Keith Herber, 4 years on: The Arkham Gazette (Demo)

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the death of Keith Herber and I was hoping to mark it with the release of some new bit of writing (as I did two years back with Notes on the Turner Codex).  Unfortunately I hit a time crunch (why, oh why did so many CoC books come out in February?!) and have not had a chance to finish the project I was working on.  Nevertheless I wanted to take a moment to think about Keith.

What I have been, in fits and starts, working on is a project that Keith and I discussed as he was forming Miskatonic River Press; one of the things he wanted to have was an in-house magazine focusing on Lovecraft Country material.  He thought it would fill a niche that fine publications like the Unspeakable Oath did not cover, be a way to find new writers, and keep up interest in the company between books.  Obviously this did not come to pass; I approached Tom Lynch about this periodical (they dubbed it “the Arkham Gazette” on the MRP page of future products) but he lacked the time and did not want to spread their resources any thinner than they were.

I think the Arkham Gazette (or something similar) remains a good idea.  Using the very rough template I made up for Tom, I decided to finish up a trial issue and see if there was wider interest.  Since it is not quite ready, I thought I might post a short sample just to Tomes in Progress and see if my readers (all dozen of you) had any opinion on the matter.  Consider it a special treat to the people (now from New Caledonia and Mongolia!) who read my blog.


I will make a bigger posting announcement when I finish the issue (which is about 80% complete) but in the mean time, feedback is very welcome.

Lynn Willis, RIP

Oddly this seems to be the only photo anyone has of him.

I learned today that Lynn Willis, long-time editor at Chaosium, has died.  Lynn and I have never met, but we exchanged emails from 2004 until just before he retired from Chaosium in 2008.  Others certainly knew him better than I and I have always wondered at the value of the eulogy but I feel an obligation to Lynn, for his advice and kindness, to say a few words in remembrance.

Before we talked via email, I knew Lynn through his work, first from the Ghostbusters RPG, the later from Call of Cthulhu.  There was something different in the writing… I particularly remember there being a footnote in Ghostbusters defining Nota Bene… Later, when I made my first submission to Chaosium, that voice was there again.  What I was surprised by was that Lynn took the time to not just handle the basic details of getting my monograph published, but to answer my questions, offer suggestions and advice, and generally being a good guy.  We talked about projects, most of which never saw the light of day – he was hoping to see the London Guidebook revamped, I wanted to do something with Lovecraft Country… there were more ideas of course, some of which might still see the light of day, the most important of which is the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion.  After Lynn was forced to retire due to the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, Chaosium lost something I do not think they have, or will ever, replace.

I don’t really have a point I suppose, beyond adding my voice to the chorus mourning his loss and singing his praises, as a writer, editor, and simply as a person.

Here are some links to other reminiscences-

Kennith Hite

Shannon Appelcline

Mark Morrison

Scott Aniolowski

Goodbye Lynn.