Publisher’s Note: A Much-Needed Escape

Ever feel like you need to escape from reality for a while? A day, a week, four years—whatever it takes. It seems like many of us feel that way right now, so what better time for some escapist fiction?

Hence, the new Escapist Bundle I’ve curated for Storybundle (my first as curator, by the way), an entertaining vacation of the written word and a bit of a new format for Storybundle.

You see, the eleven fantastic books in this bundle come from authors tied together by, among other accolades, their inclusion in a single volume of Fiction River, in this case a volume called Recycled Pulp. For those of you unfamiliar with Fiction River (if you’re new to this blog, for example), it’s an original anthology series that Adventures Fantastic calls “one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today.”

With 22 volumes published so far, Recycled Pulp proves one of the most creative volumes. Inspired by the fantastic, escapist pulp fiction of the last century, the amazing authors in this volume were tasked with creating modern escapist fiction from nothing but a pulp-inspired title. The results were fantastic, indeed.

Ten of those authors have provided books for the bundle. Like the diverse genre mix of stories Fiction River is famous for, this bundle also features a diverse genre mix of books. But they all have one very important thing in common—they are the perfect escape from everyday life.

Included in the bundle is, of course, Fiction River: Recycled Pulp, edited by John Helfers. We also have: Lisa Silverthorne’s Isabel’s Tears, a novel about a magical inn; Dayle A. Dermatis’ Waking the Witch, a gothic mystery novel with some paranormal elements and a light romance; Kelly Washington’s The Pale Waters, the first novella in a four-part epic journey; and Erica Lyon’s Hot Waters, a steamy sea adventure novel.

As a bonus, we have Rebecca Senese’s ten-story science fiction collection Tales of Possibilities; Thomas K. Carpenter’s Revolutionary Magic, a historical fantasy and the first in the Dashkova Memoirs; Annie Reed’s A Death in Cumberland, a moody police procedural; Nebula Award finalist Cat Rambo’s Neither Here Nor There, a double collection of alt-world and real world fantasy stories; New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s The War and After, five historical fantasy stories of magic and revenge; and last but not least, USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith’s The Slots of Saturn, the origin story for his fan-favorite superhero Poker Boy.

As always, at StoryBundle, you name your own price—whatever you feel the books are worth, and a portion of the proceeds goes to charity—in this case, SMART (Start Making a Reader Today). For $5, you’ll get the basic bundle of six books in any eBook format—worldwide. If you pay $14, you’ll get the five bonus books as well.

The Escapist Bundle goes live on Wednesday, February 22, and runs for three weeks only. This is cheaper than any vacation, and best of all, you get to enjoy it from wherever you are.

Now, that’s a true escape.

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

Publisher’s Note: The Joy of Un-Valentine’s Day

I’ve never been much of a romantic. I’m not sure why. I appreciate romance. My favorite movies tend to be rom-coms. I like flowers and chocolates and hearts.

But I think deep down I’m too practical for big romantic gestures. I love all the details that go into a big, fancy wedding, but I’d never pay for one myself.

And flowers on Valentine’s Day? No way. Too expensive. Pick me some wild ones or grab an inexpensive bouquet of in-season flowers on any old day for no particular reason at all. But not on Valentine’s Day. That’s just silly.

Thankfully, the wonderful man in my life who loves me more than anything feels the same way. He’ll never buy me flowers because he’d rather we appreciate them where they grow. And lucky me, we have a lovely start to a rose garden in our very own yard. So, really, he gives me the gift of flowers every day.

We also spend this time of year talking about our un-Valentine’s Day. No gifts. No flowers. We demonstrate our love for each other each and every day. So, on Valentine’s Day, we do whatever we feel like in that moment. No big plans. No pressure. Just an everyday expression of love.

Now, don’t get me wrong: If you go in for the kind of big-gesture show of romance I eschew, I say enjoy. To each their own. Some people expect that kind of thing. Some people love planning that kind of thing. Do what makes you happy. Because isn’t that what love is supposed to be about in the first place?

And since we’re talking expressing our love…here’s a little token of love from us here at WMG: From now until Sunday, download “Just Shoot Me Now: A Poker Boy Story” by Dean Wesley Smith for free here and enjoy a not-so-typical Valentine’s Day offering.

And as an added bonus, check out Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Free Fiction Monday here to read “After the Wedding,” which is part of the Happily Ever Afters Uncollected Anthology.

Here’s hoping you experience whatever expressions of love you most desire this week…even if it’s just to be left alone and enjoy some great fiction.

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

Publisher’s Note: A Shining Star of a Series

I’ve been spending a lot of time in a distant galaxy lately, which is cool because I’ve always wanted to travel in space.

It’s even cooler, because it was created by the incomparable mind of Dean Wesley Smith. Fortunately, given my busy schedule, I didn’t have to leave my desk to get there.

You see, sometimes, months or years after we’ve released books in a series, we need to go back and tie them together in a way we couldn’t have before they were written. We don’t always know—because the author doesn’t always know, especially when he or she writes into the dark—that we’re publishing a trilogy, for example. Heck, sometimes we don’t even know it’s a series until later.

And sometimes, we’re just waiting to see where it goes.

Dean’s Seeders Universe is one such series. The universe is so vast, that with each new book, we look at the series as a whole to see where it fits. Sometimes, it’s obvious. Sometimes not.

