Friday, August 27, 2010

Banshee Horrorku

keening wail
moonlit hush shatters
death foretold

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Demons of the Dark Nebula" now On-line

My dark sci-fi poem about nebula-dwelling, life-draining entities causing deadly trouble for the Earthling crew of a disabled exploratory vessel, "Demons of the Dark Nebula", is now on-line at Abandoned Towers. This one was originally published in the Walpurgisnacht 2008 issue of Hungur. Its posting on the Abandoned Towers site marks its first appearance on-line.

I've noticed that the current incarnation of Abandoned Towers on-line allows readers to leave comments. All comments, questions, words of praise, or even criticism of my poem, are welcome. Really. I would love to "hear" what readers think of my darkly weird work.

By the way, more of my poetry can be found on-line at the Abandoned Towers site here: "Poetry From Richard H. Fay". You could say that I've had a little bit of success getting my poetry published in Abandoned Towers on-line. Not that everything I've sent has been accepted; another of my pieces previously published in Hungur proved too dark and disturbing for the AT editor's tastes. It happens.

Anyway, check out "Demons of the Dark Nebula".

Friday, August 20, 2010

When Fear Trumps Law

The United States of America may be a nation of laws, but it's still a nation populated by human beings. That means, as a nation, it still suffers all the foibles and flaws inherent in humanity. Emotion may overpower reason, at times on a national level. Irrational reaction may override constitutional rights, especially if that irrational reaction is in response to a perceived threat, real or imagined. Fear is a dangerously powerful motivator, one that can lead to people saying, or even doing, some rather despicable things.

Doubt me? In US history fear has, arguably, trumped law before. Ever heard of the Japanese-American Interment of World War II? Due to a perceived threat (probably more imaginary than real), Japanese-Americans, many of them US citizens (Wikipedia claims 62%), were relocated to internment camps following the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor:
World War Two - Japanese Internment Camps in the US (History on the Net.com)
Japanese American Internment - Wikipedia

The US officially apologized for this despicable action in 1988. Then it admitted that the government acted out of "race prejudice" and "war hysteria". However, there are those who still believe that the internment was legal, despite the apparent suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the violation of the Fifth Amendment's guarantee that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law". War is often used as an excuse to do some rather questionable things, including violating civil rights guaranteed under the Constitution in the name of national security.

See what fear can do? Can't we finally learn from past mistakes, learn from our history? Must we be doomed to repeat it?

What I fear is that I'm seeing it happen again. I'm seeing fear override reason, and in some cases even override the Constitution (Patriot Acts, anyone?). The whole "Ground Zero Mosque" debate shows how much this perilously powerful motivator is still exerting a potentially dangerous influence on American thought almost nine years after the September 11th attacks.

Believe in the Constitution? Then defend it, every part of it, even parts of it you aren't necessarily comfortable with. Believe in the US as a nation of laws? Then don't let irrational fears trump law. Otherwise, the US stops being a nation of laws and becomes something else, something less.

Stop the Demonizing

To the hate-filled fools crying foul over the building of the "Ground Zero Mosque": stop the stupid demonizing, learn some history (and geography), and study your own Constitution, you idiots!

Ever heard of freedom of religion? I dare not even ask if you idiots have ever heard of the Reconquista (in reference to the fuss over the name Cordoba Center), because that's probably asking for way too much.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Horrorku Accepted for Publication in SCIFAIKUEST

Two of my horrorku (or somewhat dark speculative haiku) have been accepted for publication in the November 2010 issue of Scifaikuest. One will appear in the print version, while the other will appear in the on-line version. I like that idea, having a different "ku" in each version of the November issue.

I must say, this was a surprisingly quick acceptance. I only sent the submission (consisting of seven horrorku in all) out on Monday. Rarely in the mad world of publication do you see an editor reply with an acceptance that quickly, but it's nice when you do see it happen that way.

In keeping with the current trends in haiku in English, I tried to take a very minimalist approach with these two pieces. They are certainly more minimalistic than some of my past examples. After I previously had several haiku rejected for being too wordy, I've made a real effort to pare down my haiku to a minimum of words. Gone are the days of strict adherence to the 5-7-5 format; most of my recent haiku contain fewer than seventeen syllables (twelve and fourteen in these latest to be accepted for publication). It seems to be working for me, if this acceptance is any indication.

As always, I'll post links when the pieces are published.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Demons of the Dark Nebula" Accepted for ABANDONED TOWERS On-Line

It looks as though my dark sci-fi poem "Demons of the Dark Nebula", originally published in the Walpurgisnacht 2008 issue of Hungur, will eventually be posted alongside my other poems in Abandoned Towers on-line. At first, I was hoping to add this one to my collection-in-progress, but Crystalwizard said it was too dark for the collection. However, she also said that the poem would fit in the section containing my poems already on-line at the Abandoned Towers site. I'm fine with that. (I guess you could say that I've been on a reprint roll lately.)

