Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nothing Says "Boo" Like "Booe"!


Saw it once, and I figured it might be a typo on a gravestone. Saw it twice, and I figured it was definitely deliberate. While out geocaching, Rob, Robbin, and I decided to visit the Joppa Cemetery, a little graveyard outside Mocksville, NC, whose most famous inhabitants are surely Daniel Boone's parents, Squire Boone and Sarah Jarman Morgan. A beautiful, serene setting; densely wooded; well-maintained for a relatively old graveyard. But the stones in question read Booe, not Boone. There was even a Daniel Booe. Apparently, the Booe family was fairly prominent in Davie County over a span of many years. The graves of Daniel Boone's parents, sure enough, were not far away, but happening upon the Booes was a little startling.

We did find the cache at the cemetery, then moved on to a portion of the relatively new, cache-rich Carolina Thread Trail, a few miles to the northwest. This trail is part of a regional series of trails and greenways that are intended to eventually link together, forming a network that will allow access to locations throughout central North Carolina. This ambitious project is well underway, with dozens of completed trails and many more currently in progress. Great stuff for hikers and cyclists — not to mention geocachers. We picked up 16 caches along a 2.2-mile length of trail along the South Yadkin River (Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council Trail), and ended up running into several other geocachers, including our friends Christopher (Ranger Fox), Diana (half of David & Diana), and Phyllis (Liber) from the Piedmont Triad. A fine day of it, indeed.

Booe! Scared you, didn't I?
Coupla old farts: Robgso and Rtmlee, each with one foot in the grave
Mr. Lee wonders what's cooking with the dead folks
Long view of Joppa Cemetery
Big honking wasp nest on the sign at the Girl Scouts' Hornet's Nest Council trailhead
Rtmlee, Global Grandma, Pink Rabbit, Damned Rodan

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Random Godzilla Story*

If you're an old monster movie buff like me, you might remember the daikaiju movie, Yog — Monster From Space (a.k.a. Space Amoeba) periodically showing up at drive-in theaters in the early 70s, usually on a double feature with Destroy All Monsters or Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster.

I had just turned 12, and sure enough, Destroy All Monsters and Yog were coming to the local drive-in (the Castle, may it R.I.P., in Collinsville, VA). While my parents didn't mind occasionally taking me and some friends to see monster movies, they inevitably ruled that the second feature came on too late for us to stay up. Well, I wanted to see Destroy All Monsters because it was a Godzilla movie; I knew nothing and cared nothing about Yog. Naturally, according to the published schedule, Yog was to be the first feature. So I called the drive-in, hoping to convince them to run Destroy All Monsters first. No way, they told me; the projector was set up to run Yog first, and that was that.

Well, young Mark is distressed. So for a couple of evenings, I called the drive-in relentlessly, disguising my voice, even getting my best friend Frank to call them, hoping to persuade them to run Destroy All Monsters first. Each call was answered with the inevitable "No way." Well, come the night my Dad takes us out there, we stop at the ticket booth, ask which show comes on first, and we're told "Yog, Monster From Space." (The lady pronounced it like "Yoga.") So Dad says, "Sorry boys," and figures we'll want to leave. But no; we put on the pressure and get him to drive us on in, just to see if maybe the ticket lady had made a mistake. Well, since we didn't pay, the manager comes to pay us a visit, and Dad tells him, "We just figured we'd stay for a few minutes to see which movie came on first." The manager bends down and gives Frank and me a very hard stare. "You must be those youngsters who've been calling nonstop for the last two days." We admit that we are. The manager sighs and says, "Well, we've decided to run Destroy All Monsters first."

You could hear us whoopin' and hollerin' over in the next county (which was actually just a stone's throw away). So it was a wonderful night for monsters. But had I known Yog was a fun little Toho film, I would have been just as happy to see it, since I'd already seen Destroy All Monsters once before (this goes to show you the value of research first). But, as luck would have it, Yog showed up at the downtown movie theater a few months later, all by its lonesome, so I went and checked it out.

It was a blast then, and by gummy it still is.

