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Monday, July 30, 2007
The weekend turned out quite nice; Peg and I took a brief trip to Mum's in Virginia, as her cousin and his family, from Georgia, came round for a visit as part of a big road trip vacation. We all went out to lunch and spent the afternoon at the Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, looking at live reptiles and dead dinosaur bones. Saturday evening, we were back in NC and met with our friends Sharon and Wayne for dinner at a new Red Robin restaurant in Burlington. Heart attack city, but good eatin'.

Got a new tale in the works, targeting a specific anthology. Making good progress with it so far...

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Finished my revisions on The Monarchs and sent the manuscript to me agent. Whew! Really hoping to see some good things happen with this one, as well as with a few other projects still in the works. There are a couple of anthologies I'd like to write stories for, so those will take next priority. Mind you, this can only mean something big either good or bad, you never know is going to happen because every time I set up new priorities, things come around to change them. This is, evidently, one of those natural laws that cannot be contravened by the likes of mere mortals.

Saturday, July 21, 2007
So when's the last time you went to a drive-in movie? I went to the Starlite drive-in in Durham a couple of times last year with Horror Drive-in host Mark Sieber, but sadly, after the death of its owner, the Starlite closed. Happily, there's still a very nice drive-in theater about 30 minutes from here, in Eden, NC. Peg and I rode up there tonight to see Transformers; it was on a double-feature with the new Harry Potter movie, but it was a bit late getting started and was actually quite chilly out there, so we opted not to stay for it. I'm sure I'll catch it another time. As it was, we got our five dollars' worth out of the first movie, and we et the most killer burgers I've had in ages.

I love drive-in theaters. When I was a young'un, I went frequently, particularly to catch Godzilla movies not to mention a host of the B-horror flicks from the late 60s and early 70s. Going to drive-ins was a favorite part of growing up, and I've always lamented their passing. Sadly, all the drive-ins in my old hometown are gone. Just about anyone who owns a drive-in theater these days is doing so for the love, as they're generally not viable investments if you're looking to make a profit. I was thrilled to see the Eden drive-in tonight packed wall-to-wall, without a vacant spot to be found (and it's a 200-car lot). We chatted with a few of the folks parked around us, and everyone was as pleasant as can be and seemed to be having a really good time. I hope the Eden drive-in will be around for quite some time to come because it's close enough for me to be something of a regular attendee.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Nine months almost to the day...I have birthed a new novel, which I call The Monarchs. I slapped down the final words tonight and closed the file. I'll have some revisions to do here and there before it goes to my agent, but the bulk of thing is finally finished. I guess I need to smoke a single cigarette now but then that might have some pretty ugly consequences.

Anyhoo, what a feeling to have finished up another one. It was actually an emotionally challenging book to write. The characters are different from any I have attempted before, and the protagonist faces moral choices that were actually rather stressful to deal with.

Well. Let us hope for good things with it on the publishing front.

Monday, July 16, 2007
Another weekend in the woods, this time camping out at Deer Island on Philpott Lake, Virginia. Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, Peg and I set out with a convoy of eleven folks, hit the boat dock at Salthouse Branch about 9:00 am, and paddled over to the island which took several trips in three canoes with all the bodies and gear. Weather-wise, it was beautiful, though hotter than Grandma Looney's kitchen during the day and downright cold at night. There was much cooking of dead cow, imbibing of spirits, and swatting of bugs the size of Japanese Zeros.

Yesterday, we were entertained by a gentleman who was attempting to learn to water ski and having no success. I don't think he ever got up on his feet, and it sounded like the boat ran out of gas from circling around to to get him so many times. Not that I'm casting any stones, mind you; I haven't water skied in twenty years, and back then, I wrote the book on how to wipe out with perfect gracelessness whenever I hit a wake.

It was a fine group to camp with; some old friends of ours and friends of friends. We pretty much took over the north end of the island, and I offer my apologies to the Sasquatch family  we seemed to have displaced.

So, there was no writing to be done over the weekend. I reckon I'll be playing catch-up again over the next few days. The break was well worth it, though.

Saturday, July 7, 2007
Several days in a row away from the office.... Man, if I could afford to live like this, I could afford to live like this. Buckled down over several long shifts and wrote a couple of chapters in The Monarchs, which leaves me with about two to go. A few more days off so I could really crank this thing out would be just the ticket, but, alas, all good things...

On the social side, July 4 was great. Peg and I hung out with our friends Gary and Davina; we ate well, drank well, and watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which we all enjoyed. Then, since Peg had to work on Thursday and Friday, I headed up to the old homestead in Virginia, mostly to write, but I also spent quality time with Mum; visited with my good friends Joe and Suzie Albanese; watched Shooter, which was good, dumb fun; and ate and drank well some more. Not too shabby for what amounted to a little working vacation. Just hope the next one isn't too far off....

