spoil them rotten. I’ve yet to meet Amberlynn. (Details why in the next photo. You can probably guess.) But, I’m looking forward to the day I do.

Pandemic hair. Pandemic mask. Pandemic isolation.

So, the obvious one—the COVID-19 pandemic. I could wax poetic about everything that’s happened in the last ten months, but we’ve all been dealing with this. What can I say that hasn’t been said already by a thousand other folks? I am tired of staying at home. I miss my family and friends. At the same time, I know it’s the right thing to do, and I’m blessed that I have a job that allows me to do it. Please do what you can to stay safe and healthy. Be kind. Wear a mask. Social distance. Avoid groups. Get your vaccine when you can. All that stuff.

Not where you want to find yourself at 3AM

2020 was the gift that keeps on giving. Early in the pandemic Tyrant, one of our two old dogs (he’s fifteen!) started having breathing issues one Saturday morning, and we had to take him to an emergency vet. That turned into early morning calls and early morning trips to the pharmacy. The same weekend our other old dog, Suge (she’s fourteen!), had a cyst that burst on her back leg, so she ended up in the doggie hospital for minor surgery. Two dogs. Two hospitals. Many vets. All in the middle of a pandemic. It was an exhaustive and stress-filled four days. Thankfully, both dogs are doing well. Suge is back to her rambunctious self. Tyrant is still sleepy and lazy and gets to take doggy pills three times a day.

Welcome to the CHAZ

Black Lives Matter. I don’t know why that’s a difficult concept for some people to grasp. This summer was similar to summers in other parts of the country. Protests. Marches. Police action. Bits of violence. For a brief moment, Seattle had the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone and offshoot of the protests, which drew most of the country’s attention. The outgoing President might have declared Seattle an “Anarchist Jurisdiction” (whatever that means,) but the tales of chaos were greatly exaggerated and largely overblown. Ignore your weird uncle on Facebook. The CHAZ only lasted for a few weeks. Demonstrations there have largely faded away. But the BLM movement rightfully continues, and I don’t think it’ll stop until we see systematic change.

Kari-Lise in front of the titular Night Garden

Kari-Lise revealed Night Garden, her latest solo show at Roq La Rue, and it was wildly successful! It’s strange to have a gallery show in the middle of a pandemic. There was no official opening. No opening night crowds. No afterparty. But the show premiered online and ended up selling out. I feel like I broken record repeating the same thing I do every show, but I think this series was her best work ever. I’m incredibly proud to see how she continues to evolve as an artist. Can’t wait to see what she does next.

Pork chop sandwiches! (Technically pork butt, but references.)

So, I’ve always liked cooking, and this year was no different. If anything, this year I cooked even more, since I had more time at home. I feel like I dialed in my meat-smoking game and got a little better at baking (like everyone else, but I’m still not great.) This little BBQ sandwich was 100% made from scratch. Smoke pork butt. Steamed/Fried sourdough half-way buns. Homemade dill pickles. Homemade pickled onions. Stone ground mustard. Yes, it was delicious. Yes, I made it more than once.

Sunset on the Colvos Passage

In October, we briefly escaped one house to retreat to another. We rented an incredible cabin on Vashon Island, only a ferry ride away from Seattle. We spent a week on the island. We hiked, explored, cooked, relaxed, read a ton, soaked in a huge bathtub, took showers in an outdoor shower. I also took the time to revamp this website. And we were able to do it with proper social distancing! It was a chill and relaxing week away from the world and unplugged from a stressful news cycle. We loved it so much we are planning a return visit in January. So don’t be shocked if a similar photo appears in next year’s list.

I voted! You voted! A lot of us voted!

One of the wildest and most important elections in my lifetime happened, and what an election it was. Records were smashed. Norms were abandoned. Lawsuits were filed and quickly tossed out when no evidence could be presented except for wishes, hopes, and dreams. (Turns out wanting something to be true won’t make it true.) It was great to see so many Americans actively involved in the civic process. King County, Washington (where I live) had an 85% turnout, which I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. It made me really proud of my city, county, state, and country. Nice work, America. Let’s keep this trend of civic involvement going.

