Wednesday, July 31, 2013

L&L Dreamspell: Making dreams come true

By T.W. Fendley

In early July, I was among almost 200 authors published by L&L Dreamspell who received an email announcing the small press would be closing due to the imminent death of one of the partners. 

The business had always been driven by a shared dream: "We started this publishing company because we love books and we wanted to help make authors' dreams come true. I do not want to continue without Linda," Lisa Smith said when she notified us July 2 that the London, TX, press would be closing.

Although we hoped for a miraculous recovery, Linda Houle succumbed to cancer on July 12. By that time, Lisa was already in the process of sending "reversion of rights" letters to each of the authors. She also provided interior files and answered countless questions. It continues to be a daunting task, compounded by her own grief. 

I was out of town when three of the seven+ local Dreamspell authors gathered at All on the Same Page bookstore last week for a memorial to Linda hosted by St. Louis Writers Guild. I certainly concur with what they shared about some of the things L&L Dreamspell did right for its authors. It's available on YouTube.

"Supportive" and "professional" are key words that come to mind when I think about the small press experience Dreamspell provided. You always knew what to expect, as outlined on their Publishing Reality Check: "If you understand that you are not just an author, but a small business owner, and that you have an equal responsibility for the success or failure of your book, then you have arrived at the right place! The small press experience is partnership of equals. We aren't doing you a favor by publishing your book, nor are you doing us a favor by offering it to us for publication. We ask authors to sign a contract because we are engaging in a business transaction."

Linda also made sure all the authors had a free copy of her book, THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT BOOK PUBLISHING.

Being a newbie with only one published book, I didn't come to fully appreciate Dreamspell until recently when I learned what horrors three friends are experiencing with their publishers. One is taking legal action to have more than 200 errors removed from the published copy (many inserted by the publisher during a ridiculous two-day "editing" process). Another signed a contract that the publisher changed after the work was completed to dramatically reduce her advance. The third is in Arbitration over numerous complaints, including the publisher's failure to notify her of foreign sales or to send royalties on a timely basis or at the agreed rate.

I am grateful for a much different experience with L&L Dreamspell, from the professional editing they provided, quality cover and interior design, and distribution to all major outlets, to their Yahoo authors' group, to L&L's continuing support as the business folds. Lisa even worked out agreements with other publishers to give Dreamspell authors priority consideration instead of going through the usual "slush" pile.

The latest events have opened my eyes to contract terminology and what reversion of rights really means. Although I knew L&L Dreamspell owned the book cover and ISBN, I didn't really understand that meant my book would no longer be available when the rights reverted. Nor did I realize the author doesn't automatically get the interior files. Without those files, you essentially must start from scratch to get your book back on the shelves. Thankfully, Lisa is doing everything she can to provide files to Dreamspell authors, making our task much easier. After this experience, I will carefully check my next publishing contract to ensure such details are spelled out. 

Some print copies of my historical fantasy novel, ZERO TIME, are still listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but the Kindle version is already down. I hope to have both available soon, thanks again to Lisa's support and to the wonders of self-publishing. If you need a copy before it's available through Amazon, please contact me directly at or visit my website at Print copies are available at several indie bookstores in the St. Louis area and in New Orleans, and ebooks are available at libraries in St. Louis County, Mo., and in my hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Finally, to Linda and Lisa -- L&L Dreamspell made a huge difference in my life. Thank you for making my dream come true.

This is T.W. Fendley. Thanks for reading and commenting on The Writers' Lens. You can find out more about me and my writing at

Saturday, July 27, 2013

SLWG offers workshop on Weapons in Writing

My fellow WL
David (l) & Brad (r)
bloggers -- David Alan Lucas and Brad R. Cook -- will share their knowledge of swords, knives, axes, and more weaponry for your writing at the St. Louis Writers Guild workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, Aug. 3, at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road in Kirkwood. Free to Guild members, $5 for nonmembers.

Learn about a variety of fighting styles from the ancient Greeks and Romans, to the Renaissance and Medieval Europe, feudal Japan, all the way to modern-day gunfights. They’ll dispel the myths, and discuss blocking, setting, the mechanics of a scene and more. Have an issue with your fight scene? They’ll spend the last part of the workshop answering your questions.

