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

Hello there! Welcome to the August 2013 issue of Aphelion Webzine! There's loads of new stuff ready for this issue. I know you're going to enjoy reading it all. But first, I have to bore you a little with my usual Editorial, LOL!

First up: The news is out on the Creator and the Catalyst Forums writing contest. Our very own Kate Thornton strolled easily away with the First Place prize, while I garnered Second Place, myself. There is currently a run-off vote going on for Third Place. My congratulations to everyone involved! I admit that I have a very real problem with writing in shorter formats, like Flash Fiction, since I can't ever seem to come to the point in a thousand words or less. But Mark Edgemon decided on a 2000-word format, and also allowed multiple entries to the contest. So, without bending the rules at all I was able to write a series of 2000-word chapters to a continuing story. This turned out to be a chapter every three and a fraction pages on my preferred word processor. I was very pleased with the result. I do believe that I will make use of that format again, since it worked out so well this time.

In other news, I had a very nice conversation with my Editor on the evening of the 14th. I do enjoy the sound of that: My Editor! She's finished going through almost all of the shorter Mare Inebrium stories that I submitted, and has the longer ones lined up to begin on when the real world permits. That means that she has processed eleven out of the fifteen stories in my original submission. I have a sixteenth story in a rough third draft stage which I will send to her when I have a polished fourth draft. That's usually the way I proofread and self-edit my work, by the way. By the time I've reached the end of four major revisions on a story, I've usually gone as far as I can take it. Most of the typos have been corrected, scenes have been added or deleted as I see the need, and I'm pretty much sick of looking at the same words over and over again. Fourth Draft doesn't mean that I've gone through the manuscript only four times. Actually it's more like twenty editing and proofreading passes serve to give me my fourth drafts. Roughly five passes per draft, is the actual breakdown of my editing process. It isn't exactly five editing passes every time, but that's a good average.

Still to write before the book manuscript is finished are six more new stories from my outlines. I've got one or two of those back-burnered, percolating as it were, in the back of my mind as I work on other projects. For instance, for the past month or two I have been working on music projects. I've fallen into something good with those, as it happens. I've actually signed a contract with a pro writer friend to use one of their series of novels for musical inspiration.

How that happened is a tale of its own, but the short form is that I had been posting links to my Sound Cloud page on my Facebook page whenever I finished a particular piece of music. I've got roughly an hour and twenty minutes of very raw music for my Steampunk Audio Play ready for the voice acting to be recorded and mixed in. The run time of the voice acting will pretty much determine what edits will have to be made to the music. I actually have more music than I have finished scripts for the acting, at the moment. But I'm in no great hurry for all that to be finished. I want it to be knock-out amazing, not rushed to presentation. So I'm taking my time with the whole thing. People on Facebook seem to enjoy the music, some giving me constructive feedback which has been very helpful in the editing process.

But I multi-task quite a lot, as you may well know. So it was no surprise to anyone when I wrote something that had nothing to do with the steampunk project. I'd gone outdoors at night with my video camera and took some amateur footage of the Supermoon that graced our night skies this past June. I wound up with roughly three minutes of video and slide-show still photos. When I came back in from shooting that, I sat down and wrote a soundtrack for it. What I produced was an eighteen minute tone poem using various classical instruments and sound effects. I edited that down to the three minute run time of the video, and posted the finished project on my You Tube page, as well as both versions of the audio to my Sound Cloud page. Once again, linking to the project on my Facebook page earned me several compliments and critiques. My next piece of music was done just for fun. It wasn't meant to be anything special, just something for me to do to relax and fill the time on my last day off before I had to go back to work that week. I composed an eight minute piece based upon a character from a series of books I have been reading for a year or so. I had just finished the fourth book in the series and the characters and situations were still very much in my mind. When I was finished, I posted the link to the Sound Cloud page where I had uploaded the music. I also sent a message to the author whose books inspired the music. Said author promptly fell in love with the music, and proceeded to share it among her friends and family members. Further accolades followed, and she shyly messaged me back to ask if I could compose enough material to fill an audio CD. I opined that I most likely could do so, and promptly managed to compose three more pieces over the next week or so. All told, the four pieces together amount to roughly half a CD worth of music. My friend was rather pleased with the result, and suggested that we join forces to put out a POD audio CD for sale to the public. I was somewhat floored by this, but I also knew I needed some experience in audio CD production in order to bring my own Steampunk audio play to the public ear, as it were. We discussed the matter at some length, researched licensing contracts that we would need in order to keep from running afoul of her publishers, as well as the Infernal Revenue Services. We finally found an online resource that allowed us to write up a suitable contract designed to keep us both on the right side of the Law. The upshot of it all is that for the next five years I have legal rights to compose music based on Stephanie Osborn's Displaced Detective novel series, to offer said music for sale to the public by way of an audio CD POD service, in exchange for a small percentage of whatever royalties the CD might earn, paid to Stephanie every three months once the CD hits the market. We then searched out POD publishers who deal with music CDs. Several turned up in web searches, but one stood out as being affordable and having a reputation for turning out quality products. As it happens, this company is one Stephanie has used before, to her satisfaction, and they deal in audio CDs as well as books. They have no up-front cost, unlike the majority of other companies our search turned up, but they charge a flat fee for each CD sold, plus a percentage of the list price of the title. I pay Stephanie out of the percentage left over after the POD service takes their cut.

In order for me to learn how to use this service, I determined that I should work up a few music CD releases of my own. That way I'll know exactly how to make best use of the service when the time comes to begin marketing the Displaced Detective Suite, as Stephanie dubbed it. Fair goes, I couldn't think of a better title if I tried for a month. So I've undertaken to do edits and re-mixes of my music, upload that to the service, and see what mistakes I need to learn from in order to become proficient. As of yesterday, I have my first music CD, cover artwork, and so on uploaded and under review. If I have done everything within the rules, by the time I write the editorial for September's Aphelion, I'll have at least one album out there for sale to the public.

While I wait for the approval process to proceed, I'm working on the second album. That one will be quite different from the first, since I plan to put together a collection of live music that I recorded back in my garage band days with Jim Parnell. Actually, there is enough of those old recordings to fill several CDs. I my even have enough of my solo work from that era to fill a CD of my very own. The first challenge will be to edit and process the live recordings into the correct format for upload to the POD service. The second challenge will be to write up a contract between Jim and I to keep everything legal. I suspect that a slight modification of the contract that Stephanie and I used will be perfect. The third challenge will be to pick out possible cover art from my collection of photos saved to my computer.

It just goes to show that one never knows what the future might hold. Be ready to make use of whatever life tosses your way. That's true with any endeavor, whether it be writing, music, art, photography, or crafts. Take the chance, squeeze the day for every drop of opportunity that comes along.

Oh, go read the new stories in the August Aphelion. I've wasted enough of your time, LOL! Enough blather from me. It's time for you to go enjoy the new issue...