Friday, February 28, 2014

Moonlit Oak Copse

moonlit oak copse
seductive shades beckon
mortal maid lost

© 2014 Richard H. Fay

Open Front Door

open front door
dead clansman enters
living kin starve

© 2014 Richard H. Fay

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Those From the Shadows" Published in BETE NOIRE #14

Issue #14 of Bete Noire has been released, which means my little horror story "Those From the Shadows" has been published. In the acceptance letter, the editor called the story a favourite, described it as "beautiful", and thanked me for putting a new spin on vampire lore.

The story had a convoluted history. In its original version, the story bore an uncomfortable resemblance to H. P. Lovecraft's "From Beyond". It wasn't intentional, but when I re-read "From Beyond", it was obvious. I admit to being heavily influenced by Lovecraft's works, and in that instance, I may have let my influences influence me a little too much.

With some revisions to certain major details, changing arcane machinery to occult incantations and symbols, it became less like Lovecraft's story. Also, my beings from the shadows are definitely vampiric in nature, and could be said to be relations of the Alpe featured in my story "Vengeance of the Alpe".

If you want to read the story that the editor of the zine called a favourite, purchase a copy of Bete Noire #14.

Vampiric Creatures of Ancient Myth and Legend


Vampiric Creatures of Ancient Myth and Legend


by Richard H. Fay

Ever since mankind first imagined mythic threats alongside the mundane, creatures that feasted on the blood or life-force of humans haunted the long, dark night.  Blood-sucking monsters, life-draining fiends, and the revenant dead featured in the myths and legends of many diverse cultures across the globe and throughout history.  Even though the concept of the vampire as an animated corpse feeding on the blood of the living became most fully developed in medieval Eastern Europe (Curran, 2005, p. 33; Richardson, n.d.), the idea of strange and supernatural creatures sustaining themselves on human vitality goes back centuries.

The great-great grandmother of vampiric creatures in Western lore may have been the winged female entity known as Lilith.  This spiteful demoness entered early Hebrew tradition through Mesopotamian mythology about beings such as Lilitu, a wind and storm spirit (Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 366).  Lilith was either Adam's first wife or became his lover after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.  Jealous of the fruits of marital unions and angry over God's destruction of hundreds of her own demonic offspring, Lilith became the vampiric bane of women in childbirth and newborn babes (Guiley, 2005, p. 181; Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 367.)  She also sought sexual intercourse with lonely and vulnerable men, leaving her male victims exhausted or even dead after their night of sinful passion (Curran, 2006, p. 23).  In an interesting parallel to vampire lore regarding the crucifix as a potent protection against the predatory undead, magic amulets and holy talismans could thwart Lilith's unholy advances and infanticidal attacks (Guiley, 2005, p. 181; Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 366).

According to the apocryphal text Testament of Solomon, King Solomon encountered and eventually controlled a vampiric, shape-shifting demon named Ornias.  During the construction of Solomon's Temple of Jerusalem, Ornias appeared every day at sunset to steal a portion of the wages, food, and very soul of the head workman's boy.  The lad wasted away as the demon drained his life by sucking on his thumb.  Given a magical ring by the archangel Michael, Solomon subdued the demon and ordered him to cut stone for the temple.  Terrified to touch iron tools, Ornias begged to be freed.  Solomon then sought the aid of the archangel Uriel, who commanded the demon to obey.  Once his work was completed, Ornias was delivered to Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons (Guiley, 2005, p. 223; Peterson, 1997).

Babylonian and Assyrian storytellers told tales of the revenant ekimmus.  Individuals that died violent deaths or suffered improper burials would be denied entry into the underworld.  Doomed to walk the Earth, ekimmus troubled mankind by wreaking misfortune and destruction upon the living.  These restless souls could also possess mortal bodies and proved to be very difficult to exorcise (Guiley, 2005, p. 117).

Ancient Greek mythology spoke of several blood-thirsty beasts and beings.  Empusae, ghostly daughters of the goddess Hecate, frightened travellers to death and lured young men to bed to drain their life energies (Atsma, 2000, Empusa & Lamiae; Guiley, 2005, p. 117).  Dark, grim-eyed keres, female death-spirits, hovered over battlefields to drink the blood of the wounded and dying.  Some of the keres also personified plague and pestilence (Atsma, 2000).    

The half-serpentine monster Lamia was yet another mythic beast that stalked the Grecian night.  Once a mistress of the god Zeus, Lamia suffered a fell transformation at the hands of his jealous wife Hera.  The goddess also destroyed all of Lamia's children that arose from her illicit union with the lord of Olympus.  Angered by her terrible fate, Lamia swore to kill the children of others.  The lamiae became a class of female demons who stole newborns and seduced young men to feed on tender flesh and pure blood (Curran, 2006, p. 19; Guiley, 2005, p. 175; Matthews & Matthews, 2005, p. 361).

