Saturday, June 30, 2012


The western sky at dusk, viewed from U.S. Hwy. 58, just east of Martinsville, VA, 6-29-12
When I left work at 4:30 PM yesterday afternoon, it was 105 degrees in the shade. I didn't let that alter my plans to head to Danville, VA, to get in some geocaching, and then go over to Martinsville to visit Mum. First stop was Angler's Park, just east of Danville, where I put in about a mile hike and claimed a handful of caches. Yes, I took plenty of water. Hit the road to grab a few more, only to end up at the Corner Cafe in Ringgold, VA, where I went for the fabulous Friday night meatloaf special. Proprietor and fellow geocacher Keith McCoy was on hand, so we sat and yakked geocaching for a good while; then I left to make my way toward Martinsville.

The air was unbelievably humid and still, the sunset fiery and gorgeous. The weather report came on the local radio station, indicating record-breaking heat, of course, and partly cloudy skies, with only a minimal chance of scattered thunderstorms. However, not three minutes later, here comes a severe weather warning for the entire listening area, alerting us to impending violent thunderstorms and damaging winds.

Sure enough.

I arrived at Mum's just after dark and had just made a martini when I noticed the wind picking up outside; only a minute or so later, the power went out. I stepped out to the front porch and was promptly just about blown right back in. Now, every few years, a hurricane will move this far inland and hit us with some severe weather, but I don't think any hurricane I've experienced has brought winds like those that blew through town last night — at least not when I've been out in them. (This morning's Roanoke newspaper put the gusts in excess of 80 miles per hour.) There was thunder and lightning aplenty, but not a drop of rain. Mum lives in a very wooded area, and I could hear trees cracking and falling, and a couple came down with such force I thought I was hearing explosions. The energy burst lasted only a few minutes — certainly less than half an hour — and we were lucky, as no trees crashed down on the house or on my car, which was parked in the driveway.

With no air conditioning, it was a right warm night, and when I woke up at 8:00 this morning, the power was still off. I decided to go out and try to find some coffee, since I obviously wasn't going to be making any at home. I knew the winds would have done some damage, but holy Moses....

The first thing I encountered was power lines down across the road, only a quarter mile from Mum's house. Next, I saw huge trees lying in yards, branches across the roads, more lines hanging from splintered telephone poles. I essentially took a tour of the entire town of Martinsville, and there was no electricity, anywhere. Once I reached Collinsville, a few miles north, there was power — and a regular stampede of human beings looking for food, gas, water, groceries, you name it. I managed to get into McDonald's to grab coffee and some breakfast, and to their credit, they were moving the massive line through at express speed. Would that they were always so efficient!

On my way home, it finally occurred to me to take a few pictures. The worst damage I saw was a massive, 200-foot-tall tree that had crashed down on a beautiful house on Mulberry Road, but the owners asked me not to take any photographs, and I respected their wishes. The entire time I was out and about, I didn't see a single utility truck. Apparently, a large part of southwestern Virginia got hit hard, and no doubt electrical crews are taxed to the limit. The Martinsville Bulletin website has not been updated since yesterday — no doubt because they have no electricity — but I imagine it will have significant news about the storm when power is restored, which may be quite some time yet.

Addendum: The tree in question in the paragraph above: Storm damage

I headed on back to Greensboro this afternoon, after once again getting in some hiking in Danville, which appeared to have suffered considerably less damage than Martinsville. I hope I sweated off last night's meatloaf and this morning's McDonald's crap. And though my house is hotter'n hades, even with the air conditioning on, I count myself quite lucky not to have been adversely affected beyond a bit of discomfort. Quite a few folks in Martinsville — and elsewhere in southwestern Virginia — clearly were not so fortunate.

Click on the images to enlarge.

