Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Roll Will Roll on Into 2009

Every Day Poets put up their January table of contents. It appears that my haiku "moaning hemlock tree" will be published on January 12th. This means that my publication roll, where I've had at least one poem published every month since April, 2007, will continue into early 2009. (My poem "Wandering Ole Willow" is scheduled for publication on January 26th in Issue 322 of Bewildering Stories, but that schedule is subject to change.)

Right now, I have poems scheduled for publication in January, February, "Spring", and November 2009. Plus, there are a few due out in forthcoming issues, dates unknown at this time. If I can get at least one poem published this coming March and April, my roll will have rolled on for two years!

In some ways, with all my poems in certain "4 the luv" markets, I feel like I'm cheating a bit. I'm beginning to think that I should start shooting more frequently for bigger markets. Of course, that could mean longer wait times as a result, and fewer publications overall. However, it really is just a silly personal goal, nothing more. And if my roll ends soon, I won't shed a tear.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Poems in Bewildering Stories Annual Review

In case you missed them in the quarterly reviews or in the issues they were originally published in, you can find my poems "A Horror Editor's Lament" and "My Alien Love" in Bewildering Stories’ Annual Review, 2008 The Editors’ Choices: issues 273-318. The Annual Review is a summary of the four Quarterly Reviews. Poetry and short poetry can be found in Part II.

"A Horror Editor's Lament" was originally published in issue 278 and appeared in the First Quarterly Review of 2008. "My Alien Love" was originally published in Issue 300 and appeared in the Third Quarterly Review of 2008.

A Look Back: Acceptances for 2008

Previously, I posted about my publications in 2008. Realizing that things published in 2008 don't always reflect things accepted in 2008, I thought I would take a look at my acceptances spreadsheet and see how many works (poetry, art, and articles) were actually accepted in 2008.

Including everything, including reprints, I had 111 works accepted in 2008. This number includes my art as well as my writing; I don't really keep separate records for my illustrations. This also includes my art used in first the Flashing Swords and then in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle stores.

Not bad at all, if I do say so myself. Of course, my own stats in 2008 will probably be hard for me to beat. Shooting for even more in 2009 could be an unrealistic goal.

In my book quality still trumps quantity, and I would rather do work of quality than work in quantity.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Haiku Accepted at Every Day Poets

Today, an acceptance message was awaiting me in my e-mail box. I received word that the editors at Every Day Poets have decided to publish my wintry haiku "moaning hemlock tree". This particular piece happens to be one of my rare forays into mainstream, and was inspired by actual observations of a hemlock tree being blown to-and-fro in a rather bitter wind.

I don't have a date of publication yet. I'll certainly post a link when the haiku is on-line.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Publications For 2008

Since I've seen a few others post about their publications in 2008, I figured I would jump on that particular band wagon as well. Even though I already mentioned numbers in my retrospective entry, I didn't post specifics. And now that I finally broke down and split my "List of Publications" on the Azure Lion Productions web site by year, it's easy enough to post my publications for 2008. So, here goes, Richard H. Fay's 2008 publications (I believe most of my poems, minus a mainstream piece or two, should be eligible for Rhysling nominations, for those of my friends in the SFPA. However, I included my Champagne Shivers 2008 Issue stuff in 2008, even though it was actually published late 2007.):

Short Stories, Flash Fiction, & Drabbles 2008
The Trouble With Unsolicited Messages..........The Drabbler #11, June 2008. Honorable Mention in the 11th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.

Poetry 2008
stark ebon tower..........Aphelion, December 2008.
Peg Powler..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 316, December 1, 2008.
My Final Masterpiece..........Niteblade, December 2008.
Life is the Life..........The Monsters Next Door, Contest Issue 4.5, November 15, 2008. Poetry Winner, "Through My Eyes" Writing Contest.
They've Come For Me Again..........Aphelion, November 2008.
Autumnal Woodland Morn..........Every Day Poets, November 9, 2008.
Chupa-Chupas..........Hungur, Issue 7, All Souls' Night 2008.
Midnight Encounter on Merais Minor..........Hungur, Issue 7, All Souls' Night 2008.
Consequence of Taking Too Much..........Macabre Cadaver, Issue 3, October 2008.
Sorceress Devolution..........The Lorelei Signal, October-December 2008 Issue.
Three Horrorku..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue Four, September 2008.
Lonely Fairy Rath..........Aphelion, Issue 124, Volume 12, August 2008.
Ethereal Journey..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 301, August 11, 2008.
My Alien Love..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 300, August 4, 2008; also Bewildering Stories' Third Quarterly Review, 2008 Editors’ Choices: issues 297-307.
Gremlins in My Brain..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue 3, July 2008.
What Stirs There..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue 3, July 2008.
Death in the Forest..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue 3, July 2008.
Green Chitinous Domes..........Aphelion, Issue 123, Volume 12, July 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Galactic Road Trip..........Tales of the Talisman, Volume IV, Issue 1, Summer 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
The Faces..........The Ashen Eye, Issue 1, June 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Green Grass..........Aphelion, Issue 122, Volume 12, June 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Corpse-Candles..........Niteblade, June 2008; also Lost Innocence: A Niteblade Anthology 2007-2008.
Artificial Form..........Aphelion, Issue 121, Volume 12, May 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Infiltration..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 288, May 2008; ; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Scifaiku (minute murderer)..........Scifaikuest, Issue 20, May 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Scifaiku (wander the ether)..........Scifaikuest, Issue 20, May 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Demons of the Dark Nebula..........Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht 2008.
Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental..........Sorcerous Signals, May - July '08 Issue.
The Phantom Dimension..........The Ashen Eye, April 11, 2008 (on-line promotional article w/ contributor's bio).
The Collector..........DemonMinds, Spring 2008 Issue, April 10, 2008; also DemonMinds Spring 2008 print edition, featuring the best of DemonMinds, Spring 2008.
Bearshirt..........Aphelion, Issue 120, Volume 12, April 2008.
My Haunted House..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 284, April 2008.
The Haunted Isle..........Illumen, Issue 8, Spring 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Scifaiku (rainbow against black)..........Illumen, Issue 8, Spring 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Holiday on Phreetum Prime..........Star*Line, March/April 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Unidentified Funny Object..........Aphelion, Issue 119, Volume 12, March 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Spirit of the Skull..........Night to Dawn, Issue 13, April 2008.
The Birth of Sentience on Aggraboth V..........The Fifth Di..., Edition 10, #1, March 2008.
Your Bloody Face..........Tales from the Moonlit Path, Issue 9, February 2008.
A Horror Editor's Lament or One Heck of a Headache..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 278, February 18, 2008; also Bewildering Stories' First Quarterly Review 2008, Editors' Choices: issues 273-283.
The Dark Host..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 277, February 10, 2008.
Intergalactic Getaway..........Aphelion, February 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
Horrorku (spirit of the night)..........Scifaikuest, Issue 19, February 2008.
Marriage of Earth and Antares..........Sounds of the Night, Issue 2, February 2008.
The Incubus..........Sounds of the Night, Issue 2, February 2008.
Old Mother Elder..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 275, January 2008.
The Changeling..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 274, January 2008.
Things in the Swamp..........Champagne Shivers, 2008 Issue; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers.
The Accursed Castle..........Champagne Shivers, 2008 Issue.

Non-Fiction 2008
Vampiric UFOs..........Hungur, Issue 7, All Souls' Night 2008.
Vampiric Creatures of Ancient Myth and Legend..........Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht, 2008.
The Darker Side of Fairy Lore..........Doorways Magazine, Killer Holiday Issue, Issue 4, January 2008.

Illustrations 2008
Unicorn Enwreathed..........Abandoned Towers, Issue 1, November 2008.
The Professor Speaks..........Abandoned Towers, Issue 1, November 2008.
Tom-Tit-Tot (also part of the Fairies and Dragons Series)..........Macabre Cadaver Issue 3, October 2008.
Eldritch Miasma..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, August 2008.
Viking Sword Series..........Flashing Swords, Issue 11, August 2008.
Fairies and Dragons Series..........Flashing Swords Special Edition, Summer 2008; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers
Viking Age Weapons Series..........Flashing Swords, Issue 10, April 2008.
Ethereal Journey..........Scifaikuest, Issue 20, May 2008; also Macabre Cadaver Issue 3, October 2008; also on-line version of
Abandoned Towers.
Demons of the Dark Nebula..........Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht 2008.
Tyler's Ghosts..........Flashing Swords, Issue 9, February 2008.
John Humble Versus Wolf-Head..........Flashing Swords, Volume 2, Issue 8, January 2008.
Things in the Swamp..........Champagne Shivers, 2008 Issue; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers; also Macabre Cadaver Issue 3, October 2008.

