Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday: Azure Lion Productions

I gather it's Small Business Saturday today. Though I sell merchandise featuring my art and designs through larger businesses like Zazzle, CafePress, and RedBubble, Azure Lion Productions is a small business. I like to say that it's my professional alter ego, a way to give a name to my creative endeavours. On the artistic side of things, it's very much a one-man operation. 

Remember, this small businessman artist receives royalties from the sale of every item featuring his art sold through Zazzle, CafePress, and RedBubble. Such sales help keep this artist composing art.

Richard Fay/Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store

Azure Lion Productions CafePress Shop


RHFay RedBubble Shop

St. Andrew's Day

It's St. Andrew's Day today. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. Scottish celebrations marking his feast day date back to the 11th century, but the 30th of November was only made a Scottish national holiday more recently.

The St. Andrew's Cross, or the saltire, appears on the Scottish national flag. The saint's feast day is also a flag day in Scotland, a day when the saltire should be raised on all Scottish flagpoles.

Happy St. Andrew's Day!

Link to Scottish gifts in my Zazzle store:
Richard Fay: Gifts: Scottish Gifts: Zazzle.com Store

Scottish Thistle and Saltire
Copyright © Richard H. Fay


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Branding Myself a Writer of Short Fiction

The other day, I read something about branding and how it can help people succeed in business. It got me thinking about my own branding, how I'm sure I've branded myself as an artist/illustrator with a unique and ofttimes quirky clear line pen and ink style. I suppose I've also branded myself as something of a poet and a writer of non-fiction. However, when it comes to branding myself as a writer of short fiction, I'm still working on it.

Although most of my creative energies may be directed toward art and poetry, I do write short fiction on occasion. A handful of my stories have been published. At least of couple of these have been published on-line. One of my stories has been published in two different print zines. I have posted some of my short fiction, both previously published and previously unpublished, on my blog. Some of my published short fiction is very short, but not all of it. I have written a few stories longer than 100 word drabbles.

Since branding may be more than just telling people you do something, I figured I would show people that I am a writer of short fiction by posting my list of published fiction, with links to those works published or otherwise posted on-line:

"The Trouble With Unsolicited Messages" was originally published in The Drabbler #11, June 2008, and received  honorable mention in the 11th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.

"From Within the Earth" was published in MicroHorror, November 1, 2010.

"Vengeance of the Alpe" was first published in Hungur, Issue 11, All Souls' Night 2010, and was reprinted in Night to Dawn, Issue 21, April 2012.

Both "The Stars Weren't Really Right After All" and "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" were originally published in The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011. "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" received honorable mention in the 19th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.

"Sing the Bones Alive" was published in Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume V, Issue I, January 2013. It was chosen best story of the January 2013 issue in the Bards and Sages Quarterly 2013 Readers' Choice Poll.

"The Redcap of Glamtallon" was originally published in Cover of Darkness, Issue 14, March 2013.

"Father Ryan's Fright" was published in Anotherealm, November 2013.

Here is a previously unpublished 100 word drabble that I posted on my blog earlier this month: "Founding a New City"

I also have two stories set to be published in the not-too-distant future. My fantasy adventure story "An Evil in Carnlinton" is slated for publication in the next issue of the fantasy e-zine Sorcerous Signals. My horror story "Those from the Shadows" is slated for publication in Issue 14 of the horror print zine Bete Noire.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Cover Art Gallery

Working on my latest cover artwork project got me thinking about how there was a time I was convinced that my style of art wasn't really suited for use on zine and book covers. There was a time I thought I would be restricted to mostly interior illustrations. I'm happy to say that I've proven myself wrong.

While my art may not work for every publication, publisher, editor, or author, it does work for some. Quirky as some of my cover artworks might be, I'm proud of my list of print zine cover artworks and e-zine door artworks. I've even done a couple of poetry book covers and an e-book cover.

