When your business card is too esoteric

Hello, readers! My former business card, which had many rave reviews, if by “rave reviews” you mean people going, “Huh. How about that.” Which I don’t, frankly:

cthulhu bc for fbThe reverse side was blank. As blank as my soul.

There are a couple of things you may notice about this card, brilliant though it is. The first is that it’s in black and white. The second is that it has this weird leaf-looking thing in the background. And third is the sketchy thing on the right, which looks like a pile of mashed potatoes, maybe, or it also could be a pelican with a weight problem.

Yeah … those were supposed to be impressive. The leaf thing is actually H.P. Lovecraft’s concept of the “Elder Sign,” a way powerful sigil of, like, WAY powerfulness. The pelican is in fact Lovecraft’s drawing of what he thought the statue of Cthulhu from “The Call of Cthulhu” was supposed to look like. I did an “emboss” filter on Photoshop, which is really cool if you don’t care about anyone looking at it having the slightest idea what it is.

What’s with the Lovecraft stuff, you might ask? Well, I love me some HPL, and since my writing is working in that direction and Ima go to various conferences like the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival & CthulhuCon in Portland this April, I thought it would be cool to have a Lovecrafty bidniss card. And so it was … but it was lacking something, and not just color. Not only was it drab and mostly incomprehensible to 99% of people who looked at it, it also didn’t sing as much of my praises as the public deserves (ahem). So I came up with this:

bc for fb' copyEnough to give good churchgoing folk the vapors. And professional graphic designers an aneurism.

Color! Details about what I do! Weird symbols! Phrenology! Yes, this new design has it all: I kept my HPL Elder Sign, but that yellow star thingy there is August Derleth’s conception of the same thing. (Derleth was a member of the Lovecraft Circle and largely responsible for bringing HPL’s work to a wider audience.) Both are plenty spooky, yes?

The star one is what hipster Lovecraft fans might sniff at and say, “That’s not the real Elder Sign. Sniff, sniff!” So they can enjoy the original goodness of the larger sigil and let others get a kick out of the also hella scary-looking star E.S. (I added the mystic eyeball myself because, come on, MYSTIC EYEBALL.) It conveys the concept of me as a SPEAKER for hire, which I am in a variety of areas, from zombies to the undead and everything in between.

The yellow symbol that looks sort of like three question marks (or maybe two question marks and an exclamation point) is the fearsome Yellow Sign, one of the (to me) scariest and most suggestive sigils in weird literature. (Read the first four chapters of Robert W. Chambers’s The King In Yellow. It’s like a nightmare remembered in full clarity. Once you know to look for it, it’s everywhere in eldritch fiction.) Check out this shudder-inducing cover:

The_King_in_YellowIf you bring just one book to the asylum …

The Yellow Sign represents my abilities as a WRITER, since reading The King In Yellow leads directly to insanity and death. (Your results may vary.)

Anyway, on the new business card, the thing with the three legs sticking out of it is the symbol for The Book of Eibon, an ersatz tome alluded to by Clark Ashton Smith in his Lovecraft Mythos stories. (One of the great things about reading what writers do in the Lovecraft Circle sandbox is that everyone borrows from everyone else. Writers still do it almost a century later, and it rocks.) This introduces my work as a FICTION COACH, because — get this, I’ve been working on it — I help writers create books that didn’t formerly exist. Huh? HUH?!?

Phrenology, one of my favorite concepts in the history of quack science, is represented by the head with its supposed sectors labeled. This is meant to be an amusing reference to my work as a LECTURER, what people call a wandering professor-without-a-classroom instead of a RONIN, which would be ridiculous.

Also, I designed a reverse side of the card to contain different aspects of the Hoadesperience through the use of QR codes, surely the biggest time-saver since those spectacles that turn into sunglasses whenever they’re exposed to sunlight and then don’t change back for like 20 minutes inside, all of that time people looking at you and going, “Ugh, wearing sunglasses indoors. What a pretentious douchebag.” Check it:

bc qr for fb“Ugh, a business card with QR codes. What a pretentious douchebag.”

Note that I have my website of wonders, my Facebook page, and this here very blog as QR codes to simply be scanned by a portable device like an iPhone or things that wish they were iPhones and viola! Contenty goodness is all yours.

This is all to get ready for the spate of conventions I plan to go to this year to hawk my wares, make publishing contents, look at cool stuff that, should I buy it, would be the first thing shoved up my rectum as my wife heads out for her lawyer’s office, and generally have an awesomesaucy kind of time.

More to come soon! Onward!
Sean

Editing ain’t always pretty

Have yerself a looksee at this here:

Image

Those are the pages from the book proof of the upcoming 2nd edition of Ain’t That America, which was originally published in 2000. It’s had errors in it (my own, but still) that have irked me for years. Anyway, the greatest editrix in the world (who also is my wife, but is a professional book editor) went through this proof with her amazing Pen of Wonder™ and gave me a lot to think about and work on.

