Publisher’s Note: June is bustin’ out all over


You know that scene in The Exorcist where Linda Blair’s head spins around while Max von Sydow throws out the Devil in the name of the Father? (I only know about the scene because it became famous apart from the movie; I don’t go to scary movies, as a rule, because I am so easily fooled and I scream in the movie theater, which is embarrassing, and then have nightmares later, which is annoying.) Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’ve been feeling lately. Not because I am possessed, although you never know, but because WMG is producing so many terrific books I can’t keep track of them all!

June is chock-a-bloc with romance and science fiction. Kristine Grayson’s fourth omnibus, The Charming Trilogy Vol. 2, comes out June 18. And later this month we’re publishing a Fiction River Special Edition edited by Kristine Grayson called Summer Sizzles, and boy does it in this volume. Sizzle, I mean. Nine tales of romantic suspense set in the sweltering, lurid kind of summer when inhibitions are thrown aside like a cheap dress and passion burns so hot it makes the night air billow with steam.

Then the Diving series latest magnum opus, The Renegat, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch,will be available for preorder—unless you happen to be one of the lucky people who supported the Diving Kickstarter, in which case you’ll get the ebook at the end of the month.

There’s a new science fiction Storybundle coming called Space Travelers; WMG will have several works in that. Both Kris and Dean Wesley Smith are in it and you won’t want to miss it.

Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, no one writes science fiction like Dean Wesley Smith. And if you don’t believe me look no further than the Earth Protection League series about a couple of elderly people living in a nursing home who periodically get zapped across the galaxy to protect Earth from danger. The novel, The Life of a Dream, and four short stories in the series will charm and delight you and leave you begging for more.

And if that doesn’t convince you, some of the weirdest, most intriguing of Dean’s sci-fi stories are in Alien Vibrations: Five Strange Science Fiction Short Stories. Here’s the description:

From two androids falling in lust on an alien planet to a story that spans generations, Dean’s science fiction reads like no other. Here he takes you along on an alien first contact to a movie, then jumps you a thousand years into the future to take a peak at a basic university class. The collection ends with a multi-generational story of looking for a lost gold mine and what finding it really means.

Funny, sexy, and just plain strange, these stories keep the reader turning pages.

And I’m not even going to mention Buckey the Space Pirate and Poker Boy, two characters who are so wacky, so resistant to the normal rules of even fictional behavior, they have no counterparts anywhere in the Known Universe. Fact.

While I’m at it, I’d like to mention my favorite stories of Dean’s; the Bryant Street stories. They are kind of science fiction, and they’re kind of surreal; they take the reader into a dimension of their own that can be odd, or strange, or even kind of tender. Try out a few. A collection of the strangest will be coming soon. At least I hope so.

And now it’s time for me to say my prayers and hope my head doesn’t twist off like Linda Blair’s and go spinning into space. Of course, if it did, Dean would just write a story about it landing somewhere on Bryant Street…

Publisher’s Note: Old Friends and New


Some movies I never get tired of watching. Holiday Inn, Singing in the Rain, The Thin Man, Gosford Park, and of course, The Wizard of Oz. They’re all wonderful movies, but for none of them do I feel a more deeply rooted affection than for The Wizard of Oz.

This weekend I watched the movie (again) and also a documentary about all the difficulties the filmmakers fought through to get it finished. There was such a tussle between the studio executives and the producers, they had to start production over more than once. In the end, five different directors worked on the film at different times—five. Victor Fleming got screen credit for it, but he wasn’t even the last director on the film. That was King Vidor who directed all of the Kansas scenes, including Judy Garland’s classic rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a scene the studio wanted to cut. It took a lot of persistence to get the movie not only finished, but finished right.

One of the reasons for the lasting strength of my affection is that those characters were my friends. I only got to see them once a year during the annual television broadcasts of the movie. (One year my mother forbade me to watch because it gave me such bad nightmares; that tornado, the witch and her hourglass—time running out! Those flying monkeys! Eeek!) Despite the nightmares for a year or two, I looked forward to that broadcast with joyful anticipation even though I knew the story; I knew Toto would get away and the Wicked Witch would melt, (O what a world!) and the Wizard was a phony but a sweetie nonetheless. I looked forward to it because I loved them all. And still do.