Two different zines coming out in the next month or so will be featuring my art on their covers, adding to my ever-growing list of published cover artworks. In the meantime, I figured I would post a gallery of many of my past cover-artworks, starting with the very first, my cover artwork for the July 2009 issue of Abandoned Towers:

"A Leviathan Ascendant"
Cover art for Abandoned Towers, Issue #3, July 2009
Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay
Cover art for David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poetry collection Brushfires
Published by Sam's Dot Publishing, October 2010
Copyright © 2010 Richard H. Fay

Cover art for Shelly Bryant's poetry collection Under the Ash
Published by Sam's Dot Publishing, December 2010
Copyright © 2010 Richard H. Fay

"Wandering Ole Willow"
Cover art for OG's Speculative Fiction, Issue #28, January 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay
"Meeting the Insectoids"
Cover art for Beyond Centauri, Issue 32, April 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay
"Elf and Troll"
Cover art for Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume III, Issue 3, July 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay
"Mighty Steed, White Dragon"
Cover art for Kids'Magination, Issue 2, August 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

"Conjuring the Dragon"
Cover art for OG's Speculative Fiction, Issue #32, September 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay
Cover art for Doug Hilton's How We Play Football in Alabama And Other Short Stories From Doug's World
Published September 2011
Artwork copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

"Holiday on Phreetum Prime"
Cover art for Kids'Magination, Issue 4, October 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

"Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields"
Door art for Spaceports & Spidersilk, December 2011
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

"An Invitation to Elfame"
Cover art for Bards and Sages Quarterly, January 2012
Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay



















"In the Dragon Realm"
Cover art for Kids'Magination Magazine, Issue 8, February 2012
Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay
"Tree-Climbing Crimbolain"
Cover art for Kids'Magination, Issue 11, May 2012
Copyright © 20112 Richard H. Fay

"Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental"
Door art for Spaceports & Spidersilk, Vol. 5, No. 3, September 2012
Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay

Illustration for Lindsey Duncan's "Mythocraft"
Cover art for Plasma Frequency, Issue 2, October/November 2012
Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay

"Peg Powler"
Cover art for Spaceports & Spidersilk, July 2013
Copyright © 2013 Richard H. Fay
I also did the lettering for the "Lancelot" on the cover of the special edition of the Lancelot poetry collection by Alex Ness & Guy-Francois Evrard, published by Diminuendo Press, August 2011:
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Vikings in Newfoundland

A friend pointed out to me that it might not be generally known that the Vikings (or Norse) established a settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, around the year 1,000. Well, they did, and there is archaeological evidence to prove it. The temporary 11th century Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows continues to be the only widely-accepted site of Pre-Columbian European settlement in North America outside of Greenland. It predates Columbus's first voyage to the New World by about 490 years.

Working on the hypothesis that the Vinland of the Icelandic Sagas was a "land of meadows" and not "wine-land", the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad searched Newfoundland for evidence of a Norse settlement. In 1960, Ingstad discovered traces of an 11th century Norse village on the island's northern tip. Excavations of the site uncovered the remains of wood-framed turf-covered longhouses, workshops, and a smithy with forge. A number of Norse artefacts were found, including a stone oil lamp, a balance, a birch bark case for a ballast stone, a bronze cloak pin, a bone knitting needle, and a soapstone spindle whorl. Significantly, the archaeological finds also included iron slag, the by-product of iron working, and a number of iron items, including buckles, nails, and rivets.

The remains of butternuts found at the site suggest that the Norse of L'Anse aux Meadows travelled further south; butternuts do not grow naturally in Newfoundland. The discovery of spinning and sewing artefacts may indicate that women were present among the settlers.

Though the Norse village at L'Anse aux Meadows may have been the earliest European settlement in the New World, it was not a lasting one. The Norse inhabited the site for a relatively short period of time before abandoning it. The permanent European colonisation and conquest of the Americas took place after Columbus's voyage of 1492.

Because of its historical and archaeological importance, the L'Anse aux Meadows site is a National Historic Site of Canada and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Life's Waning Season

Vibrant fall gives way to drear winter
While I watch you drifting away
Bit, by bit, by precious bit.

Gone forever is spring's vivid bloom,
That promise of resplendent youth
Plucked by time's ravaging hand.

Where summer's radiance once shone bright,
Obfuscating mist now darkens
Beclouded spirit and mind.

Lucent memories of sunny years
Fade in the encroaching murk,
Unremembered in the void.

These final days grow bitter and dim
When ebbing warmth abandons heart
And a lifetime's dreams wither.

I mourn what was, and dread what's to come.
Lengthening shadows draw closer,
Heralding this season's end.

(Originally published in Abandoned Towers, Issue #7, November 2010.)