I finally got to enter the corrections today, but to do so we had to rip it apart or else I’d have to edit with one hand and hold the book with the other. This did allow me the extremely satisfying step of tossing the finished pages onto the couch behind my chair (watching football at the same time, obviously, because FOOTBALL), and at the end was the pile you see in the picture above. It not only makes a fun mess, but you can also roll around in it, Scrooge McDuck style, and dream that it’s royalty cash. Mmmmm …

The new edition of Ain’t That America should be in my hot little hands in less than two weeks. And yours not long after that, should you want to read my comic thriller!

My mortal coil is feeling a bit loose these days (aka Birthday Time)

ImagePhoto courtesy of Nevada DMV.

In just a couple of weeks, Your Beloved Correspondent will turn 45 years old. Hard to believe, I know, that’s it’s been just 32 years since a bout of strep throat began my long journey through OCD that continues to this day. (twitch twitch) But this is a time for celebrating, not for worrying about how exactly the silverware is lined up in the drawer! HA HA! (checks silverware drawer)

My best friend, Sean Conner, turned 45 earlier this month and, well, I haven’t heard much from him since. I think he might be clipping coupons or writing long jeremiads to the editor of the Pennysaver about young people and their skateboards. Maybe playing shuffleboard and talking about his lumbago. I can imagine calling him sometime not long after I reach this milestone and our conversation going something like this:

Me: “I had a nice hamburger at the Denny’s for dinner at 3 p.m.”
Conner: “What?”
Me: “Yeah, it reminds me of when [obscure reference to television program from 37 years ago, maybe CHiPs or Manimal]. Ha! That was a doozy!”
Conner: “Is this one of the cranked calls? I have Star 69! I think!”
Me: “Ha ha! Those were the days!”
Conner: “What?”

Anyway, I’ve known dear Mister Conner since we were 10 years old, which — according to my mathematics education in Broward County Schools — is a set not only of the number 10, but also of the null set! I also know that it was some 35 years ago, which is just goddamn ridiculous. Where do the years go? A wise person whose name I’m too lazy to look up on the Internet once said “We live forward, but we look backward.” No, that’s not it. Anyway, it was deep, but the point is that future scares me. Why? I’m not surprised you asked, for some reason.

I lived in Alabama for almost 10 years, so when I visited Fort Lauderdale after 20 years away (the other 10 were misspent in Indiana), I noticed that there were walls separating every house from the main thoroughfare running nearby. Now, I can see why this would be a great idea, in that it would cut down on crime and also on street noise, but there was something ineffably sad about the walling off of communities. They didn’t have this in Alabama, because Alabama is still trying to reach 1964, let alone 2014, so I wasn’t prepared for it. I live in Las Vegas now, where it’s the same deal with the walls. Just bizarre. Being a pedestrian is so unusual now, I guess, that green backyards aren’t missed.

In any case, there are a lot of great things that have happened during my 45 years on this planet, none of which can you prove without a doubt would have occurred without me, so I’m taking credit. Five months after I was born, Neil and Buzz landed on the moon, for instance. I mean, before I was born, WHAT WAS THE POINT? Neil Armstrong is on record as saying, “I almost quit the NASA program … until Sean Hoade was born.” [citation needed]

Other good things happened, like the Internet, and socks that you can heat up in the microwave. My point is that being born as early as I was, although I now am regretting being an old sack of salted peanuts, was probably a positive thing. But lordy, I feel creaky.

Excellent things are in the cards for 2014, including [thing I can’t tell you yet] as well as a new season of Sherlock and probably 7-8 harrowing deaths on Downton Abbey. Excelsior!

Will 2014 be the Year of Conventions?

Image

I certainly hope so. As you can see from the above, slightly doctored ad banner from the Salt Lake City Fan Xperience convention (held in April; the SLC Comic Con is in September), I will be attending, speaking, and hopefully selling books at this wonderful extravaganza. The 2013 Con was the biggest inaugural event EVAR for this kind of convention, so I have high hopes of meeting some awesome peeps there and expanding my buddy list with like-minded authors and other creative types. There is an announcement to go with this that I’m ALLLLLMOST allowed to make, so stay tuned.

In fact, I’d love to make 2014 the Year of Conventions. If I can make money at each Con I go to in 2014, I will then use that money to go to the next one, and so on. But all of this is based on the money existing. Anyway, SLCFX is not actually the first I’ve been invited to for the year — that honor goes to MegaCon in Orlando in March (and that invite was just to sell along with a pal I met at Walker Stalker back in November). I would LOVE to attend MegaCon and see my old friends down Florida way.

