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

LibertyCon was, as usual, an absolute blast! I found myself on panels, attending panels, signing a few autographs, and having the most wonderful conversations with people at the convention. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones were the orders of the day. Liberty is a relax-a-con, where everyone can have a good time without having to worry about huge crowds or standing in long lines.

We arrived on the Thursday before the con actually started. Preparations were in full swing already, what with the con committee rushing about as they set up different rooms and finalized schedules. Some of the guests came early as well. The hotel was even more beautiful than last year. Walking around the grounds led me to meet up with other early arrivals scattered about the place. During the evening, as well as Friday morning, I managed to complete a pair of art projects that a friend later helped me get into the Art Show. My steampunk ray guns were well received. I even sold one!

When registration opened Lyn & I went up to get our badges. There was a treat in store for me as well. I was presented with a swag bag with some con-related goodies, a personalized schedule of the events I was going to be part of, and a ribbon on my badge that read Author. Sweet!

Besides being gifted with autographed books to review for Aphelion, I was sitting at autograph tables once each day. I sold a copy of Flash of Aphelion. I also was pleased to see that several of the pro writers were checking out the display copy of our book that I had on the table in front of me. There were compliments I overheard about how good the book looked, so I felt really good for Nate and John, and all the work they put in on it. I was also on a pair of steampunk panels as well as an e-publishing panel. All were fun, and each was entertaining as well as educational. But altogether too soon it was time to make the drive home. Next year will be even better, I was repeatedly told. I look forward to it.

For the next week I relaxed a bit at home, wrote some more on a Mare Inebrium story, cooked out on the grill for July 4th, and coped with a minor power outage caused by the holiday thunderstorms. It was almost like being on a camping trip. Lyn and I enjoyed ourselves as best we could by the light of our oil lamps, listening to our little wind-up radio as we ate our hamburgers and hot dogs and potato salad and Cole slaw. The only real upset was that the new grill awning that my Mom and Dad gave us decided to perform acrobatics during the storm. It wasn't badly damaged. I believe I can repair it. But it did put a temporary damper on our spirits.

The rest of that weekend I wrote a story for Mark Edgemon's Forums contest project. I also finished up the new Mare Inebrium story. We finished off the week preparing to go to a family reunion the following weekend. That meant a bit longer of a drive than we'd taken to go to LibertyCon, and the weather was once again beastly to drive in, but we made it without mishap. While checking my e-mail the evening before the reunion, I got a very pleasant surprise. Messages from the editor I'd been assigned to by the publisher to whom I'd submitted the Mare Inebrium stories! She was enjoying the stories, offered me critiques and suggestions for improvements, and was finding very few real errors in my manuscript. Needless to say, the family was pleased for me, and quite supportive when I told them at the reunion.

The reunion itself was wonderful. So grand to see everyone again, if only for a little while. Once again, as we were all preparing to pack up and leave the park where we'd met, the weather chose to act the fool. More rainstorms, the whole family huddling into the drier part of a park shelter, and many jokes about our attracting bad weather. After an hour or so of being a very close-knit family sheltering from the wind and rain, we took advantage of a lull in the storm to dash off back to our hotel. After stuffing ourselves with a home-cooked breakfast at the hotel, Lyn and I started back for home. After a few hours, we arrived safely back at Casa Vila.

I still had two more days off from work, so I started another new Mare Inebrium story. I managed to finish a first draft, some proofreading, and several spell checks before I was due to return to work. It isn't ready to send to the editor quite yet, but if I get a chance to make a few additions and corrections during my next days off from work, then it will become ready. My 17th Mare Inebrium story! I've written 112,000 words of Mare Inebrium stories so far. I have six more Mare stories in my notes, outlined for me to write, then I'll have to think up some new ideas for future stories. Which means that I'll have to go back to my timeline file and see what ideas present themselves. There are already a pair of possibilities kicking around in my mind. And then there is the steampunk music project, and the steampunk novel, and whatever corrections Jeff wants to my recent Nightwatch submission, and...

I have more to do than I will ever have time to do it all in, but I will give everything my very best efforts. Stay tuned for further news on everything as I manage to bring each item to fruition.

Well, it's high time I shut up and let you get to reading this month's stories!