Sunday, October 31, 2010

Three More Poems for APHELION

Three more of my dark speculative poems will be appearing in forthcoming issues of the web-zine Aphelion. Two are reprints, and one has appeared on my blogs but hasn't yet appeared in a zine. "The Accursed Castle", originally published in the 2008 issue of Champagne Shivers, is slated for publication in the December 2010 issue of Aphelion. "Who (or What) is at the Door?", a poem inspired by real-life encounters with the paranormal, is slated to appear in the February 2011 issue. "A Haunted House", originally published in the October 2007 issue of Tales form the Moonlit Path, is slated for publication in the March 2011 issue of Aphelion.

Looking at these three all together, as I did while checking over the proofs, I realise how often I tend to use the same language. "The Accursed Castle" contains "unseen things"; while an "unseen thing" stands at the door in "Who (or What) is at the Door?". An "algid chill" pervades the ruin of "The Accursed Castle", while "an eldritch chill" wafts through the rooms of "A Haunted House" (the legion is eldritch in "The Accursed Castle").

Hm...maybe I should work harder at mixing up my language a bit. I could argue that some of this is my style, but I might appear to be stuck in a rut. Two of these poems ("The Accursed Castle" and "Who (or What) is at the Door?") were written two years apart, but still... (As for my frequent use of eldritch, it happens to be one of my favourite words, so it tends to show up in my poetry a lot. )

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On This Halloween

On This Halloween

by Richard H. Fay

Knock, knock, knock
Sounds upon front door
Clad in frightful garb,
While quickening gloom
Darkens Autumn sky
And a dying breeze
Swirls crisp fallen leaves
On this Halloween.

Who could it be?
Heroes and villains,
Princesses and ghouls,
Witches and wizards,
Monsters and goblins,
Werewolves and robots,
All waiting for treats,
Stand upon my step
On this Halloween.

Knock, knock, knock
Sounds upon front door
Bathed in porch light's glow,
While dimming candle
Behind grinning face
Of grim hollowed gourd
Sputters and snuffs out
On this Halloween.

Who could it be?
Nothing but a chill
Carried on a breath
Blowing from nowhere
Stirs at the threshold.
Not a living soul,
No visible thing,
Treads upon my step
On this Halloween.

Knock, knock, knock
Sounds upon front door
Silvered by moonlight,
While night creatures call
And tattered grey ghosts
Scoot swiftly across
An eventide sky
On this Halloween.

Who could it be?
Unearthly black forms
Reeling to fell tune
Send scared heart racing
And steal frightened gasp.
Devilish sprites loosed
To play impish tricks
Dance upon my step
On this Halloween.

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Writing a 60 Line Horror Poem...

...may have been a bit of a mistake. Last night, I finished a dark speculative poem poem inspired by a creepy abandoned house around the corner from where I live. This morning, I performed the standard market search. A few paying markets seemed promising, until I came to the part in their guidelines which states that they take poems of fifty lines or less. The poem as it stands now has six stanzas of ten lines each, and I really don't think I could ditch one whole stanza. It would break the overall pattern of the poem if I cut a stanza.

In the end, I did find a potential market, although it's hard to say if the poem in question really stands a chance of fitting in at that particular venue. I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

My long-form poems have been getting longer and more complex as of late. However, I may have to fight against my growing tendency to write poems over fifty lines, given how so many markets prefer poems of fifty lines or less. Still, it's not always easy to tell the whole narrative of the story in verse I want to tell in under fifty lines.

Monday, October 25, 2010

shrouded skeletons

shrouded skeletons
swaying amidst cobweb veils
seasonal decor

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

What I See as Hypocrisy

Apparently, it's very, very, very wrong to use a racial or ethnic slur (or perhaps even to call a particular group "PC parrots"), but it's A-okay and a sign of extreme wit to refer to certain people as "incompetent wannabes", "Grade-A Five Star Morons", or "alpha-wannabe knuckle-draggers" (to name just a few examples of such denigrating tags I've seen flung about out there in the blogosphere).

In the mind of this Grade-A Five-Star moron, the two different instances of derogatory name-calling are seen as different in their details and targets, but in a more general view, they both still remain instances of derogatory name-calling. They still remain a slur on the character, intelligence, or even humanity, of those individuals tagged with these terms.

