Saturday, January 30, 2010

Poem Accepted at HOUSE OF HORROR

My dark poem "Your Bloody Face", originally published in the February 2008 issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path, and one of a number of my poems in the Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses dark poetry anthology, has been accepted for publication in the Valentines issue of House of Horror. Since this poem is supposed to be a horrific twist on love poetry, and since it appeared once before in a Valentines issue, it seems appropriate for it to appear in the Valentines issue of House of Horror.

As much as I've been a past advocate of sending out new material versus sending out a bunch of reprints (some places don't take reprints), for me 2010 may be the year of the reprint. I simply don't have a lot of new material for my submission pool, and since I'm working on other things (like lots of art), I don't have the time to compose loads of new poems. Hopefully I'll find some time to do a little writing, but I think my days of having thirty to forty poems in my submission pool are long past. Then again, if my muse gets all stirred up, no telling what might happen.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Arcane Whispers Volume 2

This might have been out for a while, but somehow I missed it. That's not like me at all, but things do get hectic around here, and certain publications may slip under the radar.

Anyway, Arcane Whispers Volume 2: The Best of Sorcerous Signals 2008 is now available through Amazon.com in print and in a Kindle version. It contains, among other fine works of fantasy, my poem "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" (on page 72, according to the ToC). This is another one of my wizardly pieces. Strangely enough, I seem to be more adept at writing poems about wizards than I am writing poems about warriors, which is odd considering my D&D wizards always died a quick and gruesome death. I might not have been able to play wizards well, but I seem to be able to write wizards well.

I'm always excited when my stuff appears in "best of" anthologies. It makes me feel like I might actually know what I'm doing. Alas, the feeling is always all too fleeting. Still, "best of" anthologies are one of the best kind of reprints.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Article and Illustration Accepted at HUNGUR

My article "The Alp and the Schrattl" and my illustration to accompany my previously accepted poem "Shroudeater" (based on the lore of the schrattl) have been accepted for publication in Hungur. The editor actually said that the illustration is wonderfully disgusting, which might sound kind of horrible, but that's exactly the effect I was shooting for. "Shroudeater" is supposed to be my jab at the romantic vampire of current pop culture. The poem presents an example of the ghoulish bloodsuckers of traditional lore, as opposed to the emo undead. He's meant to be something repulsive instead of attractive. He's a villain, a threat, a monster, an animated corpse, not an idol for lovesick teens. Not to mention, it was just fun to draw.

I'm so glad the poem found a home, and I'm ecstatic that it will be accompanied by an illustration and an article. Now, I wonder if I can come up with a story, too? It's tempting.

Android Attack


When I sent off my latest drawing for the Abandoned Towers colouring page, I asked the editor is she could use a full-colour version as well. She replied that she could use one in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store. So I tried to come up with something quite eye-catching, and I think I pretty much succeeded in achieving that goal.

I'm very happy with the colours and overall composition. I'm not so sure I'm completely happy with the human figures. I find drawing the human figure properly to be a challenge at times, especially when drawing "action poses". I worry that the figures in "Android Attack" are a bit stiff-looking. I also worry that I didn't put all the crease lines of the clothing in exactly the right spots. Then again, it could just be my "artorexia" acting up again. I often see flaws in my art that no one else can see. It can be dreadfully frustrating at times, since I have a terrible time judging my own works.

Anyway, the editor seemed happy enough with the line drawing, and got the colour version on Zazzle stuff pretty quickly. It already appears on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store, under the title "Giant Robot". I will admit, this drawing is a bit different from my norm. Different can be good, if a bit frustrating.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not What I Expected to See at the Bird Feeder

My daughter yelled for me to come look at this bird at the bird feeder. Expecting to see a bunting or a grosbeak, something just slightly different from the norm, I was shocked to see a Cooper's hawk perched on the top of the bird feeder pole! It flew off as I drew closer to the window, but I got a pretty good look at it. For a brief moment, I was even able to look it in the eye. What a fierce look it had, too!

I'm pretty confident in my identification of the raptor as a Cooper's hawk and not the very similar sharp-shinned hawk. although there is a chance I'm wrong. I would say that the bird I saw was larger and more robust than is typical for a sharp-shinned hawk, at least according to my guides. Plus, it definitely had the raised "hackles" on the head, as opposed the more rounded head-shape of a sharp-shinned hawk. Like I said, it had a fierce look in its eye, almost a "Godzilla frown". If you know anything about the "Big G", you know what I mean.

Either hawk, Cooper's or sharp-shinned, may visit bird feeders for an easy meal of small birds. So I guess it wasn't as strange a sight as I first thought. While I don't put out bird seed just to have the titmice, juncos, sparrows, cardinals, and chickadees eaten, I must admit that the birds-of-prey fascinate me more than my other feathered friends.

I wonder if it will return?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One Problem with Freelancing....

