Adding a Bit of Magic to Your Reading List

As I look out my office window at the gray skies and torrential misting that marks an Oregon Coast February, I find myself wishing for a bit of magic to whisk me away to somewhere warm and sunny.

Alas, such a feat is outside my skill level. Instead, I shall lose myself to a great fantasy book (or ten), such as those included in the latest StoryBundle Kristine Kathryn Rusch has curated, including WMG books Familiarity: A Winston & Ruby Collection and Fiction River: Alchemy & Steam.

Here’s what Kris has to say about the Sorcery & Steam bundle (available now through March 15 at https://storybundle.com/sorcery):

Sorcery. Steam. Ghosts. A touch of romance. Mythic creatures. Some truly violent bad guys. And one little black cat.

We have everything in this bundle that a fantasy reader could want.

Including magic.

We have magic in all forms, from the magic that gods use when they come to Earth to magic that a familiar inspires when she helps a man with limited ability keep his spells fresh. We have vampires and werewolves. We have parasols and tea and lovely chocolates. We have FBI agents facing killers and assassins who can kill with a blink.

A fantastic story for every mood, and steampunk. Not enough to call this a steampunk bundle, but enough that we could add “steam” to our subtitle. (We can also add “steam” for another reason. One or two of these books have steamy scenes, that have nothing to do with engines and everything to do with heat between humans.)

We also have new releases in this bundle. Usually writers contribute the first books in a series or a book that fits the theme but has been published for a long time. Four writers—Dayle A. Dermatis, Catherine Banks, Michelle Fox, and me— decided to put their most recent book in the bundle. In fact, Catherine and Michelle have contributed books exclusive to StoryBundle. You can’t get those books anywhere else!

Click here to read much more about the bundle.

No magic wand necessary.

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

Recommended Reading for Black History Month

Schools and libraries are always looking for great books to offer for Black History Month. We figured you might, too, so I thought it was time for some recommended reading.

We publish a number of books and stories here at WMG featuring African-American protagonists, but our most relevant series to Black History Month is Kris Nelscott’s award-winning and hard-hitting Smokey Dalton historical mystery series.

The books, which are set in Memphis and Chicago in the late ’60s, provide a no-hold-barred look at that turbulent era—from an African-American perspective.

Here are some of the numerous quotes praising the series:

“Nelscott’s series setting, in the turbulent late ’60s, gives her books layers of issues of racism, class, and war, all of which still seem to remain sadly timely today.”
—Oregonian

“Nelscott is good at conveying the edgy caution that blacks once brought to their movements among white society.”
—Houston Chronicle

“A blistering rendition of the ’60s racial wars marks this series as a standout as early as its second entry.  You don’t need to be a fan of private-eye novels to admire Smokey: You just need a conscience.”
Kirkus Reviews starred review on Smoke-Filled Rooms

“Nelscott does a superb job of using a familiar historical moment to dramatize an intimate human drama, as Smokey and Jimmy struggle to avoid becoming anonymous casualties lost behind the headlines.  This series has all the passion and precision of Walter Mosley’s early Easy Rawlins novels, but it is not derivative.  In fact, Smokey just may be a more compelling character than the celebrated Easy.”
—Booklist starred review of Smoke-Filled Rooms

“So much real drama shook the country during the spring and summer 1968 (from [Martin Luther] King and Bobby Kennedy’s killings to the street horror of the Democratic National Convention) that it might seem foolhardy to try to add fiction to the mix.  But Nelscott has the heart, courage and brains for the job: Her scenes of demonstrators confronting police in front of the Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue (where Smokey gets a job as a security guard) could have come from a documentary, and her fictional characters (including a perfectly drawn family of friends with whom Jimmy and Smokey take shelter) all breathe and perspire with reality.”
—Chicago Tribune of Smoke-Filled Rooms

“[Kris Nelscott’s Smoke-Filled Rooms] is really about American racism and about the riotous 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago….Nelscott brings it all back, and it’s hair-raising.”
—Washington Post Book World on Smoke-Filled Rooms

“War, which deals with the disappearance of a militant black Yale student during the long, hot summer of 1969, is a gripping read that drags us deeper into Dalton’s uneasy world.”
—Entertainment Weekly on War at Home

 

And that’s just a small sampling.

The series is available in ebook, trade paperback and audiobook, and there’s an electronic boxed set of the first three novels if you want to get a jump-start on the series at a value price.

To learn more or to buy the books, click here. I can’t emphasize enough how spectacular this series is; it’s a must-read any time of the year.

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

Going to the Chapel

As I write this, I’m preparing to leave for my destination wedding. By the time you read this, the wedding will have already happened and I’ll be back in Oregon.

Those of you who know me personally know this is not my first marriage. It’s not even my second. Third time’s the charm for me, apparently.

As for the groom, well, it’s his fourth. He thought he wouldn’t get married again after the third “strike” (as he called it).

So, why get married again? All I can say is the all that romantic lovey-dovey stuff you hear…well, it’s true. When you (finally) find the person you were meant to be with, everything looks and feels different. Colors are brighter. Love songs and poetry make sense. The world feels full of endless potential.

Or maybe we’ve just finally gotten good at this after all the practice <grin>.

I’ve never looked forward to a wedding before (yes, I know, should have been a sign…), but I’m very much looking forward to this one. I guess because this is the only one that’s truly mattered to me.

We’ve asked our guests not to give us gifts, but I’d like to share a gift with you. Like many things that seem different now, I have a much deeper understanding of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s wonderful story “Something Blue” than I did when I first published it years ago.

Now, I have a very important engagement to attend to. So, please click here to enjoy your free copy of “Something Blue.”