*A version of this random Godzilla story originally appeared on my pre-Blogger blog in March 2006.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Seven Souvenirs

"The Socializer" event in Reidsville — geocachers a-plenty!
What does a geocacher do on a long weekend? Go caching like there's no tomorrow, of course. Actually, most of last week I was hard at it on the geocaching trail, taking on several tough and/or otherwise invigorating hides, including a couple of mentally challenging puzzles (for some of us lacking mathematical prowess, "difficult" might be a more apt term), one way up in a great big tree, and a caching event held in Reidsville, hosted by 3Newsomes, a.k.a. Shannon. On Sunday, Robgso (a.k.a Rob) and I cleaned up in Mebane, and, yesterday, Suntigres (a.k.a. Bridget) and Rtmlee (a.k.a. Robbin) made short work of a geoart series called Final Approach, the geoart being the shape of an airplane formed by cache icons on the map.

It may be a stretch to call them "perks" from, but parent company Groundspeak awards virtual tokens, called souvenirs, to geocachers for various accomplishments in the field. For example, last August, you received a souvenir for each day of the month you went caching, and if you logged finds on all 31 days, you received a special "31 Days of Geocaching" souvenir. This year, during the month of August, you received a souvenir for logging the various types of geocaches — i.e., an "Explorer" souvenir for finding a traditional cache, a "Sightseer" souvenir for find a multi-stage cache, a "Nature-Lover" souvenir for attending a cache-in, trash-out event or finding an Earthcache, and so forth and so on. If you logged all six specified types over the course of the month, you received a special "Seven Souvenirs of August" souvenir. Yes, I managed to accomplish this perhaps not-so-astounding feat, but hey, it made for a fun little personal geocaching goal. Kimberly says it does enhance my status as a geek, so I guess I'll just go with that.

But, apart from caching, what's a long weekend without a couple of hot dates with Ms. B. and some wine to go with it? No worries! On Saturday, Kimberly and I joined up with our friends Terry and Beth Nelson to visit a few wineries out in the Yadkin Valley. The weather was hot, muggy, and downright uncomfortable, but since there was wine involved — some of it quite good indeed — we forced ourselves to make the best of it. On Sunday, after the geocaching event, several of us went to The Celtic Fringe, a superb little pub in Reidsville. And for afters, Peter Jackson's Bad Taste was on the menu, and it's really bad, but in the best possible way.

On top of it all, I managed to finish up my most recent work of short fiction, titled "Red Rage," so it's ready to go off to the editor of the anthology who requested it. So now it's back to the grind, and boy, there's some serious grinding going on.

Be sweet!
A rough gang at Raffaldini Vineyards
Throw them into the cooler! The women chillin' at Raffaldini.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wicked Weddings, Pants-Down Races, and More

Detail from the awful mob scene pictured below

Over a decade ago, at a singularly infamous, unnameable Necon event in Bristol, Rhode Island, our good friend, the well-known hack writer Elizabeth Massie, stumbled over this particularly fascinating, very sad, and very mean artist named Cortney Skinner. The two of them caught each other's interest and apparently wound up rolling through a darkened duct tape factory because it wasn't long before they had become quite inseparable. Before anyone understood what was actually happening, this nefarious pair was cohabitating, living in sin, doing devilish deeds by day and by night. Based on their frequent, frightening appearances together in public, whispers began to circulate that the two of them had murdered each other in their sleep. Then, back in June, all these years of abominable abnormality culminated, when the perverted pair, in full silly hat regalia, tied the marital knot — in the common vernacular, up and got hitched.

Finally, unable to limit the practicing of their devilish whims to only themselves, the despicable duo decided to throw a big-ass bash to showcase their disgusting deviance, even inviting people they actually knew and disrespected — including the lovely Ms. B. and me. Unable to overcome our fascination with public perversion, we accepted. So, just this weekend, yesterday through today, we found ourselves subjected to a degree of depravity that, until now, we never could have guessed existed on this planet.

