Mail Call Spotlight

Editor Christine Stoner reveals what she looks for in mail-in submissions.

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by Pixabay/Mishelved

Picture it, San Antonio, Texas, decades ago – a barely legal airman has arrived at boot camp with one duffel bag and no clue what to expect during the next seven weeks of life. The airman was me, and upon exiting the bus onto the base, I quickly learned that to survive this experience the best course of action was to fly low under the radar and remain as unnoticed as possible by my TIs (training instructors).

Cut to daily mail call. For those of you who haven’t been to boot camp, let me set the scene. It’s a wonderful/terrifying part of your day. Wonderful because you long for those letters from friends and family to reconnect you with normal life. Terrifying because you must precisely march to the front of a group, after your name is called, to accept each individual letter (separately) from the TI. This is where my plan to fly under the radar went straight out the window.

You see, my mother worked for the post office at that time, and she would routinely use her breaks and lunch to write a quick note or card and send it my way, sometimes several a day. She wasn’t the only one sending regular correspondence. I became known as the “Mail Lady” by fellow Airmen, and rarely a day went by that I didn’t have to march to the front during mail call. On one particularly embarrassing day, I marched to the front seven different times, to my TI’s extreme irritation. Needless to say, the TI learned my name real fast, unfortunately.

I tell you this because, oh, how the tables have turned! Unlike my days at boot camp, incoming mail brings me utter and complete joy when it comes from gas engine enthusiasts. The more mail the better, and I don’t have the mandatory spotlight march to receive it (although I would, if that’s what was asked of me).

I often get questions from readers about how to contribute to Gas Engine Magazine. Here are a few things to think about before sending potential content my way:

Length – This is very flexible. If an article is longer, let’s say over 3,000 words, I may trim it down and eliminate the extra editorial verbiage. If it’s informative and the length is necessary, I may run it as a multi-part series. If you send me a few sentences with an excellent photo, I’ll probably run it in Flywheel Forum. Pieces that are shorter (under 1,000 words) with a few photos are great as well. Send them and I’ll let you know what I think.

Format – My preferred method of receiving files is digitally. You can attach a text file to an email, that’s easiest for you, but I have had discs sent via snail-mail and that works too. If you have a lot of large files and cannot figure out how to attach them, email me first and I’ll help you send them my way. I enjoy receiving handwritten letters, but please keep in mind they need to be legible so I can retype them. Make sure to include your telephone number in case I need help deciphering.

Photos – When sending photos, it’s important to include a caption or description and to clearly identify what is in each photo. Writing on the back of physical photos can be problematic as it can show through when scanned. Additionally, when you send lots of up-close photos of a project, don’t forget to get a great shot of the full engine without a lot of garage debris around it. If it’s high quality and well taken it may even make the cover.

Thank you for contributing in advance. Now get to writing!

Christine Stoner

Gas Engine Magazine
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