September 30, 2006
conjunction with the Book Em fair coming up in Waynesboro, Virginia, in
a couple of weeks, the Waynesboro newspaper ran a nice little interview
with me in its weekly entertainment section, and Beth Massie was
kind enough to send me a copy. The event is being well-publicized, and I
hope the turnout will be decent. There will be at least a few other
writers of the scary persuasion, including Beth, Matt and Deena Warner,
and I believe Ms. Elizabeth "There's shit on my car!" Blue is coming.
I'm looking forward to this; should be a fun time.
And what do
you know...time to do another archive of The Log...
Friday, September 29, 2006
My newest Storytellers Unplugged
essay is hereby officially posted:
No, it's not obscene. So sorry.
James Robert (Bob) Smith's novel,
The Flock, is a worthy first effort, beautifully
produced in hardback by Gale/Five Star Books. The flock of the
title is a group of prehistoric birds, known as Phorusrachids,
which has survived in one of Florida's last remaining
wilderness areas. They are impressive, predatory creatures whose
survival is largely due to their near-human intelligence;
however, their existence is now threatened by both developers
and by an eccentric militiaman who owns a portion of the
wilderness. A group of environmentalists, who wish to see the
land preserved, pit themselves against the exploiters, and in
the process discover the existence of the creatures. A complex
game of intrigue ensues as the various parties square off, each
with its own single-minded agenda.
is a capable writer and has created a remarkably believable
backstory for these dinosaur-like creatures. His human
characters are mostly colorful — sometimes a little too colorful
— but the drama never fails to be engaging. The birds
themselves, though, are the stars of the story, and their unique
characters enliven the book far more than if they were merely
one-dimensional, predatory monsters.
The Flock is available at all major online retail
outlets, including Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders,
Books-a-Million, Shocklines, and others.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
If you frequent the Shocklines
message board, you probably spent your evening doing
this. Bloody time waster. But jeez, what a hoot!
took me one hour and 23 minutes. But that was with a lot of
clues that came through Shocklines. I switched over to that
every now and then while I was working on the foreword for Terry
Bane's Actual, Factual: Dracula, which is now
September 19, 2006
I've heard from Mr. Rob Hood,
co-editor of Agog Press's
Daikaiju anthology (which features my dark fantasy
tale, "The Transformer of Worlds"), that it's now available in
the U.S. courtesy of Prime Books, so that it doesn't have to
ship from Australia. According to Rob, the book is the same as
the original Australian edition, though the reproduction of the
cover (art by Bob Eggleton) isn't quite as true and Todd
Tennant's interior painting is now on the backcover. It's
available in both trade paperback and hardback. Daikaiju
won the Australian Speculative Fiction Ditmar Award for Best
you're keen on giant monsters, then this is the book for you.
Astounding stories of absurd size and impossible dimension!
Mammoth mega-fauna! Apocalyptic adventure! Surreal suspense!
Catastrophic comedy! Monstrous metaphysics! Original fiction
from around the world and a special film history by Cinescape's
Brian Thomas. Give 'er a look, mate.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Weekly has given Evermore, edited by James Robert
Smith and me, a nice review this week. Here's a portion of it:
Edited by James Robert Smith and Stephen Mark Rainey. Arkham House,
"Of the several Poe-themed horror anthologies published in recent years,
this volume comes closest to evoking the streak of morbid curiosity that
was Poe's unique contribution to weird fiction... Fred Chappell, in 'The
White Cat,' sees a skeleton key for unlocking the enigma of Poe's
obscure prose poem 'Eureka' in mysterious events that might have taken
place in Poe's last days of life... Steve Rasnic Tem, in 'The Masque of
Edgar Allan Poe,' and Joel Lane, in 'All Beauty Sleeps,' both
effectively distill obsessions and passions of Poe's classic characters
into the experiences of tragic contemporary everymen. Not all the
contents measure up to the quality of these selections, but most show an
imaginative ferment lacking in more derivative competitors."
