Friday, April 29, 2011

Shamrock Return Address Labels from Zazzle.com

Shamrock Return Address Labels from Zazzle.com
Note: when entering your own address, clear the place holder text, enter your own text, then click where it says "Your address" (it took me a while to figure out you had to click "Your address" for your address to appear on the label).

Fleur de lis Return Address Labels from Zazzle.com

Fleur de lis Return Address Labels from Zazzle.com

Zazzle's Friday Four Hour Sale for Friday, April 29th

http://asset.zcache.com/assets/graphics/_zletter/2011/0429_FFHS_13_Stickers_fw.html

Zazzle's Friday Four Hour Sale for today (Friday, April 29th) is 50% of stickers, labels, and bumper stickers. Use the code: FFHS4STICKER.

Apparently, after the four hours have passed, stickers, labels, and bumper stickers will be 20% off the rest of the weekend.

Several different sticker and bumper sticker designs are available for purchase in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store, including Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales bumper stickers.

C'mon, help out this "starving artist" by buying some stickers and/or bumper stickers featuring his artwork! (I'm not really starving, but a little more money for my work would be a very good thing.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Golden Eagles

This evening, Michele and I saw what I believe to have been a pair of migrating golden eagles. They were very large, very dark birds-of-prey that half-soared and half-flapped as they spiraled northward. At first I thought they might be a couple of turkey vultures, but they seemed to keep their wings at a shallower vee (almost flat) than is typical of turkey vultures, and they called to each other as they flew.

According to The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Eastern Region, one of the calls of the golden eagle is a high-pitched kee-kee-kee. That is exactly what we heard. Turkey vultures are relatively silent birds, usually only grunting or hissing when feeding or at the nest. All the times I've seen turkey vultures on the wing, I've never heard them utter a sound.

Apparently, although there aren't any breeding pairs in New York State, golden eagles breeding in eastern Canada migrate every spring and fall. It seems that Michele and I caught sight of two of these Canadian eagles on their spring journey back to their summer home.

If my identification is correct, that means I've now sighted both species of eagle native to North America within a block of my current residence (Michele and I were just at the end of our street when she spotted a very large bird soaring overhead). I always wanted to see an eagle, and now I've seen both bald eagles and golden eagles. Cool!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Shadow People" Published in BETE NOIRE Issue #3

My dark speculative poem "Shadow People" has been published in Issue #3 of Bete Noire. Copies can be purchased here (click on the cover art to be taken to the page where you can buy either print or downloadable versions of the zine).

"Shadow People" was inspired by allegedly true encounters with supernatural beings known as shadow people. In the poem, I present a narrator haunted by these shadowy entities. I depict shadow people as some sort of ancient spirits, although I never really say whether or not they were ever human. Maybe yes. Maybe no. Who can say for sure?

Believe it or not, I may have spied a shadow person in our old place of residence. At least twice, when I entered the darkened master bedroom at night, I thought I saw a deeper blackness vaguely in the shape of a tall cloaked figure rush straight at me. It was disturbing and dramatic enough to trigger a bit of a "flight or fight" response; in my case, "fight!". Even so, I just chalked it up to an over-active imagination or my eyes playing tricks on me, until I saw an Unsolved Mysteries segment about a haunting that featured an experience eerily similar to my own. That story made me think may I actually have had a couple of rather close face-to-face (practically "in your face") encounters with something supernatural.

Did I disturb a shadow person lurking in my bedroom? Did it rush at me before vanishing into the darkness? Perhaps. Other potentially paranormal things happened in that house, so it is possible (unless you simply don't believe in such things, but I don't have the luxury of disbelief).

Anyway, "Shadow People" almost saw publication once before, but things happened, and it didn't get published then. It has been published now. Better late than never.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lost in the Spam Folder of Doom?

It appears that this latest episode of "no reply at all" (see More "No Reply" Woes) may not have been an example of "no reply equals rejection" after all. It seems that the editor never received the poem in question to begin with. Apparently, there is a good possibility that my submission got stuck in the spam folder and then deleted before the editor ever had a chance to look at it.

So, instead of meaning rejection, this lack of a reply apparently meant my submission had been lost in the oblivion that is the spam folder of doom. The withdrawal was unnecessary, because the editor didn't have the poem anyway.

