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:
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...