Saturday, September 16,
Free Press, the online newspaper for Waynesboro, Virginia, has featured
a little profile about me in conjunction with the Book Em fair to
support literacy, which I will be attending next month. Here's a link to
Stephen Mark Rainey — First in Fright.
The complete interview text may be found here:
August Free Press — Book Em Interview.
Friday, September 15, 2006
I've received the
sad news that Charles L. Grant, one of the legends of the horror/dark
fantasy field, has passed away of a heart attack. He'd had
serious health problems and had been hospitalized for some time — but he
had just come home last week after showing some improvement. He went
peacefully, I understand, and I imagine that being at home would have
been his preference. It sounds not unlike the circumstances when my dad
passed away in 2001; he rallied a bit just before the end and then went
I didn't know
Charlie all that well personally, but I met him a number of times in the
late 80s/early 90s, and while he often wore a curmudgeonly face, he was
at heart a gentle and kind soul who always showed consideration and
genuine interest in others. In a lot of ways, he influenced me in much
more than just my writing. R. I. P., Charlie. You will be missed.
|Monday, September 11,
I had considered
writing something deeper, perhaps respond to some of the conspiracy
theorists who think the U.S. government was directly responsible for the
9/11 attacks. But as I started composing my thoughts, I realized how
much time and energy it would require, and right now, it's getting late,
it's been a long day, and I'm tired. And the whole conspiracy angle, so
improbable as to be beyond ludicrous, angers me as much as the Islamist
enemy. So I will merely say here, my heart is with those who lost loved
ones on that terrible day, and my prayers are for America daily. Bless
Hoo hah! Got the
DVDs today and just watched the Japanese
version — probably for the 30th time, but this thing still gets me
right in the gut. Hard. It's one of those that, for me, rather than
losing impact, just gets more intense.
The print is pretty good, though there are a few places where the
scratches and spotting get pretty noticeable.
I might mention that the commentary on the Japanese version is by Steve
Ryfle (author of
Japan's Favorite Mon-star, the closest thing to a definitive
book on Godzilla around) and my old friend Ed Godziszewski, who took
over the fanzine
Japanese Giants, which I started up some 32 years ago, and
still publishes it periodically. I've not listened to the commentary
yet, but that'll be coming up...
If you'd be keen on the definitive retrospective of the original
Godzilla, complete with beaucoup behind-the-scenes info and
photographs, check out
Japanese Giants. The cover is by Bob Eggleton.
Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I also picked up the first
Ultraman to go with
actually going to have to spend some time in front of the TV this week.
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Classic Media's DVD release of the original
Godzilla, featuring both the original
Japanese version as well as the American version (with Raymond Burr) has
hit the streets. I just received notification that my copy has been
shipped. Yay! (I guess I can dump my old DVD-R and even older VHS copies
of the Japanese version now.)
While most folks
associate Godzilla with miniature cities, rubber suits, and atrocious
dubbing, the original
Godzilla is a
masterpiece of dark cinema, and only in recent years, when it traveled
around the country to various theaters, have Americans gotten to see
what it was really all about.
Although the Americanization was respectful of the source material, the
original is still a very different, far more powerful movie. It is
easily my favorite monster movie of all time, surpassing even the
original King Kong.
Yeah, heresy in some quarters, I know, but hey...I'm right.
just glad that, finally, the original is getting the treatment it deserves and
that, during its recent domestic release, it received consistently good reviews
and showed that American moviegoers still have an appreciation for damn fine
moviemaking -- particularly when the subject is a big-ass monster.
Hope everyone had a
good Labor Day weekend — with some time off from the daily grind. Peg and I
spent most of the weekend at my mom's in Virginia. We also got with our friends,
the Albaneses, on Saturday for an afternoon of swimming, which was kinda...cool.
As in chilly. Quite. But it was a nice getaway, as we killed some pizza that
evening and watched a bad 70s horror movie (Black Christmas).