...may rear its ugly head at tax time. Basically, you have to remember to withhold something for tax purposes, because you don't have an employer withholding it for you. Otherwise, you may be in for a bit of a shock come tax time.

I might not have made enough in poetry and art sales to make any sort of living off my art and poetry. I might not have made enough sales of a high-enough payment to be considered a "pro". However, I certainly received enough proceeds from poetry and art sales in 2009 to have to report my profits to the IRS. Not only that, for the first time in almost twenty years, we owe. We're not getting a federal tax refund this year. Instead of the government giving us money (or giving us our own money back), we have to hand yet more money over to the government. Bummer!

We don't owe a lot, but the fact that I made enough to make us owe came as a bit of a surprise. It goes to show that, if you are a freelancer (in art, writing, or whatever), you had better consider setting something aside for tax time. I will have to remember to hang onto some percentage of my 2010 sales, in readiness for tax time next year. We simply didn't think I was going to make enough in 2009 to make us owe any additional taxes come tax time. It was not a pleasant surprise to find out otherwise.

First Sale of 2010

I made my first sale of the new year today. Perhaps indicative of my ongoing drift toward more art and less poetry, it was an art sale, not a poetry one. Admittedly, it wasn't the sale of an unsolicited piece; Crystalwizard simply approved my latest colouring page for Abandoned Towers. "Android Attack" will be appearing in Issue #5, scheduled for publication in March.

Actually, Crystalwizard seemed quite pleased with my latest artistic creation. She asked for something sci-fi, and I decided to draw an image inspired by the covers and interior art of the classic pulp sci-fi publications. Well, I followed my impression of such art, anyway.

Such a style departs a bit from my usual, which made me work outside of my comfort zone (knights, and dragons, and monsters, and things that go bump in the night). Doing something different from my norm frustrated me at times, since I can be set in my ways, but I think the end result was worth it. Not to mention, it pushed me towards new artistic territory.

No sneak peeks yet. I'm not going to post it until Abandoned Towers Issue #5 is out. You''l just have to wait.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This Makes Home Educators Look Bad!

How stupid are some parents? Pretty stupid, apparently. And some parents don't realise that home-schooling is no excuse for doing something blatantly dumb (not to mention illegal):

Parents Arrested for Failing to Register Home-Schooled Kids

Actually, I will admit to being a bit torn over this issue. I home-schooled my daughter for about ten years, until she started college full-time. I do know first-hand how much of a pain-in-the-neck all that paperwork can be. Plus, I understand all too well that it's not always easy, and rather stressful at times, to get a curriculum together and get all the necessary paperwork handed in to the school district. Not to mention, New York seems to require more paperwork than most states. However, I think stories like this could potentially give home-schoolers, already seen by some as being "on the fringe", an even worse reputation. It paints home-schoolers as a bunch of anti-establishment wackos thumbing their noses at the system, instead of reasonable people trying to take responsibility for their children's education into their own hands, within the guidelines established by the system. Why do something illegal, when you are already doing something seen by some as abnormal? Why make yourself a target? Are you hoping for trouble?

It sounds as if the kids were getting an education. Once the parents did hand in a curriculum, the superintendent approved it. So I doubt that this story is an instance of educational neglect. Still, neglecting the legal responsibilities that come with home-schooling is pretty low.

For about ten years, I had to drive myself nuts searching out a proper curriculum each school year, and then getting all the paperwork filled out and handed in. Instead of educating their kids under the radar for seven years, these parents should have done the same.

Reminder: Vote for me in P&E Poll!

A reminder: I have received nominations in several categories in the annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll (http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/perpoll.htm). Please consider voting for my works in the poll.

"The Haunted Castle" and "Wandering Ole Willow" both received nominations in the poems category:
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/poem.shtml

"Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" received a nomination in the non-fiction article category:
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/nonfiction.shtml

"West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity" and "Temporal Crack" (which I assume is my "Temporal Crack" illustration) both received nominations in the artwork category:
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/artwork.shtml

My cover-art for Abandoned Towers Issue #3, "A Leviathan Ascendant", received a nomination in the magazine-e-zine cover artwork category:
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/zineart.shtml

And I received nominations in both the poets and the artists categories:
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/poet.shtml
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/artist.shtml

If you do vote for me and my works, please vote for only one entry in each category.

Thanks! And thanks to all those that have already voted. Much appreciated!

Niteblade Art Blog: Garret Dechellis

After uncharacteristically blowing it off for a couple of months (shame on me), I'm back to posting entries in the Niteblade Art Blog. And this time around, I feature the Fantastic Art of Garret Dechellis. An avid fan of all forms of illustration, and an artist equally comfortable using traditional and digital media, Garret creates some interesting imagery. Check out a few samples of Garret's works of wonder at the Niteblade Art Blog.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vote for me in the P&E Poll!

My works have been nominated in several categories in the annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. Please consider voting for my works. Unfortunately, some of the nominations appear to have been messed up a bit, with both multiple entries and entries lacking pertinent information.

