Monday, June 27, 2022

Fugue Devil: Resurgence — The Hardback Is in the House


At last, the hardcover edition of Fugue Devil: Resurgence is in the house!

Samaire Wynne, owner of Black Raven Books, came by last week to show it off. I’ve gotta tell you, this is one gorgeous book, with excellent graphic design inside and out. And, if I may say so, I think the stories within offer a few lovely chills and thrills.

The hardcover is $52, which includes shipping. You can order an autographed copy directly from the Black Raven site here: Fugue Devil: Resurgence at Black Raven Books (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the ordering link.) There are also ordering links for the paperback ($15.99) and ebook editions ($7.99).

And if you’ve been kind enough to read the book, please, please leave a review, particularly at Amazon.com. Every review does count, and, love the book or hate it, all are most appreciated.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

More Geo-Artsing-and-Fartsing


Periodically, Ms. B. goes off on an arts-and-crafts retreat, usually with her regular group of artsy-craftsy friends from NC, at some location of their group leader’s choice. Hillsborough, Raleigh, and Myrtle Beach are among their preferred destinations. Sometimes, I go along too — or, at the nearer locations, head over for a day-long visit — so that, while she’s artsing and fartsing, I go geocaching. Then, later in the day, we get together to go wining and dining. For us, this is a most excellent system.

This weekend, her gang met in Raleigh, near Raleigh-Durham Airport, which is readily accessible, and especially great for me because that area is rich with geocaches. This time around, I went over just for the day and targeted the Black Creek Greenway, near Lake Crabtree, just southeast of the airport. It was hot and buggy out, but for the most part, the greenway ran through woods that offered plenty of shade. For me, one of the most appealing aspects of this particular hike — which, according to my health app, measured 6.66 miles (how apt) — was that most of the caches were a bit more creative than your typical micro hide in the woods (see photo above — a fun cache called “Skeletor”). And although it wasn’t on the greenway but at a nearby hotel, for the first time in way too long, I got to climb a tree after a cache. Not a big tree, but a fun tree nonetheless. I do so love a good tree-climbing cache.

After putting in the mileage, I returned to Kim’s hotel, cleaned up as best as this old fart can clean up, and then we headed out for dinner and drinks. When we’re in that area, it’s something of a tradition to dine at Trali Irish Pub, which is precisely where we ended up. I customarily go for their Scotch eggs and fish & chips. This time, I ordered Scotch eggs and fish & chips. Fookin’ excellent, as usual. For afters, we got on Google to see if we could find a wine bar nearby. The closest offering was a small place called dailypint, which turned out to be a very loud... no, I mean VERY loud... and altogether unremarkable dive bar that had a handful of wines on hand. They did have a reasonable selection of craft beers, so I opted for one of those. In the end, though, we didn’t care to stay very long. In our old age, Ms. B. and I like to be able to hear ourselves drink...er, think.

From there, Ms. B. went back to making art, and I returned to Casa di Rodan. Though the bar experience was “Feh,” the dinner and geocaching made the trip fun as can be (and good for a much-needed cardio workout).

G’wan. Git.

L) Finger-Lickin' Good; R) Fore!
Going a little batty
L) It's good to be up in a tree again; R) A tree real hugger
Fish & Chips at Trali Irish Pub — the "small" order
One of Ms. B.'s art journal pages, with images from our last trip to Europe

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum

This was (partially) my response to a thread Facebook, but I'm gonna drop it here because it seems the thing to do. This is not up for debate. This is just how it is from my end. Take it or leave it.

Facebook Poster (male) in question:>

"If they are raped, they can have the baby and give him or her for adoption."

Mark (who, at this age, has zero personal stock in the abortion issue — other than the critical issue of women's rights, and as a human being, that means I have stock in it):

It's so easy for a male — who can never step into a woman's shoes and know what carrying a baby means — to say, "Oh, you can just do this." As if it's like taking off your fucking shoes before you step into the house. Every pregnancy poses risk, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. What about fetal defects that will result in extreme risk to the mother — especially those such as anencephaly (about a 1 in 4,600 chance)? What about a woman who has physical conditions that might result in -her- death if the baby is carried to term? What about in-vitro fertilization, in which some fertilized eggs are most likely going to be eliminated? You're not even close to "pro-life" if the mother's life and health aren't tantamount. Yes, I know, the percentage of such severe risk is relatively low. But we're still talking about human lives. Because their numbers aren't overwhelming, do those women's lives not matter?