New floors and a fantastic built in room divider bookcase built by my pal Steve.

It’s hard to encapsulate this in a single image. Like much of the world, 2020 became the “Year of the House” for the Alexanders. This had been the plan for us before the pandemic set in, and we had been saving toward it for a while. We bought this place in 2010, which means we’ve been living in our house for a decade, and it was past time to put a little love back into the place. That means, among other things, new paint, new roof, new floors in several rooms, lots of love pour into the garden, new countertops, that fantastic bookcase in the picture above, and we’re in the middle of a bathroom remodel. It’s been awkward, stressful, and a bit odd at times juggling all this work with the pandemic, but we think it’ll be worth it.

In Conclusion

Looking back at everything that happened in 2020, I was surprised to find how much significance happened even while I spent most of my time here at home. The ten photos above don’t begin to cover everything that happened. My sister-in-law’s father, Tom, passed away, a dear man, and we could only send condolences from afar. Friends and family got sick, and not just from COVID. Pets passed away. People lost jobs. There were the forest fires and the awful weeks of smoke that blanketed much of the PNW. MURDER HORNETS.

But it wasn’t all awful events. New hobbies were found. New skills explored. Moth & Myth continued its wild growth and is leaping into a new phase of business. Friends published books. Friends made art. Friends had shows. Friends wrote new books and game systems. We all learned how to video conference (for better or worse.) There was good to be found even among the muck. I’m not going to miss 2020. It might have been an awful year, but it’s probably been one of the most notable years of my life.

So, how about you? What did you experience in 2020? What are your ten? Assemble them and leave a comment with a link! Let us all know about the significant events in your year.

Want to revisit my photos of past years? The experiences then seem almost charming now. Just click on any of the links below and check out my pictures from that specific year. I find it fascinating to watch subtle changes year over year.

2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 20182019

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Raunch Review: Malazan Book of the Fallen

Raunch Review: Malazan Book of the Fallen

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: Malazan Book of the Fallen

The Author: Steven Erikson

Work in Question: Malazan Book of the Fallen Series

The Profanity: “Hood’s [Body Part]”

If there is one set of offensive language that has staying power, it’s oaths. Language changes far too often for slurs and expletives to have much impact after a few hundred years. Over time they tend to shift and change, losing their potency. But oaths stick around—especially blasphemous oaths. It doesn’t matter how you do it; if you insult someone’s deity or use its name in a profane way, you’re bound to spark emotion with its followers.

Enter Hood, God of Death and King of High House Death, from the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. He becomes just one punching bag for various and extensive oaths throughout the series that mimic their cousins of the real-world Middle Ages. And I do mean extensive. “Hood’s bones” get discussed, “Hood’s fists” and “Hood’s feet” are evoked, “Hood’s breath” is mentioned. Of course, it wouldn’t be period-authentic oath-craft without mentioning “Hood’s [your reproductive organ of choice.]” But Hood is used in other places as well; there are Hood-centric curses like “Hood drag you down,” and a few Hood-focused expletives as well. (If you want to see the list, the Malazan Wiki goes into exhaustive detail.) The poor fellow can’t catch a break. Occasionally there are a few instances where the name is used oddly: “Shut the Hood up” or “Get(ting) the Hood out of here” are a few examples where the context doesn’t work. But those instances are fleeting and feel more like a character’s mistake rather than something inherent to standard use. In fact, there are so many other uses that it’s hard not to be impressed.

While I’d love to see more minced varieties of Hood-centric oaths in Malazan, this sort of language was prevalent in the Middle Ages. That makes these oaths and exclamations a solid example of period-authentic faux-profanity.

Final Score: 5.0

🤬 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.

Douglas Adams

An Awful Lot

“It takes an awful lot of time to not write a book.”

Douglas Adams

I have never featured a quote by Douglas Adams here on my blog, so I wanted to rectify that today. Arguably, Adams’ most famous quote observes the whooshing noises deadlines make as they pass, but I wanted to go in a little different direction and find something a little less well-known.

I liked the implied question here. It gave me pause, and I found myself in a moment of personal reflection. As writers, it’s important to give ourselves grace (especially in 2020). Still, I think it’s equally important to reflect on how we’re managing our writing and being honest about where we’re putting in an effort.