Monday, December 22, 2008

sparkling silver strands

sparkling silver strands
sway amidst evergreen boughs
blown by my child's breath

© 2008 Richard H. Fay

Happy Holidays everybody!

Friday, December 19, 2008

DNA Tests Confirm, It's Caylee

Most probably suspected it, but now it's official. I just saw the headline stating that DNA tests confirm the remains found near the Anthony home are indeed those of three-year-old Caylee Anthony:

DNA Tests Confirm Remains Are Caylee Anthony

All because her self-centered mother felt that her own flesh-and-blood was cramping her party-hardy lifestyle too much. So, since she couldn't live her life the way she wanted with kid in tow, Casey robbed Caylee of life period. That's my theory, anyway. And the whole bleeding Anthony family are just as guilty as Casey herself. Hear about Casey's brother taking down the memorial shortly after the remains were first found? They all knew what happened, or at least suspected the worst. They should all go to jail!

Dark, disturbing thoughts are going through my mind right now. Let some jailhouse thug exact real justice for poor Caylee's death. Make them all suffer before they die!

I guess a stranger could have been responsible for Caylee's death, but since the mother didn't seem too concerned that her own child was missing, I seriously doubt it. Stories changed too much too often. And then there is the death-smell in the car.

At least prosecutors now have a body, and the family can no longer argue that Caylee is still alive. Poor little thing. I think I'm going to go cry now.

Northern Perks

sweet maple syrup
drizzled over steaming flapjacks
on a chilly spring morn

swimming in a forest stream
shaded by tall basswood trees
on a humid summer day

sweeping hilly vistas
painted bright scarlet and gold
on an autumn afternoon

sweetheart snuggled close
seated before the roaring fire
on a cold winter's eve

© 2008 Richard H. Fay

Squirrels: You Are What You Eat

If ever you wanted proof of the old adage "you are what you eat", look no further than our wacked-out suburban rodents, those bushy-tailed rats known as squirrels. Squirrels are nuts!

I've seen squirrels yelling at the top of their little lungs while sitting atop utility poles. I've seen squirrels running madly across utility lines just so they could fall off mid way. I've seen squirrels gone wild after eating a neighbour's foxglove plant (squirrels that later vanished, presumed dead). I've seen drunk squirrels (thanks to fermented apples), drugged squirrels (see above), and just plain dumb squirrels.

Today, I saw a squirrel scampering across the yard. It stopped around the middle of the yard, stood still for a second or two (I could almost see the tiny gears turning), then buried an acorn in the snow! After it completed its work, it sat up for a moment, snow hanging off its chin like a wee Santa's beard. Then it scampered off.

Perhaps it was able to get down to the dirt; after all, we currently have only a thin, spotty cover of snow. Still, when you think about all the nuts they lose, the whole concept of squirrels burying nuts is rather absurd.

I say again, squirrels are nuts!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm a Master Poet...

...or so says the editor of Abandoned Towers in her latest e-mail announcement! Since it's not a private correspondence, but more of a general message of new stuff on Abandoned Towers, I feel it's safe to share what she said about me. The same announcement also appears on the Abandoned Towers blog.

I'm flattered, flabbergasted even, but I don't know if I deserve such an honour. In my heart of hearts, I know I'm far from being a master poet. I am sorely lacking in technical knowledge of poetics; I frequently operate on instinct alone, with mixed results. I would be happy with the title of capable wordsmith.

Very often, for me, the word's the thing.

Article Accepted

The editor of Abandoned Towers has accepted my article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" for publication in the on-line version of her 'zine. Which is good news, considering that she was the one that suggested I write the article in the first place!

Some may disagree with my rather broad definition of speculative poetry, but I don't think squabbles over definitions are overly productive. Using my broad definition as a jumping off point, I try to show how many past literary classics could be considered to fall under the umbrella of speculative poetry. I argue that speculative poetry need not be seen as a lesser art compared to its mainstream kin, that it has a rich past and potentially bright future.

