Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My 2011 Publications

My 2011 List of Publications (does not include reprints of items originally published in previous years):

Illustrations 2011
Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields (door art)..........Spaceports & Spidersilk, December 2011.
Illustration for "Old Fashioned Police Work" by Matt Adams..........Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine, Fall '11 Issue, October 2011.
Conjuring the Dragon (cover art)..........OG's Speculative Fiction, Issue #32, September 2011.
Mighty Steed, White Dragon (cover art)..........Kids'Magination, Issue 2, August 2011.
Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm..........While the Morning Stars Sing, ResAliens Press, August 2011.
Illuminated Letters & Knotwork Embellishments..........Lancelot by Alex Ness & Guy-Francois Evrard (special edition), Diminuendo Press, August 2011.
An Eldritch Herald..........Bete Noire, Issue #4, July 2011.
Elf and Troll (cover art)..........Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume III, Issue 3, July 2011.
What Greets Me at the End..........Cover of Darkness, May 2011.
Creeping Slime Hulk..........artwork sample accompanying artist profile, The Gloaming, April 4, 2011.
Aliens Entwined..........artwork sample accompanying artist profile, The Gloaming, April 4, 2011.
Kreonan Sky Devil..........artwork sample accompanying artist profile, The Gloaming, April 4, 2011.
The Greemlogorg..........artwork sample accompanying artist profile, The Gloaming, April 4, 2011.
Meeting the Insectoids (cover art)..........Beyond Centauri, Issue 32, April 2011.
My Macabre Valentine..........House of Horror, Issue One, February 2011.
Wandering Ole Willow (cover art)..........OG's Speculative Fiction, Issue #28, January 2011.

Short Stories, Flash Fiction, & Drabbles 2011
The Stars Weren't Really Right After All..........The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011.
The Abominable Snowman Snowless..........The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011. Honorable Mention in the 19th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.

Poetry 2011
Woodwose..........Aphelion, December/January issue, December 2011.
Cosmic Ship of Dreams..........Aphelion, November 2011.
Horrorku ("patient black widow')..........microcosms, October 23, 2011.
Last Thoughts of a Cosmic Fighter Pilot..........Aphelion, August 2011.
Death's Ship..........Aphelion, June/July Issue, July 2011.
Magical Meetings..........Sorcerous Signals, May - July '11 Issue, May 2011.
What Greets Me at the End..........Cover of Darkness, May 2011.
Shadow People..........Bete Noire, Issue #3, April 2011.
Wondrous Gobbledygook..........Aphelion, April 2011.
When Wizards Clashed..........The Absent Willow Review, April 15, 2011.
The Devil's Dungeon..........Trembles, Issue #2, April 2011.
Something in the Yew..........parABnormal Digest, Issue 1, March 2011.
Who (or What) is it at the Door?..........Aphelion, February, 2011.
Song of the Dead..........Sounds of the Night, Issue 8, February 2011; also Dark Metre, Issue 11, December 4, 2011.
Whispers on the Stairs..........Trembles, Issue #1, January 2011.

The Obligatory Year-End Post

Well, 2011 is almost over. It looks like it's time to look back at the year and see what I accomplished, if anything.

In terms of new publications, my art publications once again outnumbered my poetry publications. I saw my art featured on seven different covers/doors ("Wandering Ole Willow" on the cover of the January OG's Speculative Fiction, "Meeting the Insectoids" on the cover of the April Beyond Centauri, "Elf and Troll" on the cover of the July Bards and Sages Quarterly, "Mighty Steed, White Dragon" on the cover of the August Kids'Magination, "Conjuring the Dragon" on the cover of the September OG's Speculative Fiction, "Holiday on Phreetum Prime" on the cover of the October Kids'Magination, and "Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields" on the door of the December Spaceports and Spidersilk). I also saw four samples of my artwork accompany an artist profile in The Gloaming. A handful of my interior illustrations appear in various publications ("My Macabre Valentine" in the February House of Horror, "What Greets me at the End" in the May Cover of Darkness, "An Eldritch Herald" in the July Bete Noire, "Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm" in the While the Morning Stars Sing anthology, and the illustration for Matt Adams' "Old Fashioned Police Work" in the October Strange, Weird, and Wonderful). I also saw the (very limited) publication of the special edition of the Lancelot poetry collection by Alex Ness and Guy-Francois Evrard containing my illuminated letters and knotwork embellishments. I even drew the lettering for the title on the cover.(Note: my illustration "Holiday on Phreetum Prime" had originally appeared in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, November 2009, and "Mighty Steed, White Dragon" had previously appeared on items in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store.)

I guess you could say I accomplished my goal of seeing my art on yet more covers, proving to myself that my art may indeed work as cover art. Some of my best artwork yet was released this past year. I was especially proud of the illuminated letters and knotwork embellishments I composed for the special edition of the Lancelot poetry collection.

My poetry continues to sell and to see publication, albeit at a much slower rate than it did two or three years ago. Fifteen of my poems that had not previously appeared in zines saw publication in various venues. A number of my reprint poems also saw publication. My dark speculative poem "Song of the Dead" was published twice this year, once in the February Sounds of the Night, and again in Issue 11 of Dark Metre.

The only bits of prose I saw published this year were two of my drabbles ("The Abominable Snowman Snowless" and "The Stars Weren't Really Right After All") in The Drabbler #19. "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" received Honorable mention in the 19th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.

In addition to my 2011 publications, I also saw sales of poems and artwork due to come out in 2012. Right now, I have artwork and poems slated for publication in January, artwork slated for publication in February, artwork and poems slated for publication in April, a reprint poem slated for publication in May, another reprint poem slated for publication in July, a poem slated for publication Summer 2012, a reprint poem slated for publication in two scifaiku slated for publication in November. I also have a handful of forthcoming pieces (mostly art) that do not have a definite publication date.

I'm hoping to see even more sales in 2012, but time will tell. I do have a few poems and a couple of artworks still in submission limbo. And then there's my prose fiction...

I don't have a lot of prose fiction currently out in submission limbo, but I do have a few stories awaiting rejection or acceptance. One of my horror stories has been under consideration at a certain pro horror venue since October 2010. This particular submission has been a study in patience. If patience is a virtue, I've been very virtuous with this one!

A rather large illustration project came my way this year. I've already started work on it, although the work has been going slowly because I've been distracted by other things (like the holidays), I think most of my time in 2012 is going to be spent working on the illustrations for this project. I don't mind; it keeps me busy, and solicited work is a much surer thing than unsolicited submissions. However, I should probably try and fit some other things in-between the illustrations for this project. There is a story I would like to try to complete and send out there.

Outside of the realm of publication, I continue to sell items featuring my art through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. I also set up a Cafe Press Store, but I will admit that I don't have many images in that store. I have yet to see any sales of any of my Cafe Press items. Considering that one of my goals was to continue to make some sales outside of the realm of publication, I guess you could say that I did work toward that goal. There is more I could do, if I ever get around to it.

Strangely enough, I made more sales (in number) this year than last year, but I made less money this year than last. That's a worrying trend that I would like to reverse. A few well-paying sales might help, but I seem to be having difficulty breaking into the better-paying markets. I was hoping my prose might do it, but I now realise that this was probably a false hope.

Anyway, that's my year in review. (If anyone is interested in the specifics regarding my 2011 poetry publications, more details can be found in my list of 2011 publications, posted separately.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Woodwose" in December/January APHELION

My speculative cinquain "Woodwose" now appears in the December/January Issue of the web-zine APHELION:
http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/poetry/2011/12/Woodwose.html
An earlier version of this piece appeared in some of my blogs, but the revised version in APHELION is the superior version.

For those of you who don't know what a woodwose is, the woodwose (or wodewose, or wodemwose, or wudwasa, or wodwos, etc.) is the hairy wild man of medieval Europe. Woodwose is the Middle English term for a being found throughout European lore. You can find depictions of such wild men in medieval art, descriptions of such wild men in medieval literature, and records of nobles dressing as such wild men in medieval pageants. Some cryptozoologists suggest that the wild men of medieval art and literature may have been inspired by real hairy hominids that resided within the dark and dangerous forests of ancient and medieval Europe.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rejection #8

My wizardly fantasy story has been rejected for the eighth time.

Perhaps I am no writer, at least, not of prose fiction.

Oh well. At least I have my art.

For what it's worth, I suppose I should send the story back out. I just worry it's a waste of my time, time better spent on something else.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Now I Know Why I'm Weird!

