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Robert E. Howard Days 2015

Posted by indy on 17th November 2014


ROBERT E. HOWARD DAYS 2015 – Here Before You Know It!

The annual Robert E. Howard Days celebration will take place at the REH Museum in Cross Plains, Texas, on June 12th & 13th, 2015. Sponsored by Project Pride of Cross Plains, REHupa and the Robert E. Howard Foundation, the two-day event promises once again to be THE place to be for fans of REH.

All of the activities associated with Howard Days are in place: tours of the REH Museum & Grounds, the Celebration Banquet and Silent Auction, the Bus Tour of Cross Plains, the REHF Awards presentation, panels of REH interest and the many extemporaneous discussions and poetry readings among Howard fans and scholars, the Caddo Ranch Barbeque, the Swap Meet at the Pavilion, the special Postal Cancellation souvenir – all this and more await you at Howard Days. We’re also in discussion about some new events: an organized tour to Howard’s gravesite in Brownwood, a REH trivia contest (with prizes!), plus a more “formal” program booklet to have for another nice souvenir. The REH Foundation is also in the process of selecting a Guest of Honor for Howard Days 2015.

For those of you interested in getting on the Howard Days/Project Pride mailing list, please write to Project Pride, POB 534, Cross Plains, TX 76443, e-mail:, or check the internet:, or the Robert E. Howard Days Facebook page for additional information.

As 2015 brings about the 125th birthday of H.P. Lovecraft, we’ve decided to theme HD 2015 around the relationship shared by REH and HPL. As we know, these two giants of 20th Century literature struck up a voluminous correspondence-friendship that fortunately became the two book set:  A MEANS TO FREEDOM. It provides a fascinating look into the lives and opinions of both men, as well as how they influenced each other in their writing endeavors.

This and other topics are on tap for REH fans from all over the world to enjoy in Cross Plains next June. If you’ve never been to REH Days, what are you waiting for? Make plans now to come to Texas and find out why we call it: The Best Two Days in Howard Fandom!

Posted in Cross Plains, REH Days |

Howard Days was Howard-tastic!

Posted by indy on 18th June 2014



Robert E. Howard Days 2014 was so great I barely know where to begin in telling you about it! As I’ve finally recovered from two days driving home and another of unpacking loot, let’s give it a try. More than one post will be needed, especially going through hundreds of photos!

Both Friday and Saturday featured some of the best weather ever seen for Howard Days. The upper 80′s in mid-June in west Texas is about as good as it gets. Blue skies and lots of wind really kept us comfortable.

Project Pride, Cross Plains’ wonderful civic organization, had everything ready for Howard fans. Fine hospitality is a watchword from these great folks and they welcomed Howard Fans from all over the world with open arms. This year featured guests from all over the U.S. plus fans from France, Germany, Scotland and Japan. REH is truly world-wide! Attendance seemed to be up a little from previous years. (I’ll let you know some figures when I get them.)

The Robert E. Howard Museum was certainly all slicked up to receive guests! Thanks to the generosity of Howard fans earlier this year, some window and plumbing issues were repaired and a coat of gleaming white paint had been applied. The Museum looked fantastic!

House tours were conducted, the Gift Shop was soon depleted (almost), the Bus was filled and the Postal Cancellation was as popular as ever! The panels went off without a hitch and were extremely well attended (my un-official average was 45 per!) Plus, the panelists were all top-notch and their presentations were wonderfully interesting. The Friday night Banquet was again filled to capacity and the Silent Auction raised over $1,500 for Project Pride’s maintenance of the REH Museum!

Patrice Louinet was a wonderful and witty Guest of Honor and amused the Banquet crowd with anecdotes of his Howard career and stories of a Frenchman in America. Tom Gianni as our Special Guest was honored to receive the Rankin Award for artistic achievement and gave a nice presentation of his working methods. The rest of the Featured Attendees were on their best behavior and hardly any gun or knife fights broke out at this Howard Days! (Y’all know I’m joking about that, right?)

The Saturday night Barbeque out the Caddo Peak Ranch was as delicious as ever, but also bittersweet, seeing as how it signals the end to Howard Days.

But the fellowship and friendship of the entire weekend was what shone like the sun in the Texas sky. New friends were made, old friendships continued and everyone came away with that warm feeling you get from seeing everyone at a family reunion. A year will go by quickly and we’ll be in Cross Plains again. For now however, the glowing memories of Howard Days 2014 will carry us through. Happy trails, y’all!

Posted in REH Days |

Howard Days Checklist!