Copyright © 2010 Richard H. Fay

Fantasyku

growing darkness
a swelling evil horde
warlock’s legions

an orphan’s tears
cry of the innocent
a call to arms

mystic creation
keen lines reflect moonlight
enchanted sword

limned starlight
inscribed parchment scroll
magic spell

swift and mighty steed
veteran of many battles
loyal white dragon

forbidding castle
perched atop a distant cloud
fortress of nightmares

powers collide
a savage storm unleashed
sorcerous fray

the break of day
dawn over a freed land
glad celebrations

(Originally published in Niteblade, September 2007.)

Copyright © 2007 Richard H. Fay

Mother Earth's Children

For each their own place
Reclined against mother’s bosom.
All feel Gaea’s cool caress,
Hear her droning lullaby:
“You are my children,
You are my life.
Hush, rest now.
You’ve returned
Home.”

(Originally published in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, March 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Recording When Written Works are Completed?

In one or two of the Del Rey Lovecraft collections I have in my personal library, I noticed a chronological list of his stories arranged not by publication date, but by the date the stories were completed. It has got me thinking of my own works.

Sometimes it may take a couple of years or more for a completed work to see publication. However, I don't keep a record of when my works were completed, only when they were published. Should I have recorded when the works were completed?

File dates don't necessarily give me an accurate date because I might change the heading or format but leave the work as-is. This changes the file date but doesn't really tell me when the piece was completed. For example, the file for a previously unpublished horror cinquain that I posted earlier, "She Wants to Come In", has a "last modified" date of 9/26/2011. That doesn't mean I wrote the piece on that date. Since I seem to recall that that particular cinquain was a piece I wrote for my ill-fated illustrated dark poetry collection, I'm sure it was written a few years before 2011.

Maybe in my case it doesn't really matter because nobody in the future will really care. Maybe I only need to concern myself with date of publication.

She Wants to Come In

Scratching
at the window
compels me to look
and see a corpse's bloated face,
my bride.

Copyright © Richard H. Fay


Fairy Bandits

Shadows
swiftly fleeting
laugh in darkened pantry
as bread meant for morning meal goes
missing.

(Originally published in Aphelion, December 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Yellow Eyes

Fey sparks
flash in darkness,
baring that savage soul,
a hungry spectre feral and
feline.

(Originally published in Every Day Poets, June 26, 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Woodwose

Saplings
quiver then bow,
bent by a hirsute brute
possessed of gleaming eyes far too
human.

(Originally published in Aphelion, December/January Issue, December 2011.

Copyright © Richard H. Fay

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Heraldic Rose Sells Again

This afternoon, I sold twenty-five Tudor Rose Invitations through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. The invitations were ordered by a customer in Arlington, Virginia. This certainly isn't the first time I've sold merchandise featuring my Tudor Rose. It seems to be one of my more popular works, right up there with my Red Dragon of Wales and my Robin Hood.

I'm so glad I drew that rose design. All three of my heraldic roses sell well, and they all use the same line drawing. Only the colours are different. I've gotten quite a bit out of that one drawing.

The Trouble with Unsolicited Messages

“We have a genuine extraterrestrial signal,” a SETI technician announced excitedly as he adjusted the knob on the receiver. Every scientist in the crowded dark room gathered closer as a series of strange cosmic messages came through the crackling speakers.

“Invest twenty-million Sentorian craduples in our tetrahedron scheme and make quadrillions.”

“Buy our chartreuse wonder pills for natural tentacle enhancement.”

“Meet hot and horny single amoeboids near you.”

Eager looks soon gave way to expressions of shock, embarrassment, and mild amusement as the truth of the matter became apparent.

“Gentlemen,” one grey-haired scientist declared gravely. “We’ve been spammed from space.”

(Originally published in The Drabbler #11, June 2008.)

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

Founding a New City

Prime engineer Binthrobix of the Seventh Hive viewed the purple forest ahead through her scarlet compound eyes. Wired since final metamorphosis to seek out her objective, Binthrobix's mind scanned the mosaic image until she found the tallest tree. She buzzed toward her goal and alit upon the sturdiest bough. A gland in her segmented abdomen secreted the chitinous cornerstone of the first dome of the new city, while her rearmost legs rasped out a beckoning call. Soon her sisters would arrive to help build the swarm’s eighth hive. The insectoid expansion would continue until green domes covered the entire planet.