Now. There is a difference — generally unrecognized by the blind zealot — between being pro-choice and pro-abortion. I'm not arguing for "murdering babies." I'm absolutely opposed to abortion (after fetal viability) simply as a means of birth control; there are other, far better options — at least until the blind zealots take things to the next level; which they will because that is what blind zealots do. But I'll trust the decision of the poorest, most misguided woman any day and every day over the deaf, dumb, and blind enforcement of regulations over that woman's body. (And of course, it's a whole 'nuther issue, but turn the discussion around to weaponry, and suddenly regulations "NEVER FUCKING EVER work and it impacts ME ME ME!")

As far as I'm concerned, the rights of every human being already born far exceed the rights of a bunch of not-as-yet-sentient cells to exist. "Pro-life" is, for all practical purposes, a euphemism for "pro-birth, and fuck everything that comes afterward because it doesn't really affect "ME ME ME."

Well, it might, if you were forced to raise the child that otherwise would not exist.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Readers’ Favorite: Five Stars for Fugue Devil: Resurgence

Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

Fugue Devil: Resurgence is a collection of works of horror fiction, aimed at mature readers, penned by author Stephen Mark Rainey. The collection contains twelve horror stories, including the classic “Fugue Devil” and its sequel, “The Devil’s Eye.” Each is an evocative tale of dread exploring original ideas that will inspire terror in the reader as they follow protagonists falling under spells, fighting off madness in the face of the impossible, venturing into the darkness to investigate things best left alone, and hearing sinister voices where there ought to be nothing but white noise....”

Read the full Readers’ Favorite review here.

PLUS: You can win a free Kindle edition of Fugue Devil: Resurgence at Readers’ Favorite by entering here: readersfavorite.com/book-giveaway/fugue-devil

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Graveside Chat with Brian M. Sammons

Author/editor Brian M. Sammons is one of the busiest gentlemen in the business, with dozens of anthologies he has edited/co-edited, short fiction aplenty, and a possible movie deal in the works. He may be best known for his work in the world of Lovecrafian/weird fiction, and he frequently collaborates with author/editor Glynn Owen Barrass (whose Graveside Chat interview may be found here). Brian took a little time out to participate in this edition of A Graveside Chat.

_________________________________________________________________________


GC: You are very active in the writing and editing business — particularly in the world of Lovecraftian horror. What draws you to this particular sub-genre, if we should call it that? Do you tend to write tales that fit into specific Lovecraftian lore — i.e., the myriad conventions of the Cthulhu Mythos — or are you more inclined to draw on the concepts that inspired those conventions and veer off into your own territory? Or some of both, perhaps?

BMS: I guess a bit of both. I am not above rooting around in the big sandbox left to us by H.P. Lovecraft or even playing with some of his well-used toys. But then I am also keen on doing my own thing within the broader sub-genre of Cosmic Horror. I am a fan of many different types of horror, from classic ghostly tales to splattery stories of psychos, but whatever the flavor, I love the unexplainable and the inescapable, and Lovecraft’s brand of horror does that far better than most. I think that is why when I first read him at a tender age I instantly fell in love with his weird world.

GC: Who are your favorite contemporary authors? Do you find that they inspire and/or influence your writing (or editing)? Are there any particular authors you haven’t yet published that you would like to?

BMS: By contemporary, I guess you mean living, so that's how I’ll take it. Of course, there’s both Stephen King and Clive Barker. Ramsey Campbell is in my opinion the best living author of Cthulhu Mythos stories, not to mention his own brand of terror. There’s also the wonderful Joe Lansdale. All of them (along with long-gone greats like Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, and Richard Matheson) have had a huge influence on my own writing. I have had some dealing with Campbell and Lansdale and both were a joy to work with and would love to do so again. As for some newer names, I am a huge fan of Adam Nevill and would love to do something with him, and Paul Tremblay, whom I’ve worked with just a little and would love to do so again. As for others, well if you check out my anthologies you will see a few names that appear again and again. That’s because I love their stories and they are absolutely a joy to work with. There are far too many to name them all, but some highlights would include Jeffrey Thomas, William Meikle, Mercedes Murdock Yardley, Pete Rawlik, Christine Morgan, Tim Waggoner, John Langan, Lois Gresh, and man, there really are too many to mention.

