Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!


First Art Publication of 2014 (Sort Of)

I added my first entry to my "Illustrations 2014" list, my cover-art for the January 2014 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk. Even though the issue is out today (31st December), I figured it was best to put "They Come in Peace" in my 2014 entries. May that be the first of many!

(Based on what's already on my "forthcoming publications" list and what I'm currently working on for publication, it won't be alone for long.)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sci-Fi Art on Cover of Jan 2014 SPACEPORTS & SPIDERSILK

The January 2014 issue of the Nomadic Delirium Press zine Spaceports & Spidersilk is now available for pre-order through Smashwords:
Spaceports & Spidersilk, January 2014.

My fun sci-fi artwork featuring a flying saucer bedecked with images of flowers, hearts, a star, and a rainbow, "They Come in Peace", appears on the cover. Check it out, man!

Peace, brother!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Some Fantasy Illustrations From Back in May

Back in May of this year, I composed three illustrations for the fantasy e-zine Sorcerous Signals. One was for Charles Von Nordheim's poem "The Yeoman Praises Wizards", another was for Robert Collins' story "The Templar Conspiracy", and the third was for Matthew Wilson's poem "The Sorcerer".



Since now is the time to look back on things accomplished during the course of 2013, since these illustrations were published over six months ago, I thought I would share them here now. I also think they are rather good. Yeah, I believe I've gotten quite good at drawing wizards and mages and knights and warriors. I was especially happy with how the Templars came out in my illustration for "The Templar Conspiracy".

Illustration for Charles Von Nordheim's "The Yeoman Praises Wizards"
Illustration for Robert Collins' "The Templar Conspiracy"
Illustration for Matthew Wilson's "The Sorcerer"

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Year-End Post, Part Two: My Shops

Earlier this month, I had posted an entry talking about the works I saw published this year. I already mentioned that I spent most of my time in 2013 working on art. Although I did work on many artworks and illustrations for publication, a significant number of my artistic creations this year were created specifically for use on merchandise in my online shops. Not only did I work on art for the shops, but I also worked on revamping my CafePress Shop.

Back in late spring/early summer, I began working on getting more images added to items in an Azure Lion Productions CafePress Shop. I added several of nationality designs like my "Red Dragon of Wales" and "Tudor Rose" designs that already had a proven track record as best-sellers in my Richard Fay/Azure Lion productions Zazzle Store. So far, sales seem to indicate that I made the right decision to revamp my CafePress Shop and go with many of the same images featured on items already sold through my Zazzle Store.


Along with managing my older images and adding them to new Zazzle items and a whole slew of items in my revamped CafePress Shop, I created quite a few new images for all three of my online shops. In a deliberate move back to what Azure Lion productions had originally been all about, I worked on illustrations of knights and historic weapons and armour. I drew a "Crusader Knight, Early 13th Century", which was an updated version of a knight I drew several years ago. I created two versions of an English knight of circa 1430, one with labels naming the different pieces of armour, and one without (the labelled version appears below). I also composed illustrations of a medieval crossbow, 16th century pole-arms, ancient Greek blades, and an ancient Greek Corinthian helmet.

I also continued working on adding more nationality-themed images to my shops. This year, I drew a Polish Eagle, which is quickly becoming a best-seller.

Thinking that my stores needed some cute works appropriate for kids, I started a series of cute characters and creatures. I created a "Cute Medieval Knight" (which is an updated pen and ink version of a small digital art doodle I had done in MS Paint), a "Cute Dragon", and a "Cute Pirate Lad". I haven't yet drawn a Cute Pirate Lass to accompany the lad.

Having already done a "Lion Rampant", "Dragon Rampant", and "Unicorn Rampant" last year, I figured I should do a "Griffin Rampant" as well. I did a "Griffin Rampant' in several different colours. The "Griffin Rampant Sable" is my favourite.  

Even though working on illustrations of knights and weapons marked a return to the sorts of things I composed back when I first sold my art to the public at a local medieval fair, I did spend some time this year following other artistic paths. I created a couple of psychedelic-type designs, "Psychedelic Peace" and "Psychedelic Skull". I also created the round fantasy design "Moon Dragons". My "Leaving the Flames Behind" saw me using some elements I've already used in some of my SF&F artwork in a more mainstream piece. It was an image stuck in my head that I just had to get on Bristol board.

I composed a few horror pieces this year that ended up going in my stores. My "Count Dracula", an image created specifically for use in my shops, was inspired by Bram Stoker's description of the vampire count. My monster "Amalgantua" was originally created for a RedBubble contest. It wasn't chosen as one of the finalists, but it's on items in my RHFay RedBubble Shop. My "Grinning Redcap" was originally submitted to a handful of publications, but it was never accepted for publication. In the end, I decided to add it to my RedBubble portfolio.

