Friday, December 28, 2012

No Such Thing as Speculative Poetry!

Recently, when I mentioned to a fellow-poet that I write mostly speculative poetry, I was told by this poet that there is no such thing as speculative poetry. What?

Do you suppose the poet who told me that there is no such thing as speculative poetry knows that, in addition to the hundred-plus speculative poems I've seen published so far, I also wrote an article about speculative poetry, one that was originally published in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers and subsequently reprinted in the Sam's Dot Publishing speculative poetry magazine Illumen? Do you suppose this poet even cares? Should I care what this poet says?

I think it should be obvious to anyone who knows anything about me that I do believe that there is such a thing as speculative poetry. To be quite honest, I think arguments to the contrary are rather silly.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My 2012 Publications

For what it's worth, a recap of my 2012 publications:

Pixies in the Porridge interior illustration in Aoife's Kiss, Issue 43, December 2012.
Pixies in the Porridge poem in Aoife's Kiss, Issue 43, December 2012.
Scifaiku ("gothic armour") in Scifaikuest (print), Vol. X. No. 2, November 2012.
Horrorku ("burrowing worm") in Scifaikuest (on-line), Vol.10 No. 2, November 2012.
When Wizards Clashed illustration in Sorcerous Signals, Nov '12 - Jan '13 Issue, November 2012.
Illustration for Lindsey Duncan's "Mythocraft" cover art for Plasma Frequency, Issue 2, October/November 2012.
Never Ending Struggle poem in Death Head Grin #39, October 2012.
The Redcap of Dunnor Peel poem in The Scareald, Issue No. 2, October 2012.
Cosmic Grind poem in Infernal Ink Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 2, October 2012.
Hunting the Queegiog filler artwork in Dreams & Nightmares 93, September 2012.
Faces and Figures in the Mist interior illustration in parABnormal Digest, Issue 4, September 2012.
Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental door art for Spaceports & Spidersilk, Vol. 5, No. 3, September 2012.
Bluebell Spell poem in parABnormal Digest, Issue 4, September 2012.
Illustration for Nyki Blatchley's "Aslahkar" in Plasma Frequency, Issue 1, August/September 2012.
Silicon Searchers cinquain in Tales of the Talisman, Volume 8, Issue 1, August 2012.
Battle Beneath the Mere artwork in, Issue 19, June 2012.
Adrift in Another Dimension filler artwork in Dreams & Nightmares 92, May 2012.
Mechanical Dragon interior illustration in Beyond Centauri, Issue 36, April 2012.
Scifaiku ("silver dragon") in Beyond Centauri, Issue 36, April 2012.
The Wretched House 'Round the Corner poem in Static Movement, March 2012.
Horrorku ("heady brew") in Trapeze Magazine, March 14, 2012.
In the Dragon Realm cover art for Kids'Magination Magazine, Issue 8, February 2012.
An Invitation to Elfame cover art for Bards and Sages Quarterly, January 2012.
Horrorku ("breathless dusk") in Trapeze Magazine, January 31, 2012.

Plus a number of reprints, including:
The Haunted Castle poem in Dark Metre, Issue 17, December 2, 2012.
Souls Adrift poem in Dark Metre, Issue 17, December 2, 2012.
When Wizards Clashed poem in Sorcerous Signals, Nov '12 - Jan '13 Issue, November 2012.
Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future non-fiction article in Illumen, Issue 17, Autumn 2012.
Tree-Climbing Crimbolain cover-art for Kids'Magination, Issue 11, May 2012.
Shadow People poem in Dark Metre, Issue 13, April 2012.
Whispers on the Stairs poem in Dark Metre, Issue 13, April 2012.
Vengeance of the Alpe short story in Night to Dawn, Issue 21, April 2012.
When Wizards Dream at Night poem in Shelter of Daylight, Issue 8, April 2012.
Gathering of the Dead poem in Cover of Darkness, March 2012.
The Damnation of Daniel Brewster poem in New Bedlam Town Archives, Vol. 1, February 2012.
Peg Powler poem in Aphelion: The Best of 2011, February 2012.
The Dark Host poem in Bete Noire, Issue #8, August 2012.

No previously unpublished prose fiction or non-fiction publications in 2012.

My list of publications for 2012 may be smaller than past years' lists, but I spent a significant amount of time this year on designs for my Zazzle store. I also set up a Redbubble store. I sent fewer things to "4 the luv" markets, but sent out quite a few reprints. I saw a number of reprint items published, and received payments for most of them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More Proof that it's Often a Matter of Opinion

My latest story acceptance proves yet again that it's often a matter of finding the right market. It proves yet again that many things in the writing realm are simply matters of opinion. 

Instead of changing the story every time it got turned down, instead of making repeated revisions to fix various alleged flaws, I kept the story pretty much the same and continued to send it out relatively unaltered until it found acceptance. I believed enough in the story to keep sending it out, and keep it the way I originally wrote it. Plus, I didn't always agree with the various comments and criticisms anyway.

I'm funny like that. Besides, I would rather write my own way.

Story Accepted for Publication in Anotherealm

In a strange turn of events, a venue I thought I had withdrawn a story from back in July wants to publish the story in 2013. So, it looks like my fairy fantasy story "Father Ryan's Fright" has been accepted for publication sometime in 2013 in the e-zine Anotherealm. Since they want to publish the story, and want to pay me $25 on publication, I'm withdrawing my withdrawal and accepting the terms of their contract.

Now, I just have to make sure the story is withdrawn from the other place I had sent it to back in July. I think I may, at times, make things just a little more complicated than they have to be.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Two Reprint Poems in DARK METRE 17

My horror reprint poems "The Haunted Castle" and "Souls Adrift" have been published in Issue 17 of the horror poetry newsletter Dark Metre. "The Haunted Castle" originally appeared in The Absent Willow Review, October 15, 2009. "Souls Adrift" originally appeared in Fear and Trembling, April 8, 2010.

Please note, it appears that a blank line was lost between the second and third stanzas in "Souls Adrift". This isn't the first time such a thing has happened to my published poetry. Apparently, these things happen. I guess poetry can be a bear to format correctly.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Poem and Illustration in December AOIFE'S KISS

My poem "Pixies in the Porridge" and its accompanying illustration appear in the December 2012 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine Aoife's Kiss. The poem is a series of three haiku. The illustration is one of the cutest pieces I've had published in quite a while. I drew my inspiration for the image from old-time fairy illustrations.

I'm glad the poem appears now, as we're headed towards the winter season, because the work is somewhat seasonal in nature.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Today, I received word that my fantasy artwork "Confronting the Dragon" has been accepted for publication in the July 2013 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly. Yet another of my dragon artworks sells. Hurrah for dragons!

Scifaiku Published in SCIFAIKUEST (Print)

Today, I received my contributor's copy of the November 2012 issue of Scifaikuest. It contains, among other works by other composers of small-form sci-fi poetry, my scifaiku "gothic armour". This is a little piece inspired by something historical, Leonardo Da Vinci's robot knight. Maybe that means it's not really a scifaiku at all, but it appears in the scifaiku section of Scifaikuest, so that's what I'll call it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Peg Powler Accepted for SPACEPORTS & SPIDERSILK Door Art

At last, my Peg Powler artwork has found a home! The editor of the Sam's Dot Publishing online zine Spaceports & Spidersilk would like to use my rendition of the River Tees hag as door art for the June issue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reprint Poem & New Artwork Published in SORCEROUS SIGNALS

A two-fer reprint fantasy poem "When Wizards Clashed" and a new illustration to go with the poem have both been published in the Nov '12 - Jan '13 Issue of the fantasy web-zine Sorcerous Signals. The poem originally appeared in the April issue of the now-defunct web-zine The Absent Willow Review. When the editor of Sorcerous Signals accepted the poem, she also asked if I had an illustration to go with it. I didn't have a previously completed illustration to accompany the poem, so I composed one.

Note the donation button below the poem. If you like my wizardly fantasy poem and artwork, please consider making a donation. Donations made are split 60/40 between the author (60%) and the magazine (40%). Such donations would be a great incentive to keeping this artist and poet composing poetry and artwork. They would also help support one of this artist and poet's favourite fantasy web-zines.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Story Accepted for Fall 2013 SHELTER OF DAYLIGHT

Today, I received word that my heroic fantasy story "An Evil in Carnlinton" has been accepted for publication in the Fall 2013 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing publication Shelter of Daylight. The editor actually accepted it with a statement to the effect that I'm such a good story teller.

And, yes, this is another prose fiction sale. It only took me four tries to sell this one. I might actually be able to call myself a writer yet. ;)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Horrorku Published in SCIFAIKUEST (Online)

My horrorku "burrowing worm" has been published in the on-line version of the November 2012 issue of Scifaikuest. You can read my wormy horrorku here.

