Today's book signing at Binding Time in Martinsville went quite swimmingly. Overall, a decent turnout — I came very close to selling out of The Monarchs — followed by an enjoyable interview for The Martinsville Bulletin, conducted by writer Ben Williams and photographer Mike Wray. As an aside, back in the spring of 1974, The Martinsville Bulletin ran its first feature about my rather monstrous creative activities — I had just sold a filmbook of Godzilla vs. The Thing to the very late, very lamented Monster Times (the filmbook ran in issue #42, July 1975), and I was just putting together the very first issue of Japanese Giants — and Mike was the photographer even back then. It's quite nice to see he's still providing a wonderful service for the newspaper and the community. It was most gratifying to have several geocachers pop in — Norman & Lynn, a.k.a. Spring1; Carol, a.k.a. Cassiliz; and Jeanne, a.k.a. Cantergirl — as well as my good friend Beth from Winston-Salem; and my seventh grade history teacher, Mrs. Tillery, who was surprised (and I gather pleased) to see I've made something other than fertilizer of myself.
Binding Time is a wonderful little cafe with a decent book section, and they actively promote local writers, which I very much appreciate. They serve excellent deli sandwiches (named after local streets — I had one called the Sam Lions Trail, which was smoked turkey, swiss cheese, red onion, tomato, and baby spinach on a croissant), desserts, and specialty coffees. It's a fine commodity for this economically challenged town, and I wish them every success for the long haul. They sponsor book festivals in the spring and fall, and I'll be appearing at the next one, which is on Saturday, May 4. If you're in the area, by all means stop by.
|Ye auld author with his seventh grade history teacher, Mrs. Kerry Tillery|
|Beth Nelson sharing a laugh with a right funny fellow. Funny ha-ha, that is.|
|There be cachers here — Mr. Norman Dillon, one half of "Spring1"|
In the sheer sadness department: by now, most everyone in the dark fiction community is aware of author Rick Hautala's passing of a heart attack at age 64, just yesterday. I was at dinner with Kimberly last night when I received the news, and it hit me so hard I could barely eat. I first met Rick back in the late 80s, at Necon, in Bristol, RI, and we ended up at various events together many times over the years. We've kept in touch pretty regularly via Facebook, though we hadn't met face to face for most of a decade; the last time was when we had dinner together at a convention in Charlotte, NC. I was never as close to him as many of our mutual friends, but I liked and admired him more than just about anyone in this business, and he always seemed to really appreciate our various interactions. I had published at least one story of his in Deathrealm, a good many years back. He was a congenial, rather humble man, clearly possessed of integrity; to my mind, that rarest of all things, a true gem of a human being. It's doubly tragic in that he had just secured a new book deal and it seemed as though, after taking some serious knocks over the years, he had finally reached a great place in his life. I know he dearly loved his wife, Holly. Rick touched many, many people, as evidenced by the vast outpouring of grief from those who knew him. His life — and his death — serve as a stern reminder that our time is short and we ought make the best of it. He set a mighty worthy example.