The temperature on my car thermometer at 4:30 p.m. A couple of hours earlier, it had been even hotter.
Power lines down on Indian Trail, in Martinsville
One of the big old trees that came down on Mulberry Road
The most common sight around town — big tree limbs down in people's yards.
Danville didn't get it as badly, but there were a number of trees down on the Riverwalk Trail this morning.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

HorrorWorld v. Moab

"After devouring The Gods of Moab in one short sitting, this novella has not only has become my favorite work by the author, it has become one of my favorite reads of the year. Rainey balances his supernatural frights with the natural, and it works beautifully. From the first page to its mind-bending final sentences, The Gods of Moab will have readers wide-eyed and enthralled." So writes HorrorWorld's reviewer, TTZuma, of my recent novella. Very gratifying to see that, in general, Moab is doing its part to satisfy some horror cravings. Read the whole review here.

And on that note, be advised that The Gods of Moab Contest ends this coming Saturday night (6/30) at midnight. Three (un)lucky winners will receive their just comeuppance, in the form of these prizes — an autographed copy of Blue Devil Island (trade paperback, Marietta Books), an autographed copy of Legends of the Night (trade paperback, Wildside Books), and a CD of Dark Shadows: Curse of the Pharaoh, which stars original Dark Shadows cast members Nancy Barrett and Marie Wallace. Pick up The Gods of Moab for your Kindle at for only $2.99. You could do worse for the price of a beer.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

An opulent spread at Volcano Hibachi & Sushi Restaurant in Elizabeth City, NC
Note that these pics are in no particular order. I'd hate to hurt anyone's feelings, particularly the sushi's. Anyhoo, this past weekend has been one of those that is really special to me because so many of my favorite people/places/things/experiences have all been rolled up into one.

David Niall Wilson — writer, editor, publisher, proprietor of Crossroad Press — has probably been my best friend in the wacky world of writing and publishing since the late 1980s. I published his short story, "From My Reflection, Darkly" — in Deathrealm #13, I believe — and after that, his work became something of a staple in the magazine. We met face-to-face for the first time at Necon (I suspect it was back in 1988), and from that time on, we started getting together regularly, whether it be at cons or at our respective residences. Over the years, we've shared a lot of experiences, creative energy, writing (we collaborated on a tale or two; see Joined at the Muse for a horrific example), and some significant life changes (i.e., divorce, re-marriages, re-relationships, etc.). It's been over three years since we've seen each other, and that's the longest time between visits since we first became acquainted. Those big life changes get in the way, don't you know....

After work on Friday, Brugger and I set out for Elizabeth City, only to encounter some of the biggest, most violent storms shy of a hurricane that I've seen in quite some time. Consequently, driving was not fun, and geocaching was minimal. It seemed a bad omen, though I don't think either of us allowed the inclement weather to significantly dampen our spirits. Happily, we made it safe and sound to Stately Wilson Manor — but a different Stately Wilson Manor than I was accustomed to, for the last time I ventured in this direction, the Wilson folk lived in a historical, haunted mansion in the little town of Hertford. Not anymore. In this new place, it appeared, the only ghosts we'd find would be the ones the Wilsons brought with them (which, granted, could be plenty...).

Brugger had never met Clan Wilson before, so I suspect there was some nervousness involved (see photo of said clan below and tell me you wouldn't be fucking freaked). Immediately upon our arrival, though, drinks and conversation began to flow, and I don't think anyone felt under immediate bodily threat. Yap went on till the wee hours, until crashing and burning up and interrupted our revelry. Saturday morning, in its own inimitable way, greeted us with superb Keurig coffee and some delicious crap from McDonalds. There was caching (yay!). Then... Mystery Men! I had seen this 1999 superhero bonanza exactly one time — at Stately Wilson Manor — many years before, but it seemed only proper that we introduce Brugger to the fun. For us, this movie was number one. (Everything else is number two, or lower.)