There's always something entertaining about a bad 70s horror movie when you're
in exceptionally fine company.
I was hoping to get out and about on one of my traditional long walks, but the
weather was anything but cooperative, so I buckled down and spent the entire day
working on the opening chapter of the novel I'm calling The Monarchs of
Harrow. It's going to be a bitch going back to the office this week, as
I really got fired up working on this.
the rest of you...get back to work.
Please pardon the
thoroughly commercial tone hereabouts, but
time is ticking down to the
deadline for pre-ordering
The Nightmare Frontier, my novel from
Sarob Press, coming out in October. September 20 is the cut-off date for pre-orders.
Stunning cover art by Chad Savage.
coming in October, from Arkham House:
Evermore, the anthology edited by James Robert Smith and yours
truly. Features a line-up of killer short fiction about Edgar Allan Poe, with
contributions by Kealan Patrick Burke, Fred Chappell, Rick Hautala & Tom
Monteleone, Joel Lane, Manly Wade Wellman, and many others. Cover art by Tony
Happy Labor Day weekend. Hope everybody's got some time off and will enjoy it
Tuesday, August 29,
bit of rambling for Storytellers Unplugged has been posted:
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Shadows Over Somerset is a contemporary horror/dark fantasy
tale that chronicles the rather mysterious Cairnwood family and the
individuals/entities who come to be at odds with them. It's not always
simple to tell who's protagging and who's antagging, though, as the
Cairnwood family is something of a mess. They've got heroes, they've got
werewolves, they've got vampires...they've just got all kinds living
under the family name. Their homestead, Cairnwood Manor, situated in a
dark corner of Indiana, is reminiscent of the classical mansion full of
secrets, a la Collinwood from Dark Shadows; in this tale,
however, the secrets are multiplied something like tenfold.
storytelling is enjoyable, particularly during the action-packed scenes
of character conflict. I did have a problem with the lack of breaks
between paragraphs when scenes changed, though I'm not sure whether this
was a copy-editing gaffe or something done intentionally. Whichever,
it's cumbersome, and it brings the flow of the drama to a screeching
halt on any number of occasions, particularly because there are so many
characters to follow. Better structuring of the book's passages would
have helped distinguish what's happening when and to whom. In fact, I
would like to have seen better copy-editing in general, as there are
numerous small problems that a second trained eye could have easily
caught and fixed. KHP Publishing, take note.
Regardless of its problems,
Shadows Over Somerset is a generally entertaining novel,
fast-paced, and vividly rendered. With its dark, gothic atmosphere and
occasional moments of breakneck action, it's got a little something for
fans of every dark persuasion.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Just got back from the Starlite Drive-in Theater Durham, NC, where the missus
and I met Mark "Horror Drive-in" Sieber and his family to see Snakes on a
Plane, which was, in general, a big hoot, and perfect drive-in movie
fare. I haven't been to a drive-in theater since college, back in 1980, and I
believe it was The Crater Lake Monster. I've always loved going to
drive-ins, and this was the perfect movie to see at one. Naught but silly fun,
and it was great to hang out with Mark and Tanya and their brood. I might add
that the Starlite is the first drive-in I've been to that sells bullets and
handcuffs at the concession stand.
afternoon, just for kicks before we left for the drive-in, I watched the
American version of The Ring, so it was almost like having a
double-feature horror show.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
received contributor copies of
Dark Discoveries issue #8 today, which features my story, "The
Devils of Tuckahoe Gorge." A mighty nice-looking issue this, and I'm in great
company — Kealan Patrick Burke, Michelle Scalise, William Simmons, and Brian
Knight, among others.