It started out innocently enough. Kimberly and I visited the beautiful Barren Ridge winery just outside of Waynesboro, enjoyed some wine, grabbed a few geocaches, and then — admittedly with some trepidation — we headed over to the hellish homestead. There were reunions with old friends, such as Jeff Osier; his wife, Cathy Van Patten; and her brother, John, with whom I had attended college a few years back. But these fair moments were not to last, for then the games began. Hideous, horrendous games, based on torture and humiliation. Things like "Pants-Down Races," in which even Ms. Massie's own daughter participated. To my shock, Kimberly was drawn into the evil circle, and I could only watch in despair as she, and numerous other inductees into this Satanic coven, raced around a blazing fire, pants down, tripping and falling and screaming and wailing. Never was there a more apt time for Jesus to appear and set things right. But he didn't, and so the heathens frollicked on.
Brugger was forced to walk the plank.

Next up, there were songs. And they drew me into it — me! Before I knew it, we were in a songwriting/singing competition, in which we had to compose canticles actually commemorating this demon pair's unholy union. I found myself singing along on a tune called "Bugle Whoo!" right smack in front of the couple, who looked down upon us from their camping chairs on high, nodding their heads in approval. And Lord, if that didn't sting. Except that... in a weird way... I almost enjoyed it!

Somehow, sometime later, Kimberly and I managed to escape. I'll never forget the sounds of agonized screaming, which — fortunately — receded quickly as we made our way into the night, seeking the nearest geocache with my trusty GPS.

The story would have ended there, except that, to our chagrin, we also accepted an invitation to breakfast with a select few of the coven, including the married couple. I should describe the beastly behavior during this smaller but no less traumatic event, but I doubt that repeating it would do my sanity — or yours — any favors. Suffice it to say that I am home now, writing this little missive, and constantly looking over my shoulder.

Should something happen to me, at least you know the truth.
A perfectly pastoral scene at Barren Ridge Vineyards, offering no hint of the trauma soon to follow.
Ms. B. and ye old writer, drinking away our cares before we even realized we had any.
Let the games begin. Grand marshall Cortney instructs participants in the rules of "Pants-Down Races."
Many celebrants, including this corrupt conquistador, crowded into the house to escape a brief rainstorm.
Hapless subjects serenade the vicious vizier and his bride, who look on with approval
After the party: Destined to walk the land of the dead.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Confusion on the Bigfoot Trail

Several years ago, geocaching took me out to what I call the Bigfoot Trail — a scenic and secluded hiking trail through the marshes along Long Branch, a few miles north of Greensboro (see "Return to Bigfoot Country," "Bigfoot's Libary," "The Great Blue Heron Nursery"). When I came upon the trail for the first time, it was undeveloped — not much more than a deer path through the woods, and human beings, other than the occasional geocacher, were happily never present. More recently, this extensive area of land has been made into the Richardson-Taylor Nature Preserve, and the old Bigfoot trail has been extended by a couple of miles and augmented by a bike trail that roughly parallels and occasionally intersects it. The preserve encompasses one of the most primitive, undeveloped areas in Guilford County, and since it is one of Greensboro's vital watershed areas, I am glad it has been acquired by an organization that will preserve it rather than rape it. All too nearby, acres upon acres of pristine woodland have recently been clear-cut to make way for yet more hellishly ugly, overpriced, cookie-cutter houses in poorly planned subdivisions that are steadily destroying the very resources that allow Greensboro to maintain adequate water supplies. The dreaded urban sprawl, don't you know. I hate it beyond words.

For now, while the trail is still unfinished, there is plenty of nature to be seen out there with virtually no sign of human intrusion. Near the trailhead, there are the remains of several old tobacco barns, for this area along Plainfield Road, which runs east-west near Greensboro's northernmost city limits, was not all that long ago completely rural, the forests broken only by a few farms and tobacco fields. The geocaching is good out here, and I was lucky to have been able to experience this unspoiled area before the inevitable influx of less environmentally conscious hordes. Today's hike was after a new, well-conceived multistage cache that required solving a novel field puzzle that involved dynamos and circuit boards (GC5B09K; "The Box of Confusion — I Wonder"). Mr. Rob "Robgso" Isenhour and I put in a nice three-mile hike and were able to log geocaching smileys after solving the puzzle and finding the final stage.

