Sunday, September 26, 2010

Devils, Caches, and Crowns

A most invigorating weekend. Yesterday, headed up to Martinsville to visit Mum, stopping off at the brand new Shallow Ford trail system in Alamance County to get in some hiking and geocaching. There were five new caches placed out on the trail and, as it turns out, no one had found them yet, so I got first-to-find on the lot of them. Yay! Just for good measure, I picked up a couple of more on the trip up to Virginia. Alas, while I was hiking and chewing on a piece of gum, I felt the distinct crunch of something in my mouth that was most definitely not gum. Wouldn't you know it—a crown had vacated its assigned spot and taken to running loose. I did manage to chase it down and salvage it, so—hopefully—the dentist can put the little chopper back where it belongs. Fortunately, it's not painful—except when I try to eat potato chips, so chips are off. Just when I was having a craving, too.

Got in some more serious walking around Martinsville late last night, in the company of a bourbon and ginger ale, and on the way home today...a couple of more caches. Then headed over to see Devil, the new M. Night Shamalamadude's movie, which was pretty good, if ridiculously didactic. It would have been much better by sparing us all the devil's rules and regulations and just letting it go where it would. I didn't need everything spelled out to the last detail. Regardless, I enjoyed it enough; probably just won't watch it again.

Finished up the evening giving my website a much-needed overhaul, to fit in the newest news, The Lebo Coven, the podcast at Ghost in the Machine, and all those goodies. Managed to fit in a bit of writing on my new story, as well.

I sleep now.

THE LEBO COVEN and THE NIGHTMARE FRONTIER Now Available From Crossroad Press

The Lebo Coven, originally released by Thomson-Gale/Five Star Books in 2004, is now available as an e-book from Crossroad Press. Here's a little teaser for you.... After a ten-year absence, Barry Riggs returns to his hometown of Aiken Mill, Virginia, in search of his brother, Matt, who has mysteriously disappeared. Not only is the younger Riggs missing, but his house has been ransacked—and branded with the strange word “LEBO,” painted in blood on the bedroom wall. Faced with a local sheriff whose efforts to solve the crime are less than devoted, Barry sets out on his own to discover the truth. He meets a number of locals he had known in his youth, including a young woman named Jennifer Brand, whom he had once treated with contempt because she suffered from a repulsive, crippling affliction. After some awkward moments, the two become friends, and together they begin to unravel the mystery of Matt’s disappearance. Certain locals suggest that the name “LEBO” holds certain, ominous significance, but no one will so much as whisper its meaning. Barry eventually encounters a mysterious character who goes by the name of Ren—a reputed Satan worshipper. As Barry and Jennifer unravel the clues, they learn that all is far from what it appears—and that dark, inhuman forces are certainly at work. "This former editor of the legendary horror magazine, Deathrealm, has written a novel of supernatural terror worthy of his esteemed literary reputation. The Lebo Coven seethes with darkness from the first page and surges forward in a pulse-pounding pace to the very end. This is a thrilling tale, custom-made for a dark and stormy night, that will keep you flipping pages until you've reached the slam-dunk, knock-your-socks-off climax."
—J. L. Comeau, Count Gore de Vol Presents Creature Features
Crossroad also recently released my fourth novel, The Nightmare Frontier. They're available in most all e-formats, at very reasonable prices ($2.99–$4.99). They're both pretty creepy—quite the ticket for going into the Halloween season! Check 'em out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ghost in the Machine Meets Old Dude

Several weeks back, Ms. Gail Z. Martin, author and proprietor of the Ghost in the Machine podcast site, conducted a telephone interview with me, primarily about Lovecraftian fiction and my novel, The Nightmare Frontier, recently released as an e-book by Crossroad Press. The interview is now live as a podcast and can be downloaded at Ghost in the Machine. Check it out (but take some Dramamine first). I always feel awkward doing live interviews; when they're written, I can at least give some thought to the responses, whereas live interviews and the resulting off-the-cuff answers usually just serve to expose a certain degree of brain death. Anyway, listen, weep, and go grab The Nightmare Frontier.. That, at least, oughta get your blood way or another....

Monday, September 20, 2010

We All Scream!

Very nice geocaching event in High Point last night, at Bruster's Ice Cream, starring most of the local caching crowd. Headed over early and snagged a bunch of caches around High Point, went to dinner at the very nice Thai Herb restaurant with my friend Kim, and cream! Huge, monstrous masses of the stuff. Cookie dough with peanut-butter/chocolate chips! In waffle cones! Evil, I tell you. In the best possible way, of course.