August 21, 2006
By gummy, I
kind of like this. Today,
received an image of the cover for my upcoming World War II novel,
Blue Devil Island, due from Gale/Five Star in January
2007. I was kind of sweating this one because I had a bad feeling that
the artist might bomb out on the airplanes (I'm kind of a perfectionist
when it comes to aviation art). But while the rendering you see here
isn't quite perfect, the F6F Hellcats look not unlike F6F
Hellcats, almost certainly enough so to satisfy the layman, and the
composition is dramatic and eye-catching, so I have no complaints.
Tom Piccirilli was kind enough to give BDI a decent blurb a while back:
"Blue Devil Island is by turns a war adventure, a buddy
thriller, and a gripping horror throwback to the classics of the 40s.
Filled with pulpy fun but written with a muscular prose that'll shake
you sideways until your back teeth rattle."
that's pretty apt.
August 20, 2006
delighted to find that Mark Sieber, of
Horror Drive-In, gave
The Nightmare Frontier a stellar review. Here's a little
"...Rainey takes his time with
the novel's first quarter, giving us hints of the terrors to come, but
he also wisely allows his readers to get to know the principle
characters and their personalities.
Then all Hell breaks loose when a small town is literally segregated
from the surrounding communities by an alien-like barrier, and malignant
forces begin making themselves known. Readers that love cosmic horror
will love The Nightmare Frontier — but any serious or even
casual reader of horror fiction will be rewarded."
There's exactly one month left to get pre-orders in; you may use these
links to order directly from
Sarob Press or
You can check
out the entire review
evening, I went over to Borders, where my long-time friend and
Evermore co-editor James Robert (Bob) Smith was signing copies of
his new novel,
The Flock (Gale/Five Star). The signing started at six o'clock,
which really isn't the best time on a Sunday to draw a crowd, but we sat and
shot the shit for nearly a couple of hours, and he sold a couple of books to
unwitting purchasers (raises hand). Looks like a nice novel about big critters;
I'll look forward to diving into it.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Twenty years ago today, I got married to
Peggy Breheim. Alas, I don't have any of our
wedding pictures scanned — for which your eyes should thank their lucky
stars. Peg had the big hair in those days, and I had about as much hair
then as I do now. This afternoon, I brought her some flowers and stuff,
but any celebrating will be this weekend. (I guess I should figure out
something special to do, huh?)
In these two
decades, we've gone from terrorizing Chicago to mildly upsetting
Greensboro, NC (it's the age thing, don't you know); our daughter
Allison has grown up and left home;
Deathrealm magazine has been birthed and buried (I was about
as married to it as to the missus); and I've probably written a
million-some words, a fraction of which have been unleashed on an
Often it seems such
a short time ago that we hiked down that aisle; sometimes it amazes me that for
almost half my life I've been hitched to a weird woman. I reckon I like it well
enough, or else we wouldn't be together today. And I suppose Peg deals with it
because no one else would put up with her. Wait — reverse that. Anyone that
could put up with me day after day is some kind of angel, and I don't imagine
there are many others in the world that would. I am, after all, a writer, and a
spooky one at that, so I can only count my blessings and look forward to another
good many years with Mrs. Deathrealm, as she's still known, or getting put under
the ground, whichever comes first.
So if you're
drinking, drink one for Mr. and Mrs. Rainey. If you're not, well, don't.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Returned from Horrorfind on Sunday and spent a couple of days in Martinsville
with my mom. And what a trip.
Left Greensboro Thursday afternoon and drove to Waynesboro, VA, to stay
overnight with Elizabeth Massie and Cortney Skinner, who, sadly, weren't able to
make it to the con this year. That was the one big bummer of the weekend, since
for me, Beth and Cort occupy the place of honor among the honored. We did spend
an enjoyable evening with her sister Barb and brother-in-law Charlie, some damn
good pizza, and last year's silent classic,
The Call of Cthulhu on DVD.
Arrived at Horrorfind on Friday afternoon and hooked up with Steve Sommerville
magazine and Boyd Harris and Chris Mann of
Block Press. We shared a table outside the dealer's room, which worked well for
us; I had
The Lebo Coven,
The Last Trumpet, and various issues of
Deathrealm to sell. My thanks to all who were gracious enough to
partake of our bloody wares.