Anyway, you can read all of this in my article. I'll post another entry when I know it's on-line.

Blasted Laryngitis!

I was planning on attending the open mic night last night at the Flavour Cafe and Lounge so I could read more of my poetry. Really, I was. Unfortunately, I have laryngitis. I can still speak, but my voice is dreadfully strained. I could never do my verse justice in this condition. Maybe next time.

Of course, it's my own fault. The other day, I ended up in a screaming fit over a neighbour's rather vulgar screaming fit. Basically, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I've heard more than enough garbage talk coming from next door, and seen some pretty vulgar things as well, like the neighbour's boyfriend/husband/significant other/whatever urinating off the back porch after having one too many beers and a few joints.

I seriously doubt that the neighbour even heard me over Duran Duran's "Wild Boys" cranked up to 34 on my 100 watt stereo system, but I was raging for several minutes. I figured, if they wanted noise, they would get noise alright!

And to top it all off, I think I also have a slight cold.

Bummer.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rhonda Parrish Day at Beth Wylde's Yahoo Group

Rhonda Parrish, writer, poet, and founder and editor of the fantasy and horror e-zine Niteblade, will be appearing on Beth Wylde's Yahoo Group today (Monday, December 15). She will spend her time chatting about her work as a writer and Niteblade editor, as well as giving away prizes!

And why am I posting an entry about this? Well, as Niteblade Art Blogger and a poet who has had a handful of poems published in Niteblade, I figured I would stop by Beth Wylde's Yahoo Group and join in the chat. Rhonda has already put on her interviewer hat and asked me a bunch of questions about such things as: how long have I been writing, what are some of my own "personal cliches", what poets I admire most, what inspired me to write "My Final Masterpiece" (my latest Niteblade publication), and what pieces are closest to my heart.

This is my first-ever interview, so I'm pretty excited. Okay, sometimes it doesn't take much to get me excited, but I take what excitement I can get!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Stark Ebon Tower" and a Retrospective

My speculative haiku (or "fantasyku" if you fancy that term) "stark ebon tower" has been published in the December 2008 Issue of the web-zine Aphelion. In this particular little poem, I try to contrast the rather intimidating image of an imposing- looking ebon tower (Orthanc?) with the somewhat more pleasant concept of someplace a sorcerer would want to go to get away from it all.

Check it out!

And since this may be my last poetry publication of 2008, I thought I would look back at this year's publications. If I counted right, I had a total of fifty new poems published in 2008. Nineteen of these were published in paying venues, markets that paid at least a token payment of one dollar. I also had twenty-nine reprints published in 2008, including poems in "best of" issues, quarterly reviews, and print anthologies. I received payment for one of these reprints; the rest were non-paying (in other words, payment in exposure only or "4 the luv").

In addition to my poetry publications, I had one drabble, two articles and several illustrations published in 2008. Some of the art publications were series of illustrations used in single articles, so the exact number of individual works published is actually greater than the ten or so illustration entries on my list of publications. Plus, some of my art has been used in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle store. I received payment for most if not all the new illustration publications, but no payment for the reprints.

Why go into all of this? I don't know; I was just curious. Does it really matter in the greater scheme of things? Perhaps not, but I just wanted to prove to myself and others that about a third of my previously unpublished poems were published in venues paying at least a token payment. In no way do I restrict myself to "4 the luv" markets only.

Will I ever see numbers like this again? Probably not; I am now starting to work on longer projects, ones that will take time away from time spent composing poetry for 'zine submission. Last year at this same time I probably had thirty to forty poems in my submission pool; today I have about three or four. So my wild ride will probably come to an end soon as I slow down and work on other things.

And when I started seriously submitting speculative or genre poems back in April 2007, I thought I would be happy with four or five publications a year. I never dreamed I would have ten times that number! And submitting illustrations for publication wasn't even part of my original plan; it just seemed to happen, thanks in part to encouragement from a few of my editor friends.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Poem Accepted at Bewildering Stories

After a bit of a revision, my poem "Wandering Ole Willow" has been accepted for publication at the e-zine Bewildering Stories. It is tentatively scheduled to appear in issue 323, but might go on-line earlier than that.

