Monday, September 30, 2013

UXO: New reports show progress, but new victims, in Laos

Legacies of War executive director Channapha Khamvongsa issued a new message recently regarding progress but continued tragedies in Laos. According to Khamvongsa:
Three new reports issued by the U.S. Department of State, Lao PDR's National Regulatory Authority, and the Cluster Munition Coalition highlights the progress of the UXO sector in Laos. These reports include data on the decline in casualties, down from 300 in 2008 to less than 60 in 2012. One report, To Walk the Earth in Safety, charts funding received by ten countries over the last 20 years. Of the $62 million directed by the U.S. to Laos since 1993, one-third, or $20 million, was committed during the last three years (2010-2012) as a direct result of Legacies' education and advocacy. The increase in funding helped to enhance the capacity of various organizations working in Laos to clear bombs, support victims, and provide risk education. You can read more below, with links to the full reports.

Despite the declining numbers of victims in Laos over the past several years, one accident can change the lives of so many. At the beginning of this school year in Laos, tragedy struck the Chomphet District, just outside of Luang Prabang Province. Khe (13 years old) and five other boys, Ming (10), Mee (6), Bounngou (5), Lo (12), and Chantee (12) were out looking for bamboo shoots in the nearby woods when they spotted and picked up a bombie. They tossed it amongst themselves, and tried to cut it open in order to see what was inside. The bombie exploded, instantly killing Khe and seriously injuring two other boys in the stomach. The rest of them sustained shrapnel wounds to their legs and feet, and ringing in their ears. Local authorities and various NGOs, including World Education, are providing victim assistance, support, and recovery.
Khamvongsa highlighted 3 keys reports: "To Walk the Earth in Safety," from the US Department of State. This year marks the 20th anniversary since the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement began funding around the world. The report provides a summary of its annual funding over the last two decades.

Also of interest was the report "UXO Sector Annual Report 2012." The most outstanding achievement and remarkable progress in the UXO sector in Laos was a dramatic drop in the number of UXO casualties, from more than 300 per year in 2008 to 56 in 2012.

And finally, the Cluster Munition Monitor Report 2012 was issued, noting that as the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world, support for mine action continues with the U.S. increasing funding to Laos from $5 million in 2011 to $9 million in 2012. Lao PDR continues to play a leadership role in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and became coordinator of the Committee on Clearance and Risk Reduction Education.

For more information on Legacies of War activities be sure to visit

Friday, September 27, 2013

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival begins!

And as we begin the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, I'll just post this passage from Lovecraft's classic Nyarlathotep:

"And shadowed on a screen, I saw hooded forms amidst ruins, and yellow evil faces peering from behind fallen monuments. And I saw the world battling against blackness; against the waves of destruction from ultimate space; whirling, churning, struggling around the dimming, cooling sun. Then the sparks played amazingly around the heads of the spectators, and hair stood up on end whilst shadows more grotesque than I can tell came out and squatted on the heads. And when I, who was colder and more scientific than the rest, mumbled a trembling protest about imposture and static electricity, Nyarlathotep drove us all out, down the dizzy stairs into the damp, hot, deserted midnight streets. I screamed aloud..."

Full Metal Hanuman and Strange Horizons Fundraiser converge!

Strange Horizons is about to unlock my exclusive poem: "Full Metal Hanuman!" as their fundraiser closes in on $7 thousand dollars this weekend!

Strange Horizons is a magazine of and about speculative fiction and related nonfiction. Speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and all other flavors of fantastika. Work published in Strange Horizons has been shortlisted for or won Hugo, Nebula, Rhysling, Theodore Sturgeon, James Tiptree Jr., and World Fantasy Awards.

This poem sets precedent as the first time the Lao simian bioweapons known as Vanon have appeared in a poem set in the distant future. Or the first formal reference to Laotonium. More details to follow once it's up!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2014 Artist Consultation Service Rates

As we prepare to enter 2014, it's that time of year where I announce my consultation rates for artists. I advise primarily in literary disciplines, although I take a very limited number of clients in traditional dance, folk arts, and visual arts.

These consultation sessions can be used to take a closer look at you and your work, assist you in identifying your professional goals and opportunities, and develop strategies to attain those goals along a realistic timeline.

For individual artists, standard consultations cost $75/hour. If you anticipate needing more than 10 hours or more of consultation time a retainer rate is available. For small informal groups and small non-profit organizations, the standard consultation rate is $100/hour.

The following credentials may assist you when considering whether to retain my services:
I hold the distinction of being the first Lao American to receive an NEA Fellowship in Literature in 2009 for poetry. In 2012, I was selected as the Lao delegate to serve as a Cultural Olympian during the London Summer Games. My poetry is presently on display at the Smithsonian's national traveling exhibit I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story.  
I have been cited for my writing in over nine national and international textbooks including the 2012 edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics and Wenying Xu’s Historical Dictionary of Asian American Literature and Theater. 
Among my 20 literary, academic and professional awards, I hold an Asian Pacific American Leadership Award in 2009 from the State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans, and a 2002 Many Voices Fellowship from the Minnesota Playwrights Center.  
I am the author of 6 books and my work appears in over 100 international publications around the world including Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Singapore, China (Hong Kong), Korea, Chile, Pakistan, as well as across the United States. I am the first Lao writer to hold professional membership in the international Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association.
As in previous years, I only take on between 5 to 15 clients at a maximum, following a brief portfolio review. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at and we can look over your specific needs and how we can best work together.

First Kung Fu Zombies vs. Cannibals trailer released!

Alas, still no sign of the actual zombies, but these apocalyptic survivors give you a hint of what's to come.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bringing Lovecraft to Life, Re-animated and otherwise: An interview with Brian Yuzna

For our final interview before the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon wraps its tendrils around Los Angeles, we had a chance to talk with Brian Yuzna, who's been behind many of my favorite films including Re-Animator, Dagon, and From Beyond. 

