Monday, October 25, 2010

A Sleepy Hollow-een

Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Collinwood, from House of Dark Shadows and
Night of Dark Shadows

Periodically, it's necessary to make the pilgrimage to Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY, just north of New York City, where the two Dark Shadows movies were filmed in the early 70s. The Halloween season is the perfect time for it, so this past weekend, that's where you would have found me. Left on Friday afternoon—GPS in hand for a bit of geocaching—and stayed the night with friends Elizabeth Massie and Cortney Skinner in Waynesboro, VA. On Saturday, it was the long drive to Tarrytown (more caches), and on Saturday night, met my daughter, Allison, for a fine dinner at The Striped Bass, right on the Hudson, next to the impressive Tappan Zee Bridge. Tarrytown was beautifully decorated for Halloween and even had a Halloween Parade on Saturday afternoon. (Didn't hang around to watch it, though; eight bazillion raging muggles made getting around a chore.) Ended the evening with a midnight lantern-light tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Most impressive, as well as rather relaxing. In fact, Sleepy Hollow is the kind of cemetery that makes being buried less annoying.

Lyndhurst against the rising sun

Old dude at one of the huge copper beech trees on the Lyndhurst estate

Sunday morning, it was up bright and early to visit Lyndhurst, the beautiful, historic estate that served as Collinwood in 1970's House of Dark Shadows and 1971's Night of Dark Shadows. Spent the better part of the day wandering about the house and grounds, and then, after a fabulous sushi dinner at Yama Fuji Sushi in Briarcliff Manor, headed to the Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze at Van Cortland Manor, about ten miles north of Tarrytown. Four-thousand jack-o'-lanterns at this attraction, intricately arranged around the estate—many carved as individual components of incredible structures, such as huge spiderwebs (along with attendant spiders), dinosaurs, bats, cats, skeletons, scarecrows, monsters, and ghoulies. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive Halloween spectacles I've ever seen.

The too-short trip ended today with the long drive home...and fortunately, the hunting of a good many caches. It was all just the ticket for kicking off Halloween week. I'm certainly in the spirit now, and tomorrow, I'll be carving my meager jack-o'-lanterns; child's play next to the spectacle of the Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze, but you can bet your axe my pumpkins will be sincere.

Click on the pics to enlarge.

Fall foliage at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Send me an angel. Grave marker at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Van Cortland Manor, done up for Halloween

Jack-o'-lantern spiderweb at the Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze

"Who goes there?" The lantern-light tour at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Gotta wonder if Spencer was a fan of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Sleepy Hollow is festive at Halloween.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Damn That Betty White!

Old Rodan in the middle of a predicament.

Back from a none-too-profitable but all-too-entertaining book-signing event in Williamsburg, VA, this weekend. Drove up last night from Greensboro, working in a number of geocaches along the way...of course. East of Petersburg, it's a gorgeous drive along Route 5. One of the highlights was stopping for a cache at an excellent little tavern in Charles City (which is one of the four or five buildings in town, I think). It was full of character, and I had one seriously good cowburger. In fact, after that, I don't know that I'll be able to eat a McDonald's cowburger ever again.

Stayed at a cheap but decent hotel very near the college bookstore (and several caches, which is important). And today at the signing, I met up with a passel of very good friends—Beth Massie, Cortney Skinner, Tom Monteleone, Matthew Warner, Beth Blue, Sarah Schoenfeld, and Mark Sieber—and met Mark's friend Laura Long and writer Ron Malfi for the first time. Things were say the least...but when the caching team of emvirginia (Ms. Massie & Mr. Skinner) and Damned Rodan headed out to claim a nearby cache, we discovered just what was up.

Betty White had stolen our entire audience.