And I kind of miss the fact that we had to wait. Nowadays it seems like everything is accessible, anytime, anywhere. But back in the day, we had to carry Dorothy and her friends and their story in our memories and hearts and dreams (nightmares sometimes). We had to keep them alive from one year to the next. Of course, L. Frank Baum wrote a series of Oz books, almost one a year after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, until 1920.

But what are fans to do if there is a loooong delay?

Well, fans can get very excited and eager. Let me see, who do we know whose fans have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for a new novel? Chomping at the bit, shall we say?

WMG’s very own Kristine Grayson. Let’s let the fans speak for themselves.

 “I am addicted to Kristine Grayson’s tales…”

“Dear Author, thanks for the story! I sincerely hope there is more to come…”

“I enjoyed this book so much that I started in on the next one right away. I like the new twists she gives to the fairy tales. I will certainly check all her books.”

“This book is part of a series that will highlight familiar characters and tell their tale. It’s the sort of good writing you keep coming back to again and again.”

“Can’t wait to read the next one from this author.”

Now, the waiting is (almost) over. Hidden Charm, the first new Grayson novel in five years comes out later this month, and is available for preorder now. Here’s the description:

When a Charming Prince named Sonny rescues Rapunzel from her tower prison, she rides off with him and gets on with her life—her real life in the Greater World. They set up a home in Los Angeles, and she begins to discover the strength of her magic.

But when Sonny disappears, Rapunzel needs help finding him.

Enter Henry, the Frog Prince, who works the front desk of the Archetype Place. Only Henry can help Rapunzel find her husband because of the vast power it took to conquer Sonny. But Henry wants nothing to do with Rapunzel or her problem. He fights enough of his own.

A typically fun Grayson romp through the world of magic and love.

Sometimes it takes a bit longer to not only finish a project, but to finish it right. And it is worth the wait. We trust fans have kept Grayson’s fairy tale characters and their stories alive in their hearts. And now fans new and old can get caught up in the world of Hidden Charm.

Available at your favorite bookstore June 18, 2019.

Preorder Now!

Publisher’s Note: Pes Planus


My dad was a veteran of the largest and deadliest war in human history: World War II. Dad was in the US Army, infantry, deployed first to North Africa and then Italy. His unit was in combat, but the Army wisely did not ask Dad to shoot at anyone or anything since he was so short-sighted he’d had to memorize the eye chart in order to pass the physical. He also had pes planus, more often called flat feet, which could also be a medical disqualifier, but somehow he hid that, too. Despite his physical limitations, or maybe because of them, he left the army at the end of the war with a bad back and impaired hearing from getting too close to mortar fire, but otherwise as fit as when he joined up.

Anywhere from 56 to 85 million people, both military and civilians, were not so lucky; they died during the six years between 1939 and 1945 from combat, torture, starvation, and disease—all part of the war. Here’s the part that gets me: World War II was mass destruction that included both the historic and systematic murder of six million European Jews and the dropping of two atomic bombs that slaughtered a quarter of a million Japanese people.

I’m proud of my dad and his buddies. Dad kept in contact and met up with a couple them periodically for the rest of his life. George Roth was president of Spiral Binding Co. of New Jersey and also a wonderful storyteller. He invented a character named Whispering Jack Smith, a member of their army unit who couldn’t speak above a whisper, and George told stories in a whisper about their escapades together in order to get his three rambunctious sons to quiet down at bedtime. Cooper was a chemist and went on to some kind of illustrious career that was Top Secret, or so I thought as a kid. They all joined up to fight Fascism, to fight Hitler, and to fight for Freedom with a capital F. And I’m glad they did and that they all survived.

But it was madness, all of it, and so much destruction of life and beauty and art, it was a diabolical madness. I would say, let us not forget. But many have already forgotten.

***

One thing that reminds us of what we human beings are composed—imagination, compassion, creation, destruction, brutality, viciousness, transcendence—is art. At WMG, what Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith write is sometimes funny, sometimes scary or sad, sometimes astonishing, and sometimes thrilling. It’s all about humans, even the stories about aliens, and it covers everything we humans are composed of, as listed above, and more. We’re focusing on Kris’s Diving Universe this week in particular because the new novel in that series, The Renegat, is due to be published in September, but we are offering it early as part of the Diving Universe Kickstarter that ends this week.

A very cool thing about the Diving Universe is the novels take the reader on a ride through space as though space were the human spirit—vast, full of mystery and conflict with forces we don’t understand, fascinating. An early reader of The Renegat said “the 800+ pages go by so quickly, really at a thriller pace.” Because it is a thriller!

