The Game of Life (and Work)

After the turbulence of the past few years, I’ve decided that 2018 will be, if nothing else, the year of organization. That is a broad category that can apply to many things, but for the purposes of this blog, I’m going to focus on the concept of organization by means of providing structure to my schedule…particularly as it relates to time spent with my daughter.

This late fall/early winter has been a watershed period for my little family. The relationship between Nola and John has solidified into that of true father-daughter, and watching the positive impact on Nola has made all the hard choices I’ve had to make since she was born worth it. There’s a lot more behind that statement, but it would take a book to explain it all.

One of the many positive aspects of this new bonding, though, is that Nola wants more “family” time as opposed to “just Mommy” time. As such, we’ve instituted game night.

One of the first games we started playing was Clue. John and I both loved this game as kids and Nola thinks it’s great fun now. (It’s so cute how she will purposely show us any character card that represents the character we’re playing at the time to make sure everyone knows we’d never hurt anybody.)

They’ve changed Clue up a bit since the old days (Mrs. White is out and Dr. Orchid is in)—changing a bit with the times, I suppose. Read more about that here.

I can certainly relate with changing up a classic to more accurately reflect the times. Because we’ve just done that here at WMG to launch a new series of workshops—the Pop-Up Weekender Workshops—which are bringing back a very popular workshop of old—The Game—but with a new twist.

I experienced The Game (led by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch) in a workshop long before I took the helm of WMG. Back then, of course, it focused on how to make a living at traditional publishing. I remember how much fun it was. Like a game of Life mixed with real-world Dungeons & Dragons—but for authors.

Kris and Dean stopped offering The Game years ago, but I never stopped thinking about how awesome that concept was. So, when we were brainstorming new workshop concepts, I said to Dean and Kris: “I really wish there was a way we could bring back The Game.” Well, the timing must have been right, because Dean and Kris figured out a way to do it, but this time as The Indie Game, in which you role-play your way through ten years of decisions as an indie author.

That’s just one of the Weekender Workshops being offered (the first version of The Indie Game appears in April), with new topics popping up each month, starting in February.

For more information or to sign up, click here.

The cost of these workshops is $225 and space is very limited, so don’t roll the dice that they’ll have room if you wait.

As for me, I’ve got a murder suspect to figure out.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.

This Reading Comes Highly Recommended

Since long before reviewing a product was as simple as typing in a few words on our phones, word-of-mouth has been considered the absolute best way to sell something. Think about it: when someone you trust and respect suggests you try something, you seriously consider doing just that. Food, travel, cleaning products, shoes, books…you name it.

Look at the success of Instant Pot. I see posts all over Facebook from friends singing the versatile cooking device’s praises. I’ve even considered buying one even though I have a similar brand sitting in my cabinet as-yet unused (I bought it two years ago). Yet, every time I see the cult of Instant Pot posting, I think it’s something I might need. (Don’t worry, sanity prevails…but I do need to try that thing I already have…)

When it comes to books, word-of-mouth has great power, too. Oprah’s Book Club makes books an overnight success. Book reviewers helped guide readers’ and book store purchases. And one of the best tools in the business is the Recommended Reading List.

I love seeing WMG stories on such reading lists. And when the list is compiled by a science fiction and fantasy magazine with 24 years of history, it’s especially humbling.

Enter the Tangent Online 2017 Recommended Reading List, which features ten Fiction River stories, from six different volumes. The stories are ranked as follows, according to Tangent Online: “As is our custom, there are four sections to each length category. Those making the list in the short story, novelette, and novella lengths but having no stars, and those with either one, two, or three stars, according to how well the reviewer or reviewers valued a particular story.”

You can see the entire list here, but the Fiction River stories and their respective categories are:

Short Stories
“The Four Thirty-Five” by Annie Reed (Fiction River: Editor’s Choice)
“Dust to Dust” by Annie Reed (Fiction River: Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline)
“Legs” by Steven Mohan, Jr. (Fiction River: Feel the Fear)
“The Sound of Salvation” by Leslie Claire Walker (Fiction River: No Humans Allowed)
“We, the Ocean” by Alexandra Brandt (Fiction River: No Humans Allowed)
“The Legend of Anlahn” by Eric Kent Edstrom (Fiction River: No Humans Allowed)

Short Stories One Star
“Killing Spree” by Brigid Collins (Fiction River: Tavern Tales)
“The Glass Girl” by Leah Cutter (Fiction River: Editor’s Choice)

Short Stories Two Stars
“The Hot Eagle Roadhouse” by Chuck Heintzelman (Fiction River: Tavern Tales)
“Trees” by Diana Benedict (Fiction River: Editor’s Choice)
“Bad Dates Bite” by Kerrie L. Hughes (Fiction River: Editor’s Choice)

Short Stories Three Stars
“The First Ingredient” by Eric Kent Edstrom (Fiction River: Tavern Tales)
“A Ballad of Osmosis McGuire” by Travis Heermann (Fiction River: Superpowers)

So, if you missed any of these stories, or their respective volumes, be sure to check them out. And you don’t just need to take my recommendation on that <grin>.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.