How come I think both are equally insulting? How come I honestly believe both are wrong? How come I see thinking one is terribly wrong while actively practicing the use of the other as a sign of hypocrisy?

Perhaps this moronic mind of mine is just blind to the finer subtleties of the issue. Perhaps I'm just too stupid to understand. (I also don't understand the place such derogatory terms as "incompetent wannabe", "Grade-A Five-Star Moron", or "alpha-wannabe knuckle-dragger" have in intellectual discourse or intelligent debate, but debating has never been my strong point.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spooks and Frights

Spooks and Frights

By Richard H. Fay

Spectres take flight!
Phantoms and ghosts drift into sight.
Bogles and bogies,
Goblins and ghouls,
Join all strange things that go bump in the night.

Skeletons chuckle!
Graveyard moulds heave and buckle.
Creatures and critters,
Monsters and mutants,
Rise up slowly from the miry muckle.

Leaves fall and blow!
Corpse light candles flicker and glow.
Witches and warlocks,
Devils and demons,
Wing through the sky to frighten those below.

Zombies must roam!
Bats take off in the gloam.
Maniacs and madmen,
Frankensteins and fiends,
Dig dead bodies from the cemetery loam.

Something's at the door!
Strange beings recite spooky lore.
Wraiths and wizards,
Bugbears and banshees,
Appear from the dark to scare you once more.

Copyright © 2007 Richard H. Fay

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What? More Weirdness from the Realm of Publication Subs

I received a reply to a query I sent about a poem I assumed was still on hold at a certain publication. Turns out, the editor thought I had previously sent an e-mail withdrawing my submission. I had not sent a withdrawal; all I sent previously was a query asking about the status of the submission. The editor's choices for the upcoming issue of this zine have already been made, and my poem wasn't amongst those items picked for inclusion. When she thought I withdrew the poem, she removed it from her short list. So, through no fault of my own, I'm out of luck, and have to sent the poem out yet again.

Damn it! I can handle normal, ordinary rejections, just. It's this weird crap that irks me to no end. This is insane. In any other field, this sort of insanity wouldn't be tolerated for very long. Welcome to the craziness that is realm of publication!

Tell me this publication thing ISN'T a crap shoot. Tell me luck, good or bad, doesn't have a large part to play. Go ahead, I dare you! Just don't expect a civil reply if you do. Right at this very moment, I'm not in the mood for being civil.

This is the very same poem that almost saw publication in Doorways, but for the fact that Doorways ceased publication before publishing said poem. Prior to that, this piece also spent time on hold at another publication before being ultimately rejected.The poem in question has been in submission limbo since 2007. Once I send it back out, if I can find yet another market to send it to, that will make the ninth time I've tried to get this piece published somewhere. I'm starting to think that this poem will never get published. It's a frustrating thought.

By the way, I have questioned the advice I've seen recently about avoiding new publications, but now I'm starting to see the wisdom in that recommendation. I'm beginning to think sticking to more established venues might just avoid some of this insanity (the publication in question is a brand-new zine).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Horrorku On-Line at TRAPEZE

My horrorku "moonlit moor", inspired by the lore of the Wild Hunt and other spectral hunts, is now on-line at Trapeze Magazine. This is the first of three horrorku of mine slated to be in Trapeze between now and December. It's a form that I have had some success with, which is weird, because I can be long-winded at times. Actually, I think my experience as a composer of speculative haiku has made me more aware of the benefits of brevity. I think I've gained a better understanding of the importance of an economy of words. You simply don't have the luxury of being long-winded when it comes to haiku or speculative haiku derivatives.

Anyway, it's October, it's less than two weeks 'til Halloween, and another of my dark poems is out there for the world to see. I love this time of year.

I'm a Moron!

Apparently, I'm a moron...

A moron who graduated with honours from high school.

A moron who graduated with honours from a two-year college.

A moron who impressed some of his biology instructors at said college with his retentive abilities and intellect.

A moron who explained to one of his college biology instructors (a botanist by background) what is meant when it's said that Archeopteryx had claws (meaning "claws on its wings").

A moron who earned a B.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, from a state university.

A moron who was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

A moron who so impressed the state mycologist while said moron worked as a community service student at the state museum that the mycologist kept him on as a volunteer working on a fungal DNA project and then as a lab worker working on a contracted mold spore project.