GC: You’ve collaborated on numerous projects, perhaps most notably with author/editor Glynn Owen Barrass. Do you prefer collaborating with others, as opposed to working solo, particularly on editing projects? Does collaborating pose any unique creative challenges — or specific benefits? Is there anyone you’d particularly care to collaborate with that you haven’t already?

BMS: Yeah, I adore Glynn and we have done a bunch of books and stories together. I've also done a bit with David Conyers, as well as one-offs with a handful of others. I love collaborating in both writing and editing, as it’s fun to bounce ideas back and forth with someone and, like they say, many hands make for light work. But I’ve also done many things on my own, so I guess I’m easy and just go with the flow when the opportunity presents itself. As for any challenges, well I’ve got to have a good relationship with whomever I collaborate with, and we soon discover a shorthand between us to make things easier. I mean, Glynn and I have been doing this for so long that each of us can just focus on our own part of things and trust completely that the other guy will hold up his end. It sometimes feels like that twin ability to finish each other’s sentences.


GC: Can you talk about any upcoming publications — either that you’ve edited or written? How about any special projects you’d like to set in motion in the future?

BMS: As far as upcoming projects, Glynn and I just finished up an anthology for PS Publishing called Mystery, Murder, Madness, Mythos. It’s a collection of detective/mystery fiction of all stripes that meets the horror of the Cthulhu Mythos. From Dark Regions Press there is Tales From Arkham Sanitarium that I did by myself. That one focuses on how madness and insanity are integral parts of Cosmic Horror. And no, I don't just mean that the protagonist goes cuckoo at the end and writes a rambling note before offing themselves. Lastly, there is a HUGE project that David Conyers and I are working the logistics out now. I can't say more than that right now, only that it will be awesome if we do it right. Other than that, I’ve always got other titles in the works, and taking up space in my head until I can get them out. As for special projects that I’d like to see set in motion, there is a film production company that optioned the rights to my story, “One Way Conversation” about eight years ago. They keep renewing the option and saying that they want to do it, I just really wish they would get it done already.

GC: Thank you, Brian, and best wishes on all your upcoming projects.

BMS: Thank you so much for having me here.

_________________________________________________________________________

Visit Brian M. Sammon’s Amazon.com
book page here
.

_________________________________________________________________________

Coming Soon: Graveside Chats with Maurice Broaddus and many more!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Venomous Words by Jeff Oliver and Gordon Reilly

Amazing Photography, Pulse-Pounding Poetry


First and foremost, the macro photography by Gordon Reilly in Venomous Words is remarkably beautiful and oftentimes disturbing, especially given the venomous nature of so many of these subjects. The accompanying descriptions and lyrical depictions, by Jeff Oliver, of how you're going to suffer and die from some of these lovelies might make you start checking the floors, windows, and corners of your dwelling place — perhaps even under your covers before you get into bed. The close-up images of these critters convey the intricacy of nature you can rarely see with the naked eye. Venomous Words is an all-around killer.

Check out Venomous Words at Amazon.com here.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Lovecraft eZine Podcast with Malcolm Devlin & Stephen Mark Rainey

Mike Davis, the proprietor of Lovecraft eZine, was kind enough to feature author Malcolm Devlin and me on the eZine’s regular Sunday night podcast. Malcolm spoke at length about his new book, And Then I Woke Up (Tor, 2022) and I had a few words (or more than a few, I reckon) about Fugue Devil: Resurgence (Black Raven Books, 2022).

If you dare, you can watch the whole business here: Lovecraft eZine Podcast featuring Malcolm Devlin & Stephen Mark Rainey.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Penny Dreadful's “Terror at Collinwood: The Leviathans“ with Rick Lai & Stephen Mark Rainey

The exquisite Penny Dreadful talks to author Rick Lai and me about Dark Shadows on her “Terror at Collinwood” podcast. This episode: The Leviathans”!

“The deeply fascinating but oft-maligned Leviathans arc is the focus of this episode. Acclaimed authors Stephen Mark Rainey and Rick Lai visit the podcast to discuss and analyze this Dark Shadows storyline, while also looking at its inspirations. Other topics include Mark’s official work on the Dark Shadows Big Finish audio plays and the Dark Shadows novel Dreams of the Dark, and Rick’s intriguing essay on the Leviathans as well as some of his fictional tales that incorporate nods to Dark Shadows.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Coming Soon! Ameri-Scares Georgia: The Haunting of Tate’s Mill


Coming soon from Crossroad Press... My next novel in Elizabeth Massie’s Ameri-Scares series — Georgia: The Haunting of Tate’s Mill.