As you can see, I was busy this year. I'm hoping to do at least as much work in 2014! That's the plan, anyway.

Crusader Knight, Early Thirteenth Century
Plate Armour, Circa 1430
Some 16th Century Polearms

Crossbow
Corinthian Helmet


Ancient Greek Blades
Polish Eagle
Cute Dragon
Cute Medieval Knight
Cute Pirate Lad
Griffin Rampant Sable



Psychedelic Peace
Psychedelic Skull
Moon Dragons
Leaving the Flames Behind
Count Dracula
Monster: Amalgantua
Grinning Redcap





Should I Rant More Often? (He, He He...)

Weird. This blog of mine had 19 page views yesterday. It has had 115 page views so far today. The most-often read posts for the day are "Looks Like I've Been Blacklisted!" (which may be a slight exaggeration, but you never know), and "What's the Big Deal About Wannabes Self-Publishing Crap?". I guess people are reading my posts about the possibility of me being blacklisted and my bitching about "serious' writers bitching about wannabe writers self-publishing crap. I thought I ranted too much, but if my rants get that many views, I may have to rant more often. ;)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Looks Like I've Been Blacklisted!

An editor/writer/"public figure" said something I thought was rather arrogant and egotistical, and my less-than-friendly responses to his comments pissed him off to the point where he has basically blacklisted me. Yay! I've been blacklisted!

My response:



I don't care who you are: be an ass, I might just call you an ass. If you don't like me calling you an ass, then don't be an ass!

Oh well, there are other editors and other publications out there. As far as I know, there are still some editors willing to publish my artworks and illustrations. I would rather deal with editors I like anyway, even if those editors edit "lesser" markets.

On the plus side: it looks like I can now send stuff that was in submission limbo back out to another market.

Also, here are
three reasons why I'm not too worried about what figures in the publishing/writing realm might think of me:
http://www.zazzle.com/richardfay
http://www.cafepress.com/azurelionproductions
http://www.redbubble.com/people/rhfay/shop

What's the Big Deal About Wannabes Self-Publishing Crap?

Why are some "serious" writers SO offended/disturbed/threatened by all the wannabe writers publishing trash via e-publishing and self-publishing? I don't get it. Why is it such a big deal? Why should so-called "serious" writers even care that wannabes might self-publish trash?

I think some writers need to get over themselves. What a bunch of great big overinflated egos! So, self-publishing has enabled wannabe writers to publish poorly written crap. So what? BIG EFFING DEAL!!!
 

Writers should love the fact that anyone can try their hand at writing. Unfortunately, some writers with enlarged egos have a problem with that fact. Sooner or later, some self-important twat writer will once again compare writing to doctoring or lawyering. I've seen that argument before.

Sorry writers, writing is not like doctoring or lawyering. Anybody who is barely literate can try to be a writer. Of course, that doesn't mean they will succeed, but they can try. You had better have the appropriate degree and license if you want to practice law or medicine.

Are there degrees in writing? Of course there are! Must a person have a degree in writing before they can become a writer? Um, no, not really. Must a person have a degree in law before they can legally become a lawyer? Yes. Must a person have a degree in medicine before they can legally become a doctor? Again, yes.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Some Thoughts on Depictions of Santa Over the Years

Santa Claus is a symbol. As a symbol, he can adapt and change with the times. His appearance has changed over the years. It has not remained constant. I have a few of those "Santa Through the Years" type figurines, and it is interesting to note the differing look of each figurine. Some years he was tall, other years he was short. Some years his coat was red, other years it was green.

Personally, one of my favourites is a rather Sinterklaas/Saint Nicholas-looking figurine. Another favourite is a short and round elfin-looking Santa based on the description of Saint Nick in the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas and the illustrations by cartoonist Thomas Nast. In the poem, Saint Nicholas had something of the elf about him. He was described as "little" and "a right jolly old elf".

I don't think there is one "right" depiction of Santa. I think his appearance can change with the situation and circumstances. As a symbol, Santa is what we make him.
a right jolly old elf,
a right jolly old elf,
a right jolly old elf,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

How Many Views Might Goldones Get Thanks to Me?

So, how many views do you think the blogger goldones will get now that I've linked to his ramble about moi, "Christ, What". I bet he might get more views over the next week or so than he's gotten most years. It will be interesting to see if I'm proven right. We shall see.

BTW, my Azure Lion Productions blog has had over 41,000 page views since I began keeping a blog here back in September 2008. Of course, I post more than just rambling rants ripping others apart. I find the one ripping me apart over on Edie Finds a Corpse to be quite amusing. Yeah, dude, I'm laughing at you! (Assuming goldones is a dude and not a dudette.)