The Greek dead did not always remain in their graves.  Dead men were known to shout abuses, torment passers-by, attack descendants and former neighbours, and even seek sexual intercourse with their grieving spouses.  The Greeks that crossed between the worlds of the dead and the living appeared not as wispy phantoms, but rather as corporeal revenants, fully capable of maiming or even killing those around them (Curran, 2006, p. 17).

The Romans adopted many of the same terrifying beings found in Greek mythology, but they also added a few nightmares of their own.  Along with the erotic night terrors known as incubi and succubae, Romans feared encountering horrible striges, female avian monstrosities that drank blood and spread disease (Curran, 2006, p. 20).  Possibly born through the metamorphosis of hags into dreadful birds of prey, striges possessed misshapen heads and plundering claws.  Poisonous milk filled their ungainly breasts.  According to certain accounts, striges would peck at infants to feed on their blood and bowels or cause illness by offering children their poisoned milk (Curran, 2006, p. 20; Guiley, 2005, p. 268; Simboli, 1921, p. 33).  Carna, the goddess of door hinges, could chase them away with magical incantations and rituals involving an arbutus branch, "drugged" water, and a white thorn twig (Simboli, 1921, p. 33).

Ancient cultures created a host of foul entities that exhibited many of the characteristics found in more recent vampire lore.  Lilith, Ornias, empusae, keres, Lamia, and striges all dined on the blood, flesh, or life force of hapless humans.  Striges and keres were also associated with disease, a trait shared with later vampire traditions.  Ekimmus and Greek revenants returned from the dead to wreak havoc upon the living.  Furthermore, some of the devices effective against many of these marauding beings, such as holy symbols and charms, were similar to what might be found in a vampire hunter's array of armaments.  Although certain aspects involving their creation and appearance differed from those found in later vampire beliefs, ancient vampiric creatures were thought to be as much a threat to humanity as their more recent cousins.  

References

Atsma, A. J. (2000). Keres, in theoi greek mythology. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Keres.html

Atsma, A. J. (2000). Empusa and lamiae, in theoi greek mythology. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://www.theoi.come/Phasma/Empousai.html

Curran, B. (2006). Encyclopedia of the Undead: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Cannot Rest in Peace. Franklin Lakes: The Career Press.

Guiley, R. E. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters. New York: Checkmark Books.

Matthews, J., & Matthews, C. (2005). The Elemental Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z Guide of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Legend. London: HarperElement.

Peterson, J. H. (1997). The testament of Solomon (F. C. Conybeare, Trans.). In twilit grotto: Archives of western esoterica. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://www.esotericarchives.com/solomon/testament.htm

Richardson, B. (n.d.). Vampires in myth and history. The vampire’s vault. Retrieved Feb 20, 2008, from
http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~vampire/vhist.html

Simboli, C. R. (1921). Disease-Spirits and Divine Cures Among the Greeks and Romans. New York: Columbia University. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2008, from
http://books.google.come/books?id=NvsHAAAAIAAJ

(Article originally published in Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht, 2008.)



Article copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay



Pale Shadow

pale shadow
my footsteps echoed
doppelganger

Copyright © 2010 Richard H. Fay
Horrorku originally published in Scifaikuest (print), Vol. VIII No. 2, November 2010.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Check Out Stephanie Fay's "Vampire Myths You've Probably Never Heard Of (But Should)"

Pluggity plug: Check out Stephanie Fay's article "Vampire Myths You've Probably Never Heard Of (But Should)" on HubPages. Yes, my kid writes (not that she's a kid anymore).

Stephanie actually lists my article ""The Alp and the Schrattl" as a source, though I don't claim that my article is in anyway a primary source. Still, the fact that she linked to my blog entry featuring my article means that my article is now getting views through HubPages. Last I checked, it got 40 views over the past week.

While you're checking out Stephanie's vampire article, why not read some of her other writings? She has some pretty good stories and a fine article about Godzilla up on HubPages.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Poem Accepted for Publication in March APHELION

It looks like my little fantasy poem "Tipsy Rambler" will be appearing in the March 2014 issue of the web-zine Aphelion. It's just a "4 the luv" zine, but it should get my little poem a little more exposure (the poem already appeared here on this blog).

Robin Hood Rules!

Sold this morning through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store to a customer in Sherwood Forest, Maryland: 100 (yes, that's 100) Robin Hood Magnets. I highly suspect this is a sale to a reseller, which I don't mind in the least.

My art continues to sell to zines and on merchandise. My Robin Hood happens to be a detail from a piece that first appeared in a zine (Abandoned Towers). It has gone on to sell repeatedly in my stores. This latest sale of 100 magnets is the best yet!

Not bad for a moron and a weirdo who produces amateuristic art. Not bad at all.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Unauthorized Publication of Article on Another Blog

I have discovered an unauthorized publication of my entire article "The Alp and the Schrattl", without any sort of byline or attribution of me as author of the piece, on the Blogger blog Fringe. I will have to do something about this. I am author and owner of that work, which originally appeared in the Walpurgisnacht 2010 issue of Hungur and later appeared right here on this blog.

I will have to send a take down/cease & desist notice. I will protect my copyrighted works, including my articles. It would be one thing if the entry was an excerpt from the article with a link to my own post, but it's another to post the entire article and neglect to acknowledge me as author.

Here is the article on the blog Fringe:
Fringe: The Alp and the Shcrattl

Here is the article on my own blog:
Azure Lion Productions: The Alp and the Schrattl

UPDATE:
Reported copyright infringement to Google through their online DMCA complaint form. Now I await and see if Google determines it a valid and actionable legal complaint.

BTW, the list of contents and contributors to Issue 10 of HUNGUR, Walpurgishnacht 2010, can be seen here:
Hungur 10

Poem and Illustration in April '14 NIGHT TO DAWN

My contributor's copy of the April 2014 issue of Night to Dawn arrived in the mail today. Both my reprint horror poem "Shroudeater" and its previously published accompanying illustration appear in this issue. I call "Shroudeater" my "anti-Twilight" because the poem is about a schrattl, a monstrous shroud-eating disease-spreading vampire of Alpine lore. The schrattl is not an emo romantic figure, not in the very least. It's a monster through and through.

This is the third time the poem has seen publication. It was originally published in the Walpurgisnacht 2010 issue of Hungur, and it also appeared in Thirsty are the Damned: A True Vampire Anthology. This is the second zine publication for the illustration, which first appeared alongside the poem in Hungur. I guess you could say editors have shown a liking for my "anti-Twilight".

For those who keep track of such things, this is the third time I've received payment for publication of the poem. Yeah, people do pay me for my works, even if it's just token payments.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ranting About Adverb Hating, Again

I was reading a list of self-editing tips that a writer friend shared on Facebook, but I couldn't get past the advice of "axe the adverbs". I'm SO sick of all this hatred of adverbs shown by so many of today's writers and editors (I blame Stephen King). I say it's more a stylistic choice than anything else! Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I prefer reading fiction written years ago over much of the fiction being written today.

Adverbs were considered a perfectly legitimate part of speech until writers like Stephen King came along and proclaimed them evil incarnate. Apparently, writers can't really think on their own and believe Stephen King and other adverb haters to be gods of writing, so the non-use of adverbs has become something of a writing rule written in stone.

Last I knew, as successful a writer as Stephen King is, he doesn't walk on water. Last I knew, adverbs remain an acknowledged and accepted part of speech, along with nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

If a writer decides to cut using adverbs in his or her own works, that's fine. However, it's a bit much to then tell other writers they should never use adverbs. Unfortunately, this hatred of adverbs has been around long enough that you have a number of writers and editors who have leapt wholeheartedly onto the "adverbs are evil" bandwagon. (Yes, I just used an adverb there!)

What's next, declaring prepositions as unnecessary and unusable?

My ultimate response to all this adverb hatred remains making reference to that Schoolhouse Rock segment "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here".

C'mon, everybody, sing along!

Vikings in Ireland!

Sold this morning through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store to a customer in Belfast, Northern Ireland: a Three Viking Sword Hilts Print.

This is especially cool considering that the Vikings played a prominent role in medieval Irish history. They raided Irish monasteries and churches. They also settled in Ireland and established coastal towns such as Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. The Danish kingdom of Dublin, founded in 852 when the Danes wrested control of the fortified town from the Norse, endured for three centuries. Eventually, the Vikings waned as a political power in medieval Ireland and the descendants of Viking settlers were absorbed into Celtic Irish society.

Swords of the Viking Age have been uncovered in Ireland. The sword on the left of my "Three Viking Sword Hilts" is based on one found in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. This weapon was discovered in a Ballinderry bog drainage ditch.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sending Poetry to APHELION Again

I'm thinking of sending some poetry to the web zine Aphelion. I used to submit a lot of works there, but I had stopped for a while. Now seems a good time to start sending stuff their way again. I hope my poetry is still welcome there.

I no longer care what certain "pro" writers say about "4 the luv" zines. I'm proud of the works I had appear in Aphelion. It's a cool place online, as long as I keep out of the forums. I always seem to be getting myself in trouble in forums; I am not what you would call a people person, and forums always seem to bring out my bad side...

...And I did it! I sent a couple of little fantasy poems and a scifaiku off to Aphelion's poetry editor. Hope he likes 'em!

Fed up with the SF Writing Community

More than ever, I'm thinking that, aside from a handful of my regular venues (like ones that keep sending me art assignments), I have to distance myself from the SF writing/publications community. I'm that disgusted with it! And, no, this has nothing to with rejections. This is all about the vitriol constantly flung about within that community. This is all about members of that community being constantly at each other's throats. It's a toxic environment!

I cut off contact with my family because they were toxic. I don't need to deal with toxicity from the SF writing community. I will stop paying attention to people who are more aggravating than anything else, regardless of how big they are in the SF witting community. If I deem that community too toxic, I will stop paying attention to it. Period.  Besides, I know very few if any people within that community are paying the slightest attention to me, so why should I give a damn about them anyway?

