Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Weird Cat Is in the House!

Droolie is pleased to announce that our contributor copies of The Weird Cat are in the house! Edited by Katherine Kerestman and S.T. Joshi, it features my story, “Nimbus,” along with a host of contemporary authors as well as masters from the past. The official release date is October 18 from WordCrafts Press. The hardback and ebook editions are now available for pre-order from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com; trade paperback coming soon.

Complete list of authors in The Weird Cat:
 Ambrose Bierce  Algernon Blackwood  William Blake  Adam Bolivar  Ramsey Campbell  Lewis Carroll  Frank Coffman  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  Lord Dunsany  Jason C. Eckhardt  Alan Dean Foster  Brandon R. Grafius  Lafcadio Hearn  Katherine Kerestman  Caitlin R. Kiernan  Rudyard Kipling  Tony LaMalfa  Lori R. Lopez  H.P. Lovecraft  E. Nesbit  Elliott O'Donnell • Manuel Perez-Campos  Michael Potts  Stephen Mark Rainey  Rainer Maria Rilke  Sax Rohmer  Hank Schwaeble  Darrell Schweitzer  Robert W. Service  M.P. Shiel  Christina Sng  Anna Taborska  Mary Turzillo  M.F. Webb  W.B. Yeats Cover art by Mike Parks 

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The No-Dead-Weight Irregulars Strike Again

While I’m not at all sad about having left Greensboro, I am sad that gatherings with the usual geocaching crew, known as The No-Dead-Weight Irregulars — friends Natalie (a.k.a. Ms. Fishdownthestairs) and Scott (a.k.a. Diefenbaker) — can be problematic. Not to mention we lost our friend and regular caching partner, Rob, some months ago. But yesterday, circumstances came together for a nice, day-long outing in Burlington, which I’ve been itching to do since a bunch of new caches published there over the last couple of months.

There were some fun and challenging hides in this batch. The first one we hunted required a fair change of altitude to reach, as you may see in the photo on the left (and when Natalie took this picture, I still had a little ways higher to go). There was one under a bridge that required some physical dexterity to negotiate, and I’m pleased to say I managed it without any problem. I may be old, but I’m not decrepit! (Not yet, anyway.) And there were several with interesting field puzzles that we managed to conquer, some by not-quite-prescribed means.

For lunch, we found a BBQ joint called Smokehouse at Steve’s, which I’m going to recommend for the fantastic pulled pork. They had a mean-looking brisket, too, which I’ll need to try on a future visit.

It was a fun day indeed, pretty much like old times. May the old times with this crew happen again and again.
Notice a creepy old figure hiding in the shadows up there to Scott’s right...

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Dark Corners of the Old Dominion Is in the House... or Woods

Dark Corners of the Old Dominion is in the house... or in the woods, as the case may be. To be even more precise, the “Fugue Devil's Woods.” Features my story, “Doom at Dragon's Roost,” along with 23 other tales set in Virginia. Now available from Death Knell Press.
"Within these pages, Virginia authors explore twenty-four dangerous destinations, myths, and monsters from the commonwealth’s past, present, and future.

“Dark Corners of the Old Dominion is edited by Joseph Maddrey and Michael Rook, with a foreword by Brian Keene. Every author in this anthology has strong ties to Virginia and it is clear in the stories and poems they’ve created. They are steeped in the salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay, pulsing with the thrum of the beltway, and bleeding from old battlefield scars.”

Proceeds for Dark Corners of the Old Dominion go to the Scares That Care charity.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

The Madness from Arkham Sanitarium

I spent a fair portion of the afternoon devaluing the deluxe edition of Tales from Arkham Sanitarium (Dark Regions), edited by Brian M. Sammons, by scribbling my John Hancock on the signature sheets. The deluxe edition apparently sold out in advance, so if you didn’t pre-order it, I reckon you’re out of luck. The trade hardcover and ebook came out last year. This one features my short story, “Clicks,” which is pretty fucked up, along with 14 other tales of madness and terror.