It’s not a Con as such, but the Las Vegas Clark County Library will be featuring (among many others) Yours Truly on Saturday, March 29 from 2:30-4:00 pm for their local author Spring Fling!

Also before Salt Lake City is Portland, Oregon from April 11-13 for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhucon! I squee just to think of this. I am going to be on a panel or two and obviously plugging my Lovecraftian Deadtown Abbey book.

What’s next after that? I’m glad that you asked. A certain publisher who must for now remain undisclosed has invited me to take part at their table at the giant Texas Frightmare from May 2-4. I want to go to this anyway (because … I can’t say yet), but I REALLY want to go so I can meet GEORGE FUCKING ROMERO. I will wait in line all day if I have to. I will do whatever degraded tasks are required of me just so I can say unto the Great One, “Himynameisseanomgiloveyoupleasesignmybellyishaveditspecial” and then pass out and be dragged off by security.

Right now the summer is not booked, so my plans are to hide in any shade possible while reminding myself to think of ice and snow while I hide from the 117-degree temps here in Las Vegas. But come September 5-7, it will be back to Salt Lake City for their official Comic Con, and then from September 26-28, it’s off to Los Angeles for their Lovecraft Film Festival and Cthulhucon.

But what of October, surely the most scary-ass month of all? There are Zombie Cons in New York, San Antonio, Portland, and in several other wonderful cities. Depending on money (as in all of these cases), I’d like to attend as many of those as will trade an artist’s table for presentations and panel participation.

On my wish list, but probably not happening this year unless the Golden Bird of Paradise lays a golden egg in my bank account, would definitely be the World Horror Convention in Portland in May. However, I have to hold some of my time in reserve to (a) remain married; and (b) get some, you know, WRITING done.

Of course, I’d LOVE to go to Comic Con in San Diego this year, but that would be a total splurge because their tables are like $1,400 each and OHMYGAWD no. But, if my brother-in-law can score me a ticket, I shall go and gawk like a civilian!

Are any of y’all planning to go to any conventions in 2014? If so, which ones and what are you planning to do while you’re there?

Finally, I am back. Now let’s learn all about me!

What do we talk about when we talk about Hoade?

cthulhuandpalPhoto courtesy of Yog-Sothoth.

Is it true that this ‘Sean Hoade’ is a writer? Like fiction, or stereo instructions, or what?

Excellent question, rhetorical device person! Monsieur Hoade, as he is called in restaurants he cannot afford, is in fact the writer of novels, short stories, and irritating limericks, as well as twee website Q&A constructs.

Señor Hoade, as he is called in Miami, started his writing career at age 10, with a three-page screenplay addressing the hot-button social issue of time travel. Like a butterfly within a chrysalis, he has six legs develops within a cocoon of books and cats, and has so far written novels about a murderous RV salesman, about Charles Darwin on the Beagle, and about Lovecraftian monsters attacking an Edwardian household in England. (You know, the same old, same old.) He also writes about zombies, because ZOMBIES.

What’s the South Florida connection? Why does he open himself up to be hurt every year by formerly professional football team the Miami Dolphins?

Signor Hoade, as he is called by the College of Cardinals in Rome, was born in Miami in 1969. His mother’s OB/GYN was said to be Don Shula (who was trying to make ends meet during the off-season), although that might be apocryphal or just a lie by Hoade. He grew up (to the extent that he did) in Margate, Florida, well known as “not as bad as North Lauderdale” and the sister city of Margate, England. In the 1980s there was an exchange program between the two cities, in which American students got to go to the exciting British vacation stop on the sea, and in which English students got to come to “the Gateway to Coconut Creek.”

Was he, despite all the evidence to the contrary, educated in some manner?

Hoade-ji, as he is called by his army of Indian sycophants, was the prize of Coconut Creek Elementary, the tolerated of Margate Middle, and the scourge of both Coconut Creek High and, to CCHS’s relief, later Boyd Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, where residents are referred to as “pre-inmates.” He majored in Philosophy and minored in Cognitive Science at Indiana University South Bend (nickname: “The Fightin’ Single Mothers and Retirees Going Back to School after 38 Years at the Cardboard Box Factory”). Not satisfied with the social status and high salary associated with a Philosophy degree, he then got his Masters of Fine Arts in Fiction at the University of Alabama. He then taught at UA for another 3½ years until his unceremonious firing for (no joke) offending the religious sensibilities of a frickin’ idiot one of his alleged “Honors” students.

Is it true that writing and, to a lesser extent teaching writing, is the only work that suits him? In fact, the only thing he’s ever been able to do well and consistently at a professional or, indeed, human level?

