Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: My Year in Review

Instead of talking about what I accomplished this year in narrative form, I'll let my list of 2009 publications pretty much speak for itself:

Poetry 2009
Fairy Bandits..........Aphelion, December 2009.
The Devourer Took a New Name..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 364, December 7, 2009.
Horrorku (will-o-wisp)..........The Shantytown Anomaly Issue #8, November 2009.
The Sheerie..........Aphelion, November 2009.
Horrorku (weeping tree)..........Scifaikuest (on-line), November, 2009.
Amongst Faerie Oaks..........Abandoned Towers Issue #4, November 2009.
Gathering of the Dead..........Tales From the Moonlit Path, Halloween Issue, October 2009.
The Haunted Castle..........The Absent Willow Review, October 15, 2009.
Coach-a-Bower..........Aphelion, October 2009.
Visages of Betrayal and Madness..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue Eight, September 2009.
Eldritch Mistress..........Aphelion, September 2009.
Roiling Gyre..........Aphelion, August 2009.
Electric Blue Sparks..........Aphelion, July 2009.
Yellow Eyes..........Every Day Poets, June 26, 2009.
Clattering Hooves..........Aphelion, June 2009.
Nightmares Fell my Fantasy..........Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, May 2009.
Howling on the Moor..........Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, May 2009.
When Wizards Dream at Night..........Tales of the Talisman, Volume IV Issue 4, Spring 2009.
Temporal Crack..........Aphelion, May 2009; also on-line version of Abandoned Towers, June 2009.
Labyrinthine Pile..........Aphelion, April 2009.
The Damnation of Daniel Brewster..........The New Bedlam Project, Vol. 1 Issue 1, April 2009.
Mother Earth's Children..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, March 2009.
Drifting Flakes..........Aphelion, March 2009.
Winter Crows..........Every Day Poets, March 10, 2009.
Serpent of Storms..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue 6, March 2009.
When Hunger Takes Me..........The Monsters Next Door, Issue 6, March 2009.
Scifaiku (clash of tempered steel)..........Scifaikuest, February 2009.
Two Dimensional Visitors..........Aphelion, February 2009.
Wandering Ole Willow..........Bewildering Stories, Issue 322, January 26, 2009.
Haiku (moaning hemlock tree)..........Every Day Poets, January 12, 2009.


Non-Fiction 2009
The Good and the Bad of Critiques..........Creator and the Catalyst, August 2009.
Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, January 2009.


Illustrations 2009
Nanomite 323..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, December 2009.
The Haunted Isle..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, December 2009.
West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, December 2009.
Internut..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, November 2009.
Holiday on Phreetum Prime..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, November 2009.
Robin in Sherwood Forest..........Abandoned Towers Issue #4, November 2009 (colouring page).
Amongst Faerie Oaks..........Abandoned Towers Issue #4, November 2009.
The Banshee's Cry..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, October 2009.
Cosmic Journey..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, October 2009.
The Birth of Sentience on Aggraboth V..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, October 2009.
They've Come for me Again..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, October 2009.
A Leviathan Ascendant..........Abandoned Towers Issue #3, July 2009 (cover and colouring page); also MindFlights, November 2009.
Memories of Camelot..........Abandoned Towers Issue #3, July 2009.
The Armour of Loki..........Abandoned Towers Issue #3, July 2009.
Polypod at Home..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, June 2009.
Temporal Crack..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, June 2009.
Barixas Hunt..........Dreams and Nightmares #83, May 2009.
The Faces..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, May 2009.
Warring Ants..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, January 2009.
Maginot Line Fortification Cross-Section..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, January 2009.

Plus, I had several reprint poems published in various venues:
Life is the Life.........Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, May 2009. (originally published in The Monsters Next Door, Contest Issue 4.5, November 15, 2008. Poetry Winner, "Through My Eyes" Writing Contest).
They've Come For Me Again..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers October 2009 (originally published in Aphelion, November 2008).
Sorceress Devolution..........A Time To...Volume 3: The Best of The Lorelei Signal 2008 (originally published in The Lorelei Signal, October-December 2008 Issue.)
The Phantom Dimension..........Horror Bound Magazine, February 2009 (originally published in The Ashen Eye, on-line promotional article w/ contributor's bio April 11, 2008 ).
The Haunted Isle.........Horror Bound Magazine, February 2009 (originally published in Illumen, Issue 8, Spring 2008)
The Birth of Sentience on Aggraboth V..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers October 2009 (originally published in The Fifth Di..., Edition 10, #1, March 2008).
Your Bloody Face..........Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, May 2009 (originally published in Tales from the Moonlit Path, Issue 9, February 2008).
The Incubus..........Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, May 2009 (originally published in Sounds of the Night, Issue 2, February 2008).
The Accursed Castle..........Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, May 2009 (originally published in Champagne Shivers, 2008 Issue).
Book of Dimensions..........Abandoned Towers Issue 2, March 2009 (originally published in Niteblade, December 2007).
Explorers..........Wondrous Web Worlds Volume 8, June 2009 (originally published in The Fifth Di..., September 2007).
Worrying..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers March, 2009 (originally published in Skyline Magazine, Autumn 2007).
The Unseelie Court..........Horror Bound Magazine February 2009 (originally published in Fantastic Horror, June 2007).
Midnight Sabbath..........Horror Bound Magazine February 2009 (originally published in DemonMinds, April 20, 2007).

In addition, I had some artworks published as reprints as well:
Tom-Tit-Tot.......... Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in Macabre Cadaver Issue 3, October 2008).
Wander the Ether (aka Ethereal Journey)..........Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in Scifaikuest, Issue 20, May 2008).
Demons of the Dark Nebula..........Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht 2008).
Things in the Swamp..........Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in Champagne Shivers, 2008 Issue).
Gothic Window..........Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in Aoife's Kiss, Issue 23, December 2007).
Book of Dimensions..........Abandoned Towers Issue 2, March, 2009 (originally published in Niteblade, December 2007).
Forest of the Damned.......... Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in The Willows, September 2007.
The Unseelie Court..........Horror Bound Magazine January 2009 (originally published in Fantastic Horror, June 2007).

I guess you could say, for me, 2009 was the year of the reprint!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Souls Adrift" to be Published in FEAR AND TREMBLING

I received some good news in my in-box today. My ghostly speculative poem "Souls Adrift" has been accepted for publication in the horror e-zine Fear and Trembling. Wahoo!

I'm quite glad this one has found a home at Fear and Trembling. I believe it's one of my best poems yet, poetically-speaking. I think it effectively taps into feelings of loneliness and despair. It also happens to be the one that elicited a "wow" when I read it at the open mic at Flavour Cafe. Not only that, this will be my first work in Fear and Trembling. Another market cracked (and a paying one at that)!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Baying Cry

baying cry
paws scratch wire mesh
homeless hound

***

My daughter volunteers at the local humane society. I was inspired to write this haiku when my wife and I picked her up this past Sunday afternoon. As we sat waiting, I listened to the shelter dogs barking, baying, and howling. Some of them sounded so sad that it touched my poetic soul. I just had to write something about the experience.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Weirdness of my Life...

...as a dark poet.

Yesterday, I was sitting listening to cheery Christmas music, drinking coffee, and starting work on a spooky dark speculative poem inspired by an abandoned old house just about around the corner from where I currently reside. I thought the combination a bit weird. Then again, I guess the telling of ghosts stories used to be a part of certain Christmas traditions.

I may do a little more work on the poem today, or I may leave it 'til after the holiday. I'm very distracted at the moment, especially as I watch the snow come down from a surprise mini-snowstorm. I didn't think it was supposed to snow today, certainly not like it is out there right now. There is already a dusting outside. We may just have a white Christmas after all!

Have a Spooky, er, I mean a Merry Christmas! Wassail!

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Fairy Bandits" in APHELION

My cinquain "Fairy Bandits" now appears in the December/January issue of the web-zine Aphelion. Check it out!

Ever wonder what happens to those items around the house that mysteriously disappear, seemingly lost forever? Well, fairy lore blamed such things on fairy thefts. Sometimes they borrowed from neighbouring mortals, but sometimes they stole. And the fair folk were known to occasionally steal cattle, milk, grain, and even human beings. Sometimes they only took the substance, the "foyson", out of foodstuffs, leaving an insubstantial likeness behind. In the case of my "Fairy Bandits", the fay appear to be responsible for the theft of bread meant for breakfast. However, are the good neighbours really to blame? Hm...

It looks like this will be my last poetry publication for 2009. And it may just be the end of my monthly poetry publication roll. All good things must come to an end, and I simply haven't had the time, energy, or inspiration to keep the roll rolling any longer. Anyway, I think it's a nice little piece to finish out the year. Now on to 2010!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Art for English IV

A while back, Jeff Parish asked if he could use some of my medieval-themed art on his web site for the English Lit class he teaches. I thought it would be a splendid idea, and even supplied a version of "Memories of Camelot" with text for use on the site's doorway. I then promptly forgot all about it, until today.

Well, it seems that Jeff did indeed use my art for his site English IV at North Lamar High School. He not only used "Memories of Camelot" on the doorway, but he also used "Robin Hood" on the "Assignments Page", "Boar Hunt" on the "Contact" page, and "Knight" on the "Links" page.

Cool!

Friday, December 18, 2009

"The Haunted Isle" Illustration in ABANDONED TOWERS

My illustration for my poem "The Haunted Isle" now accompanies the poem in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. It can also be found on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store.

Nanomite 323



Nanomite 323

A miniscule probe
Drifts on a gentle breeze
Through an aluminium mesh
Framed in white-painted steel
And into a strange twisted forest...

Sensors detect synthetic material.
Access main memory banks:
Polyamide fibres
Mixed with chemical colorants,
Wound into strands
And woven onto a backing
Upon a hard organic surface.
Further information required...

A gigantic shaggy beast
Thunders dangerously close,
Blotting out the light.
Its sharp retractable claws
Tear at the artificial trees
As its hot breath
Blows like a steamy tempest...

Warning, danger!
Reporting possible aggressive actions.
Registering native creature’s traits:
Internal calcium skeleton,
Endothermic metabolism,
Heart rate 120 per 60 zorts,
Attributes suggest carnivore.
More data needed...

A monstrous mobile engine
Roaring like a thousand rockets
Rumbles over the robot.
A churning, swirling vortex
Sucks up the probe
And deposits it in darkness...

Initiate system recovery.
Visuals impaired.
Sensor intakes jammed.
Latest obtainable readings
Suggest debris mass of mixed origin,
With resident life-forms
And airborne particulate matter.
Further analysis impossible...

After a period of inactivity
The probe’s internal stabilizers
Sense a violent motion.
Once the movement ceases
The blackness closes in
As a metal slab presses downward.
Crushed by massive machinery,
Nanomite 323 sends a dire message
Prior to its total destruction...

Earthlings hostile,
Abort colonization mission,
Repeat, Earthlings...

(Poem originally published in Bewildering Stories Issue 259, September 10, 2007)
***
The above illustration now accompanies "Nanomite 323" in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. It also appears on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle store.

Art or Writing?

I was going to take a few days off from art to work on a bit of writing, maybe even working on my long-neglected prose fiction, but now I'm not so sure I want to. The idea of writing is starting to leave a bad taste in my mouth. After all the bull crap I've seen, after encountering more than my fair share of miserable people in the world of writing, after seeing debate after debate after debate about the publication industry where everyone HAS to prove with a persistence bordering on obsession that they are right and the other guy is wrong, I'm fed up with it all!

I'm afraid I might be guilty of some of that obsessive persistence myself - I can grab hold of an argument like a bulldog long after I should just let it go. I don't want to become as miserable as those that trouble my sensitive soul, but I worry that's exactly what is happening. And many of these debates are, in the greater scheme of things, worthless. When will I learn?

Many years ago, I worked in retail. After that, I worked for the state for several years. Both are known for their preponderance of weird and wacko characters, often nasty characters at that. And yet, I never saw half the craziness while in retail or the state that I'm witness to in the field of writing. Much of it seems to have little to do with the "real world", not by a long shot.

Maybe I just need to walk away from it all for a while and think things over. Maybe I'm just letting it get to me again. Or maybe I just need to take some time to enjoy the upcoming holiday with my family, and try to attack it at a later date refreshed and rejuvenated.

I will admit, I've got art stuff I should do, projects that a publisher/editor wants me to work on, so perhaps I should just go with the flow and continue shifting my focus more and more toward my art. After all, is there anything wrong with playing to your strengths?

Still, I will probably think about writing that article a certain editor wants. And I probably should keep writing a little poetry, at least coming up with a few more pieces for that collection-in-progress. I guess it depends on how I feel.

"Shroudeater" to be published in HUNGUR

And now on to more pleasant things...

"Shroudeater", my 80-line long poem based on the Alpine lore about the powerful ghoulish vampire known as a schrattl, has been accepted for publication in the May 2010 issue of the print horror zine Hungur (and, yes, it is a paying venue). Actually, I had submitted the poem to Aoife's Kiss, but the managing editor at Sam's Dot felt that it would be a better fit in the other zine. I didn't submit the piece to Hungur because it didn't seem "science fiction" enough, but I'm fine with it being accepted for publication there. I had vampiric works appear in several previous issues of that zine, and "Shroudeater" should feel right at home amongst all the other blood suckers!

Not only did the editor let me know that the poem was accepted for publication in Hungur, he also suggested that I write a little article about the schrattl. I know this doesn't guarantee acceptance and publication even if I do pen the piece, but it's worth considering. I am more than capable of writing non-fiction. And I did have a poem and article combo in Hungur at least once before. My cinquain chain "Chupa-Chupas" and my article "Vampiric UFOs" both appeared in the All Soul's Night 2008 Issue. I guess I'll just have to see what I come up, if anything.

I like when my poetry leads to other opportunities. It makes it feel like it's actually worthwhile. Sometimes I wonder.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tainted Image?

All the time, I see writers giving other writers advice on where to market their works. And often times, many of these writers say that publication in "4 the luv" venues is of little help to an aspiring writer's nascent career. Some even hint that such publications may actually do harm to a budding writer's reputation.

Okay, I get that publication in amateur zines certainly won't make a writer rich and famous, and in most instances such publications won't do much to build a writer's reputation within the writing community, but is it as bad as it is sometimes portrayed? Have editors of pro zines, or agents, or publishers, actually turned down a writer's work based SOLELY on the fact that the writer had material published in amateur "4 the luv" zines? Have writers who have been published in amateur zines become pariahs in the higher levels of the writing community simply because of their less-than-glowing publication histories? Is publication in "4 the luv" zines such a terrible thing that it can ruin careers before they've even begun? (By the way, I get the desire to want to get paid for your work - I have that desire, too. However, just because I want something badly enough doesn't mean I'm always gonna get it.)

Ultimately, I always thought the work in hand was the most important thing agents, publishers, and editors considered. Isn't the quality of the writing the most important attribute they look for, not publication history? Ideally, editors, agents, and publishers should be judging a work based mostly on the quality of that work, not based on the quality of venues the person has been published in previously. I know we don't live in an ideal world, but I've been told many, many times that quality should trump all.

Frankly, I might not want to work with editors, publishers, or agents that let such things as previous publications in amateur zines shade their judgments. I would hope that my works would speak for themselves. Maybe I'm just an idealist at heart.

So, have I been irrevocably tainted by my continued association with certain "4 the luv" zines like Aphelion and Bewildering Stories? Have I blown my chance of ever having work published in a pro zine because of it? Or is this really an absurd notion? Besides, don't people in other activities often start out as amateurs, working their way up to pro status? Or is writing that much different than every other human endeavour?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Horrorku in THE SHANTYTOWN ANOMALY ISSUE #8

In the mail today, I found a manila envelope containing my contributor's copy of The Shantytown Anomaly Issue #8. My horrorku "will-o-wisp" appears in the "Scifaiku Corner" section of the journal. And it is indeed my work, even though the by-line and table of contents lists "Richard H. Ray" as the author of that particular piece. With all my poetry publications in various venues, I have no need to claim the work of someone else as my own! Besides, it should be pretty obvious that the horrorku is in my style, as it were.

Having seen a handful of other editorial goofs in my material in print over the past couple of years or so, I'm starting to take it all in stride. It happens. We're all human; we all make mistakes. At least my name was right on the envelope containing my contributor's copy. I had moved over the summer, and I hate to think about what the post office would have done about forwarding "Richard H. Ray's" mail! I forgot to send the editor my new address - my mistake.

Anyway, this is a bittersweet publication, since the editor of The Shantytown Anomaly has decided to go on an extended hiatus from publishing new issues. This was my first poem in that journal, and I'm afraid it might be my last, at least for a while. I'm saddened to see any speculative poetry market shut-down or go on extended hiatus. We need more speculative poetry markets out there, not less!

Art to be in DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES 85

It looks like one of my pieces of filler art originally accepted for publication back in April will be appearing in the January 2010 Issue of Dreams & Nightmares:
http://dreamsandnightmaresmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/12/dn-85-contents.html

This is good. I will have something new coming out in January, albeit art and not poetry. Alas, for the first time since starting this crazy ride back in April 2007, it appears as if I will have no new poetry publications for the coming month. Yes folks, you heard right, the new year will probably bring Richard's poetry roll to an end.

As of this very moment, I actually don't have much poetry at all slated for publication in 2010. And I only have a small handful of poems currently in submission limbo. That's what happens when you shift gears and move on to other things, like lots of art.

Maybe I should take a break from drawing and write more poetry. We shall see what my muse thinks about that. It's always ultimately up to the muse.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poem accepted at HOUSE OF HORROR

I received word today that my dark speculative cinquain "My Final Masterpiece", first published in the December 2008 issue of Niteblade, has been accepted for publication in Issue 10 of the e-zine House of Horror.

As always, I'll post a link when it's up. It might be a while, though; I think they are currently on Issue 7.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ghosts at Fort Ticonderoga

My mother-in-law, who lives up in Essex County in the northern part of the state, e-mailed me some intriguing information. Apparently, the TAPS team were filming an episode of the television show Ghost Hunters at Fort Ticonderoga, a historic fortification on the shores of Lake Champlain. And, according to my source, they actually found some interesting activity at the fort.

Wait a minute! I know that ghost! Well, one of them at least.

One of my most disturbing encounters with something potentially paranormal occurred in one of the barracks buildings at Fort Ticonderoga, back in August of 1995. In this case, it wasn't so much what I saw as what I felt.

As we entered the southwest corner of the ground floor of the South Barracks building, as I tried to view the artifacts in the display cases, I suddenly became dizzy and weak. I sensed a great heaviness, as if I bore the whole weight of the upper floors upon my shoulders. The footsteps of the people walking the floor above felt like marching troops stomping across my head. My eyes throbbed, and I couldn't focus. Then my vision darkened, as if I was looking down a long, dark tunnel. I came very close to blacking out.

Strangely, the feeling left almost as suddenly as it came, departing in a swift wave as I crossed the threshold into the next room. The disturbing sensation didn't come back until we walked down the stairs on that side of the building, going from the first to the ground floor. I briefly felt it again, albeit milder than before. I remember declaring at the time that I wasn't going back into that room!

I'm not prone to fainting spells. I felt fine prior to the incident. I pretty much felt fine afterward (excepting the slight return of the feelings as mentioned above). And my instincts told me that something unnatural had caused me to feel like I was going to drop to the floor. It sounds hokey, but I swear I could almost sense a presence that day, a spirit angrily bearing down on me. Of course, feelings count for very little, but it made me wonder just the same.

Additionally, my daughter was visibly scared and upset in that very same room. She wanted to get out of that building altogether. Later, she claimed to have seen a "green thing" in the room, something that frightened her badly. Unfortunately, she was not quite three years old at the time, so she was unable to describe what she saw or experienced in any sort of exacting detail. It remains just a "green thing".

Oddly enough, when I saw the somewhat famous ghost that haunts the "stacks" in the New York State Education Building, it appeared as a greenish blob. And another person saw a green-hued man in that very same place. Perhaps there is some sort of connection between the supernatural and the colour green. Or, perhaps my daughter saw one of the Green Mountain Boys dressed in green! (I think there was a mannequin in uniform on display in that room, but I believe my daughter was able to differentiate between the mannequin and the "thing". However, it was years ago, and my daughter was very young at the time, so I can't say for certain.)

Is any of what I described real evidence of the supernatural? Of course not; there could be mundane explanations for everything that happened that day. However, it remains a weird experience, and one that I think could possibly have been due to supernatural reasons. Based on other experiences I've had, I wouldn't completely rule it out. Hearing that the TAPS team might have encountered something supernatural at the fort just helps bolster my claim.

Now I will be anxiously awaiting airing of that episode next season, to see exactly what they found in a place I personally believe to be haunted. I hope they did indeed find some interesting evidence.

Monday, December 7, 2009

"The Devourer Took a New Name" in BEWILDERING STORIES

My seasonal dark speculative poem "The Devourer Took a New Name" now appears on-line in Issue 364 of the e-zine Bewildering Stories. Check it out!

How in the world could a dark poem entitled "The Devourer Took a New Name" have anything to do with the Christmas season? Have I gone mad? No, well, maybe, but it wasn't madness that sparked the concept that led to this piece. Without giving too much away, let me just say that I took the idea of an ageless diabolic entity with a thousand different names and faces, thought that the dreadful being might decide to shape shift into something new in the modern world, and mixed in a bit of holiday symbolism in the process.

Perhaps I already gave too much away, but you'll just have to go read the poem to find out.

Merry X-Mas! Mu ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Monsters Next Door Dead?

What's this? Ralan's is listing The Monsters Next Door as dead? And there is a message in The Monsters Next Door blog on MySpace stating that there will be no future issues. Oh no!

This is tragic news; I thought this zine would be one to watch, one with a bright future, especially when the editor decided to switch to print instead of on-line publication. I actually contributed poetry to The Monsters Next Door several times (three poems published in Issue 3, three horrorku in Issue 4, the winning poem in the poetry portion of the "Through My Eyes" writing contest published in Issue 4.5, two poems published in Issue 6, six in the Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses poetry anthology, and one published in the first print issue, Issue 8).

I'm saddened by the loss of yet another zine, especially a horror one, and one concentrating on monsters to boot! Every death of a horror zine that published dark poetry hurts a dark poet like me. It makes me wonder if I should continue writing dark poetry, or if I should switch to lighter verse only. Is it even possible for me to do that? I don't know, I can't say, but I will say this - it's not always easy to find a home for horror verse.

I want to thank L.B. Goddard for doing a fine job while The Monsters Next Door still lived. I was glad to have several poems in her publication. She was always a courteous and enthusiastic editor, and she really seemed to like my poetry!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Haunted Isle



The Haunted Isle

I lie beyond the narrow sandy strand,
A jagged mote upon the horizon,
A rugged speck upon the ocean.
Sailors skirt past my flanks in morbid dread.
My dark hollows house the unshriven dead.

I lie amongst the angry, swelling waves.
Churning foam obscures my treacherous shoals,
Doom for innumerable imperilled souls.
Wretched spirits weep on my savage shore,
Unheard above Poseidon's constant roar.

I lie shrouded in a bleak, swirling mist,
Cloaked in an eternal obscurity,
Wracked by a turbulent, restless sea.
Haggard spectres drift amidst my grey stones,
Vainly searching for their sun-bleached bones

I lie beyond a mortal's tenuous ken,
A dismal harbour for woeful secrets,
A forlorn abode of abject regrets.
Rendered barren by the sea's bitter breath,
My rocky bosom knows nothing but death.

(Poem originally published in Illumen Issue 8, Spring 2008.)

***

Posting this, I realised that I mentioned "grey stones" in the poem, but made the stones in the illustration more of a brownish hue. I always have to go where my art takes me, and my art took me in the direction of brownish stones. I wanted a decent contrast between the stones and the spectral mist, which I wouldn't have gotten if I had made the stones more of a grey hue. I like the colours, and I ain't gonna change 'em now!

Oh well. Sometimes my artistic side and my literary side do clash just a bit. Funny how the artistic side usually seems to win in the end.

West Dingleton Illustration Published

My illustration for my speculative poem "West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity" now appears in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. It is also featured on several items in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store, under the title "Science Fiction Nightmare".

In other illustration news, I have almost finished work on an illustration for my poem "The Haunted Isle". And this one is pretty much a landscape, something I don't get a chance to draw very often. I made sure it was a dynamic, even darkly evocative, landscape.

In case anyone was wondering why I'm doing all this work for nothing but exposure and a cut of the profits from Zazzle merchandise, all these poems and illustrations are slated to be in a future collection. However, the publisher doesn't want a mere chapbook, she wants a major work, chock full of art and poetry. I seem to recall her saying something about 125 pages, truly a daunting proposition.

I think I have enough poems already, although I may still add a poem or two, but I need lots more art. To make this project a reality, I have to illustrate almost every single poem. It won't just be a book of poetry; it will be a book of art as well.

So I had better get drawing, because it may be a daunting task, but it's one I want to see become a reality. I just don't know how long it's going to take. I'm a slow and deliberate artist, not one that can usually whip off several drawings in a day. At least each finished illustration puts me that much closer to reaching my goal.