“Knowing too much, getting a glimpse of the truth behind the curtain we call reality, casting aside the bliss of ignorance and succumbing to the insanity that follows in the pursuit of damnable truths, is at the core of many of the stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. Insanity is central to Lovecraftian horror, so there is no wonder that in his witch-cursed and legend-haunted town of Arkham, a cathedral devoted to mending broken minds was raised. Arkham Sanitarium. Where the screams and cries of the damned are commonplace. Where those that have seen the faces of cosmic entities gibber with regret over their curiosity. Where men and women are cosigned to never ending purgatory for knowing too much. The machinations of the Old Ones are beyond the mental capacity of mankind, and these are the tales of those who learned that too late.”

Table of Contents
“The Crying Man” by Tim Waggoner
“Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation” by William Meikle
“Malformed Articulation” by W. H. Pugmire
“Bit by Bit” by Don Webb
“Let me Talk to Sarah” by Christine Morgan
“The Hunger” by Peter Rawlik
“The Colors Of A Rainbow To One Born Blind” by Edward M. Erdelac
“The River and the Room” by Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
“Veteran of the Future Wars” by Orrin Grey
“Folie et déraison” by Nick Mamatas
“Red Hook” by Glynn Owen Barrass
“Clicks” by Stephen Mark Rainey
“...& My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You” by Edward Morris
“Forbidden Fruit” by Cody Goodfellow
Stained Glass” by Jeffrey Thomas

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Damned Rodan’s Damned Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young is one of my favorite Chinese-American dishes, and several of the Chinese restaurants in our old Greensboro neighborhood did it very well. Sadly, the one nearby Chinese place in Martinsville is temporarily closed — at least, that’s what their sign says, but it’s been shuttered for quite a while now. A shame, since I quite like the place. I had an Egg Foo Young craving last night, and I knew that if I wanted to satisfy it, I had to make the Foo myself. I do this now and again, and I really love it; sometimes, though it’s just nice to have somebody hand over a ready-to-eat dish. Alas, not this time.

Anyhoo, here’s my recipe for Shrimp Egg Foo Young. This serves four. You’re basically making an omelet with whatever protein you wish — shrimp, beef, pork, chicken... about any dead critter works well. You can put small, raw shrimp right into the egg mixture, as it cooks well with the other ingredients. For other meats, chop fairly fine and cook until about half-done in advance.

Damned Rodan’s Damned Egg Foo Young
What You Need for the Sauce:

• 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
• 1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1/2 tsp sesame oil

What You Need for the Foo:
6 eggs 
1 1/2 cups protein of your choice (I use small, raw shrimp)
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
3/4 cup green peas (I use frozen, thawed)
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup diced water chestnuts
3/4 cup chopped green onions
4 tbsp cooking oil (I use extra virgin olive oil almost exclusively for every savory dish I make)
2 tsp (more or less, depending on your taste; I use a lot) black pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
dash of soy sauce
dash of hot chili oil

What You Do For the Sauce:
Stir the ingredients (except for the corn starch) together in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil; then reduce the heat to medium-high. Stir in the dissolved corn starch until the sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally while the Foo cooks.

What You Do For the Foo:
Add the cooking oil to a wok or skillet (I use cast iron) and heat on high until the oil begins to smoke. Reduce heat to medium high.

2) Scramble the eggs thoroughly. Dump the rest of your ingredients into the eggs and mix well.

3) For each serving, ladle a quarter of your mix into the hot skillet. You can use a spatula to shape the spreading mix into a rough circle. Let cook for about five minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Flip your patty over (the cooked side should be a nice golden brown) and cook for another four to five minutes.

4) Plate your Foo and spoon a goodly portion of the sauce over the top. If desired, garnish with additional bean sprouts and/or green onions.

5) Eat up. Holler!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

R.I.P. Ralph Brugger

Several months ago, Kimberly’s kitty, Ralph, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and he has been on a slow decline ever since. Kim had him on medication, which helped for a while, but these last few weeks, he’s gone downhill so severely that we had to make the difficult decision to end his suffering this morning. We took him to the vet here in Martinsville, where they were very compassionate and understanding. He’s gone now.
Ralph was one of a pair of brothers that Kim adopted about eight years ago (his brother is Rufus, who is doing well). Ralph was one precocious kitten, outgoing and gregarious. As he got older, he became far more mellow and sometimes reclusive. But, like all our cats, he was loved and perhaps insanely spoiled.

Ralph didn’t really meow; he quacked. Sometimes, he’d be somewhere in the house, lying around or wandering about, quacking like a duck. I think hearing that distinctive little quack is one of the things we’ll miss most.

Outliving our pets has got to be the hardest part of pet ownership. We still have four other cats, none of whom are particularly young. So, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll go through this who knows how many more times. But it’s always worth it. The memories of little Ralph are precious to us, and, thankfully, we have a vast collection of cat pictures, Ralph being prominent among them.

Rest well, buddy.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Boxing Deathrealm

Alan Lustafka at Shortwave Publishing has designed a lovely shipping box for the paperback edition of my upcoming anthology, Deathrealm: Spirits, due in October. Also available in ebook. Cover art is by J. Edward Neill.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Coming Soon — The Canterbury Nightmares

The Canterbury Nightmares is a new anthology of short stories inspired by — you guessed it! — the work of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited by David Niall Wilson.

“Eleven travelers head out to visit the Grand Canyon, all motivated by their own powerful, personal reasons. All have suffered profound losses; all harbor secret but consuming agony. An old man taking a long-promised journey with his wife. A congregation that has lost its way. Individuals of different backgrounds and cultures, all dealing with grief, loss, and isolation. In The Canterbury Nightmares, you will be led not only to the soaring precipices of the Grand Canyon but also into deep, dark, unimaginable recesses.”

The book is now available for pre-order — and the advance price for the Kindle edition (here) has been dropped to $2.99.

Table of Contents:
“The Old Man’s Tale” – Steve Rasnic Tem
“The Liberation of Brother Buffalo” – Michael Boatman
“Think of the Family” – Ai Jiang
“To See Her in Sepia” – Scott J. Moses
“The Preditor's Tale” – Terence Taylor
“The Wife of Wrath’s Tale” – John B. Rosenman
“The Secret Place: A Knight’s Tale” – Stephen Mark Rainey
“The Sacred Clarion” – S.A. Cosby
“The Tour Guide's Tale” – Anna Tambour
“Every Form of Person” – J.A.W. McCarthy
“Vending Machine Girl”– Eric LaRocca

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Another Fun Visit with Penny Dreadful

Author/Editor Katherine Kerestman and I dropped in on Penny Dreadful’s Terror at Collinwood podcast the other day, and the episode has now been posted for your frightful pleasure. We talk about Dark Shadows, of course; the upcoming The Weird Cat anthology, edited by Katherine and S.T. Joshi, which features short fiction by both Katherine, me, and a ton of noteworthy authors; Deathrealm: Spirits, my new anthology, due in October; plus all kinds of other fun stuff. Mind you don't get seduced!
No... wait... go right ahead. Get seduced. Try it, you'll like it.
PS: Frazier likes Dark Shadows and makes a guest appearance.

Friday, September 8, 2023

Release Day: Dark Corners of the Old Dominion

It’s release day for Dark Corners of the Old Dominion from Death Knell Press. This one features my story, “Doom at Dragon’s Roost,” which is gonna scare the pants off of you. It will too!

What’s so scary about Virginia?
From Edgar Allan Poe’s Ragged Mountains to the shores of Tidewater’s Seven Cities… From the blood-soaked battlegrounds of the Civil War to the shadowy political arena of the D.C. Beltway.

We have four hundred years’ worth of ghost stories, folk horrors, small-town terrors, urban legends, backwoods monsters, otherworldly secrets, and down-home Southern Gothic.

Within this idyllic landscape, there are many dark corners. Within these pages, Virginia authors explore twenty-four dangerous destinations, myths and monsters from the commonwealth’s past, present, and future. Read on, if you dare.

