I rang in the new year at my “day” job, observing distant galaxies at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope with a spectrograph called Hydra. This is a device that allows us to study the light from up to 100 objects spread across the sky at one time. A robot places fibers on a plate matching precisely with objects on the sky. When the robot works well, it’s an amazing process to watch. When the robot malfunctions, I have to intervene to make sure the machine doesn’t break or twist the fibers.
Unfortunately, the robot was not working well this week, meaning I had to intervene a lot, especially on the first night of the new year, making my job feel a little like one of the Labors of Hercules. The next night, they discovered a loose wire, and I gather the instrument is once again working well.
I’m hopeful the rest of the year won’t require such Herculean efforts, but I do have a series of labors to tackle, which will produce some great adventures for you, dear readers. First off, today I’ll be sending Tales of the Talisman volume 9, issue 2 to the printer. I will be moving on immediately to laying out volume 9, issue 3 (you can see the cover to the left) and sending the volume 9, issue 4 stories to the artists for illustration. This should bring the magazine more-or-less back on schedule.
What’s more, Tales of the Talisman is once again open to submissions. I already have a good stack of material to read, but more stories are always welcome! If you’d like to submit, please visit our guidelines page at www.talesofthetalisman.com/gl.html for details. Almost all of the submissions have been doing an excellent job of following the guidelines well. Although, a couple of people clearly don’t feel they need to bother with guidelines. I guess those are stories I don’t need to bother with either.
At the end of this month, the Full-Throttle Space Tales anthologies published by Flying Pen Press will be going out of print. If you want to get copies of the first editions, this is a good time to do so. They’re available at amazon.com – the link should take you to the search results. I plan to contact the authors in my anthologies Space Pirates and Space Horrors, and if they agree, I plan to bring out new editions through Hadrosaur Productions. What’s more, I’ve been talking to some of the other editors and there seems to be interest in bringing out other volumes from the series as well. It’s still too early to discuss details, but I am starting to brainstorm some crowdfunding opportunities. Stay tuned.
In addition to these labors, I’m also proceeding with my own writing. I’m about 20,000 words into a new horror novel entitled The Astronomer’s Crypt. Tentative plans are for this novel to be available around Halloween this year. A new edition of my novel Owl Dance will be out from Sky Warrior publishing this year, along with its sequel Lightning Wolves. I also need to finish the third novel in that series, The Brazen Shark. Lots to do this year and that’s just in the writing world! So time to get cracking.