This Evening's Amusement: A Blog Ramble About Lil' Ol' Me

Amazing what you find when you Google yourself and your works! Don't know how I missed this disjointed blog entry about lil' ol' me 'til now, but it makes for an interesting read:
Edie Finds a Corpse: Christ, What
I don't think this blogger think very highly of many of the things I've had to say on my own blog, but at least they read my Live Journal blog, back when I was on LJ. I now keep a blog here. (In other words, the link to my LJ that the blogger posted back in July 2011 is dead as a doornail.)

Considering how many successes I've had since July 2011, I'm none too worried about one blogger's rambling rant. I find it mildly amusing. I love to prove my critics wrong, and I have PLENTY of critics!

Why don't we let my successes speak for me? The fantasy, horror, and sci-fi poems and stories I've seen published since July 2011 include:

Father Ryan's Fright..........Anotherealm, November 2013.
The Redcap of Glamtallon..........Cover of Darkness, Issue 14, March 2013.
Sing the Bones Alive..........Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume V, Issue I, January 2013.
The Hungering Host..........Disturbed Digest, Issue 2, September 2013.
The Brownie..........FrostFire Worlds, Issue 1, August 2013.
Weretiger..........Night to Dawn, Issue 23, April 2013.
Pixies in the Porridge..........Aoife's Kiss, Issue 43, December 2012.
Scifaiku ("gothic armour")..........Scifaikuest (print), Vol. X. No. 2, November 2012.
Horrorku ("burrowing worm")..........Scifaikuest (on-line), Vol.10 No. 2, November 2012.
Never Ending Struggle..........Death Head Grin #39, October 2012.
The Redcap of Dunnor Peel..........The Scareald, Issue No. 2, October 2012.
Cosmic Grind..........Infernal Ink Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 2, October 2012.
Bluebell Spell..........parABnormal Digest, Issue 4, September 2012.
Silicon Searchers..........Tales of the Talisman, Volume 8, Issue 1, August 2012.
Scifaiku ("silver dragon")..........Beyond Centauri, Issue 36, April 2012.
The Wretched House 'Round the Corner..........Static Movement, March 2012.
Horrorku ("heady brew")..........Trapeze Magazine, March 14, 2012.
Horrorku ("breathless dusk")..........Trapeze Magazine, January 31, 2012.
The Stars Weren't Really Right After All..........The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011.
The Abominable Snowman Snowless..........The Drabbler #19: Climate Change, September 2011. Honorable Mention in the 19th Sam's Dot Drabble Contest.
Woodwose..........Aphelion, December/January Issue, December 2011.
Cosmic Ship of Dreams..........Aphelion, November 2011.
Horrorku ("patient black widow')..........microcosms, October 23, 2011.
Last Thoughts of a Cosmic Fighter Pilot..........Aphelion, August 2011.

The fantasy, sci-fi, and horror artworks I've seen published since July 2011 include:

The Devourer Cometh (cover art)..........Disturbed Digest, Issue 3, December 2013.
Illustration for Michael Hodges' "Swampy Transitions" (cover art)..........Plasma Frequency, Issue 9, December/January 2013/14, December 2013.
Legion..........Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 4, Autumn 2013, October 2013.
The Brownie..........FrostFire Worlds, Issue 1, August 2013.
Illustration for Anna Sykora's "The Oak Witch's Helper"..........Sorcerous Signals, Aug. - Oct. '13 Issue, August 2013.
Illustration for Edward Ahern's "Blood Will Out"..........Sorcerous Signals, Aug. - Oct. '13 Issue, August 2013.
Illustration for Erin Cole's "Her Quest for a Beating Heart"..........The Lorelei Signal, July-September 2013 Issue, July 2013.
Illustration for Heidi Wainer's "The Specters of Haveroan"..........The Lorelei Signal, July-September 2013 Issue, July 2013.
Confronting the Dragon (cover art)..........Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume V, Issue III, July 2013.
Peg Powler (cover art)..........Spaceports & Spidersilk, July 2013.
Over the Top (cover art)..........Youth Imagination, Issue 2, May 2013.
Shedroid on Tentacles..........[NAMEL3SS] Magazine, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2012), May 2013.
Illustration for Matthew Wilson's "The Sorcerer"..........Sorcerous Signals, May - Jul '13 Issue, May 2013.
Illustration for Robert Collins' "The Templar Conspiracy"..........Sorcerous Signals, May - Jul '13 Issue, May 2013.
Illustration for Charles Von Nordheim's "The Yeoman Praises Wizards"..........Sorcerous Signals, May - Jul '13 Issue, May 2013.
Nessiterix Attacks an Elephoid..........Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2013.
Illustration for Alexander Gonzalez's "Shade Creeper"..........Postscripts to Darkness, Volume 3, April 2013.
Illustration for James K. Moran's "Carl and Monty’s Prairie Wager"..........Postscripts to Darkness, Volume 3, April 2013.
Tentacled Monstrosity..........Bete Noire, Issue #10, February 2013.
Giant Alien Bug..........Beyond Centauri, January 2013.
Jungun Catching a Quibbib..........Dreams & Nightmares 94, January 2013.
Illustration for Beth Powers' "Nothing Altered"..........Plasma Frequency, Issue 4, February/March 2013.
It Rises From the Ooze..........Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2013.
Pixies in the Porridge..........Aoife's Kiss, Issue 43, December 2012.
When Wizards Clashed..........Sorcerous Signals, Nov '12 - Jan '13 Issue, November 2012.
The Dark Host..........Hungur, Vol. VIII, No. 1, All Souls' Night 2012; also Disturbed Digest, Issue 2, September 2013.
Illustration for Lindsey Duncan's "Mythocraft" (cover art)..........Plasma Frequency, Issue 2, October/November 2012.
Hunting the Queegiog..........Dreams & Nightmares 93, September 2012.
Faces and Figures in the Mist..........parABnormal Digest, Issue 4, September 2012.
Kamal Del and the Dark Elemental (door art)..........Spaceports & Spidersilk, Vol. 5, No. 3, September 2012.
Illustration for Nyki Blatchley's "Aslahkar"..........Plasma Frequency, Issue 1, August/September 2012.
Battle Beneath the Mere..........NewMyths.com, Issue 19, June 2012.
Adrift in Another Dimension..........Dreams & Nightmares 92, May 2012.
Mechanical Dragon..........Beyond Centauri, Issue 36, April 2012.
In the Dragon Realm (cover-art)..........Kids'Magination Magazine, Issue 8, February 2012.
An Invitation to Elfame (cover art)..........Bards and Sages Quarterly, January 2012.
Crossing the Ertrixian Snowfields (door art)..........Spaceports & Spidersilk, December 2011.
Illustration for "Old Fashioned Police Work" by Matt Adams..........Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine, Fall '11 Issue, October 2011.
Cover art for How We Play Football in Alabama And Other Short Stories From Doug's World by Doug Hilton..........September 2011.
Welcome Sign..........Interior illustration in How We Play Football in Alabama And Other Short Stories From Doug's World by Doug Hilton, September 2011.
Conjuring the Dragon (cover art)..........OG's Speculative Fiction, Issue #32, September 2011.
Mighty Steed, White Dragon (cover art)..........Kids'Magination, Issue 2, August 2011.
Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm..........While the Morning Stars Sing, ResAliens Press, August 2011.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2013 Year-End Post, Part One: Publications

Now that December is more than half over and 2014 is just around the corner, it looks like it's time once again to compose one of those obligatory "my year in review" entries. Actually, since I split my time in 2013 between working on material for publication and working on material for my online shops, I figured I would split my year-end post up as well. Part one here covers my publications, while part two will cover the images I added to my shops.

Writing-wise, I did not see as much published in 2013 as I saw published in past years. I only had three previously unpublished stories, three previously unpublished poems, and two reprint poems come out this year. That might not sound like much to be pleased about, but I'm pleased as punch that I got more stories out there. Plus, my wizardly fantasy story "Sing the Bones Alive" was chosen best story of the January 2013 issue of Bards and Sages  Quarterly in the Bards and Sages Quarterly 2013 Readers' Choice Poll, so it is slated for republication in the 2014 Bardic Tales and Sage Advice anthology.

I do have other written works that were accepted this year for publication in 2014.  My previously unpublished horror story "Those From the Shadows" is slated for publication in the January 2014 issue of Bete Noire. My previously unpublished fantasy story "An Evil in Carnlinton" was to have been published in the November 2013 issue of Sorcerous Signals, but it now looks like it will be published February 2014. Plus, my reprint vampire poem "Shroudeater" is due to be published in the Spring 2014 issue of Night to Dawn.

My dearth of written works published or accepted in 2013 may make it sound like I had a horribly unproductive year, but I spent most of 2013 working on art. I saw twenty-three new artwork publications this year. Four of these pieces were cover artworks. Among the most notable of my 2013 artwork publications were the appearance of my weird sci-fi filler artwork "Shedroid on Tentacles" in Issue 2 of [NAMEL3SS] Magazine and the appearance of my illustration for Michael Hodges' "Swampy Transitions" on the cover of Plasma Frequency, Issue 9. I also did a number of illustrations on-assignment for Sorcerous Signals and The Lorelei Signal, a regular illustration gig that will be continuing on into 2014. As a matter of fact, I'm currently working on illustrations for the next issue of The Lorelei Signal.


Along with all the new artwork I had come out this year, I also saw a trio of art reprints. My dark artwork "The Dark Host", which was originally published in the All Souls' Night 2012 issue of Hungur, appeared in issue 2 of Disturbed Digest. My dark artwork "Gothic Window", which was originally published in the December 2007 issue of Aoife's Kiss, appeared in Issue #13 of Bete Noire. My sci-fi artwork "Aliens Entwined", which accompanied an artist's profile in The Gloaming, appeared in the January 2013 issue of Star*Line.