Major highlight: sushi and sashimi combination dinner from Volcano Hibachi and Sushi Restaurant in Elizabeth City. Oh, but gracious, the presentation was purty (see above) and every bit as delicious. The sake martini was most appealing: vodka, gin, and sake with a slice of cucumber. A little too cloying to have more than one but enjoyable the first time. I noticed some negative comments about the price and quality of the sushi in various restaurant reviews, but I had absolutely no issue with the dead fish — I mean, it really is dead, if only just — and the price was no better or worse than any comparable local place. I rate it as decent indeed. After dinner... more movies, in this case, some old black-and-white thrillers, including Crimes at the Dark House (awesomely bad fun from 1940) The Long Hair of Death (mostly dullness but featuring a hot Barbara Steele from 1964), and The Incredible Petrified World, from 1957, starring John Carradine, which finally sent most of us snoring. The best thing I can say about the latter film is that I discovered what I suspect is the origin of the stock military march music used in the American version of War of the Gargantuas.

I always feel a bit sad on the last day of a fabulous visit, and this morning was no different. We all headed out for a final meal together at The Circle Restaurant, which was tasty, if not exactly zippy in the service department. Dave found himself confronting this giant hot dog that could have stomped Coney Island to smithereens. Finally, Brugger and I set out for home, this time sans rain but with high temperatures and high humidity, making for some particularly sweaty geocaching. However, we stopped at Dairy Queen in Rocky Mount for sundaes and blizzards, and once again, all was right with the world.

Now, I'm all creatively recharged and have a new novel bursting to get out. Dave and I tend to be good for each other that way. Well, I get the novel; he gets charged. I'd say that's okay by me. Hah!

Clan Wilson: Zane, Zack, Stephanie, Katie, Bluto, and Trish
Brugger (supporting a tree stump that was falling down on the job)
Damned Rodan's backside at "Guarding a KISS" (GC39QJV)

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Bermuda Depths

One of my little pleasures in life is revisiting some of the scary TV movies from the 1970s. For the most part, they weren't particularly good, but they were often quite creative, sometimes even compelling; some were based on noteworthy works of fiction; and, despite relatively tiny budgets, they frequently showcased some decent acting talent. My favorite of the lot is certainly Something Evil Steven Spielberg's second directorial effort, circa 1971 — starring Darren McGavin, Sandy Dennis, Johnny Whitaker, Ralph Bellamy, and Jeff Corey. Between 1970 and 1978, there were scads of others that left lasting impressions on me. One of them is The Bermuda Depths (1977), produced by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass, best remembered for producing Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964); the animated King Kong series (1966–1969) and its companion film, King Kong Escapes (1967, co-produced with Toho Studios); Mad Monster Party (1967); and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (1970).

The Bermuda Depths is now available on DVD from the Warner Bros. Archive, and of course I had to snap it up. I only saw it on its first airing in 1977 or 1978, and all I really remembered of it were images of a giant sea turtle; an impossibly hot Connie Sellecca; and a vague, haunting quality that lingered more as a general feeling than as a specific memory. Seeing it again after all these years, it's easy to see why. It's a simple yet intriguing tale of a young man named Magnus Dens (Leigh McCloskey) who grew up on the island of Bermuda, met a mysterious young girl named Jennie, raised a newborn sea turtle with her, and lost his parents in an unexplained disaster. Years later, he returns to try to piece together what happened in his youth. He soon finds himself encountering the same girl, now a young adult, (Connie Sellecca). He joins up with an old college friend, Eric (Carl Weathers) and Dr. Paulis (Burl Ives), who are investigating crypto-creatures that reportedly thrive in the Bermuda Triangle. They turn up firm evidence that a gigantic sea turtle exists in the vicinity and set out to hunt the thing; along the way, Magnus becomes convinced that it — or one such monster from the deeps — killed his parents. When he tells Dr. Paulis about encountering Jennie Haniver, the girl he'd met as a child, Paulis tells him there's no such person; "Jennie Haniver" is simply a name made up by sailors for the legendary mermaid that supposedly frequents the local waters. However, Paulis's housekeeper, a native islander, tells Magnus the story of Jennie Haniver, who, in the 18th century, was a beautiful young woman who made a pact with the devil to stay young forever, and anyone who meets her is doomed. Naturally, he believes none of this, yet every time he meets Jennie, she appears and disappears mysteriously. He remembers that, when they were kids, he had etched his and Jennie's initials on their sea turtle's shell. Eventually, out, at sea, Magnus, Eric, and Dr. Paulis find the giant turtle, and Eric wounds it with a powerful harpoon. The beast retaliates by killing Dr. Paulis and Eric. At the end, Jennie saves Magnus, but he resolves to leave the island forever; as he sails away, he drops a necklace Jennie had given him years before into the sea, where we see the giant turtle, with Magnus and Jennie's initials on its shell now revealed.