The 2020 Cosmic Horror Holiday Gift Guide

The phrase “Black Friday” has a more menacing tone in 2020—especially here in the United States. Hopefully, you’re following the advice of the experts, staying home, laying low, wearing masks, and washing your hands. But a pandemic shouldn’t stop gift giving! So, once again, I took some time and assembled my List of Lists for 2020. In it, you’ll find a plethora of paraphernalia for the weird-fiction fanatic, cosmic-horror connoisseur, or mythos maniac in your life. As with previous years, I’ve worked to assemble a list of exceptional items for all ages and budgets.

There’s a few changes this year. First, I’m now linking to IndieBound for all books. Please do what you can to support your local bookshops and small businesses. Odds are they can get you anything Amazon can, and it’ll help out your community. Secondly, where possible, I’m also linking to the author’s personal webpages. Check them out. Follow them. It’s a nice way to stay current with what’s happening in the world of weird fiction. Please remember, while I’ve ordered these by price, the prices and availability are subject to change. I don’t have any control over that. Happy shopping!


• Books • Music • Apparel • Games •
• Housewares • Miskatonic •

❄️ Books

Mother Hydra’s Mythos Rhymes by Jarred W. Wallace
$9.95 + Shipping (Paperback)

This mock children’s book features twenty-one sinister nursery rhymes twisted with a Cthulhu Mythos bent and illustrated by the incredible Heather Hudson. Also included is a complete Edward Gorey-style alphabet. Every budding cultist should learn their ABCs after all.

The Worm And His Kings by Hailey Piper
$13.00 + Shipping (Paperback) $6.99 (eBook)

This arrived only a few weeks ago, and I can’t wait to dive in. Set in New York City in 1990, the story follows Monique as she hunts for her missing girlfriend. But the trail goes much deeper than she realizes, sending Monique into a subterranean world of enigmatic cultists and shadowy creatures.

The Stars Were Right by K. M. Alexander
$14.00 + Shipping (Paperback) $2.99 (eBook)

I’m nearly finished with Book Four’s edits. So, if you haven’t, now is the perfect time to start reading my Bell Forging Cycle. Follow Waldo Bell as he is sent careening through the multi-level megalopolis of Lovat, fighting to clear his name as a bloodthirsty killer stalks him. It’s mystery and monsters, chases and cults, and an ancient evil in a world that is similar but not quite like our own.

RADIO by J. Rushing
$15.99 + Shipping (Paperback) $3.99 (eBook)

A jazz-infused, opium-soaked, historical fantasy with a transgressive edge that explodes from the opening chapter and never relents until its final pages—a welcome addition to modern fantasy literature and weird enough that it earned a place on this list.

Murder Ballads And Other Horrific Tales
by John Hornor Jacobs
$16.95 + Shipping (Paperback) $7.95 (eBook)

Seems like it’s becoming a tradition to see a new book from John Hornor Jacobs on this list every year, and it’s no surprise. He’s arguably one of the best mythos writers working today. This collection of recent horror and crime short stories takes you through tales involving old gods to malevolent artificial intelligences, plus it includes the sequel to his 2011 novel, Southern Gods.

The Cipher by Kathe Koja
$17.95 + Shipping (Paperback) $3.99 (eBook)

Part haunted house story, part body horror, part descent-into-madness tale all told in the style of Transgressive Literature. The Cipher is one of those stories I was shocked I hadn’t read until this year. Koja writes stunningly physical characters and knotted complex relationships that feel eerily familiar to anyone who’s spent time in artist circles. Enjoy the Fun Hole. (One of my 2020 Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween.)

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
$26.99 + Shipping (Hardcover) $9.99 (eBook)

At its heart, this is a horror novel about growing up poor and native in western Montana. But The Only Good Indians also a novel about revenge, mistakes, and their extended consequences. I blew through it. I grew up not too far from where this novel is set, and I have yet to find a recent author that captures the behavior and actions of the people in that area quite as well as Jones. You’ll never look at elk the same way again. (One of my 2020 Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween.)