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Well...nothing like a wee bit of pressure to get the inspiration flowing. Last Wednesday, I believe it was, I received a note from William Jones at Elder Signs Press, asking if I might be able to come up with a 4,000-word story for his upcoming anthology, High Seas Cthulhu in a week's time. Well, since Cthulhu and I go back a ways, and he frowns when I disappoint him, I figured I didn't dare refuse. So on Thursday, I set to work feverishly on a new tale, which I titled "Signals," and finished it up on Sunday night. I let it cool a bit, revised it on Monday, and sent it to Mr. Jones last night. The contract arrived today, so "Signals" is officially in deep water. I actually had a blast writing this tale, and I think it'll be fun for readers. Other contributors include Alan Dean Foster, John Shirley, Darrell Schweitzer, Gerard Houarner, and more.

Of course, this put me a few days behind working on my novel, The Monarchs, which is getting so close to the end I can taste it, but I'm taking off work on Thursday and Friday so I can have an extended holiday. I'll mostly be using the time to play catch-up. I'm really looking forward to it....

Hope everyone has an explosive Fourth of July.

Saturday, June 30, 2007
And yet another of my favorite Toho daikaiju flicks has hit the streets, courtesy of Tokyo Shock DVD. Frankenstein Conquers the World (a.k.a. Frankenstein vs. Baragon) is an oldie but a goodie that stars Nick Adams and features a giant, radioactively mutated Frankenstein monster engaged in a wrestling match with the horned, reptilian beast named Baragon (who appeared in a different incarnation in the 2001 spectacle, Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack). It's all played very somber and straight, which is just the way I like 'em, and in spite of its silly-sounding concept, it comes together as a damn fine monster romp, with a first-rate score by Akira Ifukube. The DVD features both the original Japanese version and, ostensibly, the 1965 American International Pictures' release. However, there were several excellent special-effects scenes in the original American release that were never in the Japanese version, and those scenes are missing here as well although they still appear on television prints broadcast by American Movie Classics and the like. They are featured on the DVD as "deleted scenes," and the video quality is poor. Regardless, the DVD features lots of extras and the print and sound quality is sterling. I rate it five out of six beers (six being the best).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Got me some loving in the latest issue of G-Fan magazine. Writer Mike Bogue gave Blue Devil Island s
uch a terribly nice review that I kinda turned all into slag again. I mean, this is really messy. I might have to whomp him one because I'm not sure I'm going to be able to properly reconstitute.

A little sample: "This deft combination of WWII action, supernatural horror, and Lovecraftian fantasy kept me reading well past my bedtime; in fact, after I'd finished the book, I missed not having it to read any longer. Best read in the dark of night, Blue Devil Island is more fun than scarfing down a double cheeseburger, fries, and extra large malt in seconds flat, and far less fattening. Do yourself a favor buy a copy of Rainey's latest novel and consume it in one sitting. You won't find any empty calories here, but you may feel as though you just ate a four-star meal."

Not only did the reviewer come dangerously close to making my head swell, he went and flung a craving on me for some hideous junk food. I'm not sure that was very nice, Mr. Bogue.

Friday, June 22, 2007
Great stuff on the movie front this week. The Classic Media DVDs of Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Invasion of the Astro-Monster (a.k.a. Monster Zero), which feature both the original Japanese versions and U.S. releases. I can't count the number of times I've seen both movies, but these DVDs are so gorgeous, it's almost like seeing whole new movies. Lots of extra features, too, including a bio featurette about producer Tomoyuki Tanaka written by my old buddy Ed Godziszewski and produced by Bill Gudmundson (see the Invasion of the People Canners entry in last month's edition of The Log [April 10]).

If you're reading The Log, you're no doubt aware that Mark was, is, and always shall be an unabashed, diehard daikaiju freak. Between Sony, Classic Media, and Tokyo Shock, this has been a great couple of years for the release of so many giant monster romps presented as they ought to be seen. With all the extra features and input from bona fide daikaiju experts such as Godziszewski, Gudmundson, Stuart Galbraith IV, Bob Eggleton, and others, Classic Media has really done these movies justice. Frankenstein Conquers the World is soon due from Tokyo Shock, who also generally delivers the goods. Now if they would just get War of the Gargantuas out to us, I'd really be a happy boy.

I'm thinking I need to go stomp on some model tanks. Bye.

Monday, June 18, 2007
I trust that writer Scott Falkner won't mind me putting a link here to his blog, which kind of melted me into a big yucky puddle (a good kind of puddle): Scott Falkner on Blue Devil Island

Dude discovers firewater.


Sunday, June 17, 2007
A beautiful friggin' weekend at the old homestead. The missus, my brother Phred, and I spent a wunnerful evening in the woods on Saturday night, following a grilling of some of the best steaks ever cut from a dead cow. Couldn't have asked for a nicer night. Well, it did start out a bit on the hot and humid side, but it got better.