Live and learn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More "No Reply" Woes

I just sent a withdrawal for a poetry submission I had sent out on Oct. 25th, 2010. The withdrawal might have been unnecessary. With this particular market, no reply after almost six months might mean rejection. However, I have already sent the poem back out, so I figured I had better send a withdrawal to cover my bases. Better being safe than sorry. I'm trying to avoid a "sim sub" incident.

One of the potential problems I foresee arising with this trend of "no reply equals rejection" is the possibility of assuming rejection when a piece is still under consideration, sending the piece elsewhere, and then having both markets accept the work. Many editors frown on simultaneous submissions just for this possibility of simultaneous acceptances. The way I see it, refusing to reply to rejections sets up an atmosphere where this very sort of situation might arise. Of course, two different editors accepting the same work at the same time might be rare indeed, but it could happen.

I've repeatedly asked the question "when do you assume rejection?", and I've gotten responses everywhere from double the stated response time to a whole year. Unless you're Dracula with lots of time on your hands ("how few days go to make up a century"), a year can be a long time to wait. I can handle waiting a year (just), if the publication's guidelines state that responses may take up to a year. However, I'm growing a bit impatient with waiting double or triple the stated times, or worse yet, waiting forever.

Submission limbo is a nasty place to be. So much confusion (has it or hasn't it been rejected?). So much doubt (do I or don't I send it out elsewhere?).

Addendum: the dangers of assuming rejection. I actually received a swift reply to my withdrawal notice. Funny thing is, I had sent a status query on April 7th that went unanswered. Anyway, the piece in question might still have been under consideration (the editor might not have gotten to reading it yet). It has been withdrawn now. Since I had assumed rejection and already sent the poem elsewhere, in order to avoid a "sim sub" incident, I had to withdraw it. (Not that I'm assuming it would have been accepted by both places. Chances are good it won't get accepted at the venue I just sent it to, but you never know for sure.)

Sigh. I hope I don't gain a reputation as being difficult, or too impatient. I'm just trying to make some sense out of a field that often seems to make no sense at all.

"15th Century Saint George in Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store

My "15th Century Saint George", which depicts the warrior-saint as a fifteenth century knight armed in full plate armour fighting on foot, now appears on merchandise in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store.

This makes the fifth depiction of the patron saint of England I've done over the past several years, the first one being a depiction of the warrior-saint as a 13th century knight I drew back in 1998. Two ("15th Century Saint George" and "Roman Saint George") appear on items in the Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. The other three appear on stuff in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store.

I think that's enough Saint Georges for now. The time has come to move on to drawing something else. Of course, now that I have a couple of Saint Georges in my Zazzle store, I'm thinking I need a Joan of Arc, too. Drawing Joan might have to go on my "to-do" list.

"Wondrous Gobbledygook" in April 2011 APHELION

My speculative nonsense poem "Wondrous Gobbledygook" now appears on-line in the April 2011 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. If you haven't read this one before (it has appeared on-line in the past, just not in a zine), check it out now!

One commenter over on the Apehlion forum suggested that there is a bit of the Mad Hatter in this piece. Mad? Maybe yes. Maybe no. I was actually inspired, at first, by the Vogon poetry from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (note the gobbledygook in the poem that Jeltz read prior to having Arthur and Ford thrown out of the airlock). Being inspired by such dreck may be mad indeed.

Of course, I ended up writing something (hopefully) not quite as dreadful as Vogon poetry. In the end, I opted for a fairly straightforward romantic piece, with nonsense words thrown in for effect. Replace the nonsense words with real words (like Hawaii instead of Nagoogoo, or red hibiscus instead of crimson syton), and it goes from nonsensically speculative to rather mundane.

"Wondrous Gobbledygook" might be considered to be a piece of nonsense verse, although it doesn't rhyme. Perhaps it is nonsense verse nevertheless. After all, I did use a lot of made up words. I'm most proud of the line: "while the bumox skip across the fwa", mostly because of the word "fwa". Not only is it a made-up word, it also contains a combination of letters that you don't really find in English (not often together in one syllable, anyway).

By the way, referencing the Mad Hatter is interesting, since Lewis Carroll is listed among the writers noted for nonsense verse. I may have drawn inspiration from "Jabberwocky", if not consciously, then subconsciously.

I'm Incomparable!