A director, writer and producer , Brian Yuzna was born in the Philippines, but grew up in Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Panama before moving to the United States in the 1980s. Most of Yuzna's film work is in the horror genre, though he has also ventured into science fiction.

Like his friend and fellow filmmaker Stuart Gordon, Yuzna is a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft and has adapted several Lovecraft stories for the screen. With Julio Fernandez, Yuzna started Fantastic Factory, a label under Barcelona film company Filmax. Yuzna's goal for Fantastic Factory is produce "modestly budgeted genre (horror, sci-fi, fantasy) films for the international market (shot in English language) using genre talent from all around the world and to develop local talent."

You can visit Brian Yuzna at

You're a legend in the H.P. Lovecraft community. But how did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?

I got started in the movies out of pure dumb ambition - ambition to make a movie even though I had no training whatsoever. And this was in the early '80s, before there were tons of dvd extras and 'making of's' telling us how to do it. I just wanted to make horror movies so I moved out to LA.

I got started with Lovecraft because the guy I put all my chips on to make my first movie was Stuart Gordon, and he had the idea to make a Lovecraft TV show based on Herbert West. He already had a script and within a year of meeting him the script was developed into a feature film and we began shooting.

Once I got Re-Animator done I thought that Dagon would be the sequel. I thought we would use the same actors and make a series of Lovecraft movies. We did make From Beyond pretty quickly, but then it was twenty years before we finally made Dagon. In the meantime I developed a number of other Lovecraft projects, most of which didn't ever get into production, but one that did was Necromomicon. By that time I had read just about every Lovecraft story and was a serious fan.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

That's kind of impossible to say.

Most people say At the Mountains of Madness - and that's a great one. Shadow Over Innsmouth is quite a complete story. I love Cthulhu because of the epic nature of it. But I must say that The Dunwich Horror appeals to me in a big way. The weakness of it is that the final resolution is just a magic spell - a bit of a letdown. Charles Dexter Ward - that's a great story. I guess I like the ones that have a mystery at the core.

What has been an unexpected surprise you've found when making horror films?

How hard it is to make something scary.

At least for me.

Although I love scary movies, somehow when I am making a horror movie I find myself reveling so much in the 'weird' aspects that I often drop the ball on the scares.

What's your advice to emerging film-makers considering taking on the Cthulhu mythos?

Don't think that using dialog and voice over from the original stories that somehow you will be true to the world of Lovecraft. Adapting a written story to a movie is a difficult thing to do - especially if you want to both be true to the source material as well as create a satisfying film.

I think that one of the best adaptations of a Lovecraft story to a movie is the job the screenwriters of Re-Animator did. Read that story carefully and then watch the movie. It is a good example of a successful adaptation.

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years?


What's your favorite music to listen to as you create your art?

I like to listen to Italian horror soundtracks from the 1970's.

Be sure to join all of us at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival September 27-29th at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro

Friday, September 20, 2013

All-Monster Action and other madness: An interview with Cody Goodfellow

If you're looking for someone who knows the Cthulhu Mythos like the back of their tentacles at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival this month, you need look no further than author Cody Goodfellow.

Cody Goodfellow has written three novels and two collections - most recently, All-Monster Action - and cowrote Jake's Wake and Spore with John Skipp. His short fiction and comics work have appeared in Creepy, Book Of Cthulhu 2, Cthulhurotica, Over The Mountains Of Madness, A Season In Carcosa, and The Best Bizarro Fiction Of The Decade. As editor and co-founder of Perilous Press, he has published new works of modern cosmic horror by Michael Shea and Brian Stableford. He “lives” in Los Angeles.

We had a chance to catch up with him before the madness begins.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn as a writer?

Like almost everyone else in this subculture, I discovered Lovecraft in the cusp of puberty, but I had set my sights on writing as soon as I was able to plausibly lie. It's not a career for me, or even a hobby, but a mostly manageable mental illness. The hardest thing is training myself to mislead others into thinking it's my career.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
I've always answered this one with At The Mountains Of Madness, because it so comprehensibly lays out the rise and fall of the aliens who created all life on earth by mistake. It's like an apocryphal answer to Origin Of Species. But as I grow older and less interested in having all the answers and more in mystery for its own sake, it's those small, bright gems of dreamlike secrets like "The Festival" or "The Statement Of Randolph Carter" that I cherish most, because they expand the world beneath our feet and the universe above our heads without painting in all the details.

What's been your favorite creation so far? What was the most unexpected surprise you've found as a writer?
I'm still most proud of my first two books, Radiant Dawn and Ravenous Dusk, because I wasn't just writing a book but attacking it and a lot of genre conventions that I felt had outlived their use. It's a cosmic horror epic with fully developed, dynamic characters and a lot of action, so it flies in the face of what Cthulhu Mythos fiction is supposed to be; and it's a weird tale in the classic sense, in that it fuses different pulp genres to make an unpredictable stew. I think it's possible and commendable to find new ways of exploring the excitement this kind of fiction engenders, beyond the rather formalistic New Weird, and necessary, if we're ever going to find our way back to that golden age when every railroad brakemen had a book of hair-raising pulp fiction in his hip pocket.

What's your advice to recognize a truly exceptional horror story?
It has to take you out of your reality and impose its own mood and atmosphere. Then, once you're completely under its spell, it must make you bear witness to the impossible, the unacceptable, the inconceivable. And it's the all-but-forgotten paradox of our medium that we can, with mere words, create a more immersive illusion than drama, art or even film. Whether it's Lovecraft's own "The Temple," which buries the reader alive at the bottom of the sea (a feat I tried to recapture in my own "Rapture Of The Deep") or Thomas Ligotti's "The Last Feast Of Harlequin" or Caitlin Kiernan's "Onion," which artfully juxtapose our own worn-out, mundane reality with something too terrible to face directly which somehow fills us with a longing more terrible than despair, it has to take you somewhere you probably could never survive with sanity intact... with words. And maybe bring you back...