This particular poem was inspired by the folklore suggesting that willow trees could uproot themselves and walk about at night, muttering and stalking unwary travellers. This same folk belief probably inspired Tolkien's "Old Man Willow".

For those of you may be wondering about the wisdom of submitting to a "4 the luv" market, let me just say that the Bewildering Stories managing editor's suggestion that I revise and expand the original submission actually did help me turn the piece into a much better poem. I might not have thought about expanding and deepening the piece without that nudge in the right direction.

Sometimes I still need that friendly nudge to get all I can out of my work. And I do appreciate when certain editors take the time to give me that extra push. You don't find that at every venue.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Parley of Elf and Troll

Here is a flight of fancy that has been sitting neglected on my hard-drive for over a year now. I had submitted this poem, unsuccessfully, to a handful of markets, and then forgot about it. Something told me to dig it out, give it a brand-new polish, and post it to my journal. The piece might seem quite whimsical, but I think there is a profound message buried under the whimsy. Then again, maybe I'm just reading too much into my own poetry!

The Parley of Elf and Troll

During an uneasy parley
Following the briefest of lulls
In their constant fighting,
Elf and troll meet
Atop a speckled toadstool
'Neath the gnarled oak tree.

Instead of reaching an agreement
To heal past grievances,
The two argue and cuss
Over who should be cross at whom.
Each blames the other
For such bitterness and strife.
Elf calls troll ugly and sour;
Troll calls elf cutesy and trite.
They insult each other's mothers,
Divergent tastes in fashion,
And even inherent talents,
Or lack thereof.

The troubled truce finally shatters
When harsh words lead to hard blows.
Troll clobbers elf,
But the coming dawn
Turns troll to stone.
Elf slinks down
Into the shadows
With the rest of his twilight kin.

Fueled by misunderstanding,
Their endless fray goes on.
Nothing seems to stop
That infernal
Eternal war.

© 2008 Richard H. Fay

Monday, December 8, 2008

Justify Your Magic?

I've seen several discussions about fantasy writers needing to explain their system of magic, justifying why certain characters can wield magic and how that magic works. A current discussion on a Live Journal friend's journal got me thinking about this issue once more. In my mind, I compared the argument calling for explanation to the less logical attitude found in all of the fantastical tales of the past. And I've reached the conclusion that those readers and writers who think that magic should always be logically explained and justified might not have it quite right. Instead of trying to figure out exactly how their magic works, maybe modern fantasy writers should spend more time trying to figure out how fantastical stories of the past created their own sort of wondrous magic.

In my opinion, many modern writers and readers are truly missing the real magic with all this "explain this" and "justify that". You can lose the wonder if everything is explained in a quasi-rational manner. Unless you or your readers actually believe in the reality of your own version of fantasy magic, then there always will be some sort of disbelief and disconnect from reason anyway. Certainly the rules of magic should be consistent throughout your creation, unless there are justifiable reasons why they aren't, but you don't have to tell the readers everything. The author should have a good idea why the magic works, or at least how it works, but the reader doesn't have to know all. If they do, that brightly gleaming sense of wonder may shatter into a million dimly glittering shards of mild amusement.

Take a look at the folklore, myths, and legends of yore, the precursors of modern fantasy. Magic not only exists in these stories, but it can be one of the driving forces. And yet, that magic need not be justified fully, need not be explained in its entirety, it just is. An evil sorcerer or a malevolent witch wields magic because they can, because that is what sorcerers and witches do. Perhaps some explanation and justification is implied (evil sorcerers and nasty witches might make deals with the Devil to acquire their powers), but it doesn't have to appear as a full-fledged explanation in any one story. Some stories may suggest that magic works through the recitation of certain songs or words, but the reader doen't have to know exactly how those songs or words actually tap into magical powers.

Take a look at fairy folklore. Magic certainly exists in these tales, and is often not explained at all. What explanations do exist for why fairies are such magical creatures (they are magical nature spirits, or holdovers of the pagan gods and goddesses, or fallen angels too bad for Heaven yet too good for Hell, or spirits of the unbaptised dead endowed with fairy powers, etc.) can be as varied as the specific cultural backgrounds and circumstances of the tellers of such tales. It is pretty much just taken for granted that fairies are magical beings, and can wield some pretty impressive magical powers. Of course, a lot of it is illusion, mere fairy glamour, but that sense of possible unreality makes it even weirder and wilder and more wonderful.

Why must modern fantasy turn its back on the past, ignoring the wonder found in these time-honoured tales? Why must we know all? Why can't some details be left up to the imagination of the reader? The capability to suspend disbelief can be vital to creating that sense of wonder in the fantastical. Are certain readers losing the ability to suspend their disbelief? Have they become so jaded as to lose that sense of wonder altogether? Have they grown out of the ability to see the fantastical through the wide, wonder-struck eyes of the inner child? Has the awe regarding the fantastic already shattered? I hope not.

Hopefully, we will see a return to the wonder of the fantastical, a reappearance of the magical in fantasy magic. Just like with a sleight-of-hand magician, a wizard fully explained loses some of his fantastical lustre, some of his mystical appeal, some of his numinous charm.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Der Erlkönig

One of my favorite poems happens to be "Der Erlkönig" by Johann Wolgang von Goethe. Not knowing more than a word or two of German, I'm sure I miss some of the poem's subtleties in the English translations, but I've always liked the story. The verse possesses a chilling quality that grows more ominous as it progresses to its morbid conclusion.

Apparently, there is some debate regarding the meaning of Erlkönig. Often times, it is translated into English as Erl-king, implying that the term means "Elf-King". However, the literal translation from German means Alder King. In my mind, either one has some connections to the darker side of fairy lore, specifically the idea of malevolent forest spirits, so I think it a silly debate. I've always connected the Erl-King to fairy lore, in the broadest sense of that term. There is certainly something "fairy-like" in his actions, being invisible to the father, trying to entice a mortal with glamourous offerings, and carrying off the spirit of the child while leaving behind the boy's empty mortal shell.

Some interpretations claim that the poem merely describes the fevered hallucinations of a sick child. Perhaps that is what Goethe intended, and yet the work does echo folk beliefs. Folklore frequently suggested that entities like the Erl-King only appeared to those with the gift of second sight, or to children.

There are several different English translations of "Der Erlkönig". The literal translation loses the rhyme. Some English adaptations try to keep the rhyme, but change words here and there. Sir Walter Scott even created a somewhat loose translation of Goethe's original. I personally like the translation by Louis Untermeyer that appeared on the record The Haunted House and Other Spooky Poems and Tales by Scholastic Records, the source where I first encountered this work. I actually blame this recording for eventually setting me on the path of dark speculative poet. Poems like "Der Erlkönig" certainly influenced my own works.

And yes, I do still have the record, even though I acquired it when I was in grade school. However, I can't seem to find the Untermeyer translation on-line.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Done With Forums

I've finally had to reach a bitter decision. Lately, I've been spending way too much time getting sucked into rather ridiculous forum debates, time that could be better spent on more productive endeavours. So, even though I've actually met some great people on various forums, for my own sake I have to stay away.

In many ways, it's my own fault; I'm too pig-headed and opinionated to avoid certain discussions. I feel I must always speak my mind, which isn't always a good thing. It can get one in trouble when one thinks differently than many of one's on-line friends and associates. And I've simply got too much to do to be involved in that kind of trouble over, and over, and over again.

Call my penchant for verbal sparring one of my worst character flaws, but at least I'm trying to deal with it the best way I can. And the best solution seems to be to do away with the temptation altogether. So, no more forums. I'll stick to my blogs.

Now I just have to stay out of blog flame wars.

Niteblade Art Blog: Pencilled Mayhem

Check out the latest installment of the Niteblade Art Blog: Pencilled Mayhem. This time I feature the pencil drawings of the fantasy artist Shane Lees. He combines fantasy imagery with a bit of science-fiction to create dangerous worlds inhabited by deadly cyborgs and doughty warriors.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My First Public Poetry Reading

Well, I finally did it. I finally read my poetry in a public setting. I finally participated in open mic night at the Flavour Cafe in Troy, NY and read a handful of my poems.

At first I was just a bit nervous, and worried about how well the audience would receive my particular brand of poetry, but it actually went extremely well. I only stumbled on a word or two, mostly words that give me trouble under the best of circumstances. I think I read pretty clearly and presented the verse with an effective amount of emotion.

