Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hurray for St. George!

I don't usually brag about sales of Abandoned Towers Zazzle merchandise featuring my art, beyond the mere mention of new images being added to the store. Up until very recently, merchandise sold mostly in dribs and drabs, and I didn't think the sales were particularly brag-worthy. However, I recently received word of sales that are definitely worthy of a brag.

It looks as if the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store just sold thirty copies of shirts featuring my "St. George and the Dragon - 14th Century", in six separate orders. One order was for seventeen copies! Needless to say, I'm excited by this news, especially since this particular image of St. George seems to be rather popular.

News like this makes me think that all the work I put into my art may actually be worth it. Sometimes I wonder, but not today. Today I think I may actually be able to make something of this art-thing. Today I say "hurray for St. George!" (Just a few days after St. George's Day, too.)

Now, if only other images of mine sold like St. George...(A full-colour version of my "Excalibur" drawing was added to the store not too long ago.)

Flavour Open Mic

As far as I know, Flavour Cafe in Troy is holding it's weekly open mic tonight (Wednesday, April 28) 8-10pm. Barring any disasters, I am going to try to be there to read some of my poetry. I skipped going for a few weeks; it's time I went back. I just hope it goes better than last time I was there (see my entry "Last Night's Open Mic"). It usually does go better than it went that particular evening. I'm hoping that night was just a fluke.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Great Horned Owl

Tonight, a great horned owl was hooting away in the trees of the yard across the street. I thought I heard an owl the other night, but I wasn't sure. There was no mistaking the distinctive hooting I heard tonight.

This particular owl seems to prefer to roost in the occasional stands of evergreens found around here. Perhaps they give it more cover than the still half-bare deciduous trees.

Even though great horned owls can be found in suburban backyards, I haven't heard an owl hooting like that since I lived in the country, back when I was a teenager. I used to carry on conversations with the Emmons Hill owls. Actually, I tried that tonight, but my wife told me to be quiet. She said city owls don't talk to strangers. Wise owls.

Doorways Dead

Apparently, another market bit the dust. Ralan's Webstravaganza and Duotrope's Digest are both listing Doorways Magazine as dead.

It's sad news, but not entirely unexpected. I kind of figured Doorways was in serious trouble for a while now. I had a poem in publication limbo over at Doorways, until I finally withdrew it in March, just about two years after it was first accepted for publication. I hated to withdraw the piece, but I also didn't want to leave the poem lost in publication limbo. Now I wait and see if I can find just the right fit yet again, which isn't always easy with my sort of poetry. However, I guess I did the right thing by withdrawing the poem and sending it elsewhere. My instincts about the death of Doorways were apparently correct.

Alas, the poem accepted at Doorways was going to be my first poem in a magazine sold on the local Barnes and Noble magazine rack. I would have had a solid semi-pro poetry sale if Doorways hadn't died before publishing my poem (they paid upon publication). In this instance, happenstance did not work in my favour. Not that the poem would have been my first piece in Doorways; my article "The Darker Side of Fairy Lore" appeared in the Doorways Magazine Killer Holiday Issue, Issue 4, January 2008. I was hoping Doorways would stick around so I could have tried to become something of a regular contributor. I certainly had other article ideas that would have been right up their alley.

It's sad to see any market declared dead, especially one that concentrated on horror and the paranormal. It's especially distressing to see a semi-pro/pro zine go under. That's one less market for those striving for the status of a semi-pro or pro sale. Me? After my experience with Doorways, after my "almost, but not quite" semi-pro sale (it ain't a sale until the money is in your hands), I'm starting to see this whole status business as a big joke. If I don't laugh about it, I might just cry.

It's extremely doubtful that I will find another market with a comparable pay-rate for the poem of mine that would have been in Doorways. There just aren't that many markets at that level taking that sort of stuff out there. In the end, if things don't work out elsewhere, I may have to (gasp) resort to sending it to a "4 the luv" market, just so the piece gets published. The poem was good enough for Doorways, but who knows if it will be good enough (or the right fit) for any other paying market? It's a crapshoot, and I've always been lousy at games of chance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Closing Down Web Site

I'm closing down my web site at azurelionproductions.com, at least for now. As much as I think it's a good thing for an artist/poet/writer to have a web site, the site has become nothing more than a money drain. It didn't seem to be getting enough hits to justify the expense. Money is very tight this year, and every little bit helps.