Yeah, Bigfoot is still out there, and I hear he's kind of pissed that the trail is now called the Bill Craft Trail, which may be fitting enough, but for crying out loud, how could any sensible soul not call it "The Bigfoot Trail"? Well, whatever its official name, to some of us, it's always going to be the Bigfoot Trail, and that will be that.
Old Rodan and old tobacco barn near the trailhead
They have these newfangled bridges out on the trail now. Not back in the good ol' days; you just got your feet wet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

World War Cthulhu Has Begun

I know you've seen and heard me carrying on about it for some time, but today is the day: the official launch of World War Cthulhu from Dark Regions. Of course I gotta shout about it, I just gotta, because I have a story in it — "The Game Changers," a Vietnam-era tale about Really Bad Things in the jungles of southeast Asia. Plus there are plenty great Lovecraftian war stories, ranging in time frames from the fall of Troy to the distant future, by Neil Baker, David Conyers, Tim Curran, Ed Erdelac, Cody Goodfellow, Ted Grau, C. J. Henderson, David Kernot, William Meikle, Christine Morgan, Edward Morris, Konstantin Paradias, Robert M. Price, W. H. Pugmire, Peter Rawlik, John Shirley, Darryl Schweitzer, Jeffrey Thomas, and Lee Zumpe. I just delved into it and read the first story, "Loyalty," by John Shirley. Fine stuff, it is!

But wait, there's more! You can get World War Cthulhu just about any way you want it — as an e-book, in trade paperback or hardback, with autographs by contributors or buck naked. Cover art is by Vincent Chong, and M. Wayne Miller contributes 22 full-color interior illustrations. The one reproduced here is to my story. Beauteous, no?

Here's the official description from Dark Regions: "The world is at war against things that slink and gibber in the darkness, and titans that stride from world to world, sewing madness and death. War has existed in one form or another since the dawn of human civilization, and before then, Elder terrors battled it out across this planet and this known universe in ways unimaginable.

"It has always been a losing battle for our side since time began. Incidents like the Innsmouth raid, chronicled by H.P. Lovecraft, mere blips of victory against an insurmountable foe. Still we fight, against these incredible odds, in an unending nightmare, we fight, and why? For victory, for land, for a political ideal? No, mankind fights for survival.

"Our authors have gathered here to share war stories from the eternal struggle against the darkness. This book chronicles these desperate battles from across the ages, including Roman Britain, The American Civil War, World War II, The Vietnam Conflict, and even the far future."

For everything you could want to know about World War Cthulhu, including ordering info for all available editions, visit Dark Regions Press.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In the Black at Binding Time

The disreputable contingent: ye old scary dude
with author/moviemaker James Wayland

Binding Time Café and Bookstore's 2014 Book Festival opened at 10:00 this morning to a fairly small crowd, but over the next couple of hours, business picked up with a steady flow of patrons coming and going, most leaving with a new book or several in hand. The majority of the authors in attendance brought works of local, regional, and general literary interest, but local writer and moviemaker James Wayland, author of Trailer Park Vampires and Dirty Southside Jam — not to mention writer/producer/director of the recent indie movie, Never Look Back Again — and I made for a shuddersome, thoroughly disreputable horror contingent. My table was set up next to Dr. Mary Helen Hensley, who has written a series of autobiographical volumes known as The Promised Trilogy (Promised, Circles of Light, and The Land Beyond the River), which details her near-death experience after a car accident in the 1991 as well as a children's book titled The Chakra Fairies. Her late father, Dick Hensley, was principal of Martinsville High School as well as head football coach when I was a student there (not quite a full half century ago). A few years back, Mary Helen published a little volume of her father's memorable sayings and wisdom, which range from entertaining to profound.

For a small town that fell into economic depression twenty-some years ago and has suffered seriously ever since, Martinsville, VA, does manage to retain an inviting, eclectic culture that has attracted and kept lots of creative individuals and small businesses reminiscent of its richer days in decades past. Binding Time proprietors John and Bonnie Hale do a bang-up job putting together these regular book festivals — and any time I attend such an event and leave in the black, then it's been a pretty good day. Like today.