"It Rises From the Ooze" Accepted for Publication in Star*Line

My weird sci-fi artwork "It Rises From the Ooze" has been accepted for use as interior art in Star*Line. The editor says it should appear in one of the next two issues.

This one was of the quickest acceptances I've seen yet. I received the acceptance e-mail less than an hour after I submitted the artwork!

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Souls Adrift" Accepted for DARK METRE, Issue 17

My reprint dark speculative poem "Souls Adrift" has been accepted for publication in issue 17 of the horror poetry newsletter Dark Metre. That means I'm getting paid for my poetry yet again (Dark Metre pays GBP£2.50), and I'm getting paid for a reprint that I hadn't received payment for before (never saw the payment I was supposed to receive for it's original publication). It also means another publication in a venue based in the UK, as well as the third publication of that particular piece.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Hunting the Queegiog" in D&N 93

Today, I received my contributor's copies of Dreams & Nightmares 93. My sci-fi filler artwork "Hunting the Queegiog" appears in this issue. The artwork melds sci-fi and medieval. It's something I've done before with works like "Barixas Hunt", which was a sci-fi re-interpretation of medieval boar hunt imagery. With "Hunting the Queegiog", I drew my inspiration from an Anglo-Norman stone carving of battling warriors and various medieval hunting scenes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"The Dark Host" Artwork to be in Nov 2012 HUNGUR

Don't know if I posted about this before, but since it's all official and contracted, I figured I would post about it dark artwork "The Dark Host" will be published in the November 2012 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing print magazine Hungur. Received the contract last night, and agreed to it this morning.

This means yet another work culled from my ill-fated illustrated dark speculative poetry collection will finally see publication, only about four years after I originally drew the piece. Sometimes, it takes time to decide what to do with a piece that's just sitting around. At times, it also takes some time to find the right market.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sci-Fi Artwork for STAR*LINE

Looks like my sci-fi filler artwork "Aliens Entwined", a piece that melds a bit of Celtic design with sci-fi imagery, will be used in a forthcoming issue of Star*Line. Just have to send the editor a b&w version.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reprint Poem Accepted for Publication in DARK METRE

My reprint dark speculative poem "The Haunted Castle" has been accepted for publication in Issue 17 of the horror poetry newsletter Dark Metre, scheduled for publication 2nd December. The poem originally appeared in The Absent Willow Review on 15th Oct, 2009. Considering that The Absent Willow Review is now defunct, I'm glad the poem is being republished. Considering that I'm an unabashed Britophile, I'm especially glad that it's getting republished in a newsletter coming out of the UK. I'm even getting paid in British pounds!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Never Ending Struggle" Published in DEATH HEAD GRIN

My dark poem "Never Ending Struggle" is now on-line at Death Head Grin. This is one of those rare pieces where I'm being somewhat symbolist on purpose, as opposed to those times (like in "The Dark Host") when I'm somewhat symbolist by accident. All the martial imagery of burnished armour and drawn sword, and all those dark visions of twisted grotesqueries and leering faces dripping gore, symbolise other things. Of course, it's all just a dream!

Read it for yourself and see. Check it out!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Filler Artwork for DREAMS & NIGHTMARES

Sold a piece of sci-fi filler artwork to Dreams and Nightmares, for use in the January issue.

Poem Published in the October Issue of THE SCAREALD

My dark speculative poem ""The Redcap of Dunnor Peel" has been published in Issue 2 of The Scareald, available to purchase as an e-version here.

Now, don't confuse "The Redcap of Dunnor Peel" with "Redcap of Glamtallon", the latter being my short story slated for publication in the March 2013 issue of Cover of Darkness. There are similarities between poem and story, since both were inspired by the borderland tales of murderous dwarfs known as redcaps, but there are differences as well. I like to think of the poem as something of a preamble to the story. The poem doesn't really stray from the standard redcap lore, while the story adds a few more elements and goes a bit farther.

Even though the story was written first, the poem has been published first. Such is the way of the publication world.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Speculative Poetry Article in Autumn ILLUMEN

And now, a article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future", which originally appeared in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, has been published in the Autumn 2012 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing print zine Illumen. I'm glad the article has been reprinted, and in a print zine to boot! I consider it to be one of my most important pieces of writing to-date.

My Artwork on Cover of PLASMA FREQUENCY, Issue 2

My fantasy illustration for Lindsey Duncan's "Mythocraft" now appears on the cover of Plasma Frequency, Issue 2, October/November 2012. While coming up with the little details for this one, I ended up researching ancient Greek decorative elements and ancient Greek clothing. I found that my "Mechanical Dragon", which appeared in the April 2012 issue of Beyond Centauri, was good practice for drawing the mechanical unicorn in "Mythocraft".

This was my second illustration for Plasma Frequency (my illustration for Nyki Blatchley's "Aslahkar" appeared in their first issue). I hope it won't be the last.

"Cosmic Grind" Published in INFERNAL INK MAGAZINE

My arguably edgy but definitely dark poem "Cosmic Grind" has been published in Issue 2 of Infernal Ink Magazine. The zine is available in print, pdf, and Kindle versions:
Infernal Ink Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 2 (print)
Infernal Ink Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 2 (PDF)
Infernal Ink  Magazine, Vol.1, Issue 2 (Kindle)

"Cosmic Grind" was my deliberate attempt at something a little edgier than my usual fare. It was a bit of an experiment, one which Michele refused to read. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but the poem is out there now.

I also intended for the poem to be blatantly Lovecraftian in nature. I make no apologies for that fact. Yes, at times, I do let my influences show.

Now I wait and see if I receive hate mail for having "Cosmic Grind" appear in Infernal Ink! After all, this is the publication that includes a hate mail disclaimer in their contract.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Artwork Accepted for Publication in YOUTH IMAGINATION

Looks like my draconic fantasy artwork "Over the Top" has been accepted for use in the Feb or Mar issue of Youth Imagination (Kids'Magination revamped and renamed).

My dragon art sells yet again. Hurrah for dragons!

Thumbin' My Nose at Writing Advice, Goin' My Own Way

I came across this post of poetry writing advice:

Five Marks of Oft-Rejected Poems by Michael Mlekoday

which got me thinking about my own views regarding all this writing advice you see all the time in the writing world. It got me thinking yet again about what my own experience tells me about these things.

Amazing how I can thumb my nose at much of the poetry writing advice out there and still see my poems published on a fairly regular basis (last count, well over 100 poems published since April 2007). That's why I always take all writing advice out there with a grain of salt. I keep it in mind, but I'm no slave to it. I follow my own artistic instincts before I follow what others say I must do.

Take cliche, for instance. There have been times that certain readers and editors have claimed that I've been guilty of the inexcusable offense of cliche use. However, other editors and other readers have had no problems with the same fatally flawed poems.

One reader claimed that my use of the phrase "as a moth to flame" in my dark poem "Corpse Candles" was an example of dropping a cliche in the middle of a poem. However, that poem worked well enough to be published in the June 2008 issue of Niteblade, as well as the Niteblade anthology Lost Innocence. It was also republished in the October 2010 issue of Deadman's Tome.

If a reader looks long and hard enough, if they really want to find cliche, I'm sure they could find one or more examples of it in my poem "What Greets Me at the End", the poem that was published in the May 2011 issue of Cover of Darkness, the one that made it on Ellen Datlow's full list of 608 Honorable Mentions for 2011. If they tried hard enough, somebody would probably find something or other in that poem that could be considered cliche. After all, a narrator thinking they arrived in Heaven only to find out later they arrived in Hell is something of a cliche.

What am I trying to say with all this? I'm trying to suggest that many of these supposed flaws, such as cliche, are in the eye of the beholder. What doesn't work for one editor or reader may work fine for another. I will continue to follow the course I've already set, based on my own experience. Works for me.

Isn't following one's own course, based on one's own artistic instincts, what art is supposed to be all about?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Forest of the Damned on a T-Shirt

Is is too early to think about Halloween? I think not. I've been thinking about Halloween and working on getting my "Forest of the Damned" on items in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. The drawing is an oldie but goodie, having first appeared in the September 2007 issue of The Willows, but it has never appeared anywhere in full colour, 'til now. Here it is, with "Trick or Treat" added to the image, on a t-shirt:
Forest of the Damned Trick or Treat T Shirt

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Work Resonates!

Wow! In a comment over on Lindsey Beth Goddard's Author Interview Corner, this is what one writer and frequent ToC mate had to say about my work:
"His writing simply resonates, stirring things inside the way only a few writers can do effectively."