Like many movies of its time, The Bermuda Depths is a bit slow and ponderous, yet I find this particularly refreshing in light of ubiquitous contemporary films playing at short-attention-span theater. The musical score, by Maury Laws, is particularly emotive, and I'd love it if a soundtrack album were available for this movie. It's oftentimes reminiscent of Robert Cobert's Dark Shadows themes, with swirling, reverberating flutes and punctuating, staccato brass. Rather than playing as eerie and foreboding, most of the music builds a wistful, romantic, occasionally tense mood. It suits the film's tone perfectly, and in fact is one of the reasons the movie has haunted me for so many years.

There's not a whole lot of acting going on in this picture, but this is really not much of a flaw. There are long passages of no dialogue whatsoever, leaving the music and imagery to propel the story. Magnus Dens is not your usual TV movie protagonist. He's moody, troubled, and, despite his tragic past, not particularly sympathetic. Burl Ives provides a sincere but vain attempt at gravitas; you just can't do much with lines like, "Magnus, you're a scientist... but you're also a human being." Regardless, it's kind of wrenching when Ives's character meets his end. I mean, that's the dude who voiced the kindly snowman in Rudolph; you're really not supposed to go killing him. Ah, well, writers do what writers must, right? And really, it was for the best. A very young Carl Weathers is a little too exuberant as the intern marine biologist. As Magnus's only real friend, he tries very hard to convince us that some warmth exists in the relationship, since Magnus doesn't exactly have a lot in him, but it never does happen — though at the end, I did believe, whole-heartedly, that Magnus was all about saving Eric from certain death. Alas, too little, too late....

As I mentioned earlier, my most vivid recollection of this movie from my teenage years was Connie Sellecca all hotter than hot. Truly, in this film, she is the most beautiful woman on Earth, and with one look, she effectively conveys both innocence and self-destructive vanity. She's the perfect actress to play the part of a doomed, beautiful woman willing to sell her soul for eternal youth. She doesn't have a lot of lines, and they're not necessary. Her body language is perfect, so to speak....

The Warner Archives DVD is bare-bones, but the print is decent, and after all these years, I'm ecstatic to have this thing in my eager little paws. Also on the way is the Rankin/Bass Production, The Last Dinosaur, starring Richard Boone. I remember it being entertaining as all get-out, despite the very sad absence of Connie Sellecca from any of its frames....


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Deeps

Okay, not "the deeps," as in Bradbury's "The Foghorn"; more as in "Let's grab a geocache down in a big honking drain pipe!" For me — Damned Rodan, geocacher — such places are commonplace settings these days, so I'm really glad I'm not utterly freaked out by giant freaking rat bastard hairy ugly vile beastly monster man-eating spiders... at least, not the way I used to be, or some caches I would just put on my ignore list (and really, most caches I consider very good friends of mine). Yesterday, I found myself underground again — not far — but absolutely surrounded by these big old Wolf Spiders. There was a time — even as recently as a three or four years ago — I would have been utterly paralyzed with terror. I shit you not, pee-in-your-pants, speaking-in-weird-obscene-tongues horrified scared. I suspect it all goes back to the time that, as a five-year-old, there or about, I was playing under the back porch at home, and a grandaddy longlegs the size of Sheboygan dropped down on me and started prancing about. I was, I must tell you, unenthused. To the point of screaming bloody murder unenthused. Ever since then, arachnophobia has been a very real, very intense issue for me. As I've come to find over the years, though, geocaching is handy as hell for conquering old fears. Hang around with giant freaking rat bastard hairy ugly vile beastly monster man-eating spiders long enough, and you kind of begin to take them in stride. (Mind you, hopefully not too much in stride.)

