Saturday, May 31, 2014

I've Made It to Cross Plains - Now What?

This REH Days Overview Part 3 is brought to you by It's Thursday - What the Heck Do I Do Now?!

With all the magical electronic gadgets available today, getting to Cross Plains, Texas is a lot easier than it used to be! So, you've driven in to this small town for Howard Days and you have found the House located on the western edge of town on the south side of Highway 36. You made it! But it's Thursday...

This year the Howard Museum will be open on Thursday June 12 from 2-4 pm. If you come in then (and a lot of folks do) you will find there are no docents on duty at the House, but you can enter and look around to your heart's content; the Gift Shop is open as well. You can also hang out at the adjacent Alla Ray Morris Pavilion, where tables and chairs are set up for the weekend's activities. You will most likely find a number of people already there swapping lies and telling stories. The Pavilion is the congregation point for Howard Days, the place where we meet up for the entire weekend. All are welcome to come and sit and make up your own lies; some of the Featured Attendees will be there as well. It is all very informal and we are all happy to help with any questions you have or information you need. We are friends first, anal-retentive Robert E. Howard fans second! Step right up, don't be shy! We're all here because of Bob Howard!

There is usually an informal dinner gathering on Thursday; we drive to Brownwood, eat at Humphrey Pete's and then make a sundown sojourn to REH's grave site in the Green Leaf Cemetery. This is not a scheduled activity and most folks do this on their own. Later, after dark we congregate again at the Pavilion for the first of three nights of such an activity. More lies and stories (you're probably seeing a theme...)

Friday is Day 1 of Howard Days, starting at 8:30 am and going long into the night. Donuts to Dinner and Beyond, you might say. Saturday is Day 2 and very similar to Friday: Nine AM to Sunset BBQ. I've published the summary schedule in an earlier blog post, so please refer to that. I'll be adding details to all the scheduled events in future posts over the next week, so please check back. No lies, I promise.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Now THIS is a Silent Auction Item!

Well, all right! The Silent Auction items are starting to roll in for Howard Days on June 13-14! Pictured above is a truly unique piece created by Larry Pointer. Here's what he has to say about it:

"While doing some repairs to the REH Museum, we saved some of the original siding, and a glass pane from Robert's bedroom. Shirley Petty Clark used her remarkable talent to do the etching of Robert on the glass pane, and I made the frame from the siding. This will be one of the items for the auction during the banquet on June 13th, 2014. A must have item for a Robert E. Howard fan."

Thanks go out to Larry and Shirley! The bidding is sure to be fast and furious for this wonderful piece. Remember: 100% of the proceeds from the Silent Auction go to the upkeep of the REH Museum! But - you can only bid if you are in attendance at the Celebration Banquet. One of the perks for showing up in Cross Plains for The Best Two Days in Howard Fandom!

Y'all come!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Robert E. Howard Days Overview Part 2

Why the heck I haven't uploaded this before is beyond me! Project Pride produced this handy dandy promotional brochure a few years ago. While there have been some minor updates and additions to the house since then, this flyer holds true to give you an incredible amount of information within the space of two pages. Overview Part 3 coming tomorrow!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Featured Attendees - FULBRIGHT & HAWKES

Christopher Fulbright and Angeline Hawkes have been inspired by Robert E. Howard since childhood. Professional Horror and Fantasy writers, Fulbright & Hawkes are former members of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association. Their annual pilgrimage to Cross Plains for REH Days usually results in a new Howard-inspired work of fiction or at the very least a long list of awesome ideas.

Christopher Fulbright is a journalist turned technical writer whose fiction has received honorable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and Best Horror of the Year. Angeline Hawkes is a former high school teacher turned Bram Stoker Award nominated writer who writes primarily historical horror and heroic fantasy. Her heroic fantasy series Tales of the Barbarian Kabar of El Hazzar, is very much inspired by Howard's works.

When not writing individually or collaboratively, the Texas Twosome are busy parenting four children and an insane cat who fancies himself "the fifth child." Check out their website, Fulbright & Hawkes.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Robert E. Howard Days Overview Part 1

As there are less than three weeks to go until Howard Days begins, we're beginning a series of posts to give you as much information as possible to enhance your attendance or even to entice you into coming! There is a total information package over at (click the REH DAYS 2014 tab) that gives you pretty much everything you'll need to know in one shot. We'll be doing a more condensed version of that here but still give you the facts about The Best Two Days in Howard Fandom.