Had a nice dinner in a quiet, romantic corner of the hotel restaurant with Greg
Hill, the grisly proprietor of
The Lazy Lion Bookstore. (Insert violent shudder
Later hooked up with Gina Farago and Terry and Glenn Bane of
good friends from Greensboro as well. We went to the haunted hotel suite and
then John Zaffis's presentation about paranormal thingies, where I learned never
to attempt an exorcism on my own. It would be bad. (Kinda like crossing the
streams, if you know about such things from
Late night partying out front of the hotel. "Good God," expressed in a
near-falsetto cry, most adequately describes the experience.
Began Saturday morning with a reading (an abridged version of my tale "Other
Gods," coming up in the next issue of
Cemetery Dance magazine). Nice bunch, that audience; no one threw
things at me. Paul Melniczek followed, with a nicely creepy tale.
One of the con's highlights was meeting the ebullient Fran Friel. On Saturday
afternoon, she sat me down and made me eat my lunch like a good little boy, and
we laughed and talked shop and other stuff, and it was really nice because she,
too, threw nothing at me. Also Saturday afternoon, since my daughter Allison
lives reasonably nearby, she came round and helped me grab hapless passersby
outside the dealers room. When I say grab, I do not exaggerate. (I must speak
with her mother about certain usages of the hand she has adopted.)
Dinner Saturday at Noodles with the NeDeo Press folk, followed by ice cream.
Then Matt and Deena Warner's party, which most of the proper people at the con
attended. But then came a great wave of improper people. Happily, by then, the
free alcohol was gone, so with cries of "This party sucks," the improper filed
out. More parties should suck so.
As always, it would be futile to try to list everyone I saw and/or met, but
special greetings, thanks, and salutations go to Matt and Deena, the Siebers,
Norman Prentiss, Beth "Nice Tits" Blue, Sarah "I gotta pee!" Schoenfeld, Nikki
Reinhart, Greg Hill, the NeDeo gang, Skipp, Keene, Chizmar, Brian Freeman, J. F.
Gonzalez, Ron Dickie, Steve Lukac, the indomitable (and possibly abdominal) Drew
Williams, KellywithanI (I hope you enjoyed sleeping with your parents!), Nanci
Kalanta (I remain your adoring minion), Tracy "Cat" West, Jim "thanks for the
broken ribs" Moore, Gary Frank, Tom "Padrone" Monteleone, Chad Savage, Matt "You
Rock!" Schwartz, Mike Laimo, Mark "the Pod" Justice, John Urbancik, Horror
Wench, Steve Shrewsbury, Brian Hatcher, Erik and Laurie (I'd hide you again any
day) Alkenbrack, Paul Melniczek, Nick Grabowski, Bill Carl, Jack (keep your hands off
my daughter!) Ketchum, Ed Lee, Pamela & Bill Kinney, and on and on.
Hats off especially to Steve Sommerville, Boyd Harris, and Chris (It
sounded like a frickin' plum) Mann, who
were a treat to share rooms and tables with. Thanks, guys.
And here I sit, all sad and wishing I could have another night of such great
Schubert is heavy.
Young 'un with Dad
Fran Friel and Steve Sommerville
Gina Farago and Tom Monteleone
The Lebo Coven
received a very nice review at
Check it out. (And thanks,
I just got in a fresh batch from Gale/Five Star, so I'll have copies
available at Horrorfind this weekend. Thanks to some recent cleaning out
of the storage vault, I also discovered some vintage copies of
Deathrealm, which I'll be bringing along.
You can find me sharing a table with
Insidious Reflections. Just how insidious are they, I
have to wonder...?
