Hello, and welcome to Aphelion Webzine!
There's a new Shared Universe project underway at Aphelion. After a long delay, I finally got off my butt and wrote up Bill Warren's suggestions for the new series into a web page. Everything is still in development, but will proceed apace once folks have had time to look it over and come up with stories. As yet, there aren't any continuing characters. Bill has given us the hardware, the vision, the playground equipment. It's up to us to decide how we'd like to play. I will assume the duties of series editor for it, at least temporarily. For now, send submissions and suggestions to me. Please include the phrase "BWSU" in any e-mails to me about it, at least for now. Once we get rolling, a proper title will suggest itself. Look in the Nav Bar on the left of your screen and click on the "Series" button to get to the link for the tiny bit that's been done so far. Let's work together on this and do something Bill will enjoy seeing.
This is the yearly double issue, so there are more stories and poetry to read to tide you over until the February "Best Of" issue comes out. I think that Nate might be planning to have a December and a January Flash Fiction contest in our Forums to keep you busy. The November contest was fun for me, even though I didn't win. I had a lot of fun writing my entry, and even more reading all the contest entries and voting for my favorites. If you haven't checked out these contests, click on over to our Forum and take a look. You don't have to join to read or vote, only to post comments or enter the contests. I invite every Aphelion reader to go check it out. You might find something you like.
Following up on last month's editorial, reporting the ups and downs of life over the year of 2007... Events continue to bring me both joy and dispair. Some things are looking up, while others are real downers. But they seem to even out, in the long run. In fact, the downers are actually not as bad as they seem, and the ups are actually better than I feel like they are. Coping with my injuries is beginning to have an effect on my outlook, but that'll improve as my condition gets closer to my pre-injury state. I try not to let the slow recovery get me down. I am getting better. I'm just not getting better as fast as I'd like.
The good news: My wife and I will soon have the funds to buy a replacement vehicle. Paperwork has been filed for a mortgage re-finance loan that will allow us to buy something in the 2005 - 2006 range of automobiles. The end result will be a new car for us, and a smaller house payment per month. While it is true that I won't have the house paid for in 2013 AD, The smaller per-month payment means that we'll be in better financial condition overall. We'll even be better able to save more money to use for paying on the mortgage so as to get it paid off ahead of the new schedule. Lyn and I are agreed in this, so we're totally re-doing our proposed budget for after I'm allowed to go back to work. The plan is to use the extra monthly cash, plus my yearly IRS refunds and Certain-Teed bonus checks to pay on the loan's principle. That'll get the mortgage paid off ahead of schedule. How far ahead will depend on what the future holds.
Speaking of what the future holds: My wife let slip what one of my Christmas surprizes will be. Her son Anthony will be coming to visit for a week or so during his college break in December. Both of her daughters have visited this year - Michelle and Judith were here during late October to Early November and helped celebrate my 50th birthday. Michelle has been visiting a couple of times a year, but this year was the first time that I got to meet Judith. My step-son Shaun, who lives nearby, dropped in one afternoon while the girls were here. They were delighted to meet their newest brother. With Anthony's visit, I will have gotten to meet all three of Lyn's wonderful children. They've already made me feel welcome and accepted into their hearts. I feel like a real father, not just a step-father. These kids are just totally made of awesome!
Other good news: Lyn's oldest daughter, Michelle, will be moving here to Georgia shortly after New Years. She'll live with us for a short while. Sometime in mid-January I'll be taking my first flight on an airliner to go out to New Mexico and help her U-Haul all of her stuff here. I've been in small airplanes before, but never on a big one! The time she'll spend with us will be brief, however. After only a short delay, she'll be getting married! Please join us in hoping she and Marc live happily ever after. Of course, they haven't decided where they'll be setting up house, but North or South Carolina seem to the the two front-running states. They'll be much closer to us than they would be if Marc had moved to New Mexico to be with Michelle.
Still other good news: I've been asked to be on a panel on e-publishing, e-zines, and small press publishing at the 2008 LibertyCon convention! Lyn and I will be driving to Chattaooga, Tennessee for the weekend of July 11th-13th. It looks like a great weekend getaway for us. Additionally, we'll be celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary on July 14th and may drive on up to the Knoxville area for a family reunion. The reunion's scheduling is still being debated by the family, but it'll be set by the time the convention draws nigh.
The bad news? Not worth bothering with making a list, really. Just talking about the good things that have already happened and the good things yet to come has made the perils and pitfalls of the past year seem easier to bear. I feel far better than I did when I first started typing this editorial. Life really *is* just what you make of it. So I'll get back to making lemonade out of all these lemons... At this rate, Lyn and I will be able to sell enough lemonade to float a cruise ship!
This December/January issue of Aphelion is marking a transition from 2007 to 2008. For me it marks moving from "Interesting Times" to (hopefully) great times. From Aphelion's 10th year online into our 11th year. From past to future, we tread along a path full of new things and favorite things from our past. The occasional misfortune only serves to amplify the joy given by each wonderful moment along the way. Life really is good. We just need to keep sight of that. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's unhappy, but neither of those lasts forever.
I'd like to wish to all of you the happiest of holidays, however you celebrate them. May your new year be filled with happiness and fulfillment. May each day be filled with the joy of living. And when bad times come, always remember that there will be good times to follow. The past is a memory, the future a promise, and the present is just that. A present. Have fun unwrapping yours!
I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading material...