Anyway, if you have phobias you'd like to undo... my advice is to take up geocaching and go after a few challenging hides. Then make a habit of it.

It works for acrophobia, too. More on that one later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PROMETHEUS: An Engineering Marvel

It's a bit of a mess, Prometheus, but it's an exciting, visually stunning, and ultimately satisfying mess. I was a fan of Ridley Scott's Alien from day one (a bunch of us in Chicago saw it three times on opening day in 1979) and damn near as much a fan of James Cameron's Aliens (1986). The subsequent films in the franchise went downhill and finally over the cliff, but those first two entries set an impressive benchmark for science fiction films for the next few decades. It's possible that Prometheus, at least in the spectacle department, has bumped it up another notch. Now, while this movie ostensibly ventures beyond technical excellence and delves into meaningful, universal themes — such as the origin of our species and the mystical and religious beliefs that have pervaded our various cultures since the beginning of time — it's not fooling anyone. Prometheus, like Alien before it, is a big old B-picture in extravagant garb.

In the late 21st century, scientists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) discover that virtually every ancient civilization on Earth has left a record of having encountered oversized humanoid beings from a specific cluster of stars. Sponsored by billionaire Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), who, for his own reasons, desires to learn the ultimate answers, Shaw and Holloway venture spaceward in the Weyland Corporation's spaceship Prometheus. Along for the ride, we have some 15 crew members and scientists, plus a prototype android — Weyland's brainchild — named David (Michael Fassbender). Overseeing corporate interests on the mission is the lovely but icy Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), whose authority is constantly at odds with the exuberant scientists and crusty captain Janek (Idris Elba), all of whom have their own priorities for the mission. Once Prometheus arrives at the planet where Everything Evidently Began, the exploration of where we came from begins in earnest. The elder race, whom the scientists call "The Engineers," have apparently left some serious evidence about just what they were up to way back when, and — as we in the audience have all been figuring (and hoping) — it isn't terribly benign.

The epithet "Engineers" basically says it all, especially as it relates to the origin of our favorite aliens. For a time, in fact, the film appears to be revealing events that directly precede the original Alien; however, as the plot unfolds, the connection between the two films becomes less direct, and I think this may be for the better. Prometheus works as well as it does because it exists as more than just a prequel, which cannot be said of the recent prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, to which Prometheus actually pays subtle homage. In fact, at the very end of the film, the not-so-subtle suggestion of the Aliens' genesis proves superfluous, if not actually detrimental to the picture. If a direct link is necessary, there are umpteen better ways one could be made.

The film's focus, like Alien before it, is fear of the darkness. Of the unknown that lurks within it. Though graphically much more explicit than its forebears, Prometheus successfully generates dread of what's out there because, even when you've seen the "out there" up close and personal, you don't know whether you've seen it all — much as in The Thing — or even a representative sample of it. The big questions, all that philosophical stuff that might have been meaningful to the characters, these things don't mean squat to us; we're busy ducking and covering because the fuckers on the screen are bloody lethal. And we pretty much believe in them. For that couple of hours in the theater, I sure as shit believed in them.

Some movies invite you to pick them apart, chew them up, and spit them out. A few weeks ago, Dark Shadows offered me an engraved invitation to question it, deconstruct it, and show it no mercy. Prometheus, by all rights, should have offered me the same invitation, and if I felt it worth my time, I could rip it apart and be downright happy about it — especially when it comes to the department of supposedly intelligent people doing bonehead things — yet, perhaps oddly, I feel no such compulsion. Unlike Dark Shadows, I never felt that Prometheus was insulting my intelligence. It may toy with thoughtful, imaginative concepts and do little with them, but it never sets up any real expectation that it's going to do more than that. Happily, it forgoes political sermonizing, à la Avatar. It's about the critters. Those nasty, beautiful, monstrous critters. I scratch my head over reviewers scratching their head about what this film actually means. Really, seriously?