You can read the interview and comments here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Contest Over on Author Interview Corner

Lindsey Beth Goddard is running a contest over on her Author Interview Blog. All you have to do is leave a comment on her blog interview with yours truly, and you'll be entered to win a FREE signed paperback copy of Lindsey's new book, Quick Fix: A Taste Of Terror . C'mon, show that someone cares about what this artist/poet/writer has to say, and you could win a free book! Does anyone care?

You can read the interview here:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Author Interview Corner: Richard H. Fay

Author Lindsey Beth Goddard interviewed me for her Author Interview Corner. She asked about my recent art publications, my forthcoming prose fiction publications, and what inspires me to draw and write. We also talked a little about my recent poetry publications, and the fact that I often do a bit of research before composing an artwork, poem, or story.

The interview is now up on the Author Interview Corner blog. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rejection is a Violation of Constitutional Rights? What?

This is a new one: I recently entered into an argument with a writer over submission guidelines and Constitutional law. This writer claims that it is a violation of First Amendment freedom of speech for a publication to reject a work based solely on the fact that the work appeared previously on a Facebook page or other personal on-line venue. In this person's own words, "denying publishing based on freedom of speech is highly illegal", "editors will never have the right to violate constitutional law", and "the laws, including international law, states that sharing on something like FB is freedom of speech and peaceful assembly."

While I agree that editors never have the right to violate constitutional law, and I think the policy of "no works that appeared previously on-line" is rather silly at times, I do not believe that such a policy rises to the level of violating First Amendment freedom of speech. There are always other outlets out there, including self-publishing ones. Besides, a venue that contracts for First Rights does have the contractual right to be the first to publish a piece.

Taken to extremes, this argument could be used to suggest that ANY rejection is a violation of constitutional law. Maybe I should use that argument the next time a receive a rejection. What do you all think of that? Should I? ;)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wizardly Fantasy Story ACCEPTED!!!

It looks like my wizardly fantasy story has been ACCEPTED!!! The editor of Bards and Sages Quarterly says she would like to use my story "Sing the Bones Alive" in their January issue. Yay!

It only took twelve tries before "Sing the Bones Alive" saw an acceptance. Before this positive reply, the story saw ten rejections and one withdrawal. I guess it was a good thing I didn't stuff it into the trunk-of-no-return. I guess it was just a matter of finding the right market.

I figured "Sing the Bones Alive" would have difficulty finding a home, not because it's badly written, but because I went against the grain when it comes to what's expected from fantasy stories nowadays. However, I didn't think it would take quite so long (close to two years) before the story got accepted somewhere. I was about ready to give up.

Now, if all goes according to plan, "Sing the Bones Alive" will be published in the January issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly, and my redcap horror story will be published in the March issue of Cover of Darkness. With "Vengeance of the Alpe", which was published in the All Souls' Night 2010 issue of Hungur and the April 2012 issue of Night to Dawn, come March 2013, three of my stories longer than drabbles will have been published in four different zines. Does that mean I will actually be able to call myself a writer?

I know, the pieces have to be published first. I do know you should never count your chickens before they hatch, especially when it comes to counting chickens in the publication realm.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Poem and Artwork Published in parABnormal Digest, Issue 4

My folkloric speculative poem "Bluebell Spell" and my dark artwork "Faces and Figures in the Mist" have both been published in the September 2012 issue of parABnormal Digest. This time, poem and artwork aren't a paired set; they don't really go together. The poem was inspired by fairy folklore and the lore surrounding  bluebells, aka "dead man's bells". The artwork was inspired by something that appeared in a photo I took of a reputedly haunted house. The poem has been bopping around, in one form or another, since 2007. I drew the artwork earlier this year.

When the poetry editor of parABnormal Digest accepted "Bluebell Spell" for publication, she called it a delicate poem. I replied by saying that my works inspired by fairy lore tend to be among my most delicate creations. The poetry editor then called me versatile. Versatile poet. I like that.

Apparently, I'm a pretty versatile artist, too. I like to think I am, anyway.

My Art on Door of September 2012 SPACEPORTS AND SPIDERSILK

My fantasy artwork "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" now appears on the door of the September issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing e-zine Spaceports & Spidersilk. For a while now, "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" has appeared on items in my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store, but it has not previously appeared in a zine. The artwork is supposed to be an illustration for my fantasy poem of the same name, but poem and artwork have never appeared together. It just works out that way sometimes.

My "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" illustration took a long route to publication. One venue turned it down because at least one of their editors thought the swirling lines to be too busy. If they think my linework is too busy, what must they think of something like Arthur Rackham's "The Leviathan"? Personally, I like dynamic linework, and I'm influenced by works like Rakham's Leviathan.

Oh, well. Art is such a subjective thing, and "Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental" has now been published in a zine.

Cover Art for PLASMA FREQUENCY, Issue 2

It looks like my full-colour illustration for Lindsey Duncan's "Mythocraft" will be used as cover-art on Issue 2 of Plasma Frequency. Having my art appear on a cover is always a good thing, but this this time I'm getting paid more than I've ever been paid before for one piece of art. After making a few steps backward earlier this year, with various projects falling apart and doing work I never got paid for, this is definitely a step in the right direction!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Silicon Searchers" in TALES OF THE TALISMAN, Vol 8, Issue 1

My sci-fi cinquain "Silicon Searchers" has been published in the Summer 2012 issue of Tales of the Talisman. The table of contents of Tales of the Talisman, Volume 8, Issue 1, may be viewed here.

Being a cinquain, "Silicon Searchers" is short and sweet. After all, it's only five lines long. However, for being such a little poem, it may actually pack a big (shall we say world shattering?) punch. As wordy as I am at times, I think I've gotten pretty good at composing pithy poems.

Get a copy of Tales of the Talisman, Vol 8, Issue 1, and see what you think of my wee sci-fi cinquain.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Any Rational, Reasonable Christians Out There?

One of my Atheist friends has wondered if there are any rational and reasonable Christians out there to counter the irrational, unreasonable, hate-filled extremists of the far Religious Right. Though some may think me barely Christian at best, I do consider myself to be loosely Episcopalian. I may be something of a heretic in my personal beliefs, but I do think Jesus existed and is deserving of worship. I am not an Atheist or Agnostic; based on my personal experiences, I definitely believe there is a spiritual component to the universe.

I have also repeatedly voiced my support of gay marriage and my belief in evolution as a scientific fact.

Any other rational, reasonable Christians out there?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Illustration for November SORCEROUS SIGNALS

I composed an illustration to go along with my reprint poem previously accepted for publication in the November issue of Sorcerous Signals. I sent the art off to the editor, and she said it "looks great." So, it looks like I will be having an illustration published alongside my poem.

Cool! I love it when one success leads to another. At times, it pays to be multi-talented.

"The Dark Host" Published in BETE NOIRE, Issue #8

My reprint dark poem "The Dark Host" has been published in Issue #8 of Bete Noire Magazine (on page 8, I believe). This poem originally appeared in Bewildering Stories back on February 10, 2008. "The Dark Host" is one of my rare rhyming poems; I don't tend to write rhyming verse. It's also a work that some have said seems almost symbolist in nature, even though I didn't intentionally write the piece as a symbolism. I drew my inspiration for the poem from fairy folklore, specifically, tales about the Sluagh. The fact that others saw something else in the piece just goes to prove that poems can mean different things to different readers. Get a copy of Bete Noire Issue #8 and see what you think. Is "The Dark Host" an example of symbolism, or is it a straight folkloric piece?

BTW, I didn't get paid for the original publication of the poem in Bewildering Stories, but I am getting paid for it's re-publication in Bete Noire. Reprints are nice enough, but receiving monetary remuneration for a reprint I received no money payment for the first time around is even better. It's additional validation of my work.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Doesn't Work For Some...

...may work for others.

It's a funny thing when a poem that didn't work and was even seen as flawed by some markets ends up working fine for at least two other markets. Yep, regardless of what harsh criticisms, scathing critiques, and negative comments might lead one to believe, much boils down to matters of opinion and taste. That's why, based on my experience in this crazy field called publication, I tend to take most harsh criticisms, scathing critiques, and negative comments with a healthy dose of salt.

Reprint Poem Accepted for Nov 2012 SORCEROUS SIGNALS

Following a string of rejections from a handful of markets, finally some good news on the submissions reprint fantasy poem "When Wizards Clashed" has been accepted for publication in the Nov 2012 issue of the e-zine Sorcerous Signals as well as the Nov 2012 issue of the print publication Mystic Signals. The poem originally appeared in the now-defunct e-zine The Absent Willow Review.

In addition to accepting the poem, the editor of Sorcerous Signals also asked if I had an artwork to go along with the poem. I don't, but I could. Never one to pass up an opportunity to illustrate my own verse, I told the editor I could get to work on an illustration for "When Wizards Clashed" asap.

