Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Acceptance of 2010

I received what is very likely my last acceptance of 2010. My dark speculative poem "Song of the Dead" has been accepted for publication in the February 2011 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Sounds of the Night.

This will be my fifth poem to appear in Sounds of the Night, not bad for a speculative poet who thought he didn't really write "sensuous" speculative poetry. To be honest, I don't write a lot of sensuous speculative poetry, but I do write it on occasion. The editor actually thanked me for always sending such consistently great work, so I guess I'm doing something right when writing those occasional sensuous piece.

2010 proved to be a troubling year. After all the downs I suffered along with the ups that seemed too few and far between, I'm glad it seems to be ending on an up-note. Perhaps it's a sign of things to come in 2011.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rejection #4

Boy, there are times I hate being right! When I proclaimed "Let the Rejections Begin" after I first sent out my wizardly fantasy story, I was being quite prophetic. The story has received rejection number four. Alas, I may have to start trying the semi-pros and fan-zines; I'm not sure how many potential pro-venues are left to try. I'm ruling out a few pro-venues; this particular story may be the wrong fit for certain pro publications.

Something told me that this story would have a hard time finding a good home. Not that I think the story is necessarily bad or flawed (certain opinions aside). It's simply that I wrote the story that was in my head, versus the sort of story I think the markets may prefer. Probably the biggest flaw with this story is that I neglected the golden rule of "write for your audience". Writing for oneself doesn't always work, at least in terms of writing for publication.

Will my wizardly short story ever find a home? I hope so, eventually, but I may have to set my sights lower. I'll just have to keep trying and see what happens.

Zazzle Sales

Well, I'm happy to say I'm starting to see fairly regular sales in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. It might not last; it might simply be the holiday boost all sellers see at this time of year. Sales could slump right off, and I could go months with no sales at all. However, I would like to think that some of it is due to the hard work I put in getting some new images and new items in the store. Besides, any and all sales are a good thing. Plus, it's nice to do the initial work to get designs up in the store, then sit back and see the royalties roll in.

Currently, my fleur-de-lis seems to be a hit. I almost didn't create that design. I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fantasy Poem Accepted at THE ABSENT WILLOW REVIEW

My wizardly fantasy poem "When Wizards Clashed" has been accepted for publication in the April 16, 2011 issue of The Absent Willow Review. I'm glad this one found a home, eventually, because it was the sort of wizardly poem I wanted to write. Since what I want to write might not always match what markets seem to want, finding a home for such works can prove difficult at times.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Since I'm getting nothing overly productive done today, thanks in part to the fact that I caught my daughter's cold, I figured now was as good a time as any to post the traditional look back at my accomplishments in 2010 and peek ahead at 2011.

Well, my creative endeavours certainly continued to steer more toward art than writing in 2010. My new poetry, article, and story publications for the year barely outnumbered my new art publications. However, many of these publications were in paying venues as opposed to "4 the luv" ones. That seems to be a step in the right direction. Also, I saw the publication of my first story longer than a 100 word drabble in the All Souls' Night 2010 issue of Hungur. I'm hoping it wont be my last piece of short prose fiction longer than a drabble or flash fiction to see publication. Other pieces I was particularly glad to see published were "At the Wheel" in the Spring 2010 issue of Illumen, and "An Invitation to Elfame" in the August 2010 issue of Sounds of the Night.

As it was, 2010 proved to be the year of the reprint, poetry-wise. I saw several previously published poems published again, many of them in the web-zine Aphelion. I think every single poem I had in Aphelion this year was a reprint. I also had reprints in House of Horror, the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, and Static Movement.

On the art-front, I saw my artwork on the covers of two different poetry collections, as well as appearing in a couple of the usual suspects (Abandoned Towers and Dreams and Nightmares). Also, if you didn't already know, I opened my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store in June. I've even sold some things featuring my art, which is nice.

Alas, I did fall short of some of my goals for 2010. I managed to write a handful of stories, but my pro-zine aspirations for most of these have already been dashed to bits on the cruel rocks of pro-zine submissions. This isn't really unexpected; I doubted it was going to be as simple as "if you write it, they will buy". At least I did start writing prose fiction again after saying for the past three years that I should start writing prose fiction again. Still, some success on the submission side of things would have been nice, too.

I'm still struggling to complete that rather ambitious illustrated poetry collection-in-progress, something that is proving to be a daunting task. I was hoping to get it finished by the end of this year, but it might not be until middle or end of 2011 before I have enough material available to send to the publisher. At one point, as I was working on material for the collection, I decided I had to send some of it out and see if I could sell poems and illustrations to other markets, as individual submissions. Such an action will postpone the collection's potential publication date, since many markets want exclusive rights for six months or so, but it got to the point that I was doing an awful lot of work for very little gain. Basically, I had to see if I could make a bit of money off the work I was doing. As it so happened, at least one of the pieces of art originally created for the collection-in-progress was accepted by OG's Speculative Fiction for use as cover-art. I'm still awaiting replies on several other pieces gleaned from the collection.

Of course, my biggest setback of 2010 was undoubtedly the decision of the second publisher to pull out of publishing my illustrated dark poetry collection, and my failure to find a third publisher interested in publishing the work. I saw other setbacks and suffered other disappointments in 2010, but this was the worst. Some of the illustrations and poems have since been accepted elsewhere, and in at least one case published (my illustration for my poem "The Iltrox" in House of Horror), but it was still a blow. At times, I seem to have the worst luck. I may consider reforming the collection at a later date and trying again, but I still feel that my energy is best spent on the other collection-in-progress. I WILL have a poetry collection out there sooner or later, just not as soon as I had once hoped.

As for a look ahead, I already mentioned my art accepted for the cover of OG's Speculative Fiction. I've already seen my art accepted for the covers of one or two other magazines as well. I have to come up with something for the 2011 issue of Abandoned Towers; the editor already said she wants me to do the cover-art. As a matter of fact, the editor said she is building the issue around my article "The Darker Side of Fairy Lore", and has also accepted several of my fairy poems for publication in the same issue. My art will also be appearing on the cover of Doug Hilton's Dougworld, so I will have yet another book cover to add to my growing list of achievements. I should also be seeing a poem and illustration published in Cover of Darkness, as well as a few poems accepted for publication at other venues (Trembles, Bete Noire, and The Dark Fiction Spotlight).

What are my plans for 2011? I think I will continue to concentrate on my art. I want to take the time to do some great pieces. I have some ideas, I just need the time to sit down and draw them. I will also work on that never-ending collection-in-progress, and hopefully have it completed sometime in 2011. I will continue to try to find homes for my stories, poems, and illustrations currently in my submission pool. If inspiration strikes, I may do a bit of writing. However, my focus for 2011 will firmly be on drawing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Article Linked to on the PenUltimate Productions Site

My article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" is one of the articles linked to on Elizabeth Barrette's PenUltimate Productions Prismatica Worksheets page. Having a link to my article appear alongside links to articles such as Suzette Elgin's "About Science Fiction Poetry" makes me think I may actually have written something truly relevant. Could it be? I hardly dare think such a thing, but this isn't the first time a fairly accomplished speculative poet has posted a link to "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future". Such things may make one think one has actually created something of relevance and value. Perhaps. Just perhaps.

Memories of Camelot Postage Stamp from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Postage Stamp from Zazzle.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Memories of Camelot" in Zazzle Store


My artwork "Memories of Camelot" now appears on merchandise in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. This one originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Abandoned Towers as one of two illustrations for Bradley Sinor's story "And the Wind Sang". Jeff Parish also used it, with the addition of some text, for the "door" of his English IV at North Lamar High School web site. I finally got around to cropping it down to appropriate dimensions for use on Zazzle merchandise. Now it's on a mousepad, iPad case, poster, keychain, magnet, and a few other items.

Art Accepted at OG'S SPECULATIVE FICTION

It looks like my artwork "Wandering Ole Willow" may be appearing on a cover of OG'S Speculative Fiction, perhaps the next issue (Jan. 15th.). Apparently, that's the current plan, or so says the Opinion Guy editor. Now I just have to fill out and send back the artist's release form.

This is a rather big sale for me, and another possible cover to boot. Not bad for the artist who once worried his art might never work as cover art. I guess I just had to do the usual thing of coming up with the right pieces for the right markets.

After my recent string of rejections, this bit of good news had me doing a happy dance. Yes, I actually got up and did a happy dance. Of course, I don't want to get too happy until the piece actually sees publication. Believe me, I know lots can go wrong between acceptance and publication. Still, receiving this acceptance today has lifted my spirits tremendously. I was wondering yet again whether this was all worth it, and news such as this makes me think it is (for a little while at least).

Now, if I could only have sales like this on a more regular basis...

Memories of Camelot iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Stickers from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Stickers from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Coaster from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Coaster from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Magnet from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Magnet from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mug from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mug from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Postcard from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Postcard from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Card from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Card from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Keychain from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Keychain from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mousepad from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mousepad from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Print from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Print from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Poster from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Poster from Zazzle.com

Some Viking Hilts Poster from Zazzle.com

Some Viking Hilts Poster from Zazzle.com

Anglo-Saxon Poster from Zazzle.com

Anglo-Saxon Poster from Zazzle.com

Viking Wielding Broad-Axe Poster from Zazzle.com

Viking Wielding Broad-Axe Poster from Zazzle.com

Fifteenth Century English Knight Poster from Zazzle.com

Fifteenth Century English Knight Poster from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

York Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

York Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Red) from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Red) from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Yellow) from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Yellow) from Zazzle.com

Scottish Thistle Poster from Zazzle.com

Scottish Thistle Poster from Zazzle.com

Saxon in Byrnie Poster from Zazzle.com

Saxon in Byrnie Poster from Zazzle.com

Norman Archer Poster from Zazzle.com

Norman Archer Poster from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental Poster from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental Poster from Zazzle.com

Edward IV Poster from Zazzle.com

Edward IV Poster from Zazzle.com

Scotland the Brave Poster from Zazzle.com

Scotland the Brave Poster from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Poster from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Poster from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant Poster from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant Poster from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood Poster from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood Poster from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Poster from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Poster from Zazzle.com

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Horrorku "pale shadow" in SCIFAIKUEST

The other day, I received my contributor's copy of the November 2010 print issue of Scifaikuest. Appearing in that issue is my doppelganger horrorku "pale shadow".

Now, I may have mentioned before that some of my supernatural pieces are inspired by real-life strangeness. This horrorku is no exception; my wife and daughter have actually spied my spectral double on several occasions. Oddly enough, Michele caught sight of my phantom twin again the day before my copy of Scifaikuest came in the mail. The double was wearing a blue version of a coat I have in green, but otherwise, it looked just like me. Michele says it even walked like I walk (I apparently have a distinctive gait). Unlike a flesh-and-blood being, it seemed to vanish into thin air.

Yep, the strangeness continues.

"The Accursed Castle", "Will-o-the-Wisp" in APHELION

My dark speculative poem "The Accursed Castle" and my horrorku "will-o-the-wisp" now appear in the December 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. Both have been previously published. "The Accursed Castle" originally appeared in the 2008 issue of Champagne Shivers and also appeared in the Scattered Verse, Moonlit Curses horror poetry anthology. "Will-o-the-wisp" appeared in the November 2009 issue of The Shantytown Anomaly.

I believe these will be my last publications of 2010. Probably, since there isn't much of 2010 left. I didn't have as many new poems published this year as I've had in past years, but I did have my first story larger than a drabble published in the November 2010 Hungur, so that sort of made up for my dearth of poetry publications. I also had three articles published in 2010. Plus, I was quite busy on the art front.

There are a few things of mine currently out in the cold, cruel world of publication submissions that might yet find decent homes. Then again, the recent trend of serial rejections may continue unabated. 2011 could be big, or it could be a big bust. I'll just have to see what the new year brings.

Radioactive Lion Mug from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Mug from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Mug from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Mug from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Mug from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Mug from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Doggie Tank Top Pet Tee Shirt from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Doggie Tank Top Pet Tee Shirt from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Shirt from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Shirt from Zazzle.com

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Panthera leo iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Necklace from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Necklace from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Necklace from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Necklace from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Necklace from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Necklace from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Tie from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Tie from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Keychain from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Keychain from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Tie from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Tie from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Tie from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Tie from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Keychains from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Keychains from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Keychain from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Keychain from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poleaxe of Edward IV


My depiction of the richly decorated late medieval poleaxe attributed to Edward IV now appears on a couple of items (a tie and an iPhone case) in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store.

I've actually spent quite a few hours getting a couple new images in the store, and getting my existing images on the newest Zazzle items. My wrist is sore from all the clicking and typing, and my eyes are strained from staring at the computer screen all day long and into part of the night.

I think it's time I finally call it a day.

Poleaxe of Edward IV iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Poleaxe of Edward IV iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Poleaxe of Edward IV Tie from Zazzle.com

Poleaxe of Edward IV Tie from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose iPad Case from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant iPad Case from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

York Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

York Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Coaster from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Coaster from Zazzle.com

Robin Hood Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Robin Hood Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales iPhone Case from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales iPhone Case from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Premium Round Ornament from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Premium Round Ornament from Zazzle.com

"Scottish Thistle" in Zazzle Store


My "Scottish Thistle" now appears on merchandise in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. According to legend, the plans of the Norwegian King Haakon IV to launch a decisive surprise attack on the Scots in 1263 came to naught when one of his men cried out in pain after stepping barefoot on a thistle. Thus alerted to the approaching enemy, Alexander III’s men defeated the Norse invaders. Whatever the historical truth may actually be, it was during the thirteenth century that the thistle became an important Scottish national symbol. Later, the prickly flower was adopted as a badge by James III and appeared on his silver coinage of 1474.

Horrorku "Darkening Sky" in TRAPEZE MAGAZINE

My horrorku "darkening sky" has been posted (December 2nd) in Trapeze Magazine. What swirls around in the stormy sky may be more than just clouds. That darkening may herald the arrival of something more evil than savage wind and torrential rain. That was the thought, anyway.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Art on Cover of UNDER THE ASH

My art appears on the cover of Shelly Bryant's poetry collection Under the Ash, published by Sam's Dot Publishing. This time around, I was actually able to read the collection before I composed the cover art. I tried to incorporate imagery inspired by a few of Shelly's poems into the drawing. The piece that developed as a result has some pretty strange elements, and was rather disturbing to draw. I especially worried that the figure hanging from the tree with a serpent around its neck would be too much, but that was one of the strongest images stuck in my head after reading Shelly's work. I simply had to include it in the overall composition. This piece may not be as garishly bright and eye-catching as my cover art for Brushfires, but I think it's attention-grabbing just the same.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reprint Poem to Appear in THE DARK FICTION SPOTLIGHT

My dark speculative poem "The Collector", originally published in the Spring 2008 issue of DemonMinds and also published in the DemonMinds, Spring 2008 print edition, will be appearing in the January 2011 issue of The Dark Fiction Spotlight. The TDFS team actually called it an "incredible piece". It was something I wrote after watching the movie Jeepers Creepers. It was inspired by the movie, but I went in a bit of a different direction. Let me just say that my artistic side influenced my choice of direction.

I like to get my previously published pieces back out there every so often. I figure, the more times a work is published, the more potential readers it has.

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Tain't Always Easy, Bein' Unique

I have been told that I have a rather unique artistic style. When you compare my works to other works currently out there, it does indeed appear to be true; I seem to have a fairly unique style.

However, I've come to the conclusion that unique isn't always the best when it comes to trying to sell art to publications. Sometimes, I think my uniqueness backfires. I may produce works too different from "the norm" for the tastes of some editors. In at least one instance, I had an editor say that he dug my art, but my style wasn't right for his publication.

My art is heavily influenced by medieval illuminations and woodcuts, as well as the works of a number of illustrators of years past. Even with these influences guiding me down the artistic path, I still try to go my own way. Also, colour is often important in my works, and I may use it boldly at times, but when it comes right down to it, the line is still the thing. Apparently, for some, those lines can become "too busy". I actually consider my drawings to be less busy than some of the works of past illustrators like Arthur Rackham (his "The Leviathan" is a study in busy lines), but my penchant for busy, active lines might not always work in today's markets.

I know art is a very subjective thing, but I get very frustrated when pieces I think are among my strongest yet ("Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental", for example) see repeated rejections. It makes me think being unique isn't always easy. Van Gogh was unique, and saw little success, and less appreciation, in his lifetime. I really don't want that happening to me. Not that I think I'm an artist of Van Gogh's caliber, but at times I definitely feel under-appreciated in my own lifetime.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Poem and Illustration Accepted for Publication in COVER OF DARKNESS

A dark speculative poem and an illustration of mine have both been accepted for publication in the May 2011 Sam's Dot Publishing anthology Cover of Darkness. However, it appears that the poem and illustration will not be appearing together. Apparently, they will be in the same issue, just not side-by-side.

If that works for the editor, it works for me.

Yay, an acceptance again after a long string of rejections from various publications! I was hoping I would finally have some good news regarding some of my submissions out there. Maybe this will be the start of a new trend, one that involves consecutive acceptances rather than several rejections in a row. One can always hope.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Horrorku in MICROCOSMS

My horrorku "musty ebon tome" has been posted (November 23rd) in the tweet-length speculative poetry publication Microcosms.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rejection #3

That wizardly story I keep going on about has been rejected by pro-venue number three. It has been dutifully sent to pro-venue number four, although I'm going to run out of potential pro-venues soon.

Alas, it looks like this one won't see publication in the pros. However, that should come as no surprise. With this story, I wrote what I wanted to write, instead of writing for my potential markets. It was probably a mistake, but I often go my own way in spite of it all.

Oh well, I can always try the semi-pros, and then "fan-zines" after that. It will just be sad to see a story that's so close to my heart be relegated to the "minor leagues" of genre publication, but dem's da breaks! That's the way it goes!

Am I being a bit defeatist before I've even tried all potential pro-venues? No, I'm just being realistic. I knew going in that this piece's chances in the pros were pretty slim, practically non-existent.

It would be much harder to take, and quite the blow to my self-confidence, if this piece never sees publication at all! I would rather see it in the semi-pros or fan-zines than let it languish in the trunk-of-doom. I simply refuse to do that to my piece of wizardly fiction.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holy Cow!

What an author said about recently completed cover art for his collection of short stories:
"I'd say "Holy Cow" but it wouldn't be enough! That is unbelievable, and outrageous! A perfect introduction to Dougworld."

I think he likes it. Now to see if the publisher likes it as well...

Moments likes this are the moments that keep me going. Sometimes, it's hard to keep at it, to continue to work on my art/poetry/prose. There are days I wonder if any of this is worth it. There are times I compare myself to other artists/poets/writers out there and feel dreadfully inadequate. Rejections always nurture those feelings of inadequacy, and I've seen several rejections of my art/poetry/prose over the past few weeks. However, moments of praise, moments when I do indeed seem to "get it right", help to counteract those negative feelings just a bit. Then, for a little while at least, I think it may actually be worth it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Consequence of Taking Too Much" On-Line at APHELION

My dark speculative cinquain "Consequence of Taking Too Much", which originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Macabre Cadaver, now appears in the November 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. I think there is a little bit of interesting word play in this piece, but I could be seeing too much in my own poem.

Check it out and see for yourselves.

Handsome Cover

My cover art for David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poetry collection Brushfires is handsome, or so says the poet himself:
Brushfires cover
I wish I could take all the credit, but I just did the art. Credit must certainly go to the Sam's Dot Publishing cover designer as well. That font used for the title does a fine job of complimenting my art. Still, I do think that the art itself is very eye-catching.

Brushfires is available at the Genre Mall. David also mentions on the Dreams and Nightmares blog that he has signed copies available.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rejection #2

Remember that wizardly fantasy story I mentioned in my previous post "Let the Rejections Begin"? Well, the story has been rejected by pro-venue number two, which came as no great surprise. I figured its chances of getting accepted for publication at this particular venue were practically nil. The story in question has been dutifully sent to pro-venue number three. Will it receive rejection number three, or is the third time a charm? I can't even begin to guess its chances at this third venue. It might all depend on if the editor thinks the story is poetic, or if he thinks it's overwritten. I simply never know how others will judge my work.

There are at least a couple more pro-markets I can try after this one, if the story gets rejected again. Then it will be time to start trying the semi-pros. Alas, this one may not be right for the pros. At least I will have tried.

Monday, November 8, 2010

About Writing, Adjectives, and Cooking...

This may be contrary to the prevailing notion in the realm of writing, but I feel that writing without adjectives is like cooking without spices. Alright, I may be able to buy into the idea that adjectives can be overused; I certainly can't eat overly spicy foods. I have to take extreme care when using peppercorns in any dish; too many peppercorns can definitely be a bad thing! However, I think adjectives spice up writing, give it that little bit of extra flavour. I would never make my special pumpkin pie without adding in all the spices (double what the recipe calls for). I would never write my poems or stories without adding in a hearty dose of adjectives when and where I feel they are necessary to add flavour to the tale I'm telling.

Too many times I've received feedback claiming I've overused adjectives. I'm almost starting to think today's writers and editors hate adjectives almost as much as they hate adverbs. What the heck are you left with, then? "See Dick run. See Jane run. See Spot run." Riveting writing, there!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Interesting Spec Fic Database

Check out this Internet Speculative Fiction Database. It looks like it could be an interesting resource.

And, yes, my own vanity and ego had me checking to see if I'm on there somewhere. I am, in the author directory toward the end of the "Fa" listings. However, the only publications listed are my dark speculative poem "Gothic Window" and its accompanying illustration, published in the December 2007 issue of Aoife's Kiss. I've actually had quite a few more speculative poetry and art publications than that. I've even just had a couple of pieces of prose speculative fiction published recently ("Vengeance of the Alpe" in Hungur and "From Within the Earth" in MicroHorror). My current list of publications can be seen toward the bottom of this blog.

(Of course, not every single one of my poems published have been speculative in nature, but most have.)

Horrorku "empty ballroom" in TRAPEZE MAGAZINE

My horrorku "empty ballroom" has been posted in the tweet-length speculative fiction and poetry e-zine Trapeze Magazine. In this piece, I was inspired by the idea of ghostly sounds. Ghosts may be heard and not seen. In a haunted ballroom, you may just hear the swishing of old-fashioned shirts as long-dead souls continue to dance for all eternity. Or, maybe it's merely spectral sounds imprinted on the ether, simply a residue of past fetes.

Please consider rating my little ghostly poem on the Trapeze site, and maybe even leave a comment. Thanks!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let the Rejections Begin!

I finished a wizardly fantasy story yesterday (November 4th), and sent it out into the cold, cruel world of publication submissions. Trying to follow the path many of my writer friends tell me I should follow, I sent it to a pro-venue. Well, it has already received rejection number one, and has been promptly sent off to pro-venue number two (more than likely to receive rejection number two).

Why am I going on about this, you might ask? Well, I think it might be interesting to see how long it actually takes this piece to find a home, how many rejections it will receive before it does find a home, and whether or not it will end up finding a home in a pro-publication before I run out of potential pro-venues. After all, there are only a small number of pro-venues publishing fantasy fiction.

Contrary to what some people may think, I wouldn't mind a few pro-sales under my belt. However, I'm a realist in regard to this issue. I know my chances of seeing any pro-sales are slim, especially with the sorts of stories I write.

Something tells me that my odds of placing this story in a pro-venue are very, very low. Not that I think the story is bad in any way. I tried to write something poetic and yet interesting, something lyrical and yet readable, something magical and yet human. Magic plays a prominent role in the story, but the humanity of the main character is just as important. I also tried to include elements from mythology and folklore. I added smatterings of Finnish and Welsh lore about wizards, but not so much that it is just a retelling of old tales. As a matter of fact, I was so proud of what I had created that I did a happy dance yesterday after I wrote the last line.

I'm just not sure it's the right "flavour" for today's editorial tastes. That's my big worry, and something that might work against the story's chances of ever finding a home in a pro (or even semi-pro) venue.

Time will tell.

My Copies of BRUSHFIRES Came

My copies of David C. Kopaska-Merkels' Brushfires, the poetry collection that I did the cover art for, arrived in the mail yesterday. Yet again, I'm amazed by what my art looks like printed on a nice glossy cover. You see, I do my colouring digitally nowadays, and I rarely if ever see a completed piece actually printed up until it is printed in a publication. Viewing the image on a computer screen never does it justice. I noticed this with "A Leviathan Ascendant", the work that graced the cover of the July 2009 issue of Abandoned Towers. I noticed this yet again with Brushfires.

It makes me want to do more covers for print publications. I believe my art will be gracing the cover of Shelly Bryant's collection entitled Under the Ash, which is now scheduled for release December 1st. I should also have at least one piece featured on the cover of a forthcoming Sam's Dot Pulishing magazine. Plus, I've got a couple of other pieces of cover art to do for Crystalwizard (which I had better get to work on next week). So, I should have more print covers to add to my list of art credits in the not-too-distant future.

Cool. Not so bad for someone who thought his work would never really work as cover art. (Also, not so bad for someone who would never make it in a competitive field, but I have this nasty habit of proving my critics wrong.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

"My Final Masterpiece" in HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010

I received word from the editor at House of Horror that the House of Horror Best of 2010 anthology has finally gone to print, which means that my nasty little horror cinquain "My Final Masterpiece" will be published once again. It first appeared in the December 2008 issue of Niteblade, then appeared in the April 2010 issue of House of Horror, and is now appearing in the HoH Best of 2010 anthology.

I may have said this already, but I'll say it again - I'm getting quite a bit of mileage out of such a small poem.

Remember, I receive a royalty when a buyer mentions my name in the Buyer's Instruction section of the order form.

Poems, Article, Illustrations in ABANDONED TOWERS

I have yet more November publications to announce. My poems "Life's Waning Season" and "Texas Stargazin'", my non-fiction article "Edward IV", and my illustrations "Edward IV/Fifteenth Century English Knight" and "Poleaxe of Edward IV", have all been published in the November 2010 Print Issue of Abandoned Towers. Buy a print copy or purchase the download and check 'em out!

"Life's Waning Season" is one of my rare forays into mainstream verse. It's for anyone who sees a loved one slowly slipping away as they enter the waning season of their life.

"Texas Stargazin'" is an unusual departure for me. I usually try to write with a decidedly English, Irish, or Scottish slant. However, quite a while back, I was asked to come up with something with a Texan slant. It was foreign territory for this Anglophile Yankee, but I think I navigated through it fairly well.

"Edward IV" is territory I feel much more comfortable wandering about in, namely medieval history. I'm glad to get a little bit of non-fiction out there once in a while, especially when that non-fiction is about something medieval. I'm also glad I was able to illustrate the article as well.

I think that's enough news for now.

Scifaiku in On-Line Version of SCIFAIKUEST

My scifaiku "purring cat" has been published in the on-line version of the November 2010 Issue of Scifaikuest. I should also have another scifaiku/horrorku ("pale shadow") in the print version of the same issue. I'll post the details about that one once I receive my contributor's copy.

"Vengeance of the Alpe" Published in HUNGUR

My prose fiction story "Vengeance of the Alpe" has been published in the All Souls' Night 2010 Issue of Hungur. Yes, you read that right, I said prose fiction! This actually happens to be a landmark publication for me. It's my first piece of prose fiction longer than flash fiction (about 2,800 words) to be published in any zine, ever. I hope it won't be my last.

"Vengeance of the Alpe" was inspired by the alpine folklore about the alpe (singular alp). In certain regions, the alpe were seen as supernatural dwarfs with a thirst for blood. In other regions, the alpe were thought to be shape-shifting wizards. I took the two concepts, that of ghoulish dwarfs and malevolent sorcerers, and combined them in one story.

Buy a copy of Hungur and read my tale. I think it's quite good, if I do say so myself. If nothing else, it's certainly special for being my first piece of prose fiction longer than flash fiction to see publication. I'm proud of it.

"From Within the Earth" On-Line at MICROHORROR

My little piece of horror fiction about an oozing terror unleashed from within our own planet, "From Within the Earth", is now on-line at MicroHorror. Yes, this is prose fiction, not poetry. It was my entry in MicroHorror's 2010 Story Contest, which had the theme of "Space", as in the physical dimension. I tried to follow the path of past writers of weird tales with this bit of prose, since those are the sorts of tales I love so well.

Please feel free to leave a comment, either praising my work or ripping it apart, right on the MicroHorror site. I would love to know what people think of my little horror tale, good or bad.

In terms of prose fiction, I'm afraid I'm still trying to figure out what works for me, and what doesn't. I think "From Within the Earth" works well enough, but I'm a terrible judge of my own work. I do worry that I did too much telling and not enough showing in that one, but I'm not a strict adherent of the "show, don't tell" rule.

Anyway, check it out!

Horrorku in MICROCOSMS

My horrorku "masque at midnight" has been posted (November 1st) in the tweet-length speculative poetry publication Microcosms. This one was supposed to be posted on the 29th of October, but Stephen's Twitter account was apparently down for a week, so the posting of the horrorku got postponed for a few days. Better late than never. Anyway, I can just add it to my huge list of November publications. Stay tuned, more to come! (I figure I had better split them up in separate posts. Otherwise, I would be posting one humongous entry.)

"Gathering of the Dead" in HOUSE OF HORROR

My seasonal poem "Gathering of the Dead" has been published in the Halloween 2010 Issue of House of Horror. This one has been previously published; it originally appeared in the Halloween 2009 Issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path. However, even if you have already read it in TftMP, check it out again in HoH. I made a few minor corrections and alterations to the poem prior to sending it back out. The version in House of Horror is slightly different than the one published in Tales from the Moonlit Path.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Three More Poems for APHELION

Three more of my dark speculative poems will be appearing in forthcoming issues of the web-zine Aphelion. Two are reprints, and one has appeared on my blogs but hasn't yet appeared in a zine. "The Accursed Castle", originally published in the 2008 issue of Champagne Shivers, is slated for publication in the December 2010 issue of Aphelion. "Who (or What) is at the Door?", a poem inspired by real-life encounters with the paranormal, is slated to appear in the February 2011 issue. "A Haunted House", originally published in the October 2007 issue of Tales form the Moonlit Path, is slated for publication in the March 2011 issue of Aphelion.

Looking at these three all together, as I did while checking over the proofs, I realise how often I tend to use the same language. "The Accursed Castle" contains "unseen things"; while an "unseen thing" stands at the door in "Who (or What) is at the Door?". An "algid chill" pervades the ruin of "The Accursed Castle", while "an eldritch chill" wafts through the rooms of "A Haunted House" (the legion is eldritch in "The Accursed Castle").

Hm...maybe I should work harder at mixing up my language a bit. I could argue that some of this is my style, but I might appear to be stuck in a rut. Two of these poems ("The Accursed Castle" and "Who (or What) is at the Door?") were written two years apart, but still... (As for my frequent use of eldritch, it happens to be one of my favourite words, so it tends to show up in my poetry a lot. )

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On This Halloween

On This Halloween

by Richard H. Fay

Knock, knock, knock
Sounds upon front door
Clad in frightful garb,
While quickening gloom
Darkens Autumn sky
And a dying breeze
Swirls crisp fallen leaves
On this Halloween.

Who could it be?
Heroes and villains,
Princesses and ghouls,
Witches and wizards,
Monsters and goblins,
Werewolves and robots,
All waiting for treats,
Stand upon my step
On this Halloween.

Knock, knock, knock
Sounds upon front door
Bathed in porch light's glow,
While dimming candle
Behind grinning face
Of grim hollowed gourd
Sputters and snuffs out
On this Halloween.

Who could it be?
Nothing but a chill
Carried on a breath
Blowing from nowhere
Stirs at the threshold.
Not a living soul,
No visible thing,
Treads upon my step
On this Halloween.

Knock, knock, knock
Sounds upon front door
Silvered by moonlight,
While night creatures call
And tattered grey ghosts
Scoot swiftly across
An eventide sky
On this Halloween.

Who could it be?
Unearthly black forms
Reeling to fell tune
Send scared heart racing
And steal frightened gasp.
Devilish sprites loosed
To play impish tricks
Dance upon my step
On this Halloween.

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writing a 60 Line Horror Poem...

...may have been a bit of a mistake. Last night, I finished a dark speculative poem poem inspired by a creepy abandoned house around the corner from where I live. This morning, I performed the standard market search. A few paying markets seemed promising, until I came to the part in their guidelines which states that they take poems of fifty lines or less. The poem as it stands now has six stanzas of ten lines each, and I really don't think I could ditch one whole stanza. It would break the overall pattern of the poem if I cut a stanza.

In the end, I did find a potential market, although it's hard to say if the poem in question really stands a chance of fitting in at that particular venue. I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

My long-form poems have been getting longer and more complex as of late. However, I may have to fight against my growing tendency to write poems over fifty lines, given how so many markets prefer poems of fifty lines or less. Still, it's not always easy to tell the whole narrative of the story in verse I want to tell in under fifty lines.

Monday, October 25, 2010

shrouded skeletons

shrouded skeletons
swaying amidst cobweb veils
seasonal decor

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

What I See as Hypocrisy

Apparently, it's very, very, very wrong to use a racial or ethnic slur (or perhaps even to call a particular group "PC parrots"), but it's A-okay and a sign of extreme wit to refer to certain people as "incompetent wannabes", "Grade-A Five Star Morons", or "alpha-wannabe knuckle-draggers" (to name just a few examples of such denigrating tags I've seen flung about out there in the blogosphere).

In the mind of this Grade-A Five-Star moron, the two different instances of derogatory name-calling are seen as different in their details and targets, but in a more general view, they both still remain instances of derogatory name-calling. They still remain a slur on the character, intelligence, or even humanity, of those individuals tagged with these terms.

How come I think both are equally insulting? How come I honestly believe both are wrong? How come I see thinking one is terribly wrong while actively practicing the use of the other as a sign of hypocrisy?

Perhaps this moronic mind of mine is just blind to the finer subtleties of the issue. Perhaps I'm just too stupid to understand. (I also don't understand the place such derogatory terms as "incompetent wannabe", "Grade-A Five-Star Moron", or "alpha-wannabe knuckle-dragger" have in intellectual discourse or intelligent debate, but debating has never been my strong point.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spooks and Frights

Spooks and Frights

By Richard H. Fay

Spectres take flight!
Phantoms and ghosts drift into sight.
Bogles and bogies,
Goblins and ghouls,
Join all strange things that go bump in the night.

Skeletons chuckle!
Graveyard moulds heave and buckle.
Creatures and critters,
Monsters and mutants,
Rise up slowly from the miry muckle.

Leaves fall and blow!
Corpse light candles flicker and glow.
Witches and warlocks,
Devils and demons,
Wing through the sky to frighten those below.

Zombies must roam!
Bats take off in the gloam.
Maniacs and madmen,
Frankensteins and fiends,
Dig dead bodies from the cemetery loam.

Something's at the door!
Strange beings recite spooky lore.
Wraiths and wizards,
Bugbears and banshees,
Appear from the dark to scare you once more.

Copyright © 2007 Richard H. Fay

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What? More Weirdness from the Realm of Publication Subs

I received a reply to a query I sent about a poem I assumed was still on hold at a certain publication. Turns out, the editor thought I had previously sent an e-mail withdrawing my submission. I had not sent a withdrawal; all I sent previously was a query asking about the status of the submission. The editor's choices for the upcoming issue of this zine have already been made, and my poem wasn't amongst those items picked for inclusion. When she thought I withdrew the poem, she removed it from her short list. So, through no fault of my own, I'm out of luck, and have to sent the poem out yet again.

Damn it! I can handle normal, ordinary rejections, just. It's this weird crap that irks me to no end. This is insane. In any other field, this sort of insanity wouldn't be tolerated for very long. Welcome to the craziness that is realm of publication!

Tell me this publication thing ISN'T a crap shoot. Tell me luck, good or bad, doesn't have a large part to play. Go ahead, I dare you! Just don't expect a civil reply if you do. Right at this very moment, I'm not in the mood for being civil.

This is the very same poem that almost saw publication in Doorways, but for the fact that Doorways ceased publication before publishing said poem. Prior to that, this piece also spent time on hold at another publication before being ultimately rejected.The poem in question has been in submission limbo since 2007. Once I send it back out, if I can find yet another market to send it to, that will make the ninth time I've tried to get this piece published somewhere. I'm starting to think that this poem will never get published. It's a frustrating thought.

By the way, I have questioned the advice I've seen recently about avoiding new publications, but now I'm starting to see the wisdom in that recommendation. I'm beginning to think sticking to more established venues might just avoid some of this insanity (the publication in question is a brand-new zine).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Horrorku On-Line at TRAPEZE

My horrorku "moonlit moor", inspired by the lore of the Wild Hunt and other spectral hunts, is now on-line at Trapeze Magazine. This is the first of three horrorku of mine slated to be in Trapeze between now and December. It's a form that I have had some success with, which is weird, because I can be long-winded at times. Actually, I think my experience as a composer of speculative haiku has made me more aware of the benefits of brevity. I think I've gained a better understanding of the importance of an economy of words. You simply don't have the luxury of being long-winded when it comes to haiku or speculative haiku derivatives.

Anyway, it's October, it's less than two weeks 'til Halloween, and another of my dark poems is out there for the world to see. I love this time of year.

I'm a Moron!

Apparently, I'm a moron...

A moron who graduated with honours from high school.

A moron who graduated with honours from a two-year college.

A moron who impressed some of his biology instructors at said college with his retentive abilities and intellect.

A moron who explained to one of his college biology instructors (a botanist by background) what is meant when it's said that Archeopteryx had claws (meaning "claws on its wings").

A moron who earned a B.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, from a state university.

A moron who was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

A moron who so impressed the state mycologist while said moron worked as a community service student at the state museum that the mycologist kept him on as a volunteer working on a fungal DNA project and then as a lab worker working on a contracted mold spore project.

A moron who became very adept at identifying Aspergilus fumigatus and other fungal spores under the microscope, and who developed a series of "spore mugshot" drawings for identification purposes.

A moron who, while working in an aquatic biology lab, researched the way to identify amphipods more precisely than his predecessors and colleagues had done previously.

A moron whose work was always deemed careful and thorough when he worked at a lab screening for newborn genetic diseases and HIV.

A moron who, while working in the newborn screening lab, earned his certificate to handle low-level radioactive materials.

A moron who was deemed reliable and responsible enough to do some of the HIV computer work when the person who normally did such work was on vacation.

A moron who sold his art for a profit at a handful of medieval fairs and arts and crafts shows.

A moron who successfully home-educated his daughter for ten years, a daughter that is now an honour student in college.

A moron who has seen well over one-hundred of his poems, several of his articles, and quite a few of his illustrations, published in a variety of venues, including a number of paying venues.

A moron who wrote an article about speculative poetry that the president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association apparently deems of enough interest to post a link to said article on the SFPA forum.

A moron who was asked by a publisher to write the foreword for a speculative poetry collection penned by a pair of master speculative poets.

A moron who was chosen out of a handful of candidates to write regular art blog entries featuring the works of established and aspiring fantasy and horror artists, entries that the artists have been invariably pleased with.

A moron who is a "master poet" and "a brilliant mind with the craft to prove it".

If the above a moron make, then what does that say about everybody else?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Poem Accepted at TREMBLES

I received word that a dark speculative poem of mine has been accepted for publication in the January 2011 issue of Trembles Horror Magazine, a new horror zine. I believe that the January issue will be their first issue.

Yet another for my list of forthcoming publications, and another for 2011. I already have stuff slated for publication in April 2011 and Summer 2011. Now I have something for January 2011, a poem that has been kicking around in my submission pool (on-and-off) since 2007.

Not bad for a Grade-A Five-Star Moron. I didn't think it possible for a moron to see so many poems published at so many venues over so many months and years (April 2011 will make it four years), but I guess anything is possible. I'm a persistent moron, if nothing else.

Advice on Protecting Your Work

I ran across this article by Lisa Morton on the Horror Writers Association site about protecting your intellectual property against cyber-pirates:
http://www.horror.org/writetips-morton.htm

(Note: I am not a member of the HWA, or any other professional writing association, but I saw the link in another writer's blog and thought I would share it.)

In these days of on-line publications and internet piracy, finding ways to protect your intellectual property is vital. Most things presented in the article seem useful, although I do question the bit about being wary of publishers who offer no advance. Actually, based on my personal experience, that part made me chuckle.

This idea of being wary of publishers who don't offer advances might be valid for the "pros", but having dealt with small-press "fan zines" on a regular basis, I can say that many of the smaller presses pay on publication. This includes many respectable small presses that have been around for a while. Several of these small presses also don't offer contracts. Perhaps they should, perhaps more small presses should offer contracts on a more regular basis, but in some instances the best you get is an electronic handshake via e-mails.

Funny, that bit about thinking twice before you post samples of your writing on your blog, web site, or on various social networks or forums. From a self-promotional angle, I've heard it recommended that you should post samples of your work. I certainly have lots of work scattered across the internet. However, I can see how this can make it easy for potential plagiarists to steal the work.

I was adding the copyright to all of my works posted in my blogs, but I got out of the habit. I should get back into that habit once more. I do tend to use a watermark on my art posted to my blogs, on those occasions I post art.

Personally, I'm not opposed to dealing with new editors and publishers. I'm not opposed to sending electronic submissions to "fledgling" venues. The vast majority of my submissions are e-subs. However, I understand that this can be a risky venture. Still, when it comes to my writing (mostly speculative poetry), I don't want to restrict myself to just the "establishment". I'll run out of potential markets real quick if I do that!

I had a Google alert set up under my name, but I got too much garbage. I may set one up again, knowing that there are some blatant plagiarists lurking around on the crazy-net. I also found that Alta-Vista is pretty good for doing a text search:
http://www.altavista.com/
I did some searching of the first lines or stanzas of a lot of my poetry using Alta-Vista, and it seemed to do a better job than a similar Google search. I didn't run across anything that was someplace it shouldn't be, but you never know.

As the old saying goes, better being safe than sorry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Niteblade Art Blog: Passions and Shadows

A new Niteblade Art Blog entry is now up in the Niteblade News section of the Niteblade web-site. This time around, I feature the work of the aspiring young artist Kameron Ramos. Working with various media in a variety of styles, Kameron keeps plugging away at a comic and other projects while awaiting the day he and his works will be discovered by the greater creative community.

You can see three samples of Kameron's work, and a link to his on-line gallery, here:

Passions and Shadows: The Art of Kameron Ramos

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Poem Accepted for Halloween Issue of HOUSE OF HORROR

My Halloween poem "Gathering of the Dead", originally published in the Halloween 2009 Issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path, has been accepted for publication in the Halloween 2010 Issue of House of Horror. Another Halloween, and my Halloween verse will be appearing in another e-zine. Nice!

There are reasons I'm particularly happy that this poem is going to be republished. I actually made a mistake regarding the name of the full moon in late October. What, a mistake? Yes, a mistake! I originally called it the Harvest Moon, but the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, so it wouldn't be the full moon in late October. A full moon on or around Halloween would actually be the next full moon, the Hunter's Moon.

Anyway...this poem is one of many of my works inspired by the lore surrounding Halloween. I find Halloween to be a great source of inspiration. Mind you, I'm not talking about the kitschy Halloween of latex masks and inflatable monstrosities. I mean the Halloween of spooky tales and strange happenings. I'm talking about the Halloween of the rising dead, of stirring spectres, of gathering shades. I'm referring to a time when eldritch things rove graveyard and grove, when frightful shades roam moonlight wood and moor.

All Hallows' Eve, or November Eve, is one of the times when fairy enchantment is particularly strong, when the wee folk might be seen dancing atop their ancient hills. A fairy story amongst the number of tales collected by Lady Wilde, "November Eve", was the direct inspiration for "Gathering of the Dead". The story touches on the connection between fairies and the dead. I plunged deeper down that dark path when I followed where inspiration led and created a ghostly verse rather than a fairy tale.

Monday, October 11, 2010

parting crimson lips

parting crimson lips
gleaming fangs pierce flesh
her vampiric kiss

All this Dissing of Columbus...

I think it ironic when Americans of European descent gripe and grumble about the day set aside to celebrate, or at least honour, the European "discovery" of America and its Italian "discoverer". It makes me think there is just a little bit of self-hatred going on, at least in regard to all those white politically correct Americans making politically correct nasty comments about Columbus Day. If you aren't Native American, if you aren't of the group that had their lands stolen and culture destroyed, why dis Columbus and Columbus Day? Feeling guilty, are we? Transferring that guilt to a long-dead explorer, perhaps?

Sure, Europeans behaved very badly once they started settling and exploiting the New World. However, if you are an American, unless you're 100% Native American, you wouldn't be in America, you wouldn't be an American, if it wasn't for those Europeans who came to America to trade or steal, to settle or conquer. Even African Americans were brought over to America by European slavers. Columbus's voyages were the trigger events that started all this exploring and exploiting, all this colonising and immigrating. Yes, there were native peoples in the Americas before Columbus ever set foot on American soil (and I don't recall teachers ever denying this fact in school, contrary to what some people seem to suggest), but that doesn't change the fact that much of US society and culture has European roots. Yes, other Europeans landed in the Americas before, but these examples of European exploration and settlement in the New World prior to Columbus's voyages didn't last. For better or worse, what came after Columbus's voyages lasted. If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been some other European explorer, but all of us Americans of European descent are here thanks, in part, to Columbus's voyages and all the voyages of exploration and settlement that followed in Columbus's wake.

Personally, I think we should celebrate "Leif Erikson Day", and say to heck with this guy Columbus. That's my contribution to all this dissing of Columbus; he really wasn't even the first European to set foot on American soil, so why don't we do more to honour the one who may have been the first? (At least, first as far as we know and have good evidence for.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pre-Order HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010

Pre-order the HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010 here:
http://www.houseofhorror.org.uk/#/book-shop/4535143845
Mention my name in the order form when you buy the anthology, and I get a royalty.

Horrorku Posted in MICROCOSMS

My horrorku "putrefied flesh" has been posted in Microcosms, a venue that publishes tweet-length speculative poetry. Speculative haiku-type poems (scifaiku, horrorku, and the like) seems especially suited for such a venue, since they are so small (typically seventeen syllables or less). It's nice to have another potential market for my really short short-form speculative poetry. It's even nicer to add another poetry publication to my list for 2010.

Story Formally Accepted at HUNGUR

My prose story "Vengeance of the Alpe" has been formally accepted for publication in Hungur Issue 11, scheduled for release All Souls' Night 2010. That's right, folks, I said prose, as in prose fiction, as in not poetry. This will be my first prose fiction longer than a one-hundred word drabble published by any zine, ever. It will be my second piece of prose fiction of any size published by a zine; the first was my drabble "The Trouble with Unsolicited Messages", which appeared in The Drabbler #11.

I've had plenty of poems published in a variety of venues (well over one-hundred last count). I've also had a handful of non-fiction articles published in various zines. However, I haven't had much in the way of prose fiction publications. I'm hoping the acceptance of "Vengeance of the Alpe" will be the start of a new trend. I'm hoping it won't be the last story of mine to see publication. This acceptance definitely encourages me to write more prose fiction. It helps counter my lack of confidence in my prose fiction writing abilities. At least one of my stories larger than a drabble was deemed publishable by at least one editor. That has to mean something. Right?

Am I allowed to call myself a writer now? (I guess I had better get writing more stories to further validate my claim to that particular appellation.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two Reprint Poems in Sept/Oct Issue of APHELION

Two previously published speculative poems of mine are now on-line in the September/October 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion.

"Marriage of Earth and Antares", originally published in the February 2008 issue of Sounds of the Night, was my stab at creating something that shows how true love can be universal, even between a human and an alien. The stanzas of this one are cinquains in the broader sense of the term, since they each consist of five lines, but they don't follow the more specific 2-4-6-8-2 pattern developed by Adelaide Crapsey.

"Sorceress Devolution", originally published in the October-December 2008 issue of The Lorelei Signal, is a dark fantasy piece that follows a sorceress's rise to power and descent into damnation. It began life many, many years ago as a poem called "Logica Magica", and through various permutations eventually became something of a companion piece to "Sorcerous Evolution". Both are experiments in composing verse that reads almost like a chant, and both are a part of my growing body of sorcerous poetry. For some reason, wizards work for me.

One of these days really soon, I should count up how many reprints I've had published so far this year. It seems like this is indeed the year of the reprint roll, but I have had large numbers of reprints published in past years as well. However, I know my list of new poetry publications for 2010 is awfully short. A few upcoming publications should help to rectify that just a bit. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Poem Accepted at BETE NOIRE

A dark speculative poem of mine that has been doing the rounds for a while, and had a few close calls regarding potential publication, has now been accepted for publication in the Spring 2011 issue of Bete Noire, due out in April. I do hope the poem actually makes it all the way to publication this time. I'll make sure to get the signed contract sent out ASAP, and then hope nothing unforeseen happens between now and April 2011.

This was one of two poems of mine that were being held at two different venues for further consideration. I'm glad I got news on this one, but I hope I hear news about the other one soon. Any news would be nice, but good news would be even nicer.

Yeah, I'm greedy that way.

Poetry to be in HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010

It looks like something of mine will be in House of Horror's Best of 2010 anthology. I don't know all the specifics yet; I just received a brief message informing me that something of mine was picked for inclusion in the anthology, and the editor would e-mail more details after receiving a message confirming my agreement to this. Yeah, I'm happy with this.

Confirmation sent. Awaiting further details.

I guess I will eventually have another "Best Of" anthology credit to add to my list. How many "Best Ofs" have I had poetry in so far? At least six or seven, if not more.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"The Iltrox" Poem & Illustration in HOUSE OF HORROR

My dark speculative poem blending sci-fi and horror, "The Iltrox", now appears along with its accompanying illustration in the Gallery of Issue 16 of House of Horror. The poem has been previously published; it originally appeared in the All Souls' Night 2007 issue of the print magazine Hungur. The illustration has not been previously published; I simply didn't think of doing an illustration at the time the poem was originally published. I had considered trying to get the illustration published on its own, completely separate from the poem, but I'm glad poem and illustration actually ended up together in House of Horror. Sometimes I just don't like to split up a matched set.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stormy Midnight

stormy midnight
hard raps at windowpane
skeleton beckons

BRUSHFIRES Cover Art

My art appears on the cover of David C. Kopaska-Merkel's speculative poetry collection Brushfires, published by Sam's Dot Publishing. Check it out!

I don't think I did half bad on the cover art, considering the fact that I was given the title and not much else. I was told to work off the concept of a speculative poetry collection entitled Brushfires, but I never actually saw any part of the collection. So, the creative gears started turning double-time to fill in the blank canvas. I envisioned saucer-ish spacecraft with some insect-type elements setting a grassy countryside alight with energy beams. I then thought of the story of Moses and the burning bush, and just had to include a bush burning in the foreground. Besides, several of my works seem to include trees of some sort, and a bush is a sort of mini-tree. Obviously, to go with the concept of fire, I went with bright colours. I made sure I added a bit of colour to the silvery ships, giving them greenish windows and purple stripes, since plain grey would have faded into the smoke too much. The rising pall left ample room for the lettering.

I think the lettering they chose works well with the image. It's an eye-catching cover.

"Corpse-Candles" & "Gremlins in My Brain" in DEADMAN'S TOME

My poems "Corpse-Candles" and "Gremlins in My Brain" now appear in the October 2010 Issue of the pdf horror zine Deadman's Tome. If you download the zine to read my poems, make sure you read the editor's introduction as well. The editor says some nice things about me there. Something about being "a brilliant mind with the craft to prove it".