Apparently, I'm incomparable! At least, that's what David C. Kopaska-Merkel said in his post mentioning the availability of e-book versions of his speculative poetry collection Brushfires through Smashwords:
Brushfires on Smashwords

I'm not sure if being incomparable is good or bad, but I'll take it as a compliment (being a bit tongue-in-cheek here - being incomparable is certainly better than being incompetent). Seriously, I have thought for a while that my style is rather unique.

In that respect, it is hard to compare my artwork to most of the rest of the artwork out there. It's almost like comparing apples and oranges. Sometimes my "go my own way" style works, sometimes it doesn't, but when it does work, it tends to work very well. My cover art for Brushfires worked.

Anyway, here is a direct link to the Smashwords page where you can buy assorted e-book versions of Brushfires:
Smashwords - Brushfires
(If you haven't seen my cover-art yet, you can see it if you follow the link)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"The Banshee's Cry" Accepted for Publication in Issue 6 of DARK METRE

My dark speculative poem "The Banshee's Cry", originally published in the October 2007 issue of the (now apparently defunct) horror print magazine Sinister Tales, has been accepted for publication in issue 6 of the e-mail/on-line horror poetry newsletter Dark Metre, due out June 5th.

Reprints are always nice, but what makes this one even nicer is that I will actually be paid this time around (£2.50). I received no payment for the original publication of the poem in Sinister Tales; they only paid for the lead poem, and "The Banshee's Cry" wasn't chosen as the lead poem in that issue. I also received no payment when the poem was republished in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers; they don't typically pay for content published on-line.

My prose fiction might be struggling to find acceptance, but at least I continue to see my poetry accepted for publication, and I even see payments for those publications on occasion. It makes me feel that I might me moving ever so slowly in the right direction. Perhaps not, but I like to think that, anyway.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rejection #6

Sometimes, I hate being right. This happens to be one of those times.

As I feared when I originally sent it out, my wizardly story about a wizard using his wizardly powers to deal with the problems he faces in the story is having serious problems finding a good home. It has been rejected for a sixth time.

I might be able to write what I think the markets want versus what I would prefer to write, but it would feel like a betrayal of my muse. Not to mention, I would rather write the sort of story I would like to read, rather than write something I really can't stand.

I seem to have fairly good luck with having my poetry published, and I've seen a handful of my non-fiction articles published. I just don't see the same success in the prose fiction department. It's depressing!

Oh well, time to send the story out yet again. Perhaps the seventh time will be the charm. Lucky seven, perhaps?

"When Wizards Clashed" in THE ABSENT WILLOW REVIEW

My fantasy poem "When Wizards Clashed" now appears in the April 2011 issue of the horror, fantasy, and science fiction e-zine The Absent Willow Review. Check it out!

This happens to be one of the works I penned fairly recently (within the past year or so) where I deliberately set out to write the sort of fantasy piece I felt like writing, versus writing the sort of fantasy piece that seems the best match for today's vision of "proper" fantasy writing. It was very much an exploration of the actions that might take place when a good wizard confronts an evil one atop an alpine tor. I concentrated on their sorcerous duel, and tried for a "folkloric" feel.

Do I go nowhere new? Do I lack real emotion? Do I use too many descriptives? These are some of the criticisms this poem faced on its journey toward publication. Now that the piece has been published, you the reader decide. Mind you, being a visual artist as well as a poet, I do have a love of rich imagery. You can't paint multi-coloured imagery without using a palette of many colours. You can't paint rich imagery with words without using descriptive language.

Thanks to the anti-descriptive mind-set I've run across time-and-again, my love for descriptive language continues to be one of my writing bugaboos. However, I'm starting to believe that I can no more change my penchant for the liberal use of descriptive language than I can change my penchant for creating multi-coloured visual art. If you doubt my love of bright and varied colours, check out my "Welcome Sign" or my cover-art for David Kopaska-Merkel's Brushfires collection.

Anyway, none of this really matters now. "When Wizards Clashed" found a home. It has been published, meaning made available to the public. It now has a chance of being read by others. Some readers may like it, some may hate it, and some may be completely indifferent about it. So be it. If one other person ends up being entertained by what I have written, then I accomplished what I had set out to do by writing the piece. Anything more is simply a bonus.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nine More to Go...

I received a payment today for a forthcoming dark poetry publication, one that happens to be one of my best sales yet ($10 for a poem of 24 lines). Nine more like that (as long as this poem does get published in the end), plus $65, and I just may be able to get myself an active membership in the HWA.

Of course, that depends on whether or not this sale truly does qualify. I'm not 100% sure it does.

At this point, perhaps I need fewer than nine more qualifying sales to reach ten total. Arguably, one or two of my past sales might qualify, like the time I received $10 for my 24-line dark fantasy poem in A Time To... (if it's not too fantasy), or the time I received $5.00 for my 20-line dark sci-fi poem in The Fifth Di...(if it's not too sci-fi). I also received another $5.00 for the appearance of that very same 20-line dark sci-fi poem in Wondrous Web Worlds, Vol. 8. Again, I'm not sure any of these sales would truly count.

What's the point of mentioning this? Not much, other than to brag about one of my best poetry sales yet, monetarily-speaking, and to point out that I do think about such things as membership in pro writers' organizations. Unfortunately, being basically a poet, thinking about such things too long and hard makes me depressed. It's best not to think about it much, and to just keep doing what I've been doing. Achieving membership in a pro writers' organization would be nice, but I have to be realistic about reaching such a goal.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Forgot to Add to my List of Publications

Having mentioned in a previous post the appearance of the artist interview featuring me and my work in Residential Aliens back in April 2010, I realised that I had never added the artworks that appeared alongside the interview to my list of publications. Shame on me!

I think I was reluctant to include the appearance of the artworks in Residential Aliens on my list because I wasn't sure artwork samples alongside an artist interview should count as "official" publications. However, since I decided to add the art samples appearing in The Gloaming, I figured I should add the samples from the Residential Aliens interview as well.

Considering how I use my list as a means of keeping track of what has been published and where, and considering how many venues view anything appearing on-line anywhere as being previously published, it's probably best to be overly inclusive. After all, I would hate to send something out as unpublished because I didn't add it to my list and forgot about it being published somewhere at some point in time.

As a matter of fact, I had forgotten which pieces appeared alongside the Residential Aliens interview. I forgot that "West Dingleton's Loss of Humanity" appeared there as well as in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. That can make a difference when sending such pieces back out. Sometimes, the more times a piece has appeared in publication, the less likely another venue will take it as a reprint.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Artist Profile in THE GLOAMING

The artist profile featuring me and my work is now on-line at The Gloaming:
Artist Profile: Richard H. Fay

My previously unpublished sci-fi/horror artworks "Creeping Slime Hulk", "Aliens Entwined", "Kreonan Sky Devil", and "The Greemlogorg" accompany the interview. Check 'em out!

It might also be of some interest to compare my answers in The Gloaming interview to those I gave in a previous interview over at Residential Aliens:
Artist Interview: Richard H. Fay

I think my answers in The Gloaming interview are less rambling and more succinct, but I went into a lot more depth in the Residential Aliens interview. It's interesting to note that I mentioned working on illustrations for my speculative poetry collection-in-progress in both interviews; that collection is proving to be a long-term project! Alas, I forgot to cite William Blake as one of my influences in my list on The Gloaming. How did I forget about Blake?

(Note: the Azure Lion Productions web-site mentioned in the Residential Aliens interview is now defunct. Samples of my art can now be found here:
Azure Lion Productions Portfolio)

Niteblade Art Blog: The Cartoon Creations of Steve Cartwright

The latest entry in the Niteblade Art Blog can be found here:
The Cartoon Creations of Steve Cartwright.

This time around, I feature three rather comically creepy pieces by the artist, illustrator, and cartoonist Steve Cartwright. Steve has an interestingly unique style. You might even call his art uncomplicated, in a good way. It is what it is. Steve's "Prisoner" in particular proves that unpretentiousness and directness can be surprisingly effective.

Not only is this my latest Niteblabe Art Blog entry, it may also be my last. Even though those artists that have been featured invariably seemed pleased with their entries, interest in submitting material to the art blog has never been strong. Lately, the queries and submissions have been particularly scarce in the art at niteblade dot com in-box. As of this moment, I have nothing more to feature.

Sad, but true.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No "Roman Saint George" Postage Stamps

It seems that most of the merchandise I created featuring my "Roman Saint George" is being posted in my store just fine, except...

Apparently, Zazzle thinks my "Roman Saint George" too violent for postage stamps. I can't imagine it's too profane, deceptive, abusive, menacing, harmful, or threatening. Funny thing is, I checked last night before I tried to create the stamp, and there are other St. George Stamps, including one featuring Raphael's "Saint George and the Dragon".