My poems "The Haunted Castle" and "Wandering Ole Willow" both received nominations in the poems category. "Wandering Ole Willow" seems to have been nominated twice; it appears twice in the listing. Please consider voting for one poem or the other, but not both! Only one vote per category, please.

My article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" received a nomination in the non-fiction article category. Again, it appears to have received two separate nominations. If you decide to vote for it, it might be best to vote using the more complete entry. Or maybe it doesn't really matter.

My illustrations "West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity" and "Temporal Crack" both received nomination in the artwork category. Well, I assume the "Temporal Crack" listed is mine; whoever nominated it didn't enter the artist's name! That might disqualify the "Temporal Crack" nomination; I don't know what will be done about it. If you decide to vote for my artwork, it might be safest to vote for "West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity", unless you really, really like the other one better.

My cover-art for Abandoned Towers #3, "A Leviathan Ascendant", received a nomination in the magazine/e-zine cover artwork category. Actually, it looks like it received four different nominations! However, only one of the entries has all of the information. The other three don't list me as artist and lack a link to the cover. And one lists the art instead of the publication, which is a bit of a problem, since "A Leviathan Ascendant" also appeared on the November 2009 cover of the e-zine MindFlights.

I have also been nominated in both the poets and the artists categories. Since neither entry has a link to my site, here's one: Azure Lion Productions. I have art and poetry on my site, as well as a list of my publications. At least my name (Richard H. Fay) is spelled right in both entries.

So, if you can wade through the confusion of multiple entries and incomplete entries, please consider voting for me and my works. I worry that the problems will hurt my chances of making into the top ten, let alone coming in first. I need all the votes I can get!

Thanks to all who already nominated and voted, even though there seems to have been some issues with the nominations. Hopefully, the powers that be over at P&E will iron out most if not all the problems before the final tally. Fingers (and toes) crossed!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Nominate My Stuff! (Pretty Please?)

It's apparently that time of year again, time to put in your nominations and votes in the annual Preditors & Editors Readers Poll. Last year, I managed to finish in the top ten in four different categories (poetry, non-fiction article, illustration, and poets). This year, I would love to do just as well, if not better. And I can't do it without your help.

Many of my literary and artistic works published in 2009 should qualify for nomination in the P&E Readers Poll. I had a plethora of poems published in 2009 that should qualify for nomination in the poems category. I had several illustrations published in 2009 that should qualify for nomination in the artwork category. I even had artwork ("A Leviathan Ascendant") on the cover of Abandoned Towers #3 (published July, 2009) that should qualify for nomination in the cover artwork category. Plus, I had at least one article ("Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future", published January, 2009, in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers) that should qualify for nomination in the non-fiction article category. My other article. "The Good and the Bad of Critiques", might also qualify if Creator and the Catalyst would be considered a zine (maybe, though I'm not sure it would). Not to mention, I obviously qualify for nomination in both the poets and the artists categories.

So, please consider nominating what you feel have been my best artistic and poetic efforts of 2009. In addition, if you feel my overall talent worthy of recognition, please consider nominating me in the poets and/or the artists category.

In case you need a reminder of the works I had published in '09, you can find my list of publications HERE.

I'll post updates if I do receive some nominations. I hope I do. Just make sure you get your nominations in soon; the P&E Readers Poll remains open only until the 14th.

Thanks!

Keep Your Options Open

Mike Allen (time_shark) posted an interesting entry over at LiveJournal about not relying on one outlet for your literary endeavours:

small press lessons learned the hard way #1: be highly suspicious of beautiful baskets...

I think the old adage "never put all your eggs in one basket" actually applies to many of life's undertakings, not just literary ones. It certainly applies to creative enterprises. If you rely solely on one outlet as the foundation for your creative endeavours, and if that foundation then crumbles beneath your feet, it could take your endeavours down with it. No one wants to fall into that trap, but the incautious may tumble headlong into just such a pitfall.

Even if you have found regular work at one particular literary or artistic venue, keep your options open, just in case. Keep sending out queries to other markets. Keep sending material out to other outlets. Never become complacent. Never let one venue, and one venue alone, monopolize your time and creative energies without having some sort of backup plan. Retain some sort of connections elsewhere.

I've been thinking about this very concept quite a bit recently. It's one of the reasons I've been sending out art submissions and queries to various publications outside of the one I already deal with on a regular basis. It's also one of the reasons I'm working on getting two different poetry collections published by two different publishers. I simply don't want to be reliant on one publisher.

Of course, my effort at expanding my horizons has met with only a modicum of success so far, but that doesn't mean I stop trying. I don't want one publisher monopolizing all my time and energy. I'm very glad to have a fairly regular flow of assignments from that publisher, but I don't want to rely completely on one outlet for my artistic endeavours, just in case. The field it simply too volatile to rely entirely on one market.