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 again, and welcome to a new issue of Aphelion!

Everyone has been hard at work getting this new issue ready for your reading pleasure. As always, you'll find new stories, features, poetry, and maybe even a few surprises. Spread the word among your friends; free fiction, no adverts, no membership fees. Just the best from writers from across the globe, learning their craft, and letting readers comment so we can learn more, faster. If you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine.

It is early morning hours here at Casa Vila as I write these lines. So let me pour a cup of coffee, sit back, and think about what's been happening since last month. To set the scene for you, today is a gloomy, overcast day, with a hint of rain in the offing. The morning hours are humid, warm, and filled with the sounds of nesting birds and migrating geese. Traffic on the road outside my window is very light this morning. It's as if the whole world has decided to sleep in, and I'm the only one who got up early. It's peaceful and calm, with nary a care in the world to blight the cloud-shrouded rising of the sun. This is a welcome respite from how things have been here lately.

I have been preoccupied for most of this year with financial troubles. As the economy slowly recovers, external forces have been weighing me down with worries. Like the chains on Marley's Ghost in A Christmas Carol, each link has made it more difficult to keep moving. Dragging behind me in a seemingly never-ending drag-line, every link of them making my days a struggle to cope. It became harder and harder for me to drag myself out of bed each day, knowing that I had to go to work in a thankless, mind-numbing job. Struggling to make ends meet as the price of everything rose higher and higher. Watching my paycheck cover fewer and fewer expenses each week. Each day became a slow-motion free-fall into a mine shaft--or an avalanche. Watching the walls of rubble rise higher, ever higher, no matter how desperately I tried to claw my way back out.

The only things that kept me going were my beloved wife, my friends and family, and Aphelion. Remember that, dear reader, each and every one of you helped me keep going. I could have so easily given up. But knowing that there are so many people who depend on me gave me the strength to raise my weary head and go back to the daily grind with renewed determination.

To be sure, there were also many small victories along the way. Working on the Mare Inebrium book, writing new stories, writing new music, making new steampunk gear, going to AnachroCon and LibertyCon and my family reunion, renewing my friendships with my High School classmates at our now yearly tailgate party... The list of ups finally began to surmount the list of downs. Each achievement becoming another rung of a rescue ladder being extended to me by people who care. For every setback, there soon came some small victory that served to off-set the downward spiral. Slowly but surely I began to climb out of that deep, dark hole.

There came a day when I was given a chance to break out of the avalanche. Soon afterward, I got another chance--I got to leave the swing-shift schedule at the factory. For one glorious week, I was working Day-Time-Only, Monday through Friday, clocking out each day in the early afternoon. I was revitalized! It felt so good to be able to do a job that didn't leave me broken and depressed. But alas, I was given a glimpse of Paradise, only to be rudely ejected just as I was beginning to become comfortable. The fellow who had gotten a promotion to a new job decided that he couldn't cope with the extra stresses it entailed. He returned to his old job. Which bumped someone else back into their old job. Which, in turn, bumped someone else back, and so on until it chain of events reached me. Thusly, I had to go back to my old job. But something was different. My outlook had changed. I had experienced enough victories along the way so as to allow me to see this event as just a temporary setback. This was not a crushing defeat, rather it was a minor annoyance. A mere pebble in my path instead of a roadblock. That job will come open again. I will bid on it when it does. I stand a good chance of being awarded the job once it reopens. What's more, there are people at work who want me to have it. They saw that I was good at it. They saw that I enjoyed it. Those people who had been bumped back still wish to bid off of their old jobs. When something comes open, they will try again. And so will I.

There have been other side-effects of that experience. I took a long, hard look at my preconceptions and misconceptions. I found that I had allowed myself to believe I was locked into a set path. One not of my own choosing, but rather thrust upon me by circumstances beyond my control. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there are things I cannot possibly control that have vast effects on my life. But in truth, those are trivial things compared to those matters over which I have full control. I'm not restricted by the expectations of faceless entities to whom I am merely another cog in some vast, crushing, impersonal machine. I am more than just a job title. I have skills beyond those necessary merely to exist. There is no reason I have to merely exist. I can have a life beyond that of a cradle-to-grave factory drone. It is quite liberating to realize that I have choices I can make that will free me from drudgery. There is more to life than I had allowed myself to become locked into. I can break the chains that serve to bind me to some predetermined course. I can do, and have done, things that bring joy and comfort back into life.

Of course there will always be stumbling blocks thrust into my path. But those too shall pass. Temporary setbacks, small defeats, all of life's little miseries are merely fleeting hazards. Not the crushing pattern of my blinkered worldview. I have broken the mold. I have taken a different path. And it feels wonderful!

I am more than the sum of my parts. I am a new thing, forged in fire and quenched in adversity, becoming stronger and more flexible with each test. And life is good!

Now, the following is going to become a standard ending to my editorials for a few months. I've worked hard on my music lately, and I'm quite proud of it.


Here are some links to pages I have up promoting the music. Rob Wynne is working on one that will better fit into Aphelion's page format, so that our readers will have a far prettier promo page to read. 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.

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.

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,