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A different time, a different world – or so it seemed to me. 

On my mind today are the memories of those we lost and those who have been lost since; casualties both of  war and the ravages of time and the human condition.

Thanks, most heart-felt, to those who serve still… and prayers for safety for those who willingly place themselves in harms way so that we are not.

Thank You, from one who proudly served.

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Burnham Edgar Neal died this past Thursday at his home in Mattoon Illinois.

Burnham would have celebrated his ninetieth birthday next month.

He was a philanthropist, a humanitarian and a businessman.  More importantly, he was a good man who cared about people.

To me, first and foremost he was a father. A man who loved and cared for his wife Nancy (who passed away in December of 2006), his daughter Melissa (my partner in life), his two grandsons Sean and David, his family and friends… and his dog Fred, who died next to him.

Melissa and I are busy trying to write an obituary for her father , but taking a lifetime of accomplishments and love and putting it into a few column inches is hard; to try to say so much with so few words seems somehow inadequate.

For now and for always; We love you, Burnham, and we will miss you.

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and… (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading.

It is the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over one hundred countries all over the world.

This is the Fifteenth year there’s been a World Book Day.

Tomorrow, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading.

Very loudly and very happily.

The primary goal of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

If you don’t have children of your own, you can be a volunteer reader at your local public library, or volunteer to buy a book for child in need.

Find out more about this important and wonderful programme here.

I am sad to report that Pelican Publishing Company publisher DrMilburn Calhoun passed away yesterday at the age of  81.

Calhoun’s literary career began when he founded Bayou Books, a rare books shop. In 1970, he and family members acquired Pelican Publishing Company, a small New Orleans book publishing company.

Under his leadership, the Pelican backlist has grown to more than 2,500 titles and maintains an international presence in the industry.

Pelican’s titles focus on regional culture, food, music and architecture.

In 1973, at the threshold of the national interest in Cajun culture, Pelican published “A Cajun Night Before Christmas,” a retelling of Clement Clarke Moore’s Christmas poem in a Cajun dialect and setting.The book was a minor phenomenon. It spun off a continuing series of children’s titles and launched Pelican’s children’s book division.

Dr. Calhoun was a graduate of the LSU School of Medicine.

A flash from my own past.

A scene from not all that long ago and yet it seems several lifetimes. Yet I find I can without thought bring this and many similar images to mind without having to close my eyes. I can still smell the stink of kerosene, JP4, WD40 and Carbon Tetrachloride and feel the hundreds of tiny vibrations that rippled through my body each time we took to the air.

My body remembers the aches from seemingly endless hours strapped into those ejection seats, my mind waring between praying I’d never have to pull that handle while at the same time praying the damn thing would work if I needed it to, and being thankful for a crew-chief who gave a damn about the airplane around us. 

Today is Veterans Day, a day we take to pause and remember those who went before us, to thank those who served with us, and to say Thank You to those who serve now.

Regardless of which branch of the armed forces you served in or currently serve, I wish you all safe skies, fair winds and following seas, and may we truly have peace on earth and goodwill to all.

The Outer Alliance is a group of SF/F writers who have come together as allies for the advocacy of LGBT issues in literature. Made up of individuals of all walks of life, our goal is to educate, support, and celebrate LGBT contributions in the science-fiction and fantasy genres.

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