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 Amazon.com.

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

Artwork on Cover of KIDS'MAGINATION MAGAZINE, ISSUE 8

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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Macabre Valentine

(Originally published in House of Horror, Issue One, February 2011.)

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

The Incubus


He enters my dreams in the dead of night,
Wreathed in a halo of infernal smoke.
He's a handsome but truly dreadful sight,
My black angel, one of the fallen folk.

He takes me up in his strong, scaly arms
And pledges everlasting devotion.
I fall for his dark, diabolic charms
As my soul drowns in a sinful ocean.

I sense the danger in his burning touch,
But then lose myself in his glaring eyes.
I crave this fatal attraction so much
That I cannot bear more woeful goodbyes.

I feel my life slowly ebbing away
And will not last until the break of day.

(Originally published in Sounds of the Night, Issue 2, February 2008.)

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

Song of the Dead


I hear sweet singing outside my window.
Honeyed voices tempt me into the dark,
Draw me away from my lonely abode,
Fog my troubled mind with seductive lies,
And entice my weak flesh with sinful thoughts.

I hear wistful singing beneath the moon.
Enchanted by their ethereal song,
Ensnared in a web of hypnotic words,
I draw near strange damsels forever young
And dare not resist their alluring call.

I hear eerie singing upon the heath
As veiled spectres dance atop weathered hills.
Unearthly sprites toss back their tattered shrouds,
While a forbidden caress steals my heart
And sweetly poisoned lips corrupt my soul.

I hear fell singing as wicked wights whirl
Wildly 'round my fatally stricken form.
Trembling fear gives way to dull senselessness
When this wretched mortal shell turns to dust
And the restless dead claim me as their own.

(Originally published in Sounds of the Night, Issue 8, February 2011.)

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

Marriage of Earth and Antares


Fallen star
Two worlds meet
When human greets Antaran
In a meld of minds
And hearts

Soft trills
Speak to my soul
With far deeper understanding
Than mere words
Ever could

Bug eyes
Blazing with knowledge
Of the secrets of the cosmos
Look into my own
Adoringly

Shaggy fur
Glows in the dark
In tune with her emotions
And keeps us warm
At night

Some think
She's only my pet
I smile at their ignorance
Knowing she's truly
My mate

(Originally published in Sounds of the Night, Issue 2, February 2008)

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

Your Bloody Face


I see your face in all things.
It mouths silent words of love
On a blank monitor screen.
It stares sadly back at me
From a rain-streaked window pane.
It appears amongst the crowd
On a bustling city street.

I see your face at all times.
It bothers my troubled dreams
And follows me through the day.
It lurks within my mad mind
And haunts my guilt-ridden soul.
It's there when I close my eyes,
A reminder of my crime.

I see your face before me.
Its gore-stained cheeks bear pale tracks
Where tears washed away the blood.
Its sunken eyes full of death
Drive me to a grisly fate.
It laughs at the irony
As hot lead rips through my brain.

(Originally published in Tales from the Moonlit Path, Issue 9, February 2008.)

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Almost, But Not Quite?

Today, I received a rejection of a bunch of reprint poems. In the rejection e-mail, alongside the typical "I enjoy reading your work", the poetry editor said that she had to tell me that she read each of my pieces several times. Unfortunately, in the end, she decided that they are not able to use the pieces in their next issue.

This could mean that the poetry editor did seriously consider the poems before deciding they just weren't right for their next issue. Close, but no cigar. Reprints can be a harder sell at times anyway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Bedlam Town Archives: Possible Print Version

Apparently, there may be a print version of New Bedlam – The Complete Town Archives, if enough interest is shown in the project. My poem "The Damnation of Daniel Brewster", published in the very first issue of The New Bedlam Project, would appear in this tome, if it ends up going to print.

I would love to see "The Damnation of Daniel Brewster" in print. Although it was in Issue 1 of The New Bedlam Project and will be in Volume 1 of the electronic version of the New Bedlam Town Archives, it has never been published in a print publication.