Missing Doing Colouring Pages

I miss composing colouring pages for Abandoned Towers. I did four ("A Leviathan Ascendant" in issue 3, "Robin in Sherwood Forest" in issue 4, "Android Attack" in issue 5, and "Excalibur" in issue 6) before the managing editor/publisher put a stop to my regular colouring pages, and then put the zine up for sale. As to why the editor stopped having me create regular colouring pages, I don't believe it was ever a question of quality. I think it was more a question of money. Anyway, I think my drawing style lends itself well to colouring pages. After all, I am heavily influenced by the stuff you find in Dover and Bellerophon colouring books.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Scratch That One off the List of Potential Markets

Alas, I'm afraid I must scratch Niteblade off my list of potential markets. After twenty-five rejections in a row since I saw my last acceptance from Niteblade in October '08, I'm starting to believe I will never see another acceptance from that particular publication. Excluding the poem of mine that was originally published in Niteblade's premier issue and subsequently picked by the editor to appear in their Dec. '11 Special Poetry Issue, I haven't had anything published in Niteblade since "My Final Masterpiece" appeared in their December '08 issue. Twenty-five times I've tried to get other works published by that zine, to no avail.

That list of twenty-five rejected works includes both previously unpublished pieces and reprints. Most of the previously unpublished stuff has seen or will see publication elsewhere. The reprints on the list includes my one published story longer than a drabble ("Vengeance of the Alpe") as well as my poem that made Ellen Datlow's full list of 608 honorable mentions for Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 4 ("What Greets Me at the End" - which was rejected less than twenty-four hours after I had sent it).

Niteblade has never been a particularly easy market for me to get into, though I did manage it a few times back in '07 and '08, as evidenced by the publication of "Fantasyku" in their Sept. '07 issue, "Book of Dimensions" in their Dec. '07 issue, "Corpse-Candles" in their June '08 issue, and "My Final Masterpiece" in their Dec. '08 issue. "Corpse-Candles" also appeared in the Niteblade anthology Lost Innocence. I even had an illustration for "Book of Dimensions" published in their Dec. '07 issue, at a time when they accepted artwork submissions. However, for me, Niteblade now seems to be an impossible nut to crack. As much as I understand the need for persistence and perseverance in the publication realm, I also believe one has to know when to stop banging one's head against the brick wall. If something isn't working, why keep doing it?

(BTW, for a while, my involvement with Niteblade went beyond occasional contributor. I was Niteblade Art Blogger from October '08 to May '11.)

Time to go do some art.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Rejection That's Making Me Rethink This Whole Writing Thing

More proof that it's not the clarity of my writing, it's other things. A fairy story of mine has been turned down yet again. Here is what the latest rejecting editor said about the story:

"What I liked: Cleanly written. Solid characters and realistic dialogue.

Why I rejected: The story felt too predictable... There's not a huge amount of tension, and the pacing feels off..."

That's at least the second time this story has received the dreaded criticism of "too predictable". It's not the way I write so much as it's what I write.

I might be better off sticking to art. As I've said before, this writing thing is getting me nowhere.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Poem Accepted for Publication in October DEATH HEAD GRIN

In better news...

Looks like my dark poem "Never Ending Struggle" has been accepted for publication in the October issue of DEATH HEAD GRIN.

Singing the Rejection Blues, Again (With Comments)

My story's been rejected
They say it's no damned good
My story's been rejected
It's never gonna find a home

My story's been rejected
Again, and again, and again.
My story's been rejected
And now my heart is broke

My story's been rejected
And I ain't gonna write no more
no more
Ain't gonna write no more
no more
Ain't gonna write
no more

Got a story rejection with feedback from four different readers. One of four readers really liked the story and thought it was very cute. The other three had rather different opinions. They thought the story was too predictable/didn't take enough risks/had a weak conflict/was a weak story.

Hmm. Could be real flaws. However, at least one of the readers critical of the work also said it "has too much of a fairy tale feel to it". Um, it's a tale about the fairies, a story based on a true Irish ghost tale of years ago. It's supposed to have a fairy tale feel to it. It's supposed to feel like the tales the seanchaithe would tell. That was my intent.

One reader, the one who liked the story, did say something about there being some misspellings. I thought that comment was interesting. I wonder, did the reader realise that I tend to use UK spellings? Most of what I read has been penned by British or Anglophile authors. The UK spellings have rubbed off on me.

This prose writing thing is getting me nowhere fast. I can write poems editors like well enough to publish. I can write non-fiction articles that editors like well enough to publish. I can even compose artworks editors like well enough to publish. With only a few exceptions, I simply can't seem to write prose fiction that editors like well enough to publish. I can't seem to write the prose fiction editors want for their zines. I thought I could. Based on my success with poetry and non-fiction, I really thought I might be able to write publishable prose fiction, too. Apparently, I was wrong.

That was the ninth rejection for the fairy story in question, tenth if you count the time a market released it back to me because they retrospectively closed to submissions. I'll dutifully send the story back out there, but at this point, I don't know why I should bother. My time might be better spent on other things.

And I really wanted to be a writer of prose fiction, too. Unfortunately, the gatekeepers aren't allowing me through that particular gate. I guess I have to settle for poet/writer of non-fiction/artist/illustrator. I guess I can't have it all.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Illustration Published in PLASMA FREQUENCY, Issue 1

The premiere issue of Plasma Frequency has been released. My illustration for Nyki Blatchley's story "Aslahkar" appears within. You can view it if you download a free electronic edition of the zine. Better still, to fully appreciate the illustration, purchase a print copy for $9.99. My art often looks best in print.

This was an interesting illustration to compose. The editor gave me a general idea of what he wanted, but the details of the composition are my own. I think the figures are some of my most emotive yet. Their poses communicate certain emotions, setting the scene emotionally.

This one also demanded a lot of perspective work in the background. I may have fudged the perspective a bit, but the background works. It actually took me longer to draw the background than it took me to draw the figures.

I know artists often think this of their latest works, but my illustration for "Aslahkar" is one of my best yet. Check it out for yourself, and see if you agree.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reprint Poem Accepted for Publication in BETE NOIRE

My reprint dark poem "My Darkly Dear Leanan-Sidhe" has been accepted for publication in Bete Noire. The poem, a series of four cinquains, originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Sounds of the Night.

In the acceptance e-mail, the editors of Bete Noire said they loved the imagery of the poem. Being a visual artist as well as a poet, I think I have a particularly keen sense of imagery. I try to use that keen sense of imagery when writing my verse.

Now, to print up, fill in, and send off that contract!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Another for HUNGUR

Looks like a poem I wrote to go with art I had previously sent to Hungur has been accepted for publication in that zine. Well, the editor says she loves the poem, anyway. More details, like what issue, when they become available.

"Adrift in Another Dimension" in Dreams and Nightmares 92

This past Friday, I received my contributor's copies of Dreams & Nightmares 92. My weird sci-fi filler artwork "Adrift in Another Dimension" appears on page 12. The artwork is in my bold black and white style. It contains elements similar to the elements in some of my other works, like "Wander the Ether/Ethereal Journey". However, I think the composition in "Adrift in Another Dimension", with the elements streaming toward a point in the centre, is especially effective and dramatic.

This is my fourth piece of filler artwork published in Dreams & Nightmares. A fifth has been accepted and is awaiting publication in a forthcoming issue. A sixth is awaiting a final "yea" or "nay".  I'm hoping to compose more filler art for submission to Dreams & Nightmares in the near future, once a rather protracted move is finally over and done with (am in the middle of the move right now).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Plug for Sam's Dot

Even though some may shun them for not necessarily paying pro or semi-pro rates, I've always found the various editors at Sam's Dot to be decent, reasonable, folk, who've always acted in a professional manner. I highly recommend the various Sam's Dot publications. Of course, I'm a bit biased; I've had a number of pieces published in various Sam's Dot publications, and continue to see my works accepted by several different Sam's Dot editors. As a matter of fact, my very first acceptance for publication in a zine was from J. Alan Erwine, for the publication of my poem "Explorers" in the September 2007 issue of The Fifth Di... So, you see, Sam's Dot Publishing got my roll a rolling.

So, thanks to all you Sam's Dot editors who've kept the roll rolling, who've given me the encouragement to keep going, who've actually made me believe in the worth of my creative endeavours. You know who you are!

Poem and Art Accepted for Dec 2012 AOIFE'S KISS

Another acceptance, this time, a double...

My poem "Pixies in the Porridge" and its accompanying illustration have both been accepted for publication in the December 2012 issue of Aoife's Kiss. Once the "Pixies in the Porridge" poem and illustration have been published in December, that will be the second time a poetry/art combo of mine has appeared within the pages of that particular publication. The first one ("Gothic Window") was also in December, way back in December 2007 .