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
$28.00 + Shipping (Hardcover) $14.99 (eBook)

The first of the Great Cities series focuses on a roiling, ancient evil that stirs beneath the streets of New York City and threatens to destroy the city. New York must go on, and it will take five protectors scattered across the boroughs coming together to stop it. An allegorical response to Lovecraft’s work and a love letter to the city.

The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces by H.P. Lovecraft
$650.00 + Shipping (One Copy Available—Sold via AbeBooks)

This rare late-60s first edition copy from Arkham House is in fine condition with a fine dustwrapper. It also comes with an inscription by the publisher and editor of this work: “for Herb Arnold from the compiler – August Derleth.” An extremely unique find and a unique piece of weird fiction history.

No book catches your interest? Check out the books featured in one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Books • 2015 Books • 2016 Books • 2017 Books • 2018 Books • 2019 Books

❄️ Music & Audio

Tribute To H.P. Lovecraft by Epsilon Eridani
Free (Digital Download)

This atmospheric and somber dark ambient album is the third project from Mexican electronic artist Juan Pablo Valle. Blending instrumental tracks, spoken words performances, and recitations of parts of Lovecraft’s stories, this tribute serves as an excellent horror soundtrack.

The Yellow Sign
$6.99 (Digital Download)

While Lovecraftian music often skews towards dark ambient or metal performances, The Yellow Sign goes takes a more orchestral approach. Composer Graham Plowman has created a fantastic classical soundtrack putting this album on par with any feature film—brooding, menacing, and wonderfully enjoyable.

Beyond Madness by Aklo
$9.00 (Digital Download)

Erich Zann would be jealous. Aklo, like its madness-inducing namesake, is hard to pin down. But this album captures “the beyond” in ways not often heard in modern music. Part noise, part experimental, Beyond Madness is an excellent addition to any Lovecraft fan’s collection.

Live from Stockholm by Ogham Waite
$12.00 (Digital Download)

Ogham Waite, one of Innsmouth’s Deep One inhabitants, and the Amphibian Jazz Band are the mythos’ answer to the lounge stylings of early Tom Waits. Bluesy and moody, this seductively smokey album drips with saltwater. Waite’s performance and delivery are melodious as they are melodic, a great addition to mythos music.

Ambrose Bierce’s The Boarded Window
$20.00 + Shipping (Vinyl)

This limited vinyl pressing of Bierce’s unsettling perspective-shifting tale is read by Anthony D. P. Mann and scored by Chris Bozzone. Cadabra Records always goes the extra mile with their products, and it’s clear from the hand-poured red and white splattered vinyl to the incredible art by Jeremy Hush.

Deities by Tortuga
€22.50 ($26.68) + Shipping (Vinyl) €5.00 ($5.93) (Digital Download)

This one showed up randomly on a playlist, and I found myself intrigued. Once I listened to it, I became a fan. Tortuga is a Polish doom metal band whose work is loaded down with intricate and heavy driving riffs inspired by Lovecraft’s writings. It’s good stuff.

Not finding any music or audio that interests you? Check out one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Music • 2015 Music • 2016 Music • 2017 Music • 2018 Music • 2019 Music

❄️ Apparel

Tiki Cthulhu Embroidered Patch
$9.00 + Shipping

I see many patches as I search for new cosmic horror gear throughout the year, and occasionally I find one that rises to the top. This sew-on tiki-styled Ctuhulu is 3″ x 2.5″ and was created for the 2018 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival. If you want a mythos inspired adornment for your bag or jacket that’s a bit outside the norm, look no further.

Cthulhu Socks
$18.00 + Shipping

It’s winter in the northern hemisphere, that means you need to keep your appendages warm. Also, socks-for-Christmas is a right of passage. Why not consider getting these Cthulhu Socks from PutYourSocksOn featuring tentacles up the side and an illustration of the dead and dreaming Cthulhu on the ankle.

Sourpuss Tropicthulhu Rosie Dress
$29.00 + Shipping

When you are associated with the ocean, you generally get associated with the tropics regardless of where your sunken city dwells. This 40’s style Rosie Dress allows you to show your appreciation of R’lyeh’s favorite son in a subtle but delightful manner.