This is a very interesting, and enlightening, on-line article from Scientific American:
"The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric" by Shelley Carson

My reaction after reading the article: Wow! Some of the traits mentioned in the description of schizotypal personality (magical thinking, social anhedonia, mild paranoia) could be said to apply to me. I was told not that long ago that I seem to be a person who believes in odd things, because I do believe in the paranormal. Of course, I believe in the paranormal because I have experienced it. Some may say that this is an example of "unusual perceptual experiences" , but it wouldn't explain why my wife and I both heard laughter coming from an empty room. At least some of my experiences with the paranormal have been shared experiences, meaning they were experienced by me and at least one other person, not just me alone.

I have odd speech patterns, often not completing sentences. I even exhibit oddness in the way I write, with a strong preference for archaisms.

At times, I'm rather uncomfortable in social situations. I feel inept in face-to-face social situations, even if I'm not really acting in an inept fashion. I can certainly be inept when dealing with people in social networks.

I don't think I dress in an idiosyncratic style, unless you count the times I've donned my armour. Negative comments were once made about the photos of me in my armour that I had up on my Azure Lion Productions website, when I had a website. Now, if I got a tweed jacket, bow tie, and suspenders...

I certainly have an unconventional mode of thinking. Also, many of my greatest inspirations come in "aha!" moments, oftentimes when I'm trying to sleep. There are times my mind feels too full of ideas.

I don't always take the best care of myself, especially when I'm deeply involved in a creative project. Sometimes, I forget to eat lunch. I frequently have lunch late, because I put it off until my stomach complains too much to be ignored.

I feel like a square peg in a round hole all the bloody time! I even wrote a poem about not fitting in.

Like I said at the very beginning of my entry, wow! Much of this article describes me to a tee. I guess there are such things as creative types, and I'm one of them!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Brief Thoughts on Being a Writer, Being a Human Being, and Narcissism

If you're a human being/writer, and human being doesn't come first, then you're not a human being. Right?

I'm starting to think that narcissism is common among writers. Is this true, or are the narcissists within the writing community simply a vocal minority?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Writers are Like Drunkards?

A realization hit me this morning: some writers I know are less reminiscent of the scientists and doctors I had known, and more reminiscent of my obnoxious family of drunkards. Certain souses in my family tree are full of scorn and quick with the jibes. Sound familiar? Food for thought, that. (I'm not saying this is true of all writers - just some.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thank Goodness I'm Multi-Talented

Even if I never sell another story, poem, or article, I still have my artwork. Is that a bad thing? I think not. Hurrah for being multi-talented! I wouldn't want it any other way.

Insecurities, Cliche, and the Nasty Writer

What is it, are some writers so insecure as writers that they see anyone who does writing and something else as a threat? This might be related to the disdain some successful writers express toward all aspiring writers out there. After all, why such disdain, unless it's to overcompensate for your own insecurities?

I guess some writers don't care about being better human beings. It seems they only care about being better writers. Sad.

Isn't the egotistical writer full of disdain for aspiring writers with lesser writing credits and those writers who do more than just write a cliche? After all, it has been done before!

Is A**hole the Default for Writers?

Damn it all! What is it, is a**hole the default for writers? I tried to give one writer some honest advice, telling him to watch his scornful attitude toward people who do other things than just write, and I was told I'm not a good enough "friend" of his to lecture him on how to be a good human being (I had been talking on-line with this person, on-and-off, for a while now). Oh, and I was "de-friended" for my efforts. I must have hit a nerve!

Hello! I was plenty of things before I was an artist/poet/(bit of a) writer. I had worked in a truly professional field long before I started regularly composing poetry, stories, articles, artwork, and illustrations for publication. Additionally, I'm also a husband and a father alongside being an artist/poet/(bit of a) writer. My life experiences should count for something. Apparently, they don't.

Mind you, I actually happen to be one of those people who does more than just write. I happen to be one of those people this writer was offending. Writing is only a part of what I do. It may even be a small part right now, but that doesn't me I'm not a writer, as well as a poet, and an artist, and an illustrator. I wrote "The Vengeance of the Alpe", the short story of mine that appeared in the All Souls Night 2010 issue of HUNGUR and is due to appear in Issue 22 of NIGHT TO DAWN, as well as my three drabbles that appeared in two issues of THE DRABBLER, my article "The Darker Side of Fairy Lore" that appeared in the January 2008 issue of DOORWAYS, and my various other articles in HUNGUR and ABANDONED TOWERS. These might be minor credits compared to the writing credits of many, but I'm still proud of them!

As for the writer in question, and all other writers who choose to act that way: go to hell! Go ahead, be an arrogant a**hole, then! Apparently, it's what some people think you have to be to be a part of the writing world. Just don't expect any respect from me. Perhaps it doesn't matter to you, but, irregardless of their publication credits, I don't care to respect someone who insists on being an a**hole. I don't play those sorts of games! I lived too much of a life outside of writing to play those games. I've said as much over, and over, and over again.

I might not have the writing credits of some, but I've certainly lived more life experiences than a lot of writers I know. If that counts for nothing, then so be it! These people are a complete waste of my time!

Maybe I don't want to be a writer anymore. Maybe I don't want to turn into an a**hole.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remember: The USA Didn't Win The War All by Itself

BTW, I wish history textbooks and teachers in the USA would stress the fact that World War II had already been raging for two years and three months prior to the US entering the conflict. It is pretty well acknowledged that the war officially began on September 1st, 1939, when German invaded Poland. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. The US declared war on Japan the next day. Germany and Italy, allies of Japan, declared war on the US on September 11th, 1941. The US then declared war on them that same day.

The British Empire kept the fight against Nazi Germany alive after the miracle at Dunkirk, after the Fall of France, through the Battle of Britain, through the Blitz. They even won a morale-boosting decisive victory against Germany's Panzer Army Africa at the Second Battle of El Alamein.

The US entry in the war was a decisive event, but the US didn't win the war all by itself.

Pearl Harbor Day

December 7th. The Day of Infamy. Pearl Harbor Day. Seventy years ago today, the Japanese launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that led to the entry of the United States of America into World War II.

During my youth, the war was still very much a part of living memory. My grandfather had been in the Marines, and fought at Guadalcanal (although my grandmother claimed that he spent his whole time in the corps in the brig). My wife's grandmother lost her brother, who died in a friendly fire incident in the Pacific theater. I once had a hand-me-down cookbook full of rationing recipes, like a sugar cookie recipe that used less sugar, because sugar was a precious commodity during rationing.

The World War II generation, a generation that at least one journalist/writer has called "the Greatest Generation", has been leaving us for a while now. Fewer and fewer remain every year. I fear that the memories are fading away. Let's not let the memories fade. Let's remember Pearl Harbor, and what it meant not only to history, but to the lives of the people who lived through those times.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Song of the Dead" in DARK METRE ISSUE 11

My dark poem "Song of the Dead", originally published in the February 2011 Issue of Sounds of the Night, has been published in Dark Metre Issue 11. Dark Metre is a very nice market for reprint horror poetry.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Filler Art Accepted for DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES

The editor of Dreams and Nightmares has said he would like to buy two of the five sci-fi filler art pieces I submitted in November. One of the accepted works, "Adrift in Another Dimension", is a return to the bold black and white style I used in artworks like "Things in the Swamp" and "Wander the Ether" (aka "Ethereal Journey"). As a matter of fact, "Adrift in Another Dimension" shares a similar theme with "Wander the Ether". The other accepted work, "Hunting the Queegiog", melds sci-fi and medieval, in the fashion of my earlier D&N filler artwork, "Barixas Hunt". In some ways, it's as weird as it sounds, but it works. Sometimes, you don't have to change medieval-style art very much to make it look alien.

Don't know yet what issues the filler art will appear in. I'll be sure to post an update once I know.

Now I have to figure out what to do with the other three pieces of filler artwork...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Fantasyku" Published in NITEBLADE ISSUE #18

It's looks like the special December 2011 poetry issue of Niteblade is now officially out, so I guess I can say that my poem "Fantasyku" has been published in Niteblade Issue #18. The poem had originally appeared in Niteblade Issue #1, back in September 2007.

"Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields" on Door of December SPACEPORTS & SPIDERSILK

My cold and snowy piece of sci-fi art, "Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields", now appears on the door of the December 2011 Issue of the Sam's Dot e-zine Spaceports & Spidersilk. The editor said she wanted a wintry piece for the December door, and I delivered. I must admit, I had the song "Jingle Bells" running through my head while working on it. No jingle bells in the artwork, but there is a sleigh of sorts. I replaced the bobtail horse with a furry, three-toed alien creature.