"Pixies in the Porridge" is a series of three haiku. One of the haiku has appeared previously on my blogs, but the whole series of three has not. I added the other two haiku and composed the illustration so I could include the poem and art in a fairy poetry collaboration. Alas, the publication of the collaborative anthology never got off the ground, so my collaborators and I decided to use our works separately.

I'm especially glad that "Pixies in the Porridge" has found a good home. It's a fun poem/art combo; the editor called it "entertaining". It's also lighter than many of my works, exploring the mischievous rather than the malignant side of the fairy realm. As much as I'm adept at penning darker works, I don't want to spend all of my time in the dark.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Poem Accepted for Publication in THE SCAREALD

My dark poem "Redcap of Dunnor Peel" (not to be confused with my horror short story "The Redcap of Glamtallon") has been accepted for publication in the October issue of The Scareald. Yes, this is the second time I've written about a redcap. I couldn't resist writing a poem about that gruesome border goblin; I think the redcap is a particularly creepy creature of fairy lore. While there are similarities between poem and story, mostly due to the fact that redcaps reside in certain places and behave in certain ways, each one covers somewhat different ground. At least, I hope they do.

An interesting, if useless, bit of information: the redcap poem will be published first, even though I wrote the redcap story over a year before I penned the poem.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Poem Accepted for Publication in Night to Dawn #23

Received word that my poem "Weretiger", a sort of horrorku series, has been accepted for publication in issue 23 of Night to Dawn. Another work that had been included in at least one version of the ill-fated dark poetry collection will finally see publication, in print nevertheless. Thank goodness!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For Those Still Opposed to "Obamacare"

For those Americans still so opposed to "Obamacare", and crying "big government" over the supreme court's decision to uphold the 2010 Affordable Care Act:

It seems to me that some Americans want an America the Free where we let the sick go uncured, where we let the injured go untreated, where we let those without insurance die of treatable, curable conditions.

The rest of the civilized world doesn't seem to have a problem with universal health coverage. Why does a certain segment of the good ol' USA have such a problem with it?

"Obamacare" doesn't nearly do enough, it's far from perfect, but it's apparently the best we get here in the USA. I'm starting to think that there are a number of Americans who don't really give a damn about other Americans. Perhaps selfishness isn't restricted to the very rich in this country. Perhaps selfishness is endemic in the USA as a whole.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Bluebell Spell" Accepted for Publication in parABnormal Digest

Today, I received word that my poem "Bluebell Spell" has been accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of parABnormal Digest. I'm glad this one is finally getting published. It has been bouncing around for a while now (since 2007, in one form or another). At least, it has bounced around those times it hasn't been held for one of my various ill-fated collections. I'm glad I dusted it off and sent it out once more. Now I await the contract, to make it all nice and official.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Some Thoughts on Ridley Scott's Prometheus

The film Prometheus seems to be generating a lot of discussion. It's rather polarizing in the way it seems to be splitting movie goers into two camps. Some people like the film, in spite of its flaws. Others can't get past the dodgy science and the stupid choices made by several of its characters.

Here are some of my thoughts on Prometheus...

Firstly, regarding the stupidity of the characters in Prometheus, they aren't any stupider than some of the stupid people I've known! If I wrote fiction based on the true stories of stupid people I've known, it would be criticized for being too unrealistic. If I wrote such tales as non-fiction, I would be accused of making it up. No one would believe anyone could actually be that stupid! And education doesn't necessarily equal practical smarts. Sometimes, even smart people do really stupid things. Sometimes, even educated people do stupid things when faced with stressful situations.

Secondly, regarding the dodgy science in Prometheus, it's a science fiction/science fantasy film, not a science documentary. Let's not forget the fiction part of science fiction, or the fantasy part of science fantasy. Or, to use the broader term speculative genre, let's not forget the speculative in speculative genre.

Thirdly, thinking about art as a product of its time, Prometheus may be the product of now, when the History Channel regularly airs the program Ancient Aliens, when genetically modified organisms are in farmers' fields, when genetically modified foods are on grocery store shelves. Looking at it from that perspective, some of the storyline choices may start to make a bit of sense (from an artistic point of view, if not a scientific one).

Personally, I liked Prometheus well enough. I found it to be entertaining, if flawed. However, I do feel it pales in comparison to Alien. Looking at what movies were like back in the seventies and eighties versus what most movies are like today, I think it would have been near impossible for Ridley Scott to recapture the magic of the first Alien film. Alien was a product if the late 1970s, just like Prometheus is a product of today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Battle Beneath the Mere" in

Everyone can finally see my depiction of Beowulf battling Grendel's mother! My fantasy artwork "Battle Beneath the Mere" has been published in Issue 19 of Check it out!

Even though "Battle Beneath the Mere" is a fantasy piece, I tried to draw Beowulf as if he were a historical figure. The Geatish hero is armed in mail byrnie and boar-crested spangenhelm, armour that could have been worn by a real Dark Age warrior. Hrunting, the noble sword discarded upon the ground because it proved useless against Grendel's mother, is based on early medieval swords with gilded hilts and pattern-welded blades. The giant's huge blade that Beowulf wields to behead his fierce opponent is an exaggeration of a migration-period ring-sword.

I even went so far as to give Grendel's mother a knife resembling a seax, a Saxon fighting knife. I figured her knife might be something like a seax, especially since she is supposedly a formidable fighter.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Publication Date Change

Slight change in plans regarding the publication of my horror story in COVER OF appears that the editor has to move my story from the March 2013 issue to the June 2013 issue. Whatever works best for the editor is fine by me, but that means I now have to wait a whole year (plus) to see my story in print. I've waited a year or more between acceptance and publication before, but it always seems like a long, long wait.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cover Art on KIDS'MAGINATION, Issue 11

My sci-fi artwork "Tree-Climbing Crimbolain" now appears on the cover of Kids'Magination, Issue 11. Check it out!

This is the fourth time an artwork of mine has appeared on a cover of Kids'Magination. I guess you could say the editor likes my work! I think some of my artwork works well for publications geared towards kids. My style is well suited for such venues.

"Tree-Climbing Crimbolain" had been previously published in another publication for younger readers. It originally appeared, as a black and white line drawing, in the July 2010 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing zine Beyond Centauri. Selling an artwork once is great, but selling the same artwork more than once is even better!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Horror Story Accepted

My horror story "The Redcap of Glamtallon" has been accepted for publication in the March 2013 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing zine COVER OF DARKNESS. Yes, I said story. Yes, I said March 2013. It will be a long wait, but I'll eventually have another story out there (as long as the world doesn't end before the story gets published - that would be terrible).

Fascism and Communism: Not the Same

Giving history lectures again. I wish people would study their history. Fascism and Communism are not the same in practice, folks. One way they differ is in the ownership of the means of production. In a Fascist state, the means of production might be controlled by the state, but ownership may remain in private hands. In a Communist state, the state owns the means of production. Such a difference can be seen in the matter of tank design and production, where state factories churned out tanks in Stalin's USSR, while different privately-owned companies competed for state contracts to design tanks in Nazi Germany. For example, Henshel and Porsche produced competing prototypes of the Tiger heavy tank. Even though Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was a personal friend of Hitler's, Henschel won the contract. Henschel manufactured the Tiger tank in their Werk III in Mittelfeld .

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Gathering of the Dead" in COVER OF DARKNESS

And yet another poem "Gathering of the dead" has been published in the March 2012 issue of the Sam's Dot Publishing zine Cover of Darkness (which was actually released in May). This is the third time "Gathering of the Dead" has been published; it originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Tales from the Moonlit Path, and then appeared in Issue #17 of House of Horror. However, this is the first time the poem has appeared in a print publication. Technically, "Gathering of the Dead" is a Halloween poem, but if the editors of Cover of Darkness think it works in their March issue, that works for me.

Artwork Accepted for Cover of Kids'Magination Issue 11

A full-colour version of a reprint sc-fi artwork of mine, "Tree-Climbing Crimbolain", has been accepted for publication in Issue 11 of Kids'Magination, to be published on or about May 21. Art sales are always nice; selling the same artwork more than once is even nicer! This is just such a weird and adorable piece; I love its combination of adorableness and weirdness. Apparently, the editor of Kids'Magination loves it, too! That's what she said, anyway.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Rejection #10

And the wizardly fantasy story gets rejected yet again! The story had been under consideration at one venue since December, it had made it to the second round there, the editor liked the title and thought it was a nice story, but there were other stories they liked more. (The same market did recently buy an artwork of mine.)

