Publisher’s Note: Anything but Haunted this Halloween

Last weekend, my family and I got our Halloween on. Every year, we go pumpkin picking and hay riding and start decorating for this spookiest of seasons. And this year, we’re adding a new level to our Halloween celebrations.

On October 1, I began my term as president of the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln City, and my first official act was to bring about a board vote to take on sponsorship of a local Halloween event that is very special to me and very important to our community.

This event began in 2008 when the late Kip Ward started hosting The Haunted Hotel at the Historic Anchor Inn. The early years were held at the hotel and featured events for the very young as well as those more inclined to the spooky side of the Halloween Street.

When the event outgrew the hotel, it was renamed the Spooky Spectacular and moved to Taft Elementary School. Last year saw the biggest turnout yet.

I was involved in the inception of the event, and when Nola was born, it was where she spent her first Halloween. We have gone every year since (except for the one year we were in Eugene).   

As long-time readers of this blog (or any writer who has attended one of our past Lincoln City workshops) know, Kip was like family to me and a very close friend of Dean and Kris. His sudden death in February 2018 was a shock and a blow to many. We miss him very, very much.

To be able to start my Kiwanis presidency by honoring Kip… Well, let’s just say I know he’ll be with me in spirit.

It’s also one more reminder that life is short, and we must spend as much quality time with our loved ones as we can—while we can.

This was the inspiration behind one of my favorite rewards in the WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019 Kickstarter. Those who pledge this reward (at $60 or more) can share the joy of reading the 35 calendar holiday stories with two friends. It’s a great way to celebrate the season together, especially if your friends don’t live nearby. Click here to learn more.

Friends, fun, holidays. All of these things remind me of Kip (with whom I spent many wonderful holidays). And you can bet I’m going to be sure to enjoy this holiday season with my family and friends as I help keep Kip’s memory alive.

I know he’ll be with me in spirit.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.

Publisher’s Note: WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019 Launches on Kickstarter!

Several years ago, Kristine Kathryn Rusch sent me an online Christmas advent calendar to share with my daughter, Nola. That one thoughtful gift has turned into a much-anticipated family tradition, in which Nola, my husband, John, and I eagerly check into that calendar each day to see what new and wonderful surprise awaits us.

It’s not a religious thing. It’s a magical Christmas calendar that helps us count down the days until Santa’s visit with games, computer crafts, fun scenes, and more. It’s lovely. I hope Kris knows just how very special it is to us.

I, in turn, started sending it as gifts to friends and family. Just as Kris discovered it when a friend sent it to her as a gift. That is the magic of the holiday season, to me.

So, when Kris proposed the idea of a holiday project that would be a Calendar of Stories, the staff here at WMG jumped at the idea. After a year in development, the project has launched on Kickstarter as the WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019!

Backers of this project at the $15 level and higher will get an original holiday story delivered to their inbox every day from November 28, 2019, through January 1, 2020. That’s 35 total. The stories, which range from magical romance to dark crime, will be released in anthology form in the fall of 2020 in three books: Joyous Christmas, Winter Holidays, and Bloody Christmas.

Plus, all backers at the $5 level and higher will receive an electronic copy of Kristine Grayson’s new Santa Series novel, Tidings of Comfort and Joy.

And that’s just the start of the reward levels, which also include gift options (for easy gift-giving), paperback editions, workshop credits, and a brand-new holiday-themed Kickstarter-exclusive workshop.

To read all about the Kickstarter, watch the fun video Kris narrated about the genesis of the project, and see all of the available rewards and stretch goals, click here.

What a great way to get into the holiday spirit and start checking off your gift list (for yourself as well as others).

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.

Publisher’s Note: Dealing with Trauma

Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of my craniotomy to remove a grade II meningioma. That’s kind of amazing. It both doesn’t feel like that long and yet feels like an eternity ago. I’m still healing. Still figuring out the way my brain works now. Still finding workarounds to some of the maybe-permanent brain damage the tumor and surgery caused.

But I’m here. That’s huge. And I’m doing remarkably well, all things considered. So, I’m really grateful.

I was reminded of how lucky I am that all went well last week, when I discovered that two of my high school classmates have died in the past two months.

The first died of ovarian cancer. I knew her but not particularly well. But still. F@&% cancer.

The second died of a heart attack. He was a great guy. A good friend. Someone I’ve thought about reconnecting with over the years but couldn’t seem to track down. And now, it’s too late. He’s gone. At 46.

We were also dealing with trauma of a different kind last week with my daughter. She’s been through a lot the past few years. And on Thursday, she faced what is becoming all too common in our schools: a threat of physical violence, and a menacing one. A classmate wrote in her math notebook the following: “I am hunting you Nola.”

Worse still, we have no idea who did it. But the school is leaving no stone unturned to find out. They are in frequent communication with me and I with them. Her teacher is making sure she feels safe, as is the vice principle conducting the investigation. As am I. That is my job.