Yep, they were all out there—thousands of muggles, all waiting for Betty White, who was in town to do a benefit for her animal rescue program. She was set to make a big entrance riding in a carriage and then do a presentation/autograph session at one of the businesses on the square. We even figured maybe we could get Betty to hawk some horror novels for us, and we'd cut her in on a percentage. Alas, we never got to see Betty White; when we were outside, she was in, and when we were inside, she was out. Or something to that effect. At any rate, she didn't sell any horror novels for us. Conversely, we didn't autograph any Christmas ornaments, so really, whose loss is it?


Ms. Massie, a little too happy.

Mark Sieber and Laura Long, also too happy.
Matt, Ron, and Tom, suitably somber.

Malfi and old dude, once again all too happy but laughing at muggles.

Damned Rodan and Emvirginia, posing with Thomas Jefferson and
some Betty White muggles. Yeah. Too happy.

Dark Visions

Wow...been too occupied to blog this past week, but here's a late notice. If you're in range of Williamsburg, VA, drop into the College of William & Mary bookstore, Saturday, 10/16, 10 AM–5 PM, for Dark Visions—several horror authors, including Tom Monteleone, Elizabeth Massie, Ron Malfi, Matthew Warner, and ye old dude, will be signing books, reading, and generating fear. My booksigning slot is at lunchtime—12:00 PM to 1:15 PM. Grab a book or two of mine, and I'll be happy to devalue it with a signature. Come on by and say hey.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Devil's Caching Ground

New blog entry by the old dude about The Devil's Tramping Ground at Elder Signs Press...very fitting for the Halloween season. Check it out.

Tonight, got in a fair bit of caching with my friend, Bridget, a.k.a. Suntigres. A nice rural run between Liberty and High Point, topped off by a visit to Bill's Pizza Pub, which flat out rocks. There was a small herd of pygmy goats back behind the restaurant, which I found rightly amusing. I'm pretty sure Bill's doesn't offer pygmi pizza. Yes, pretty sure.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Swamp Thing?

Headed out this afternoon for a hike along the Haw River, in Alamance County, to hunt a number of geocaches. Put in about three miles on a couple of different trails, and found a nice little village along the river that I had no idea existed. You go down a picturesque country road, and suddenly you're in Glencoe: a tiny spot on the map that was founded in the 1880s as a textile town and fell into decay after the mill closed in the 1950s. However, in recent years, the village has been renovated to resemble its former state, and the nearby trail takes you along a beautiful stretch of river.

I do have it on good authority that a number of the local forest animals took perverse glee witnessing an old dude on a cache hunt go slip, slide, boom! as he made his way through a swampy area near the river. The chap came out looking a lot more like the Swamp Thing than he did starting out, or so I'm told, anyway.

Short Stuff, Long Stuff, and In-Between Stuff

New short story, titled "Beneath the Pier," which I've been working on this week—all done and ready to be sent to editor. Now I've another one to write for a different editor, titled "The War Lords of Leng." Have just started it, and I expect it's scary because it's keeping me awake.

Things by the old dude coming down the pike:

Crossroad Press: The Nightmare Frontier (novel, audio book); The Lebo Coven (novel, e-book); and Blue Devil Island (novel, audio book). The Nightmare Frontier audio release, to be narrated by Basil Sands, may be in time for Halloween. Nice. The other two releases should follow shortly thereafter.

Marietta Publishing: Blue Devil Island, trade paperback and e-book. Cover art by M. Wayne Miller.

Dark Regions: The Gaki & Other Hungry Spirits (short story collection), signed & limited edition hardback, trade paperback. Cover art also by M. Wayne Miller.

And since I've recently gotten the two new Shout! Factory DVD releases of Gamera vs. Gyaos/Gamera vs. Viras and Gamera vs. Guiron/Gamera vs. Jiger, the movie reviews will no doubt be posted on my Daikaiju page in fairly short order.

Next weekend (Saturday, Oct. 9), I'll be selling and signing books and CDs of the Dark Shadows audio dramas I've written (Path of Fate, Curse of the Pharaoh, and Blood Dance) at The Woods of Terror on Church Street, just north of Greensboro. Come by between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. for a visit!

October is always a busy month, and it's off to a running start. C'mon now, keep up!