As much as I know one should be persistent and perseverant, I think I'm done wasting my time on this writing thing. I certainly can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Compared to where my poetry has gone and where my art is going, my prose writing is going nowhere. If I'm going to succeed with anything at this point, it's going to be the art. I guess I have to be satisfied with being an artist/illustrator/poet.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Art Accepted for Publication in parABnormal Digest, Issue 4

My dark artwork "Faces and Figures in the Mist" has been accepted for use as interior artwork in parABnormal Digest, Issue 4, due out August 1st.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sam's Dot Acquired by White Cat

Just saw the news that White Cat Publications has acquired Sam's Dot Publishing:

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this. While this could be very good for both Sam's Dot Publishing and White Cat Publications, I hope they don't make too many changes to Sam's Dot Publishing. I am saying this on a purely selfish level; I've had quite a few things published in various Sam's Dot Publications, and I would hate to see that change with this change in ownership.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Poem Accepted, Hate Mail Disclaimer

A rather weird dark poem of mine has been accepted for publication in Infernal Ink Magazine. I must say, this may be the first time I've seen a publication contract with a hate mail disclaimer!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Story Quandary

A story of mine has found itself in a strange situation. One venue that pays a token rate had turned it down because their next two issues were already full. I then sent the story elsewhere, and elsewhere again. It is currently under consideration at a venue that pays a semi-pro rate. However, the editor of the venue that had originally turned down the story because they were full has voiced renewed interest in the story. They are now a quarterly publication, and it appears they aren't as full as they once were.

The editor of the venue that wishes to revisit my story said that they were very impressed with the piece and would like to feature it. This is a much more positive response than I had received to a subsequent submission of the story. Another editor rejected the story because he thought I did too much narrating, which kept pulling the reader out of the story. Not that I agree with his recommendation that some of the revelations would be more effective in the dialogue. It seems to me that such a change would make for unnaturally forced dialogue, with people familiar with one another saying things to each other they wouldn't really say, just for the sake of giving the reader those details through dialogue instead of narrative. (Yes, I gave this recommendation quite a bit of thought.)

So, this is my current quandary. What to do? Do I withdraw the story from a venue that pays a semi-pro rate to allow it to be featured in a token paying venue? Do I tell the editor that was impressed with the story and wished to feature it that the story isn't currently available because it's under consideration elsewhere, and hope that the editors of the semi-pro venue are equally impressed with the work? Of course, I'm worried the editors there might find as much fault with the piece as did the editor who thought I did far too much narrating.

One thing this does show - at least one editor was impressed with my story. That's a positive sign.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No-Reply Acceptance: "The Wretched House 'Round the Corner in STATIC MOVEMENT

Okay, I've seen my share of no-reply rejections, but how about no-reply acceptances? Actually, I happened to Google myself last night (I do that every once in a while), and I discovered that my dark poem "The Wretched House 'Round the Corner" had been published in the March 2012 issue of the e-zine Static Movement. I never received an acceptance e-mail from the editor there, so I never knew the poem had been published. It is possible an e-mail was sent and the internet gremlins intercepted it. Such things happen on occasion.

Anyway, I'm a bit late with the announcement, but my dark poem "The Wretched House 'Round the Corner" has been published in the March 2012 issue of Static Movement. See why I Google myself?

Now, go read my poem! Please?

Monday, April 23, 2012

German Eagle

I spent part of the weekend working on something a little different for my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle store. I composed a heraldic eagle that melds the modern with the medieval. I didn't want to just copy the modern-looking eagle currently used on the German coat of arms, but I also didn't want to merely reproduce a medieval heraldic eagle. Frankly, some of those medieval eagles look rather bizarre. So, I winged it (pardon the pun) and came up with my own design. What do you think of my own version of the German eagle?

Fan Fiction: What's the Big Deal?

I see a discussion about fan fiction making the rounds. I gather that some writers are strongly against others daring to write stories using the writers' own characters and settings. My thoughts on the matter? If fan fiction writers aren't making a profit off their fan fiction, I don't see it as a big deal. It's certainly not worth getting your knickers in a twist over it. Making a great stink over fan fiction just sounds whiny and miserable.

Happy Saint George's Day!

It's Saint George's Day today! Because of the legend of George slaying the dragon and his supposed appearance during the battle of Antioch in 1098, George happens to be my favourite saint. Of course, he's the patron saint of England and a host of other nations. He's also patron saint of chivalry, soldiers, cavalry, and archers.

I've drawn Saint George a few times. There are five different Saint George images on items in my Azure Lion Zazzle Store:

I also have items featuring Saint George's Cross, which appears on the national flag of England (not to be confused with the Union Jack, which is the flag of the United Kingdom):

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Medieval Research Blog

I happened across this interesting-looking medieval research blog kept by medieval romance author Joyce DiPastena:

Being an unabashed medievalist, my personal library contains quite a number of books about medieval history, medieval warfare, medieval art, and life in the medieval period. Being a poet, artist, and writer deeply influenced by things medieval, I often research various aspects of the medieval world while working on my various creative projects. It is not unheard of for me to study detailed illustrations of medieval horse harness, or to search for the oath taken by a medieval sheriff. I obviously have to do quite a bit of research when writing my non-fiction articles about medieval subjects ("The Battle of Stamford Bridge", "Edward IV", "Robert the Bruce").

I'm even influenced by medieval art. After all, it has been said, on more than one occasion, that some of my art resembles medieval woodcuts.

I can see why an author who specializes in medieval romance, who does quite a bit of researching into medieval life and times, might want to keep a medieval research blog. After all, why not share all that research with others?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Take a Look at Women's Behinds...

...or, rather, a blog post (with pictures) by Emily Asher-Perrin bemoaning the overabundance of promotional images showing women posed with their backsides facing viewers.

He, he, he...Art-wise, I been known to "fail" in regard to portraying women like this. They might not be "looking smouldering-ly" over their shoulders, but I've been guilty of drawing women standing with their behinds facing viewers ("Conjuring the Dragon", on the cover of the September 2011 issue of OG's Speculative Fiction, leaps immediately to mind). Typically, I don't even show their faces. Shame on me!

(A note on the pose in "Conjuring the Dragon": that piece was not meant to depict a static pose. Rather, it was meant to depict a sorceress in motion. Artistically-speaking, static poses can be rather dull.)

(To be fair, I've also shown men posed with their backsides facing viewers.)

Poem on Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4 Honorable Mentions List

Ellen Datlow has posted her list of 608 honorable mentions for Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. Guess what? Yours truly has a poem on that list! "What Greets Me at the End", which was published in the May 2011 issue of Cover of Darkness, appears there, in part 2. I gasped when I first saw the poem listed; I was that surprised! I didn't think any of my works would ever receive even the merest of notice by anyone outside of the editors who publish my works.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Artwork Accepted for Winter Issue of BETE NOIRE

Bete Noire has accepted my dark artwork "Tentacled Monstrosity for their winter issue, due out January 2013. Yes, I said 2013. I now have my first forthcoming publication for 2013. What remains of the roll will roll on into next year. Of course, the roll has pretty much switched from poetry to art. That's okay though; I'm very much in an art mood lately anyway!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Five Years On...

A few days ago, I realized that I've been playing the "submitting for publication" game on a regular basis for five years. I saw my first poetry acceptance, outside of a few poems accepted for inclusion in rather questionable anthologies, in March 2007. I saw my first poetry publication in a zine in April 2007.

What was that first acceptance? "Explorers", accepted for publication in the September 2007 issue of The Fifth Di... What was that first zine publication? "Midnight Sabbath", published in DemonMinds on April 20, 2007. That very same poem came in tied for 1st Runner Up in the 2007 DemonMinds Horror Poetry Contest.

It took me a little longer to start submitting art. My first art acceptance was for my illustration "Things in the Swamp", accepted May 2007 for publication in the 2008 issue of Champagne Shivers. My first art publication was my illustration "The Unseelie Court", published in the June 2007 issue of Fantastic Horror.

I hope that, five years on, I've actually accomplished something. I know I've seen a fairly steady stream of poetry and art acceptances and publications since those first steps toward becoming a published poet and artist. I've even had the occasional non-fiction article published, along with a little prose fiction. Still, I do sometimes wonder if I've really accomplished anything at all. I'm like that.

Another Reprint Sale, This Time, Non-Fiction

Sold another reprint, this time it's a non-fiction article. Tyree Campbell says he has room for my article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" in the Autumn 2012 issue of Illumen. Previously, the article appeared in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers. I'm glad it's getting reprinted; I consider it to be one of my most important pieces of writing to-date.

Now I have to italicize instead of underscore and send the article as a Word doc.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

No Foolin' Folks, Lots o' Publications Today!

My scifaiku "silver dragon" and my steampunk-ish sci-fi illustration "Mechanical Dragon" have both been published in Issue 36 of the Sam's Dot Publishing magazine for younger readers, Beyond Centauri.