2017 Year in Review

Happy New Year! As we begin 2018, I thought we’d say goodbye to 2017 with a look back at the busy year we had here at WMG and highlight a few of my favorite projects.

We published almost 60 new titles in 2017. Some of these were part of one of our many popular fiction series, including the Seeders Universe (Starburst), Thunder Mountain series (Tombstone Canyon and Dry Creek Crossing), Cold Poker Gang Mysteries (Ace High and Burn Card), Mary Jo Assassin (Death Takes a Diamond), and the Diving series (The Runabout).

We also launched a brand-new series by Kris Nelscott called Protectors with the self-same title. That book also saw the production of our first hardcover books (with a regular hardcover and a signed and numbered limited edition, which is only available here). I am very proud of those hardcovers. They’re beautiful books, and I’m thrilled that we’ll now be able to do more of our books in hardcover in the future. (Oh, do I have plans…)

Many of our books were featured in bundles last year, as well, from the limited-time Storybundles to the longer-term bundles on BundleRabbit. WMG also expanded its own series of bundles and boxed sets, which will remain on the shelves. These include The Star Bundle: A Seeders Universe Trilogy, The Thunder Mountain Starter Bundle, The Cold Poker Gang Starter Bundle, The Smokey Dalton Starter Bundle, The Diving Series Box Set, the Fiction River Fantasy Boxed Set, and the Retrieval Artist Anniversary Day Saga Boxed Set: Books 1-8.

We had a busy year for our magazine series, as well. We released six new volumes of Fiction River (plus the aforementioned boxed set) and two volumes of Fiction River Presents (that series’ reprint line). And we added a new (old) magazine to our lineup: Pulphouse Fiction Magazine.

Launched via Kickstarter to roaring success, Pulphouse, edited by Dean Wesley Smith, brings back a popular magazine from the late-80s, early-90s, with the same editor and the same attitude. Issue Zero featured fan-favorite reprints culled from the way-back days. Issue One launches later this month and, like each issue going forward, will feature reprint and original stories. So, stay tuned for more from Pulphouse during its inaugural year.

We have a nonfiction series, as well, called WMG Writers’ Guides, which saw two new additions this year: The Magic Bakery and Writing a Novel in Five Days While Traveling.

And, of course, our writing and publishing workshops are as popular as ever. And in 2017, we moved the online courses to Teachable, which makes creating (and taking) our online courses easier than ever. For more information on those courses, click here.

So, new series, technological advances, more book formats than ever—2017 was a great year here at WMG.

And we’ve got lots of new and exciting things in store for 2018.

Just you wait and see.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.

A Gift for the Holiday

Merry Christmas! I’m home celebrating the holiday with my wonderful little family, but I wanted to be sure to give you a gift, too. Without you, dear readers, my job wouldn’t exist and my wonderful life would look very different, indeed.

So, thank you for being part of it. And please enjoy this free holiday tale from the magical Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Click here for the link to “Nutball Season.” But be sure to do that soon, because the link expires on New Year’s Day.

And if you want another free story once you’re done with that one, head on over to Kris’ blog and read “The Taste of Miracles,” Kris’ Free Fiction for this week.

From all of us at WMG, we hope your day is filled with the love and magic befitting this holiday.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.

A Flood of Holiday Cheer

A friend of mine sent me a link last week to an awesome Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition called Jolabokaflod, or the “Christmas Book Flood.”

It seems the best Christmas gift you can give in Iceland is a book. Gifts are exchanged on Christmas Eve and Icelanders spend the rest of the evening reading.

Iceland, as it happens, also publishes the most books per capita. And the majority of the book sales fall between September and November.

Hence, the Christmas Book Flood.

Now, maybe I’m biased, but this sounds like the best Christmas tradition I’ve ever heard of and one we should adopt here immediately. (You can read more about it here.)

So, in the spirit of Jolabokaflod, have I got the bundle for you.

The Christmas Cheer Bundle on Storybundle has ten books for one low price. But it’s even better than that, really, because one of those books is an anthology, one a three-story collection, and one is a 20-story bundle all its own.

Included in the bundle are five WMG products: Melody Ridge by Dean Wesley Smith, Dressed in Holiday Style by Kristine Grayson, Fiction River: Christmas Ghosts, and two holiday short stories in the Very Merry Christmas bundle: “Jukebox Gifts” by Dean Wesley Smith and “Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Here’s a bit about the Christmas Cheer Bundle, curated by Dean Wesley Smith:

For me, great stories and Christmas Holidays go hand-in-hand. I used to buy myself books for Christmas, and Christmas vacation was always a time I got to do the most reading when I was growing up. Then when I started writing, a friend and I challenged each other to write six Christmas short stories in seven days and put them in a little chapbook for our friends as gifts. We did that every year for years, cementing in my mind that Christmas meant stories.

So when I got a chance to put a bundle of Christmas stories together, I jumped at the chance. I wanted to bring stories back to Christmas for me. And bring in the fantasy of the season.

To read more about the bundle or for purchasing options, click here. Buy it for yourself or give it to a friend (or both).

Who knows, maybe you’ll start your own book flood.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.