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
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Hello and welcome to the June 2020 issue of Aphelion!
MI Cover by Anja from Pixabay

Hi there! On May 19th and 20th my old 1995 novella “Abducted!” was published on Amazon as an e-book and paperback by Three Ravens Publications. There is also an audiobook version in production right now. Professionally edited, these versions are a complete and expanded rewrite of the original story. This was my first Tom Darby story. I never expected to write another one, but then he showed up as a very minor character in a Mare Inebrium story, and a slightly less minor character in the Nightwatch shared universe as well. Last year He became, in essence, one of my most readable main characters. I then started expanding my old outlines of Tom’s prequel backstory that Nightwatch had prompted, and expanded the outlines of two post-“Abducted!” stories I have had on the back burner for many years. With Nightwatch, Tom’s character suddenly blossomed into a much more nuanced personality. He was now much more complex and developed, and the rewrites of “Abducted!” needed to reflect that character development. So, I went to work.

Abducted! A Tom Darby Adventure is where the e-book and paperback can be found. The audiobook will be on the same link once production has finished on it. Yes, I am blowing my own horn a bit here in Aphelion—a place dedicated to the achievements of others than myself. But since this is only my 4th pro writing credit in the past 22 years, I do hope you can forgive my enthusiasm. I’m as excited for me, right now, as I have been for each Aphelion writer who has turned pro over the past two decades. And, realistically speaking, I’d never have had this success without Aphelion teaching me the same lessons that our cadre of pro writers learned here as well. I am no different from any of you. Aphelion readers’ and writers’ commentary helped me learn the basics of what I needed to learn. That’s why the Forum section is there. So you can tell us what we got right with a story, and how we can look to improve it, and our storytelling in general, when we write something new.

As to current events, I shall say little. The current pandemic I hope finds you and yours well and taking all necessary precautions. I have lost, and stand to lose more, friends to this disease. No matter what your opinions may be, these are dangerous times. “It’s just a flu?” yeah, so was the one in 1918. As have been many others throughout history. People still died. I don’t want to be one of them or carry the virus home to my own family and friends. I wear a mask or bandana when in public—at work or going shopping or whatever. That’s a minor sacrifice to have to make. I’m not attending any more conventions this year, or even my family reunion, because I believe in the real danger the virus can present to people I care about.

As to US politics, I will say even less. My wife and I did the vote-by-mail option in our state primaries. We shall do so again in the national elections. I will say that it is important for everyone in the US to vote if you are of age. No matter what your political beliefs, if any, it is important to vote. Otherwise, you have given up your voice in our political arena. Not my place to tell you who to vote for, or against. I can only tell you how important it is that your voice be counted among the votes cast. My opinions on the various candidates for each office are immaterial. I can only urge you to participate and let your votes be counted. Our particular flavor of Democratic Republic can only fare well when all possible voters let their voice be heard. If you stay silent, everyone suffers the will of those who do voice their choices.

In closing, let me say that each of you is important. Each of you has value. Each of you is vital. Your location is immaterial, worldwide, you are each and every one of you important. Stay safe, use your voice to represent your beliefs, and I care about each and every one of you. Goodnight…


Title: A deep infrared view of the Orion Nebula from HAWK-I

Photo Credit: ESO/H. Drass et al.