Read, eat, drink, and be merry.
Authors and book dealers, start your engines!
Dr. Mary Helen Hensley, author of The Promised trilogy, The Chakra Fairies, and others.
Author Michael Howlett, channeling Mark Twain, with Binding Time proprietor John Hale

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Binding Time's 2014 Book Festival

Ye author at Binding Time's 2013
spring book festival

For the past few years, I've been a regular at the Martinsville, VA, book festivals sponsored by Binding Time Café & Bookstore, and this year's festival takes place this weekend — Saturday, August 16, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I will have copies of The Monarchs, Blue Devil Island, Other GodsThe Gaki, Song of Cthulhu, and others available for purchase, and I'll be more than happy to devalue them with an autograph. See if I won't. I will also have a handful of CDs of the Dark Shadows audio dramas that I wrote for Big Finish Productions, which feature several members of the classic ABC-TV series, including David Selby, Lara Parker, Nancy Barrett, and Marie Wallace.

Binding Time is a great little cafe that features a decent selection of books for sale, many by local/regional authors. The shop started out as a bookstore that offered a nice little selection of food and drink items, but over time, the dining side of the business grew until it became more a café with a selection of books offered as a bonus. Still, owners John and Bonnie Hale are very much devoted to the literary side of things and go all out to promote working writers. About twenty authors are scheduled to participate on Saturday; you can find a complete roster here.

Binding Time is located at 1115 Spruce St., Martinsville, VA 24112 — in the Druid Hills Shopping Center, which is very easily accessible from all points around town. Please do stop in, check out some of my most pleasant works of endless, raging, grueling horror, and have a really good sandwich and a coffee or espresso, or perhaps another satisfying beverage.

Eat, drink, read, and be merry.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Killer Cicadas Bash

The ultimate showdown between humans and giant, man-eating, killer cicadas took place last night at the Rives Theater in Martinsville, VA. The house was packed with folks eager to catch the latest from the delinquent Smith Brothers, Mat and Myron, whose previous effort, Young Blood: Evil Intentions, has just been novelized courtesy of ye old author dude. Earlier in the day, a strange-looking, upright cicada-type entity was reportedly seen around town advertising the movie. Ms. Kimberly, who has a small part as a mad professor's mistress, and I, who play the mad professor, arrived in town a couple of hours prior to showtime and had a very fine dinner at Rania's Restaurant in uptown Martinsville. When we got to the theater — which is where I saw the majority of my most beloved monster movies as a young'un — it was already just about filled up. Shortly, Mat and Myron were giving the audience a little introduction on what we were about to see, and then we were treated to a classic Betty Boop cartoon — which was, appropriately, all about a bunch of ornery bugs.

Invasion of the Killer Cicadas then rolled. It's a very short film — just under an hour long — and is all about the cheese. It's a genuinely funny comedy, with blatantly hokey special effects, lots of great quips from the characters, a wee bit of graphic gore, and some killer original music by The Directive, Smokey Miles, J.D. Hades and the Exterminators, Hyberborean Slumber, and others. The fun was infectious, and everyone in the audience looked to be having two and a half hoots. Ms. Kimberly and I certainly were.

After the show, most of the cast devalued lots of movie posters with our autographs, and then we headed over to Hugo's Bar & Grill for a few drinks and fun company. Quite the red carpet affair, this premiere!

Like Young Blood before it, Invasion of the Killer Cicadas will no doubt be making the rounds at other venues and eventually see release on DVD. Me, I can't wait. If your community is fortunate enough to be attacked by killer cicadas, I strongly recommend you don't miss them. Shoot first, question later.

Click here to watch the Jamie Walker Show about the movie from WYAT TV, which I participated in last week.
Meww Gomez and John Robert Price, stars of Invasion of the Killer Cicadas (photo by Rita Smith)
Writers, producers, directors, and Do-It-All Boys, Mat and Myron Smith (photo by Rita Smith)
After-party at Hugo's, featuring cast members Sarah Smith and Jenny Holmes
No mad scientist is complete without a beautiful mistress — even if she's looking a little blurry on camera.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Directive: Invasion of the Killer Cicadas!

Hey, hey... The Killer Cicadas song by The Directive features Professor Doctor Werner Von Schwartztotten's maniacal monologue at the beginning. How awesome is that?

The Cicadas Invade... This Weekend!

