Aphelion Issue 192, Volume 19
February 2015
 
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Hello and welcome to the February Birthday issue of Aphelion Webzine!

P&E Top Ten

Congratulations to the Aphelion Staff and all the writers! Aphelion tied for 2nd Place in this year's Preditors & Editors Reader's Poll! That's the highest we've ever placed in all the years that we've been nominated. And a big Thank You to everyone who voted!

Aphelion began on January 27th, 1997 when the first issue went live after some frantic scrambling to fill the void left by the closing of Dragon's Lair Webzine after a successful two-year run. I was one of a fanatic handful of regular contributing writers who had our first online publication credits due to the Lair. Roger's decision to shut down the zine was something of a shock to all of us. As a reward for getting the word out about the zine in various online forums and chat rooms, I had been appointed Assistant Editor after only a few issues. When Roger announced he was giving it all up, I offered to step up and do the necessary editing if he would only keep providing the web space and keep the site alive. Sadly, he was adamant about retiring. Rob Wynne suggested that I start my own zine, Roger sent me all the files of unfinished serials and short stories in the Lair's backlog, and Rob walked me through the beginning of my education into the coding of HTML. Needless to say, something about Aphelion struck a chord with amateur writers around the world. By the end of our first year, we were getting submissions from the US, England, Australia, several other countries, and even from one guy on a US submarine out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Our readers cam from many, many countries around the globe.

My first two Mare Inebrium stories originally appeared in Dragon's Lair, as did the first few chapters of my original attempt at a World of Bethdish novel. I eventually set the novel aside to write short stories because I wanted to become a better writer faster than the longer format allowed. It was slow going for me, learning the tricks and habits of good writing. No one would offer critiques of my work because I was the publisher. Actually, for the first couple of years I was everything. Aphelion was pretty much a one-man-band, with me wearing all the hats. It didn't take long before I reached the point of becoming overwhelmed by the number of submissions. I couldn't keep up any more, the quality slipped drastically downward, and I was on the verge of giving up, but then, a miracle happened.

Friends offered to become the Editorial Staff! Aphelion was saved! The quality took a great, huge leap upward. Aphelion became far better than it was when I was doing it all alone. The Staff grew, changed, evolved, and the zine kept getting better and better. Our contributing writers began graduating to the pro markets. We're always happy to see that happen. Yet we are always sad to lose regular writers to the status of pros, but then, that has always been the reason Aphelion exists. For amateur writers to learn, to grow, to eventually begin to get paid for their work. Those success stories are our greatest rewards.

Now I am about to receive my own personal reward for my years of slowly plodding along, learning to be a good writer. This month, February of 2015, will see the publication of my own collection of Mare Inebrium short stories. I will officially join the ranks of the pro writers whose work I've loved since I first learned to read.

MI Cover by Darrell Osborn

The release date has not been announced yet. My Publisher, Dark Oak Press, is still working on the exact date the book will go live. It will be available in hardback, trade paperback, and e-book formats. The ISBNs have been awarded. The prices have been set. The cover art has been completed. Pro artist and Mad Scientist Darrell Osborn was kind enough to do the cover art for me. Everything is almost ready to go. Rest assured that I will spam everyone on the planet when I learn the exact release date! Here is a link to the test promo page over on Dark Oak Press: Tales From The Mare Inebrium. I'm not sure if that link will change to a slightly different URL once the book goes live, but for now anyone interested can go take a quick peek at what it is going to look like.

Regular readers of the Mare series will no doubt wonder what will be new about the stories in this collection. Well, there are 16 stories and a filksong lyric in the book. 10 of the stories have never been seen by anyone besides myself and the publisher's staff. 10 brand new stories you've never seen! Also, the original half-dozen stories have been rewritten with the help and advice of a professional editor. The usual characters, literary references, in-jokes, Tuckerisms, and shout-outs to the other wonderful series writers that Mare Inebrium readers have come to know are all there.

As a special treat for you in this issue, there is a brand new Mare Inebrium story for you to enjoy. It's called "Against All Odds" and was written after I turned in the finished manuscript for the book. Think of it as a bonus feature that only you will get to see. At least until I get to write a Volume Two collection!

I may have started the series, but I owe a great debt to the Aphelion staff as well as every single writer who has joined in the shared universe. I also owe a great debt to all the people who have read the online stories in the entire series. I couldn't have gotten this far with all of you. Furthermore, I'd like to thank Stephanie Osborn for becoming my writing mentor, Darrell Osborn for the awesome cover art, Allan Gilbreath for taking a chance on publishing the book, and Lori Titus for her editing magic.

Thanks for believing in me. This is a great moment in my life.

Now, lets not forget the real reason that you readers and writers are here on the Aphelion website. There is an amazing selection of stories and poetry on tap for you this month. The staff have outdone themselves to kick off our newest year. Time for me to shut up and let you get to the zine!

Dan



BOILERPLATE:

First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine. As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be useful while we transition between e-mailing lists. Given our different locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room days.

Dan's Music Page This is my promo page here at Aphelion. All the links below, and more information about the albums, are located here.

The Never Bank On A Learning Curve CD on the Create Space website. My first album, with a wide range of styles and genres, covering the past three years of my working with the MAGIX Music Maker programs.

The Second Helping CD on the Create Space website. My second album, with just as wide a range of different musical styles, showing just how much I've learned in the past three years.

Dan's Studio-D Page on the Bandcamp website. Digital downloads of the albums, or each individual song if you prefer it that way. Just click on the album cover thumbnails and you'll see a list of each song on the album. Next to the song titles are links to read the liner notes, or to download the individual song. You can listen to each song for free. There is also a link to download each entire album at one go. I cannot say enough about Bandcamp! This is an amazing website. I have Rob, and many other friends, to thank for finally talking me into checking it out.

Here are some links to pages I have up promoting my music. When my book comes out I'll add those links to the promotion page, too. So far, there are links on that page to the Create Space Preview songs, the Create Space page for each album, the Amazon.com listings, and the link to the digital downloads page.

And here's a link to my Sound Cloud page:

Dan's Sound Cloud Page where all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything collected together in one place.

Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,

Dan all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything collected together in one place.

Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,

Dan


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ON THE COVER

Title: Interacting Galaxies ARP 273 or "A Rose Made of Galaxies Highlights Hubble's 21st Anniversary."
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/).