I have a confession to make. I used to hate basketball. Even as a kid I didn’t like it. At 5’8” I was always asked if I played. I’d try not to roll my eyes. Yes, I’m tall, I’d think. But tall does not equal enjoying running back and forth chasing a ball.
My stepfather loved watching it, but that didn’t make me like it any more. And my second husband also loved watching it, but that only made me come to loathe the sound of sneakers screeching on polished wood.
Heck, the only time I’d ever gotten excited about a basketball game was when my dad told me he had two tickets to see the Dream Team play in Barcelona in the 1992 Olympics (he was living in Madrid at the time, so we were within driving distance). I didn’t even mind not going to the game (there were four of us, but only two tickets). I just wanted to go to the Olympic Village. But my dad, the ever-cautious Marine, didn’t want two college-aged girls wandering the streets of Barcelona alone while he took my younger sister to the game. So, we never made it to Barcelona. I’m still grumpy about that one.
And I still didn’t like basketball.
Until last year.
Today is the first day of Spring. And thanks heavens. It’s been a long, long winter on the Oregon Coast. It’s been a long winter a lot of places, it seems.
Most years, I don’t mind the winters here in Lincoln City. Yes, we get an average of 97.27 inches of rain per year (according to Wikipedia, which also thinks we have an average high temperature in August of 72 degrees [I wish—we’re about 10 degrees cooler than that], so allow for a little wiggle room). And yes, the wettest months of the year are November through March. But we usually get some spectacular sun breaks amid the deluge. This year, however, it’s been unrelentingly rainy and gray.
So, like I said, come on Spring. Please.
The year 1991 was a very important year for me. It’s the year I graduated from high school. It’s the year I started college. It’s the year I turned 18. Really, it’s the year I became an adult.
It was an important year in US history, too. The Cold War ended. The first Gulf War began. We watched a videotape of LAPD officers beating Rodney King, and police brutality became a national discussion topic.
And in the publishing industry, a publication called Pulphouse: A Fiction Magazine, edited by Dean Wesley Smith, was launched.
Now, 26 years later, I’ve found myself reconnecting with classmates I haven’t talked to since high school and college. Topics such as the Cold War, the Gulf War, and police brutality continue to make the news. And Pulphouse Fiction Magazine will soon return to print.
I’ve just wrapped up a long and exhilarating week with about 50 amazing fiction writers and editors here on the Oregon Coast. It was the best workshop yet, I believe, and I’ll have lots to tell you about from it. But not yet. Right now, I’m so exhausted, I’m a bit brain dead.
Which is appropriate, because what I am going to tell you about right now is a brand-new collection by Dean Wesley Smith called Dead to Me.read more
I’m surrounded by writers this week. Literally. Our annual anthology workshop runs this week here on the Oregon Coast, and we have about 50 writers from all over the world here.
It’s a ton of work and some of the most fun I have doing this job.
The product of these workshops is Fiction River. So, it’s apropros that we have a brand-new release hitting while all these folks are here.
The newest Fiction River Presents (for those of you who aren’t already subscribers, that’s the reprint line for Fiction River, which I edit) officially publishes tomorrow. It’s called Legacies, and the theme for this one is families—in all their beautiful and sometimes messed up glory.
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.
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.
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.
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.read more
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.