Posted by indy on 9th June 2014

HD Checklist


We’re saddling up and getting the wagons ready for the trek to Cross Plains, so here’s a checklist for us to go over once we get to Howard Days. Everything on here is easy enough to do…well, with the exception of that last one.

Hope y’all have safe travels! We might be off the grid for a day or two but we’ll try to get back on the air soon. Hopefully we can do some updates from Howard Days, but we are going to be a little busy!

Hope to see you there!

Posted in REH Days |

REH Days Overview Part 8 – The Pavilion

Posted by indy on 7th June 2014



In 1994 a small tornado hit the town of Cross Plains. Because of the damage it caused to the roof of the Howard House, Howard Days was cancelled for that year. The storm also destroyed the Butler house located next door to the Howard place and because of that, Project Pride wisely decided to erect an outdoor pavilion in its place.

The Alla Ray Morris Pavilion, named for the one-time owners of the REH literary estate, is an open-air, roof-covered concrete slab adjacent to the Robert E. Howard Museum. During the second weekend in June, it is Howard Days Central.

The Pavilion is the gathering place for all who come to Robert E. Howard Days. It will be open and available most of the day on Thursday and 24 hours Friday and Saturday. As you can see, tables and chairs are set up for all visitors to relax, converse with old and new friends and simply share in the fellowship of the like-minded souls who come to Howard Days to honor the Legacy of Bob Howard. There are restrooms too, along with a small kitchen and the grounds surrounding the Pavilion are nicely shaded for relaxing or a picnic lunch.

Project Pride also sets up a large cooler here, from which you may enjoy a cold bottle of water or can of pop. This is provided for any and all comers at no cost (but the Donation Jar is available – how’s that for a not-so-subtle hint?) The Friday Luncheon also takes place here and again, cook-out hot dogs & hamburgers, chips & cookies are provided at no cost. (Another parentheses caveat: if you have paid the pre-registration fee, please enjoy a free lunch – who said “there ain’t no such thing?” But, if you haven’t done the pre-reg, a donation would be most appreciated!)

The Friday morning Bus Tour begins here – it starts at 9 am sharp, so plan on being at the Pavilion a little early. The final panel on Saturday is also held here. The Swap Meet takes place here also – you are invited to please take a little bit of space and display any Robert E. Howard type items. The only payment we ask for the space is a 10% of what you sell donation to Project Pride. The Robert E. Howard Foundation Press will also have their REH books for sale here in the Pavilion and I’m sure Featured Guest Tom Gianni will be happy to sign the books he’s done cover paintings for!

So, if you have any questions during your visit to Howard Days, most certainly there will be someone in the Pavilion to help answer them. Without a doubt it is the friendliest spot at Howard Days. Hope to see you at the Pavilion!

The photo above shows the ample parking on the west side of the lot and there is also parking on the east side street.

Posted in REH Days |

A Full Moon and Porch Light Poetry

Posted by indy on 6th June 2014




On June 13th, the first day of REH Days, Mother Nature has seen fit to grace us with a full moon. Now, if we follow along that this is FRIDAY the 13th, the moon is FULL and that Bob Howard wrote for a magazine with WEIRD  in its title – well, this may be an evening of cosmic proportions!

What better way to celebrate it than to read aloud some of Howard’s fabulous poetry? While reading it by the light of a full moon hasn’t really been tried (although this may be the year!) we do like to honor the magical words of REH by reading his poetry from the same place where it was written. We know that Bob liked to speak his stories aloud as he wrote them – he most certainly did the same with his poetry. If you’ve ever read any of his poetry, you know that it just screams to be read aloud. So, we do. And with the exception of Tim Arney here, we don’t do any screaming.

Porch Light Poetry takes place after the Banquet is over and folks have come back to the Pavilion to relax and converse among new and old friends. It’s a very extemporaneous event and if you feel like reading Howard Poetry aloud from the front porch of the house where it was written, please do so! It’s a nice enhancement for the Howard Days Experience, even if you just sit and listen.

Posted in REH Days, REH Poetry, Weird Tales |

REH Days Overview Part 7 – Saturday Afternoon & Evening

Posted by indy on 5th June 2014



Only one week to go until Howard Days! Here’s a look at the Saturday afternoon & evening activities in some detail.

Like we were saying, you’ll be on your own for lunch on Saturday. With the great restaurants in Cross Plains and the Barbarian Festival serving up some good ol’ Fair Grub, you won’t go hungry!