A moron who became very adept at identifying Aspergilus fumigatus and other fungal spores under the microscope, and who developed a series of "spore mugshot" drawings for identification purposes.

A moron who, while working in an aquatic biology lab, researched the way to identify amphipods more precisely than his predecessors and colleagues had done previously.

A moron whose work was always deemed careful and thorough when he worked at a lab screening for newborn genetic diseases and HIV.

A moron who, while working in the newborn screening lab, earned his certificate to handle low-level radioactive materials.

A moron who was deemed reliable and responsible enough to do some of the HIV computer work when the person who normally did such work was on vacation.

A moron who sold his art for a profit at a handful of medieval fairs and arts and crafts shows.

A moron who successfully home-educated his daughter for ten years, a daughter that is now an honour student in college.

A moron who has seen well over one-hundred of his poems, several of his articles, and quite a few of his illustrations, published in a variety of venues, including a number of paying venues.

A moron who wrote an article about speculative poetry that the president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association apparently deems of enough interest to post a link to said article on the SFPA forum.

A moron who was asked by a publisher to write the foreword for a speculative poetry collection penned by a pair of master speculative poets.

A moron who was chosen out of a handful of candidates to write regular art blog entries featuring the works of established and aspiring fantasy and horror artists, entries that the artists have been invariably pleased with.

A moron who is a "master poet" and "a brilliant mind with the craft to prove it".

If the above a moron make, then what does that say about everybody else?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Poem Accepted at TREMBLES

I received word that a dark speculative poem of mine has been accepted for publication in the January 2011 issue of Trembles Horror Magazine, a new horror zine. I believe that the January issue will be their first issue.

Yet another for my list of forthcoming publications, and another for 2011. I already have stuff slated for publication in April 2011 and Summer 2011. Now I have something for January 2011, a poem that has been kicking around in my submission pool (on-and-off) since 2007.

Not bad for a Grade-A Five-Star Moron. I didn't think it possible for a moron to see so many poems published at so many venues over so many months and years (April 2011 will make it four years), but I guess anything is possible. I'm a persistent moron, if nothing else.

Advice on Protecting Your Work

I ran across this article by Lisa Morton on the Horror Writers Association site about protecting your intellectual property against cyber-pirates:
http://www.horror.org/writetips-morton.htm

(Note: I am not a member of the HWA, or any other professional writing association, but I saw the link in another writer's blog and thought I would share it.)

In these days of on-line publications and internet piracy, finding ways to protect your intellectual property is vital. Most things presented in the article seem useful, although I do question the bit about being wary of publishers who offer no advance. Actually, based on my personal experience, that part made me chuckle.

This idea of being wary of publishers who don't offer advances might be valid for the "pros", but having dealt with small-press "fan zines" on a regular basis, I can say that many of the smaller presses pay on publication. This includes many respectable small presses that have been around for a while. Several of these small presses also don't offer contracts. Perhaps they should, perhaps more small presses should offer contracts on a more regular basis, but in some instances the best you get is an electronic handshake via e-mails.

Funny, that bit about thinking twice before you post samples of your writing on your blog, web site, or on various social networks or forums. From a self-promotional angle, I've heard it recommended that you should post samples of your work. I certainly have lots of work scattered across the internet. However, I can see how this can make it easy for potential plagiarists to steal the work.

I was adding the copyright to all of my works posted in my blogs, but I got out of the habit. I should get back into that habit once more. I do tend to use a watermark on my art posted to my blogs, on those occasions I post art.

Personally, I'm not opposed to dealing with new editors and publishers. I'm not opposed to sending electronic submissions to "fledgling" venues. The vast majority of my submissions are e-subs. However, I understand that this can be a risky venture. Still, when it comes to my writing (mostly speculative poetry), I don't want to restrict myself to just the "establishment". I'll run out of potential markets real quick if I do that!

I had a Google alert set up under my name, but I got too much garbage. I may set one up again, knowing that there are some blatant plagiarists lurking around on the crazy-net. I also found that Alta-Vista is pretty good for doing a text search:
http://www.altavista.com/
I did some searching of the first lines or stanzas of a lot of my poetry using Alta-Vista, and it seemed to do a better job than a similar Google search. I didn't run across anything that was someplace it shouldn't be, but you never know.

