My second visit to the annual celebration of Robert E. Howard's life began with a wonderful gathering hosted by Jack and Barbara Baum. These are two of the world's nicest folks, and I was honored by all their attention. I also was pleased to learn of and actually see the Wandering Star originals the Baum's bookcases hold. (Later in the week I almost picked up the Ultra Artist Limited edition of Conan Vol. 1 from the Cross Plains Library, but that's another story.)
This year we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Project Pride, the team that keeps the Howard House Museum functioning and hosts our author's weekend every June. From a beautiful cake to a USPS postmark to the REH Foundation's Crom Award, Project Pride was at the top of everyone's thankfulness list. This year's topics also commemorated the 90th year of Sailor Steve Costigan's birth.
As usual, it was a definite pleasure to greet old friends and meet new ones, or at least online ones for the first time. The Friday night silent auction resulted in a number of wins for both friends and myself. I rounded out the hardcover Del Rey Conan trilogy and picked up a few other books, most especially one I've long been eyeing, "...and their memory was a bitter tree..." edited by Tim Underwood. Also found two Glenn Lord books, one with his name on it (The Last Celt) and one from his estate (The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories). I was also gifted with two titles, Weird Beginnings from Bobby Derie, and The Stolen Village from Del Baker: Much thanks Gents!
Once again I visited the inner sanctum of the Cross Plains Library Howard Collection, snapping pictures of one of my favorite Weird Tales covers and covers of my favorite Conan story, "Queen of the Black Coast." At the library I also laid eyes on an elusive title, Day of the Stranger: Further Memories of Robert E. Howard by Novalyne Price Ellis and Rusty Burke, one I must say I'd like to add to my library. Speaking of Novalyne, I was excited to meet her son Marvin, an event regular but a new acquaintance to me. We enjoyed a long chat, and he was gracious enough to take a picture with me.
Continuing with that gracious theme, Bill 'Indy' Cavalier unexpectedly gifted me the official artwork for AS YOU WISH!, the homage anthology omnibus of SOMEBODY KILL THE PRINCE! and MOSTLY DEAD! RBE is still assembling. Indy continued to 'gift' me by seating me on a panel Saturday afternoon with none other than Guest of Honor David C. Smith and Howard Days pros Dierk Guenther and Jason Ray Carney. It turned out to be a delightful session and I think we all were pretty much in agreement that everyone loves Sword & Sorcery and has his/her own definition of what is/is not S&S. :) Seriously, I think the four of us interacted well and afterward I received numerous compliments on our performance (and fielded several follow-up questions).
I enjoyed Howard Days 2019, experiencing a number of quality conversations, learning a lot of history in some of those same conversations and on the bus tour hosted by Jack Baum (in Rusty's absence), and reveling in some quite beautiful Texas weather . . . until Saturday, when Texas reminded us all of what is normal for this time of year. RBE also had its first event table in quite a few years, bringing CROSSBONES & CROSSES to the appreciative masses in just the right place. Lots of people came by to talk books, writing, publishing, crusaders, Howard, S&S, and ideas, and some nice connections were made.
Thanks to all for the wonderful time -- here's looking to see y'all in 2020, when Project Pride and the City of Cross Plains will unveil the brand-new official Texas state historical marker.
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