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years?
Aside from assembling a collection of my own Mythos and cosmic horror fiction, I have in my head an enormous alternate historical sci-fi diesel-punk epic that would, in the end, prove very interesting to die-hard Lovecraftians. Every day, that's what I'm fighting towards.

What's you recommendation for first-time readers who want to read more of your work?

Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars is a fine sampling of my short horror fiction; it's dark, surreal and weird. If something more pulpy and crude is what you're looking for, my newest collection, All-Monster Action is a gallery of creature feature stories culminating in a giant monster novella trilogy wherein each installment is an order of magnitude more unbelievably absurd than its predecessor.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you write?

I listen to a variety of instrumental music... anything evocative and richly textured without lyrics works for me. Some things I frequently reach for include Ennio Morricone's scores, drum and bass mixes by Amon Tobin, ambient dub, dubstep an Martin Denny's Hawaiian exotica.

You can visit Cody Goodfellow at and be sure to extend a friendly pseudopod and an "Ia! Ia!" to him at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival!

Casting Cthulhu: An interview with Mythos Foundry

Among those who will be attending the cinematic spectacles and tentacles of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon are the maniacs at Mythos Foundry.

They had an amazing kickstarter earlier this year to cast an incredibly huge Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian horrors for discriminating collectors. We'll be able to see some of their amazing results live in person at the festival. And a "lucky" few of you may be able to take the big guy home!

Mythos Foundry aims to bring you finely crafted miniatures, sculptures, art prints, gaming gear, and collectables. From a Cthulhu Medallion to a 1/61 scale Cthulhu “Miniature” to a 1/61 scale H.P. Lovecraft himself, they have many items that will be happy to find a home in your Lovecraftian collection. Stop by and check out their selections of art prints, miniatures, and apparel.

We talked with Michael Brand recently about their work and what comes next.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?

My name is Michael Brand and I am an artist, sculptor, and creator. Most of my sculptural work has been for 28mm fantasy war game miniatures. I have been an artist all of my life. I say that I have been drawing since before I was born. ;) Along with my art, I am also a game designer. I have several designs for board games, card games, and two chess variants. I also have a degree in video game design and digital animation production.

Even though I have been doing freelance art work since I was fifteen, I was recently a Creative Director, Art Director and Production Manager for a few print shops. In October of 2012 I was laid off due to the economic downturn when the print shop that I worked at closed down a third of their shops around the world. This has given me the opportunity and impetus to start my own business with my art.

The hardest thing for me to learn was to get away from the corporate mindset of being an employee and into the mindset of being an owner.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

I would have to say "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" is my favorite H.P. Lovecraft story, just for the sheer amount of diversity in imagery, creatures, and locales. I would love to do a whole series of art prints and miniatures based off of this story.

What's been your favorite creation so far? What was the most unexpected surprise you've found when making these creations?

So far my favorite creation is my 1/61 scale Great Cthulhu. It is my first "large" sculpture, and it has been a great learning experience. Since it is a multipart kit it was a lot of fun and sometimes a little frustrating figuring out how to make sure everything fit together, especially the tentacles connecting to the head.

What other themes do you like to work with in your art?

I also work in fantasy and sci-fi. When I was in high school I created a whole universe that takes place in the near future. It is a dystopian sci-fi world where humans battle to avoid total annihilation. The main story arc is called Kill Ratio. The KR Universe has been on the back burner and I have been constantly going back to it, working on it and fleshing it out more through out the years.

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years? Where do you hope to go from here?

I have a ton of projects that are waiting for their opportunity to get out into the world. These projects range from comic books/graphic novels of the KR Universe to my games.

The H.P. Lovecraft mythos is my primary focus right now. My first priority is working on the fulfillment of our successful Kickstarter for the Great Cthulhu: (

I am also currently working on the web site and web store for Mythos Foundry.

The next project for Mythos Foundry will be a miniature skirmish game based off of Lovecraft's works using our Lovecraftian miniatures. The rules are well underway and we will be playtesting very soon.

Where else can we find you throughout the year?
We plan on attending many more conventions, and we will have an online presence very soon. We do have a Facebook page ( where we will notify everyone of any updates.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you create your art?

I have a pretty wide range of music that I listen to, from classical to techno. I also enjoy ambient music and orchestral soundtracks. The majority of music that I listen to while working though, would have to be trance, such as Armin Van Burren.

Be sure to visit the Mythos Foundry at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival this year in San Pedro!

Morbid Curiosities and Black Velvet: An interview with Mike Dubisch

Among the modern-day rivals to Richard Upton Pickman is Mike Dubisch, who will be joining us for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon in San Pedro from September 27-29th.

He has been bringing a Lovecraftian twist to his fantasy art, illustration and comics for a quarter century. He's created Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons toys, animated DVD covers for the World Wrestling Federation, designs for animated movies, and characters for MTV.

His work is held in the permanent collection of The Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art. His Lovecraftian Graphic Novel WEIRDLING was published in 2007 to critical acclaim. Current projects include Zombies VS Robots:Diplomacy and Godzilla comics sketch variant covers, both for IDW, creature designs for film, including "Transcendent" for the 2013 Portland festival.

We had a chance to talk with him, and see where his twisted imagination is taking us all next.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?
I discovered horror, oddly enough, though MAD Magazine- I became fascinated with the notion that the humor magazine had been an offshoot from the EC horror titles, and became obsessed with 1950's "pre-code" (before the comics code authority) horror comics. That led me to Stephen King, and King pointed me at Lovecraft. Oddly enough, it's the fundamentals I keep having to relearn. I have a tendency to want to jumpahead a step- Drawing before writing, rendering without properly constructing, placing figures before creating their environments.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
"The Shadow Out Of Time." Still an influence and an inspiration. Just, to me, a perfect example of Lovecraftian ideas and storytelling.