But books four through eight in the series marked a very clear direction. The first three are a trilogy: Star Mist, Star Rain and Star Fall. And the latest, Starburst, expands the universe even further.

So, we’re in the process of bundling the trilogy together (watch for that to release later this month). And I’m pleased to announce the publication of Dean’s latest Seeders Universe novel: Starburst.

Here’s the synopsis:

Exploring the vastness of space: The mission of the massive Starburst ships.
Chairmen Cole and Echo of the Starburst ship Star Trail get wrapped up in finding lost ancient cultures.
And in the process find far more than they ever could imagine.
Starburst takes the vast Seeders Universe and expands it yet again beyond where humans dare go.

So, if you’re looking to get the hell out of Dodge, why not join me across the universe?

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

Publisher’s Note: I’ll Be at the Bar

The past week or so have been very long, and, frankly, I need a drink.

Back in my journalism days, I used to joke during weeks like this that I missed the good old days when an editor would keep a bottle in his desk. Given my use of pronoun, you can tell just how far back that went.

Of course, they’d smoke at their desks then, too, and I certainly don’t want to bring that back.

So, no bottle in my desk. But fortunately, I have even better options as a book publisher.

And sometimes, they come made to order.

Take our latest Fiction River release, for example: Tavern Tales. I might not have time to go to a bar, but now I don’t have to. And many of the bars in this anthology are way more interesting than anything I could find in the real world.

Here’s the synopsis:

Think you know a tavern tale when you hear one? Think again. The seventeen stories in this volume run the gamut of genre and mood. Bars filled with glitter and ghosts stand alongside taverns filled with orcs and adventurers. Exclusive members-only drinks served at the end of the universe war with coffee bars with strange employee policies in the Pacific Northwest. Dive bars, afterlife bars, gay bars—you name it, and you’ll find it in Tavern Tales. So, grab a drink and get ready for one of the most entertaining Fiction River volumes yet.

So, whether you’ve had a long week, a short week, or a just-right week, go ahead and belly on up to the bar. This is one trip where you can get your fill and you won’t even need a designated driver.

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

Publisher’s Note: Making Magical Memories

I’ve just finished binge watching season two of one of my daughter’s favorite TV series, an Amazon Original Series called Just Add Magic.

The series tells the story of three middle school friends who found themselves protectors of a magical cookbook. Each season revolves around a mystery that must be magically solved, but the series is as much about friendship, family and growing up as it is magic.

It’s family viewing in my house. Very much an extrovert, Nola is always looking for shows we can all watch together. But I’ll admit, it’s getting harder as she grows older.

Preschool programming has long been pretty solid. Channels like PBS, Disney, Nickelodeon and Sprout offer a wide selection of shows with interesting characters, but more importantly, they are framed around learning. Math, spelling, social skills, morality…the programs serve as education vehicles as much as entertainment.

But once the kids get into school, the options diminish quickly, at least in my opinion. No longer education-based, I often find the shows vapid, annoying and anything but entertaining.

I have to admit being impressed with the Amazon Originals. Just Add Magic, for example, offers all of the qualities that great middle grade and young adult literature have long possessed: They’re geared toward younger ages but are just as entertaining and relevant for adults.

Kind of like the excellent YA offerings we have here at WMG. In fact, every time I watch Just Add Magic, I think of one of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s YA short stories: “Domestic Magic.”

Here’s the synopsis:

At a high school for the magical, the most picked-on kid dreams about J. Rutherford Wisenhaur II killing people with a fire spell. She knows her nightmares portend the future, but her domestic magic lacks the power to do most difficult spells.

To make matters worse, no one will believe her. So, what’s a young, nearly powerless witch to do?

So, if you’re looking for a diversion from reality this week, check it out. You can buy it here.

In the meantime, I’ve just figured out the next thing for my family to read together.

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

Publisher’s Note: Well, Rats!

As the person at the helm of an international publishing company, I wear many hats. And sometimes, the job requires me to wear a hat I didn’t expect.

This week proved one of those weeks.

And it was a hat I hadn’t anticipated wearing.

You see, we discovered we had a pack rat (pack rats?!?) at our main headquarters. Now, those of you who know that we not only publish books but also operate two collectables stores might be thinking I’m talking about Dean and his many collectables.

But no, not Dean—he’s a collector, not a pack rat. (And not me as my entertaining boyfriend suggested…he’s a smartass that one.)

Not human. Rodent.

Okay, so I get the irony. If we were going to get rodents, of course they’d be pack rats.

Now, rodents don’t bother me particularly. I’m not afraid of them. I think what they leave behind is gross (I wash my hands a lot on a regular day, so you should see what happens when I have to clean up rat droppings…) and I can’t stomach the idea of killing them myself, but they don’t scare me.

But pack rats…they scare me financially. And for good reason. Pack rats are prevalent here on the Oregon Coast, and pack rats do damage. To wiring (like the $1,000 in damage to my car engine). To furniture (like our couch cushions). And especially to paper.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

So, I got to know the exterminator well this week. We caught the problem early, thank goodness.

But I washed my hands a lot. Ok, I’ll be honest. I took a very long, hot shower when I got home, too.

And in honor of my newfound duties last week, I suggest you read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s all-too apropos story “Rats.” In fact, you can download it this week for free by clicking here.

Or, if you want to distract yourself with a whole bunch of great stories, buy Fiction River: Risk Takers, in which “Rats” first appeared.

Me, I’m going to go read a few cat stories…

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