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
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.
Title: COSMIC REEF
Courtesy: NASA, ESA and STScI