I may reopen the site down the road. I'll have to think about it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"When Hunger Takes Me" On-Line at APHELION

My lycanthropic cinquain "When Hunger Takes Me", originally published in the March 2009 issue of The Monsters Next Door, is now on-line in the April 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. If you didn't get a chance to check it out when it was in The Monsters Next Door, please check it out now!

I think this cinquain can be interpreted several different ways. On the one hand, it may be a straight-forward piece about a werewolf, a human being transformed by supernatural means into a wolf. On the other hand, the transformation may be more psychological than supernatural. The man may just think he becomes a wolf when he dons the wolf-skin pelt, as may have been true of some of the historical cases of werewolfism (think Peter Stubbe or Gilles Garnier).

I'll leave it up to each individual reader to decide which is the correct interpretation.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Welcome Sign


Welcome Sign Illustration
Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Call this part of the promising project that came to naught. I had composed the above illustration for a story that was a part of an author's forthcoming short story collection. Both the author and the publisher agreed I was the best man for the job of illustrating the collection. Alas, publication of the collection came to a screeching halt (through no fault of my own), but not after I had already started work on the illustrations. "Welcome Sign" had been completed, and I had begun work on a second. The second illustration was eventually posted alongside the author's story on-line. Unfortunately, the story that this image was meant to illustrate wasn't published on-line. After letting my "Welcome Sign" illustration sit in limbo for several months, I decided it was time to show off my psychedelic creation. I'm still proud of it, even though it looks like it will never be used for what it was originally intended.

Hopefully, sooner or later a similar opportunity will come my way. I'm certainly more than willing to work on another such project. I just hope that, if another such project does come my way, it actually reaches completion. Would be nice.

A compositional note: if you look carefully, you will see my initials and "09" in the upper left-hand corner, upside-down. To better go along with the story it was meant to illustrate, the sign was originally upside-down. I figure, to present it as just a piece of art on its own, it actually looks better with the sign right side-up. I guess I could have left it upside-down, but then viewers might wonder why I chose to show it that way. Personally, I prefer it with the letters oriented the proper way.

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Art to be in ABANDONED TOWERS

I finished my latest colouring page and got it sent off to the editor over at Abandoned Towers. She likes my latest creation, so it looks like the work will be in the July issue. That makes four separate illustrations of mine slated for publication in that issue.

In case you were wondering, this time around I decided to draw something Arthurian, but with a twist. In my "Excalibur" colouring page, an arm holding up a Celtic-style scabbarded sword rises from a lake, while a boat-riding warrior armed in a somewhat Romano-British style looks on. I based the sword on a couple of different historical examples. I based Arthur on a figure found in Ancient Celts, in a colour plate by Angus McBride. I wouldn't swear that my Arthur is 100% historically accurate for a Romano-Briton, but that's not the point. He works in the scene, and that's what really matters.

No sneak peeks just yet, I'm afraid. You'll just have to wait.

Souls Adrift Published in FEAR AND TREMBLING

My dark speculative poem "Souls Adrift" has been published in the e-zine Fear and Trembling. This piece has a connection to some of my other poems written from the point of view of a monster or creature in that it presents the cold loneliness of being a ghost from a ghost's point of view.

I think "Souls Adrift" happens to be one of my best speculative works yet. The poem explores the feelings as well as the description of being a ghost. It touches on emotion as well as imagery. It also seems to me to be one of my most poetic works yet. This is the very same poem that elicited a "wow" from the host when I read it during an open mic at Flavour Cafe. Yes, I read with emotion, but I think the words themselves, not just my presentation of those words, had something to do with the reaction.

