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

Another month has gone by, so it is time for me to write another editorial. Welcome to the 174th issue of Aphelion! First off, I'd like to congratulate John Rose for becoming the new Flash Editor for the contests in the Aphelion Forums. He is stepping into some big shoes, but I'm sure that he's up to the task! Thank you, John!

As for myself, in a couple of weeks I'll be headed out to Chattanooga, TN for LibertyCon 26. The convention has me scheduled to be on several panel discussions, as well as sitting at an autograph table at least an hour per day. Two of the panels I'll be part of are steampunk-themed, the third is on electronic publishing. I'll also be meeting up with at least one Aphelion writer, Darren J Rout, with whom I had a blast last year at LibertyCon 25. Darren said that I came out with the best introductory line he'd ever heard. DJ Rout? Hello, I'm your Publisher... Sean Sullivan, owner and operator of the Larry Niven IRC chat room will also be there. William and Cindy MacLeod, con chairs of AnachroCon will be there, as will Stephanie Osborn, Michael Z. Williamson, John Ringo, James Ward, and a host of others. The convention guest list is huge, so there will be lots of old friends among the Pro writers and attendees.

You might be wondering if going to conventions is a necessary thing for new writers. I would say that no, it isn't necessary, but it is fun, and it can be useful to get one's name and face in front of readers and publishers. Last year, because I was on a panel on e-publishing with several pro publishers and writers, I was invited to submit a story for a future Heroes In Hell anthology by Janet Morris, herself. Sadly, I haven't gotten an idea for a story for the anthology, so I'll miss out on that. I've been spending a lot of time working on my submissions of Mare Inebrium to a pro publisher. One whom I have known for years from going to conventions. Knowing him from cons isn't any sort of automatic in with the submissions, however. But it does ease the sheer terror of making submissions. Fear of rejections is something all writers have to face.

Other things I personally have to face is my fear of crowds and my stage fright when speaking in public. Going to cons helps with both of those. Vast, impersonal crowds become friends and family members. Being on panels forces me to learn to speak to a roomful of people, to think fast, and to appear to be at ease in a situation that still fills my stomach with butterflies. It becomes easier to do every time.

Another plus in going to conventions is the chance to get to have conversations with pro writers and artists whose work I've been admiring for many years. I'll never forget standing at a restroom sink, washing my hands, and taking the chance to talk with Ben Bova about which of his books I admire most, just because he was at the sink next to me. Or handing Vincent diFate a paperback whose cover art he did, and talking briefly with him about how much I love his work. Or having my pronunciation corrected by Jerry Pournell. Or chatting with Larry Niven about how his Known Space stories influenced my own writing style. Or finally meeting Jana Oliver in person after having known her for years from the Casebook: JTR website and chat rooms. Or becoming good friends with Stephanie Osborn. Or hearing Sara Harvey tell me how much she enjoyed the world-building I did for my steampunk stories. Or having Rich Groller hand me a review copy of Rogues In Hell autographed by every writer who has stories in that anthology. Or being complimented on my steampunk costume by Sarah Hoyt. Or... Well, you get the idea.

Conventions are very social things. Meeting fellow writers, artists, musicians, and so on. Meeting Aphelion readers and writers is another perk. Brainstorming ideas for this and that and the other thing with people whose education is vastly different from my own is a lot of fun. And having fun is important, in the great scheme of things.

So next month the editorial will be about all the fun I had at LibertyCon 26. You've been warned, LOL! Now I'll shut up and let you get to reading...