Tag Archives: writing

Space Operatic (and other things)

As November draws to a close, I’m wondering what happened to June. Seriously. Life has moved at breakneck speed for the past half year. Here’s the short list:

  • Starting a new day job.
  • A vacation in Denver, including excursions into the Rockies and a drive to the summit of Mt. Evans.
  • Selling the house we called home for the past 24 years.
  • Downsizing to a new home, with the attendant divesting, investing, moving, and reorganizing.
  • Closing our publishing imprints One Voice Press and Serpent Cliff.
  • Creating a new imprint, Red Tales.
  • Trying to find time to write.

The last has been a challenge, given how crowded the days have been. I published rather less on Medium, made zero progress on Howard County Mystery #4, and completely failed to move Space Operatic to publication, as I’d promised in my last post back in March.

Yeah, March. I haven’t been posting here much, either.

The good news is, things are starting to free up just a little. My short story “Hot Ice” did well in the NYC Flash Fiction Challenge, placing fifth in my group of 30 entrants. I’ve kick-started HCM #4 (I’ll let you know the title once I figure it out myself), and here’s the big news:

Space Operatic will be released March, 2020.

This is, of course, God willing. Kathleen will tackle final editing, typesetting, and layout starting in January. The cover reveal will likely be end of January, beginning of February. You can read a possible cover blurb in my last post.

Space Operatic is a humorous science fiction tale featuring grand opera, corporate greed, rebellious miners, bloodthirsty mercenaries, and plenty of unforeseen consequences, all on the outer fringes of our solar system. Here’s a small sampling:


Liwanu eyeballed Pauli as a disappointed teacher might a daft student. “Space Operatic is here to raise morale, not make commercials.”

“They’re here to sell tickets,” Worthington snapped. “Where’s the facilities manager? What am I doing here, anyway?”

“You were invited.” The Culture Minister offered him a grim smile, as though she thoroughly enjoyed watching him writhe under torture. Which, he knew, she did.

“No kidding.”

“Didn’t raise his morale,” muttered Liwanu’s appointments secretary, a plump fellow with a face bearing an odd resemblance to a manatee’s. Liwanu smacked him on the arm, a rebuke he took with amazing aplomb. “Hey!”

Pauli drew himself up to his full height, which wasn’t impressive but probably made him feel vaguely assertive. “We could use them. That Macaroni fellow—”

“Maccarone,” Liwanu corrected.

“—would make a great spokesman.”

“At least Nabucco had an escape door,” Worthington grumped. He had no use for an opera company or the owner thereof, no matter how charismatic. What he really needed was one more body on the board of directors, a loyal sidekick who would unhesitatingly follow his lead, a yes-man too stupid or too desperate to question him. He wasn’t going to find such a stooge standing around here.

Liwanu looked out the window and up into the darkness. She pointed. A pinprick light had appeared in the sky: the transport beginning a cautious descent in the feeble gravity. It brightened with almost imperceptible leisure. “Forget Maccarone,” she told Pauli. “He’s a purist. Even if he needs the money, he’d be too stupid to take it.”

Watching the light grow, unsure that it actually was growing, Worthington pondered that and thought, Hmm.

[From Space Operatic, chapter 2, © 2019 by Dale E. Lehman ]


Please help me spread the word. Let’s make March fun!

Writing on the Train

A couple of months ago, I started working in Washington, D.C.  I live in Baltimore, which is reasonably close to the nation’s capitol, but it’s still a fair commute, around 55 miles driving distance and well over an hour travel time.   That’s why I don’t drive.   I take the train.

Commuting by train doesn’t reduce the travel time, but it makes it a lot easier.  Instead of driving, I can read, write, stare out the window, or sleep.  Frequently, it’s some combination of the above.  With a book and my laptop in tow, I’m ready for anything.

At first, I wasn’t sure how well I could write on the train.  It’s not always a quiet environment, nor is it necessarily private.  I had visions of the person seated next to me reading my words as I wrote them, while people behind me chattered away to my intense distraction.  But it hasn’t turned out that way.   Commuters aren’t much interested in what the person next to them is doing, and once I start writing, I’m nearly oblivious to the noise.

Many of my fellow passengers, in fact, are plugged into their cell phones, listening to music.  Many others read, either from books or tablets or e-readers.  (Book readers like myself seem to be in the minority, but we are still a large minority.   Print isn’t dead yet–not by a long shot!)  Others close their eyes, possibly to sleep, possibly to shut out the world.

In this environment, I can get sufficiently lost in writing that the journey seems far shorter than it is.  Nor, it seems, am I the only one.  Just yesterday, a young fellow sitting next to me opened up his laptop and began writing.  Although I didn’t read over his shoulder, I couldn’t help but notice his fingers flying almost nonstop until just before we arrived at Penn Station in Baltimore, where he closed up shop and debarked.  Whether for work or school or a project of his own, he’d written an impressive quantity during the ride.

We both had discovered the same thing: writing is a great way to commute!