Dark Corners of the Old Dominion is edited by Joseph Maddrey and Michael Rook, with a foreword by Brian Keene. Every author in this anthology has strong ties to Virginia and it is clear in the stories and poems they’ve created. They are steeped in the salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay, pulsing with the thrum of the beltway, and bleeding from old battlefield scars. 

Foreword by Brian Keene. Proceeds for Dark Corners of the Old Dominion go to the Scares That Care charity.

Table of Contents:
“The Bride of Dream Lake” — Catherine Kuo
“Keep It Civil” — Clay McLeod Chapman
“A Holler You Can’t Call Home” — Paul Michael Anderson
“Doom at Dragon’s Roost” — Stephen Mark Rainey
“The Woods Behind My House” — Sonora Taylor
“Room 1968” — Nicole Willson
“By a Thread” — Querus Abuttu
“Notches” — D. Alexander Ward
“New World Order” — Ella B. Rite
“Chesapeake Bait and Hook” — Sirrah Medeiros
“The Girl Who Sleeps in the Room Next to Me” — Charles E. Wood
“Cave Kisses” — William R.D. Wood
“In the Mountain Mist” — Margaret L. Carter
“The Wrong Time” — Ivy Grimes
“The Flooded Man” — Michael Rook
“The Bunnyman of Clifton” — Brýn Grover
“The Song Between the Songs” — J.T. Glover
“A Mischief in Gordonsville” — Valerie B. Williams
“Lost Soul” — María Badillo
“Odditorium” — Sidney Williams
“This is How Your Garden Grows” — Joseph Maddrey
“Beach House” — Bryan Nowak
“A House’s Tale” — Brad Center
“The Path to Freedom” — James L. Hill

Thursday, September 7, 2023

The House of Haunted Hill

Just hung several paintings by Charles Hill, respected artist and longtime friend going back to elementary school.

Top left: Widget, my mom & dad's little dog back in the 80s and 90s; Top right: the view from Charles's front yard; Bottom left: my dad walking Widget from the early 90s; Bottom right: my daughter, Allison Hiiri Rainey, about age 8, running along the banks of Lake Lanier, just down the street from here.

Charles also provided several damn scary pieces of art for Deathrealm magazine back in its day, including this one, which served as an illustration for Elizabeth Massie’s story, “No Solicitors, Curious a Quarter”:

Sunday, September 3, 2023

What’s So Scary About Virginia?

Author/Editor Red Lagoe has posted on HorrorTree some nice, brief author interviews by contributors to the upcoming Dark Corners of the Old Dominion anthology, due very soon from Death Knell Press.

An example of one old dude’s responses:

Q: A paranormal investigation team has only one night to spend in a Virginia location. Where would you send them and why?

A: St. Albans Sanitorium in Radford, I expect. It’s reputedly the most haunted site in Virginia, and though I’ve not yet visited the Sanitorium itself, I know the area well from many sojourns in Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and the surrounding vicinity. The haunted vibe in this part of the state is near and dear to me, as the southwestern Virginia mountains serve as the backdrop for a significant amount of my fiction. The Sanitorium is on my bucket list of sites to visit, and I reckon I’d be obliged if investigators were to check it out in advance.

Q: Without giving away any spoilers, where does your Dark Corners story take place and what inspired the idea?

A: “Doom at Dragon’s Roost” is set in the mountains of southwest Virginia, very near the real-life location known as Dragon’s Tooth in the Catawba Valley, northwest of Salem. Over the years, I’ve created a fictional corner of the state — sort of “tucked into” the mountain region between Martinsville and Blacksburg. Many of these stories involve several families over a long period of years. Although it is a standalone story, “Doom at Dragon’s Roost” could be considered a chapter in the ongoing saga of the fictional Sylvan County. Many of my stories — including this one — involve music as a means of bridging the gaps between natural and supernatural realms.

On a perhaps less scary note (unless you happened to cross my path), I woke up to a beautiful morning, so I decided to take a walk around nearby Lake Lanier before the heat and humidity set in. There were a good many people out walking and a few boating and fishing on the lake. It’s gonna be another scorcher today, so that was probably the extent of my outdoor activities today.

Be goot.

A purty view of Lake Lanier from the Blue Heron Trail