A brief history will tell you that the first Howard Days was actually a day: June 13, 1986 found ten intrepid visitors converging on Cross Plains for an event organized by Rusty Burke and some of the fine folks of the town. The wise people of Cross Plains then realized that they "had" something here - their town was home to a man who created a literary sub-genre and a world-known fictional character - and people wanted to come see where he lived and worked. When the house in which Bob Howard lived became available, the civic organization Project Pride of Cross Plains was formed to buy the house. Without making it sound overly easy, Project Pride not only fixed up the ramshackle structure but then turned it into the Robert E. Howard Museum. Their foresight has insured that the Legacy of Robert E. Howard will continue on.

Ok, down to brass tacks: ROBERT E. HOWARD DAYS is a two-day festival honoring the memory and legacy of Ol' Two-Gun Bob Howard, a true Texan and American original. It takes place every second weekend in June in at the Robert E. Howard Museum on Highway 36 in Cross Plains, Texas; this year it will happen Friday and Saturday, June 13th & 14th.

Howard Days includes these (and more) events: the Howard House & Museum is open both days from 9 to 4; you may tour the house and the surrounding grounds and enjoy a cool drink in the Pavilion next to the house, view a large selection of Howard items in both the Gift Shop and at the REH Swap Meet, attend panels at the Cross Plains Library where you can view original REH manuscripts, get a special postal cancellation souvenir, take a bus tour around town, have a cook-out lunch, enjoy a celebration Banquet and Silent Auction, have some genuine Texas BBQ at a genuine Texas ranch - and best of all, enjoy the fellowship and friendliness of Robert E. Howard fans and the people of Cross Plains.

There is a small fee ONLY for your dinner at the Friday night Banquet. Every other event and activity is FREE of charge. There's not a better deal around for your vacation dollar!

If you are still on the fence about coming down, please know that you don't need to officially register - but if you do decide, the registration fee applies only to your dinner at the Banquet. The folks of Project Pride like to also use this registration as a measuring stick, but you do not have to register to attend any of the activities.

If you would like to register, send $15.00 per person to Project Pride REH Registration, POB 534, Cross Plains, TX 76443 or via Pay Pal: Seating is limited at the Banquet so please register as early as you can (by June 6th).

Like I was saying, this is the first in a series of more specific posts about Howard Days. We'll be continuing with our Featured Attendees posts as well.

We certainly hope to see you at Howard Days this year. It really IS the Best Two Days in Howard Fandom!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Featured Attendee - LEE BREAKIRON

A fan of Robert E. Howard since the 1960s and a collector for nearly as long, Lee Breakiron has been a regular attendee of Howard Days since 2002 and a member of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association since 2009. He has contributed articles to various publications including The CimmerianREH: Two Gun Raconteur, and The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies, as well as the essay collection Two-Gun Bob: A Centennial Celebration.

Considered the leading authority on Howard fanzines, Lee posts his work at the REHEAPA web site and is currently compiling the first comprehensive Bibliography of Secondary Sources on REH. A retired scientist, he resides in New Jersey with his wife Teiko.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Featured Attendee - BARBARA BARRETT

Barbara Barrett has been an enthusiastic and dedicated Robert E. Howard fan since 2006. Shortly after watching The Whole Wide World, she began reading REH and through his stories she discovered his extraordinary ability with words, images and strongly written characters.  Eventually Barbara found her way from Howard’s poetic prose to his poetry and subsequently compiled and edited The Wordbook: An Index Guide to the Poetry of Robert E. Howard, which won the the 2009 REH Foundation Atlantean Award.

She has won three other REH awards for her work on Howard and has she has contributed to the The Cimmerian, REH: Two Gun Raconteur, Black Gate, and others. She has been a member of the Robert E. Howard United Press Association since 2008 and her ongoing REH column "Word of the Week" has appeared weekly in various venues since 2010.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Featured Attendee -- FRANK COFFMAN

Frank Coffman is a professor of English and Journalism at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. His special interest is in the rise and relevance of popular imaginative literature across the genres of Adventure, Detection and Mystery, Fantasy, Horror and the Supernatural, and Science Fiction.

He came to Howard as part of following the Tolkien and general Fantasy boom of the 1960s and 70s. He has published a number of articles in anthologies such as Two-Gun Bob: A Centennial Celebration and Conan Meets the Academy and journals such as REH: Two Gun Raconteur and The Howard Review. From 2001 to 2003 he served as editor of the The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies and he is currently the editor of the REH Electronic Amateur Press Association. He is widely regarded as the foremost expert on Howard's verse and he is the editor of Robert E. Howard: Selected Poems.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Calling All REH Fans!

Less than a month to go and Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains will be upon us!

One of the highlights of the entire affair is the REH Silent Auction at the Celebration Banquet on Friday Night. Project Pride of Cross Plains, Texas the main sponsor of Howard Days is a total volunteer organization and they are dependent upon donations from all over the world to ensure the preservation not only of the REH Museum but of Ol' Two-Gun Bob Howard's Legacy.

This is where you can help by donating Howard items to the Silent Auction. We all have items in our Howard collections that we could donate towards this most worthy of causes (100% of these proceeds goes towards the Museum's upkeep!) so why not take a little time, gather up some items and send them to:

Project Pride/REH Silent Auction
POB 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443

There might even be a nice hand-drawn map like the one pictured above, a rare book or fanzine, books, magazines, posters, artwork - all kinds of cool stuff. This year, Featured Attendee Tom Gianni is donating at least one original sketch to the Auction.

Hope you can make it to Howard Days, but if you can't, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you helped out the Robert E. Howard Museum by donating to the Silent Auction. Much appreciated!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Featured Attendee - DAVE HARDY

Dave Hardy is an author, critic, and mead-maker. He started reading Conan comics in the fifth grade and Roy Thomas's adaptation of "Worms of the Earth" in Savage Sword is one of his fondest memories.

Dave has written articles for REH: Two-Gun Raconteur and The Cimmerian, and penned the introduction to The Early Adventures of El Borak as well as the critical essay in El Borak and Other Desert Adventures. He is a regular attendee at Howard Days since 1999, and is a former member of REHupa.

Dave has written short fiction for many different markets including Frontier Tales, RAGEMachine, and Dark Worlds Magazine. His fantasy novel Crazy Greta was published in 2012 by Musa Publishing, and his frontier-adventure novel, Palmetto Empire is coming from Rough Edges Press in June 2014. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and daughter.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Featured Attendee: CHRIS GRUBER

Chris Gruber has been involved in Howard Studies for over a decade and has served on the review board for The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies since 2008. He has authored award-winning essays and introductions that have appeared in publications such as Boxing Stories, The Cimmerian, REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, and Echos de Cimmerie. He was the editor of Boxing Stories by Robert E. Howard, published by the University of Nebraska Press, and is the co-editor of the four-volume collection Fists of Iron by the REH Foundation Press. Chris has also presented his original research for both academic and popular audiences and has been an instrumental force in revealing the impact that the “sweet science” has had upon Howard and his fiction.
During this year’s Howard Days celebration don’t forget to catch the main event, “Fists of the Icehouse,” where visitors can rub cuts and swap stories with the Three Amigos of Howard boxing fiction: Chris Gruber, Mark Finn, and Jeff Shanks—this year joined by stablemate and Guest of Honor Patrice Louinet.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Featured Attendee - JEFFREY SHANKS

Jeffrey Shanks is an archaeologist, historian, and scholar of the pulp magazines and early comic books and he currently serves as co-chair of the Pulp Studies area for the Popular Culture Association. Jeffrey has contributed articles on Howard to a number of periodicals including REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard Studies, and Foreign Comic Collector Magazine.

He has also written or co-written chapters on Howard for several academic volumes including Critical Insights: Pulp Fiction of the 1920s and 30s and Undead in the West II (with Mark Finn). His chapter "Hyborian Age Archaeology" in Conan Meets the Academy won the 2013 Robert E. Howard Foundation Award for Best Article.

His most project was editing Zombies from the Pulps! -- an anthology of classic zombie stories including "Pigeons from Hell." He is currently co-editing a collection of academic essays entitled Weird Tales: The Unique Magazine and the Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror that will be published next year as a part of S. T. Joshi's Studies in Supernatural Literature series from Scarecrow Press. You can follow him at his blog, An Age Undreamed Of.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Featured Attendee - AL HARRON

Legendary Scotsman Al Harron will once again be crossing the Western Ocean to visit the Nameless Continent. Al is one of the premier champions of Robert E. Howard in the vast reaches of the blogoshpere. He was a major contributor to The Cimmerian blog in its final years and one of the main forces behind the massively popular Conan Movie Blog. On his personal site, The Blog that Time Forgot, Al writes, not only about Howard and his works, but also other fun themes in popular culture.

