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Aphelion: The Webzine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Issue 143, Volume 14 -- May 2010

Editorial

Cover art

Great news! This has been in the works for a while, but no one was talking about it much for fear that it might not come to fruition. Well, it has finally happened, my friends:

Aphelion Webzine has published its first anthology, via Lulu.com

While my wife and I were at AnachroCon 2 the first weekend of this month, an anthology of flash fiction short stories came out that contains some of the best entries to our monthly Flash Fiction competitions. The book is is called "Flash of Aphelion" and is a Print-On-Demand at Lulu.com and it was edited by our very own Nate Kailhofer. This volume was Nate's brainchild, he did most of the work necessary to make this happen, and he has overcome many obstacles that could have stopped this production in its tracks. Nate deserves a huge round of applause for this undertaking.

Lulu has a good reputation among the writers I know who have used it for their small, specialized projects. This collection falls under the heading of "specialized" quite well. The nice thing about Print-On-Demand is that no one gets stuck with a warehouse full of unsold copies of the book. No, a copy is printed, bound, and shipped only after someone orders it. I've ordered one copy for myself already, and will be getting another one for my Mom and Dad later on. Each month, if the sales have built up to a specific level, Lulu.com sends out a payment to each writer.

That's right, a book exclusively featuring Aphelion writers, for which the writers get paid (a small sum, 10¢) for every copy sold. That's the share for each writer in the collection; one dime per story. I have one story, others have three or four, others have more. There are 70 stories in the book, 236 pages, by 17 writers. It is split up into chapters according to which month's competition for which it was written. My story is in the chapter for the Steampunk-themed competition. Warning: there is only one chapter of steampunk stories, not a whole book of them. OK, a dime per story isn't much but according to the pro writers I asked it does count as a professional sale. That means that several of us who contributed have just made their First Professional Sale! I've been squeeing since I heard the book was in development, but couldn't tell anyone for fear that the deal might fall through. Well, it didn't fall through, Nate has checked the quality of the printing, and it is now available in 6x9 paperback for $18.72 as well as e-book format for $10.99. There will probably be a hardback edition added later. Here is the link to the book's page at Lulu: Flash of Aphelion edited by Nathan Kailhofer.

Thank you for all the hard work, Nate!

In related news, Lyn and I seem to have made a positive impression on the folks who run the steampunk convention in Atlanta, AnachroCon. Lyn has been asked to host a Tea Party at next year's convention. Not the political kind, the hot tea that one drinks. As some of you might already know, in Great Brittan tea is a serious matter. The entire country comes to a halt for the afternoon cuppa. Lyn has long been familiar with the ins and outs of this practice. So the convention chairman personally asked her to undertake a panel devoted to this custom. She's already hard at work on the logistics of providing tea and traditional munchies for a party of 30, or more. It should be a blast!

As for myself, this year I was asked to be on a panel on Steampunk Superheroes. The discussion centered upon books, movies, graphic novels, and so on- Those which used steampunk elements and themes. Also included was a mention of people who make costumes of comic book heroes, but with a unique steampunk flair. The Con Chairman was on the panel, with the cowl and shoulder pieces for his steampunk Batman outfit. Sitting next to him was yours truly, dressed in an outfit that would look natural on a Zorro or Nightshade, if they had been written by steampunk authors. I was asked to explain the details and the idea behind my outfit. Once the crowd learned that I was dressed as a character from my own novel-in-progress, they demanded more information. In fact, they were delighted to hear that I was working on a story that might see print in the future. They were even more delighted to hear the breakdown of how I actually go about writing, the world-building, the crazy little details that I go to in order to add depth and development to my characters. In short, once I started talking about the novel, no one would let me shut up. I think that if I'd had copies of the finished book with me, I could have sold one to everyone attending the panel discussion- Right then and there. The Con Chair was so impressed that he asked me to come back next year and host a panel of my own: "An Hour With Dan Hollifield." I'll also be on another panel or two on other subjects that are near and dear to my personal interests. Rest assured that Aphelion will continue to loom large in anything I talk about!

Which brings me to the real subject of this little editorial: What writers do to promote their work. I've seen it online, I've seen it at conventions, and I've discussed it with pro writers. Friends, writing a book is only part of getting it into the hands of readers. There is a huge amount of self-promotion involved after the book is sold to a publisher. Writers go to Cons to talk about "the book." They do radio and Internet interviews. They go to bookstores and give readings. They sign autographs. Some blog about it online in various forums. Sometimes a newspaper or magazine interview is asked for by print publishers in various media. The publisher lines up publicity appearances, the writer does too. In short, lots of time gets taken up getting the word out that "the book" exists and is available for purchase. That equals a lot of work, sometimes a lot of travel, and a lot of talking. The job doesn't stop when the final draft goes to the publisher. No indeed, shameless self promotion is a respected fraction of making a writer successful. Getting the word out is a big deal, especially for those writers that are just starting out- Those who have just a few, or even just one book published. Part of the marketing is getting out there and promoting "the book." Seanan can tell you more about this than I can. She's involved with it right now. Her insights have appeared in our Features section in her articles on writing. If you haven't read them already, you owe it to yourself to do so as soon as possible. I can promise you that you will learn a lot.