None of the characters stand out as particularly deep or distinctive. Even the relatively unspectacular crew of the Nostromo kept us engaged with constant, witty banter. Not so much in Prometheus, though I couldn't help but appreciate one brief, sexually charged encounter between Captain Janek and Ms. Vickers, as well as the crew's display of loyalty to Janek at the film's climax. Scientists Shaw and Holloway, whom we see at closer range than most of the others, are far from pointless but don't give us much to identify with. David, the nonhuman, is easily the most entertaining personality in the film. Excellently portrayed by Michael Fassbender, David is an amalgamation of Alien's Ash, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Lt. Cdr. Data, and 2001's HAL 9000. David models his appearance and mannerisms after Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, a film he is apparently fond of. The fact that the eccentric Weyland created David for his own selfish reasons tells us all we need to know about his raison d'être. The playing out of David's drama is probably the most satisfying of all the characters in the film.

Prometheus is a catalog of cinematic flaws, but a near-masterpiece of visual and emotional excitement. I'd love to catch it again at the theater, and I expect it'll be a keeper when it comes out on DVD — as much for Charlize Theron in her black catsuit as the incredible special effects. For those who just don't get it... you have my sympathies.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Better Places

I'm quite certain I heard the big black tree say to the little one next to it, "I AM YOUR FATHER."

A nice evening with Kimberly in Martinsville last night — including an excellent dinner with Mum at The Third Bay Cafe — and a fair bit of hiking and caching in Danville today. We put in a good five miles on the trail, and by the end of the day, I had claimed thirteen caches, bringing my total count to 4,670... at least until tomorrow.

On a sad note, I lost two relatives this week. My uncle Gordon — my late dad's elder brother — passed away on Wednesday, and my great uncle Herbert — my mom's father's last surviving brother — passed away today. In my younger days, I was pretty close with both of them, but I haven't seen either in quite a few years, and from what I understand, Herbert was failing both physically and mentally, to the point he didn't recognize most of the people around him, including my mom when she'd be in touch with him. I do have very fond memories of both of them, but given that both had reached quite advanced ages and lost just about any appreciable quality of life, I believe they're both in a better place.

Uncle Gordon lived in Jacksonville, FL. For most of my childhood years, at Christmastime, the Rainey family would gather in Atlanta at my grandparents' place, and it's those occasions that make up the bulk of my memories of Gordon. He very closely resembled my paternal grandfather, and that resemblance grew more pronounced over the years. I recall on his last visit with my father, who died in 2001, Gordon said, "Whenever I look in the mirror, I see Dad looking back at me." In 1975, I went with my family to Jacksonville to visit Gordon; his wife, Lin; and their son, Gordon III. On that trip, young Gordon, my brother, and I went to see The Land That Time Forgot, which stands out vividly and pleasantly in my memory, and for the first time ever, I discovered the horrible bliss of tearing into a big old Wendy's hamburger. From Jacksonville, we went to Disney World in Orlando, which... rather sadly... I remember being mostly hot and miserable. Obit here: Gordon Rainey, 1928–2012

Herbert, of Gainesville, GA, was an antique car enthusiast, and he had collected a considerable number of them. He owned the 1949 Hudson (as well as its stand-in) that appeared in the 1989 movie, Driving Miss Daisy, which starred Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Aykroyd. I remember riding in that car as a youngster, and it was exciting to see it on the big screen those good many years ago. One of the last times I saw Herbert was at his 90th birthday celebration in June 2006 (Monday, June 19, 2006); his 96th would have been next week. Obit here: Herbert Bell, 1916–1912

Here's to better places for all of us.