For the past few
days, I've found myself heavily involved in plotting a brand new novel, which
I'm tentatively calling The Monarchs of Winford. It's not a title
I particularly like because it sounds like some hoity-toity primetime soap opera television
show, yet in its way, it's perfect for the story. Who knows, maybe I'll run a
contest or something with freebies for anyone who can come up with a better
title I can use, heh heh.
It's kind of a southern-gothic-descent-into-madness-but-loving-it story that
could almost be shelved as Paranormal Romance. Well, maybe not. More like
Paranormal Romance with barbed wire, hot coals, and fish hooks embedded in
about three-quarters of the way through my detailed outline, but I probably
won't finish it until after Horrorfind this coming weekend. Then I'll start
writing the book proper, get a treatment off to Bob, my agent, and try to procure some bites.
And speaking of
I've still got lots to do, preparations to make, books to pack...all that
good stuff. I'd better start thinking about getting to it.
Mark is a happy
camper. Peg got a major gift certificate for her birthday for Amazon.com
and was sweet enough to let me order a couple of things with it too. So
today I received a couple of killer B movies that I enjoyed immensely as
a young 'un —
Teenagers From Outer Space and
Creature From Black Lake. The former I saw at about age six;
With a badly superimposed giant lobster and ray guns that turn people
into skeletons, it's a real classic. And the latter I saw at the
drive-in as a teenager, and it was actually creepy.
movie with Jack Elam threatening to make a rug out of Bigfoot can't be bad. I
have an old VHS copy of it, but the quality is nearly unwatchable. Getting these
on DVD is a real treat. I expect tonight is going to be movie night.
At Fanta-Sci: Mr. Damned Rodan (in
the foreground), Beth Blue, Mark & Tanya Sieber
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
And another edition of
The Log gets logged into the archives...
I'm a little late
posting here because I've been gone for several days. Went to Fanta-Sci in
Chesapeake, Virginia; visited Dave Wilson and Trish Macomber in Hertford, North
Carolina; and been to my mom's in Martinsville, Virginia. Otherwise, I've been
fun enough; I met some great folks (Hi, Ann!) and saw several other good friends
— including Mark and Tanya Sieber, Gina and Karl Farago, and Elizabeth Blue.
Saturday night, we had a great time watching the old 70s schlock classic
Frogs and the unrated version of
The Hills Have Eyes remake.
Speaking of the latter...
I've always said that having a GPS in one's car would take the fun out of
getting lost. Well, I don't have a GPS, and I certainly had some fun Sunday
afternoon. Holy shit.
I took a different-than-usual route out of Hertford, since I was going to Mom's
rather than heading straight home. I studied Google maps and wrote myself up a detailed set
of directions -- which was perfect until I discovered — too late — that two
different rural roads had the same route number. Or I should actually say that
two different legs of the same road turned off the main highway. I took the
I was in the backwoods south of Suffolk, Virginia, where the average population
must be half a person per square mile and there are no road signs, no route
numbers, nothing to indicate which direction one is traveling. The roads were
deserted, and I mean deserted. It was
exactly midday and the sun was directly overhead, so I couldn't get my bearings
that way. Suffice it to say I could see myself driving right into a tidewater
version of The Hills Have Eyes. Or the southern redneck
incarnation of Dunwich.
Eventually, I found a gas station and bought a map. I followed it carefully,
only to find that the roads did something altogether different than the map
Needless to say, after much experimenting and a healthy amount of cursing at the
local asphalt, I found my way to the main highway. I generally have an excellent
sense of direction, and I haven't actually been lost on the road, even in
totally unfamiliar areas, since I was a teenager. But the layout of these roads
got me hopelessly turned around, and I'm compelled to wonder if the complete and
utter absence of signs is an intentional ploy to entrap unsuspecting victims.
The clincher is that the road which instigated this mess was route 666.
When I arrived at Mom's, I went back to Google maps and I can see exactly why I
made the mistake I did. Bet plenty of others have done the same thing — and I wonder
how many have lived to tell the tale...