Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

This will probably be a really short editorial. I wanted to get so much done this month, in between returning from LibertyCon and leaving for our family reunion. I failed to get it all done before our original deadline, but since this issue was so late I was able to accomplish everything I wished. LibertyCon was loads of fun, as usual. The week afterwards was full of yard work and house work as well as running around getting shopping done before it was time to go to our family reunion. The family reunion was a blast! Smaller crowd than last year, but that's understandable given how spread out our family has become over the years. It was a fun day of talking, watching the kids play, eating a huge home cooked covered dish lunch brought by some of the best cooks in the Southeastern US. The cool breeze off of the nearby lake was a very welcome addition to the party. Tennessee in the Summertime can be hot, humid, and uncomfortable. But a nice breeze falling from the tops of the Smoky Mountains. across a beautiful lake made the day's heat much more bearable. Altogether too soon, the family began drifting away, back to their various home towns. We spent the rest of the evening at the hotel with my parents and siblings. After an eventful drive home (several bouts of heavy rain, and drivers in North Carolina must be the most aggressive and crazy I've ever seen) We arrived back at my Mom and Dad's to pick up our dogs. I helped Mom out with updates to her computer while Lyn wandered around the farm with Dad. Several hours after the first arrived, we loaded up the dogs and drove the final four miles back to our little house. It's good to be back home again, however much fun taking little trips can be.

Also in the week between LibertyCon and the family reunion was something truly special for Lyn and I. The 14th of July was our wedding anniversary, so we were selfish and spent the day wrapped up in each other. We started our 5th year together. There has been no decrease in the romance. The rest of the week was mostly running errands or trying to work out in the yard. Taking the trash to the landfill, grocery shopping, getting our hair cut, picking up Lyn's new glasses, etc. Oh yeah, I got some small amount of yard work done. The place looks better than it has in a year. There's so much more that I still have left to do, however. I can't get it all done because it is just too hot outside. I can only manage an hour or so of heavy work in the mornings before coming back in and having to take a shower to cool back off. By lunchtime, I can barely stand to walk to the mailbox and back into the house I go, thankful for the air conditioning.

Think about that for a moment. Ask anyone who knows me personally- I can't take much time in low AC surroundings. I'm shivering in supermarket frozen food aisles. I wear long-sleeved shirts to restaurants. I've worked for decades in a factory that only has AC for the offices, lunchroom, and locker rooms. Out on the production line, the temperature is usually ten or more degrees hotter than being outside in the direct sunlight. I've gotten used to hotter environments. I can function in temperatures that leave most people gasping for breath and soaked with sweat. AC set below seventy degrees tends to make me terribly uncomfortable, shivering, and leads to random muscle cramps. That said, I've been the one to keep the household AC turned on all the time this Summer. True, I have the AC set to seventy eight degrees, but at times that isn't low enough to keep me from breaking out in a sweat whenever I'm not in close proximity to the window unit. I used to just have all the windows open and the attic fan on. This year, that isn't good enough.

Going back to work after two weeks of vacation was educational, to say the least. I promptly rediscovered all the reasons why I hate my job. I also rediscovered all the reasons why I love my co-workers. I don't know how many more years I can put up with the factory. The work is harder than ever, and I'm not getting any younger. The environment is either deadly hot or numbingly cold, depending on the season. Half the workforce has been laid off, but the production line is running faster than ever. The factory has become an Old Folks Home now that every worker under 40-something has been laid off. Those of us who are left are required to do the work of three to five people now. While I'm grateful to still have a regular income, I do tend to resent the added workload. Questions plague me. Is my weekly paycheck really worth the extra wear and tear on my body? Am I to reach retirement age just in time to suffer through my twilight years a a broken-down, worn out old man rather than being able to enjoy them in good health? Who is buying all the insulation we're making now? Where is all this product going? The housing construction bubble has burst- I know that. So why are we making record amounts of fiberglass insulation day after day? More and more it is being driven home to me that I need to make some sort of change. I need to take my life in a different direction. I need to buckle down and finally get serious about my writing and develop a more enjoyable source of income. Well, no time like the present! I am going to start devoting more time to writing. I've proved that I can do it. Now I have to start selling it and give up the factory work, before it kills me. :)

I wanted to write a convention report on LibertyCon. The detailed Con Report is over in our Features Section. It gives a small taste of what LibertyCon is like. Hopefully enough to encourage readers who live close enough to want to start attending the Con, themselves. The short form is:

  1. The hotel staff are wonderful.
  2. The hotel was in far better repair and was much cleaner than last year.
  3. The convention staff are wonderful people and they work really hard.
  4. The guest writers and artists are outstanding, entertaining beyond expectations, and easy to strike up a conversation with.
  5. The people attending the con are just like family.
  6. We all had a real good time!

I also wanted to write a book review of Cherie Priest's new novel "Boneshaker" and have gotten that done in the extra time. I took the book on our trip to the reunion so that I could finish it during our evening at the hotel after the party was over. It has been a difficult book to put down, I'll tell you that right now. Cherie has had major success with it, and well deserved success at that. As I understand, she is working on more stories set in the same universe, if not exactly sequels. She's good, her writing is addictive, and when you finish one of her books you want to run out to look for more of her work. And that's as specific as I wish to get in this editorial. I'm saving the details for the review. As for my reviews, regular Aphelion readers know that I don't post spoilers- I just relate how I enjoyed the writing, give info on where you can get a copy, etc. The detailed review is also over in our Features Section.

All right, that is just about all I have time to write today. There is so much more to get done around the house. Plus, I want to get some writing done too. I'm really serious about devoting more time to writing and sending finished stories out to publishers. I have the steampunk novel to finish, an 8000 word steampunk short story to write for an anthology in the UK to which I've been invited to submit. There is also yet another anthology in negotiations that one of the pro writers I know from LibertyCon has invited me to submit a short story. As an aside to Aphelion fans, I've also been getting flashes of inspiration for a new Mare Inebrium story. But that is still very much in the early stages. So far I have two or three scenes floating around in my head, but I don't have a story to place them within just yet. Rest assured that I'll keep the Mare story percolating on my mental back burners as I work on other projects.

So, enjoy the new issue while I'm busy. I'll catch up with you, later on.