Hello and welcome to the Double-sized December/January Holiday issue of Aphelion!
This is the final issue of 2016, the final issue of Aphelion's 19th
year. With our return in February of 2017, Aphelion will be 20 years
old. In the past two decades, we've managed to bring you, our readers,
some of the best early works of 200-odd amateur writers who went on to
become paid professional writers. We've brought you smiles and tears
and shivers of delight from stories ranging over many genres of
fiction. You came to us from over 100 countries, several millions of
readers from all over the world, and some of you never stopped coming
back. Month after month the editorial staff work with our submitting
writers. The staff teach the writers the tips and tricks and skills
needed to submit their work to the many paying publishers who look for
We never ask the readers or the writers to pay any fees or buy
memberships. We never run advertisements. We provide the Forums section
for readers and writers to comment on the stories we publish.
Memberships in the Forums are free. Commenting in the Forums helps the
writers learn even more, and even faster. So please do join in and post
your comments on the various stories we have for you each month.
For aspiring writers, we welcome submissions, and each editor is
dedicated to helping you become the best writer you can be. The e-mail
addresses for submissions always end with @aphelion-webzine.com and
each section editor receives your submissions directly into their
personal e-mails. The sections are:
Short stories got to shorts, longer stories go to serials, poetry to
poetry, anything the Features Editor could use goes to features, Mare
Inebrium stories go to mare, and anything sent to editor always comes
straight to me.
People have given us nicknames, over the years. The staff has been
called The Editorial Mafia, the writers became The Usual Suspects, but
no one seems to have a catchy nickname for me. I was on a discussion
panel on Electronic and Small Press Publishing
at a convention several years ago. Most of the other panelists were
representatives of Big Name pro publishers, or pro editors, and then
there was me. The audience was roughly a hundred people, a mix of pro
writers, fans, and amateur writers. I sat quietly, waiting my turn,
while the editors and pros gave their opinions on the state of internet
and small press publishing, and what a valuable thing that was to them
because of the new writers they had discovered VIA those outlets. Once
they had all had a turn at the microphone, the panel moderator turned
to me and said, You've been very quiet. Could you tell everyone who you are and why you were asked to be on this panel?
The moderator knew exactly who I was, and why I'd been requested to be
seated with such august elites of the publishing industry. I believe
she was pranking them, just a little. I took a deep breath, looked at
my fellow panelists, then looked out at the audience.
My name is Dan Hollifield, I said. I
run Aphelion Webzine. Aphelion is what you might call a permanent,
floating, writer's workshop. It first went online on January 27th
of 1997. Since then, we've helped almost 100 writers learn the skills
to turn pro. The editorial staff work with the writers, helping them
polish and revise their work, until they are ready to send submissions
to YOU GUYS! Let me try a little experiment, if you will. I looked out at the audience again, and asked them a question. How many of you folks are, or have once been, Aphelion writers? Anybody?
Roughly 20% of the audience raised their hands. Six of them were pro writers. I looked back at my fellow panelists and grinned. I published THEIR first works, I said, waving my hand at the Aphelion folks in the audience. I'm
the guy that gave these people their first shot at seeing their stories
find readers. Aphelion helped them find their first fans. Aphelion
helped them learn their chops so that when they submitted their work to
you, they knew the rules, followed your submission guidelines, and made
your editors look forward to seeing their repeat submissions. My
editors worked with them to become the best they can be, and then they
know the ropes about submitting their work to you, too. When one of
your editors picks up a story out of your slush pile and sees that
these people were previously published in Aphelion, they know RIGHT
THEN the story is going to be worth reading, even if it isn't the kind
of story you are looking for in your particular market, your editors
will know that it's going to be a GOOD story!
Not only did I get applause, but three people came up to me after
the panel and asked about submitting to Aphelion. I gave them my
business card, told them to e-mail the staff, and some of them may have
done so. I don't know. I never know. Each editor on the Aphelion staff
rules their section. I don't micro-manage.
Aphelion is a huge extended family. I am proud of every writer and
every staff member we have ever had. I'm convinced that our readers are
the best, pickiest, and most highly entertained people on the planet.
Go forth, and ROCK the world! Y'all are the best!
Now I'd better shut up and let you get to reading. You've got a lot to do until next we meet!
First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us
Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine.
As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very
useful. Given our different
locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss
production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us
using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room
My first collection of Mare Inebrium spaceport bar short stories was
published in February by Dark Oak Press. It is available in both Kindle
an Nook e-book formats, paperback, and hardback. I also that three
albums of instrumental music out through the Create Space self-publishing
website. If you like, you can click on the photo or the link below to
fin all the info you would need to purchase my book in your preferred
format, or an e-book of Flash of Aphelion, buy a CD of my music, or
listen to tracks off of the albums on my Bandcamp website. Enjoy!
ON THE COVER
called this picture "Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520," but we think it
looks more like a cross between Christmas tree in space and "The Lights
of Zetar" from Star Trek TOS. Whatever you might call it, we think it's
cool that this is something really out there in the universe.
Photo Credit: NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee (University of California, Davis), and A. Mahdavi (San Francisco State University).