Amulet of Azathoth
£23.95 ($34.42) + Shipping

It’s the grandpappy of the mythos deities in amulet form! Well, kinda. A representation of the nuclear chaos beyond angled space himself. This antique amulet is a little over an inch and a half long and is cold cast in a mixture of resin and brass—a stunning little pendant.

Mother & Father Statuary Set
$85.00 + Free Shipping

These handmade and hand-painted resin figures of Dagon and Hydra would work perfectly as bookends or garden statues. Aged in a way to evoke feelings of lost treasure salvaged from the seafloor or perhaps a dank and forgotten chamber somewhere beneath Innsmouth. Kinda cute to boot.

Cara Mater Silvae Shub-Niggurath Woodcut Print
$187.50 + Free Shipping
(Limited Edition)

Liv Rainey-Smith’s fantastic woodcut work has long been a fixture in the weird lit community. This limited-edition print is done in the style of a sacred icon and features a great rendition of Shub-Niggurath, The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, or as my readers will know her, “Cybill.”

Keeper of the Nightmare Mask
$331.53 + Free Shipping (Made to Order)

Plague doctors always cut a fearsome figure in humanity’s historical memory, but what lies beneath that leather mask and shielded eyes? This custom made-to-order mask twists tentacles to form that familiar (and terrifying) plague-doctor shape adding an extra level of menace to an already menacing form.

Not finding apparel you like? Check out the apparel on one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Apparel • 2015 Apparel • 2016 Apparel • 2017 Apparel • 2018 Apparel • 2019 Apparel

❄️ Games

No Players Online
Name Your Own Price (Windows/Linux)

What starts as a simple old demo of a capture-the-flag 3D shooter found on a discarded tape eventually twists and turns becoming something else entirely. I’m a sucker for the 80s glitch aesthetic, and it’s used here in masterfully unsettling ways—multiple endings, interesting game world, very much worth your time.

$5.99 (Digital Download, Early Access)

This first chapter of a first-person cosmic-horror adventure has you following the case of a World War II Nazi train that vanished only to reappear in a cave in the Himalayas 75 years later. Dripping with atmosphere and filled with brilliant puzzles, this first chapter left me excited for Kadath and wanting more.

Fate of Cthulhu
$20.00 (Downloadable PDF) $35.00 + Shipping (Book + PDF)

In this tabletop roleplaying game from Fred Hicks and Evil Hat Productions, you and your friends will find yourself sent into the past on a mission to prevent the future. It’s a race against time as you try to stop the stars from being right and prevent Cthulhu’s foretold return, all before you and yours are transformed into something monstrous.

Elder Sign Dice – Blue Aether
$24.99 + Shipping

Infinite Black has been making some wonderful cosmic-horror-themed gaming products for a few years. They’ve finally gotten easy enough to nab for holiday gifts. These Blue Aether Elder Sign Dice stood out to me, but they have a robust catalog making it easy to find the right gift for the dicing Lovecraft fan in your life. (Or yourself.)

Fate of the Elder Gods
$63.99 + Shipping

Cults battle cults in this race to summon your ancient order’s elder god of choice! But it’s not just the other conniving worshippers and cult leaders you need to worry about, crafty investigators are on the prowl, and they’re working to subvert everyone’s goals as well. Hasten the earth’s doom in this competitive area-control game for two to four players.

$274.99 + Shipping
(Two Shipments)

I’m a big fan of the Mysterious Package Company, the quality of their products always impresses. This latest journey into the realm of Hastur is no exception. Taking place over several mailings, Hastur invites the recipient into the world of the King in Yellow, the play with the same name, and the utter madness that dwells within those words.

Not finding a game you’d enjoy? Check out the games on one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Games • 2015 Games • 2016 Games • 2017 Games • 2018 Games • 2019 Games

❄️ Housewares & Collectables

Cedric's Eatery 11oz. Mug

Cedric’s Eatery 11oz. Mug
$16.00 + Shipping

It’s cold out, and you need a new mug. Why not pick one up from Lovat’s own Cedric’s Eatery located in the entresol between Levels Three and Four. An in-between place for in-between folks. Waldo Bell’s latest hangout. Fill your mug with 11 oz. of bad coffee, your favorite tea, or something stronger. [From the pages of the Bell Forging Cycle.]