2 pm Panel – Fists of Iron. Mark Finn, Chris Gruber and GOH Patrice Louinet, the Editors of FISTS OF IRON, the four volume boxing set from the REHF Press, are together for this one time only panel to discuss Howard’s History with boxing and the stories he wrote. (Did you know REH wrote more boxing stories than any other genre?) Come hear the experts tell you all about it. Featured Guest artist Tom Gianni will also be present to talk about illustrating these stories. At the Library.

3:30 Panel – The World Building of REH. Follow Patrice back to the Pavilion where he’ll join Rusty Burke and Jeff Shanks for a discussion of Howard’s history and penchant for creating fantastic worlds. NOTE: THIS PANEL IS AT THE PAVILION.

After this last panel, folks hang out at the Pavilion and browse the Swap Meet for just a short while, anticipating the short drive to the final scheduled event for Howard Days. If you are heading to the BBQ, this is the time you will need to sign a release form to visit the Ranch. Details will be available.

5 pm to Sunset: The Caddo Peak Ranch BBQ. At 5 pm we caravan 5 miles west on Highway 36 to the Caddo Peak Ranch, where owners Marsha Murray and Janet Swanson are our gracious hosts for a genuine outdoor Texas chuck wagon BBQ dinner. It is another highlight of Howard Days and all are welcome! You’ll feast on delicious brisket, sausage, potato salad, dessert and all the fixin’s while enjoying the fellowship of your friends old and new. Before dinner, you may decide to ride up to the base of West Caddo Peak (pictured above) and trek to the top for a view of Callahan County like no other. This is fairly rugged climb and it is advisable to take a bottle of water with you. After dinner we gather on the rise and watch a gorgeous Texas sunset and say our goodbyes to a wonderful weekend.

PLEASE NOTE: THE OWNERS OF CADDO PEAK RANCH HAVE REQUESTED THERE BE ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING AT THE RANCH. Please respect their wishes – it will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

The final REH Days activity is a gathering of folks back at Pavilion for a final evening of conversation, fellowship and poetry reading as we celebrate the Legacy of Robert E. Howard one final time.


Posted in REH Days |

REH Days Overview Part 6 – Saturday Morning

Posted by indy on 4th June 2014



Saturday June 14th at Howard Days is a time for more of the same goodness that happens on Friday, without the Postal Cancellation and Bus Tour. But there IS a big banquet at day’s end.

The Howard House is open from 9 to 4 and the Pavilion is available for the Swap Meet as well as the “relaxing place”. The tables & chairs are there for all to sit, visit and enjoy a free cold beverage from the nearby giant cooler. The Cross Plains Library is open 10 to 3 and will host two of the three panels of the day.

The Cross Plains Barbarian Festival also takes place from 9 to 4, located in Treadway Park, three blocks west of the Howard House on Highway 36. This is a good ol’ country fair, with vendors of all sorts, rides and games for the kids, live music & special presentations, an antique car and tractor show, all kinds of great food plus more – a nice little getaway for the non-REH family members. New this year is the Barbarian Blast, a 5K run held at at time to be determined. Check it out at

10:30 am – Panel: The Legend Continues. And so does our discussion of Bob Howard re-writing history. James Reasoner and David Hardy will talk about REH’s more “contemporary” history, especially his western and El Borak stories. At the Library.

Lunch time will wrap up the morning’s activities. Please leave some of your dough with the variety of great restaurants in Cross Plains or enjoy the wide array of food offerings at the Barbarian Festival. Or, pack a picnic lunch and eat under the shade trees at the Howard House!

Coming tomorrow: we’ll wrap up the programming but not the information!

Posted in REH Days |

REH Days Overview Part 5 – Friday Afternoon & Evening

Posted by indy on 3rd June 2014


The Howard Days festivities continue Friday afternoon & evening. Of the ongoing events: the Museum stays open until 4 with the Swap Meet outside, the Postal Cancellation is available until 4 as well and the Library will stay open until 5.

1:30 – Panel: Guest of Honor Patrice Louinet. Come sit in as Rusty Burke does an interview style panel with Patrice. They’ll talk about Patrice’s long and storied career as one of the most important Howard scholars in the world. At the Library.

2:30 – The Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards. We decided to give this presentation its just due with its own panel slot. The Awards for 2013 will be presented in nine different categories of Howard scholarship and fandom. Plus we’ll take a little time to let the winners speak! Hosted by Bill Cavalier, with awards being presented by as many of last year’s winners as we can round up.

But don’t go away! As this won’t take the whole hour (unless someone gets really long-winded), our Featured Guest, artist Tom Gianni, will then give a special digital presentation of how he works and what it took for him to paint all four covers for the REHF Press’ FISTS OF IRON four volume boxing set.