David Alan Lucas is a writer, poet and martial artist. His fiction includes Speculative Fiction and Mystery. David is a Sandan (Third Degree Black Belt) in Tracy’s Kenpo under Tim Golby and David Hofer and brings his knowledge of martial arts, physical and psychological combat to his self-defense articles and his fiction writing. He has studied Olympic style fencing as part of the Highland-Ladue fencing club, and picked up other fighting styles from various instructors and practitioners over the years. He also enjoys teaching self-defense and includes self-defense tips in his "Writing the Fight Scene" blogs that can be found on his historic Coffee with David blog ( and continued on The Writers' Lens ( You can follow him on Twitter @owlkenpowriter His website is

Brad R. Cook, President of St. Louis Writers Guild, is a historical fantasy writer who daylights as a freelance technical writer. He began fencing at thirteen with the Parkway Fencing Club, and continued his studies under two former Olympic coaches. A fencing instructor who mastered various sword types before moving to other medieval weaponry, he has also staged sword fights for the theater. A founding contributor to The Writers’ Lens, a resource blog for writers; his poetry was published in St. Louis Reflections, and his short stories have placed in several contests. He began as a playwright and still pens a few scripts, but every once in awhile has to sit down with a centuries’ old book. Follow him on Twitter @bradrcook or his tumblr page Thoughts from Midnight

Thanks for reading and commenting on The Writers' Lens. This is T.W. Fendley. You can find out more about me at 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SLWG Author Series with Robin Tidwell

SLWG Author Series with Robin Tidwell
By Brad R. Cook

On The third Thursday of every month St. Louis Writers Guild holds its author series. There are three ways to participate – one: come to All on the Same Page Bookstore at 11052 Olive Blvd and be part of the audience. Two: SLWG Members can watch and ask questions live online. Three: view the recording after the event.

SLWG Author Series with Robin Tidwell author of RECYCLED, owner of All on the Same Page Bookstore and Rocking Horse Publishing.
Recorded July 18, 2013

Robin discusses her process when writing the trilogy, her familiarity with the setting, and her love of writing dystopian so she can kill off lots of characters. Find out what she looks for in submissions to Rocking Horse Publishing, and why All on the Same Page carries so many local authors!

RECYCLED is out! Find it at

SLWG Author Series interview with Robin Tidwell –
On Youtube, about 31 minutes

Check it out she has some great advice!

This Thursday, July 25, 2013, a special SLWG event!

A Night with the Authors of L&L Dreamspell!
Thursday, July 25, 2013
All on the Same Page Bookstore
11052 Olive Blvd. Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Free and open to the public!

St. Louis Writers Guild honors L&L Dreamspell’s contribution and influence on St. Louis writers. Local L&L Dreamspell authors will discuss how this press created a community of writers plus the tools and experiences they used to help one another. Join us to honor Linda Houle and Will Bereswill. We hope you can join us for this special night!
The online portion of this event which is usually for SLWG members only is open to all this month. Join us online if you can’t make it to the event, you can still ask questions via text chat and twitter.

Interviews conducted by Brad R. Cook

Find the rest of the SLWG Author Series on Youtube!

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit , follow me on Twitter @bradrcook , or my tumblr page Thoughts from Midnight

Friday, July 19, 2013

Are You Reading Your Genre?

Are You Reading Your Genre?
By Brad R. Cook

It seems like every time I pitch at a conference, I get hit with the infamous agent gotcha question. For those who haven’t pitched, here’s the way it goes, you've practiced your pitch over and over until you know everything you’re going to talk about. As the two of you discuss the book, a question comes from the agent for which you don’t have a beautifully crafted response. The palms sweat, the mind races back-and-forth, as time slowly ticks by in deafening silence.  

Every agent must go to a seminar on how to ask the nerve numbing gotcha questions, because they are better than HR Reps.  

My favorite question from this last round of pitches – What else had I read in this genre, and how did my book compare to those books? Another agent asked me what novels did my book compare to and why?

