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.