Copyright © Richard H. Fay

The Stars Weren't Really Right After All

A propitious stellar alignment enabled a monstrosity to escape its abyssal prison. As the leviathan coursed upward, thoughts of reconquering the planet’s sunlit surface streamed through its belligerent mind.

 Almost free of its oceanic confinement, the fiend was shocked to discover that the sea had formed a solid crust. With a final surge, it smashed through the shell.

Swirling snows fell from a leaden sky and drifted across endless ice. The behemoth shook its gargantuan head in disgust and sunk down into the depths. It hoped it would find a more hospitable clime the next time the stars were right.

(Originally published in The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011.)

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Abominable Snowman Snowless

Once his cherished snowfields melted, the Himalayan Yeti faced an identity crisis. With pebbly vale and rocky peak stripped bare, he could not leave tracks to flummox those human adventurers that ventured up into his lofty domain.

The pathetic beast pondered his plight. He sat on a stone and sobbed. The thought that he would fade away like the vanished snows twisted his gut into tangled knots.

Then the brute got a ridiculous notion. He donned a broad hat and long coat, booked a flight to Miami, and moved next door to his cousin, the Skunk Ape of the Everglades.

(Originally published in The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011.)

Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

Monday, November 4, 2013

Visages of Betrayal and Madness

Father's harshly stern face peers
From images of days past,
Years full of false promises
And dashed hopes of innocence.
Constant insults remembered
Echo in unquiet head.
Gouging ballpoint scratches out
Dreadfully despised features,
But fails to eradicate
That ever maddening pain.

Mother's embittered face frowns
Amidst expressionless hordes,
Aspect of disappointment
Glimpsed within uncaring crowds.
Search her out to ask her "why?",
But no answers from the dead.
Hatred rekindled burns bright;
Pounding fists beat angry scowl
Well beyond recognition
Wherever it may be seen.

Lover's hardening face turns
From desperate pleading gaze.
Judgmental eyes reveal truth;
Passion becomes resentment.
Remainders of tenderness
Destroyed in treacherous storm
Leave battered heart a bleak wreck.
Hell's monstrous maw swallows all
Once strangling hands tightly grasp
Betrayer's beautiful throat.

Stranger's haggard face looks back
From blemished and broken glass.
Mirror reflects ingrained flaws,
Exposing imperfect soul.
Tortured brow and vacant stare
Speak of shattered illusions;
A dismal life torn to shreds.
Fingers dig at bleeding flesh
Until tattered checks stripped bare
Form morbidly endless smile.

(Originally published in The Monsters Next Door, Issue Eight, September 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Colouring Book?

Yesterday afternoon, I sent some of my drawings for colouring purposes off to my two-year old nephew Tony. Hope he has fun colouring! Of course, it has got me wondering: should I consider compiling a collection of my drawings into an actual colouring book? For a little while, my drawings were featured as colouring pages in Abandoned Towers. My artwork seems well suited for such a purpose, but would such a book sell? And if so, where might I be able to put such a thing together?

Winter Crows

A murder wings o’er skeletal trees,
pinions beating hard ‘gainst bitter winds.
Raucous mobs roost along barren boughs
stripped of all but a few frost-crisped leaves.
The gathered horde sings a rowdy song
to disturb this season’s morbid hush.
Then the scoundrels raise a harsher din
and rise into a threatening sky.
Ragged dark specks amongst the flurries
whirl in churning clouds o’er snowy hills.
Flocks search cold fields for man’s poor leavings,
hoping to feast on refuse and death.

(Originally published in Every Day Poets, March 10, 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Moaning Hemlock Tree

moaning hemlock tree
squalling winds sway creaking bole
snows hiss through dark boughs

(Originally published in Every Day Poets, January 12, 2009.)

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Autumnal Woodland Morn

Bare bones
scratch leaden sky
while keening winds lament
fallen crowns lost to November’s
chill touch.

(Originally published in Every Day Poets, November 9, 2008.)

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay

"Father Ryan's Fright" Published in ANOTHEREALM

What may be my best story yet, my fairy fantasy story "Father Ryan's Fright", has been published in the November 2013 issue of the e-zine Anotherealm.com. You can read the story here:
"Father Ryan's Fright".