My reprint fantasy poem "When Wizards Dream at Night", originally published in the Spring 2009 issue of Tales of the Talisman, has been published in Issue 8 of the Sam's Dot Publishing science fiction and fantasy anthology Shelter of Daylight.

My reprint horror poems "Shadow People" and "Whispers on the Stairs" have been published in Issue 13 of the horror poetry e-newsletter Dark Metre.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Artwork Accepted for Cover of June 2012

SALE! My fantasy artwork featuring my depiction of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel's mother, "Battle Beneath the Mere", has been accepted for the cover of the June 2012 issue of I'm especially happy that this one has sold. Out of all the art I've done so far, "Battle Beneath the Mere" is one of my personal favourites.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Illuminated C and D

I've been adding some illuminated letters to my Zazzle store. Some of these letters (like "A" and "B") are reworkings of letters used in the special edition of the Lancelot poetry collection by Alex Ness and Guy-Francois Evrard . However, I never did the whole alphabet when I created the letters for that publication. So, I had gaps in the alphabet. "C" was the first missing letter. Not anymore; last week, I drew a "C", and yesterday I coloured it in and got it up on a bunch of items in my Zazzle store. I still have a few more items to create, but there is already a good collection of "Illuminated C" items up:
Azure Lion Productions: Illuminated "C"

Not content with just getting my "Illuminated C" up on items in my Zazzle store, I also added two different versions of my "Illuminated D" to various items. One version contains the figure of a knight within the "D". The other "D" contains the figure of a medieval lady. The knight actually comes from another "D" created for the special edition of the Lancelot poetry collection by Alex Ness and Guy-Francois Evrard. I inserted him into the "D" containing the lady. I liked the outline in the "D" with the lady better than the outline in the original "D" with the knight:
Azure Lion Productions: Illuminated "D" (Knight)

Today, I'm going to add the C and the two Ds to a few more items, then work on getting an E and F on items in my Zazzle store. This project is going to take a while to complete. It's a good project to work on on-and-off between other projects.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Azure Lion Productions Business Cards

What does everyone think of these business cards for Azure Lion Productions? The image shows front and back. I don't know if I really need business cards, but because I'm now a "ProSeller" at Zazzle, I received an offer for a free pack. I figured, what the heck. they seem nicer than the cards I made myself years ago.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


My folkloric horrorku "heady brew" now appears in Trapeze Magzine. 'Tis just a wee bit o' verse about the wee folk.

The publication of this one in Trapeze Magazine was later than originally anticipated, but better late than never. Actually, it works out well for me, because I didn't have anything else slated for publication in March.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fleur de Lis Day?

It must be Fleur de Lis Day today. At least, that's what my latest Zazzle sales say. I sold a Fleur de Lis Tie, five (yes, five) Fleur de Lis Magnets, and a Fleur de Lis iPhone 4 Case. The tie and the magnets sold to a gentleman in Spain, and the iPhone case sold to a gentleman in the Big Apple.

Multiple sales are especially nice to see. Also, my stuff continues to have international appeal. Neat!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Changes at Venue Where a Poem of Mine was Shortlisted

Michele's response to this: "this is nuts!". My reaction to this: mild befuddlement and slight frustration:

"Dear Contributor,

Thank you for your submission(s), and we regret that it has taken so long to get back to you regarding our shortlisted selections as well as when we are going to be publishing.

The bad news:

Due to changes in our business plans, Dark Eye Glances will NOT be published as an anthology as originally planned. The existing website will be archived, and it will no longer feature new poetry submissions.

The good news:

As a brand and a publishing imprint, Dark Eye Glances will be subsumed into our wonderful new monthly publication, Deathly Romantic™ Magazine, which will include only a few poems per issue. Given that we have already shortlisted many submissions, we will be selecting a few of them for possible inclusion in the April issue of Deathly Romantic. Successful contributors will be notified within about a week from now, and then they will be given an opportunity to decide whether they would still like us to publish their work. In future issues, we may also contact others who have submitted poetry to Dark Eye Glances, but rest assured your work will not be published without your permission.

Please feel free to submit your work elsewhere...we thank you for giving us an opportunity to read your excellent poetry, which was the best of all the submissions we received. "

Will my dark poem originally shortlisted for publication in the Dark Eye Glances anthology be selected for possible publication in the new Deathly Romantic Magazine? Does my dark poem about battling "despised wretches" in a medieval-esque dreamworld match the aesthetic of this new magazine? Stay tuned to find out!

Anyone wonder why I'm almost to the point of not giving a damn anymore?

Finished a Story, Now the Wait Begins

Today, I finished a fantasy action story that I have been working on, on and off (mostly off) for a while now. I've already sent the story out. Well, I sent out the first ten pages, as per the venue's submission guidelines. Now I wait and see if all that work was worth it. Fingers crossed!

Monday, March 5, 2012

And Another One...

My dark speculative poem "Whispers on the Stairs", which was originally published in Issue #1 of Trembles, has been accepted for publication in Issue 13 of the horror poetry e-mail newsletter Dark Metre. That means, come April 1st, two of my reprint dark poems will appear in Dark Metre. Cool!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reprint Accepted for Publication in DARK METRE

Another reprint sale: my poem "Shadow People", previously published in the April 2011 issue of Bete Noire, has been accepted for publication in the Issue 13 of the horror poetry e-mail newsletter Dark Metre. The issue is due out April 1st. Since the newsletter can also be found on the Dark Metre site, I'll post a link when the poem is on-line.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Recommendation for my Illustrative Work

I know I may be tooting my own horn again, but...

Janrae Frank, the owner of Daverana Enterprises and the author whose works I am currently illustrating, wrote a recommendation for my illustrative work on I'm repeating the recommendation here, because I found what Janrae said about my art to be of interest:

“Richard is both inventive and classical in his approach to illustration. I had searched a long time for someone who could do Beardsley-esque work and I found that person in Richard. He's a delight to work with.”

Beardsley-esque, eh? I now have another term to add to my growing list of descriptors, a list that already includes "talented" and "incomparable". Of course, comparisons have been made. My black and white line drawings have been compared to medieval woodcuts, while my approach to the whole concept of art has been compared to Andy Warhol's approach.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Finally, a Rejection With Truly Helpful Comments!

Today, I received a rejection with comments. These comments actually seem to be of the helpful (and even hopeful) type. The editor said he enjoyed the story, but felt it was much too close to H. P. Lovecraft's "From Beyond" to publish. He also said he likes my style, and would love to receive another submission from me if I have something else that may fit the magazine.

I didn't realise the story might be so similar to that Lovecraft piece (I am familiar with "From Beyond"), but thinking about it now, the editor may be right. I may have let my influences influence me too much with this one. I'll have to learn to watch out for that. I'll probably have to shelve this particular story, unless I decide to do a major revision.

However, in brighter news, an editor said they enjoyed a story of mine and like my writing style! That's certainly a step in the right direction! Unfortunately, I don't really have another story of a similar nature to send their way right now.

With the probable shelving of the story that may be too close to Lovecraft's "From Beyond", I'm now down to three stories in submission limbo. I know what some of you might say: "write more". The question is, should I really be writing more, or should I be drawing more? At this moment in time, I've got a lot more art ideas than I have story ideas.

A Couple of Reprints

Firstly...I didn't know this was already out (release date February 15th), 'til today, but...

New Bedlam Town Archives, Vol. 1 is now available in electronic form. It includes, among other works, my dark poem "The Damnation of Daniel Brewster". I consider this to be one of my best poems, but one that has only previously appeared in The New Bedlam Project. Now it is available in New Bedlam Town Archives, Vol. 1.

New Bedlam, Town Archives, Vol. 1 can be purchased, in variable e-formats, at Smashwords, and as a Kindle edition at

I would love it if people bought a copy and read my poem to see just what I am capable of writing when the muse is shouting in my ear, when inspiration strikes like a thunderbolt.

Secondly, my poem "Peg Powler" is among the twelve poems chosen by the poetry editor over at Aphelion as the best poems of 2011. So, a link to the poem appears in Aphelion's ToC for their February 2012 issue, which contains the regular issue plus the best of 2011.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Vengeance of the Alpe" Published in NIGHT TO DAWN, ISSUE 21

In the snail-mailbox today was my contributor's copy of the April 2012 issue of Night to Dawn, Issue 21. Within its pages it contains. among other works, my dark fantasy story "Vengenace of the Alpe". In some ways, this is version two of this story, since the editor of the zine made a few minior changes. She wished to remove some of the adverbs. While I'm no proponent of the "adverbs are evil" movement current in the writing realm, I saw no reason to make a fuss over such small changes. They don't change the story at all. The story sans adverbs could make a good comparison to the alternative version, with adverbs included, previously published in the All Souls' Night 2010 issue of Hungur. It's not easy to find the differences, but they're there.