Here they come! This Saturday night, August 9, at 7:00 PM, at the Rives Theater in Uptown Martinsville, VA. Invasion of the Killer Cicadas, made by brothers Mat & Myron Smith, and featuring ye old dude playing wacky mad scientist Professor Doctor Werner Von Schwartztotten. If you've not gotten tickets yet, they may be available at the door, but the show is likely to sell out. Guaranteed to be great fun....

In the same but different department, I've completed the novelization of the Smith Brothers' first movie, Young Blood: Evil Intentions and turned it in for approval. There will likely be some revisions before it's all said and done, but it's been a dynamite, mighty fun project.

And the show goes on.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Killer Cicadas Take the Airwaves

Thursday, July 31, at 5:30 PM, Mat and Myron Smith, along with special guests — including ye old man — from their movie, Invasion of the Killer Cicadas, will be airing on The Jamie Walker Show on Martinsville, VA's WYAT TV-40. People outside of the Martinsville area can now watch the show on YouTube.

The show will feature interviews, photos, video clips, and more from Invasion of the Killer Cicadas. The movie premieres at the Rives Theater in Martinsville on August 9 at 7:00 PM. Note: in southwestern VA, you can watch WYAT TV-40 on Channel 99 on Comcast Cable.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

High Upon Dragon's Tooth

A couple of miles into the hike, just under a mile from the summit. At the end of it all,
I don't think any of us looked quite this fresh and enthusiastic.
Old Rodan is tired and sore, and — until that most welcome shower — all-too-recently soaking wet and filthy dirty. This morning, I headed up to Dragon's Tooth on the Appalachian Trail, just northwest of Roanoke, and met up with a number of Virginia-based geocachers to hike up to the summit. Back in the 1990s, when my brother lived up that way, we spent countless hours roaming around the countryside there, but we never did go up to Dragon's Tooth — silly us. From the parking area along Highway 311, it's roughly a six-mile round trip to and from the top, and about three feet of the journey is on smooth, level ground. The mile just before the summit is steep, rocky, and frequently requires one to use both hands and feet to make the ascent. We did this in 100% humidity with occasional rain squalls, so those rocks tended to be slick and treacherous. By the time we reached the top of the ridge, there was not a one of us that wasn't soaked to the skin with sweat and/or rainwater.
Bound for glory, or something such.

The formations and view from Dragon's Tooth are spectacular. From the parking area, the elevation change is about 1,100 feet, and the main two Tuscarora quartzite spires at the summit each rise about 35 feet, at almost 90-degree angles from the surrounding terrain. Some of our number — mainly the younger ones — clambered all the way up to the crest of the biggest and sharpest tooth, while at least one of us older folk settled for tromping out on one of blunter molars — itself not a trivial formation, and guaranteed to send you to your death if you're not cautious along its edge. Needless to say, there were caches to be found on this excursion, and find them we did — only three for me today, but a trip such as this is all about quality over quantity, and that much we surely got.

Most interestingly, three of the group — "Kivotos" (a.k.a Noah) and "Fishercachers" (Leif and Bobbie) — are from Waynesboro, VA, and are acquainted with my good friends, writer Elizabeth Massie and artist Cortney Skinner, who are themselves avid geocachers. Geocaching communities do tend to overlap a lot, since most cachers end up traveling and meeting other cachers in oftentimes faraway places. That's just one of many very gratifying aspects of geocaching.

Click on images to enlarge.
The easy part of the hike

A less-easy part of the hike.
Homestyle on the rocks
Down in the valley, valley so low — viewed from my perch on the "molar."

Mountain goats
The road barely visible at the base of the ridge is Newport Road, where my
brother lived a couple of decades ago.
"Hey, Rodan! Does this rock make my butt look big?" Well, that's what Audra
hollered from up there, yes she did.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

High in Alamance County

It's one of those days that's too nice not to go geocaching, so I went geocaching — all around Alamance County, next door, in the company of my good friend Bridget "Suntigres" Langley. There's a relatively recent set of six caches over that way, each at one of the various branches of the Alamance County Public Library. It turned out to be an excellent little series, with several clever hides, none very difficult but all far more enjoyable than your garden variety park-and-grab cache. A few other new, well-placed caches made it a fruitful and highly enjoyable day. Tree-climbing has always among the old dude's favorite activities, and as you might deduce from the photos above, one of the caches along the Haw River Trail (GC5704W) provided the perfect outlet for that particular urge.
A good 1.5 inches long, this
rotten-ass fly-beast.