Now I'd probably better shut up and let you get to reading the new issue. There are loads of great stuff on tap this month. Don't skip a single thing. You never know what might turn out to be useful in the future. And please, when you're done, go to the Forums and make some comments. Remember, comments and critiques of the stories is a big part of what Aphelion is all about. Anything and everything that you say about a story can help the writer become better.

Dan

Serials & Long Fiction

Two Stone Trolls and a Prince
By Glenn Hackney
A sequel to "A Shadow in the Hills." While battling the stone trolls who killed his family, Liam becomes lost underground, where he encounters a strange new race of creatures. Enemies turn to allies as Liam is sent on a mission that will determine the fate of his captors.

The Essential Nightwatch

Our review of pivotal episodes from the Nightwatch series continues with Part 2 of "The Kindness of Strangers", in which Simon must prevent drastic changes to the course of history...

Nightwatch: The Kindness of Strangers (Part Two)
By Jeff Williams
Time is changing. There's a timequake coming, something so drastic that all Simon knows of the future could be changed, and he is the only one who can prevent any further alterations from happening. If only he can find what is causing them...

And "Tinsel Rime", in which everything Simon thought he knew about Maria, his long-lost wife, is called into question.

Nightwatch: Tinsel Rime
By N. J. Kailhofer
The ghosts of Simon's past revisit him in this Christmas future.

Short Stories

The Cassandra Connection
By E. S. Strout
When they removed the cancerous mass from Claire Rowland's brain, the doctors feared that she might lose memory, speech, mobility... they never imagined what she might gain.

A Lifetime of Memories
By Lester Curtis
Paul Beaman took almost everything from Lisa Willet: her money, and the memories that had made her who she was. But with the help of a friend, Lisa would make things right.

Murder at the Space Olympics
By Mike Wilson
2052 - the first Space Olympics, with new events tailored to hard vacuum and freefall conditions. Unfortunately, some things that should have stayed earthbound had tagged along into orbit.

A Lack of Power
By K. W. Ramsey
John was, to be honest, a mouse of a man, scurrying fearfully to avoid the roving gangs, tolerating his boss's abuse without complaint. But even mice have teeth and tempers...

Bleeding Metal
By John Carrick
Dr. Andrew Fox had a secret -- an unauthorized invention that gave him an edge over his competitors. The penalty, if he was discovered, would be death.

Coffee With The Last Man On Earth
By George Potter
Eric's visits were the highlight of Mary Ellen's day. He was young, and charming, and handsome, and that more than made up for his claims of being from a million years in the future.

The Ultimate Experiment
By Walt Trizna
Dr. Donald Ball had an unusual theory about the nature of one of the eleven theoretical dimensions associated with string theory. To test it, he needed a volunteer -- a dying volunteer.

The Magic of the Quooda
By J. Davidson Hero
Frizzle was a shaman and healer... but not a wizard. He would have to believe in magic to be a wizard. But he had to rely on the supposedly magical properties of quooda seeds to save his village from the monstrous gant.

Time of the Season
By Christopher Pender
The little group of college students thought they had escaped the plague that seemed to be killing whole cities. But one by one, they were dying...

The Greenhouse
By Thomas Goulding
Joseph Brooke valued the well-being of Beatrice above all else -- certainly more than he valued the lives of the women he introduced to her.

Results of Forum Flash Challenges for April 2010

The April 2010 Flash Challenge asked authors to "fill in the blanks", using specific instances of four "standard" elements in a medieval fantasy setting. Click HERE to read the winning story, "Treasure (Box) Hunt", by Sergio Palumbo, and five more tales of questy goodness... after checking out our other short and long fiction, poetry, the Editorial, etc., etc.

Poetry and Filk Music

Awareness
by Richard Tornello

Afterlife
by J B Hogan

By the Numbers
by Chrissa Sandlin

Coney Island Feast
by Mike Berger

Deneb
by Bob Brill

Monster
by Heather Kuehl

Parting Red Curtains
by Richard H Fay

Shadow Armour
by Robert William Shmigelsky

Speak Easy My Friend
by Richard Tornello

The Lingering Scent
by Bruce Whealton

Them
by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Features

Thoughts on Writing #20: Boundaries
By Seanan McGuire
In an ongoing series, Seanan McGuire takes apart the engine of writing to find out how it works, and offers her insights into how to put it back together again.

Billy Bat
By McCamy Taylor
McCamy Taylor takes a look at Billy Bat, the latest offering from Eisner-award nominated Naoki Urasawa.

Off the Shelf: Feed
By Larissa March
Larissa March spends some time with Mira Grant's dystopian science-fiction zombie political thriller, Feed.

Conventional Wisdom: AnachroCon 2010
By Dan Hollifield
Our fearless leader spends a weekend traveling back to a time that never was, at Atlanta's second-annual steampunk convention.


Aphelion Webzine is © 1997-2013 by Dan L. Hollifield