Cthulhu Clay Idol & Letter
$29.80 + Free Shipping

Alternative takes on the Cthulhu idol are rare. More often than not, we see the same shape repeated over and over. Because of that, this rawer, more original piece stood out to me. It feels more realistic in many ways, reminding me of the sort of thing one would find on an archeological dig. Plus, with the attached letter, you get a little mini-experience here.

Sea Monster Shower Curtain
$32.00 + Shipping

There be dragons. And there. And there. And… well, all over the place! If you love weird old sea monsters and old maps, then this curtain will be perfect for you. Decorate your shower with this fantastic curtain featuring beasts that look lifted from early Renaissance maps. 70″ x 72″. Liner recommended.

Cthulhu Lovecraft Blanket
$59.99 + Shipping

As cooler air moves into the northern hemisphere, we can all celebrate the arrival of the cozy season. To stay warm, why not cuddle up beneath this cotton and acrylic Jacquard Knit blanket featuring the squatting visage of The Great Dreamer himself? He might be cold but you don’t have to be.

Anxious Blob Original Sculpture
$325.00 + Shipping (Supplies are limited.)

This weird little one-off sculpture of a nervous little entity is made with polymer clay and hand-painted. The eye sits beneath a glass dome giving this piece a unique character. Who among us hasn’t wanted an anxious blob with hundreds of teeth and a single staring eye decorating our walls?

Not finding a houseware item you like?
Check out the housewares from one of the previous guides.
• 2016 Housewares • 2017 Housewares • 2018 Housewares • 2019 Housewares

❄️ Miskatonic University

Miskatonic University Pennant
$15.99 + Shipping

I love seeing all the different takes for Miskatonic University collegiate gear. Here you can show your support for “Ole Misk” with a felt pennant from H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and cheer on the “mighty Miskatonic Myrmidons” to another victory. Wave that banner proudly!

Miskatonic University Real Leather Notebook
$41.40 + Shipping

Journaler? Artist? Writer? Mathematician? Norwegian sea captain? Random idea generator? If you’re one of these, odds are you need a notebook. This 8″x6″ Miskatonic-themed journal features 100 sheets of thick handmade Khadda paper and is durable enough for the dig site while still being elegant enough for the classroom.

Miskatonic University Wax Seal
$48.07 + Shipping

Secure your correspondence with old friends from bygones eras who seek answers using this classic and exquisite seal. It might not stop prying eyes, but at least your old colleagues will know if someone’s been tampering with their mail. (Wax sold separately.)

Miskatonic University Hockey Sweater
$109.00 + Shipping (Supplies are limited.)

Every sports fan needs a jersey. Miskatonic students are no different. It’s why when I came across this Hockey Sweater from Geeky Jerseys I knew it’d be perfect for the cosmic horror student in your life. (While this one is great, I’m hoping the superior Miskatonic 2.0 sweater becomes available once again.)

Not finding any Miskatonic University gear you like?
Check out the Miskatonic University items from one of the previous guides.
• 2014 Miskatonic • 2015 Miskatonic • 2016 Miskatonic • 2017 Miskatonic •
2018 Miskatonic • 2019 Miskatonic

 ❄️ Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! ❄️

So that wraps up the seventh annual List of Lists. Let’s all keep wearing our masks, socially distancing, and washing our hands so we can all do this again next year. Big thank you to everyone who has suggested items in the past to help me pad out this list. Y’all rule. If I didn’t get to your submission, fret not. There are many more holidays ahead. I appreciate the help.

Do you have a book, game, album, or other weird fiction-related items I should feature in 2021’s Cosmic Horror Holiday Gift Guide? Leave a comment below with links to your favorite goodies for others to see, or send me an email as a potential submission for next year!

Want 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→

I’m Going to Be Reading on Barely Tolerable Tales

I’m Going to Be Reading on Barely Tolerable Tales

This Friday, November 20th, at 7:30 PM PST, I’m going to be joining a few other authors and reading an unpublished story for King County Library’s streaming spooking story session: Barely Tolerable Tales. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night in lockdown.