Another favorite was a new multi called "The Code" (GC57YFF) placed by frequent caching companion Robbin "Rtmlee" Lee at his own place of business. To even get past the first stage, one needs to utilize an app on a smart phone, and once you do, you're in for a big treat — providing you can figure out the "code" the app reveals to you. At another cache, we encountered the landowner, who had no idea there was a cache hidden at his place (generally a big no-no) but who, it turns out, was a good friend of one of our local diehard geocachers and quite familiar with our peculiar little hobby. He was fine with the container being hidden where it is and called his friend to let him know there was caching to be done — which is, to my mind, far more sporting than threatening to whack geocachers with a lawnmower blade.

No summer day in the south is complete without all kinds of critters in evidence. At the aforementioned cache, not only the landowner, but a very friendly snake came along to watch what we were doing. At another, a horsefly approximately the size of Rodan the Flying Monster gave us the compound eye but — fortunately — otherwise let us be. I say fortunately because he was so big and ferocious-looking that a close encounter with him would have amounted to a bad end for one of us.

Indeed, a highly satisfying day on the caching trail. Some of those Alamance County folks have their creative brains engaged. Always welcome.

Click images to enlarge.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Killer Cicadas Premiere — August 9, 2014

Invasion of the Killer Cicadas, the latest bit of indie movie mayhem from the evil Smith brothers, Mat & Myron, is coming to the Rives Theater in Martinsville, VA, on Saturday, August 9, at 7:00 PM. Ye old man has a small part as mad professor Dr. Werner von Schwartztotten, the evil genius behind the killer cicadas, and Kimberly "Ms. B." Brugger gets to show just what she's made of in a killer hot tub scene. If you're anywhere in the area, by all means, come round and get in on the monster action. Tickets cost $7.50 and must be purchased in advance — and they're going faster than fast. They're still available from several businesses in Martinsville, including What's Your Sign and Stafford's Music, and online from Or contact Mat Smith or Myron Smith directly (via Facebook) for fast personal service.

Trailer 1 for Invasion of the Killer Cicadas.

I have just finished the novelization of Mat & Myron's first movie, Young Blood: Evil Intentions, which was released just over a year ago. Recently, the gentlemen producers decided the real events behind the movie needed to told, and I was the nearest person who might be able to actually make that happen. So, yeah... done and done. The book will be coming out soon enough, so mind your necks, good people.

Bloody well right.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Summer of Lovecraft

I has a happy! My story, "Short Wave," has been accepted for the upcoming anthology, The Summer of Lovecraft, edited by Brian Sammons and Glynn Owen Barrass. It's a collection of stories set in the 1960s, which, needless to say, is the decade of my most formative years. My story is set in July 1969, just after the Apollo 11 moon landing. As a fun coincidence, my acceptance note came on the exact date — plus 45 years — that the events take place in the tale.

Table of Contents:
"Night Trippers" — Lois H. Gresh
"Crystal Blue Persuasion" — Jeffrey Thomas
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Sullivan" — Lee Clark Zumpe
"Dreamland" — David Dunwoody
"Lost In the Poppy-Fields of Flesh" — Konstantine Paradias
"Five To One" — Edward M. Erdelac
"Keeping the Faith" — Sam Stone
"Mud Men" — Sean Hoade
"Misconception" — Jamie D. Jenkins
"No Colors Anymore" — Joe L. Murr
"Operation Alice" — Pete Rawlik
"Shimmer and Sway" — Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
"Short Wave" — Stephen Mark Rainey
"Project AZAZEL" — Christopher Slatsky
"The Song that Crystal Sang" — Tom Lynch
"Through a Looking Glass Darkly" — Glynn Owen Barrass & Brian M. Sammons
"The Color from the Deep" — William Meikle
"The Long Fine Flash" — Edward Morris
"The Summer of Love" — C. J. Henderson
"Wonder and Glory Forever" — Scott R Jones
"Just Another Afternoon in Arkham, Brought to You in Living Color" — Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.

The book is slated to be published by Chaosium in 2015. Stay tuned.