What's been your favorite creation so far? What was the most unexpected surprise you've found when making these creations?
It kind of surprises me that I found a personal voice and theme in my writing. I play around with writing almost on a hobbyist level, secondary to my illustration. Yet I manage to occasionally script relevant, readable works in the graphic novel medium, and several authors confide in me regularly for input into their stories. So I guess, even though I am primarily known as an illustrator of games and an artist of the macabre, I remain most proud of the graphic novel and comic works, especially "Weirdling," the one shot "The Wet Nurse" and my contribution to the anthology "Bela Lugosi's Tales from the Grave" title "Order In/Take Out Chaos."

What other themes do you like to work with in your art?
Birth, growth, evolution, family, enlightenment and revelation, the human condition.

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years? Where do you hope to go from here?

I'd like to adapt something from the public domain into a graphic novel, especially if I can't get any of the many story ideas of my own that I have to spark. On that subject, I might like to work with some writers on some of those personal idea germs. I'd also like to do a really involved series of personal paintings, perhaps based on mythology or the tarot.

Where else can we find you throughout the year?
I am not doing many conventions these days. I can often be found here and there at San Diego Comicon, but I can't even guarantee that. I am focusing on my work and my job online teaching and class development at The Academy Of Art University. I can still be found on Facebook, MikeDubischArt and Youtube.MikeDubischArt and on the web at

What's your favorite music to listen to as you create your art?
I usually prefer classical music, ambient music, or pure percussion based world music, but occasionally go on a female vocalist kick, listening to Susan Vega, Sinead O Conner, and P.J. Harvey, or a bit of an alterna-rock thing, with Janes Addiction/Porno for Pyros, 16 Horsepower/Woven hand and Sky Cries Mary.

Be sure to say "Ia! Ia!" to Mike Dubisch at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and visit him at his website:

Of Antiques and Elder Things: An interview with The Rational Past.

One of the vendors coming to the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon this year in San Pedro is a quirky outfit known as The Rational Past.

Purveyors of scientific and industrial artifacts scoured from laboratories, medical, nautical, and astronomical institutions, their collections include everything ranging from weights and scales to surveying, drafting, calculating and optical tools of the trade and "items of Unique interest." Be sure to check them out and see if they bring out the young Herbert West in you!

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What are some of the most interesting pieces you've found so far?

The Roberts family have been in the artifacts, antiques and collectibles business for over 20 years (since some of us were 11 years old). Al has a science background and Bobbie's expertise is art. We enjoy the esthetics and functionality of tools that made history in a range of fields.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?
I am not going to pick a favorite Lovecraft story but Paul will offer many opinions when we get there.

What is some of your advice to someone beginning to collect instruments like these? How do we build a good eye for a rare or quality piece?
With these instruments you should buy what you like. As with anything, look carefully and ask a lot of questions. Just make sure that it is the real deal if you are paying for the real deal. We are careful to label all our pieces and talk with customers about use and history. We have helped prop several movies over the years and were surprised that art directors feel it is important for the actors to have the actual instruments in their hands when ever possible.

For the Lovecraft crowd we are sure the piece to which they would have responded enthusiastically was a tray of 50 glass eyes once in our possession. They were pieces of art glass circa 1900 with different colored irises and varying degrees of blood shot.

Where else can we find you throughout the year?
Our schedule of events are on our web site. This fall we are very busy. We will be at Los Angeles Printers Fair, COMIKAZI and LOSCON.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you do your research?
I personally love to work to The Sound of Silence.

We are looking forward to a good and interesting time at the Festival.

You can visit the Rational Past online at:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Iu Mien to celebrate 18th Annual King Pan Festival in Oakland

The Lao Iu Mien Culture Association (LIMCA) is hosting its 18th Annual King Pan Festival to honor its Iu Mien's forefather "King Pan". The Festival will be held Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the LIMCA-Iu Mien Cultural Center, 485 105th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94603, from 10 AM to 6 PM. go to for more information. The Iu Mien are a branch of the Yao ethnic group, one of the ancient groups involved with the founding of China.

Weasels, Dreams and Nightmares: An interview with Kyle Laird of WeaselWerks

When you're attending the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, you have to be prepared to run into all sorts of unexpected things slithering around the aisles in San Pedro. Among all of this, this year, guests will see the creations of the WeaselWerks.

WeaselWerks is the multimedia studio of a caffeine crazed weasel! The weasel is a Long Beach crafter/artist Kyle Laird, who works in paper, fiber, metal and stone to make items that bring something a little different to an everyday world. All of his items are handcrafted using as few motorized tools as possible, no two items turn out exactly the same. You can visit Weaselwerks at or on deviantart at We had a chance to discuss art, horror and other weasel issues with Kyle Laird.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on WeaselWerks? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?

A: I trained to be a musician all through my school years, but found that for reasons beyond my control it just wasn't going to happen. I did some college and a lot of work with businesses big and small only to find that I needed to be on my own. I started WeaselWerks to learn about the business of art and a venue to get feedback on the things I create. The hardest thing for me to learn I'm still learning - since I really can't draw, getting a concept for a visual piece out of my head and translated to the final medium sometimes takes a couple of tries. I'm finding that a lot of times I can just go for it and I get a better result than I had imagined.

Q: What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

A: That's a terribly difficult question to answer! I think the first Lovecraft story I read was "The Shadow over Innsmouth." I was about 10, so it was way out of the realm of what my teachers thought I should be reading. All I wanted to read was Poe, Lovecraft, Machen and Tolkein for the rest of grade school. Can't imagine why I wasn't invited to share my book reports with the rest of the class. I love all the Lovecraft tales with the exception of "Mountains of Madness." I've never finished it. For some reason, I just can't connect with it.