Believe it or not, this is my first new poetry publication of 2010. All the poems I had published up to this point this year were reprints. This is also my first poem in Fear and Trembling, so another market cracked. It seems appropriate that this piece would start off my new poetry publications of 2010 by breaking into a new market. Works for me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Niteblade Art Blog: Sean Finch, Illustrator

In the latest installment of the Niteblade Art Blog, "Sean Finch, Illustrator", I feature the illustrations of fantasy and horror artist Sean Finch. Claiming that illustration best suited his penchant for detailed line drawing, and citing comic-book and comics artists as his main influence, Sean produces fantasy and horror images utilizing traditional pen and ink, pencil, coloured pencils, and colour art markers. You can view six of his black and white works in the latest Niteblade Art Blog entry.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cinquain On-Line at HOUSE OF HORROR

My dark cinquain "My Final Masterpiece", originally published in the December 2008 issue of Niteblade, can now be found in "The Master Bedroom" at the House of Horror (in their April 2010 issue). The master bedroom is an appropriate place for this particular piece, I think.

Unlike much of my dark poetry, "My Final Masterpiece" contains no supernatural elements. It's more worldly horror than otherworldly horror. Still, it is rather dark and disturbing.

Artist Interview up at RESIDENTIAL ALIENS

A little while back, the editor of Residential Aliens asked me to answer some interview questions about me and my artwork. The resulting interview is now on-line at the e-zine: ARTIST INTERVIEW: RICHARD H. FAY. Check it out!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Poem to be in November ABANDONED TOWERS

It looks like my literary poem "Life's Waning Season" will be in the November print issue of Abandoned Towers. Yahoo!

What's this? Not a speculative poem? That's right, this one happens to be one of my rare forays into mainstream verse. I got to play with metaphors a bit. Some may say I really went nowhere new with the imagery and language in this one, but I say there is really nothing new under the sun.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Poem On-Line at STATIC MOVEMENT

My dark speculative poem "Serpent of Storms", a piece inspired by the South African tales of the brain-eating Mamlambo, is now on-line in the April 2010 issue of Static Movement. Check it out!

I still prefer new poetry publications over reprints, but I must admit, reprints are nice. ("Serpent of Storms" was originally published in the March 2009 issue of The Monsters Next Door.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Finished another story!

Considering how long I put off working on my prose fiction, this is a big deal. I finished another story today, a horror piece based on the lore of one rather nasty Border goblin. It's already been sent out into the cold, cruel world (subbed to a pro market, too). Fingers crossed. Wish me luck!

That means this year I've already penned two stories larger than drabbles. That's pretty darned good, considered how long my story ideas simmered on the back burner. I may actually get into the habit of writing stories on occasion.

Of course, a little success would be a great incentive to keep writing. A sale would be nice. I guess I wait and see what happens.

Last Night's Open Mic

Last night reaffirmed my belief that there are way too many obnoxious people in the world. Too many people are wrapped up in their own lives, tied up in their own self-importance, to bother with a bit of common courtesy (which may not be very common anymore anyway).

Few of the patrons present in Flavour paid attention to the musician hosting the open mic, or to my poetry. As a matter of fact, the din of the various conversations just grew louder as the musician began to perform. I ended up reading my poetry louder and louder just to try and be heard over the hubbub. Not to mention, one couple walked out half-way through my first poem. That's always disheartening. And what applause there was from these unpleasant persons came grudgingly, if at all. (I feel I should add that my poetry certainly wasn't singled out for that snub.)

As for one especially obnoxious patron in particular...if, during an event, you're going to continue your conversation at such a level that you start to drown out the performers at the event, or you feel you must talk over the performers to be heard by your companion, take it out into the next room! The rest of us don't want to hear about the trials and tribulations of the various nut jobs you're counseling. Not to mention, talking about such things loudly in a public place is in very bad taste.

If you couldn't already tell, I think things didn't go overly well last night. Which is a shame, since the other times I read my poetry at Flavour were all positive experiences. I guess it was inevitable that I would have a bad night, that I would encounter a bad crowd, sooner or later.