#   #   #

In the 1950s, Lake Sidney Lanier was built in northern Georgia. Since then, hundreds of deaths on and around the lake have given rise to legends that spirits of the dead haunt the area. Teenager Aaron Tate, who lives near the lake with his parents, doesn’t believe in ghosts. But after he witnesses a jet ski accident on the water, he begins to experience many strange things. At night, weird lights float through the woods near the lake’s edge. An eerie voice in the darkness calls to him. He begins having nightmares that involve a strange woman from the past.

Aaron meets a girl named Suzette Sellers, who has moved into his neighborhood. They become friends and, together, resolve to learn the truth behind the frightening events. Aaron learns that his family home was built on the site of an old mill that belonged to his ancestors. Suzette’s house stands on land once owned by a woman named Lula Cheshire—a woman who was rumored to be a witch. And Aaron discovers that his great-great-grandfather, Charles Tate, might have had a strange and secret relationship with Lula Cheshire.

When events in Aaron’s life begin to mirror those of his great-great-grandfather, he wonders: do ghosts truly exist? What if Lula Cheshire really was a witch? And has the long-dead woman’s spirit returned from the grave to wreak vengeance for some crime his great-great-grandfather, Charles Tate, committed against her? He and Suzette must learn the truth—and send Lula Cheshire’s spirit back to the grave—before death comes to claim them both....

#   #   #

I’ll post updates about the release, ordering information, etc., as they happen. Each Ameri-Scares novel is based on or inspired by an historical event, folktale, legend, of myth unique to that particular state. You can see the currently available books in the series on Amazon.com here.


#   #   #

More about the book’s background here.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Happy Diversion

Today, our usual Sunday morning geocaching outing consisted solely of the Old Farts — Old Diefenbaker (a.k.a. Scott), Old Rob (a.k.a. Old Rob), and Old Rodan (a.k.a. me). Our initial plan was to see if we could snag a few in Mebane, about 25 miles down the road, and then a few in Hillsborough, another 15 miles or so farther on. However, just as our aging gang was hobbling out of the house, notifications popped up for a series of six new hides in Burlington, which is several miles closer than Mebane. So, we altered our course and diverted to Burlington Springwood Park, which is a fairly large — and this morning, a very busy — facility. By the time we arrived, around 10:00 a.m., there were already several softball games in progress on the ballfields, and a disc golf tournament was just getting going. Muggles coming, going, in, out, up, down, and all around....

Undaunted, we parked the Rodan Mobile and set out on foot after the caches — five traditionals and one mystery cache. Each traditional contained information necessary to unlock the final mystery cache. The heat was hot, we hiked about three miles, and we had trouble finding a couple of the caches, so by the time we found the entire bunch, the evil day star was on the verge of getting the better of us. In the plus column, we met a family of cachers, whose team name — Phersjm — we knew from their many geocaches in the area, but this was the first time our paths had ever crossed in the field. Actually, our paths crossed twice, which was nice.

Happily, the No-Dead-Weight Irregular Old Farts scored six of the almost-maybe-kinda-sorta coveted first-to-find honors. And we met a very friendly black rat snake, who slithered by to check us out for a bit. He let me get quite close to him to take a few pictures, which I appreciated.

After all this, we headed on over to Mebane, where we found four more caches and an excellent lunch at Catrina’s Mexican Restaurant, which has become one of our favorite lunch destinations when we're caching over that way. Great food, and an extensive selection of it. The Rodan Mobile arrived back at Casa di Rodan about 3 o'clock and disgorged a bunch of weary, sweaty, filthy-dirty old men. Well, I'm not saying dirty old men, except, well, maybe, there's Scott....

Bye for now.
Dude just keeps on slithering out of the greenery.
He's easily a six-footer, if not more.
"Hello, Mr. Man, I am ready for my close-up."

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Bouquet of Viscera by Bridgett Nelson


Bridgett Nelson’s debut fiction collection, A Bouquet of Viscera, presents a set of horror tales that range from the darkly fanciful to the most deeply, personally disturbing. There's not a single tale that doesn't hit most or all of the right notes. Many of the stories draw upon her real-life experience in the medical field to build a believable — and usually unsettling — backdrop. Apart from a scant handful of issues that a little editing would fix, Nelson's prose is assured, powerful, and immersive. Standout stories include "Aura," "Cooked," and "Jinx"; and their companion tales are scarcely less noteworthy.