Q: What was the most unexpected surprise you've found so far working with metal?

A: That I was good at it and liked it. I took up metalworking so that I could set the stones that I facet, but I do a lot of work that does not involve stone setting. Most of the things I crafted for so long (lace, costumes, pillows and linens, faceted gemstone, specialty paper items and so on) involve keeping one's hands really clean. Metalwork is dirty! I'm still pretty OCD when crafting in other mediums, but I enjoy having green hands at the end of a day working with copper.

Q: What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years? Where do you hope to go from here?

A: I have a couple of projects going right now. I'm finishing a remodel on a condo to sell it and buy a duplex to remodel. I'm looking for physical space to house WeaselWerks so that I can teach and have a small gallery. Within the next two years, I hope to have a large space that houses a studio that provides classes and workspace for ceramics, glassblowing, stained glass works, dichroic glass, enameling, casting, stone faceting and cabbing as well as metal work. Since art has been cut significantly in schools at all levels, people have less opportunity to explore and I feel that a private sector solution will do better than relying on state or federal funding. Art is so important - people of all ages and skill levels need access!

Q: Where else can we find you throughout the year?

A: I'm trackable through my blog at and I keep a pretty good gallery at DeviantArt under the name Hawkston. I promised my mom that I would try to get a collection showing at a gallery (crikey- that's super scary!!!!) by next summer and I'm working on a specific piece for submission to Bella Amore magazine. That piece should be done by the end of October, so maybe it will make the summer 2014 issue of Bella.

Q: What's your favorite music to listen to as you're creating new works?

A: My mp3 player has a mix of music from Flight of the Conchords, Garfunkle and Oates, selections from Sweeny Todd, 3 versions of the torch song 'Sway", some Oingo Boingo, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, the Cure, the Fixx, two versions of 'Cry Me a River' and the Minecraft parody song '500 Chunks'. I lost my cd of The Best of Tom Jones so I'm really missing his version of 'Kiss' with Art of Noise, which is probably good for productivity because, really, how can you not dance to that?

Be sure to visit Kyle Laird and WeaselWerks at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival this month at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Beyond Dark Wisdom and Worms: An interview with Gary Myers

Among the authors joining us for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon is Gary Myers, who's written Lovecraftian work most of his life.  As we prepare to converge on the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, this month, we had a chance to talk with him about fear, the mythos, and the dark wisdom we find along the way.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn as a writer?

Like so many of Lovecraft's monsters, I'm a survival from another age. I wrote my first Cthulhu Mythos story at the end of the 1960's when I was only 16. It was purchased and published by August Derleth (yes, that August Derleth) of Arkham House, and reprinted by Lin Carter in a volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series (and if you don't know what that is, I don't know what to tell you). My first collection, THE HOUSE OF THE WORM, was brought out by Arkham House a few years later, and I have pretty much been trading on it ever since. I would be hard put to say what the hardest thing I had to learn as a writer was, since it could be argued that I never learned anything as a writer. What I started doing at 16 I am still trying to do at 61!

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

I have several favorites: "The Music of Erich Zann," "The Rats in the Walls," "The Colour Out of Space." I realize that these all come rather early in Lovecraft's career, before many of the stories more closely associated with the Cthulhu Mythos. But nowadays I detect a note of self-parody in those later stories which is enough to bump them from the top of the heap.

What's been your favorite creation so far? What was the most unexpected surprise you've found as a writer?

I believe the orthodox answer to that first question is, the last one. As for the second question, I write too slowly and deliberately to be surprised by what I write. But I am occasionally surprised when I finish it.

What's your advice to beginning horror writers to find their voice, especially if they want to contribute meaningfully to the Cthulhu Mythos?

Don't try to systematize the Mythos. That black hole has swallowed up more than a few unsuspecting writers. Do read widely in and out of the field. That is still the best way to learn how to write. Don't write anything so familiar that the readers will think they have read it before. But don't write anything so unfamiliar that the readers will feel they didn't get what they paid for. Does that sound like a contradiction? Maybe it is. I guess you're on your own here, kids. Still, as long as you like what you're doing it's not a waste of time, no matter what does or doesn't come of it. But don't quit your day jobs!

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years?

I'm not looking forward to any new projects. But I was saying the same thing only six months ago, and just this week I finished a new Eibon story to have something to read for the festival. So I can't definitely rule them out.

What's you recommendation for first-time readers who want to read more of your work?

Well, it's all out there, all in print. Readers who enjoy more fantastical stuff, like Lovecraft's Dreamlands or Smith's Hyperborea, might find something to please them in THE COUNTRY OF THE WORM. Readers who like their Mythos in a more familiar setting might prefer to give DARK WISDOM a try. The jury is still out on GRAY MAGIC.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you write?

Prose is its own music. Why mess it up?

See you at the festival!

Key photography fellowships, prizes, and award deadlines

If you're a photographer, you may want to keep the following deadlines in mind.

January 16: World Press Photo
January 30: John Faber Award/Robt Capa/Olivier Rebbot (Overseas Press Club)
January 31: Oskar Barnack Award/Leica Medal of Excellence (
January 31: Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award (
January 31: Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize (
February 1: Alexia Foundation (
February: PDN
March 15: Visa Pour L’Image (exhibits deadline)
June 15: Grand Prix CARE International du Reportage Humanitaire
June 15: Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography
June 21: London Photographic Awards
July 15: Eugene Smith
July 31: Kodak Hasselblad Open International Photo Challenge
October 1: Alicia Patterson Foundation
October 1: New York Foundation of the Arts
October 1: Guggenheim (US competition)
October 3: Golden Light Awards (
October 31: Aaron Siskind Foundation
December 1: Guggenheim (Caribbean/Latin American competition)
December 31: Puffin Foundation

Loy Photisane joins Little Laos on the Prairie

The Minnesota-based Lao American blog Little Laos on the Prairie just announced the addition of Loy Photisane to the list of regular contributors this month. She anticipates covering Lao-owned small businesses and restaurants in the future.