Al has been nominated for several REH Foundation Awards and was co-winner of the 2010 Stygian Award for his contributions to the The Cimmerian. He is also the administrator of the REH Readers Group on Facebook. In addition to his REH activities, Al is currently developing his own comic series which is a weird fiction version of the Battle of Bannockburn -- something Robert E. Howard would have loved.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday - the First REH Days

The very first Robert E. Howard Days took place June 13-15, 1986. Ten intrepid Howard Fans gathered in Dallas at the behest of Rusty Burke and then transported themselves to the magical realm of Cross Plains, Texas, to celebrate the life and work of a true Texas and American original, Ol' Two-Gun Bob Howard.

"Indy" Bill Cavalier poses in front of the house as it looked then, a ramshackle mess of a structure. We were able to tour the outside grounds (the owner's wife was elderly and infirm so we didn't go inside), but just walking the same ground where Howard trod was an emotional experience for us all.

Fortunately for us all, the citizens of Cross Plains realized that they "had" something here. They wisely formed their civic organization Project Pride, bought the house and restored it to its current beautiful state - that of The Robert E. Howard Museum. With their foresight and continuing support from fans around the world, the Legacy of Robert E. Howard is ensured for many years to come!

Howard Days 2014 takes place on June 13 & 14. There's plenty of room for all to come & visit (it is Texas, after all!), enjoy the company of good friends, sit in the Pavilion with a cool drink and tell your story about REH and continue to further his Legacy. Hope to see you there! Y'all come!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TOM GIANNI - Special Guest at Howard Days

We are happy to announce that Tom Gianni will be a Featured Attendee at Howard Days this year.
Tom is the cover artist for four REHF Press volumes of Howard's work: FISTS OF IRON (Boxing stories, Vols. 1 and 2 so far), PIRATE ADVENTURES and WESTERN TALES. He has been nominated for the REH Foundation Rankin Award, which honors the best in artwork in the Howard Community for 2013. (Winners will be announced on Friday June 13).

Tom will be in Cross Plains and will have original art and prints available that you may add to your collection. He will also appear on at least one panel and will be signing as many books as he can before his hand wears out! Tom is graciously donating an original sketch for the Silent Auction held at the Celebration Banquet on Friday evening.

Please visit his website: GIANNIART.COM to view many examples of his fine work.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Featured Attendee: JAMES REASONER

A lifelong Texan, James Reasoner lives about twenty miles as the crow flies from Robert E. Howard's birthplace of Peaster and has been a fan of Howard's work for almost fifty years. Drawing inspiration from Howard's career as an author from a small town in Texas, Reasoner has been a professional writer for more than thirty-five years.

In that time, he has authored several hundred novels and short stories in numerous genres. Writing under his own name and various pseudonyms, his novels have garnered praise from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as appearing on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller lists. Most recently he wrote the introduction for Robert E. Howard's Western Tales. He lives in the small town in Texas where he grew up, with his wife, award-winning fellow author Livia J. Washburn. His blog can be found at

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Featured Attendee: ROB ROEHM

Rob Roehm is the director of publications for the Robert E. Howard Foundation and the editor of several volumes of Howard’s works, including the Collected Letters (3 volumes) and Collected Poetry, as well as the author of Howard’s Haunts and, with his father, The Brownwood Connection. The winner of multiple Cimmerian and REH Foundation awards, Rob has had articles published in all of the usual Howard venues.

For the past 10 years, Rob has been visiting the courthouses and libraries in the Texas counties where the Howards lived. His findings often appear on the Two-Gun Raconteur website where he is a regular contributor. Rob has attended Howard Days every year since 2006, with appearances on the yearly “What’s Happening with REH” panel and co-presenting with his dad the “Travels with REH” panel in 2013.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Featured Attendee: DAMON SASSER

Damon Sasser is a true legend in Robert E. Howard fandom. In 1976 he began publishing REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, which remains the premier fanzine in Howardom nearly four decades later. In 1978 he launched another fanzine, The Chronicler of Cross Plains. In 2007 Damon created the REH: Two-Gun Raconteur Blog, the top online destination for Howard scholarship. Damon has contributed numerous articles and essays over the years, not only to REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, but also to The Cimmerian, The Man from Cross Plains, and Anniversary: A Tribute to Glenn Lord and the Howard Collector.

Damon has won numerous REH Foundation awards, including two Aquilonian Awards for the print REH: Two-Gun Raconteur and three Stygian Awards for the blog.  In 2013, Damon was inducted into the Black Circle, for his lifelong contributions to Howard’s legacy. This year, Damon plans to have a new issue of REH: Two-Gun Raconteur, debuting exclusively at Howard Days.