I'll post a link when the poem is on-line.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Redcap" in ABANDONED TOWERS

It looks as though my illustration of the nasty border goblin known as Redcap will be appearing in the Summer 2011 Issue of the print version of Abandoned Towers. Seeing as how Redcaps would often reside in ruined castles and peel towers, the forthcoming publication of my Redcap illustration in a magazine named Abandoned Towers seems strangely appropriate.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Breaking up the Collection

I've reached a decision regarding my ill-fated illustrated dark speculative poetry collection. After having two different publishers pull out of publishing the collection, after receiving no reply to my query sent back on May 24th to a third potential publisher (a publisher that claims a response time of two to four weeks in regard to poetry collection queries), and after having no real luck finding other potential publishers open to unsolicited submissions at this very moment, I've decided to throw in the towel and break up the collection. My patience has run out, and I simply don't have the time and energy to keep searching for potential publishers for the doomed collection, especially when I have plenty of other things to work on right now. Since I have another collection in the works, and since I have all of one new poem (currently shortlisted at a particular horror market) in my submission pool, it seems best to give up on my vision of seeing Dreadful Visions, Terrible Dreams published as a whole and use the material from that collection to fill out the other collection and fill up my submission pool.

It would have been nice to see the collection in print; it had a pretty solid theme throughout, and some damned good art. It would have been a great collection to promote around Halloween, with darkly-themed readings and the like. Alas, it may well have been too diabolic for its own good.

A few fairy-themed poems that were originally slated for inclusion in my ill-fated collection have already been sent to Abandoned Towers (and have already been accepted for publication in their Summer 2011 issue). Now I have to decide where to send the rest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poem Shortlisted, Fingers Crossed

I received word that one of my dark speculative poems is on the editor's short list over at a new small press horror magazine, Death Rattle Magazine. I hope it makes it through the final cut this time; this very same poem had been shortlisted once before elsewhere, but ended up rejected in the end. This is also the very same poem that almost saw publication in Doorways Magazine, that would have seen publication in Doorways but for the fact that Doorways died before publishing it. Once I decided to send the work elsewhere, I withdrew it just to be safe, but at that point, it had become obvious that Doorways was already dead. It's also my oldest work still out there; this poem has been bouncing around in the crazy world of poetry submissions since October '07. Six rejections, one of them being an "almost", and the Doorways debacle later, I'm still hoping that this poem will finally find a good home.

I do hope the poem ends up accepted at this latest venue because, in regard to this particular piece, I don't know how many more "almosts" I can take!

Poems & Cover Art for ABANDONED TOWERS

It looks like several of my poems inspired by fairy lore will be appearing in the 2011 issue of the print version of Abandoned Towers, slated for release that summer. A couple of the poems haven't been published previously, while others are reprints. Among the reprints: "At the Wheel", my Tom Tit Tot poem originally published in the Spring 2010 Issue of Illumen, and "Fairy Bandits", originally published in the December 2009 Issue of the web-zine Aphelion. These poems are in addition to my reprint article "The Darker Side of Fairy Lore" already accepted for publication in that issue. Actually, Crystalwizard said she wants to build the issue around my article. How cool is that?

I guess I had better get the contract for those poems filled out and sent off. I like already having works slated for publication into 2011. It's a good feeling. (Come March 2011, I will have been at this for four years.)

If the poems and article weren't already enough, Crystalwizard also wants me to do the cover art for that issue. It's certainly a theme that's right up my alley. I already have a fairy-themed image that's been bouncing around in my head for a while, well before Crystalwizard ever decided to build the Summer 2011 Issue of Abandoned Towers around my article. Now I have a reason to actually draw it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

When Wizards Dream at Night Illustration

This may have been up for a while before I noticed it, but the other day I saw that my illustration for my poem "When Wizards Dream at Night" now appears alongside the poem in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. This was a tricky illustration to compose. I had to come up with a way to draw black figures made basically of cloud and shadow against a dark nighttime sky. I used a similar technique to what I used in the black wormy things in "Things in the Swamp", leaving sections of outlining in white (which I then coloured in a light shade). It might not have worked as effectively in this case as it did in my previous drawing (it will be hard to ever recapture the effectiveness of the "Things in the Swamp" illustration - that still stands as one of my best), but it worked well enough.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Horrorku & Dark Speculative Poem in APHELION

My horrorku "black leathery wings" and my dark speculative poem "Nightmares Fell my Fantasy" now appear on-line in the July/August 2010 Issue of the web-zine Aphelion. Both are reprints; "black leathery wings originally appeared in Issue Four of The Monsters Next Door, while "Nightmares Fell my Fantasy" was published in the Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses grim poetry anthology.