People seemed impressed with my works. It was a small but quite supportive crowd, probably the best type of crowd for a first reading. I received a fairly hearty applause after each poem, and a fellow poet came up to me after the reading to ask me more about my work and chat about his own. He even walked out with us as my wife and I left. The hostess of the event commented that her daughter would really like my poetry, and asked if my works were available on-line.

The only slight wrinkle in the event was the fact that my wife and I had to leave not too long after I read to go pick our daughter up from her evening acting class. I felt a little guilty running out so soon. I would have preferred to stay and listen to more of the performances, but we were on a rather tight schedule.

Maybe next time we will be able to stay a bit longer and enjoy more of the night's entertainment. After having such a good time, there will definitely be a next time. And I have been intending to make some connections with the local art scene.

Necrotic Works

Here's one for anyone that has ever felt that their muse had died, that no matter how hard they tried, the words came out lifeless and dull. I feel your frustration; I've been there before:

Necrotic Works

Numb words
penned by cold hands
fall on bloodless pages
like decayed flesh sloughs off a corpse -
dead muse.

© 2008 Richard H. Fay

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Need a Calendar?

So, do you need a calendar for the coming year? Are you looking for something a bit different than the usual store-bought fare? Do you want a bit of art to hang on your wall? Would you like to help support the creative endeavours of this particular aspiring fantasy artist? Then consider purchasing one of these:

2009 Richard Fay Calendar

Calendars do make great holiday gifts, too!

Competetive About Being Abused?

Warning, the following is a serious rant. I'm rankled, riled, pissed-off to the extreme.

Alright, I've been accused of a lot of things over the forty years of my life, sometimes for good reason and at other times for no apparent reason at all (a neighbour in a drug-induced tizzy once accused me of practicing voodoo). However, this might be a new one. I've now been accused of acting competitively over matters of emotional and psychological abuse. Apparently, according to at least one person's opinion, I am in some sort of sick abuse competition, throwing my own stories of emotional and psychological abuse in the ring against other alleged instances of such maltreatment.

Pardon the expletive, but what the fuck? I may have a different perspective due to my own personal experiences, my threshold for actual, genuine abuse might be different than the apparent abuse thresholds of others, but pardon me if I do speak as someone who went through it. Knowing what true abuse is like, I think instances of screaming abuse when it might not really reach the threshold of abuse actually devalues what those of us who went through it suffered, and still suffer. And even though I have experienced it myself, I refuse to go around crying "abusive parent" whenever some parent posts something on-line I don't agree with. I cannot abide that behaviour anymore than I can abide abusive behaviour.

You want to attack my personal opinions and beliefs, fine! I might not like it, I might put up a fuss, but I might actually listen. Just don't turn it into a foul insult. You want to attack me personally through insults, you can just go to Hell! I no longer put up with it from my own parents, I'm certainly not going to put up with it from internet trolls and generally miserable persons with overly large chips on their shoulders and way too much time on their hands. And yes, I am the type that might try to knock that chip right off, but I really don't have the time anymore for such worthless endeavours. I have too many constructive things to do with my life.

Live my life, understand what it's like to be me, then you can judge me. Until then, keep your bleeding judgments to yourself!

Sorry to all my friends out there, but I just needed to get this off my chest. I don't even think that the person who made the comment about being competitive about abuse will even see this. This was just something I just couldn't keep bottled up inside. If I did, I might have exploded.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Poem in BEWILDERING STORIES, Cinquain in NITEBLADE

My poem "Peg Powler" now appears in issue 316 of the e-zine Bewildering Stories. I drew my inspiration for this piece from the lore about the water-demon/nursery bogie said to haunt the river Tees. I approached the verse as if I were a parent or caregiver warning children to stay away from the potentially dangerous riverbank.

Also, my cinquain "My Final Masterpiece" now appears in the December 2008 issue of the fantasy and horror e-zine Niteblade. I have no idea where the inspiration for this piece came from, but I do know it's one of my most erotic horror poems to date. Mind you, this is coming from a guy with rather Victorian sensibilites regarding erotica. Unusually for me, the horror in this piece is mundane, not supernatural. I wouldn't write poems like this as a rule, but the imagery I saw in my mind's eye was just too deliciously horrific to pass up. And, as an artist, the idea just struck a chord.

Check 'em out!