A couple of my artworks were accepted this year for publication in 2014. My fun sci-fi piece "They Come in Peace" was accepted for the January 2014 cover of Spaceports & Spidersilk. My "Shroudeater" illustration is slated to accompany my poem "Shroudeater" in the Spring 2014 issue of Night to Dawn.

All of that, and I composed quite  few new images for my shops, too. More on that in a later post.

My complete list of 2013 publications appears below:

Short Stories, Flash Fiction, & Drabbles 2013
Father Ryan's Fright..........Anotherealm, November 2013.
The Redcap of Glamtallon..........Cover of Darkness, Issue 14, March 2013.
Sing the Bones Alive..........Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume V, Issue I, January 2013.

Poetry 2013
The Hungering Host..........Disturbed Digest, Issue 2, September 2013.
The Brownie..........FrostFire Worlds, Issue 1, August 2013.
Weretiger..........Night to Dawn, Issue 23, April 2013.



Gothic Window..........reprinted in Bete Noire, Issue #13, November 2013.
My Darkly Dear Leanan-Sidhe..........reprinted in Bete Noire, Issue #11, May 2013..


Illustrations 2013
The Devourer Cometh (cover art)..........Disturbed Digest, Issue 3, December 2013.
Illustration for Michael Hodges' "Swampy Transitions" (cover art)..........Plasma Frequency, Issue 9, December/January 2013/14, December 2013.
Legion..........Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 4, Autumn 2013, October 2013.
The Brownie..........FrostFire Worlds, Issue 1, August 2013.
Illustration for Anna Sykora's "The Oak Witch's Helper"..........Sorcerous Signals, Aug. - Oct. '13 Issue, August 2013.
Illustration for Edward Ahern's "Blood Will Out"..........Sorcerous Signals, Aug. - Oct. '13 Issue, August 2013.Illustration for Erin Cole's "Her Quest for a Beating Heart"..........The Lorelei Signal, July-September 2013 Issue, July 2013.
Illustration for Heidi Wainer's "The Specters of Haveroan"..........The Lorelei Signal, July-September 2013 Issue, July 2013.
Confronting the Dragon (cover art)..........Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume V, Issue III, July 2013.
Peg Powler (cover art)..........Spaceports & Spidersilk, July 2013.
Over the Top (cover art)..........Youth Imagination, Issue 2, May 2013.
Shedroid on Tentacles..........[NAMEL3SS] Magazine, Issue 2 (Fall/Winter 2012), May 2013.
Illustration for Matthew Wilson's "The Sorcerer"..........Sorcerous Signals, May - Jul '13 Issue, May 2013.
Illustration for Robert Collins' "The Templar Conspiracy"..........Sorcerous Signals, May - Jul '13 Issue, May 2013.
Illustration for Charles Von Nordheim's "The Yeoman Praises Wizards"..........Sorcerous Signals, May - Jul '13 Issue, May 2013.
Nessiterix Attacks an Elephoid..........Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2013.
Illustration for Alexander Gonzalez's "Shade Creeper"..........Postscripts to Darkness, Volume 3, April 2013.
Illustration for James K. Moran's "Carl and Monty’s Prairie Wager"..........Postscripts to Darkness, Volume 3, April 2013.
Tentacled Monstrosity..........Bete Noire, Issue #10, February 2013.
Giant Alien Bug..........Beyond Centauri, January 2013.
Jungun Catching a Quibbib..........Dreams & Nightmares 94, January 2013.
Illustration for Beth Powers' "Nothing Altered"..........Plasma Frequency, Issue 4, February/March 2013.
It Rises From the Ooze..........Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2013.


Gothic Window..........reprinted in Bete Noire, Issue #13, November 2013.


The Dark Host..........reprinted in Disturbed Digest, Issue 2, September 2013.
Aliens Entwined..........reprinted in Star*Line, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2013.

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Mother and No Sugar

I admit it, I was a hyper, temperamental kid. When it became a trend in the 1970s to say that sugar made kids hyper, my mother jumped on that bandwagon pretty quickly. She grasped at anything that blamed my behaviour on something other than genetics or the fact that I grew up in a messed-up family. She, my step-father, and the rest of my dysfunctional family couldn't possibly be to blame for  my bad behaviour! My "acting up" was never a cry for attention or a reaction to a bad situation!  

For breakfast, I was forced to eat the cereal with the lowest possible sugar content while I watched my step-father have his chocolate milk and English muffins with jelly. There were times my mother had me eat plain puffed rice for breakfast, which was like eating styrofoam. Any wonder why I would oftentimes wolf down a dozen donuts whenever I stayed at my grandmother's house?