First, I told myself to breathe and tried not to show my anxiety level rising.

I know some of you are thinking – those aren’t that bad – and sure if we were sitting in a coffee house letting the day slip away, I would love to get into this discussion. But I had five minutes and already used two. My mind sped through hundreds of titles and their plots, comparing each one to mine. I wish I could say I came up with some crazy comparison but in truth I grabbed the first thing that made sense and luckily came up with a descent answer. I had an ace up my sleeve though – I’d read my genre.

We all read what we want, what we love, and most writers I know read their friends books, but are you reading your genre? One can call it research, or scouting the competition, but reading your genre is really more about staying current in your profession. Doctors keep up with the latest in medicine, lawyers keep track of every change to the law, and architects keep up on the latest building innovations. As writers reading your genre not only keeps us up to date on the industry, but also on the latest trends, what publishers have bought and what agents have sold.

I also believe in reading the history of your genre. You have to know where your genre’s been to know where it can go. So, if you want to write science fiction or are writing sci-fi, start off with Jules Verne, check out Clarke, Asimov, and Adams, maybe even a couple of the Star Wars novels, then move up to Card, Gaiman, or even T.W. Fendley’s Zero Time. To name just a few…

What genre are you writing and what books do recommend in that genre? Let us know in the comments section.

I’ll start,
Genre – Steampunk
Check out 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, or Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Never stop reading, never stop writing, and be part of your genre.

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit , follow me on Twitter @bradrcook , or my tumblr page Thoughts from Midnight

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Writing the Fight Scene: The Uses of a Cane

Recently in this continued series about Writing the Fight Scene, we discussed how neither you nor your characters are ever unarmed. (Writing the Fight Scene: Your Character is Never Unarmed—and Neither are You ( In this entry, we will discuss how a cane can be used. Many don’t realize just how versatile a cane can truly be.  Please follow this link to a video presentation on “Writing the Fight Scene: The Uses of a Cane”:

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Exploring Mistakes Writers Make: Not Finishing What is Started

To borrow from my Catholic upbringing, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been [you don’t need to know] since my last confession.” In the last “Exploring Mistakes Writers Make” we explored getting started versus being a wannabe writer. Today we are going to explore a mistake that is a hurdle that I run into personally: Not finishing what is started.

Yes, this mistake can be filed in the “duh” folder. You are never going to get published as an author if you never finish writing. Sometimes the issues that cause this can be classified in any of the following:
* Day job obligations;
* Family obligations;
* Procrastination;
* Non-Necessary Distractions:
* Polishing the cannonball.
Day Job Obligations
Many of us writers dream of being able to write for our living. Sadly, most of us have to get dressed, put on a choker (I mean tie—no I really mean choker), get in a vehicle (car, bus, subway, whatever) and go do a job that pays our bills and puts food on the table while we write with the hope that one day . . . one day . . . one day.

Let’s face some facts. When you are in this position, writing is a second full time job.  It is not a part time job—it really is a full time job. Your “day job” may work you long hours and drive you to exhaustion (been there, still there  . . . I know the feeling. Nothing beats working 6 am to 2 am most of the year) that you can barely keep your eyes open to write whatever that article, short story, poem, book or novel is. But, as a writer you are also an entrepreneur.  Yes, writing is a business. You can’t get away from that fact. It comes down to the question. If you hired you to complete your project—would you keep yourself else employed or fire yourself?

Family Obligations
Unless you are an orphan being waited on by a butler or you have never been married or you don’t date anyone (in which case you are either Batman or a corpse), you should not be a writer. You have to live before you can write.

If that description above does not fit you, welcome to the human race. We all have family obligations, which play merry havoc with our writing schedules. It’s the juggling act we all do and it leads to a lonely life at times. Maybe this fact alone is what solidifies bonds between writers that families can’t understand. Your spouse, significant other, sibling, child, or parent may feel like you abandon them when you write. You have gone off, closed a door (or went to the local coffee house) to keep the family obligation noise at bay so you can concentrate. You may have had to skip out on the family bar-b-que or come late to a family party with your aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. all looking at you like you have grown two heads.