Hoade-san, as the bouncers at Club Sake refer to him on their “No Longer Welcome” list, has actually worked at 103 jobs in the nearly 29 years he has technically been a part of the American workforce. Here’s a complete list:

Bagger at grocery store
KFC counter person
Dunkin Donuts server
Movie theater usher
Forklift operator
U.S. Navy (38 days)
KFC again
Bookseller at bookstore
Subway
Asst. manager of different bookstore
Dunkin Donuts again
Reporter for weekly newspaper
Radio DJ
Dishwasher
Layout person for different weekly newspaper
Advertising cartoonist
KFC yet again
Assistant at candy shop
Manager of resort snack bar
Waiter at family restaurant
Phone operator
Bookseller at yet another bookstore
Overnight department store stocker
Payroll accounting assistant
Insurance office worker
Car dealership title clerk
Charity canvasser
Newspaper reporter/ asst. editor
of weekly newspaper
Filmmaker
Little Caesar’s assistant manager
Wendy’s assistant manager
Bookseller at still another bookstore
Subway again
Data entry clerk
Jewelry store salesperson
Bookseller at a fifth bookstore
Taxi driver
Convenience store clerk
Little Caesar’s again
McDonald’s cook
Short order cook
Office store worker
Subway yet again
Bookseller at a sixth bookstore
Short order cook again
Kinko’s clerk
Fazoli’s cashier
Amway representative
Burger King morning accountant
Steak ‘N’ Shake night manager
Asst. manager at different restaurant
RPS truck loader
Wedding DJ
College computer lab aide
Research assistant
Daily newspaper copy editor
Bookseller at sixth bookstore
College newspaper editor
Uniform company driver
Temporary paint store driver
Temporary layout designer at
real estate magazine
Apartment complex clerk
Supermarket IT assistant
Kinko’s clerk again
Hotel night auditor
Telephone survey person
Photo processing facility clerk
Bowling alley attendant
Layout person for realty company
Advertising copywriter
Hospital PR flack
Law book publishing editor
Health food store clerk
Graduate school dissertation editor
Assistant to professor
Graduate teaching assistant
Full-time temporary university instructor
Taco Bell line worker
GED test rater
Landscaping worker
Web designer
Professional poker player
AP test rater
Novel writing course instructor
Adjunct community college instructor
Kitchen worker for buffet restaurant
Adjunct instructor at different university
Apartment complex manager
Proofreader for university professor
Table games dealer at casino
Table games dealer at different casino
Online copy editor
Proofreader for casino company
Proofreader for advertising agency
Proofreader for menu company
Copywriter for photography studio Freelance proofreader / copy editor
Freelance copywriter
SEO content writer
Online instructor for university

Wow. So is he, like, really proud of screwing up at all of these jobs? What kind of irresponsible asshole is this guy?

Mr. Hoade, as he is known in bankruptcy courts throughout our fair land, is not proud of having failed at so many jobs. But, as the novelist Thomas Williams told his fiction students (including Alice McDermott, who shared the anecdote) when they asked about the writing life: “If you can do anything else, kids, do it.” Hoade feels that he has truly tested that advice, and it is now stunningly obvious to allies and enemies alike that he cannot, in fact, do anything else.

At age 44-damn-near-45, Hoade no longer denies that writing is his destiny. It is the only thing he can do, and the only thing he wants to do.

Hmm. All right. What kind of family does this joker claim?

Al-Hoadedi, as he is known at the Circle K, has the lovely Ann as his wife of the past 15 years. He was previously married when barely out of high school, and from that starter marriage had three lovely daughters: Kylara, 23, who is the mother of WonderGrandchild Leon, 4; Ginger, 20, whose intellect is almost as fearsome as her gorgeousness; and Alice, 17, the world’s #1 fan of One Direction, which is apparently a 5-boy singing group with the ability to take over teenage girl’s brains. He also has a fantastic sister, Shari (age none of anyone’s bidness), who is married to a mysterious sports fan named Rob.

Pics of these people or they didn’t happen.

Fine! You don’t scare me. Here’s a pic of my Annie (with spooky Steampunk hat), of me and my unholy offspring at Ginger’s 2012 high school graduation, one of my sis and me, one of , and one of little ol’ me:

annwithhatdadandgirls  seanandshari seanonlovecraftstreet

Anything else we should know?

先生 Hoade Sean, as he is known at his favorite opium dens, just wants people to know that he will be living 2014 as the first year of his life’s Second Act, F. Scott be damned. He hopes you’ll follow his blog, think about maybe buying his books, become his acolyte or friend on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter, where he’s @SeanHoade.

Okay, wait, one last thing: What’s with the zombie stuff?

edaoH naeS, as he is known by Merlin the Magician, finds the existential quandaries posed by the zombie concept endlessly fascinating. Also, zombies are scary. You could ask the same question about his Lovecraft fixation, and he would say (indeed, is saying) that the Old Gent from Providence investigated mind-blowing existential and metaphysical questions unlike anyone before him. Also, Lovecraft is scary.

Click here to amaze yourself at SeanHoade.com!