At one of the caches I went after, I discovered an Imperial moth larva, which is not at all a small thing. Mind you, I did not give the caterpillar any ice cream, since it's probably not so good for the critter's health. (Click on the image for a larger view of the gentle beastie.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Geo Drive-Thru

Went after a few geocaches tonight, one at a boarded-up drive-thru out near the airport. There was a state trooper parked just across the way, and when I got out and commenced to hunting, he turned a curious eye my way. So I put on my best drive-thru inspector's face, and it seemed to do the trick. The drive-thru inspector in my trunk is a little miffed about not having his face, but we do what we must.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Under the Pier and Other Excursions

Lots of lounging seagulls on the beach all weekend long

Spent a long weekend at Surfside Beach, SC, with some friends, which was just the thing to recharge the old batteries—never mind that, right now, I'm about to fall over and gong my head on my desk. There was plenty of caching, of course, but since my friends are not fellow geocachers, I kept the caching activity relatively low-key (fortunately, they are a reasonably sporting bunch). Out of necessity, we kept the trip quite economical, but we still managed to eat very well, drank a bit, played games, and got in plenty of long walks on the beach (as well as some splashing about). Last evening, a late-night walk led us to a very cool and somewhat creepy setting under the pier in Surfside, providing all kinds of inspiration for a new short story, which I have in mind for an aquatic-themed anthology. In fact, will be starting work on the tale tomorrow, I think. Almost wish I'd had my camera with me at the time, though undoubtedly, nighttime photography would not have done the setting justice.

It was a great trip for people watching. As a bit of preface, back in 1985, when staying at Myrtle Beach with my family, my brother and I were forever bemused by this ugly kid with a buzzing, gravelly voice who would never stop talking. He always wore too-large swim trunks covered in garishly colored, even psychedelic, geometric patterns. Thus, Phred and I began referring to him as The Voice With the Multi-Planar Shorts. While I was on the beach yesterday, I experienced a similar phenomenon; in fact, I would swear I was witnessing a much older incarnation of the same chap. His shorts weren't exactly multi-planar, but he sure had The Voice, and he appeared absolutely determined to have his say to anyone who would listen. Apparently, there were those who would.

Discovered a game called Rummikub, which I found enjoyable, despite some early misgivings (it involves the mathematics). To play, you must engage a few brain cells, which I accomplished by plugging my toe into an electrical outlet; once the juice got flowing, it all worked out nicely. Also got in a bit of Lasso (a.k.a. Redneck) Golf on the beach. A hootin' good time.

Perhaps above all things, I found that Zing Zang ("Not Just Another Bloody Mary Mix") is killer stuff when mixed with Corona beer, lime juice, and hot peppers. It won't replace the martini as my traditional favorite, but it's dynamite for the occasional refreshing explosion.

Click the pics to enlarge.

On the trip down: Caching in Seagrove, NC

The guardian at "The Great Norman Bank Robbery"
cache, Norman, NC

Not sure what was happening here, but it was all quite impassioned.
Get multi-planar, dude.

Old fellow resting after a long hike on the beach after some caches

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Up to Abergavenny

Wow..."Abergavenny" by Marty Wilde (a.k.a. Shannon), father of '80s singer Kim Wilde, is one of those songs that I heard a handful of times as a kid, but that stuck in my head for many, many years like an errant railroad spike through the skull. This thing just kills me. Can't help but smile, though....

My daughter, Allison, isn't going to Abergavenny, I don't think, but she's just crossed the pond to visit London for a week — her birthday treat to herself. Hope she has a wonderful time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Belabored Again

It was a bear of a week at the office, but it's been a good week for writing, reading, watching stuff, and caching. Picked up a few new caches around Greensboro, and I've gotten over to High Point, Archdale, Burlington, and Chapel Hill; today, I hit Sontag, VA, just north of Martinsville, for a pleasant walk in some very scenic woods. I've put in almost as much mileage hiking as I've been craving a cheeseburger. I've been trying to improve my diet in recent days, and so far, I have not given into the temptation to have that cheeseburger. Doesn't mean it's not going to happen, though. I mean, I did have that big old block of chocolate and peanut butter from A Southern Season in Chapel Hill yesterday...and no, I did not just admit to any wrongdoing.

Via Netflix, I've been enjoying DVDs of Star Blazers (a.k.a. Space Cruiser Yamato), of which I was quite the fan in my college days, as well as some episodes of Dark Shadows, which you can stream instantly. I like that a lot. And today, I'm working on a new story for editor extraordinaire Robert M. Price, for an upcoming Cthulhu Mythos anthology. It should be scary. Me? Yeah, I'm all kinds of scared. Yes, sir. Hopefully, you will be too.