 Sadly, they don’t understand nor will they ever—unless you have a rare gem in that mix or a fellow writer who understands. The writing life is a life of sacrifice.  Not finishing your work only invalidates your sacrifice. Make your sacrifice worth it by finishing your work.

This is a slippery slope to discuss because there is a line that can be hard to see between not finishing and procrastination. Here’s a good way to tell if you are unsure which side of the line you are on: is there something you would rather be doing than writing the ending or finishing your edits? If the answer is yes, guess what! That’s right, you’re procrastinating.

Why are you letting procrastination stop you? That’s like wanting to drive your car somewhere, but driving to every other destination than the one you want to get to. How do you fix that? Simple! Imagine a drill sergeant (or some such authority figure) standing over you and giving you proper motivation (called a boot in the butt). Just suck it up and get it done.

Non-Necessary Distractions
Ok . . . I know it is hard, but you can live without Facebook, Twitter, your cell phone, the latest Facebook game, World of Warcraft, SecondLife, Star Trek/Star Wars online game, the latest episode of Game of Thrones—Doctor Who—Walking Dead—Castle—Breaking Bad—or American Idol or whatever. I know . . . I know.  Here, have some tissues and know that your life will go on without them. 

All sarcasm aside, I can be guilty of this one as much as I am guilty of the first two. (Procrastination isn’t one of my issues, surprisingly). Of course, this is why I am writing anywhere but home and usually at least a season behind on any of the shows I will watch—and when I do watch them it is a marathon. (Thank you Netflix, Hulu and who ever invented DVDs.)

The fact is, if you are serious about your writing—then it is a job! You are the owner of your own company. Would you hire you to sit around and be distracted or would you hire you to write?  If your answer is to write, then you need to control the other non-necessary distractions (your day job and family distractions are one thing and usually necessary). They are within your control.

Polishing the cannonball
Polishing the cannonball is an old military term for taking too much time lining up the shot that you may as well be polishing the cannonball before you even fire it. Someone once said that no novel is ever finished, it is just abandoned. This is true of any novel, book, poem, essay, or article. You will never have perfection. It doesn’t exist. It just needs to be good enough (by this I mean well edited, make sense, have soul and life, and be worth reading).

With each thing you write, you (should be) improving your craft. Don’t let yourself polish the cannonball. Get your work out there. Sometimes you have to let the public (or an agent, editor, slush pile intern) reject it. I know it can be painful. But if you don’t do that, you will never know and you be chained as Prometheus to the rocks letting the Roc of doubt eat your writer’s liver every day.

Besides, have you ever read something that got published and fame and asked, “How did this ever get published? It’s trash!” Well, one thing they didn’t do that you may be doing is that they didn’t polish the cannonball. They got their work out there. So . . . can you!

No matter what your reason is for not finishing the work you are working on, there is only one piece of real advice I can give you (and myself). It comes from my martial art background:
* When you start your project, have a plan;
* Work that plan and adjust it as you need to in order to finish; and
*Make finishing your work part of the plan. (Set a deadline and meet it.)

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

The “Exploring Mistakes Writers Make” blogs have been inspired by 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

From the Crime Writer’s Library: Crime Classification Manual

In the previous “From the Crime Writer’s Library,” we discussed again a work by John Douglas, the founder of and once head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit. These blogs have been leading up to today’s book: Crime Classification Manual.

Despite the FBI’s history of criminal investigation, prior to the Investigative Support Unit, the criminal behavior of the offender had not been closely examined or dissected. After extensive investigations and interviews, the people of the Investigative Support Unit created the Crime Classification Manual, which is now in its second edition.

This game changing book that standardized the language and terminology used throughout the criminal justice system. It helps the investigator—and crime writers—to analyze the crime from the characteristics of the perpetrator and the victims of the crimes. This book is not for someone who has just come begun to “wade in the pool” of understanding criminal investigation. It is for someone with a little more advanced knowledge.

