Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Filler Art Sold to DREAMS and NIGHTMARES

The editor of Dreams & Nightmares has bought my filler art piece "From the Bubbling Black Pool" for use in his publication. More art sold. More art to be published. Yahoo!

Of course, I now have to figure out what to do with the other four pieces of filler art I made for submission to D&N, pieces that the editor didn't buy. Anyone know of other publications looking for fantasy/sci-fi-type filler art (black and white ink drawings)? Any useful information regarding this matter would be greatly appreciated. Seriously.

I'm pretty much clueless when it comes to finding art markets. I know of at least a couple of resources (Duotrope's and Ralan's) that are useful in the search for speculative poetry markets. In terms of the search for art markets, I don't know of any similarly useful resources. At times, when it comes to finding markets for my art, I feel like I'm flying blind.

Wednesday Open Mic at Flavour Cafe

As long as I'm well, barring any disasters, and as long as it's still being held, I'm probably going to try to read some of my poetry at the Wednesday Open Mic at Flavour Cafe in Troy, NY this Wednesday (March 31). I like the venue, and I like the crowd at that venue. The open mic runs from 8-10 pm, and sign up starts at 7:30.

I haven't decided yet what I'm going to read, but I'm sure I'll pick a good mix. I'll probably stick to mostly speculative poetry, but I may throw in a mainstream piece or two.

"Serpent of Storms" accepted at STATIC MOVEMENT

My dark speculative poem "Serpent of Storms", originally published in the March 2009 issue of the (now defunct) horror e-zine The Monsters Next Door, has been accepted for publication in the April issue of the speculative fiction web-zine Static Movement. This happens to me one of the quickest acceptances I've seen yet. I registered with their Submission Manager around 1:00 pm today, and received the acceptance e-mail by 2:39 pm. Cool!

Anyway, I'm glad that my poem based on the South African tales of the brain-eating Mamlambo will be back on-line. I like how the subject has ties to folklore and cryptozoology. Not to mention, this is one of those works that I wrote from the monster's perspective. That's always a neat thing to do.

As always, I'll post a link when it's on-line.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Illustration Sold to WHILE THE MORNING STARS SING Anthology

Last month, I received a message from the editor of Residential Aliens calling for cover art proposals for his forthcoming anthology of spiritually infused speculative fiction entitled While the Morning Stars Sing. Not wanting to pass up such an opportunity, I composed a sketch inspired by William Blake's "When the Morning Stars Sing" and sent it in.

Alas, another proposal beat mine out for the cover spot. However, the editor liked my sketch enough to ask me to complete it as a black and white line drawing for use as an interior illustration in the anthology.

Yesterday, I put the final touches on my drawing and sent it off to the editor. He likes it. So, my piece "Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm" will be appearing in While the Morning Stars Sing. Although having the piece appear as the cover would have been very nice (for several reasons), I'm still glad the editor liked the sketch enough to suggest I finish it for use as interior art.

Unfortunately, I'm starting to think that my style of art might be a hard sell when it comes to covers. I'm thinking, in most instances, my art might be best suited for use as interior art. The future may prove me wrong, but somehow I doubt it.

A Rejection Written in Limmerick...

...may appear rather unprofessional. It may seem amusing, but I am not amused. I get that, in most instances, this writing and publishing thing is just a sideline, just a hobby, but must that mean displaying less-than-professional behaviour? Such behaviour is certainly frowned upon when it comes from aspiring writers. It should be frowned upon on the other side of the equation, too.

Leave the creativity for the zine. Creativity in the correspondences with potential contributors looks less-than-professional, and make me take you less-than-seriously. Scratch another publication off my list of potential markets. I don't think I would want my poetry appearing in a publication that responds in such a fashion anyway. I no longer have the patience for such crap.

Maybe I just hold the writing/publishing field to the professional standards of my former profession, working in science and health labs. Perhaps the writing/publishing field views professionalism in a much different light. Perhaps such creative rejections are considered proper in a creative field. Maybe I simply don't get it. Maybe I never will.

Just Won't Get In

..After several unsuccessful attempts to get my poetry published by certain publications (in one case, fifteen poems sent in thirteen different submissions), I've come to the conclusion that I will probably never crack certain markets. My poetry probably won't be appearing in many more markets beyond those publications that have already shown themselves to be receptive to publishing my work. It may not be worth my while to keep trying to crack those markets that seem less receptive to my style of speculative poetry. (Art may be, and has been in some instances, another matter.)

I know what a lot of writers and poets will say; persistence eventually pays off. You should never give up. Well, I'm all for stubborn persistence, but I think that such persistence must be tempered with a bit of reason. I simply don't think it reasonable for me to keep bashing my head against that particular brick wall. Sooner or later, I have to face the reality that, in some instances, nothing I will ever write will ever be right for certain markets.

Some may try to say that my experiences boil down to a matter of quality, or lack thereof. However, I disagree. A number of markets buy my poetry, some on a fairly regular basis. I think all of this is simply a matter of taste. Some editors may find my flavour of speculative poetry appealing, Others may not. The way I see it, finding out which ones do, and which ones do not, is a part of this publishing game.

As the old saying goes, you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. At this point in my poetic career, I may give up trying to please all editors at all markets (which is probably an impossibility anyway) and just stick with what works for me. Besides, I am not very good at being a stylistic chameleon. Some say you should study what a market publishes, and try to write for that market. However, such strategy simply doesn't work for me. I have to compose my own poetry my own way. I have to go where poetic inspiration leads me. Otherwise, I wouldn't be speaking in my own voice. I wouldn't be true to myself. And that's never a good thing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two Poems Accepted at SOUNDS OF THE NIGHT

Two of my speculative poems have been accepted for publication in the Sam's Dot Publishing zine Sounds of the Night, a zine that publishes sensual SF/F. "An Invitation to Elfame" and "My Darkly Dear Leanan-Sidhe" will both be appearing in the August 2010 issue.