The cover, by Lynne Hansen, couldn't capture the overall feel of this collection any better. Good stuff all-around.

Check out A Bouquet of Viscera at Amazon.com here.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear by Ronald Kelly


Many years ago, Ronald Kelly established himself as a horror author to be reckoned with, and with Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear, he’s put together a collection of some of his most fun stories. Most of these tales will offer a few laughs — but these are uneasy laughs. Chuckle while you squirm. In his time, Kelly has written many far more “serious” tales, but few that induce that lovely little adrenaline rush that accompanies so many scenes of victims meeting their ghastly fates (some of whom deserve what they get; others, not so much).

Kelly's somewhat crude little illustrations, which accompany the stories, add a lovely nostalgic, EC Comics flavor that is rings very true to those of us who grew up on those old gory horror pubs. Southern-fried fear indeed!


Check out at Haunt of Southern-Fried Fear at Amazon.com here
.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Cannoli

So, one of the world’s most adorable little cats wandered around to the old homestead in Martinsville, where my daughter is living temporarily. Kitty is a very young, fixed male, about 8 months old by our reckoning. He appears healthy and is exceedingly friendly. We’ve posted notices about him, but no one has come forth to claim him. Allison named him Cannoli. For now, he’s pretty much a resident. If anyone in our area — Martinsville/Henry County, VA to the Piedmont Triad of NC — recognizes him or is interested in adopting him, please shoot me a message.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

It’s a Party! FUGUE DEVIL: RESURGENCE Book Release

Old writer dude and Samaire Wynne, owner of Black Raven Books
For me, this was a most anticipated day — the release party for Fugue Devil: Resurgence at Rioja! A Wine Bar, in Greensboro. Some weeks ago, Ms. B. and I visited Rioja, as we are often wont to do, and got to talking to Jake Assaf, the owner, about my upcoming book. He suggested we have a book release party at Rioja, and this struck us all as just about the best idea ever. Books! Wine! Food! Party! Many happy peoples! Wine! So, we settled on June 4 as the fateful day, and there has been plotting ever since.
Jake, owner of Rioja, took this photo of Ms. B.
and me just before the festivities commenced.

Samaire Wynne, good friend and the owner of Black Raven Books, came down from Martinsville, VA, for the event. My daughter, Allison, was in town, so she came too. I made up a bunch of appropriately themed tickets and scrounged up some door prizes, which included a couple of bottles of wine and a number of my earlier books — including Blue Devil Island, The Monarchs, West Virginia: Lair of the Mothman, and others. Things were scheduled to get started at 4:00 p.m., and — sure enough — the traffic flow began right on time. Before we knew it, Rioja was completely filled up, and we had wine, food, and books flowing all over the place. Naturally, I was hoping we'd have a good turnout since it meant significant sales for both us and for Jake, and we were so not disappointed. As far as I could see, Jake was hopping great guns the entire time, and we sold bundles of books. Everyone in the place seemed to enjoy themselves, and Ms. B. and I got to see many friends, old and new, from just about every sphere of personal influence — former officemates, geocachers, writers, artists, supper club mates, friends of friends... you name it.

After all these years and a lot of books, this was the first release party I've put on, and it will definitely go into the record books as successful. Now, whether I'll be fired up about doing this kind of thing for future books, who the heck knows? But for Fugue Devil: Resurgence, a big ol' party was just the ticket.

After the event, Brugger, Samaire, Allison, friends Terry & Beth, and I headed over to nearby World of Beer to snag some dinner. The place was a madhouse, at least at first, and we spent most of the next three hours waiting for drinks, waiting for food, waiting for service in general. We enjoyed the food, but the experience was far from fully satisfying, especially since the place cleared out quite a bit long before we were ever served. I've generally enjoyed the place, so I'm sure we'll give them another shot. I really hope they'll do better because, as near as we could tell, they could have and should have done better this time around.

So, a little sad we ended on a less-than-stellar note, but the high from the book event isn't going away anytime soon. 'Twas indeed lovely.
Devaluing a book for friend Diefenbaker (a.k.a. Scott)
Friends Mark and Kelly... Do they know what they're in for? Probably not....
Chad has already given the book a look. Tina has not.
Shiny happy people... or something
The crowd moves in.
Friend and former co-worker Heather happy to have snagged a copy. Little does she know....
Photo by James Lyons
Door prize tickets