No Reply Blues (Again): Do I Withdraw the Piece?

It's been a month since I sent the latest status query to a place that has had a poem of mine under consideration since April 28th. They replied (within a few minutes) to the first query I sent back on July 14th, stating that they were terribly behind in responses but my poem was still under consideration. I received no reply at all to the second query I sent on September 12th. I sent the third and latest query via e-mail and the editor's on-line contact form, and have yet to receive a response. Something tells me I'm not going to receive one.

So, is it time to withdraw the poem and send it elsewhere? Do I assume silence means rejection? How long do I put up with this lack-of-reply rudeness? (Yes, it IS rude! The only time I find a lack of reply acceptable is when the guidelines state clearly that the editor does not reply to rejections and give some sort of timeline.)

As much as it would have been a step up for something of mine to appear in the venue in question, there are other venues that are willing to publish my works (look at my list of publications if you doubt me). I don't see any of my poems as throw-away pieces. If a piece doesn't work for a particular place, there are plenty of other places to try. Of course, considering how many editors frown on simultaneous submissions, I can't really try the next place until a piece has been rejected or withdrawn from the previous venue, unless the next place happens to be one that is okay with simultaneous submissions.

"When Wizards Dream at Night" Accepted for (Re)Publication in SHELTER OF DAYLIGHT

My fantasy poem "When Wizards Dream at Night", originally published in the Spring 2009 issue of Tales of the Talisman, has been accepted for publication in the Spring 2012 issue of the Sam's Dot publication Shelter of Daylight. I had sent this reprint piece to Tyree Campbell as a submission for Aoife's Kiss, but he apparently decided it will work better in Shelter of Daylight. That's okay by me, because that means something of mine will be appearing in yet another Sam's Dot publication. I've had good luck with various Sam's Dot zines; my work has appeared in several of their publications, and in some instances, different works of mine have appeared in different issues of the same Sam's Dot zine.

Now, if I could only see some positive progress on some of the previously unpublished works I currently have out in submission limbo...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DemonMinds Declared Dead

Ralan's is declaring DemonMinds dead. If you follow the link to the zine, you get one of those website host ad pages, with a message "webmaster please contact ###".

This is kind of sad, because my first poem to appear in a zine appeared in the April 20, 2007 issue of DemonMinds. "Midnight Sabbath" was tied for 1st runner up in the 2007 DemonMinds Horror Poetry Contest. It wasn't the first of my poems to be accepted for publication in a zine, but it was the beginning of what is now a long list of published works. I didn't get paid for the publication (DemonMinds didn't pay for poetry back then), but I did receive a nifty mug with a skull design on it in honour of my poem coming in tied for 1st runner up in the poetry contest.

"Midnight Sabbath" had been taken down off DemonMinds after the site went through a few updates and changes. The poem is currently to be found in Horror Bound Online Magazine, Issue 4. It's not like my poem lost a home. It's just sad to see the apparent death of the venue that was first zine to publish one of my poems.

Goodbye, DemonMinds! Thanks for helping to give this poet the confidence to keep writing and submitting poetry!

(BTW, I did have two more poems in DemonMinds: "Darkling Dale" appeared in DemonMinds on August 21, 2007, and "The Collector" appeared in the DemonMinds Spring 2008 Issue, and also in the DemonMinds Spring 2008 print edition, featuring the best of DemonMinds, Spring 2008.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas is What You Make of It, So Stop Your Bitchin'!

Here we go again, the Christians are already starting to whine about the "War on Christmas", while the pagans and atheists are whining about the Christians whining about the "War on Christmas". Good grief!

Frankly, I'm sick of the bitching and complaining from both sides. Both sides sound like a bunch of miserable ninnies who want to suck the goodness and fun right out of life.

Christmas is what you personally make of it, folks. Christmas has both secular and religious aspects. I learned this working many years ago in a department store chain, one that sold plenty of Christmas decor and had plenty of Christmas-time sales, one that was owned by a Jewish family.

People are trying to make a point with Christmas/Yule/Festivus/Whatever. Kind of misses the whole "love and joy" point of the Holiday Season, doesn't it? If the thought of Christmas makes you miserable, that's your problem. Stop trying to spread your misery to others. There are plenty of more important things wrong with this world than the whole "War on Christmas" issue.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Artwork on Merchandise at CafePress

My "Typhogigas" now appears on a bunch of merchandise in my CafePress store:
Typhogigas
I rendered some clouds, and put Typhogigas in the clouds. My "Typhogigas in the Clouds" is now available on a number of items (including some iPad and iPad 2 cases):
Typhogigas in the Clouds

Monday, November 21, 2011

Azure Lion Productions Storefront at CafePress

I now have an Azure Lion Productions storefront over at CafePress. It's a work in progress, but I already got my "Typhogigas" on some T-shirts. In case you were wondering, yes, I'm planning on using different artwork in my CafePress store than that used in my Zazzle store.

Mr., Ms., or What?

If editors are going to insist on using their initials only, I'm going to start addressing them as "Dear Editor". To heck with trying to use names! To heck with trying to guess if they are a "Mr" or a "Ms"!

I'm growing VERY tired of the game. I just called a Ms. a Mr. Of course, I only found that out through following the link trail.

Nice way to make a good first impression, NOT!!! I guess I fail as a psychic, 'cause I can't tell someone's gender just by their initials.

For Those Posting Policeman's Name and Number and Doing Other Things to Try and Make His Life Hell

I hope the university policeman involved in the macing of protestors at UC Davis doesn't have a wife and kids, 'cause a bunch of you made their lives hell, too! I am saddened and disgusted by the depths some people are sinking to over this incident. You have become no better than those uniformed thugs dealing way too harshly with peaceful protestors. It's not right, and does nothing to help your cause!

The world is not black and white. Unfortunately, far too many people refuse to see all the shades of grey in-between.

Fighting a**holes by becoming an a**hole. Yeah, that makes lots of sense!

I don't think enough people think before they act. I'm seeing a lot of acting before thinking lately.

Is the Universe Trying to Tell Me Something?

My art keeps seeing success while my poetry and prose struggle. I did have success with poetry for about four and a half years, but now things have slowed on that front. My prose has yet to see much success beyond a few sales.

I think the universe is trying to send me a message.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Setting the Vampires in Daylight Record Straight

For those who think vampires in literature only recently acquired the ability to walk about in the day - go read Bram Stoker's Dracula. Yes, Stoker had the Count walking around during the daylight hours (although Dracula didn't sparkle in the sunlight like certain vampires do.) Dracula did lose a number of his supernatural powers during the day. During the day, the Count was vulnerable. Vampires being destroyed by sunlight was added to modern vampire lore thanks to movies like Nosferatu.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Cosmic Ship of Dreams" in APHELION

My speculative cinquain "Cosmic Ship of Dreams" now appears in the November 2011 Issue of the web-zine Aphelion. This one hasn't appeared in a zine before, but it did appear on my website, when I had a website.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Thursday, November 17, 2011

May Get Paid Yet

There is hope I will get paid yet for my illustration that appeared in the now-deceased zine! The editor responded to my e-mail inquiring about my outstanding payment, asking for my Pay-Pal info. This does look hopeful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dark Sci-Fi Illustration: "The Iltrox"


My dark sci-fi illustration "The Iltrox" originally appeared in House of Horror, Issue 16, October 2010.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Artwork Accepted for SPACEPORTS AND SPIDERSILK Door Art, Part II

A swift acceptance of my swiftly composed artwork: my wintery sci-fi artwork "Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields" has been accepted for use as door art for the December 2011 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk. "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" will be held for use sometime in 2012, probably June or September.

Artwork Accepted for SPACEPORTS AND SPIDERSILK Door Art

Okay, it looks like my fantasy artwork "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" will be used as door art for an issue of the Sam's Dot e-zine for young readers, Spaceports & Spidersilk. However, I don't know which issue. The editor told me she could use it for the December issue, but she really wants something with a wintery feel for the December door art. She also said she would consider anything "cold and snowy" that I have available.

Well, I didn't have anything cold and snowy to send her way, but I do now. Not being one to pass up such an opportunity, I put off working on the other illustrations I should be working on for a couple more days and composed an appropriately cold and snowy piece of sci-fi artwork for submission to Spaceports & Spidersilk. I was up 'til two in the morning last night getting the central figures sketched and inked. I spent all of today finishing the piece. It was just sent off at 9:26 pm, 30 hrs 16 min after I received the response for "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental".