Even though I'm not a member of the (allegedly) pro writing organization at the centre of the latest fracas and not directly involved in it, I know such things have a way of spilling over into the SF writing community in general. I've seen evidence of this already. It may be time for me to stop hanging out on the fringe of that community and walk away from it for a while. It may be time for me to stop listening to people who do nothing but spit venom all the time. I'm sick of it!

Maybe I should concentrate on horror.

I wonder how long before this gets me called a moron? Again.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Must be a Male Chauvinist Pig

Uh oh, looking back at the stories I've had published so far, I realize that most of them have few if any female characters of note. The only women in my fairy fantasy story "Father Ryan's Fright" are in the background. I refused to buck two thousand years of tradition and current church policy and make the main character, an Irish Catholic priest, a woman. My medieval fantasy adventure story featuring my fighting undersheriff, "An Evil in Carnlinton", is a regular "sausage fest"! About the only story of mine with a strong female character is "The Redcap of Glamtallon", and even then, the character spends part of the time cowering in the shadows.

At one time, I had thought of making a sex change to the two characters in my soon-to-be-published horror story "Those From the Shadows". I did consider switching them from straight men into lesbians. However, considering the bad stuff that happens to those characters in that story, I figured turning them into lesbians might be in bad taste.

I MUST be a  male chauvinist sexist pig, then! If people in the SF writing realm paid more attention to me and my works, they would be piling on the insults and ridicule. Shame on me!

Just call me a swine and tell me how I'm a bad, bad boy for having so many men and so few women in my fiction.

Roiling Gyre

roiling gyre
roused sea beast swallows
floundering trireme

Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Fay
Poem originally published in Aphelion, August 2009.

Burning Lea

burning lea
dragoness herds sheep
hatchlings feed

The SF Writing Community in a Nutshell

SF Writer So and So: "I'm gonna say bad things to get attention!"
SF Writer Such and Such "Hey, pay attention to me pointing out the bad things So and So said!"

Repeat.

Replace "So and So" with "What's His Name" and "Such and Such" with "You Know Who" and repeat.

Go back to the beginning and repeat.

Repeat again. And again. And again. And again....

SF Writing Community: A Three Ring Circus

For some time now, I've been watching controversy after controversy after controversy erupt within the SF writing community. Being someone who hangs out on the fringe of the SF writing community (I do write, and I do write SF once in a while), I used to think I should listen to what the "pros" in that community have to say. I no longer think that. I no longer have respect for "pro" writers simply because they've made enough "pro" sales to qualify for the status of "pro". I've come to realize that these "pros" don't always act like professionals.

Brats on the playground constantly picking on each other, that's what certain parts of the SF writing community look like to me. All sides in these endless SF writing debates/flame wars often end up acting like obnoxious asses. True professionals should be able to carry on rational discussions without resorting to flames wars, name-calling, and adolescent antics.

It has become apparent to me that the status of "pro" in the SF writing field has nothing whatsoever to do with acting professionally. It's mostly about sales, and very little else. I've been watching the SF writing community for seven years now, and for seven years I've seen circus, after circus, after circus. While it can be entertaining, it's not the sort of thing that earns respect. It's the sort of thing that makes those supposed "pros" involved in such circuses look less like professionals and more like a bunch of bratty little children.

There was a time I had hoped to make some pro sales, enough to qualify for membership in an association of professional writers. At this point, even if I had the qualifying sales (I don't), I wouldn't bother joining the SFWA. I wouldn't want to be a part of an allegedly professional organization whose members (current and past) always seem to be at each other's throats. It wouldn't be worth the aggravation! (Seeing as how, over the course of seven years, I've had a plethora of works published in "lesser mags", I think I've already figured out most of what I need to know about publications. I can do it on my own.)

Does sexism exist within  the SF writing community? Yes, I'm sure it does. Does sexism still exist in the "real world"? Unfortunately, yes. Does racism exist within the SF writing community? Again, I'm sure it does. Does racism still exist in the "real world"? Unfortunately, yes. Is turning an important issue like sexism or racism into a three ring circus the proper way of dealing with that issue? Um, no! Of course, that's exactly what happens in the SF writing realm over, and over, and over again.

Personally, I think people in the SF writing community shouldn't be giving those sexists idiots within that community much attention at all, because attention is exactly what they want! I also think a lot of this is a manufactured controversy for the sake of getting attention, a la Madonna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, etc. This is true of BOTH sides. In my opinion, the whole thing makes the whole bloody "pro" SF writing community look less-than-professional.

By the way, as for women writing science fiction, women have been writing science fiction for some time now, and women will continue to write science fiction. Women writing science fiction is not a new thing. Anyone remember A Wrinkle in Time? Yep, that was written by a woman, Madeleine L’Engle. Anyone remember Anne McCaffrey's The Ship Who Sang? Yeah, that one was science fiction.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cosmic Grind

Placate otherworld gods
With sex and violence.
Sacrifice flesh and blood
To tentacled idols.

Feel the pulsating throb
Of an eldritch drumbeat.
Let that sound drown your soul
In orgiastic bliss.