I was inspired to write "Father Ryan's Fright" after reading a ghost story in True Irish Ghost Stories: Haunted Houses, Banshees, Poltergeists, and Other Supernatural Phenomena, compiled by St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan. I took some details from a clergyman's unexpected encounter with a frightening apparition in a schoolhouse and turned it into a fairy story. I added some details gleaned from reading many volumes of Irish folklore and fairy lore in general, and even threw in a concept or two I've run across when dealing with less-than-open minded religious types. i think all those little details help flesh out the story and give it some depth.

As the story was making the submission rounds, before it was accepted for publication in Anotherealm, some editors thought I started off with too much telling and not enough showing. Even after receiving such comments, I deliberately left the beginning just the way it is, even if it is a bit of telling. I'm perfectly happy with the way the story starts. After all, you don't show a fairy tale, you tell a fairy tale.

Anyway, judge for yourself. Go read my story! Please.

Sold Some Knight Stuff

Today seems to be the day of the knight. Today, I sold a few things through two different stores, and it happens to be stuff featuring my various medieval knights, plus one thing featuring the sorts of weapons infantrymen used against knights. I sold two "Norman Knight" Postcards, one  "Some 16th Century Polearms" Postcard, one "Crusader Knight, Early 13th Century" Postcard, and one "English Knight, Circa 1430" Postcard through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store. Coincidentally, I also sold one "English Knight, Circa 1300" T shirt through my Richard Fay RedBubble Shop.

Drawings of knights and weapons were among the first things I sold to the public, back when I sold framed art and bookmarks at the local medieval faire and a few other arts and crafts fairs. Some of my current drawings of knights, such as my "English Knight, Circa 1300" and "English Knight, Circa 1430", are based on various knightly memorial brasses, just like the artwork I sold back in 1999-2001. Of course, my drawings nowadays are coloured in digitally, not by hand. Still, I'm glad to see updated versions of what I sold 12-14 years ago selling today.

I'm thinking drawing more knights will have to go on my to-do list. I still have to draw an updated version of my mid 14th century knight.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lies Told When Someone Dies

Sometimes, some pretty big lies are told when someone dies. I know that it is considered socially inappropriate to speak ill of the dead, but some of the lies told when speaking well of the dead are just too much.

Stating in my mother's obituary that she was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church might have been a bit of a stretch, considering that she seemed to be an avowed atheist or agnostic who once said she thought Jesus had been an alien, but a comment made on the funeral home memorial page for her almost made me gag. For anyone who truly knows the whole story, it's a whopper!

Someone said that my mother will be missed by all. No, sorry, she will not. My mother won't be missed by me, or my wife, or my daughter, or my mother-in-law. That drunken psycho hurt me and mine too many times to be missed.

We will not miss my mother's venomous tongue, or her twisted lies, or her insane accusations, or her sick games. I will not miss being told that I had bled my grandmother dry, or that I have been brainwashed, or that changing my surname back to Fay was bullshit, or that my behaviour is unacceptable and embarrassing. I will not miss the insistence that my hateful step-father is my "real" father because of a meaningless piece of paper. I will not miss worrying that I might receive yet another poison pen letter out of the blue or nasty phone call in the middle of the night.

I could go on, and on, and on. What I mention here is only the tip of the iceberg. In certain circles, the stories about my mother's nastiness are legendary.

No, my mother and the trouble she caused me and my family will not be missed by me, her own son. To be quite honest, I'm relieved she can no longer cause us such harm. She can't bother us anymore, thank God!

Anyway, it might seem poor etiquette to say such things about my late mother, but I've never been as proper as she expected me to be.

"Sing the Bones Alive" Best Story, January 2013

The results are in for the Bards and Sages Quarterly 2013 Readers' Choice Awards. My wizardly fantasy story "Sing the Bones Alive" was chosen best story of the January 2013 issue. This means, with my agreement to have the story republished already sent to the editor, it is slated for republication in the 2014 Bardic Tales and Sage Advice anthology. Yay!

I want to thank all who voted for my story. "Sing the Bones Alive" being chosen best story of January 2013 is just the encouragement I need to keep writing. As of late, my belief in myself as a writer had reached an all time low, and this bit of good news has helped to boost my ebbing confidence.

Now I had better think about writing more stories!