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

A Double Dose of Great Fiction

Do you remember those Wrigley’s gum commercials from the ’80s for Doublemint Gum? (If you don’t click here, although fair warning: That song is an earworm.) The commercials promise the gum is a “double pleasure” and that it will give you a “double great feeling.” I can’t speak to whether the product stands up to its marketing (I was more of a Juicy Fruit girl), but the concept holds water. Double the potential, double the fun.

And so, it is with great pleasure that I announce the release of not one but two fantastic short fiction products.

First up is, well, a first: Issue One of the recently relaunched Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, edited by Dean Wesley Smith. Whereas Issue Zero featured exclusively classic reprints, Issue #1 launches the magazine’s standard format, which will mix old favorites with new original stories. (Look: another duality.)

Here’s the synopsis:

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine: Back after over twenty years. A three-time Hugo Award-nominated magazine, Pulphouse returns with eighteen fantastic stories by some of the best writers working in modern short fiction.

No genre limitations, no topic limitations, just great stories. Attitude, feel, and high-quality fiction equals Pulphouse.

Table of Contents
“In the Empire of Underpants” by Robert T. Jeschonek
“Queen of the Mouse Riders” by Annie Reed
“Group” by Ray Vukcevich
“The Heart Has Reasons” by O’Neil De Noux
“Molten Souls” by Jerry Oltion
“The Sea Girl’s Survival” by Valerie Brook
“Looking for the Bastard” by David H. Hendrickson
“The Reign to Come” by Kevin J. Anderson
“A Spud Full of Stars” by Kent Patterson
“Body Memory” by M. L. Buchman
“Catastrophe Baker Makes First Contact” by Mike Resnick
“Playing with Trains” by J. Steven York
“A Few Minutes in The Plantation Bar and Grill Outside Woodville, Mississippi” by Steve Perry
“At Witt’s End: A Spade/Paladin Conundrum” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Minions at Work 2.0: Roll Call” by J. Steven York

Issue #1 released on Jan. 25, and is available here.

Releasing this week, on Jan. 31, is the next volume in the award-nominated Fiction River line is Justice, edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Here’s the synopsis:

Justice comes in many forms. And the wide variety of stories presented in this latest volume of Fiction River make that case. Of the fifteen powerful stories in this volume, some will twist your heart, others will pound you in the gut, and still others will make you feel like the world has meaning. From a man avenging a wrongful conviction, to heroic women fighting to reclaim their homeland, to kids trying to find justice in the chaotic world of adults, this volume will prove one you won’t soon forget.

Table of Contents
“The Ball Breaker’s Summer Club” by Valerie Brook
“Grace” by Michael Kowal
“Pariah” by Louisa Swann
“Spoils” by Eric Kent Edstrom
“The Night Takes You” by Leslie Claire Walker
“My Honor to Kill You” by Dan C. Duval
“A Pearl into Darkness” by Lisa Silverthorne
“Mercy Find Me” by Diana Deverell
“Best Served…Salted” by Lauryn Christopher
“Domus Justice” by Michèle Laframboise
“Uncle Philbert” by Dory Crowe
“Bone” by T. Thorne Coyle
“A Vulture Waits” by Rob Vagle
“The Supporters in Panama City” by Brigid Collins
“The Darks of Their Eyes” by Robert T. Jeschonek

You will be able to buy Justice here, starting Wednesday. And don’t forget you can subscribe to these magazines and never miss an issue. For Pulphouse, click here. For Fiction River, click here.

So, there you have it. Double your pleasure in the form of amazing short fiction. You even get double the stories from some of our favorite authors, who appear in both of these books.

Now, stop watching that commercial over and over on YouTube, and get reading.

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

One Strange Coincidence

Last week, my phone started to ping about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday with concerned messages from John’s family. We had been under a high surf that day and some of the beachfront properties, including a well-known restaurant right on the D River Wayside and a couple of hotels, had some significant damage. The restaurant was evacuated because of a broken gas line. It was enough damage to make at least the regional news cycle, hence the calls.

I hadn’t thought that much about the storm, to be honest. We’re no stranger to big storms here on the Oregon Coast, and this one was more of an ocean event (think beach logs washed into buildings instead of trees falling on them). I’m above the tsunami line, so, while I worry about my beachfront neighbors, I don’t really worry about high surf.

But I know how worrying news stories about events happening near loved ones (but far from the worrier) can be. So, I preemptively texted my mom, dad, and sister (who live on the East Coast) to let them know I was safe and in no harm.

My text, however, had the opposite effect. Mind you, it was 10:30 or so East Coast time. My dad called first, then my mom, and finally my sister. Ah, the best laid plans.

The problem, you see, is that this ocean is scary. People die here…all the time. It’s beautiful, but it needs to be respected. I know that. Many tourists don’t. And it’s nothing like the oceans on the East Coast.

Once I’d calmed my family down, I opened my laptop to do some work and realized that Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s free fiction story for this week couldn’t have been more ironically timed.

The story, which is part of Kris’ Whale Rock series of short stories, is called “Strange Creatures.

Here’s the synopsis:

When the storm of the century hits Whale Rock, Sheriff Dan Retsler does everything he can to prevent hundreds of deaths. Everything except the thing that could have prevented the storm in the first place. He should have listened to the beautiful woman who came to his office before the storm hit.

He should have believed in her magic. But he didn’t. And now he must face himself—and the horrible results of a storm he could have prevented.

So, if you want to read a free fantasy story about a huge storm (while we clean up from our most recent one), click here. But don’t wait. Just as a storm tends to blow through relatively quickly, this story is free for one week only.

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

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.