I have to say, in some ways, "Nightmares Fell my Fantasy" is quite grim, in a medieval fantasy/horror sort of way. The horrorku, on the other hand, was simply a matter of envisioning bats flying across a full harvest moon, and then deciding that the bats weren't really bats after all. The Full Harvest Moon doesn't really occur until October or September (according to the Farmer's Almanac), but it's hard to coordinate the publication of such a thing at just the right time.

When a Rejection Isn't Necessarily a Bad Thing

In my e-mail in-box, I found a rejection for a poem and illustration combo sent out on March 26th. In the rejection, the editor said that the poem "Death's Ship" and its accompanying illustration were both "almost", but just didn't grab him. I believe this was the second rejection for both the poem and the artwork.

While this was somewhat disappointing, as most rejections are, there is a brighter side. I've been looking for material to fill out my illustrated speculative poetry collection-in-progress entitled Cosmic Journeys. The publisher interested in publishing this particular venture wants at least 125 pages of material. I've been working hard at illustrating most of the poems already slated to appear in the collection, but I could always use a few more poems to add to the list. So, I'm going to include my poem about Death rocketing through the cosmos in Cosmic Journeys.

Am I using the collection-in-progress as a refuse bin? I don't think so; what might not work for certain zines may fit perfectly in the collection. Like I said, the theme of "Death's Ship" actually fits fairly well with the theme suggested by the title of the collection-in-progress, a theme displayed by at least some of the other works already included.

Of course, the publisher has to like the poem and art enough to include them for them to stay. I hope she decides that they can stay. I would hate to have to come up with even more material at the last minute!

One definite downside to this rejection - I now have all of one previously unpublished poem in my submission pool. I simply haven't had the time, or the inspiration, to refill the pool right now. Plus, I've been busy with various art projects. Hopefully, some of the fruits of those labours will see publication next month.

Now I had better get working on drawing those drawings yet to be drawn!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Art in Beyond Centauri

Today, I received my contributor's copy of the July 2010 Issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Beyond Centauri. It contains my ink drawing of a rather adorable sci-fi critter I call a "Tree-Climbing Crimbolain". I knew the image was on the cute side, in a strange sort of way, but it looks simply adorable in print. Why not purchase a copy of the zine and see for yourself? (The Sam's Dot Purchase Center can be found HERE.)

I was kind of surprised to see that I am among the ranks of contributors listed on the cover, even if I do appear merely in the "plus" listing in the lower right corner. At least I made it out of the catch-all category "and many more". I always like it when that happens. Not bad for a mere illustration!

If all goes according to plan, I should have a three-headed dragon in the October issue. I also sent the editor a potential cover image for a forthcoming issue; I'm still awaiting a reply on that particular submission. We'll have to wait and see what the future brings. I will admit, I'm rather anxious to find out if my cover art will be deemed acceptable. While I don't necessarily mind doing interior illustrations, more covers would definitely be nice, for a variety of reasons.

Stegosaurus



One of my first great interests as a kid was dinosaurs. Ever since I can remember, I liked monsters, and dinosaurs seemed like monsters that really did walk the Earth, instead of merely made-up ones. In some ways, I never lost my fascination with dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts. Way back when I was in university, I even wrote a couple of college papers with dinosaurian themes. My major undergraduate paper was on Archeopteryx and avian evolution, arguing that certain theropod dinosaurs were the direct ancestors of birds at a time when the point was still debatable.

When I was younger, I used to draw dinosaurs frequently. I even created my own dinosaur drawings for one of my college papers (not the Archeopteryx one, the other dinosaurian-themed one).

Lately, I haven't had much of a chance to draw dinos. I did draw an Allosaurus as part of an illustration to accompany my scifaiku "temporal crack", but most of my recent illustrating has involved fantastical or historical subjects, not prehistorical ones. However, the editor of Abandoned Towers has been asking for more dinosaurs for her Zazzle store. I figured I should draw a Stegosaurus to go with the Allosaurus, so I did.

My "Stegosaurus" is now featured on merchandise in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store. (In case you were wondering, merchandise featuring my "Allosaurus" can be found HERE.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Colouring Page to be Dropped

Today, I received word from the editor of Abandoned Towers that she is thinking of dropping the colouring page as a regular feature. It seems that there is no longer room in the magazine for a colouring page. Apparently, the last two issues were over limit, and something needed to be cut from forthcoming issues. My colouring page happens to be one of the things being cut.

Bummer! It was nice having a regular feature, while it lasted.