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.")