I'm tired. I hope all that crazed drawing was worth it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Illustration Accepted for Publication in BEYOND CENTAURI

My illustration of a steampunk-ish mechanical dragon has been accepted for publication in Beyond Centauri, for use alongside my previously-accepted steampunk-ish draconic scifaiku (slated for publication in the April 2012 issue). Slowly but surely, I'm starting to build my list of forthcoming 2012 publications. The list may be start-and-stop instead of a continuous roll, but it does go on well into 2012.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust, While I'm Still Owed Money

Just saw the news that Strange, Weird, and Wonderful has ceased publication due to financial reasons. Of course, I am still owed payment for my illustration for Matt Adams' story "Old Fashioned Police Work". I'm worried that I may never see payment for that illustration. E-mail sent, in the hope that the payment is forthcoming.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scifaiku Accepted for Publication in BEYOND CENTAURI

A sort of steampunk-ish draconic scifaiku of mine has been accepted for publication in the April 2012 issue of Beyond Centauri. The editor asked if there was an illustration to go along with the scifaiku. There isn't, but there could be.

Of course, it's not like I need more art jobs at the moment. Another editor has told me that he is in need of filler art, and I'm really supposed to be working on the illustrations for a certain author's books. Plus, I should find the time to get my artwork on some of Zazzle's newest items. I also want to work on adapting a couple of my current designs for seasonal use.

I shouldn't complain, though. Being busy is better than being bored. Having editors and authors request my work is a very good thing. However, I worry there is not enough of me to go around! (I'm a s-l-o-w drawer.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Queried (Again)

Query sent to a venue that has had a dark poem of mine under consideration since 28th April. This is actually the third status query I've sent to the editor of this publication. In a reply to the first query, received on 14th July, I was told that the editor was terribly behind in her responses, but my submission had been received and was still under consideration. I never received a reply to my second query. For the third query, I sent an e-mail and used the editor's on-line contact form.

I hate when my works are in slush pile limbo for an extended period of time, although it seems to be an all-too-often occurrence in the realm of publication. And, yes, I feel that six months or more is an extended period of time. I know some places take even longer to send the final yea or nay, but I also know plenty of places are much quicker to respond. Just because some places take forever doesn't mean that a long wait is the industry standard. It doesn't make it right. Frankly, I think it's rather ridiculous.

The only thing worse is receiving no reply at all (which seems to be SOP at certain venues). I can take not replying to rejections when that is the stated policy in the guidelines, but when it's not, it annoys me to no end.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Darkened Front Door

darkened front door
hungry revenant knocks
living kin starve

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Horrorku to Appear in TRAPEZE MAGAZINE

Another of my folkloric horrorku has been accepted for publication in Trapeze Magazine. It is slated to go on-line 26th Jan.

Spooks and Frights

It has become something of a Halloween tradition of mine to post this poem around Halloween time. So, here goes:

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

Two Cinquains to be in APHELION

Two of my speculative cinquains, "Cosmic Ship of Dreams" and "Woodwose", will be appearing in the next two issues of the web-zine Aphelion. "Cosmic Ship of Dreams" had appeared previously on my web site, when I had a web site. A slightly different version of "Woodwose" had appeared previously in some of my blogs. I made a few changes that, in my opinion, make for a better cinquain.

Anyway, I'll post links when the works go on-line.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Susan Sarandon, Pope Benedict XVI, and Hitler Youth

Susan Sarandon shows no real understanding of the history of Nazi Germany when she calls the current pope a Nazi, apparently because he was a member of the Hitler Youth when he was fourteen. This fact alone does not make Benedict XVI a Nazi, per se, anymore than it makes anyone else who grew up under that regime a Nazi. The boy who would become Pope Benedict XVI was probably a member of the Hitler Youth, because in the totalitarian regime that was Nazi Germany, membership in such organizations was MANDATORY.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, 90% of the Reich's young population belonged to the Hitler Youth by 1939. According to the History Place.com pages about the Hitler Youth, 82% of the Reich's young population were members of the Hitler Youth by early 1939. On Dec 1st, 1936, Hitler mandated that participation in the Hitler Youth be mandatory for all young Germans. Children who weren't a part of the organization could be taken from their parents and put in orphanages. Parents who tried to keep their boy children from joining the Hitler Youth faced prison.

Some sites that discuss the history of the Hitler Youth, and present the fact that participation was mandatory:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/hitleryouth.html

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/hitleryouth/hj-prelude.htm

http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/hitleryouth.html


According to Susan Sarandon's reasoning, everyone who had been a boy in Germany under the Nazi regime is a Nazi. This is an over-generalization at best, and a complete warping of the truth at worst.

Learn your history, folks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chill Autumn Midnight

chill autumn midnight
tattered wisps obscure moon
soaring shades gather

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

A Person Who Believes in Odd Things

Since I don't believe scientists have all the answers, and I don't think scientists will find all the answers if they refuse to look in certain places, I suppose maybe I am a person who believes in odd things. After all, I dare challenge modern scientists like early scientists challenged religion (more with thoughts than with experiments, but all science begins with a thought).

Marie Antoinette Said "Let Them Eat Cake" (NOT!)

Apparently, Marie Antoinette never actually proclaimed "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" (usually translated as "let them eat cake"). There is no evidence to support the claim that she spoke this phrase in a callous response to the plight of the French peasantry during one of the famines that plagued France. As a matter of fact, one quote that can be attributed to her paints the much-maligned French queen in a somewhat more charitable light:

"It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The King seems to understand this truth."

Claims that Marie Antoinette declared "let them eat cake" when told that peasants were starving apparently come more from propaganda than from historical evidence.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Illustration May See (Re)Publication Alongside Poem

Just sent off my "Shroudeater" illustration for possible inclusion in a vampire anthology wherein which my poem "Shroudeater" is already slated to appear. Nothing definite yet, but when I broached the possibility of including the illustration, the publisher of the anthology said send him a high-res image and he'll see what he can do.

I hope he can use it. You never know until you ask.

I'll post more details when they become available.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Three Horrorku in microcosms

In time for Halloween, three of my horrorku now appear in the tweet-zine microcosms. Two of the pieces, "clattering hooves" and "weeping tree", have been previously published (in Aphelion and Scifaikuest, respectively). The third, "patient black widow", has not appeared elsewhere previously.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Submission #900

According to my records, I just hit submission number 900.

I don't know if that really means much, other than I send out a lot of stuff (poetry, art, articles, and stories), and send stuff out over, and over, and over again. I'm persistent, if nothing else.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aggreement Sent, "Fantasyku" to be in December 2011 NITEBLADE

Just sent off the completed agreement for the publication of my fantasy poem "Fantasyku" in the special poetry issue of Niteblade, scheduled for publication December 2011. "Fantasyku" first appeared in Niteblade's very first issue, published September 2007.

I would have liked to have seen a something new appear alongside my old poem, but things didn't work out that way. In the end, the editors passed on all three of the previously unpublished pieces I had submitted. At least I will have something in the December 2011 special issue, even if it is just an old work.

Kids'Magination, Issue 4 Cover

My sci-fi artwork "Holiday on Phreetum Prime" now appears on the cover of Kids'Magination, Issue 4. If you've been paying attention, you know this is the second time my art has appeared on a cover of that particular publication ("Mighty Steed, White Dragon" appeared on the cover of Kids'Magination, Issue 2).

A Year in Slush Pile Limbo, and Counting...

As of today, a horror story of mine has been in slush pile limbo over at a certain pro venue for one full year. Thanks to replies to two separate queries, I know that the piece is still under consideration, although I'm not sure if anyone has gotten around to reading it yet. I'll have to wait and see if the year-long wait was truly worth it. Will it really have been worth it if the story gets rejected in the end?

Horrorku Accepted for Publication in TRAPEZE MAGAZINE

My folkloric horrorku "breathless dusk" has been accepted for publication in Trapeze Magazine. The piece is scheduled to go on-line in Trapeze on January 21st, 2012.

This horrorku did appear, in a slightly different form, in some forums and on some of my blogs (LiveJournal being one of them). However, in my opinion, the version appearing in Trapeze Magazine in January is the superior version. There is just a little difference between the two, but I think that the newer version is more effective.

The editor of Trapeze Magazine also said that I should feel free to send more folkloric horrorku anytime. I just may send more sometime. Many of my horrorku are inspired by folklore; it's one of my favourite subjects.

Left Scratching My Head Again

Every so often, I receive a rejection with comments that simply leave me scratching my head. Last night, I again received one of those bits of perplexing feedback.

