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.

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