Crime Classification Manual helps the investigator (or writer in our case) examine murder, arson, sexual assaults, child abduction, cybercrime, elder female sexual homicide and more by looking for and at the motivation of the criminal. It contains case histories, statistics that also help break down the criminal act.

This book and The Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation, discussed previously on this blog ( ) are the foundation on which to build an understanding of Criminal Investigation, Criminal Behavior, and all of the other sciences of criminal investigative work that is done outside of the crime lab and morgue.  Both are expensive. I would highly suggest checking with your local library or used bookstore before you purchase a copy.

Thank you for reading and please visit and You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Agents: From Hello to Goodbye

Cole Gibsen
Paula Stokes
If you’re around writers for any length of time, the topic always comes up: Why do you need an agent when you can publish a book yourself? 

While the number of self-published titles has almost tripled since 2006, according to an October 2012 report from Bowker Books, the traditional publishing route still has its proponents.

Two agented local authors--Paula Stokes (AKA Fiona Paul) and Cole Gibsen—will address the pros and cons July 13 in their talk on “Agents: From Hello to Goodbye.” Sponsored by the St. Louis Writers Guild, the workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road in Kirkwood. Free to Guild members, $5 for nonmembers.

The Young Adult novelists will cover the querying process, dealing with rejection, finding the “right” agent, and determining when to part ways with an agent.

Paula is the author of VENOM, BELLADONNA, and the forthcoming STARLING and THE ART OF LAINEY. When she's not writing (rare), she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She's petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant's trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Paula is a graduate of Hazelwood West, Washington University, and the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. She currently makes her home in the Central West End.

When Cole isn't writing books for young adults, she can be found rocking out with her band, sewing crazy costumes for the fun of it, picking off her nail polish, or drinking milk straight from the jug -- provided no one is looking. She is the author of the young adult KATANA series. To learn more about Cole and her books you can visit or follow her on Twitter at

Meet Janet Bettag July 13 at 6 North Cafe

Click image to enlarge.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Guest post by James Dorr: The Marketing Game

Guest post by James Dorr

I’ve just come back from World Horror Convention as I write this, where an editor who had published me some years back happened to mention that he still had slots open in his latest anthology -- one that had been supposed to have been closed months before.  I made a point to say hello and chat a bit later and, now that I’m home, looked up the old guidelines on the computer and went through the stories I have on hand.  

I think I have one that may fit.  

And that’s how the game is played.  It may be a long shot, yes, but he’s liked my work in the past and now he’s been reminded of this.  The anthology pays a professional rate, so I’d be a fool if I didn’t try.

So that’s part of it, to be on the lookout for opportunities to submit work and to be ready to jump when you find them.  I belong to a number of online groups, for instance, on Facebook and elsewhere that sometimes, along with the rest of the gossip, give marketing tips.  I also check lists like from time to time and, even though it costs money as of this year, I’m still getting Duotrope, but on the assumption it will earn its cost back on sales I‘ll make as a result of its listings.  And of course I also keep in touch with other editors’ and publishers’ websites who’ve used my work, checking to see if they have new guidelines for upcoming anthology projects as well as check back with magazines in terms of theme issues.   This includes, if I’m at a convention, looking these people up in the dealers room if only to ask how things are going, but at the same time giving them a face to connect my name to, as well as underscoring that I care -- sort of what businesspeople call networking.  It’s not necessary, but it doesn’t hurt, nor does keeping a fairly high profile, getting on panels when I can, giving readings, etc.

To give an example, a year or two ago I sent some stories to a semipro publisher, Dark Moon Books, for a couple of flash fiction anthologies they’d announced guidelines for.  These were accepted and, at last year’s World Horror Con, I went to their table to pick up a contributor’s copy of one that was just out.  While there, I talked with the publisher about various matters, and also met one of their assistants, Max Booth III, who  it happened was editing an alternative history anthology for them called ZOMBIE JESUS AND OTHER TRUE STORIES which, as it also happened, I had sent a story to about a month before.  As a result, when it came time for him to decide on the stories he’d use, he remembered my name and seeing it in the stack, as he said himself later, “quickly read it and knew right away I wanted it.  The story was, in fact, the first story I accepted for the anthology.”