A poetry editor claimed that the concept of a certain dark poem of mine is fairly hilarious. However, she also said that she would have expected a few more funny lines before the ending.

Strange. I do not really see the humour in the poem at all. It may be ironic at times, but I don't think irony necessarily equates to humour (although it might). The poem may also contain some word play, but not necessarily in a funny way. However, it may not necessarily be a horror poem either, although it does contain some horror elements.

I suppose this is another instance of a reader interpreting my work in a much different way than what my intentions were when writing the piece. I did not intend for the poem in question to be a humourous piece. Apparently, at least one reader saw it as such.

This is actually a poem so outside of my ordinary style, and so twisted in a way, that Michele didn't want to hear anymore of it after I read her the first few lines. She eventually read the whole thing, but she doesn't care to read it again.

A poet is supposed to experiment and explore new themes and styles, right? Maybe, in this instance, my experiment was a failure.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Perhaps it Will be (Re)Published After All...

"Shroudeater", my dark speculative poem of 80 lines about a vampire of Alpine lore, may see publication in the vampire anthology in the works over at Rainstorm Press after all. I will post more information when it becomes available.

This would be a good thing, since it would be hard to find another home for a reprint poem of such length.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artwork Accepted for KIDS'MAGINATION Issue 4

In brighter news...

My sci-fi artwork "Holiday on Phreetum Prime" has been accepted for use on the cover of Issue 4 of Kids'Magination. The editor called it a "fun image".

The artwork has appeared elsewhere; it was published alongside my poem "Holiday on Phreetum Prime" in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. However, I didn't receive payment for that publication (Abandoned Towers didn't pay for on-line publications). I will receive payment this time around.

Reprints are nice. Paid reprints are even nicer.

To be Published, or Not to be Published?

Well, well, my dark speculative poem "Shroudeater", inspired by the vampire of Alpine lore known as the schrattl, was supposed to have been published in Panic Press's Bleed - And They Will Come anthology. However, I saw neither payment nor contributor's copy, and suspected there was a problem. Today, I received confirmation of my suspicions; Panic Press went under just as the Bleed anthology was released.

According to the editor of the anthology, a new publisher has shown an interest in publishing the anthology under a different name. However, the publication of my poem in the anthology may still be in question, since the new publisher will not accept reprints, and "Shroudeater' has been previously published. It originally appeared in the Walpurgisnacht 2010 issue of Hungur.

This is nuts. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I may just shrug and say to heck with caring what happens. I should be used to the insanity by now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Problem Child Poem

So, I have this devilishly hard-to-categorise poem that has been making the submission rounds now, on-and-off, since June 2008. The poem is sort of speculative, but sort of not. It's sort of fantasy in terms of some of its imagery, but sort of horror in terms of much of its feel. Overall, it's rather sombre in tone, with no happy resolution. At fifty-six lines, it's simply too long for some markets.

The poem-in-question was to have been included in an illustrated speculative poetry collection that I had in the works, until I pulled the plug on that project (I had my reasons for pulling the plug). Later, the same poem had been on the short list for inclusion in one publication's special poetry issue, but the editors of that publication ultimately turned it down. The poem has seen a number of rejections. As of today, it remains unpublished.

I wonder, does this poem suffer from an identity crisis? Is that the problem? Was I trying to mix up too much for my own good? Is it too non-speculative for the speculative poetry crowd? More than likely, it's far too speculative for the mainstream crowd. The problem with finding the right market for the poem is that I'm not sure how to categorise it exactly, and categories can be important when looking for the right market.

I sent the poem back out yet again, but I don't give it much of a chance of getting accepted where I sent it. I could be proven wrong, but I doubt it. This poem, is proving to be very much my problem child.

Gonna Spend Most of my Time on Art

I'm definitely going to continue concentrating on my art right now. It seems healthier, psychologically-speaking. Yes, the art does get rejected, but not as often as the writing (although there are fewer publications interested in art, and fewer still interested in my style of art). Plus, I also do art on assignment on a fairly regular basis. As a matter of fact, next month I have to start a major illustration project, illustrating the books penned by a certain fantasy (dark fantasy?) author of my acquaintance. I won't have much time for much anything else anyway.

Oh, and did I mention that I have an outlet for my art outside of the realm of publication, in the form of my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store?

When Rejections Just Suck

Even though the rejection of the one fairy poem worked out okay for me, I should have known that wasn't the end of the rejections...

In the end, even though I was asked by Niteblade's editor to submit something new to go along with the previously published poem of mine chosen to appear in Niteblade's special poetry edition, she and her poetry editor decided to pass on all three previously unpublished pieces I sent. Apparently, the poems made their short list and really tempted them (or so they said in the obvious form rejection), but didn't make the final cut.

Although the editor said, in a form letter sent just prior to the rejections, not to be angry if the poems that were short-listed were turned down in the end, I can't help but to feel a bit miffed by the whole thing. At the very least, this episode leaves me scratching my head in bewilderment and shaking my head in frustration.

Why go through the trouble of asking individual poets for something new to include with the republication of an old piece, and then turn around and reject everything new a poet sends? I simply don't understand the craziness that is the world of publication, and I probably never will.

I MAY yet have a poem that was previously published in Niteblade appear in Niteblade's special poetry edition, IF the editor and her poetry editor don't decide to pass on that one in the end. The editor did say that she very much wanted to include the poem in that issue, but I won't truly believe it until the poem is actually in print in that issue.

(I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by this latest multiple rejection from Niteblade - I haven't had anything in that publication since December 2008, but not for want of trying.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rejection With a Silver Lining

On rare occasions, rejections have a silver lining. Although my fairy poem "The Brownie" did apparently make the short list for inclusion in Niteblade's special poetry issue, in the end, the editors decided to pass on it. Well, it just so happens that I had already suggested to my fellow collaborators that "The Brownie" could be included in our illustrated fairy poetry collaboration-in-progress, if the poem didn't get picked for inclusion in the Niteblade poetry issue.

Well, "The Brownie" is now free to be included in the collaboration-in-progress. It actually makes twenty poems from me in all, which was the target number for each poet. I may even compose an illustration to go along with the poem.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"The Dark Host" Accepted for Summer 2012 BETE NOIRE

My dark speculative poem "The Dark Host", inspired by the Sluagh of Scottish and Irish lore, has been accepted for publication in the Summer 2012 issue of Bete Noire. This will be a reprint of this poem; "The Dark Host" originally appeared in Bewildering Stories, Issue 277, February 10, 2008.

I was hoping to get my illustration for this poem accepted as well, but the editor decided not to take the illustration. It happens. Both poem and illustration were to have appeared in my ill-fated illustrated dark poetry collection. I'm still working at getting the pieces from that cursed collection published in various venues. After all, the second publisher to pull out of publishing the collection did say it has to be seen. I'm trying to get it seen bit-by-bit.

Now I have to figure out where to send the artwork (for the fourth time), so maybe that will eventually get seen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Life is the Life" in October APHELION

In time for Halloween, my dark speculative poem "Life is the Life", about a vampiric entity roused from its tomb by the din of war, now appears in the October 2011 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. This poem has been published before; it was the poetry winner in The Monsters Next Door "Through My Eyes" Writing Contest and appeared in The Monsters Next Door Contest Issue 4.5, published November 2008. It also appeared in the Scattered Verses, Moonlit Curses Horror Poetry Anthology, published May 2009.

Anyway, it's now on-line at Aphelion. Check it out:
"Life is the Life"

The Drabbler #19

Today, I received my contributor's copy of The Drabbler #19: Climate Change. Among other works, it contains my drabbles "The Stars Weren't Really Right After All" and "The Abominable Snowman Snowless". One contains a bit of a nod to the Lovecraftian mythos, with a climate change twist. The other is a silly treatment of the troubles one cryptid faces due to a warming planet. "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" received honorable mention in the 19th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.

I mentioned the publication of these drabbles before, but I hadn't yet added them to my list of publications. I don't really like to consider publications official until I have proof positive that they were actually published. Now I had better add them.

Yay! I'm glad I now have two more pieces of prose fiction to add to my list, even if they are only 100 word drabbles.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why All The Reprints?

If you're wondering about all my reprints lately: I have been busy working on illustrations, and haven't had much of a chance to write more than a handful of haiku and a piece or two of microfiction. I figure getting some of my previously published stuff back out there is better than having nothing out there at all. Plus, I have a couple of previously unpublished short stories and one or two previously unpublished poems still stuck in submission limbo.

I'm hoping to get a chance to revise one story and finish another so I can add a couple more works of fiction to my submission pool. Time will tell. It always does.

It's also about time to send my "Fairy Thefts" article back out, but where to send it? That's the big question. I already sent it to Faerie Magazine back in November 2010, and have yet to receive a reply. I'm thinking this is an instance of no reply equaling rejection.

Reprint Story Accepted at NIGHT TO DAWN

My fantasy/horror (dark fantasy?) story "Vengeance of the Alpe", about a rather nefarious wizard who summons the dwarfish, shape-shifting, vampiric entites of Alpine lore known as the Alpe, has been accepted for publication in Night to Dawn 22. This will be a repint of the story; "Vengeance of the Alpe" originally appeared in the All Souls' Night 2010 issue of Hungur. To date, it remains my only prose fiction piece longer than flash fiction published in a zine. And now it will be published again.

I'll be sure to post an entry when the story is actually published in Night to Dawn 22.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Screwed by Bank

Screwed by a bank yet again. Due to "high fraud activities amongst online checking account holders", they are closing online payment accounts. All online payment accounts. They claim they are doing this after a review by a third-party consumer reporting agency. Of course, the customer service rep I spoke with claimed they already stopped offering such accounts to new customers. Also, this comes on the heels of the bank in question deciding to pull out of upstate New York. It's all highly suspicious.

In other words, through no fault of my own, my online payment account is being closed, pretty much because the bank doesn't want to offer those accounts anymore, although they claim it's a matter of rampant fraud. Yeah, right. Fraud on the part of the bank and the consumer reporting agency, more like it.

This is not the first time a bank's change of policies has adversely affected our personal banking. It seems to happen about every three to five years. That's why we've been through just about every bank in the region.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More to Add to My Forthcoming 2012 Publications List

A couple of my scifaiku (maybe one is more of a horrorku) have been accepted for publication in Scifaikuest, one in the November 2012 print issue, and the other in the November 2012 on-line issue. Yes, that's November 2012.

Now, what to do with the other eight scifaiku/horrorku that didn't get accepted...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Song of the Dead" Accepted at DARK METRE

My dark poetry sees some success once again, with the acceptance of my dark sensuous piece "Song of the Dead" (originally published in the February 2011 issue of Sounds of the Night) for publication in Issue 11 of the electronic newsletter of horror poetry Dark Metre. Issue 11 of Dark Metre is due out 4th December, 2011.

This will be the first reprint of one of my 2011 poetry publications. I usually like to wait about a year or so before sending published works back out, but when I saw that Dark Metre was once again open for submissions (they are specifically a reprint market), I figured I would send along a couple of my poems first published earlier this year (plus one from way back in 2007). In the end, "Song of the Dead" was picked over the other two. The editor said that this work "has a beautiful feel and rhythm to it".

What a lovely thing to say about my poem! I tend to agree with the editor's assessment; I think "Song of the Dead" is beautiful, in an eerily dark sort of way. The darkness often brings out the best in my poetic artistry.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Illustration in STRANGE, WEIRD, AND WONDERFUL MAGAZINE

My illustration for "Old Fashioned Police Work" by Matt Adams appears in the Fall '11 issue of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine (on page 67). This illustration, featuring a policeman striding purposefully before a zany laser gun, is a bit different than my usual fantasy, folkloric, weird sci-fi, or horror artwork. Also, I used a little bit of digital rendering for the brickwork in the background.

Another Tale of Works in Limbo

Just sent a status query to an editor that, back on May 24th, said he would get back to me the next day regarding which three of my ten horrorku under consideration he would be using in his tweet-zine. Considering it is now Oct 3rd, I figured it was time to send a status query. Actually, this is the second status query I've sent in regard to these works; the message I received on May 24th was in response to a query I had sent on May 3rd. One of the ten horrorku under consideration (one that the editor had previously chosen for publication but hasn't yet published) has actually been in this editor's hands, so to speak, since Sept 10th, 2010. The others were originally sent on Feb 8th of this year.

I suppose I could just assume rejection and move on. However, I'm too stubborn for that. Besides, I had been under the impression that one horrorku was definitely accepted and two others were possibly accepted for publication. If this has changed, I want to hear it from the editor himself. Frankly, I'm getting fed up with these sorts of frustrations.

No Funny Looks for Me

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to talk to some (educated) strangers about what I do (compose artwork, illustrations, poetry, and even some prose with fantasy, science fiction, horror, folkloric, and historic themes). Interestingly enough, none of the people I spoke to looked at me funny or abruptly changed the subject when I did mention the fact that I am an artist, illustrator, poet, and something of a writer of speculative material.

Other than the few times I've been around mainstream poets who seemed disinterested or even uncomfortable with the fact that I write speculative poetry, often much of it dark, I have yet to experience the reaction many other artists and writers of speculative material report. Many a time, I've read about a speculative writer or artists experiencing funny looks and a quick turn of the conversation away from the subject when, in a general social setting, they mention what they do. It's mighty strange that, apart from the reaction I got from some fellow poets, I don't see this much at all.

Of course, during this latest social gathering, I only brought what I do with my time when asked directly about it. Also, I may have gone into some details, but I didn't go on, and on, and on about what I do. Not to mention, I tried to keep the egotism to a minimum. I reserve most of my egotism for on-line interactions. ;) (Withdrawn is my default attitude when I find myself attending face-to-face social gatherings with strangers.)

Perhaps the funny looks and sudden turns of conversations are due not so much to the "what" as they are due to the "how" and "when". In other words, maybe it's not what these writers and artists are saying that is eliciting such a reaction. Maybe it's when and how they are saying it. It's a thought, anyway.

Maybe I just find myself in different social gatherings from other artists, poets, and writers.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Minor Annoyance: Surname Misspelling

My surname is "Fay" with an "a", not "Fey" with an "e". I've just seen an instance where it was misspelled, as "Fey" instead of "Fay", in a publication that has published an illustration of mine in their Fall '11 issue. Luckily, the publication in question is an e-zine, so it may be possible to correct the mistake.

This is not the first time that I've seen my surname misspelled. I've seen it spelled as "Fey", or "Faye", or even "Phay". "Fay" is just three letters. How hard is it to spell "Fay" the right way? (I blame Tina Fey - she has ruined it for all us "Fays with an a".)

"twisting forest path" (a horrorku)

A horrorku (after all, it's that time of year):

twisting forest path
hateful oaks gather close
straying human crushed

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

(Inspired by this English folk saying, which may be familiar to those who follow my regular ramblings:
"Ellum do grieve,
Oak he do hate,
Willow do walk
If you travels late.")

Monday, September 19, 2011

LANCELOT by Alex Ness and Guy-Francois Evrard, Special Edition

Finally, people can at least see the lettering I did for the cover of the special-edition of Lancelot by Alex Ness and Guy-Francois Evrard:
The Poetry of Alex Ness: News, sort of
Along with the "Lancelot" lettering on the cover of that book, I also composed the illuminated letters and knotwork embellishments that adorn many of the pages within. It was an interesting experience, and it proved that I can draw knotwork if need be (never doubted I could draw illuminated letters).

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Wandering Ole Willow" Published in APHELION

My dark speculative poem "Wandering Ole Willow" has been published in the September 2011 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. This is a reprint; "Wandering Ole Willow" originally appeared in Bewildering Stories, Issue 322, January 26, 2009. Hm...seeing as how it is an on-line republication of work that originally appeared on-line, would it really be a reprint? I would love to get this one in a print publication someday, but for now, it has only appeared on-line.

Anyway, the poem presents a rather grisly twist on the lore suggesting that willow trees uproot themselves at night and stalk unwary wayfarers:
"Ellum do grieve
Oak he do hate
Willow do walk
If you travels late"
(Old Devonshire folk saying)

What would happen if one of these willows was on the trail of a forester who treated the forest badly? SNAP!

If you didn't check out "Wandering Ole Willow" when it was first published in Bewildering Stories, check it out now!

"Conjuring the Dragon" On Cover of OG'S SPECULATIVE FICTION #32

My fantasy artwork "Conjuring the Dragon" now appears on the cover of Issue #32 of OG'S Speculative Fiction. The issue is available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.

This is my fifth cover art publication this year. Not bad for the artist who once thought that his art would never work as cover art. I guess I just had to find the right venues (and come up with the right art).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And the Runner-Up Is...