Check out the Kickstarter page and check out all the cool stuff you can get. And if you want a thrill, one that will pose no threat to your pes planus or aching back, you can get an early epub of The Renegat as a reward for a $5 pledge.

Publisher’s Note: Being young…


To a Child Dancing in the Wind

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!
                         —W. B. Yeats

I didn’t love this poem until I was old enough to really get it. It is so loving and tender and enchanted by the ineffable charm of innocent youth; and it is also so bitter.

When I was young I remember seeing that bitter look on older peoples’ faces at the oddest times. Just when I expected them to join in my delight at some wonderful plan my friends and I had cooked up—we’ll spend a whole winter in a cabin with nothing but a wood stove to keep us warm and we’ll write and paint and make maple syrup in the spring; or after my friend Mina and I read Peter S. Beagle’s I See by my Outfit and we wanted to ride across the country on motor scooters, when we were twelve—and suddenly there it was, trusted faces suffused with affectionate amusement, and laced with bitterness.

But why? Why?

Now I know.

There comes a day, the first of many days, when we tumble out our hair that the salt drops have wet, and feel not joy but confusion and even fear. Not yet dread, we’re still too optimistic for that. But the pure sweetness of dancing in the wind, oblivious to the water’s roar, is gone forever even though we don’t know it yet.

It is on a day like that, or shortly after, that Tiffany, Crystal, and Brittany, all daughters of Zeus, begin their stories in the Daughters of Zeus Trilogy, Kristine Grayson’s omnibus that we are publishing this week. It’s the third of four Grayson omnibuses WMG is publishing this spring.

In it, the girls have been stripped of their magic and their positions of power on Mount Olympus, and now they have to grow up. And like many teens, they must deal with a) Dad, who in their case is Zeus and doesn’t realize that the lusty days of his power and glory are over; b) their moms, human and protective, who don’t realize that despite the girls’ childhoods with the Gods, the girls aren’t as out of touch and incompetent as their moms think; c) relatives, such as Athena, Dionysus, Eros… you know; and d) the Fates. What could possibly go wrong?

Lots, of course. The girls are young and have not known a fool’s triumph, nor love lost as soon as won. But they’re about to know the ups and downs of being both teens and extraordinary.

Get the omnibus Tuesday, May 21. Also, get the individual novels, Tiffany Tumbles, Crystal Caves, and Brittany Bends, in brand new editions both as ebooks and paper.

Publisher’s Note: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”


Dave’s panicked face inside a space pod, with lights from the recalcitrant and homicidal HAL playing over his helpless form, stayed with me for years. Haunted me, in fact, along with Frank’s body drifting into the void of space. I was fourteen years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in the spring of 1969, in London. It was an experience that stuck.

My dad was a film lover, and filmmaker in a modest way, and we lived in a small town in Indiana where the number and variety of films that played in the theaters was also small. So when we traveled to larger and more cosmopolitan cities, Dad always went to see every movie he could. And he took my mother, brother, and me with him.

When it first came out, Kubrick’s masterpiece played at the Casino Cinerama in London, where my Dad was teaching. I had never seen a movie in Cinerama before, never been in a theater like that. It was an astounding experience and I remember leaving the theater wide-eyed and feeling as though I had really been someplace.

I still love space movies; I even like bad ones. I just want to go out there.

So when Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote this week about being the girl who confused the local librarian by loving science fiction, both in films and literature, I could relate. The first science fiction novels I remember reading were The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, both of which I read when my chief competitor, my brother, did. But I loved them, too. The big draw for me was a ticket to a life of adventure in unknown realms: unknown to me, anyway.

Kris turned her affection for sci-fi into a lifelong love affair by creating her own. She writes, “I started writing stories in the Diving Universe because I wanted to live in space and have adventures, and writing about it is the next best thing.” So she invented Boss, her alter ego and the heroine of Diving Into the Wreck, and the Diving Universe was born.

Many fans follow Boss and her colleagues, and it was with them in mind that the Diving Universe Kickstarter campaign was created. Read all about it here. You can get the latest Diving novel, The Renegat (truly a magnum opus), in June, months before it is available to the general public, as well as print and ebook editions of the whole series, and a whole lot more just by backing this limited time campaign. Come on and dive in; you’ll be in good company!

Gwyneth Gibby is Associate Publisher of WMG Publishing.