As the old saying goes, better being safe than sorry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Niteblade Art Blog: Passions and Shadows

A new Niteblade Art Blog entry is now up in the Niteblade News section of the Niteblade web-site. This time around, I feature the work of the aspiring young artist Kameron Ramos. Working with various media in a variety of styles, Kameron keeps plugging away at a comic and other projects while awaiting the day he and his works will be discovered by the greater creative community.

You can see three samples of Kameron's work, and a link to his on-line gallery, here:

Passions and Shadows: The Art of Kameron Ramos

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Poem Accepted for Halloween Issue of HOUSE OF HORROR

My Halloween poem "Gathering of the Dead", originally published in the Halloween 2009 Issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path, has been accepted for publication in the Halloween 2010 Issue of House of Horror. Another Halloween, and my Halloween verse will be appearing in another e-zine. Nice!

There are reasons I'm particularly happy that this poem is going to be republished. I actually made a mistake regarding the name of the full moon in late October. What, a mistake? Yes, a mistake! I originally called it the Harvest Moon, but the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, so it wouldn't be the full moon in late October. A full moon on or around Halloween would actually be the next full moon, the Hunter's Moon.

Anyway...this poem is one of many of my works inspired by the lore surrounding Halloween. I find Halloween to be a great source of inspiration. Mind you, I'm not talking about the kitschy Halloween of latex masks and inflatable monstrosities. I mean the Halloween of spooky tales and strange happenings. I'm talking about the Halloween of the rising dead, of stirring spectres, of gathering shades. I'm referring to a time when eldritch things rove graveyard and grove, when frightful shades roam moonlight wood and moor.

All Hallows' Eve, or November Eve, is one of the times when fairy enchantment is particularly strong, when the wee folk might be seen dancing atop their ancient hills. A fairy story amongst the number of tales collected by Lady Wilde, "November Eve", was the direct inspiration for "Gathering of the Dead". The story touches on the connection between fairies and the dead. I plunged deeper down that dark path when I followed where inspiration led and created a ghostly verse rather than a fairy tale.

Monday, October 11, 2010

parting crimson lips

parting crimson lips
gleaming fangs pierce flesh
her vampiric kiss

All this Dissing of Columbus...

I think it ironic when Americans of European descent gripe and grumble about the day set aside to celebrate, or at least honour, the European "discovery" of America and its Italian "discoverer". It makes me think there is just a little bit of self-hatred going on, at least in regard to all those white politically correct Americans making politically correct nasty comments about Columbus Day. If you aren't Native American, if you aren't of the group that had their lands stolen and culture destroyed, why dis Columbus and Columbus Day? Feeling guilty, are we? Transferring that guilt to a long-dead explorer, perhaps?

Sure, Europeans behaved very badly once they started settling and exploiting the New World. However, if you are an American, unless you're 100% Native American, you wouldn't be in America, you wouldn't be an American, if it wasn't for those Europeans who came to America to trade or steal, to settle or conquer. Even African Americans were brought over to America by European slavers. Columbus's voyages were the trigger events that started all this exploring and exploiting, all this colonising and immigrating. Yes, there were native peoples in the Americas before Columbus ever set foot on American soil (and I don't recall teachers ever denying this fact in school, contrary to what some people seem to suggest), but that doesn't change the fact that much of US society and culture has European roots. Yes, other Europeans landed in the Americas before, but these examples of European exploration and settlement in the New World prior to Columbus's voyages didn't last. For better or worse, what came after Columbus's voyages lasted. If it hadn't been Columbus, it would have been some other European explorer, but all of us Americans of European descent are here thanks, in part, to Columbus's voyages and all the voyages of exploration and settlement that followed in Columbus's wake.

Personally, I think we should celebrate "Leif Erikson Day", and say to heck with this guy Columbus. That's my contribution to all this dissing of Columbus; he really wasn't even the first European to set foot on American soil, so why don't we do more to honour the one who may have been the first? (At least, first as far as we know and have good evidence for.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pre-Order HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010

Pre-order the HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010 here:
http://www.houseofhorror.org.uk/#/book-shop/4535143845
Mention my name in the order form when you buy the anthology, and I get a royalty.

Horrorku Posted in MICROCOSMS

My horrorku "putrefied flesh" has been posted in Microcosms, a venue that publishes tweet-length speculative poetry. Speculative haiku-type poems (scifaiku, horrorku, and the like) seems especially suited for such a venue, since they are so small (typically seventeen syllables or less). It's nice to have another potential market for my really short short-form speculative poetry. It's even nicer to add another poetry publication to my list for 2010.

Story Formally Accepted at HUNGUR

My prose story "Vengeance of the Alpe" has been formally accepted for publication in Hungur Issue 11, scheduled for release All Souls' Night 2010. That's right, folks, I said prose, as in prose fiction, as in not poetry. This will be my first prose fiction longer than a one-hundred word drabble published by any zine, ever. It will be my second piece of prose fiction of any size published by a zine; the first was my drabble "The Trouble with Unsolicited Messages", which appeared in The Drabbler #11.

I've had plenty of poems published in a variety of venues (well over one-hundred last count). I've also had a handful of non-fiction articles published in various zines. However, I haven't had much in the way of prose fiction publications. I'm hoping the acceptance of "Vengeance of the Alpe" will be the start of a new trend. I'm hoping it won't be the last story of mine to see publication. This acceptance definitely encourages me to write more prose fiction. It helps counter my lack of confidence in my prose fiction writing abilities. At least one of my stories larger than a drabble was deemed publishable by at least one editor. That has to mean something. Right?

Am I allowed to call myself a writer now? (I guess I had better get writing more stories to further validate my claim to that particular appellation.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two Reprint Poems in Sept/Oct Issue of APHELION

Two previously published speculative poems of mine are now on-line in the September/October 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion.

"Marriage of Earth and Antares", originally published in the February 2008 issue of Sounds of the Night, was my stab at creating something that shows how true love can be universal, even between a human and an alien. The stanzas of this one are cinquains in the broader sense of the term, since they each consist of five lines, but they don't follow the more specific 2-4-6-8-2 pattern developed by Adelaide Crapsey.

"Sorceress Devolution", originally published in the October-December 2008 issue of The Lorelei Signal, is a dark fantasy piece that follows a sorceress's rise to power and descent into damnation. It began life many, many years ago as a poem called "Logica Magica", and through various permutations eventually became something of a companion piece to "Sorcerous Evolution". Both are experiments in composing verse that reads almost like a chant, and both are a part of my growing body of sorcerous poetry. For some reason, wizards work for me.

One of these days really soon, I should count up how many reprints I've had published so far this year. It seems like this is indeed the year of the reprint roll, but I have had large numbers of reprints published in past years as well. However, I know my list of new poetry publications for 2010 is awfully short. A few upcoming publications should help to rectify that just a bit. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Poem Accepted at BETE NOIRE

A dark speculative poem of mine that has been doing the rounds for a while, and had a few close calls regarding potential publication, has now been accepted for publication in the Spring 2011 issue of Bete Noire, due out in April. I do hope the poem actually makes it all the way to publication this time. I'll make sure to get the signed contract sent out ASAP, and then hope nothing unforeseen happens between now and April 2011.

This was one of two poems of mine that were being held at two different venues for further consideration. I'm glad I got news on this one, but I hope I hear news about the other one soon. Any news would be nice, but good news would be even nicer.

Yeah, I'm greedy that way.

Poetry to be in HOUSE OF HORROR BEST OF 2010

It looks like something of mine will be in House of Horror's Best of 2010 anthology. I don't know all the specifics yet; I just received a brief message informing me that something of mine was picked for inclusion in the anthology, and the editor would e-mail more details after receiving a message confirming my agreement to this. Yeah, I'm happy with this.

Confirmation sent. Awaiting further details.

I guess I will eventually have another "Best Of" anthology credit to add to my list. How many "Best Ofs" have I had poetry in so far? At least six or seven, if not more.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"The Iltrox" Poem & Illustration in HOUSE OF HORROR

My dark speculative poem blending sci-fi and horror, "The Iltrox", now appears along with its accompanying illustration in the Gallery of Issue 16 of House of Horror. The poem has been previously published; it originally appeared in the All Souls' Night 2007 issue of the print magazine Hungur. The illustration has not been previously published; I simply didn't think of doing an illustration at the time the poem was originally published. I had considered trying to get the illustration published on its own, completely separate from the poem, but I'm glad poem and illustration actually ended up together in House of Horror. Sometimes I just don't like to split up a matched set.