So, okay, if it was a good story he would have accepted it anyway, but there’s more to it.  When he was later promoting the book, among other things running interviews with some of the authors, I emailed him to let him know I was available too and otherwise worked to cooperate with him.  Then, last fall, he set up his own publishing company, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, and, liking what he’d seen of my work thus far (in this case including some other anthologies we’d both had work in), he sent me an email asking if I’d consider doing a book with him   

The result:  in May this year my latest collection THE TEARS OF ISIS was published, timed by mutual agreement to be available a month preceding this year’s World Horror Convention in New Orleans (thus bringing us back to where this column began ) -- seventeen stories and an opening poem of dark fantasy and horror, with maybe some mystery and other things thrown in, about art and artists, and vampires and ghouls. . . , well, Max having given me a free hand, mostly stories published before that have been favorites of mine for various reasons but also chosen with an eye to a coherent whole, along with at least one that’s never been seen before.  And also tales about rats and dragons, and UFOs, and insects, and sleeping beauties and Medusa and Isis. . . .    

So not everyone’s going to publish a book, at least not right away, but we are in a sense members of a family, we writers and publishers and editors.  And when the time comes, it never hurts to have made connections.  But there are other aspects to submitting as well.  I already mentioned reading guidelines, usually obtainable on a publisher’s website.  These may vary in information quality, but if an editor states a preference -- or lists taboos -- adhering to the editor’s wants as closely as possible, or at least explaining in a cover letter why you might be bending a rule if you have a good reason to, will leave a good impression for future submissions even if this particular one fails.  And if an editor says, even though rejecting this story, to please send another, take him or her up on it if you can.  

That’s the big rule for successful marketing:  perseverance.  For myself, I try to send something or other out on an average of three or four a week and, needless to say, when something comes back, the first thing I’ll do is look to see where else I can send it.  But also be polite, businesslike, and cooperative if an editor has suggestions or requests.  If an editor asks you to rewrite something, you don’t necessarily have to agree with everything asked, but if you don’t, give him or her a reason why or, better yet, suggest another way of changing it as a compromise.

Then one more thing, with the number of pieces I send out, it doesn’t mean that I’m that prolific -- just that I’ve been around a long time.  You’ll build up a stable of stories that, while still good, for one reason or another have not yet been published, so keep looking out for places to send them.  But also a lot of marketing I do these days is with reprints, especially in a soft economy where the number of higher paying markets may not be that great, and that’s another reason to read guidelines carefully.  Some markets will be for new stories only, but others are happy to look at older work that hasn’t been in print for a while.  From my point of view it’s still extra money for something I’ve already sold before as well as exposure to new readers.  So on the one hand, I’m not going to get rich on short stories and poems in any event, but if now and then I can make, say, an additional $10, that’s enough to buy a pizza.  Pizza is good.  But also, aggressively keeping my work in the marketplace can sometimes engender new opportunities, a case in point being THE TEARS OF ISIS.   

You can find out more about James Dorr in his WL interview and at:

THE TEARS OF ISIS: What do Medusa and the goddess Isis have in common?  Are both creatresses through destruction?  And why was Isis oftentimes depicted as weeping? 

Herewith are some answers as parts of a journey through art and creation, of sculpture and blood-drinking, crafting musical instruments from bone, revisiting legends of Cinderella and the Golden Fleece, of Sleeping Beauty and Dragons and Snow White -- some of these, of course, well disguised.  For is not art both the recasting of what is, as well as the invention of what is not?      

The Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney spoke of art as “making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature,” so here there be vampires, and ghouls, and insects perhaps from outer space as well as from this Earth, and visions of Saturn and life in the sea, and other wonders “such as never were in nature,” but, above all, Isis.  The Weeping Isis.  Isis with vulture wings, breasts bare and smeared with blood as in the earliest forms of her myth.   
And of course, as well, Medusa.  

The Tears of Isis is available at:

This is T.W. Fendley. Thanks for reading and commenting on The Writers' Lens. Stop by my website at or on Twitter @twfendley.