I’m excited. My story, Overture, is a little different from my books but still connected to the Bell Forging Cycle. As of yet, it hasn’t been published anywhere. While this event is streaming on Zoom, it won’t be recorded, so if you’re hankering for a little more from the world of the Territories until Gleam Upon the Waves arrives, you should register today and make plans to attend! Spaces are limited.

Barely Tolerable Tales is for adults and presented by fine folks at The Cresswell Club. They even enlisted me to find a suitable cocktail for our evening of stories. So, I called in my cocktail calvary and enlisted my pal and fellow writer J. Rushing to help. (Check out his novel RADIO.) And help he did. We’re calling this drink The Pallid Mask and the recipe below (and on the registration page.)

The Pallid Mask

  • 2 oz. young Mezcal
  • 1 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1 oz. Green Chartreuse

Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Stir with ice—strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze a sprig of rosemary over the top and throw it in as a garnish. (If you like your drinks a little sweeter, consider adding a 1/4–⁠1/2 oz. of simple syrup.)

I think that covers all the pertinents. Hopefully, I’ll see you on Friday!

Ende: A 17th/18th Century Littoral Edger for Your Fantasy Maps

Ever since I put together my tutorial on replicating hatched 18th-century coastlines, I knew it was merely a stopgap. After all, the whole point of #NoBadMaps is to empower anyone to create high-quality historically-infused maps quickly and efficiently. While following along through complex Photoshop procedures can get you there, it still takes a bit more effort than I wanted.

Today, I’m proud to release the next iteration of the hatched coastline—Ende—a totally-free brush set where you can just paint-in your hatches. No longer do you have to go through multiple panels and several steps to get what you want. If you can draw a line, you can hatch in your littoral edges. Simple as that. Here’s a quick video showing how it works.

Ende is named after the first Spanish female manuscript illuminator and one of the first female cartographers. She lived around 1000 A.D.—her work is early enough that it doesn’t lend itself to a very robust brush set. Something I talked about in detail recently. But I liked the idea of naming a mapping tool after her.

Using Ende is simple. Install the brush set. Select the brush size you want from the Brush palette and paint it in. It is designed for Photoshop but should work in GIMP or Affinity. (No promises. I don’t use either tool.) It’ll work the best living on its own layer behind a solid landmass layer. You can also try using the “Wet” setting if you want the brush to have a more inky feel. You can toggle that on and off in the Brush Settings Panel (F5) in Photoshop.

The set itself includes ten brushes—1-pixel through 5-pixels with standard and wide variants of each. The wide variants double the white space between lines. You can see an example of each brush below. I recommend using a brush that closely matches the average thickness of lines and strokes on your project so it will look the most natural.

Left to Right: 1px to 5px, Wide variant on bottom row

That’s it! An easy-to-use littoral edger for your fantasy map projects. Just click the button below to download Ende and quickly edge in your coastlines.

As with all of my previous brush sets, Ende is free for any use. I distribute my sets with a Creative Common, No Rights Reserved License (CC0), which means you can freely use this and any of my brushes in commercial work and distribute adaptations. (Details on this decision here.) No attribution is required. Easy peasy!

Enjoy Ende? Feel free to show me what you created by sending me an email or finding me on Twitter or heck, leave a comment below. I adore seeing how these brushes get used, and I’d be happy to share your work with my readers (let me know in your message.) Let us see what you make!

💸 Supporting This Work

If you like Ende (or any of my free brushes, really) and want to support my work, instead of a donation, consider buying one of my cosmic-horror soaked dark urban fantasy novels. The first book in the series—The Stars Were Right—is only $2.99 on eBook. I think you’ll dig it. You can find all my books in stores and online. Learn more about the series by visiting the Bell Forging Cycle page.

The Bell Forging Cycle

Not interested in my books but still want a way to support me? Buy me a coffee.

More Map Brushes

Ende just one of twenty brush sets I’ve released. You can find it and other free brushes covering a wide variety of historical styles on my Fantasy Map Brushes page. Every set is free, distributed under a CC0 license, and open for personal or commercial use. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that works for your project. Click the button below to check them out!

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