Photisane has been an active member of the Lao Student Association at the University of Minnesota and volunteered on key projects in the Lao American community including the first National Lao American Writers Summit and the Legacies of War: Refugee Nation Twin Cities Interdisciplinary Exhibit at Intermedia Arts. We look forward to seeing her future writing as she contributes to the growing Lao Minnesotan voice.

LONTAR #1 now available in Singapore

The first issue of LONTAR is now available for sale at BooksActually and online at the BooksActually Web Store, and very soon at all Kinokuniya branches in Singapore. They’ll also be releasing the issue as a DRM-free ebook bundle (PDF/ePub/Mobi) later this month.

Contents include:
01. Etching the Lontar | Jason Erik Lundberg (Editorial)
02. Departures | Kate Osias (Fiction)
03. Love in the Time of Utopia | Zen Cho (Fiction)
04. Philippine Magic: A Course Catalogue | Paolo Chikiamco (Non-Fiction)
05. Jayawarman 9th Remembers the Dragon Archipelago | Chris Mooney-Singh (Poetry)
06. The Immortal Pharmacist | Ang Si Min (Poetry)
07. Stainless Steel Nak | Bryan Thao Worra (Poetry)
08. The Yellow River | Elka Ray Nguyen (Fiction)
09. The Gambler | Paolo Bacigalupi (Fiction Reprint)

Poetry and the Paranormal: An interview with Denise Dumars

Poetry and horror often collide, and the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival will be no exception. Among those coming to the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California from September 27-29th will be speculative poet Denise Dumars.

Denise Dumars is a college English instructor, a writer of Lovecraftian poetry and fiction and other scary things, and a student of the mantic arts. Her most current book of dark poetry, Paranormal Romance: Poems Romancing the Paranormal, was nominated for the Elgin Award.  She lives in L.A.'s beautiful South Bay area but her heart is in New Orleans. We had a chance to speak with her recently.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn as a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from the age of 8 or 9. I didn’t know any writers and I lived in a working-class part of town where no one knew what to do with me, including my teachers! I read Poe, Verne, and Wells at that age, but got to HPL a bit later. I think the first person I told about wanting to be a writer wasn’t really able to mentor me much; no fault of his own, as he was a 2,300 year-old scribe named Pu whose mummy is still on display at the Natural History Museum! No living person recognized my abilities until I got to college, where I got kidnapped by English majors and never looked back!

When I was 19 a magazine published my first poem, and I learned that there were others out there who liked HPL. That was my first sense of community with others like myself.

The hardest thing for me to learn as a writer is, I’d say, ongoing: the fact that the vast majority of Americans don’t read, and of those that do, very few read poetry. In addition, the fact that people here in Southern California don’t respect writers because screenwriters are not respected by the film industry, which I think is a crime. I get much more respect in New Orleans and in Mexico than I get here!

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

The Dunwich Horror, by far, for so many reasons, not just the fact that I did a book report on it which really confused my 6th grade teacher! I read it for the first time when I was 12, which I believe is the golden age of horror (16 being the golden age of SF.) I mean, it has a librarian as a hero—how cool is that? It also uses all of HPL’s tropes to their best advantage: the decaying hill folk, cosmic horror, ritualistic activity, and the realization that all the hoary occult tomes you may have ever read are actually true! And of course, because it is a spoof on the birth of Jesus.

What's been your favorite creation so far? What was the most unexpected surprise you've found as a writer?

My favorite short story of mine is probably “Topping Out,” not only because it captures a slice of Los Angeles that is all but gone, but also because it is prescient in a way that only a horror writer could appreciate. You see, it’s set in a cursed location that really exists; no business has ever had success there, just like in the story. I wrote it long before retail businesses gave up on it and it became the Peterson Automotive Museum, still in existence. Considering what happens in the story (you’ll have to read it to find out, but the title is a clue!) it could be viewed as predicting the assassination of rapper Biggie Smalls, because the Peterson Museum parking lot is where he was ambushed and killed; the museum has always had problems, and of course, the murder only reinforces its reputation as a cursed location.

The most unexpected surprise I’ve had is when people actually come up to me and say that they like my writing!

What's your advice to beginning horror writers to find their voice?

Read and read and read and read and read. This is the single hardest lesson that I always try to get across to creative writing students: YOU MUST READ. Read everything; not just horror. People don’t understand that in order to be a successful writer you must LOVE to read, or your own writing will fall flat. Plus, it’s karmic: why should anyone read what you’ve written if you won’t read their work? The second thing is to get out there and see what’s around you; even HPL with his limited income was widely traveled. Nowadays nobody leaves the house or even looks up from whatever nonsense they’re texting. A writer needs experience in the real world, which is weirder than you can even imagine sometimes.

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years?

I’ve got some novels in the pipeline, and I’d like to get them done and out the door! I’d like to write a couple of book series; currently I am writing a paranormal romance (guess the title of my poetry collection was prophetic!) with Corinne DeWinter, and I have just started a new-future detective series with Lovecraftian overtones, of course, as a solo project, and then there are numerous other novels, nonfiction, poetry, and short fiction projects I hope to complete. I’m also hoping to have my collection of short stories, Lovecraft Slept Here, published again at some point as it is out of print.

What's you recommendation for first-time readers who want to read more of your work?