Apparently, it was a toss-up between my "Conjuring the Dragon" and my "Battle Beneath the Mere" (depicting Beowulf's battle with Grendel's mother) for the cover of the next issue of OG's Speculative Fiction. "Conjuring the Dragon" won out in the end. Now I have to see about sending "Battle Beneath the Mere" elsewhere. Since it came close over at OG's, it might actually stand a good chance at another venue. Then again, maybe not. One can never tell.

Artwork Accepted for Cover of OG'S SPECULATIVE FICTION

My fantasy artwork "Conjuring the Dragon" has been accepted for use as cover-art on the next issue of OG's Speculative Fiction. Yay! Another cover! Another example of dragons working well for me!

I have a penchant for drawing dragons. I've gotten pretty good at it, too, if I do say so myself. After all, I've been drawing those scaly beasts for decades!

My first memorable dragon drawing was one I did for an oral presentation in 9th grade English, way back in the early Eighties. This drawing, which I still have, was based on an illustration of a dragon in a children's book about monsters.

Funny thing is, looking back at that old dragon drawing of mine, I can see the beginnings of my current technique. I can see that I sketched the dragon in pencil, then went over the pencil lines with a fine-tipped marker. I then coloured the line-drawing using coloured pencils. Today, I use artist pens and colour my drawings digitally, and I do a better job of erasing my initial pencil lines, but the basics remain the same. Interestingly enough, the art I sold at the local medieval fair about a decade or so ago was created by using coloured pencils to hand-colour photocopies of my original drawings.

I guess I truly am a creature of habit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Author Withdrew Book, Art Released Back

Drat! Just received word that an author of a book that was to feature my art on the cover and within its interior has withdrawn his book from publication at a certain small publisher. The art has been released back to me.

Of course, it's not like I can just go ahead and send the art elsewhere; it's pretty much tied to the author's work. I least I got paid for the art, but doing art for publication that never sees publication kind of defeats the purpose of doing art for publication. Even if I ask the author if he still wants to use the art, there is no guarantee that a second publisher will agree to publish the book. Even if a second publisher does agree to publish the author's work, there is no guarantee that the second publisher will agree to use my art.

Sigh. It's been one of those years.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strange Light Flash Indoors

Okay, weird personal experience time. Michele and I were sitting in the kitchen last evening, and we both saw a lightning-like flash inside. Michele says she simply saw a flash. I think I saw a blob of light maybe a foot or two from the kitchen ceiling, as bright as lightning or those old flashbulbs. It blinded me momentarily, just like what would happen if you accidentally looked straight at those old-fashioned flash bulbs.

The light didn't seem to come from car headlights; the neighbour's car was sitting in their driveway with it's headlights on long before and after this occurred. The light from those headlights wasn't nearly so bright as the flash we saw. No tot mention, the street runs at right angles to the kitchen window. For headlights to have blinded me like this flash did, they would have to have been coming right at me!

The light didn't seem to be lightning, at least not normal lightning. There were only a few wispy clouds in the evening sky, and no noise accompanied the light. We never heard thunder. Plus, it appeared as if the light was inside, not outside.

The light didn't seem to be caused by a problem with the household electricity. For a flash of that magnitude to have been caused by the household current, you would expect some sort of surge. No breakers were tripped, either in the main box or in the small breakers built into the outlets in the kitchen. The digital clocks on both the microwave oven and the electric range remained on and set to the proper time.

Michele tells me this is the second time she experienced this sort of flash in this house. A few days ago, she saw a similar flash in the library.

So, what sort of phenomena can create a lightning-like flash indoors?

Oh, and I doubt Michele and I are both schizophrenic (one of the suggestions on Yahoo ! Answers when I searched for "Strange Light Flash Indoors").

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What's My Name?

Am I Richard H. Fay?
Am I Richard Fay?
Am I R. H. Fay?
Ha ha! Actually, I'm all three!
(But not every Richard Fay is me!)

Just to complicate matters...
I typically sign my art as RHF.

To make matters more confusing...
My surname at birth and the first several years of my life was Fay, but it wasn't Fay for many years of my childhood and adult life. It was legally changed back to Fay about a decade or so ago (all having to do with a divorce, step-father adoption, familial estrangement, and a court granted name change back to what my name was before all that mess). Thank goodness, none of my publications were under the other last name, or things would be even more confusing.

The fact that I usually use my middle initial is a leftover from the time I had my step-father's last name. Oddly enough, in one of those quirks of fate, he was Richard, too (Dick, in his case, in more ways than one). He had a different middle name, thus a different middle initial. I don't use my full middle name because it happens to be my real father's given name, and I don't really want any obvious link to him (outside of the genetic and surname connection).

To muddy matters even further...
I have been listed as simply "Richard Fay" in some ToCs. Of course, I'm not the only "Richard Fay" in the world. I may be the only speculative poet/artist with that name, but you never know.

Oh, and at least one person on a fairy-themed site questioned whether or not Fay was my real last name. You see, fay also happens to be an old term for fairy. According to an entry in AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FAIRIES by the folklorist Katharine Briggs, fays was the earlier noun for those beings we now call fairy. "Fay-erie" was the term for fairy enchantment, and only later came to be attributed to the beings themselves. Yes, I am a poet and artist with an interest in fairy folklore, who has penned and drawn fairy-themed works, who happens to have the last name Fay. Yes, it is my real last name; I have the documentation to prove it.

Am I thinking too much of myself again? Perhaps. I do know the various permutations of my name confused things a bit on the ISFDB, until they did their best to list the alternate versions of my name under my main entry:
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?143863
(My bibliography has quite a few omissions yet, but that's another issue entirely.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Warning: My House, My Rules

Call me hypocritical if you like, but I will exert my editorial right in my own house on-line. In other words, I will monitor comments made in my blogs and delete those I deem offensive. You have the freedom to say what you want about me in your own space, but you don't have complete freedom to say whatever you want in mine (there is a difference). Discussion is not discouraged, but name-calling and other schoolyard tactics will not be tolerated. If you cannot carry on an intelligent discussion or debate, spew your trollish bile elsewhere. It is not welcome here.

I perceive me saying "you can't say this in my personal on-line space" to be no different than an editor saying "you can't say this in my magazine". No reasonable person would argue that an editor should be forced to publish something they don't believe in or find offensive simply because the contributor has the right to freedom of speech. Why should I be forced to allow people to say offensive things in my blogs just because they are free to say offensive things?

Freedom Isn't Always Comfortable

Different work, same old discussion.

I'm amazed over, and over, and over again about how strongly certain writer-types advocate freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression, until someone says something or composes they don't like. Then these people practice their own freedom of speech by proclaiming, oftentimes in rather strong terms, how wrong that someone was for saying or composing the thing that made them upset. Of course, the underlying implication is that such a thing should never have been said or composed in the first place.

I think some people aren't so much advocates of freedom of speech and freedom of artistic expression as they are advocates of like speech and like artistic expression. In other words, speak like me and express your art like me, or don't speak and don't express your art at all. I think some people feel you are free to speak your mind and express yourself artistically only as long as you are of the same mind as them.

Rubbish! Freedom doesn't work like that.

I personally find the premise of Orson Scott Card's Hamlet's Father to be distasteful. I'm highly unlikely to ever read it, for a variety of reasons. However, I stand by Card's right to write something so apparently distasteful and allegedly hateful (I haven't read it, so I'm going by what others have said about it). I stand by the publisher's right to publish such a thing, if they see merit in it (not that I personally see much merit in it). I support Card's freedom to be a homophobic jerk, even though I don't share his views and beliefs. I may not like what he says, I may even find it offensive, but I will support his right to say it.

True freedom isn't always comfortable, since jerks are allowed the freedom to be jerks if that's what they want to be.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reprint Poem Accepted for May 2012 COVER OF DARKNESS

My poem "Gathering of the Dead" has been accepted for publication in the May 2012 issue of Cover of Darkness. Technically, "Gathering of the Dead" is a Halloween poem, but if the editor thinks it works for the May 2012 issue, I'm fine with that. The poem is a reprint, having originally appeared in Tales From the Moonlit Path, Halloween Issue, October 2009. It also appeared in House of Horror, Issue #17, Halloween 2010. Since I've been concentrating heavily on my art lately, I haven't been writing much new poetry. I have been sending quite a few reprints out and about. As much as I'm an advocate of writing new material, I figure sending out a bunch of reprints is better than sending out nothing at all. Plus, there are benefits to reprints, including increasing the potential readers of any particular piece.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Contributor and Reseller?

Did some art for a book. Thought the publisher was going to sell the book through their website, like they do the rest of their books. Instead, the publisher wants to sell me copies to sell to the public through my blogs/Facebook/Google+, wherever. In theory, there may be merit to this idea, but it's the practical application of it that worries me.

