Aphelion Issue 283, Volume 27
May 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page
P&E Top TenP&E Top TenP&E Top TenP&E Top TenP&E Top TenP&E Top Ten

Hello and welcome to the May 2023 issue of Aphelion!

Spring is in the air, finally. As you can see from the changes in the P and E Readers Poll Awards above, their website has returned. Aphelion once again scored in the Top Ten in several categories. Thanks go out to all the readers who nominated and voted for us. That really means a lot.

I got some good news last week; Three Ravens is going ahead with the manuscripts I turned in during Lockdown. I'll have new books coming out this year! I've still got to make whatever edits are sure to be suggested before we have a final draft, of course. I don't know what or when yet. But that's normal for just being a week into the acceptance of a manuscript. It'll take a good while yet before anything reaches bookshelves. But I am so excited! 

Another thing that is exciting to me is that I now have only 7 months left before I take my 2024 vacation time and become fully retired! The plan is to work the rest of 2023, go in after New Years Day and do the paperwork for my vacation days for the entire year, then come in one final day to make sure I have all my personal gear cleaned out of my locker and laboratory. After that, full-time pensioner instead of 46-year wage-prisoner, LOL! No, seriously, I couldn't have lived this life without having that job and secure paycheck every week. Without that factory job, there would have been no Aphelion, no music made, little to no artwork created, I'd never meet my wife or raise my kids... It would have been some other life experience that led to some other, different path for me. I'd either still be a farmer, or gotten a job in an interior design firm somewhere, or followed another path I cannot now even visualize. But that's the volatile nature of life; one thing leads to another on a purely random trail of happenstance. Where you wind up is almost never where you originally set out to reach. Wow, that bordered on the philosophical!

OK, advice to writers time; Check The Submissions Guidelines To Anywhere You Want To Submit! Doesn't matter if it's Aphelion, or even which section of Aphelion, or a pro-zine, or a pro-publisher. They will almost always have differing subs guidelines. Not following an individual publication's guidelines sends the signal that even though you may be able to string words together like a pro, you haven't yet learned to follow directions. For the big leagues, that could possibly earn your submission an automatic trip to the dumpster, unread, without even a rejection slip. The best time to get into the practice of following the guidelines is when you're just starting out on your quest to become a pro writer. Get into th habit of checking the submission guidelines every time you prepare to submit something. Make it a strong, reinforced habit. Make it as normal to your writing process as using spell-check. It will serve you well. Guidelines change over the years, as well as from publication to publication. When I was starting out, for example, Most places to submit to wanted a specific font, font size, line spacing, paragraph indent, scene change indicator, chapter indicator, a specific format for the writer's contact info, a specific location for the contact info, etcetera. Some publishers use these specifications to see if a writer is willing to follow directions when given editing suggestions, or if the writer believes their deathless prose is carved in stone. Editors and Publishers tend to hang out together and talk to one another--pro and amateur, alike. If, for some reason, a writer gains a reputation for being "difficult to work with" they may also find it become harder and harder to get submissions read. Doesn't matter if the work is excellent, the perception of being someone who submits "stone-carved prose" can put limits on your market. Conversely, the easier you make the editor's job to process your manuscript, the more likely they are to remember you as a writer whose submissions bring a sigh of relief to the Editor. If an Editor, at any publication, looks forward to receiving your submissions, you develop an automatic advantage over other writers submitting to those editors. This is a thing to cultivate. A third thing you can do is to look at what else that publisher presents to the public. By that I mean, if a publisher specializes in Romance, don't send them Horror. If they are known for Hard-Science Sci-Fi, don't send them Sword And Sorcery tales. If they specialize in Urban Fantasy, don't send them Historical Romance bodice-rippers. In other words, never approach a market blindly. Do your research. It does pay off.

All that said, it's time for a change of pace.

The online streaming shows "Stupid O'clock" and "Last Man Standing" have been uploaded live to YouTube as well as several Facebook pages for over two years now. They are basically live-streaming chat shows covering a range of topics, modeled on the types of conversations people have after hours at SF&F conventions. Joe McKeel and I have archives of past shows on our own YouTube channels. Check 'em out if that sounds like something you'd enjoy I've put links in our Features section that will take you to the YouTube archives of both shows.

With all that said, it's high time I shut up and let you get to reading. 

Enjoy yourselves,





Courtesy: NASA, ESA and STScI