Enter the manic press;
Gyrate with strange beings.
Lose your body and mind
To that fanatic mob.

Copulate with creatures
Painted red head-to-toe.
Embrace inhuman forms
In rites of carnal lust.

Lay a crimson-skinned wretch
Upon a black altar.
Slit the thing’s offered throat
To open cosmic doors.

Shudder with ecstasy
As the gore-stained ground quakes.
Spy the summoned arrive
In a protean mass.

March toward a mad god
Quivering with delight.
Leap though its gnashing maw
To be ground into dust.

Originally published in Infernal Ink Magazine, Vol. 1, Issue 2, October 2012.
Poem copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay

Heady Brew

heady brew
handsome lad toasts fair folk
human fool ensnared

Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay
Poem originally published in Trapeze Magazine, March 14, 2012.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Purring Cat

purring cat
asleep on mother's lap
witch's familiar

Burrowing Worm

burrowing worm
grey matter excavated
memories mined

Copyright © 2012 Richard H. Fay 
Horrorku originally published in Scifaikuest (on-line), Vol.10 No. 2, November 2012.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Get Paid on Occasion!

Not only do I sell items featuring my art and designs, I sell enough to get paid on occasion. I just received my second payment this year from CafePress. That means, twice already this year, my cleared royalties crossed the payment threshold of $25. Not bad, considering that the commission is only a percentage of the retail cost of each item. For example, I recently sold two Thistle and Saltire T Shirts priced at $24.99 each. For the sale of those shirts featuring my design, I will receive $5.00. It may take a few weeks or even a few months to make enough sales to earn enough royalties to reach the payment threshold, but I do.

On CafePress, I sell through both my Azure Lion Productions CafePress Shop, and through the CafePress Listing Store as Richard Fay.

Lost Scifaiku

I'm usually very careful about saving multiple copies of my works, but I'm afraid I've lost a scifaiku that was published in Scifaikuest (on-line) back in November 2010. I know the first line was "purring cat", but I seem to have lost all trace of the complete scifaiku. That's so unlike me!

I know a scifaiku is only three lines, and I know the scifaiku in question was ultimately about a witch's familiar, but I can remember exactly how I worded it. If I can't find a copy of the file somewhere, I'm afraid it's lost forever.

Always, I repeat, always make sure you back-up your work! I thought I did in this case, but it seems I did not.

Known Less as a Poet/Writer/Artist/Illustrator and More as an A**hole?

One thing that irritates the hell out of me is the fact that my blog post wherein which I voiced my tactlessly honest thoughts and feelings regarding the death of a certain author/publisher, a blog post that offended people, a blog post that people found despicable, a blog post that people said crossed a line, a blog post that got me called a vulture, has received more views than any other recent post. It bothers me that this one bit of nastiness seems to have received more attention than any of my recent entries featuring examples of my creative works, or entries linking to those works recently published. It irks me to see that this post continues to receive attention a month after I posted it.

Folks, this awful fact is sending me a message, loud and clear. It's telling me that some people don't give a damn about my creative works. It's telling me that some people only pay attention to me when I say nasty things.

Believe it or not, I do a lot more than just say nasty things about writers, deceased or otherwise. Believe it or not, I've moved on to other things since I posted that entry back on January 13th. I've posted 60-some-odd entries since that date. Unfortunately, I'm starting to think that I'm now known less as a poet/writer/artist/illustrator and more as an a**hole who said nasty things about a certain writer shortly after her death.

I'm going to be tactlessly honest once again: I'm thinking the fact that one nasty blog entry has received more attention than recent entries featuring my creative works says less about me and my character and more about the character of many of the people in the SFF & Horror writing community. Yes, in this age of the crazy-net, nothing gets attention like a little crazy-net nastiness! This seems especially true of the SF&F and Horror writing community.

Maybe I'm just a moron/nitwit/internet weirdo for saying such things online. Maybe I should give up caring what others think of me. Would certainly be easier that way.

Show My Story Some Love: Vote For It!

Over on Anotherealm.com, it looks like they aren't getting a lot of votes for the best stories of 2013. C'mon, people, go show some love for my story "Father Ryan's Fright"! Vote for it in the poll for The Annual Higney Fantasy Fiction Award - 2013. While you're there, check out some of the other stories published in Anotherealm.com in 2013.

The polls are located on the General Board of the Anotherealm.com forum. Guest voting is enabled, so there is no need to sign up on the forums to cast your votes!

Primeval: New World: Not as Good as the Original

I tried to watch Primeval: New World, which is now on Hulu. Though the premise is the same as the UK version, which happens to be one of my all-time favourite TV shows, New World is just not the same. It has poorer scripts, poorer acting, poorer direction, and flat, unlikable characters. After watching a couple of episodes of New World, I went back and re watched several episodes of Primeval, Series 4. What a difference! The acting is better, the scripts are better, the directing is better, and I find myself caring about the characters. In New World, I would just as soon see the creatures eat the characters and be done with it!

A Plug for CLASSICALLY EDUCATED

I love Gustavo Bondoni's viewpoints on those issues that always seem to have the SFF writing community in a stir. It's nice to see a global viewpoint regarding these matters. Now I see he has a place online for "global citizens and polymaths", a site for a "globe-trotting, intelligent person who believes that specialization is for insects ".

If you've followed my own blog for a while, you know what I think of those who say you must do one thing and one thing only. I scoff at writers who say things like "if you're a writer/something else, and writer doesn't come first, then you're not really a writer", or "Jack-of-All-Trades, Master of None", etc. If you know me at all, you know that I'm a published poet/writer as well as an artist/illustrator who has seen his artworks and illustrations published in various publications and sold on merchandise available for purchase through three different online retailers (Zazzle, CafePress, and Redbubble). Previously, I was a lab-technician-turned-home-educator. I find the idea of doing only one thing with your life laughable at best.

Check out the blog Classically Educated.

Polymath (or Polyhistor), or Just Full Of Myself?

Though I'm officially educated in the sciences (B.S. in Biology, majored in biology with an automatic minor in chemistry), I have read numerous tomes about medieval history, historical arms and armour, World War II, armoured warfare, folklore (especially fairy folklore), mythology, monsters, and the paranormal. I have seen several of my non-fiction articles published, articles covering subjects ranging from fairy lore to medieval history, from vampiric UFOs to speculative poetry. I was formerly a lab-technician-turned-home-educator, and now I'm a poet/writer and an artist/illustrator. I also consider myself something of a medievalist and an amateur folklorist.

Does this make me a polymath (or possibly a polyhistor)? Or am I just full of myself?

Anyway, here's a list of my published non-fiction articles:

Edward IV..........Abandoned Towers, Issue #7, November 2010.
Robert the Bruce..........Abandoned Towers, Issue #6, July 2010.
The Alp and the Schrattl..........Hungur, Issue 10, Walpurgisnacht 2010.
The Good and the Bad of Critiques..........Creator and the Catalyst, August 2009.
Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future..........on-line version of Abandoned Towers, January 2009; also Illumen, Issue 17, Autumn 2012.
Vampiric UFOs..........Hungur, Issue 7, All Souls' Night 2008.
Vampiric Creatures of Ancient Myth and Legend..........Hungur, Issue 6, Walpurgisnacht, 2008.
The Darker Side of Fairy Lore..........Doorways Magazine, Killer Holiday Issue, Issue 4, January 2008.

My first article to appear anywhere was a piece I did about the battle of Stamford Bridge for the myArmoury.com web site:
The Battle of Stamford Bridge: An article by Richard H. Fay

Your Bloody Face

Shared this before, but since it's one day until Valentine's Day, I figured I would share it again:

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Scottish Thistle and Saltire Sells Yet Again!

Sold tonight through CafePress to a customer in California: 2 Scottish Thistle and Saltire T Shirts. This may mean that my Scottish Thistle and Saltire is now outselling my Red Dragon of Wales, at least through CafePress. This may make my dragon angry!

This sale also proves, yet again, that I can sell  merchandise featuring my art and designs through three different online retailers, CafePress, Zazzle, and Redbubble. Sunday, I sold a Tudor Rose T shirt through Redbubble. Earlier today, I sold a Polish Eagle Case For iPhone 5 through Zazzle.

I keep proving my critics wrong over, and over, and over again!

Polish Eagle Down Under!

Sold early this morning through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store to a customer in Donvale, Australia: one Polish Eagle Case For iPhone 5. It's always nice to see any sales, but it's especially nice to see international sales to customers in far away places. Such sales are proof of the long reach of online retailers like Zazzle. They can reach customers in distance locales that I've never visited and probably never will. Australia is about as far away from upstate New York as you can get while still staying on this planet!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Updated Online Portfolio

I just updated my Azure Lion Productions: Richard H. Fay - Artist/Illustrator Carbonmade online portfolio. A detail from my draconic artwork "Conjuring the Dragon" now serves as the banner for my "Fantasy" section. I also took down a few older artworks and added some newer ones. Added to my "Sci-Fi" section: my cover artwork for Plasma Frequency, Issue 9, and my weird sci-fi artwork "Shedroid on Tentacles", which appeared in Issue 2 of [NAMEL3SS] Magazine. Added to my fantasy section: my illustration for Robert Collins' "The Templar Conspiracy", which appeared in the May - Jul '13 issue of Sorcerous Signals. Added to my "Horror" section: "Faces and Figures in the Mist", which appeared as an interior illustration in parABnormal Digest, Issue 4.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sam's Dot Backlist Publications in Alban Lake Bookstore

So, it looks like the Alban Lake Bookstore is now featuring a lot more of Sam's Dot's backlist. Let's see, I know I have stuff in back issues of various Sam's Dot publications. Some volumes containing works of mine look to be available yet:

Aoife’s Kiss 43 is available through the Alban Lake Bookstore. My poem and illustration combo "Pixies in the Porridge" appeared in that issue.

Beyond Centauri 29 is available. My sci-fi artwork "Tree Climbing Crimbolain" appears in that issue.