The setting is up yonder in ye old Fugue Devil woods, so the place has a lot of history for yours truly.

I say, is that an orb hiding out behind my brother?

Friday, June 15, 2007
Today would have been my dad's 77th birthday. Dad passed away in April 2001 of complications from diabetes. I expect anyone here who is close to his or her parents can understand the empty feeling that has lingered with me ever since he left. My dad was not the perfect man by any stretch, but he was the one human being on this earth that I consider a true role model. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see his influence not so much in the physical image as the spiritual and there are days when that sight is the only thing that gives me any reason to believe that I've got a chance in the world to make good on this life. When my daughter was young, it was my dad that I looked to learn how to be a father. I'm forever bemused by the attitude that "I'm not gonna grow up to be my parents." Jesus God, if only I could have been the kind of father to my kid that my dad was to me. Then I might have been able, when the time comes, to check out of this life and say, yes, I was a success at something. I tried, but it was impossible to come up anything but short.

That picture there is one of my favorites of Dad as a youngster. As you can see, I come by the scowl honestly. That must have been taken around 1937 or 38, so that expression has a pretty good history.

Father's Day is coming up, and when Dad was around, all too often, I remembered Father's Day only because it was so close to his birthday. My memory is a bit better now. Well, this one is for my dad. I miss you, Pa.

Saturday, June 9, 2007
William Bolen posted a link on the HWA message board to Jared Hindman's Head Injury Theater, and I couldn't resist passing it along. This one is "The ABCs of Horror," which is priceless beyond  MasterCard, and there are several other astounding little works such as "The ABCs Are Not Religious" and "The Geek ABCs" on his site. I wasn't familiar with Jared's work up to now, but as he updates the site regularly, I think I'm going to become a repeat visitor. Browse around the different sections for a lot of different treats. It's worth a bookmark.

I trust Jared won't mind if I pop a sample of his work up here to entice you to visit...

Friday, June 8, 2007
'Course, by the time I'm able to get this posted, it's old news, but Shocklines, online bookstore extraordinaire, is closing down. I'm a bit bummed about it, since, in my book, proprietor Matt Schwartz is one of the good guys. I've dealt with him quite a bit over the last couple of years, and he's proven his integrity umpteen times buying and selling in timely fashion, offering free shipping, and always making sure he's got a stock of my books, autographed. The message board will remain in operation, which is welcome news, since I always enjoy stopping in to plug stuff or yap with a few good folks now and again. Matt posted all about his decision (here), and though I find it all a bit saddening, he's doing what he needs to do with his life. I really wish him the best.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007
And a happy D-Day anniversary to you too. I woke up this morning with a hankering to invade Normandy, though it took a little while to figure out why.

Received a nice invitation to be on a horror authors' panel at the Cameron Village Library in Raleigh, NC, sometime in October. Sounds like fun, so I'm penciling it in. Hopefully, it'll be on a weekend when I'm free. (Date is still to be announced.) Alexandra Sokoloff, author of The Harrowing, is also scheduled to attend.

Chaosium Books' Frontier Cthulhu, edited by the excellent Mr. William Jones, has been officially announced. It's slated to include "Terror From Middle Island" (originally published in Dark Wisdom magazine #9), which I co-wrote with Durant Haire. The pre-release cover art looks reasonably cool.

Saturday, June 2, 2007
Nicely balancing some negative criticisms, scary writer Jack Kincaid writes the following about The Nightmare Frontier:

"I've never before read a writer who could capture the spirit of what Lovecraft aimed to do among other things, that crushing, nearly maddening cosmic terror so competently and, most importantly, without contracting many of Lovecraft's flaws. There's something genuine about this. I envy it. Once upon a time, this was something I wanted to attain. Now I know why I couldn't. Rainey had it. Damn him. It's high-voltage. It's scary (and not the cheap thrills kind of scary.) There's lots of action. It shows more than it tells. It almost shows too much.

When he goes on a description binge, the man scares me.

Don't misunderstand. Rainey has a voice of his own. It's his own structure. Lovecraft just happens to haunt it and I doubt Rainey has any plans to exorcise him.

There's quite a few Lovecraft-inspired writers out there and mountains of Lovecraftian fiction. Given that capturing that level of cosmic dread is no small order, I've read many embarrassing attempts by otherwise competent writers...

HPL would be proud."

Well, that makes me smile.

What is also makes me smile is Larry (The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra) Blamire's handful of Twilight Zone-inspired shorts, aptly titled...Tales From the Pub. Check it out.

Friday, June 1, 2007
And the April/May Log goes into the archive.

So Renfield at didn't much care for The Nightmare Frontier, but you can't please everyone. Better to get a less-than-glowing review that actually says something than an empty summation of the story, which is all too often the case.

Here 'tis: The Nightmare Frontier at Horror-Web

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