I would say they could buy a copy of my current poetry collection, Paranormal Romance: Poems Romancing the Paranormal, since it also includes essays and will give the reader a sense of the kinds of things I write, plus I’m pretty proud of it. It has a long poem written by the technique of “automatic writing” which—no surprise here—contains references to the HPL universe aka the “Cthulhu Mythos,” which isn’t really what Lovecraft called it. I believe he preferred the “Yog-Sothoth Cycle of Myth,” which relates back to the Dunwich Horror, my favorite HPL story. If people want an autographed copy of my book, Mysterious Galaxy will have it for sale at the HPL film festival. Come to the reading at the Whale & Ale and I’ll autograph it for you!

What's your favorite music to listen to as you write?

I listen to YouTube on headphones a lot, usually roots music from Louisiana, humorous stuff such as “The Fox” or “Steampunk Style,” or anything by Aurelio Voltaire; he was at our film festival last year and I wish someone would have had me introduce him to the audience!

See her writerly exploits at and her magickal side at Rev. Dee's Apothecary: a New-Orleans Style Botanica, at And be sure to drop by and say hello during the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taking Charge of Your Education: September 16th and 18th

For those of you in the Inland Empire: I'll be discussing Taking Charge of Your Education this week on Monday, September 16th and Wednesday, September 18th. I'll be giving my next presentation Getting Involved on Campus on September 30th and October 2nd. This will be for the Fall 2013 series of the Student Development Program.

All of my sessions will be from 12:30-1:30 PM in room 1301 at the MSJC San Jacinto Campus.

This series is made in possible through the MSJC EOPS/CARE program. Other topics will be taught by Dr. Ketmani Kouanchao and Alex Cuatok.

MSJC is a comprehensive community college that is part of California’s 112-community college system. It serves students throughout the 1,700-square mile area from the San Jacinto, Menifee Valley and San Gorgonio Pass campuses, the Temecula Education Complex and many off-site locations.

MSJC offers courses and programs that satisfy the transfer requirements of four-year colleges and universities. They offer a variety of vocational and technical programs, basic skills and English as a Second Language (ESL) training programs, distance education courses and continuing education programs and classes.

Cannibal Rockers, Vampires and Cthulhu: An interview with horror novelist Nancy Holder

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is barely a fortnight away, coming to the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California from September 27-29th. Besides blood-curdling cinema, it will feature a cavalcade of acclaimed horror writers, including best-selling author Nancy Holder.

Nancy Holder's work has appeared on many bestseller lists. A five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and Romantic Times. She has written dozens of "tie-in" projects for such universes as Teen Wolf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Saving Grace, Hulk, Hellboy, Sherlock Holmes, and many others. She has taught Lovecraft at the University of California at San Diego and the Stonecoast Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.

Born in Los Altos, California, she went to middle school in Japan. At the age of sixteen, she dropped out of high school to become a ballet dancer in Cologne, Germany. Later, she returned to California and graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Communications. Soon after, she began to write. And the rest is history. Or horror story, if you want to get technical. She graciously agreed to be interviewed on her work.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn as a horror writer?

I started out as a horror writer in college. I turned in a manuscript to my critique group and my professor said it was the hysterically funny parody of a horror story he'd ever read. It was so over the top, he said. I was crushed. The hardest thing for me was to come up with ideas. For the first few years it took me a year to come up with something to write about. But your imagination is like an engine. Once you can get it to start running, it'll warm up and talk off.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story? 
The Call of Cthulhu. The Ur of the Mythos!

What's been your favorite creation so far?

I wrote a short story where Timothy Leary goes to hang out with Dracula. I really liked that. And I have two cannibalistic rock stars I write about from time to time. Their names are Dwight and Angelo.

What's your advice to beginning writers who want to tell a truly exceptional horror story?
Read everything you can and watch everything you can. Get in the groove and let horror storytelling permeate your soul. Be earnest. NOthing is less scary than arch, ironic storytelling that doesn't take the genre seriously.

What's a project you hope to take on in the next few years?
I want to spend an entire year reading and watching nothing but haunted house stories. My two favorite haunted house stories for far are THE HAUNTING and all the various forms of THE WOMAN IN BLACK.

What's you recommendation for first-time readers who want to read more of your work?

Short fiction: "Cannibal Cats Come Out Tonight" (The first Dwight and Angelo story) or "We Have Always Lived in the Forest"

What's your favorite music to listen to as you write?
Soundtracks. I can't get enough of them. I am recently in love with the soundtrack to the French creepy series LES REVENANTS, half of which I saw in London. It's composed by the Scottish band Mogwai. Excellent!

You can see more of Nancy's work at: and be sure to join us all at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and CthulhuCon this September!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cthulhu, Creating, and the Cool: An Interview with artist Justin White and Necro-Sapien Press

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival is fast approaching the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA. Innumerable horrors will descend there from September 27-29th. You won't want to miss it! Among the artists in attendance will be Necro-Sapien Press.We had a chance to talk with Justin White this month about how it got started.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on Necro-sapien Press? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?

I started Necro-Sapien Press in 2005 while attending school for my graphic design degree. I had been helping out a friend of mine who sold mainly vintage video games, vinyl and toys at local conventions just helping him set up and run the booth. So at one of the shows I decided to get a table next to his, make some prints of a few pieces of my art and see what happened. Well it went really well and I haven't looked back since. In 2009 I teamed up with indie publisher Forbidden Panel and illustrated the first installment of their flagship book "ZKS: Zombie Kill Squad" which was written by AJ Herrera. We had a blast doing that so I continued working with AJ and FP eventually becoming a partner in the company and their art director.

One of the hardest things I had to learn doing art professionally is when to just finish a piece and walk away from it. It's tempting to scrutinize every detail and try to reach perfection but then you have to realize that is impossible and you will drive you self crazy, not to mention never have anything done in time for the next show. And sometimes it's those imperfections that really draw people to your work.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

This is a hard one because I always have a new favorite. I have a huge soft spot for "Call of Cthulhu" because it was the first one I read in high school and I remember thinking "Damn, this is creepy as hell" so I started reading all of his work. I am also a huge fan of "A Shadow Over Innsmouth" mainly because of the amazing atmosphere he creates in it. When you're reading Innsmouth you can almost smell it and taste the salt water in the air. That's what I love about his work, the powerful feeling of dread and heavy atmosphere he creates.

