Tag Archives: Howard Days

Report on Howard Days 2017

I know I should have posted this almost two weeks ago, but I’ve been pretty swamped.  I’m teaching a class at the moment that’s taking up most of my time.  But since I don’t feel like grading exams on a Friday evening, I’ll blog instead.

This year’s theme was “Howard Detectives: The Ongoing Search for Undiscovered Information”.  Since there weren’t any anniversaries this year, things were a little low key compared to recent years.  That was fine with me. The attendance was down a little, which was disappointing.

I got in on Thursday afternoon.  Like I did two years ago, I stayed at the isolated farmhouse down the hill from the cemetery.  There weren’t any creepy things this time, but then I had a better idea of what to expect.  There also wasn’t a working air conditioner.  I slept with the windows open.  At first I thought about going to a hotel, but if Two-Gun Bob could sleep without AC all his life, I could do it for a few nights. Continue reading

Summer Schedule

I’ve been kinda busy lately, but I thought I would give a short update.

Last week my son competed in the state solo and ensemble competition.  He didn’t play a solo, but his quartet scored a one.  (For those who don’t know, band scores are like golf scores; lower is better.)  I went along as a sponsor, and since I rode the bus rather than drove myself, I got some reading done.

I’ll try to post reviews soon, but I’ve been devoting what free time I’ve had to fiction writing.  I’ve got three stories in slush piles.  With one exception, which got a very nice rejection of the send-me-something-else variety, all the other stories I sent out earlier this year have placed.  I need to get some more stuff finished and out the door.  I’m hoping things will settle down next week.

Why not this week, you ask.  Summer classes started today, so normally I would be into a routine by the end of the week.  However, this weekend is my annual pilgrimage to the holy land, also know as Robert E. Howard Days.  I’m going down on Thursday afternoon (and in my car since my wife needs hers this weekend.  It will be an adventure.)

So look for a writeup on Howard Days next week.  If I can squeeze in a review before then, I’ll do it.  Otherwise, they’ll hit after I get back.

Report on Howard Days 2016

Howard House 2016Yes, I know this year’s Howard Days was nearly 2 weeks ago, but we left for New Mexico on family vacation right after I got back.  (Other than no AC in the car when the temperature was 105F, we had a great time.)  I’m playing catch-up catch up on blogging.

Howard Days has grown, something that was emphasized since this year marked the 30th anniversary of the first Howard Days.  While things officially don’t start until Friday, people are showing up on Wednesday evenings.  Space is becoming a consideration, with events this year moved from the library to the high school auditorium or the Senior Center across the street from the library.  There were a number of new attendees, which is always a healthy thing for an event, and I’m not referring the 10,000 or so mosquitoes that showed up. Continue reading

An Open Letter to …?

This is going to be an open letter to two people, neither of whose identity is known to me.  I have a first name for one person (which I will not be revealing).  The other person’s identity I don’t know at all.  This is the person I would like to talk to.

I get most of my mail at a PO box for security reasons.  I want things with financial information safely locked away, not in a mail box on my porch.

Anyway, after lunch today I swung by the post office.  There were a couple of pieces of mail with computer generated addresses, such as an insurance statement, things like that.  On top of these envelopes was a letter-sized envelope with a hand-written address.  The handwriting was unfamiliar.  I glanced at the return address but didn’t look any closer than to see it was in town.   Through the envelope I could see and feel what appeared to be a card.

Wondering who it was from, I took a closer look at the return address.  There was no name, just a PO Box, city, and zip code.  My PO Box. Continue reading

Howard Days 2015 is Almost Upon Us

Robert E. Howard fenceIt’s Tuesday evening as I write this and in 48 hours, I’ll be in Cross Plains for Howard Days 2015, which officially kicks off on Friday.  I’ll provide a report next week.  In the meantime, I thought I would inquire as to what any of you any of you might like me to pay particular attention to.  The theme this year is the relationship between Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft.

Anyway, if you can’t make it and like me to report on something in particular, please let me know.

RIP, Miguel Martins

Al and Miguel

Al Harron (left) and Miguel Martins atop Caddo Peak, Howard Days 2011

I’ve begun to hear from people in Robert E. Howard fandom that Miguel Martins has passed away.  I don’t have any details at this time.

I only met Miguel once, at Howard Days in 2011.  I liked him immediately.  Miguel was one of the first people to follow this blog.  When I met him, he complemented me on it.  That meant a lot to me, as I had been blogging for less than a year, and at one point a few months prior I had considered shutting it down.

This was the year that the Conan movie was released.  Miguel asked for my thoughts after a presentation on the movie Saturday afternoon at Howard Days.  I was somewhat caught offguard and babbled something.  It couldn’t have been too incoherent because Miguel took a drag on his cigarette and gave a reply that showed he had listened and seriously considered what I’d said.  That also meant a lot to me because I wasn’t as involved in Howard fandom then as I am now.  Someone who was much more involved wanted to know what I thought, and listened carefully.

Saturday evening at Howard Days is the barbeque and hike up Caddo Peak for those willing to brave the heat, the snakes, the prickly pear, and the steep climb.  I climbed the peak with Al Harron and Miguel.  We had a great time, managed to avoid any snakes and the copious thorns on the prickly pears that covered the top of the peak.  They asked me to take a picture of them, which I did.  It’s the one at the top of this post.  It was one of the best years as far as company on the hike, and company in general, was concerned.

I didn’t hear from Miguel after that, and he drifted away from Howard fandom over the next few years.  Since he was from France, I wasn’t surprised that I never saw him at Howard Days again, although I always hoped he’d be back.  Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Jeff Shanks has posted a tribute here.  Al Harron’s is here.  Barbara Barrett’s is here.  I’ll post other links as I become aware of them.