Alas, this remains my one and only story longer than flash published in a zine (now published in two separate zines). It may remain my lone published story longer than flash if I keep seeing my other stories rejected. Today, I just received another rejection for a horror story that's treading water in my submission pool. My poetry and artwork rarely have to work this hard to see publication.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Medieval Music and Songs of the Troubadours by Musica Reservata

Bought on iTunes today: Medieval Music and Songs of the Troubadours by Musica Reservata. I had some of this on cassette tape years ago. Actually, that was my first introduction to secular medieval music. I'm glad I now have a digital version.

This recording by Musica Reservata is less polished than some of the other medieval music out there, but that roughness gives it a gusto sometimes lacking in the more polished recordings. While listening to this recording, I imagine I'm hearing a performance by a group of wandering medieval minstrels.

Monday, February 20, 2012


My fantasy artwork "In the Dragon Realm" now appears on the cover of Kids'Magination Magazine, Issue 8. Check it out!

Composition-wise, I consider this one to be a part of a series of artworks that includes "Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm" and my cover artwork for Shelly Bryant's Under the Ash. All three have, as a base of the image, a dragon or serpent lurking in a hollow beneath the ground. "Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm" came first (completed March 2010), followed by "In the Dragon Realm" (completed April 2010) and then the cover art for Under the Ash (completed May 2010).

The other two in this "dragon/serpent under the ground" series had been published a while ago (December 2010 for the Under the Ash cover art, and August 2011 for "Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm"). "In the Dragon Realm" was supposed to have been published in another venue back in September of 2010, but that never panned out. I'm glad it has finally seen publication in Kids'Magination.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Rejection, With Comments...

Sometimes, I think it would be better if editorial teams didn't comment on rejections. Case in point: a previously published artwork of mine was just recently turned down, with comments to the effect of "the lined drawing detracts more than enhances" (WHAT?), and the artwork didn't "wow" them or "grab" them enough to reprint it in their zine. (One of the three members of the team actually thought the artwork wasn't bad, and said they could go for it .)

Of course, the venue ended the rejection letter with a pretty standard "opinions differ" disclaimer. Opinions differ alright; the editor that originally accepted the piece for publication obviously disagreed with these opinions. On the other hand, some opinions are just plain off. The comment about the lined drawing seems particularly amiss, considering that my colour artwork consists of line drawings coloured in digitally. As colourful as my colour artwork may be, the line is still the thing.

I know some say it is wrong to comment about rejections, but the comments made in some rejections are just plain wrong. This very same venue did publish a reprint artwork of mine in the past, so you would think they would be aware of my style. Guess not.

Perhaps I must write another place off my list of potentials. Not that the place pays much for art. Anyway, I'm undoubtedly better off concentrating on composing artwork for people in the publication business who appreciate my style (like the author who is having me illustrate her books - she seems to appreciate my linework).

Does Troy Not Want Businesses?

Troy PD and the powers that be in the city seem to be dragging their feet in regard to the investigation of the suspicious fire and subsequent break-ins at Flavour Cafe, which happens to be my favourite cafe. The owner can't begin rebuilding until he gets the results of the fire investigation handed over to his insurance company. The Troy PD says that an investigation like this can take months, but they apparently haven't interviewed all of the people who saw suspicious activity the night of the fire. They interviewed the owner of the cafe several times.

Mind you, I was under the impression that there were two separate suspicious fires in Troy the night of the fire at Flavour Cafe, although officials claim the fires were unrelated. Oh, really? I also think there have been a number of suspicious fires in the region over the past several months. Perhaps there is a serial firebug in the area, a firebug that the Troy PD hasn't caught yet.

Of course, it was Friday the 13th. Maybe that date inspired two separate sicko firebugs to set fires at two different locations. Maybe Troy was lucky it saw only three fires that night (the third was accidental).

I'm very disappointed in how Troy is handling this. You would think they don't want businesses in Troy, a city that needs all the businesses it can get! Do they want yet another empty building in Troy, a city plagued with vacant storefronts? There are loyal Flavour customers in Troy and its surrounding environs. Maybe the city should wake up to that fact - Flavour had become something of a Troy fixture.

Link to the latest about Flavour, the fire, and the break-ins:
Link to the initial news story about the fires that night:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If Law Doesn't Rule...

Anarchy seems like a cool anti-establishment idea, 'til you realize that, in a lawless society, those without rules will probably be the ones who rise to the top.

If law doesn't rule, might will. Need proof? Look at the rise of feudalism in western Europe following the demise of the western Roman Empire. A system developed where armed thugs wielded secular power because they had the ways and means to wage war. Those who fought were supposed to protect those who prayed and those who worked, but it didn't always work out that way.

In a Litigious Capitalistic Society...

In a capitalistic society, don't expect a company to have the best interests of its former employees in mind. Expect a company to have the company's best interests in mind. Expect the company to be most concerned with the bottom line.

In a litigious society, don't expect a company to sit back and let a former employee sell unlicensed material, material developed while the employee worked for that company. Expect that company to sue to protect its property. Expect that company to ask for monetary restitution.

Is such a lawsuit always morally right? Perhaps not. Is it legally right? Probably so, assuming the contract/employment agreement states as such, and assuming the company's lawyers are well versed in what legal rights the company possesses.

In a nation where companies routinely rape the land, poison the waters, destroy the forests, pollute the oceans, and produce products in overseas sweatshops, don't be surprised when a company tramples the little guy for doing something the company perceives as being wrong. Actually, trampling on the little guy is a relatively minor evil compared to the greater evils of corporate America.

More on Contracts...

All the time, I enter into contracts that give publishers exclusive rights to the materials in question for a limited time (usually six months to a year). I understand that I do not have the right to sell such material elsewhere until such time as the rights revert back to me. It would be foolish of me to try; I would be in breach of contract. I would be in breach of an agreement I entered into willingly.

Understand what you are signing, folks. Understand what rights you retain, and what rights you give up (even for a limited time).

If you think a company is trying to get you to enter into an unethical agreement, don't enter into that agreement. If you think a company is trying to get you to sign an unfair contract, don't sign it. If you don't understand a contract, get someone to explain it to you before you sign on the dotted line. Don't enter willingly into an unfair contract and then complain months or years down the line that the terms are unfair, and express your anger and frustration over those terms by doing something that is in breach of contract.

Do two wrongs make a right? Is it really worth doing something wrong, something that could come back and bite you in the ass, to make your point?

What ever happened to personal responsibility? It's never the fault of the poor creators who enter into these agreements, is it? Are creators that bloody stupid?

On Creators, Business, Contracts, and Rights

Today, I probably made more enemies in the creative world for daring to take the side of the big, bad company in a discussion about a recent court-initiated agreement between a comic-book publisher and the attorneys of one of their former creators. Actually, I'm taking the side of the court, the side of what's legal, the side that says selling unlicensed materials is wrong, but that gets lost in all the "big company once more tramples the little guy" rhetoric. I've even been accused of being on the side of the bloodsucking 1%! Anyone who really knows me knows how ridiculous that idea is.

We here in the USA supposedly live in a nation of laws. Creators have rights under the law, but so do companies who hire these creators. What I keep saying is "know your rights!" Know the rights you keep, and the rights you give up, whenever you enter into a contract or employment agreement. Never enter into such contracts and agreements with blinders on.

Creators, know your rights, because most companies hiring you sure as hell know theirs. If you make a deal with the devil, don't whine when you get burned. Do work for hire, don't expect to have many if any rights to that work (depending on the specifics of the contract).

Plenty of other businesses operate under contracts and agreements that contain clauses stating anything created while in the process of working for the company becomes the property of that company. Such things are not in anyway restricted to the writing and art realms.

I keep getting told all the time by writers that writing is just another career, like butcher, plumber, baker, or doctor. However, I suspect that creative-types want it both ways; they want to work in a business that is seen to be just like any other business, but they don't want that business to act like any other business. It's a wonderfully idealistic notion, that the creative fields are somehow different from other businesses, but it's one that doesn't always match reality.

Don't let your idealism cloud your perception of reality. Don't be surprised when a business acts like a business. Don't expect a business to act with the best interests of one of its past employees in mind, especially if that past employee crosses a legal line. These companies will protect their rights, and they can be rather harsh when doing so.

Selling unlicensed material, material that you do not have the legal right to sell is, well, illegal. If the roles were reversed, creatives would be screaming bloody murder! They would want the company held accountable and brought down in flames.

I would be pissed as hell if someone was selling unlicensed copies of my artwork and/or poetry, which is a real possibility in today's electronic age. If I found out such a thing was happening, I would do all in my power to put a legal end to it. Be certain that companies will do the same, and have the legal apparatus in place to do so rather effectively. They are much more effective at this than the little guy.