5:30 – 6:30 pm: Before the Celebration Banquet starts up, take an hour to view and bid on the large assortment of REH items on display for the Silent Auction. You’ve already seen one item up for auction – there are always a large number of great Howard items waiting for your bids. After dinner there is a short period to increase those bids.

6:30 – The Robert E. Howard Celebration Banquet. One of the highlights of Howard Days, the Banquet features great Texas grub (dang, I’ve got to find find out what it is…usually chicken fried steak…check back soon). Anyway, your pre-registration entitles you to this fine feast, a keynote speech by Patrice Louinet and the warm friendship of the folks of Cross Plains and the fellowship of Howard fans!

When dinner and speechifying are finished, there’s a five minute period to increase the Silent Auction bids! When the guns sounds (not really, but you know what I mean) and your name is high bid, you win the item! Please remember that you need to pay with cash or check – and that 100% of the proceeds go to Project Pride’s continuing maintenance of the REH Museum!

9:00 Panel: Fists at the Ice House. Everyone gather at the concrete slab behind the Texas Taxidermy building on Main Street (where Howard really did box!) You’ll get to hear the series editors for the REHF Press Fist of Iron 4 volume set: Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, Jeff Shanks and Patrice Louinet square off about Howard’s boxing yarns by the light of Coleman lanterns! This panel is so good we do it every year.

After Hours at the Pavilion: from 9 o’clock on everyone gathers for an evening of Howardian fellowship where we swap stories and lies and enjoy a favorite beverage. Another highlight happens then: Porch Light Poetry, an extemporaneous gathering where we read the Poetry of Robert E. Howard right from the front porch of his home! REH’s poetry just cries out to be read aloud and you can do it about 12 feet away from where it was written. This is one of those magical moments at Howard Days.

Up next: Saturday Morning at Robert E. Howard Days.

The three handsome gents pictured above are L-R: Jeff Shanks, Mark Finn and Chris Gruber, doing their thing at Fists at the Ice House.

Posted in REH Days |

REH Days – Friday Morning

Posted by indy on 2nd June 2014

The first “official” day of Robert E. Howard Days is Friday June 13th. You won’t find a luckier day, especially for Howard Fans! Here’s the morning line-up, with some commentary:

8:30 am (until gone) – Donuts and coffee will be served in the Pavilion, compliments of Project Pride.

9 am to 4 pm – the Robert E. Howard Museum is open to the public. Please stop by the registration canopy out front and sign in, and get a name badge so everybody knows your name. Then enter the House and either take a tour guided by docents in every room, or be free to wander the rooms on your own. The highlight of the tour is Robert’s room, a space smaller than most of today’s office cubicles but where entire worlds were created. There’s a pretty nice Gift Shop in the rear of the house too!

9 am to 11 am – Bus Tour. This Friday only activity starts in the Pavilion where we’ll congregate and then board an air-conditioned school bus. Local Cross Plains historians and Howard scholars will then take you on a narrated tour of surrounding environs and the town of Cross Plains, shadowing the footsteps of Bob Howard.

9 am to 4 pm – Postal Cancellation. The Cross Plains Post Office sponsors an annual REH souvenir postal cancellation, where you may get your envelopes and postcards postmarked with this special stamp.

10 am to 4 pm – REH Swap Meet. The Pavilion is available for you to set up and view small displays of your REH items for sale. As this is a free service, we ask that you donate 10% of your sales to Project Pride.
10 am to 5 pm – The Cross Plains Public Library is open. We have most of the panels here. The Library also has the world’s largest collection of Robert E. Howard original typewritten manuscripts on public display for viewing and examination.
11 am – PANEL: “In the Guise of Fiction”. Howard scholars Jeffrey Shanks and Al Harron will discuss Robert E. Howard’s love of writing about real history disguised as a fictional story. Jeff and Al will talk about REH’s “early” history writings.
Noon – Project Pride will host a genuine Texas cookout lunch (hot dogs, burgers, chips) for all attendees. Don’t forget to help them out with a couple of bucks in the Donation Jar! Thanks.
OK, that’s a pretty awesome morning schedule for y’all. Tomorrow we’ll tell you about the afternoon and evening schedule, so y’all come back. Or, you can click on the REH DAYS 2014 tab above and get the full story.


Posted in REH Days |

It’s Thursday at Howard Days – What the Heck Do I Do Now?

Posted by indy on 31st May 2014


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.


Posted in REH Days |