What was the most unexpected surprise you've found so far when journeying into the land of publishing? 

The biggest surprise to me is how supportive other creators are. Coming from a graphic design back ground where everything is so competitive I was expecting the same with comic book artists and illustrators but that wasn't the case. Every one, from fellow self publishers to established professionals, has been really honest and helpful. It was great to meet guy's who I used to stand in line to meet at Comic- Con in the 80's and have them be very welcoming and supportive. It's a great community and we get to have little reunions at every show.

What are some of your favorite themes you like to see authors address, in your work and in others?

I like to vary the themes of my art and writing as much as possible, mainly so I don't get bored with myself. But of my favorite ideas to play around with is that monsters come in many guises and they don't necessarily look like the one you thought was the monster. I think this stems largely from when I was about 6 or so and saw the original Frankenstein for the first time and later when I got into Clive Barkers work. In books like "The Hellbound Heart", "Cabal" and "Frankenstein" the monsters were not the bad guy's they were either the victems of or summoned by humans and I guess I always connected with that. I've always liked the idea that the things that are truly evil are safe and normal looking and the scary, grotesque things are the good guys.

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years? Where do you hope to go from here?

The next project I hope to tackle next is my illustrated novella "The Ghosts of War" the first in a series featuring my occult private detective Maxx Cash. I've completed about 3/4 of the first draft of the writing then I'll begin the illustrations. I've been working on this story for a couple of years and really hope to have it completed by next fall. I will also be releasing a short comic book story called "The Mask of Devouring". It's a medieval fantasy/horror story about a lustful cleric and an evil artifact. It's part of a fantasy universe I've created and I hope to have a few of these stories done sometime next year. I will also be finishing up the last two installments of "Zombie Kill Squad" for Forbidden Panel.

Where else can we find you throughout the year?

Throughout the year you can find me at several different conventions and art shows. I'm just about ready to wrap up the convention season for 2013 but I will be at the Bakersfield Comic-Con on September 22 and of course at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhu-Con September 27-29. I will also be participating in the 24-Hour Comic Book Challenge at Four Color Fantasy October 5th-6th in Rancho Cucamonga and at the 3rd Annual Zombie Beauty Pageant presented by Forbidden Panel at the Fox Theater in Redlands on October 27th.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you work on the press? 

I get asked the music question a lot. I have quite a varied music collection. Everything from jazz to punk to classical to rockabilly to classic rock but I'm a metal head at heart I grew up on bands like Iron Maiden, Anthrax and Slayer. But when I'm drawing or writing I love to listen to movie soundtracks. My favorites are "Conan The Barbarian" by Basil Poledouris and "Hellraiser" by Christopher Young.

Thanks and I'll see you at the HPLFF this September!

You can visit Necro-Sapien Press online at http://www.necrosapien.netwhere they provide custom illustrations, concert posters, logos and more.

Strokes of the Surreal and the Eldritch: An interview with artist D.H. Covey

Are you ready for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival approaching the threshold of the rational world once more? At the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA from September 27-29th, we'll be witness to many amazing artists who are daring to interpret the mind-blasting cosmic horrors of H.P. Lovecraft.

One of those artists is D.H. Covey, a Automatism Surrealist painter and motion picture storyboard artist. He is a graduate of The Maryland Institute of Fine Arts and moved to Hollywood in 1997 to work with Brian Yuzna on the movie Progeny. This led to more work on over 20 motion picture, video and TV projects. Both of his children attend Cal Poly Pomona. Michelle is a Fine Arts major, and Adam is a Mechanical Engineer. His wife Deby, a Technical Support Manager for GXS, is also his business and operations manager. We had a chance to talk with him about his work, and how he keeps reasonably sane in this crowd.

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started on all of this? What was one of the hardest things for you to learn?

I was born and spent my childhood in Appallacian mountains of Southern Virgina. I met my wife in Blacksburg, VA, while she was attending Virginia Tech. We moved to the Maryland/ Washington D.C. Area after her graduation, where our two children were born. I graduated from the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts. I met Brian Yuzna at a New York City Fangoria Convention, where he offered me a job as a storyboard Artist in Los Angeles.

I was born with an artistic desire, and even before starting school, I remember storyboarding movies that I saw on TV. The hardest thing I've ever had to learn was patience.

What's your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story?

My favorite Lovecraft stories are “The Dunwich Horror”, “The Shuttered Room”, or “Whisperers in the Darkness”.

What has been your favorite creation so far?

I can't say that I have a favorite, but usually whatever I am working on at the moment is The most important piece.

What was the most unexpected surprise you've found when making these creations?

How much better a piece of work becomes once I allow myself to stop Thinking about the creation, and let it happen. To go with instinct rather than intellect.

What other themes do you like to work with in your art?

Abstract Surrealism and Assemblage art.

What's a project you really hope to take on in the next few years? Where do you hope to go from here?

Do I actually want to reveal that at the moment? It's Interactive Art objects that can be functional and utilized by the observer.

Where else can we find you throughout the year?
One would have to check my website for professional events and dates, but I do a lot of planned and unplanned travel throughout the year. I just returned from a week of camping in Point Mugu, and Alaska the month before that. In the next few months, planned trips are New Orleans, the Washington D.C. Area, and South Dakota for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

What's your favorite music to listen to as you create your art?

It varies depending on the project. Recently, I have been listening to a lot of later Alice Cooper and Fuck Buttons. Sometimes it's Motion Picture Scores or even The Glen Miller Band. My old standbys are Front 242, The Clash, David Bowie, and The Talking Heads.

Be sure to say hello to D.H. Covey at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival this month. If you dare!