My grandmother was always slipping me sweets. She did not follow my mother's no sugar rule. She saw it as unfair and not right. I believe that was one of the many things my mother held against my grandmother.


Though breakfast seemed to be the time when my mother's no sugar rule was most unfair, it extended beyond breakfast. If I drank soda, it had to be diet soda sweetened with saccharin, even though this was during the time diet sodas had warnings on their labels stating that saccharin could cause cancer. If I had a snack, it was to be chips or rice cakes or something else with the lowest-possible sugar content. Candy bars were right out! I would be allowed to have ice cream as a treat only if I had been good. There always seemed to be a debate over whether or not I should be allowed to have any ice cream at all whenever we went out as a family to get ice cream.


At times, Easter was rather interesting. For Easter, I might be allowed one small chocolate rabbit, some sugar-free gum, a few toys or books, and then some "healthy" snacks. I remember one Easter my Easter basket contained, among other things, a bag of soy nuts! What kid is thrilled to get soy nuts for Easter? I wasn't entirely okay with it then. I'm still not okay with it now.


Yes, even though my mother is now dead and buried, I am still bitter about her no sugar rule. All these years later, I am still mad about being made to eat bland cereal while watching my step-father break his fast with chocolate milk and English muffins topped with grape jelly. I always felt it was unfair. I suspect I will carry those feelings of being treated unfairly the rest of my life.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Some Thoughts on Influences

I think it is a truth, not a fallacy, that creative works may be influenced by other creative works that came before them. Nothing is created in a vacuum devoid of all influences.

Some well-known writers of genre fiction were influenced by writers and works that came before them. H. P. Lovecraft was influenced by the works of Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, etc. J. R. R. Tolkien was influenced by the Old English poem Beowulf, Norse myths,
the works of William Morris, etc. C. S. Lewis was influenced by the Bible, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, the works of George MacDonald, etc. Ray Bradbury was influenced by the works of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, John Steinbeck, etc. Just about every writer of modern fantasy is influenced by Tolkien one way or another. And so on and so forth (and I could go on).

I freely admit that my own works have been influenced by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, and
H. P. Lovecraft. My works have also been heavily influenced by fairy folklore, thanks in no small part to Katharine Briggs and her An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures. I wear my influences on my sleeve, though I hope I write with my own voice.

Genre Movie Fans Don't Know Much About Written SF?

In an online debate about the influences that one SF movie may or may not have had on a later, more famous SF movie, a film critic and historian who is supposedly a leading authority on genre films said:
"genre movie fans rarely know anything much about written SF or even about comic books that don't deal with superheroes."
Oh, really?

I seem to know lots of genre movie fans who are also avid readers of SF. Many of these people also happen to be genre writers. Writers read. Writers often read a lot.

I'm a big fan of genre movies. I also read SF. I'm also a writer of SF stories and poems. I'm also an artist who has illustrated SF stories and poems, both my own works and the works of others. That means I read SF as part of my occupation as well as for recreational purposes.

I've read a few superhero comics books in my day, but not many. To be quite honest, I never got into superhero comic books all that much, though I do know some fans of genre movies who are really into superheroes big time. Personally, I've always preferred horror/monster theme comic books over superhero ones.

The claim that genre movie fans rarely know anything about written SF seems unfair to me. In my world, it's downright false.

Certainly, genre movies have a wider appeal than written SF. However, I don't think genre movie fans are necessarily as ignorant of written SF as this film historian seems to think. I believe genre movies and television shows can function as gateways to written SF. Heck, there are even such things as novelizations of genre movies and television programs.

What say you? Do you think genre movie fans know little about written SF?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Devourer Took a New Name

Through the ages of stone, bronze, and steel,
The deathless thing spent endless eons
Stalking the moonlit midnight forest,
Haunting humanity’s darkest dreams,
Sapping the lifeblood of innocents,
Devouring mankind’s most tender sprigs.



Moulded to match each mortal’s terror,
Named a thousand times by countless scribes,
Depicted in a million guises
Imagined by many troubled minds,
The dreadful soul wove his frightful webs
Till rational thought weakened those threads.



Bored with stealthy nocturnal tramping,
Tired of his diabolic trappings,
Ignored instead of worshipped and feared,
Neutered by pragmatic disbelief,
The restless shade sought more perverse ways
To ensnare prey in a modern world.



Grasping man’s hectic celebrations,
Hiding in the commercial bustle
Of racing rats lacking elder sense,
Adopting a mad season’s symbol,
The fell fiend became cherished icon
Clad in crimson to slake bloody thirst.



Before elfin crew,
Behind kindly mask,
Beneath flowing beard,
Under newest name,
Children came to him:
Santa.

(Originally published in Bewildering Stories, Issue 364, December 7, 2009.)


Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cover Art on DISTURBED DIGEST, Issue 3

Okay, back to regular business...my weird dark artwork "The Devourer Cometh" appears on the cover of the December 2013 issue of the Alban Lake zine Disturbed Digest. In her e-mail accepting the work, I believe the editor called it "freaky". It's certainly strange, in a strangely creative way. I'm proud of it.

Yeah, this is my second cover artwork publication this month. I just has an artwork appear on the cover of the December/January 2013/14 issue of Plasma Frequency.

Not bad for someone who will never amount to anything.


Anyway, copies of Disturbed Digest, Issue 3, may be purchased here:
Disturbed Digest, Issue 3

More Nasty Things My Mother Said (Allegedly)

Sorry if you're getting sick of me posting "despicable statements" about my deceased mother, but I feel I must get this stuff off my chest. It's cathartic.

There were many things my mother said to my mother-in-law that my mother-in-law had never repeated, until now. For quite a while, Michele's mom had been telling me that nasty things were said, but I'm just now finding out the details about what was said. I am learning the true extent of my mother's hatefulness and despicability.

Michele and I had been homeowners for a while. I found out today that, back when Michele and I were buying the house we ended up residing in for eleven years, my mother allegedly told Michele's mom that I didn't deserve to own a house. She also said that I should not expect her to travel to see us as I was an uncaring son and I cared more about my wife and kid than I cared about her.

There is an irony inherent in that last bit, considering it came from someone who had once said to me "don't make me choose between you or [step-father], because you will lose!" I guess she never thought that I would follow her example and apply the same logic to choosing between her and my wife and kid.


It was true, I did care more about my wife and kid than I cared about my mother. You see, I always understood the truth that your kids are your legacy. That's something my mother never understood. Or perhaps she did, but she saw me as my despised biological father's legacy more than her own.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I Refuse to Remain Silent!

On Saturday 7th December, via certified mail, I received an envelope from the lawyer handling my late mother's estate.  Included with some old insurance paperwork was a cover letter. In this cover letter the lawyer stated (and I quote):
It is the understanding of your family that you desire nothing further from them. They respect your feelings. However, they simply would ask that you respect theirs, and do not place any further despicable statements, or any statements at all, concerning them or your deceased mother on the internet.
Basically, this is a "scare" letter to try to get me to shut up about how rotten my mother was and how I feel about my less-than-fatherly step-father and that band of miscreants I happen to be related to (there are arrest records and prison records to prove that at least some of my relatives are indeed miscreants).

Lawyers do not scare me. My relatives do not scare me. I refuse to be silenced.

One of my relatives spent time in prison for robbery. Another of my relatives has been arrested for violation of probation and criminal possession of a controlled substance (amazing what you can find online). My maternal grandfather spent time in jail for slugging a cop one of the many times the police showed up because he had come home in a violent drunken rage. My maternal grandfather also spent fifteen years living with a mistress, and may have sired a child by that mistress.

One scene burned into my memory is the time my grandfather was beating the crap out of my grandmother and I flung a laundry basket over my grandfather's head to try to get him to stop. He slammed the laundry basket onto my head hard, which hurt my ears and got me bawling, but the beating stopped. Of course, the police weren't called that day, because such things were often swept under the rug back then.

At least a couple of my relatives have been through multiple marriages and divorces. For twenty-eight years, one of my relatives had kept secret the fact that he had sired a daughter out of wedlock.

It is no secret that my step-father and I don't get along. I don't really care for him, and for quite a while now, I have been convinced that the feeling is mutual. I never felt like a proper member of my step-father's clan. I consider the adoption paper naming him as my "legal" father to be a meaningless piece of paper. This was one of the reasons why, in 2000, I legally changed my surname back to that of my mother's first husband, my biological father.


My parents made it clear that they felt getting food and drink at Red Lobster was more important than spending time with my daughter Stephanie, their granddaughter. Even when my parents would be in the area for mother's doctor's appointments, they could go out for food and drink at an area Red Lobster, but they couldn't be bothered to visit their kid and grand-kid. There was also the matter of their refusal to attend a large family gathering at my grandmother's on a certain Easter.


As for saying despicable things about my mother, my mother was a despicable person. I will continue to say this 'til I'm six feet under.

Want examples of how despicable she could be? I will give examples:


On the night of my graduation party, my mother berated me for not "mingling" enough. With drink in hand, she told me how she was so embarrassed that departing guests couldn't find me to say their goodbyes because I was down in the cellar playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. Mind you, I decided to seclude myself in the cellar with my friends after I witnessed an altercation between my mother and my uncle, one which sent my mother running off in tears.

One of the things my mother said to me when my relationship with my stepfather went from bad to worse was "don't make me choose between you or [step-father], because you'll lose!" Apparently, she meant it! Technically, I was kicked out of my parents' house a few months after I turned eighteen. Actually, it was a mutual agreement that I moved in with my grandmother to avoid being thrown in jail.