Have a better look at Raphael's artwork here:
Raphael's "Saint George"
Sure looks like George is violently skewering the dragon to me! It actually looks a bit more violent than my own depiction of the warrior-saint. As a matter of fact, that dragon in Raphael's work looks IN PAIN!

Perhaps my "Roman Saint George" is actually profane, since I didn't show the saint with a nimbus. I don't always show George with a nimbus, and I deliberately choose not to show it in this case for compositional reasons. I figured it might look odd with his streaming horsehair plume.

Anyway, I won't bother making more of a fuss than the comments I made here. It isn't worth it. It's Zazzle's site, Zazzle's business, and Zazzle ultimately decides what's acceptable and what's not. I would hate for Zazzle to take down all my other "Roman Saint George" stuff. That would kind of defeat the purpose of drawing it to begin with!

Roman St. George




My "Roman St. George" is now on merchandise in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. I figured the store needed at least one piece of artwork depicting St. George in time for St. George's Day later this month (April 23rd). I had originally planned on composing two different St. George drawings (the second being St. George as a 15th century knight), but I don't think I will get to the second one right now.

And why, you might ask, did I depict the patron saint of England as a Roman cavalryman? Because George was supposedly a military tribune of the late 3rd-early 4th century AD (martyred circa 303). It seemed appropriate to portray George armed as a Roman cavalryman of that same general period. All the details of my drawing may not be accurate enough to please the fussiest of historical re-enactors (Roman historical re-enactors can be particularly fussy about such things), but I think I got the general period feel just about right. This cavalryman looks pretty "Roman" to me!

As an interesting study in the evolution of my art, compare this Saint George to my three other Saint Georges in the Abandoned Towers Zazzle Store:

St. George and the Dragon -Version 1 (the saint armed as a 13th century knight, a drawing of mine dating back to 1998)

St. George and the Dragon - 14th Century (a drawing of the saint as an English knight on foot I did back in 2004 that has undergone some digital tweaking since then)

St. George and the Dragon - Version 2 (the saint clad as a Crusader, drawn in 2008 as an illustration for Lisa Agnew's article "The Era of Fairies and Dragons")

Gosh! I've drawn George a lot. He may be one of my favourite subjects to draw, although drawing his horse always drives me nuts. Horses are hard!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Roman Saint George T-Shirt from Zazzle.com

In honour of St. George's Day later this month, I have added my "Roman Saint George" to items in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store.
Roman Saint George T-Shirt from Zazzle.com

Monday, April 4, 2011

"The Devil's Dungeon" Published in TREMBLES Issue #2

My dark speculative poem "The Devil's Dungeon" has been published in the April 2011 issue of the horror magazine Trembles. Copies can be purchased in either print or electronic format here:
Purchase Trembles!

"The Devil's Dungeon" was the product of imagining what might happen to a doomed soul dragged down into the dungeons of a demonic fantasy baddie, an entity that would make Sauron look like a pussycat. The poem's hellish imagery features shades of Dante's Inferno, or so the Trembles head editor suggested. He could be right; I may have had bits of Dante in the back of my head when I wrote this one.

By the way, in case anyone was wondering, "The Devil's Dungeon" had been a part of my cursed dark poetry collection. I'm trying to get the previously unpublished works from that ill-fated project out there individually. I'm hoping most will see publication sooner or later. They just won't see publication all together, at least not right away.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"Meeting the Insectoids" on Cover of BEYOND CENTAURI

My piece of sci-fi artwork "Meeting the Insectoids" adorns the cover of the April 2011 issue (Issue 32) of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Beyond Centauri. Copies of this zine are available for purchase in the Sam's Dot Bookstore here:
Beyond Centauri.

It's always interesting to see what a publisher's cover designer does with my cover artwork. Sometimes it's simply a matter of adding a font that compliments the image. At other times, a little more artistic manipulation is involved. Even though I usually try to leave enough space for the title and other cover text in a piece I submit as potential cover art, the cover designer over at Sam's Dot opted to frame "Meeting the Insectoids" with a sort-of-swirly, somewhat spacey background. It's not how I envisioned my art on the cover, but it works. It looks nifty, actually.

Go to the link I posted above and check it out!