Uncle Herbert's 1949 Hudson that appeared in the 1989 movie, Driving Miss Daisy.
One of the numerous critters we encountered in the great outdoors today.
Clearly, the birdhouse isn't spacious enough for these two little bluebirds, hanging out at Mum's window.
For them, it's the big house or bust.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Nightmare Chasm

I'm pretty sure I heard King Kong and a T-rex fussing in the distance.
In the past year, I have written numerous blog entries about what I call "The Bigfoot Trail" (The Great Blue Heron Nursery, Bigfoot's Library, Return to Bigfoot Country). This past week, I've had reason to hike in those woods numerous times, specifically to hide a new geocache. A couple of weeks back, I headed out to the farthest end of the new, as-yet-unfinished hiking/biking trail and placed a cache that I called "The Nightmare Frontier" (GC3KPWD) — yes, after my novel of the same title. Unfortunately, due to an error I made in taking the latitude/longitude coordinates, I had placed it too close to another cache that had already been hidden but not yet published at, so I had to move it. Then, because of an oversight on the cache reviewer's part, it was determined that the new location was too close to another as-yet-unpublished hide. So, I hiked out there... again... and placed "The Nightmare Frontier Redux" (GC3MNR6) at another location.

Fortunately, this is a pretty big area of woods — many hundreds of acres, most of it totally unspoiled by human encroachment. Unfortunately, photos such as these can't begin to convey the sheer scale of the landforms out there. I do consider my difficulty getting this cache placed and listed a blessing in disguise, since, at the end of it all, I put in many miles of much-needed hiking and came upon some spectacular terrain, most notably a huge ravine, almost dizzying in its depth and breadth. I would have happily risked placing a cache in one of the more harrowing locations along that ravine (probably out on one of the fallen trees that spanned it) had the site not proven too close to another existing cache. I'm guessing the other cache hiders out there missed this area altogether because I can't imagine finding it and not placing a cache there. I could about envision King Kong, dinosaurs, and giant spiders roaming about this primal and serene area of woods — so close to town yet, for now, virtually devoid of human presence. When the trail is completed, there will certainly be a greater influx of human creatures out there... but, generally speaking, the hikers and bikers in this area are environmentally conscious — geocachers above all — and I anticipate them respecting the pristine character of these woods. One can hope....

Today, one of those caches that had been in the way of "The Nightmare Frontier" — "Creaking Trees" (GC3D7DB) — was published on the geocaching website, so I booked my butt out there bright and early and got first-to-find on the thing. Oh, yeah.

Click on the images to enlarge.

A promontory out on the ravine; the photo doesn't begin to convey the
dizzying height of the narrow passage.
A snakeskin on the bole of massive tree; I looked in vain to make
the acquaintance of the skin's owner.
On the edge of the woods: Bigfoot's outhouse.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


You do enjoy being scared silly, don't you? Enter The Gods of Moab Contest for a chance to score some of the scariest crap that ever laid eyes on you!

How to do it: Pick up my e-novella, The Gods of Moab (available for Kindle from for $2.99 — that's less than the price of a decent beer, don't you know!); send me an email (at to let me know; and I'll send you a question about the story (no two readers will get the same question). Answer correctly, and you'll be in the running to win one of the following: an autographed copy of my acclaimed novel Blue Devil Island; an autographed copy of my fiction collection Legends of the Night; or a CD copy of my very Lovecraftian Dark Shadows audio drama, Curse of the Pharaoh (starring Nancy Barrett and Marie Wallace from the original Dark Shadows television series). Contest ends on June 30, 2012.

"Only a few modern writers understand Lovecraftian fiction. And of those few, only a couple stand out. Mark Rainey is one of those and he writes the most traditional — but no less cosmic — form of this kind of story. I've read very few tales like this one, and Rainey uses kinetic style to great effect! It's a stroke of brilliant writing. Mark Rainey's fiction is a must-have for anyone searching for a good horror story."
—James Robert Smith, author of The Flock, The Clan, and The Living End
The Gods of Moab for your Kindle from here: