Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Spirit of the Skull

The Spirit of the Skull

The skull of my ancestor
Calls to me,
Drawing me toward the crypt
The great iron doors open
I make my way to the vaults

I stare at the yellowed skull
Before me
As it sits in its dim niche
Its awful fleshless face grins
Fey orbs flare in its sockets

I feel a presence standing
Next to me.
A fell spirit rises up
Laughter echoes in the tomb
As the dark shade drinks my blood

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

(Originally published in Night to Dawn, Issue 13, April 2008)

For all you adverb haters out there...

I used plenty of adverbs in this piece, and while it might have been far from my best poetic effort ever (I'm not overly fond of it), it was published (accepted for publication first time out). I even received a token payment for the work.

Of course, I'm sure some will argue that the rules for poetry are different. I've certainly heard that one before, but I don't know how much I truly agree with that idea. It can certainly be argued, and rightly so, that tastes differ from editor to editor. What works for one might not work for another. Adverbs might work for one, and not for another.

Still, I couldn't help but to pull this piece out as an example of something with plenty of adverbs actually working, actually being published, and published in a paying venue to boot!

Adverbs are Evil?

Some concepts and claims I see popping up every so often in the writing community just leave me scratching my head in bewilderment. One such idea is that adverbs are a no-no, that adverbs are a sign of weak writing. What the...?

Has everyone forgotten "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here"? Have the rules of writing well degenerated so much since this classic Schoolhouse Rock aired in the 1970s that something once considered necessary ("positively, very, very, necessary") is now considered bad?

I simply don't understand the hatred I see for adverbs in some corners of the writing community. It goes against the way I was taught how to write. It goes against the way I taught my daughter how to write, using the then-current (early 2000s) writing workbooks and textbooks. It goes against the way writers have been writing for centuries. It goes against what looks and feels right to me. If anything, a complete lack of adverbs looks wrong to me.

I get using adverbs only when needed. I get using them sparingly. I get having the strongest and clearest language possible (this should be true of all elements of writing), but I simply don't get the whole concept of "adverbs are bad", or "if you are using an adverb, you must be using a weak verb".

If this is the way of things today, I'm sorry, it's bull crap. Maybe this is why I prefer classic fiction over contemporary fiction. I just don't like the way of things today.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Your Bloody Face" in HOUSE OF HORROR

My dark speculative poem "Your Bloody Face", which was originally published in the February 2008 issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path and also appeared in the Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses dark poetry anthology, now appears on-line in the Valentine's 2010 issue of House of Horror.

I wrote "Your Bloody Face" specifically to come up with something for the Valentine's 2008 issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path. It's meant to be a horrific twist on a love poem. When I saw that House of Horror put out the call for submissions for their Valentine's 2010 issue, I just had to send them "your Bloody Face". It works so well in a Valentine's issue, in it's own twisted way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Galactic Road Trip

Galactic Road Trip

Time and space being relative,
One can always burn the former
To travel through the latter.
Fire up the plasma drive,
Pack your environment suit,
Tune in an ambient wave,
And go for a galactic joy ride!

Zip to the Zynterra System.
Sip some puguberry wine
At the Corrosive Cafe.
Watch the blue binary suns set
Over the yellow Sulphur Sea.
Pay your bill (or not) and take off
Before the acid tide surges in.

Rocket to Ragobomax.
Witness the rainbow ion storm
And get an energizing jolt
From the glowing electron stream.
Visit the robotics chop-shop.
Buy a chrome-plated co-pilot
And program in the next stop.

Star hop to Hyptaris.
See qualumps cross the orange sands
And follow the Strill caravans
To the celestial bazaar.
Make your way to the Darkside Club.
Dance the eternal night away,
But leave before the end of time.

Dive into the nearest wormhole,
Slingshot through the fifth dimension,
Accelerate faster than light.
Break the temporal barrier,
Spy the universal secrets,
Give your past self a friendly wave,
Then sail the solar winds home.

(Poem originally published in Tales of the Talisman Volume IV, Issue 1, Summer 2008).


My illustration for "Galactic Road Trip" now accompanies the poem in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. It also appears on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Texas Stargazin" accepted at ABANDONED TOWERS

My speculative poem "Texas Stargazin" has been accepted for publication in the print version of Abandoned Towers. It looks like it is scheduled to be in #7, the November 2010 issue (I think).

Why would an upstate New Yorker write a poem about star gazing in Texas? Well, because I was asked to. Of course, I've now been asked to compose an illustration to go with the poem. I guess I had better see what I can come up with.

An artist's work is never done.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cinquain in APHELION'S "BEST OF 2009"

I didn't get anything "new" (or slightly used) submitted in time for inclusion in the regular February 2010 issue of Aphelion, but I do have a poem in their "Best of 2009". My speculative cinquain "Two-Dimensional Visitors", originally published in the February 2009 issue, appears alongside other editor's picks in "The Best Poetry and Filk of 2009".

If you didn't check it out last year, please check it out now!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wondrous Gobbledygook

A bit of speculative romance for Valentine's Day:

Wondrous Gobbledygook

On a wonderful Nagoogoo morn,
While the bumox skip across the fwa,
I strum the strings of my zidipip
And slowly sip a gurgle burgle
Beside the pink waters of Baffbee.

On the puboo of a keckleschmeck,
I spy a blue-green fuguwordle
Crawling upon an etafal leaf.
I pluck a crimson syton flower
And place it in Zabugana's hair.

On a glittering Nagoogoo night
Wududolons wing across Phreetum
And the violet shlubiyemps sing.
A gentle breeze blows off of Baffbee
As Zabugana lies next to me.

Copyright © 2007 Richard H. Fay

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marriage of Earth and Antares

A speculative love poem for Valentine's Day:

Marriage of Earth and Antares

Fallen star
Two worlds meet
When human greets Antaran
In a meld of minds
And hearts

Soft trills
Speak to my soul
With far deeper understanding
Than mere words
Ever could

Bug eyes
Blazing with knowledge
Of the secrets of the cosmos
Look into my own

Shaggy fur
Glows in the dark
In tune with her emotions
And keeps us warm
At night

Some think
She's only my pet
I smile at their ignorance
Knowing she's truly
My mate

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

(Originally published in Sounds of the Night Issue 2, February 2008)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Simple "No Thanks" Would Do

I will admit, there are times I find rejections with comments to be quite helpful. There are instances when a critical analysis of an example of my work helps me improve the piece in question, or my writing in general. I also know that some people appreciate whenever such feedback is given.

However, call me difficult, call me stubborn, call me arrogant, but I don't always appreciate such feedback. I don't always agree with each and every critical analysis of my work. I don't feel the need to listen to everything I'm told.

I reserve the right to judge whether or not the feedback is really of any use to me. There are times I find a rejection accompanied by a critical analysis of what didn't work to be less-than-useful. There are times I think such a thing is merely baroque ornamentation of the simpler fact that the work in question didn't work for that particular editor. I think it becomes a fancy way for an editor to say they didn't like the piece, swathed in the wrappings of literary criticism.

At times, such things annoy me, especially since such things can be presented almost as writing absolutes (this is the way you must do things). I find this especially irksome with reprints or pieces that end up picked up elsewhere with praise. After all, the piece in question worked fine for another editor, so maybe it wasn't so terribly flawed after all. The fact that a lot seems to boil down to matter of opinion gets lost in all that baroque ornamentation. I shouldn't let such things annoy me, but that's just the way it is. That's the way I am.

Perhaps this all smacks of a bit of arrogance, but I don't care. I think I'll allow myself a bit of arrogance every once in a while. Besides, there are times when a simple "thanks, but no thanks" would do.


entwined bines
thorns snare human prey
plantimal feasts

(art originally published in Dreams and Nightmares 85, January 2010)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Niteblade Art Blog: Draken Photography

The latest installment of the Niteblade Art Blog, Draken Photography, is now on-line at Niteblade News. This time around, I feature something a little different. This time I feature the alternative photography of David Watkins, the man behind the lens at Draken Photography.

Check it out!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reprint Poems Accepted at APHELION

Four of my poems originally published in various issues of The Monsters Next Door, as well as one published in the Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses dark poetry anthology, have been accepted for publication in forthcoming issues of the web-zine Aphelion.

"Howling on the Moor", originally published May 2009 in Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses, will appear in the March issue. My cinquain "When Hunger Takes Me" , originally published March 2009 in The Monsters Next Door Issue 6, will appear in the April issue. My horrorku "parting red curtains", "glimmering embers", and "black leathery wings", all originally published September 2008 in The Monsters Next Door Issue 4, will appear in the May, June, and July issues, respectively.

I'm glad these will be back on-line (this will be the first appearance of "Howling on the Moor" on-line), and I'm glad they fill in an otherwise thin list of forthcoming publications. They may not be new poems, but reprints are better than nothing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wrote a story...

I actually wrote a short story, a 2,700-some-odd word tale about an evil wizard summoning the alpe. This is the first bit of prose fiction larger than a drabble I've written in something like three years. I wrote plenty of poems and several articles in that time, but my prose fiction writing ground to a complete standstill. I've been meaning to get back to prose fiction, but never got around to it until now.

The story has already been sent out into the cold, cruel world (hopefully not so cold and cruel because the editor in question had requested a story from me, but we shall see.) I'm actually kind of nervous because I don't have a proven track record when it comes to prose fiction. What if I can't write publishable prose fiction? What if the editor doesn't like it? What if no one likes it? I guess I just wait and see what happens.

Fingers crossed!


Today, I received my contributor's copies of Dreams and Nightmares 85. This issue contains my filler art "Plantimal", on page 11, below Bruce Boston's poem "Death of a Changeling". The publication of "Plantimal" is actually my first publication of 2010.

Does this herald a trend toward more art publications and less writing publications? I don't know. Perhaps it simply heralds more balance between the two facets of my creativity.

I know acceptances and publications seem to be fewer and farther between this year than in past years, but that's okay. Some of this is due to the fact that I've been spending less time getting individual poems, articles, and art sent out to various venues, and more time working on bigger projects. Plus, I still have a few poems, articles, and illustrations on my list of forthcoming publications. I also know that I have a handful of illustrations yet to do for things being published later this year. So I'm not worried that I'm going to fade away, not just yet. Not to mention, I'm still hopeful that my one illustrated dark poetry collection will come out later this year. (Which reminds me, I had better respond to the poetry editor's edits later today.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2009 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll Results

It looks like the results are in for the 2009 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll, and it looks like I finished in the top ten in five of the six categories in which I was nominated. Not bad, but perhaps there is room for improvement.

The results are:

In the Poem Category, "The Haunted Castle" (published in The Absent Willow Review) all by itself in seventh place.

In the Non-Fiction Article Category, "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" (published in Abandoned Towers on-line) tied at sixth place with "Interview with Joe Abercrombie" by Lucien E. G. Spelman.

In the Artwork Category, my illustration for "West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity" (published in Abandoned Towers on-line) all by itself in seventh place.

In the Magazine/E-zine Cover Art Category, my cover art for Abandoned Towers Issue #3 tied at seventh place with M. D. Jackson's cover art for Abandoned Towers Issue #4 and Robert Hoyem's cover art for Shock Totem. "A Leviathan Ascendant" also appears on the list separately, in an eight-way tie for tenth place. This is a bit confusing, since "A Leviathan Ascendant" also appeared on the cover page of the November 2009 issue of the e-zine MindFlights Is this second entry for that cover, or for the July 2009 Abandoned Towers cover? I suspect this second entry is for the second use of the art, but I could be wrong.

In the Poet Category, I came in tied with Ash Krafton for fifth place, my best placing in this year's poll.

Alas, I didn't make it in the top ten in the Artist Category. I came in tied with several other artists at sixteenth place. I didn't finish in the top ten in that category in the 2008 P&E Reader Poll, and I missed it again this time out. Drat!

I don't really know what all this means, if it means much at all, especially in categories where there weren't any finishers outside of the top ten!. I do know it means I can put more of those fancy "Top Ten Finisher" plaques on my web site. Apart from that, I really don't know how significant any of this is in the greater scheme of things.

Of course, I say this now, but when the time comes to beat the bushes for votes yet again, watch me try to beat even harder next time!