Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stormy Midnight

stormy midnight
hard raps at windowpane
skeleton beckons


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:

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.


I just saw news that Tales from the Moonlit Path, an e-zine of things dark and eerie, is on indefinite hiatus and closed to submissions until further notice.

Bummer! Tales from the Moonlit Path is a market that has published my dark speculative poetry in the past, and just last Friday I sent three poems (two reprints and one poem that had previously appeared on my blog) for their poetry editor's consideration.

Oh well. I guess I find yet another potential market for these pieces.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Rejection, Another Hold

I received another rejection in my e-mail box today. The editor thought the work in question, a little previously published piece of diabolically dark speculative poetry, was very good, but not quite good enough to buy. Close, but no cigar! This was the second work of mine to be rejected out of a batch of three sent to the same market at the same time. However, the editor did inform me that the third piece, a previously unpublished dark speculative poem inspired by real-life stories of paranormal activity, is still being held for further consideration. I should know one way or the other by October. Fingers crossed!

This makes the second piece of mine in submission limbo currently being held for further consideration. Holds are much better than quick rejections, in that a hold means your work is under serious consideration for publication, but it does prolong the period of anxious waiting. Plus, holds can have disappointing outcomes. In the past, I've had pieces held for further consideration that didn't make it through the final cut. I hope things are different this time around. I could use a little good news; with a few minor exceptions, things have been rather depressing on the acceptance front as of late.

As for the rejection, it's really not a big deal. I'm not nearly as invested emotionally in reprint submissions as I am in previously unpublished submissions. After all, the piece was published once already. At least one editor thought the piece was worthy of publication. I already received that small bit of validation that comes with an editor's nod of approval. However, in this instance, it would be nice to find a new home for the poem, since its original home closed its doors and disappeared. Currently, you can't find the poem in question anywhere. I would like to rectify that situation, eventually.

Rejected reprint poem sent out yet again. Fourth submission since it's original publication. Fourth time's a charm, perhaps? I guess we see what happens. Fingers crossed a second time!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Four Reprint Poems for APHELION

Four of my previously published speculative poems will be appearing in forthcoming issues of Aphelion. "Marriage of Earth and Antares", which was originally published in the February 2008 issue of Sounds of the Night, will be appearing in the September 2010 Aphelion. "Sorceress Devolution, which was originally published in the October-December 2008 issue of The Lorelei Signal and also appeared in A Time To...Volume 3, The Best of The Lorelei Signal 2008, will be appearing in Aphelion's October 2010 issue. "Consequence of Taking Too Much", which was originally published in the October 2008 issue of Macabre Cadaver, will be appearing in the November 2010 Aphelion. Finally, the horrorku "will-o-the-wisp", which was originally published in the November 2009 issue of The Shantytown Anomaly, will be appearing in Aphelion's December 2010 issue.

The reprint roll apparently continues right up to the end of the year. I really should start working harder on poetry pubs for 2011, though I've been concentrating mostly on art as of late. I guess I see what the future brings.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Fire Drake at Rest"

My fantasy artwork "Fire Drake at Rest" now appears on several items available for purchase through the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. This time around, I opted to draw a wingless dragon. It's still a standard western European dragon, just minus the wings. Some dragons of fantasy, such as Tolkien's Glaurung, were flightless. Not to mention, medieval artists sometimes depicted their dragons sans wings. A wingless dragon appears in Friedrich Herlin's "St George and the Dragon", now in the collection of the Nordlngen Town Museum.

As for the use of the term "fire drake", that seems to come from a Middle English term for fire dragon, "firdrake", which came from the Old English "fyrdraca" (fire + dragon). Perhaps, to follow the etymology of the word more closely, I should have used "firedrake" without a space, but I've seen it both ways. I've also seen it hyphenated. It probably doesn't really matter that awfully much (says the wordsmith who often spends hours searching for just the right word when composing poetry).

Is it a Horse? Is it a Ghost? No, it's a Screech Owl!

While on our evening walk last night, just after sunset, Michele and I heard a strange call coming from a wooded area at the side of the road. It sounded almost like a horse's whinny. As we stopped to listen, it seemed almost like a phantom equine was making noise up in the trees. Actually, I realised pretty quickly that it was a bird, probably an owl, but I didn't know what kind. Later that night, I checked the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds site. Apparently, we heard the whinny song of an Eastern Screech Owl. I already knew there were screech owls in the area; I had heard their trilling songs over the winter. This was the first time I've ever heard their whinny song. It was definitely a weird experience. I can see how someone might think it was something much stranger than just a common nocturnal bird. I can imagine someone telling a ghost story based around hearing that rather eerie sound.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Master of the Barbecue Apron from

Master of the Barbecue Apron from

Three Roses: Lancaster, York, and Tudor

Three different heraldic roses now appear on merchandise in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store: a Red Rose of Lancaster, a White Rose of York, and a red and white Tudor Rose. All are English floral heraldic emblems. The red rose was a badge of the House of Lancaster. The white rose appeared on Yorkist badges and banners during the English civil conflict now known as the Wars of the Roses. After the first Tudor king Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, he combined the red and white rose to create the Tudor Rose, a symbol of the coming together of the two warring houses which remains the floral heraldic emblem of England.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I just discovered that there may be more of me in the August 2010 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Sounds of the Night than I previously thought. As indicated in the September issue of the Sam's Dot monthly newsletter At the Dot, it appears that they ran the "Meet the Writers" interview featuring yours truly in the August issue of Sounds of the Night.

A publisher ran an interview of me as a writer, not as an artist (although art was mentioned), but as a writer. Does that mean I can now call myself a writer? (grins wryly) May I now justifiably add that tag to my self-descriptive label? Actually, with all the art I've been doing lately (still working on the illos for that collection-in-progress), I haven't had a chance to get much writing done. Alas, my prose fiction is still woefully neglected. I'm terrible at multitasking.

Anyway, copies of the August 2010 issue of Sounds of the Night can be purchased through the Genre Mall here: