Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Acceptance of 2010

I received what is very likely my last acceptance of 2010. My dark speculative poem "Song of the Dead" has been accepted for publication in the February 2011 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Sounds of the Night.

This will be my fifth poem to appear in Sounds of the Night, not bad for a speculative poet who thought he didn't really write "sensuous" speculative poetry. To be honest, I don't write a lot of sensuous speculative poetry, but I do write it on occasion. The editor actually thanked me for always sending such consistently great work, so I guess I'm doing something right when writing those occasional sensuous piece.

2010 proved to be a troubling year. After all the downs I suffered along with the ups that seemed too few and far between, I'm glad it seems to be ending on an up-note. Perhaps it's a sign of things to come in 2011.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rejection #4

Boy, there are times I hate being right! When I proclaimed "Let the Rejections Begin" after I first sent out my wizardly fantasy story, I was being quite prophetic. The story has received rejection number four. Alas, I may have to start trying the semi-pros and fan-zines; I'm not sure how many potential pro-venues are left to try. I'm ruling out a few pro-venues; this particular story may be the wrong fit for certain pro publications.

Something told me that this story would have a hard time finding a good home. Not that I think the story is necessarily bad or flawed (certain opinions aside). It's simply that I wrote the story that was in my head, versus the sort of story I think the markets may prefer. Probably the biggest flaw with this story is that I neglected the golden rule of "write for your audience". Writing for oneself doesn't always work, at least in terms of writing for publication.

Will my wizardly short story ever find a home? I hope so, eventually, but I may have to set my sights lower. I'll just have to keep trying and see what happens.

Zazzle Sales

Well, I'm happy to say I'm starting to see fairly regular sales in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. It might not last; it might simply be the holiday boost all sellers see at this time of year. Sales could slump right off, and I could go months with no sales at all. However, I would like to think that some of it is due to the hard work I put in getting some new images and new items in the store. Besides, any and all sales are a good thing. Plus, it's nice to do the initial work to get designs up in the store, then sit back and see the royalties roll in.

Currently, my fleur-de-lis seems to be a hit. I almost didn't create that design. I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fantasy Poem Accepted at THE ABSENT WILLOW REVIEW

My wizardly fantasy poem "When Wizards Clashed" has been accepted for publication in the April 16, 2011 issue of The Absent Willow Review. I'm glad this one found a home, eventually, because it was the sort of wizardly poem I wanted to write. Since what I want to write might not always match what markets seem to want, finding a home for such works can prove difficult at times.

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.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Article Linked to on the PenUltimate Productions Site

My article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" is one of the articles linked to on Elizabeth Barrette's PenUltimate Productions Prismatica Worksheets page. Having a link to my article appear alongside links to articles such as Suzette Elgin's "About Science Fiction Poetry" makes me think I may actually have written something truly relevant. Could it be? I hardly dare think such a thing, but this isn't the first time a fairly accomplished speculative poet has posted a link to "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future". Such things may make one think one has actually created something of relevance and value. Perhaps. Just perhaps.

Memories of Camelot Postage Stamp from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Postage Stamp from Zazzle.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Memories of Camelot" in Zazzle Store


My artwork "Memories of Camelot" now appears on merchandise in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. This one originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of Abandoned Towers as one of two illustrations for Bradley Sinor's story "And the Wind Sang". Jeff Parish also used it, with the addition of some text, for the "door" of his English IV at North Lamar High School web site. I finally got around to cropping it down to appropriate dimensions for use on Zazzle merchandise. Now it's on a mousepad, iPad case, poster, keychain, magnet, and a few other items.

Art Accepted at OG'S SPECULATIVE FICTION

It looks like my artwork "Wandering Ole Willow" may be appearing on a cover of OG'S Speculative Fiction, perhaps the next issue (Jan. 15th.). Apparently, that's the current plan, or so says the Opinion Guy editor. Now I just have to fill out and send back the artist's release form.

This is a rather big sale for me, and another possible cover to boot. Not bad for the artist who once worried his art might never work as cover art. I guess I just had to do the usual thing of coming up with the right pieces for the right markets.

After my recent string of rejections, this bit of good news had me doing a happy dance. Yes, I actually got up and did a happy dance. Of course, I don't want to get too happy until the piece actually sees publication. Believe me, I know lots can go wrong between acceptance and publication. Still, receiving this acceptance today has lifted my spirits tremendously. I was wondering yet again whether this was all worth it, and news such as this makes me think it is (for a little while at least).

Now, if I could only have sales like this on a more regular basis...

Memories of Camelot iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Stickers from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Stickers from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Coaster from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Coaster from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Magnet from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Magnet from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mug from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mug from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Postcard from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Postcard from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Card from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Card from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Keychain from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Keychain from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mousepad from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Mousepad from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Print from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Print from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Poster from Zazzle.com

Memories of Camelot Poster from Zazzle.com

Some Viking Hilts Poster from Zazzle.com

Some Viking Hilts Poster from Zazzle.com

Anglo-Saxon Poster from Zazzle.com

Anglo-Saxon Poster from Zazzle.com

Viking Wielding Broad-Axe Poster from Zazzle.com

Viking Wielding Broad-Axe Poster from Zazzle.com

Fifteenth Century English Knight Poster from Zazzle.com

Fifteenth Century English Knight Poster from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

York Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

York Rose Poster from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Red) from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Red) from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Yellow) from Zazzle.com

Shamrock and Knotwork Poster (Yellow) from Zazzle.com

Scottish Thistle Poster from Zazzle.com

Scottish Thistle Poster from Zazzle.com

Saxon in Byrnie Poster from Zazzle.com

Saxon in Byrnie Poster from Zazzle.com

Norman Archer Poster from Zazzle.com

Norman Archer Poster from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon Poster from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental Poster from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental Poster from Zazzle.com

Edward IV Poster from Zazzle.com

Edward IV Poster from Zazzle.com

Scotland the Brave Poster from Zazzle.com

Scotland the Brave Poster from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Poster from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Poster from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant Poster from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant Poster from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood Poster from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood Poster from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Poster from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Poster from Zazzle.com

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Horrorku "pale shadow" in SCIFAIKUEST

The other day, I received my contributor's copy of the November 2010 print issue of Scifaikuest. Appearing in that issue is my doppelganger horrorku "pale shadow".

Now, I may have mentioned before that some of my supernatural pieces are inspired by real-life strangeness. This horrorku is no exception; my wife and daughter have actually spied my spectral double on several occasions. Oddly enough, Michele caught sight of my phantom twin again the day before my copy of Scifaikuest came in the mail. The double was wearing a blue version of a coat I have in green, but otherwise, it looked just like me. Michele says it even walked like I walk (I apparently have a distinctive gait). Unlike a flesh-and-blood being, it seemed to vanish into thin air.

Yep, the strangeness continues.

"The Accursed Castle", "Will-o-the-Wisp" in APHELION

My dark speculative poem "The Accursed Castle" and my horrorku "will-o-the-wisp" now appear in the December 2010 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. Both have been previously published. "The Accursed Castle" originally appeared in the 2008 issue of Champagne Shivers and also appeared in the Scattered Verse, Moonlit Curses horror poetry anthology. "Will-o-the-wisp" appeared in the November 2009 issue of The Shantytown Anomaly.

I believe these will be my last publications of 2010. Probably, since there isn't much of 2010 left. I didn't have as many new poems published this year as I've had in past years, but I did have my first story larger than a drabble published in the November 2010 Hungur, so that sort of made up for my dearth of poetry publications. I also had three articles published in 2010. Plus, I was quite busy on the art front.

There are a few things of mine currently out in the cold, cruel world of publication submissions that might yet find decent homes. Then again, the recent trend of serial rejections may continue unabated. 2011 could be big, or it could be a big bust. I'll just have to see what the new year brings.

Radioactive Lion Mug from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Mug from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Mug from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Mug from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Mug from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Mug from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Doggie Tank Top Pet Tee Shirt from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Doggie Tank Top Pet Tee Shirt from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Shirt from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Shirt from Zazzle.com

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Panthera leo iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Necklace from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Necklace from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Necklace from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Necklace from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Ornament from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Necklace from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Necklace from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Tie from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Tie from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Keychain from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Keychain from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Tie from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis Tie from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Tie from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Tie from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Keychains from Zazzle.com

Radioactive Lion Keychains from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Keychain from Zazzle.com

Panthera leo Keychain from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Fleur de Lis iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Poleaxe of Edward IV


My depiction of the richly decorated late medieval poleaxe attributed to Edward IV now appears on a couple of items (a tie and an iPhone case) in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store.

I've actually spent quite a few hours getting a couple new images in the store, and getting my existing images on the newest Zazzle items. My wrist is sore from all the clicking and typing, and my eyes are strained from staring at the computer screen all day long and into part of the night.

I think it's time I finally call it a day.

Poleaxe of Edward IV iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Poleaxe of Edward IV iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Poleaxe of Edward IV Tie from Zazzle.com

Poleaxe of Edward IV Tie from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Mighty Steed, White Dragon iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose iPad Case from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant iPad Case from Zazzle.com

A Leviathan Ascendant iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Tudor Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

York Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

York Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Lancaster Rose Ornament from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Coaster from Zazzle.com

Cavern Dragon Coaster from Zazzle.com

Robin Hood Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Robin Hood Premium Ornament from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 4 Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPhone 3G Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Robin in Sherwood iPad Case from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales iPhone Case from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales iPhone Case from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Premium Round Ornament from Zazzle.com

Red Dragon of Wales Premium Round Ornament from Zazzle.com

"Scottish Thistle" in Zazzle Store


My "Scottish Thistle" now appears on merchandise in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. According to legend, the plans of the Norwegian King Haakon IV to launch a decisive surprise attack on the Scots in 1263 came to naught when one of his men cried out in pain after stepping barefoot on a thistle. Thus alerted to the approaching enemy, Alexander III’s men defeated the Norse invaders. Whatever the historical truth may actually be, it was during the thirteenth century that the thistle became an important Scottish national symbol. Later, the prickly flower was adopted as a badge by James III and appeared on his silver coinage of 1474.

Horrorku "Darkening Sky" in TRAPEZE MAGAZINE

My horrorku "darkening sky" has been posted (December 2nd) in Trapeze Magazine. What swirls around in the stormy sky may be more than just clouds. That darkening may herald the arrival of something more evil than savage wind and torrential rain. That was the thought, anyway.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Art on Cover of UNDER THE ASH

My art appears on the cover of Shelly Bryant's poetry collection Under the Ash, published by Sam's Dot Publishing. This time around, I was actually able to read the collection before I composed the cover art. I tried to incorporate imagery inspired by a few of Shelly's poems into the drawing. The piece that developed as a result has some pretty strange elements, and was rather disturbing to draw. I especially worried that the figure hanging from the tree with a serpent around its neck would be too much, but that was one of the strongest images stuck in my head after reading Shelly's work. I simply had to include it in the overall composition. This piece may not be as garishly bright and eye-catching as my cover art for Brushfires, but I think it's attention-grabbing just the same.