The night my mother and I met in my parents' dining room to fill out financial aid forms for college, she grew surly over having to fill in their income. With drink in hand, she stood there and told me I wasn't reading the forms right. She proclaimed that I needed to go back to the financial aid office and have them find some way I could avoid putting my parents' financial information down on the form. You see, I was not residing in my parents' house at that time, and my mother was convinced that I should have been able to declare myself independent. I was adamant that the form was clear in that regard, that there was no way I could at that moment declare myself independent. The exchange became nastier and nastier, until my mother outright refused to give me their information, and that was the end of it. She did pay for my two years at Hudson Valley Community College, but I couldn't apply for financial aid until my second semester at the State University of New York at Albany, after I was married, after I turned the magical age the government said I must be to be able to declare myself independent.

Allegedly, on several occasions, my mother called up my mother-in-law during the night to tell her that I wouldn't amount to anything, that  I wasn't smart enough to have a good job, that I would never have a good job, and that I wasn't smart enough. I guess the fact that I had graduated with honors from high school, then graduated with honors from Hudson Valley Community College with an associate's degree in science, and then graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor's degree in biology, meant nothing to my mother. I guess my induction into Phi Beta Kappa, according to their own site "the nation's oldest and most widely known academic honor society", also meant nothing. I guess none of that was enough to make my mother proud of me. 

Another thing my mother allegedly said to my mother-in-law in those late-night phone rants was that my wife had trapped me into marrying her. This is rather absurd when you consider that our first child (a stillborn son) was born eighteen months after the wedding. 

Speaking of our stillborn son, according to my mother-in-law, the first thing out of my mother's mouth when she walked into the hospital as Michele was in labor giving birth to a baby we already knew was dead was "is Red Lobster open yet?" Perhaps it was meant as a joke, but it was a joke in very poor taste made at a very inappropriate time. I will say this; my parents did little to comfort me during that horrible experience. I believe my mother also refused to hold my son's body. I'm not sure she ever really mourned at all.



My parents had offered to pay for the burial services and stone for my son, but my mother then argued with me over what to have inscribed upon the stone. In the end, they put what Michele and I had wanted put, but not without a fight. My mother later made nasty cracks about Michele's mom not offering to chip in to help pay for the services and stone. My son was buried in a family plot over the grave of Michele's grandmother in a styrofoam casket, for crying out loud!

When my mother found out that I had changed my surname in 2000, she called it "bullshit". She pointed out that her husband was my "legal father". One of the few times she said much of anything to me about my biological father, she accused him of being a philandering nogoodnik (though not in those terms).



In a phone call about a piddly life insurance policy that had been taken out in my name when I was a kid that I didn't even know existed until the insurance company sent me something about about it out of the blue, my mother first lied to me and said it wasn't my policy. She claimed it was my step-fathers. When I remained firm in my assertion that the policy was mine, she eventually admitted that it was indeed mine, and then accused me of calling her a liar!

In another late-night phone call to let me know that my grandmother was in the hospital with congestive heart failure, which my mother turned into my grandmother being on her death bed, my mother couldn't help but get her jabs in. She accused me of having "bwed" my "glandmother dwy", and then said I had been brainwashed. When I suggested that she was slurring her speech because she was drunk, she told me it was because she didn't have her false teeth in. By the way, my grandmother lived for something like two more years after that phone call!

My mother had also sent me a series of poison-pen letters, but I had disposed of them a while back. I cannot recall the exact contents of those letters, except to say that they upset me. She was always good at upsetting me. 

These are just some of the most memorable examples. I think it's enough to make my point.  

I thought my mother's death meant that she could no longer hurt me. I guess I was wrong in thinking that. I should have known better.

I thought my mother's death meant that my step-father and that bunch of villains I happen to be related to would just go away quietly and leave me in peace. I guess that thought was wrong, too.




One of the ironies of the letter I received from the lawyer handling my mother's estate is that I would have stopped dredging up all these bad memories sooner or later had my family just left me the hell alone! They simply can't do that! It's twisted that my family claims they respect my feelings, but they then try to get me to shut up about how I feel. I see it as a trap, an attempt to trick me into a confrontation. My relatives might not think very highly of my intelligence, but I'm smarter than that. I didn't fall into the trap when they tracked me down to let me know my mother was in the hospital on her death bed, and I will not fall into this one. I truly believe my family wanted me to show up at the hospital just to give me hell, and I truly believe they are hoping this letter from the estate attorney leads to a face-to-face or over-the-phone confrontation so they can give me hell.

I don't know what else my family might try to do to silence me. I don't know that this is the end of the matter. I will say this: having no "real job" and no real assets to speak of, I'm pretty well "judgement proof".

As for any of my sorry-excuses-for-relatives that might be monitoring what I post online (I know you're out there, the letter proves it), for any that make it this far, I'm giving you the virtual middle finger!