Beyond Centauri 32 is also available. My sci-fi artwork "Meeting the Insectoids" appears on the cover.

Beyond Centauri 36 is also available. My scifaiku "silver dragon" and my illustration "Mechanical Dragon" both appear in that issue.

Copies of David C. Kopaska-Merkel's poetry collection Brushfires are still available. My art appears on the cover.

The May 2011 issue of Cover of Darkness is available. My poem and illustration combo "What Greets Me at the End" appears in that issue.

Drabbler 19 is available. My drabbles "The Stars Weren't Really Right After All" and "The Abominable Snowman Snowless" appear in that issue.

Hungur 10 is available. My poem and illustration combo "Shroudeater" and my article "The Alp and the Schrattl" appear in that issue.

Illumen 17 is available. My article "Speculative Poetry: Past, Present, and Future" appears in that issue.

ParABnormal Digest 1 is available. My poem "Something in the Yew" appears in that issue.

Scifaikuest 38 is available. My scifaiku "gothic armour" appears in that issue.

Shelter if Daylight 8 is available. My poem "When Wizards Dream at Night" appears in that issue.

Sounds of the Night 8 is available. My poem "Song of the Dead" appears in that issue.

Copies of Shelly Bryant's poetry collection Under the Ash are available. My art appears on the cover.

Wondrous Web Worlds 8 is available. My poem "Explorers" appears in that issue.

(And that's not everything of mine to appear in Sam's Dot Publishing titles; it appears that several titles containing works of mine are long gone.)

More Illuminated Letters": "O" and "P"

Considering that, back on January 15th, I sold several stickers featuring my illuminated letters, I thought I should finally continue work on finishing the whole alphabet. The other day, I completed two more letters, "O" and "P". I began adding them to items in my store yesterday. I'm hoping to complete the alphabet soon.

 Anyway, here are my latest illuminated letters, my "Illuminated O" and my "Illuminated P":

Illuminated O



Illuminated P


Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Macabre Valentine

My Macabre Valentine
Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay
Originally published (as black and white interior illustration) in House of Horror, Issue One, February 2011.

Hand-in-Tentacle

hand-in-tentacle
she and I look up at the stars
and dream

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I is a Genius! (According to an Online IQ Test)

I took one of those online IQ tests. My results were:

Your IQ Score:
170
Einstein
(★★★★☆)

Most people's IQ is 90~100

Far from being in the moron range, it seems that a score of 170 is in genius territory. And some call me a Grade A Five Star Moron and a nitwit! HAH!

Actually, I know these online tests are usually questionable at best, but it did give the little grey cells a workout! Furthermore, considering how often people have made insulting remarks regarding my intelligence, I was curious just what score I would get taking such a test.





Cthulhu Giveth and Cthulhu Taketh Away and Cthulhu Giveth Back

A bit of strangeness, but strangeness should be expected when dealing with the Mighty Cthulhu...

The royalties for the sale of a Cthulhu Card on January 29th were cancelled, but the same customer in Belper, England, purchased another Cthulhu Card this morning. I'm hoping the royalty for this sale clears. If it does, I'll be seven cents ahead, since the first sale was a 3rd party referral, and this repurchase was made directly through my own Zazzle store.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another Reminder: Vote for "Father Ryan's Fright"

So, have you cast your vote for my story "Father Ryan's Fright" in The Annual Higney Fantasy Fiction Award - 2013 Poll? If not, please do. The polls can be found on the General Board of the Anotherealm Forum.

Thanks!

Sold Dragons Again...

Sold this morning through my Azure Lion Productions Zazzle Store: one sheet of Dragon Rampant (Green) Stickers.

Have I mentioned before that I love to draw dragons? I also love it when I sell my dragon drawings, either to publications or on merchandise sold through Zazzle, CafePress, and Redbubble.

Other dragons that have sold in my stores: the ever-popular "Red Dragon of Wales", my "Mechanical Dragon", and my "Wyvern".

Artworks of mine featuring or containing dragons that have appeared in publications include:
- my illustration for DC Harrell's "A Deal's a Deal" in Mystic Signals, Issue 20, 5th Anniversary Double Issue, February 2014.
- my "Confronting the Dragon" on the cover of Bards and Sages Quarterly, Volume V, Issue III, July 2013.
- my rainbow dragon in "Over the Top" on the cover of Youth Imagination, Issue 2, May 2013.
- my "Mechanical Dragon" in Beyond Centauri, Issue 36, April 2012.
- three different dragons in "In the Dragon Realm" on the cover of Kids'Magination Magazine, Issue 8, February 2012.
- my "Conjuring the Dragon" on the cover of OG's Speculative Fiction, Issue #32, September 2011.
- a serpentine underground dragon in "Morning Stars Sing in the Speculative Realm", which appeared in While the Morning Stars Sing, ResAliens Press, August 2011.
- the nebulous dream-dragon as one of the battling monsters in "When Wizards Dream at Night", which appeared in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers, July 2010.
- my "Eastern Dragon" appeared as an artwork sample accompanying an artist interview in Residential Aliens, April 2010.
- the dragon in my "St. George as a 14th Century Knight", which was also an artwork sample accompanying an artist interview in Residential Aliens, April 2010.
- my "Medieval Dragon Design" appeared as divider art in Abandoned Towers, Issue #2, March 2009.
- the dragon in my "Crusader St. George" illustration, which appeared in Flashing Swords Special Edition, Summer 2008, and also appeared in the on-line version of Abandoned Towers August 2008.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Reminder: My Story in SORCEROUS SIGNALS