Yeah, I like flattery. It makes me feel as if my scribblings are actually worthwhile. Flattery sure beats the heck out of some of the things some people have said about me over the past few years. Being "a brilliant mind with the craft to prove it" is certainly better than being a "walking cliche". Not that I'm dwelling on the negative, mind you. Well, maybe a smidgen.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Two Reprints Accepted at DEADMAN'S TOME

Two of my previously published dark speculative poems have been accepted for publication in the horror e-zine Deadman's Tome. "Corpse-Candles", originally published in the June 2008 issue of Niteblade and also published in Lost Innocence: A Niteblade Anthology 2007-2008, and "Gremlins in my Brain" , originally published in the July 2008 issue of The Monsters Next Door, will be appearing in Deadman's Tome on or about October 1st (that's October 1st of this year, in case you were wondering).

Apparently, the editors/readers at Deadman's Tome feel that the visual imagery of my dark verse suits the mood of their e-zine. I wouldn't mention this at all, but for the fact that it's a good lead-in to a brief talk about the role of imagery in my poetry.

Being a visual artist as well as a poet, I always try to paint vivid images with my words. The blank page (or screen) is my canvas. The English language is my palette. Words and phrases are my brushstrokes. I use whatever I need from that palette to place the appropriate brushstrokes to paint the required image.

Of course, in the case of my dark poetry, the imagery is often intensely dark rather than vividly bright. In my horror poetry, I want the reader to be able to see the dark imagery in their mind's eye. I want the reader to spy corpse-candles darting about a forlorn graveyard, or envision tiny trolls gnawing on frayed nerves. Sometimes, I also want the reader to hear, to feel, to smell, and even to taste the horror (although I'm not sure I've used taste that awfully much).

Anyway, things seem to be picking up for October, publication-wise, after a rather slow September. I now have several items slated for publication sometime in October, some previously unpublished, some reprints, some poetry, some art.

I'll post a link when the poems are on-line at Deadman's Tome.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Three Horrorku to appear in TRAPEZE MAGAZINE

Three of my previously unpublished horrorku will be appearing in Trapeze Magazine, an e-zine specialising in tweet-length spec fic and spec poetry. One horrorku is scheduled to go live on October 21st, another on November 6th, and another on December 2nd.

Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Four Horrorku to Appear in MICROCOSMS

Four of my horrorku have been accepted for use in forthcoming issues of Microcosms, a venue specialising in tweet-length speculative poems. One or two of the pieces will be appearing in the October horror issue, while the remaining pieces will appear in future issues.

I was worried that I wouldn't have any new poetry published next month, which would be a tragedy, but now it looks like I will have at least one previously unpublished tweet-length work published in October. The roll rolls on...

I guess you could say I'm joining the tweeting throngs. Not only will I have these tweeted publications in the not-too-distant future, but I also signed up on Twitter today. I can be found here:
http://twitter.com/RHFay

Follow me, if you will. I would love to have followers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Tentacled Face" in Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store


My horror drawing "Tentacled Face" now appears on items in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. I think this piece would work well on items meant for Halloween wear or Halloween decor, but it could also be worn or used year round to show a love of horror or a fondness for all things weird.

By the way, the "Tentacled Face" Hoodie was selected as one of Today's Best on Zazzle (for September 14th, 2010).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"The Iltrox" Poem & Art Accepted at HOUSE OF HORROR

My dark sci-fi/horror poem "The Iltrox", which was originally published in the All Souls' Night 2007 issue of Hungur, and it's accompanying illustration, which has not been previously published, have both been accepted for publication in Issue #16 of House of Horror. I believe this issue is scheduled for publication on September 30th.

In case you were wondering, the illustration for "The Iltrox" wasn't published with the original publication of the poem because I hadn't created it until after the poem was published. The illustration was created for the now-dead-and-dismembered dark poetry collection. I believe the illustration will be the first previously unpublished piece from that doomed collection to see publication. I'm hoping it won't be the last.

Several poems and illustrations culled from the doomed collection have now been sent out. At least one poem is currently being held for further consideration. One market is currently holding several examples of my horror artwork, waiting to see if any of my art fits with any of the fiction accepted for publication. Plus, several of the horrorku I've sent out recently, including the two accepted for publication in the November issues of Scifaikuest, are revisions or complete reworkings of pieces that had been part of the collection.

Anyway, "The Iltrox" poem and art will finally appear together in House of Horror. I'll post a link when they're on-line.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Contributor's Copy Came Today, With a Little Extra News of Note

Since I received my contributor's copy of the August 2010 issue of Sounds of the Night today, I thought now might be a good time to actually mention more about the two poems I have within its pages. "An Invitation to Elfame" and "My Darkly Dear Leanan-Sidhe" both appear in the August issue. Both poems delve into the often seductive-yet-dangerous nature of the fay. "An Invitation to Elfame" comes straight from the lore that suggests a visitation to the faerie realm (sometimes called Elfame or Elfhame) has its hazards, especially for mortals that partake of faerie food and drink. "My Darkly Dear Leanan-Sidhe" was inspired by tales of the faerie mistress called the Leanan-Sidhe, a lover said to be both inspirational and ultimately lethal.

Along with the two poems, the August issue of Sounds of the Night also contains the "Meet the Writers" interview featuring yours truly, as interviewed by Shelly Bryant. I was surprised to see, at the end of the interview, an editor's note mentioning the fact that my cover art will be appearing on two different forthcoming poetry collections being published by Sam's Dot Publishing. I did cover art for David C. Kopaska-Merkel's Brushfires and Shelly Bryant's Under the Ash, which last I knew were scheduled for publication October 1st. I haven't said much about this before, because I've been waiting until the covers are actually out there for people to see. However, since this information was included in an editor's note at the end of the interview, I figured I would say something now.

So, look for my art on both the cover of Brushfires and the cover of Under the Ash when they come out next month. I'll be sure to post another entry when the collections are out.

Cover Art Accepted at BEYOND CENTAURI

It appears that my sci-fi artwork "Meeting the Insectoids" will be used as the cover art for the April 2011 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Beyond Centauri. The editor says he likes it for April 2011, anyway.

I'm starting to see my list of forthcoming 2011 publications slowly building. I already have a number of things slated for the 2011 issue of Abandoned Towers, and at some point in the not-too-distant future I have to get to work on that issue's cover. More covers are always nice.

In other submission news: I sent off a number of horrorku to a market that specialises in tweet-length speculative works. This market is currently looking specifically for horror-themed submissions, and I've had a bit of success with my horrorku elsewhere, so I thought I would give it a try. I ended up coming up with a total of ten pieces for submission. Now I wait with fingers crossed, hoping the editor decides at least one among those ten are worthy of publication.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I am no Terrorist!

Talk about insane! I had to prove my identity to Pay-Pal today, apparently due to some new Patriot Act rules that recently went into effect, or so Pay-Pal claimed. To keep full access to my account, an account that I've had for over a year now, an account I use to receive payments from certain publishers and editors, I had to send them a copy of my government-issued id and a utility bill. Hopefully, the items I sent will be sufficient, and this issue will be resolved in a timely fashion.

This all could have arisen from the fact that I refused to verify my social security number and/or credit card number over the phone to someone who called my home phone claiming to be a Pay-Pal representative. I could claim to be Robert the Bruce; that doesn't mean I actually am the warrior King of Scots. However, Pay-Pal blames new government regulations. Either way, if this doesn't get resolved, if I can't prove I'm not a terrorist, I'm screwed. Yep, screw the honest. That's the way it usually works nowadays.