Who would've thought, me writing "sensual" speculative poetry? I always feel awkward when it comes to writing sensual works. However, I must be pretty good at it, since these aren't the first poems I've had accepted for publication in Sounds of the Night. I had two poems ("The Incubus" and "Marriage of Earth and Antares") published in the February 2008 issue. Not to mention, the editor seemed quite pleased with these current contributions to her publication.

This time around, the subject matter may help bring out my sensual side. Both poems were inspired by fairy lore. There is something sensual about certain aspects of such lore. Both poems explore the dangerously seductive side of the fairy realm. "My Darkly Dear Leanan-Sidhe" presents a lonely mortal yearning for his inspirational but ultimately deadly fairy mistress, while "An Invitation to Elfame" tempts a doomed mortal to join a fatal fairy feast.

Yes, at times I can be obsessed with fairy lore, but it's worked for me over, and over, and over again. Why give up my obsession if it works for me?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Howling on the Moor" On-line at APHELION

My dark speculative poem "Howling on the Moor", originally published May 2009 in the dark poetry anthology Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses and among the poems to appear in my forthcoming dark poetry collection, has been published in the March 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion.

Wolves are intelligent hunters. They are also pack animals, hunting cooperatively in groups. I figured werewolves might do the same, and if they displayed human intelligence, they may lay traps for would-be werewolf hunters. They may just lure such brave but foolish souls to their doom. That's the concept I tried to explore, or at least touch on, with this piece.

Anyway, I always thought werewolves were scarier than vampires. Vampires can be driven off by crosses or garlic. Werewolves just rip past such useless defenses. I recall seeing an 18th century engraving depicting a maid being carried off in the jaws of a ravening werewolf, cross still about her neck (Loup-garou). Savage.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"When Wizards Dream at Night" On-Line

My speculative poem "When Wizards Dream at Night" is now on-line at Abandoned Towers. As promised, here's a link:
"When Wizards Dream at Night"

I still have to finish that accompanying illustration. I may get it done later this week.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reprint Poem accepted at Abandoned Towers on-line

My speculative poem "When Wizards Dream at Night", originally published in Tales of the Talisman, Volume IV, Issue 4, Spring 2009, has been accepted for publication in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. I'll post a link when it's up. Now I have to finish the accompanying illustration I started two weeks ago.

Speaking of accompanying illustrations, my illustration of Robert the Bruce, and my drawings of two swords sometimes associated with Scotland's warrior king, are set to appear alongside my Robert the Bruce article in the July print issue of Abandoned Towers.

I still have to draw the colouring page for that issue. I'm thinking of doing a drawing of the Lady of the Lake holding Excalibur up out of the water.

Yes, I've been busy drawing, and I have lots more drawing to do.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Niteblade Art Blog: Merchant of Venom

With the latest Niteblade Art Blog entry, I feature the darkly fantastic work of the artist Craig General, the Merchant of Venom. Rendered in atmospheric black and white, Craig's art deftly captures the nightmarish quality of his fantastic and macabre subject matter. He states that he tries for a style somewhere between horror comic-books and historic woodcuts, which would make him an artist after my own heart, something of a kindred spirit, artistically-speaking.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Never Find My Way, Never Fit In

I am a man lost at sea,
A fog-bewildered soul
Always peering through the murk,
Never spying a friendly port.

I am a man out of place,
A square-shaped peg
Jammed into a round hole,
Never finding a proper fit.

I am a man wandering the wild,
Roaming far from the warmth
Of welcome roof and hearth,
Never following the path home.

I am a man out of his element,
A fish out of water
Gasping for breath,
Never catching a break.

I am a man roving a wood
Cloaked in grim shadow,
Searching for a sunlit lea,
Never reaching the forest's edge.

I am a man out of touch,
Reading outdated books,
Writing outmoded works,
Never thinking like the crowd.

I am the wrong man
In the wrong place
At the wrong time,
Never getting it right.

Will I ever find my way?
Will I ever fit in?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Read Poetry at Professor Java's Wide Open Mic

Tonight, I read five of my poems at Professor Java's Wide Open Mic, presented jointly by Professor Java's and Albany Poets. Since Professor Java's is supposed to be a haunted coffee sanctuary (according to local lore), I started off with "Souls Adrift", a piece describing the cold loneliness of being a ghost. I then ventured into sci-fi with "Cosmic Journey", wondered what ghostly presence came for a visit with "Who (or What) is at the Door?", wandered an enchanted wood with "Amongst Faerie Oaks", and followed a man's descent into damnation with "The Damnation of Daniel Brewster".

I think I read one or two too many, but I wanted a decent mix of themes. I'm not sure how well my particular brand of speculative poetry went over with the audience; it's always hard for me to tell. At least I presented my poetry to a different crowd, and may have introduced speculative poetry to some in that crowd who hadn't known about the form before.

Anyway, I think it went fairly well, although my wife and I did leave before the very end. Michele was my chauffeur, and she has to get up and go to work in the morning. (Why do these things have to be held during the week?)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Colouring Page for ABANDONED TOWERS #5

Android Attack

This is my latest colouring page for Abandoned Towers. It appears in Issue #5, available for purchase HERE. A full-colour version is featured on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store.