Michele has already told me "don't do it". I tend to listen to my wife; she is wiser than me.

Interesting Article About Transcribing Sasquatch Language

Interesting phonetic alphabet developed to transcribe Sasquatch language:
http://www.bigfootencounters.com/biology/scott-nelson-spa.htm
Yes, Sasquatch language. What I find particularly fascinating is the "Berry Tape 1" transcription snippet included at the end of this article. If I recall correctly, the Berry/Morehead tapes were recorded in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. I've read about these tapes, and have heard short clips from them on television shows. The recorded vocalizations are bizarre, and according to some analyses, potentially non-human. Is the transcription truly of a non-human language? It's something to ponder.

Wolves in France, French Shepherds Should Use Sheepdogs

According to an article in BBC News on-line, wolves are making a comeback in France:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14637701
Of course, shepherds are complaining that they are losing livestock to the predators. However, feral dogs may be a greater threat than the wolves. There is a simple answer to this problem regardless of which animal is actual attacking the sheep.

The problem with feral dogs or wolves attacking sheep in France would be solved if the French shepherds used Maremma Sheepdogs, like shepherds in central Italy have done for centuries:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maremma_Sheepdog
Apparently, three or four of these sheepdogs, working as a team, are enough to defend a flock against wolves or wild dogs.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Spec Poets & Editors: the ISFDB Could Use More Poetry Entries

The Internet Speculative Fiction Database is looking to increase the amount of speculative poetry publications they list in their database. They say they could do with more poetry experts. I suggested they start by looking at some of the zines that concentrate on or specialize in publishing speculative poetry, like Illumen, Scifaikuest, Dreams & Nightmares, and Star*Line. I know there are others as well.

Any of my fellow speculative poets willing to help out the ISFDB? Any of the editors of zines specializing in publishing speculative willing to enter some of the data for their own zines? I entered one or two ToCs of zines I've had stuff in, and have been meaning to enter more, but haven't gotten around to it. Right now, the ISFDB only lists six of my speculative poetry publications. I've had a lot more than six speculative poems appear in print! (Their list of my art publications is also woefully incomplete, and they don't list my two story publications either.)

THE DRABBLER #19 Released

Looks like THE DRABBLER #19, the Climate Change issue, has been officially released. If all went according to plan, it should contain two of my drabbles, "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" and "The Stars Weren't Really Right After All". One examines the plight of a certain cryptozoological subject, while the other is a bit of silly nod to Lovecraft. Since I oftentimes delve into the dark, penning a couple of lighter works was a refreshing change. By the way, "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" received an honorable mention in the Sam's Dot 19th Drabble Contest.

Monday, August 29, 2011

An Acceptance and a Rejection

An artwork of mine has been accepted for publication in the January issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly, while a short story of mine has been turned down by Apex Magazine. The artwork was the same one that was to have adorned the cover of the never-published Summer 2011 Abandoned Towers, and was accepted it's very next time out. The Bards and Sages Quarterly editor actually said she loves the quirkiness of the image. The Apex rejection makes the sixth time the story-in-question has been rejected. There may be a message in this art acceptance and fiction rejection received on the same day.

At least I received a response to my story submitted to Apex Magazine, even if it was a rejection. I never did receive a response to a poem I sent their way back in September 2010, or the subsequent status query I sent two months later. Being a glutton for punishment, I actually tried again with another poetry submission in May of this year.

Considering Apex Magazine is ranked amongst the least-responsive poetry markets on Duotrope's Digest, I doubt I will receive a reply to the poem sent out in May. Trying to dutifully follow the rules of the game, I sent a status query the middle of this month, but so far, silence. I may just go ahead and send the poem elsewhere.

I hate to rule out a pro venue, but I don't think I will be submitting anything else to Apex Magazine. I think it's rude when a venue neglects to reply to submissions, and I think it's especially rude when they don't reply to status queries. Yes, they reply to stories, but my fiction is proving to be a hard sell. I don't know if I'm going to spend much more time banging my head against that particular brick wall, not when my art and poetry seems to meet with more success.

Enough griping. Time to look on the bright side of things. At least I will have my artwork in Bards and Sages Quarterly come January.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Woman Mauled by Pit Bulls in Schenectady

Another person mauled by pit bulls, this time right here in the Capital Region:
http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Woman-mauled-in-Schenectady-by-3-pit-bulls-2137672.php
More proof that pit bulls are indeed an especially dangerous breed of dog. Anyone who wants to argue that point shouldn't take it up with me. Rather, they should take it up with the poor woman who lost both her ears and suffered severe injuries to her forehead, arms, and legs. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing how these potential lethal weapons are really such sweet animals.

Typically, I'm an animal lover, but I have little love for pit bulls. I sometimes walk the streets (I don't drive). I worry that I could be attacked some day. I know not every pit bull is vicious, but you really don't want to run into one of the vicious ones. And running into one of the vicious ones is a distinct possibility around here (dog fighting is known to go on in this area). An attacking pit bull might rip your face off (or worse)!

The problem pit bulls are probably mostly the products of irresponsible breeders and dog fighters, but regardless of the source, they are still a problem. I know some people may throw a fit if I suggest that local governments should ban pit bulls, but I'm getting sick to death of hearing about pit bulls mauling innocent passers-by. Like I said, I don't feel safe walking the streets knowing how many pit bulls are in this area (they are some sort of status symbol amongst certain groups), and knowing that pit bulls have the potential to be aggressive.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Fantasy Art of Richard H. Fay 2012 Calendar

I managed to put together a 2012 calendar of some of my fantasy art (along with one or two sci-fi pieces and a horror piece). It actually took a bit of work to come up with a background so I could use my portrait-oriented pieces on a landscape-oriented calendar. I hope it was worth it. It also looks like I have enough art to do two other calendars, one with my weird sci-fi stuff, and another with my historic stuff.

Anyway, the first of my calendars is now up in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store: The Fantasy Art of Richard H. Fay 2012 Calendar

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Mighty Steed, White Dragon" on Cover of KIDS'MAGINATION, Issue 2

Issue 2 of Kids'Magination has been published. My fantasy artwork "Mighty Steed, White Dragon" is on the cover.

Yay! Another cover! Not bad for the artist who once thought his art might not really be suitable for use as cover-art. Apparently, sometimes, it is suitable for that use after all.

Snail-Mail Rejection Without a Rejection Letter

Here is a different rejection: I received a submitted poem back in my SASE, but with no rejection letter whatsoever, not even the briefest "thanks, but no thanks". At least I got the poem back as some sort of reply. Oh, and for those who might want to know, this rejection-without-a-rejection letter was from an award-winning children's mag with a widespread circulation, a venue that pays up to $3 a line for poetry. It wasn't from some amateurish "lesser mag".

Since the poem in question is fairy-themed, I can at least add it to my list of works to be included in the fairy poetry collaboration-in-progress. It will put me that much closer to the agreed-upon number of twenty per collaborator.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mountain Lions in NY and BS from the DEC


The DEC report on this sounds like a lot of bull to me. Many years ago, Michele and I saw a mountain lion dead at the side of the Mass Turnpike around the New York-Massachusetts border. I also know some residents of northern New York State have been reporting mountain lions up in the Adirondacks for years.

Perhaps the DNA of the dead cat does indeed indicate that it came from South Dakota, but that doesn't explain away every sighting of live mountain lions roaming the wilds of New York State. It also doesn't explain our own sighting of a dead one.

I doubt every single one of those several hundred reports a year of mountain lions in the wild in New York State are misidentified bobcats or domestic cats. As something of a trained observer with a background in biology, I stand by my identification of the cat we saw dead at the side of the Mass Turnpike. During my time as a biology lab tech, my superiors were well impressed with my ability to identify and catalog mold spores and various aquatic organisms. While identifying mold spores and aquatic organisms is not exactly the same as identifying mammals, the basic skills needed in any such visual identification (being observant and having an eye for identifying traits), are basically the same. Not to mention, one of my favorite outdoor past times happens to be birding, and I use the very same skills when trying to identify birds I've seen.

Why does the DEC continue to lie about the presence of a population of mountain lions in New York State? I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but the only conclusion I can reach is that the DEC is lying.

As an interesting aside to this suggestion of a cover-up, I recall one time a (now-deceased) co-worker of mine at the NYS Museum told me the rumor that mountain lions were known to reside in the Adirondacks, but that this knowledge was kept quiet. I know you always have to take workplace rumors with a grain of salt, but still...