A reminder: my adventure fantasy story "An Evil in Carnlinton" has been published in the Feb - Apr '14 issue of the fantasy e-zine Sorcerous Signals. In the story, Blethin Abeynon, the redoubtable under-sheriff of Dolbrinshire, pursues a fleeing half-ogre felon into the haunted city of Carnlinton and encounters an unexpected evil.

Please go read it if you haven't already done so! Also, please note the "make a donation" button at the end. If you read the story and like it, please consider making a donation.

Thanks!

Illustrations in SORCEROUS SIGNALS/MYSTIC SIGNALS

Three illustrations of mine appear in the Feb. - Apr. '14 issue of Sorcerous Signals. One is an illustration for my own story, the adventure fantasy tale "An Evil in Carnlinton". I had to draw a horse for that one! Another is an illustration accompanying Francis W. Alexander's poem "My Pet, His Pet". I got to draw a fairy for that one! The third is my illustration for D.C. Harrell's story "A Deal's a Deal", a story exclusive to Mystic Signals. My illustration appears in full-colour alongside the preview blurb for the story on the Sorcerous Signals site and also accompanies the story in Issue 20 of Mystic Signals. I got to draw a dragon for that one!

All my illustrations for the Feb. - Apr. '14 issue of Sorcerous Signals and the Jan. - Mar. '14 issue of The Lorelei Signal appear (in grayscale) in the Sorcerous Signals/The Lorelei Signal print publication Mystic Signals, Issue 20, 5th Anniversary Double Issue.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"An Evil in Carnlinton" in SORCEROUS SIGNALS

My adventure fantasy story "An Evil in Carnlinton", accompanied by an illustration by yours truly, is now online over at the fantasy e-zine Sorcerous Signals. As the teaser blurb for the story says, "the redoubtable under-sheriff of Dolbrinshire pursues a fleeing half-ogre felon into the haunted city of Carnlinton and encounters an unexpected evil." The action tends to be sharp and quick in this tale introducing my hard-fighting falchion-wielding knightly character Blethin Abeynon, Lord of Glannonford and under-sheriff of Dolbrinshire. I'm hoping it won't be the last work I write featuring my valiant under-sheriff.

Now go read it!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Link to Info About The Annual Higney Fantasy Award

In case you were wondering about The Annual Higney Fantasy Award (I know I was), here is a link to the anotherealm.com page about the award:
The Annual Higney Fantasy Award

My fairy fantasy story "Father Ryan's Fright" is one of the stories in the running for the 2013 award. The polls are located on the General Board of the Anotherealm Forum. Please consider voting for my story in The Annual Higney Fantasy Fiction Award - 2013. Thanks!

Illustration from 2011: "Old-Fashioned Police Work"

Here is an Illustration I did back in 2011 (was it really that long ago?) for "Old Fashioned Police Work" by Matt Adams. The piece appeared alongside Matt Adams' story in the Fall '11 Issue of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. This one was something different from my usual. It's nice to draw different things once in a while.

Illustration for "Old Fashioned Police Work" by Matt Adams
Published in Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine, Fall '11 Issue, October 2011.
Illustration Copyright © 2011 Richard H. Fay

Poem Accepted for Issue 17 of BETE NOIRE

Just received word that my horror poem "Necromancy" has been accepted for publication in Issue 17 of Bete Noire, due out in October. Yay! This means, if all goes according to plan, I will have a (sort of) new poem published this year. Considering how little poetry I've written recently, I didn't know if I would have ANY new poetry publications for 2014. It now looks like I will have at least one.

What Stirs There

Black muck
deep in the swamp
heaves 'neath a Full Worm Moon,
birthing many squirming, squelching
fell things.

Copyright © 2008 Richard H. Fay
Poem originally published in The Monsters Next Door, Issue 3, July 2008.

"Irish Sword and Knotwork" on CafePress Items

Added my "Irish Sword and Knotwork" to lots of items in my Azure Lion Productions CafePress Shop. This design, featuring a distinctly Irish ring pommel sword, is based on swords carried by Irish kerns in a 16th century woodcut now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. I combined the sword with a couple of Celtic-style knotwork bands. I believe these bands were used in the (very) limited-edition full-colour version of Lancelot by Alex Ness & Guy-Francois Evrard, published by Diminuendo Press. I'm always looking for ways to re-use my works. Anything I've done for publication that seems like it would work for items in my store, I'll try to re-use it!









Irish Sword and Knotwork