But, ugh. No kid needs this. And for Nola, it’s bringing back the feelings of being bullied and unsafe she experienced in second grade when a student, after bullying her for most of the year, threated to stalk her and made a throat-slitting motion. At that point I gave the school no choice but to move her to a different classroom immediately.

Now, Nola stands up to bullies. She’ll fearlessly defend her fellow students in a heartbeat, even if she doesn’t particularly like the person being bullied. This kind of behavior is unacceptable to her (as it should be to everyone), and she won’t tolerate it. But she’s still 9. And she’s still human. No matter how strong we are, it’s hard. And it’s traumatic.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we deal with trauma for all of these reasons. And I keep thinking about a book by Kristine Kathryn Rusch I published years ago called Bleed Through.

We kept putting off the release of this fantastic book, which addresses the traumatic aftermath of a school shooting, because every time we were set to release it, another school shooting would make the news. Eventually, we decided that our only option was to do a silent release. Just publish it. No advertising. No big marketing push. Just get it out there and hope people find it on their own.

Kris and I both feel awkward about promoting it even now. Which is a shame considering what a compelling novel it is. Really, it’s a story about healing. And I fervently hope that someday, we don’t live in a world where school violence happens with such frequency that I have to worry about releasing a book that deals with it.

If you would like to read more about Bleed Through, click here.

In the meantime, reach out to people you’ve been meaning to connect with. Hug your kids. Tell your spouse how much you appreciate them.

As a close friend of mine (who also had brain surgery within the last year at the same hospital) reminds me often: YOLO. You only live once.

And taking that to heart, I promise that next week’s Publisher’s Note will be of a much cheerier nature.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.

Publisher’s Note: A Busy Week

Last week was a crazy one around here. Release weeks—The Renegat is out in all forms but audiobook, which I have no control over—are always busy, but we have a lot more irons in the fire right now, including one major project that I’m working hard on but can’t announce just yet. Stay tuned for that.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch started teaching her Romance Craft Workshop in Las Vegas, which wraps up this week. For those interested in attending one of the 2020 writing workshops Kris does, click here. And don’t forget about the study-along option for those who would rather learn from the comfort of their own homes.

Speaking of 2020 workshops, Dean Wesley Smith has opened up registration for the 2020 Business Master Class, again held in Las Vegas. You can read more about that here.

And on a personal front, I was installed last week as president of the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln City, a position that I wasn’t sure I’d still be able to fill after my surgery this spring. But thanks to my amazing husband and a very supportive community, I felt able to take on the position. And as a special bonus, it was my husband (in one of his last acts as Lieutenant Governor for our district) who installed me. He is a past president of the club, and we now have matching gavels. (I’m not sure they thought through the whole arming a Jersey Girl with a wooden mallet thing, but tradition, I guess. <grin>)

But I also made a discovery last week that put a damper on all the excitement. The incredibly talented Flora Plumb, who has narrated many audiobooks for us, died last July. I knew she had been undergoing cancer treatment, but her last email to me was optimistic and celebratory about a new stage role. After that email, I was both dealing with my own declining health and hopeful that no news was good news. Unfortunately, it was not.

Flora was not only talented, but a dream to work with. Kind, sweet, and consummately professional, I would have offered her any audio project she wanted. In fact, we held off on doing Protectors by Kris Nelscott in audiobook to work with Flora. She read the book and loved it, but was in the middle of treatment when we released the book in September 2017.

Her voice graces 20 WMG projects, including many of Dean Wesley Smith’s Thunder Mountain series novels (Thunder Mountain through Grapevine Springs) and some of the Seeders novels (Against Time and Sector Justice), some of the Diving series books (The Application of Hope, Becalmed, The Falls, and The Spires of Denon), as well as standalone projects including The Devin’s Churn, The Death of Davy Moss, Bleed Through, and The End of the World.

You can read a short obituary here.

I’m glad, at least, that her talents can continue to be appreciated in her work, and I am honored to have known her.

She will be missed by many, me included.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.

Publisher’s Note: Really Feeling the Love!

This week, I’m reflecting a lot on the love and support we’ve received this year through the amazingly successful Kickstarters we’ve conducted. Not only for our Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Subscription Drive, which just ended with a whopping 387 backers pledging $31,074 (thank you, thank you, thank you!), but also The Diving Universe Kickstarter, which sees more fulfillment of rewards shipping out soon and the wide release of The Renegat in ebook, trade paperback, audiobook AND hardcover tomorrow, September 17!

Now, I must admit: The Renegat—because of its length—proved a challenge I had not before faced. I wrote a lot about the challenges the trade paperback, in particular, posed in my August 5 Publisher’s Note, which you can read here.

But The Renegat, the latest novel in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s award-winning Diving series—also provided us with a fantastic opportunity. Through the incredible support of fans and other supporters on Kickstarter, 606 backers pledged $22,299 to allow us to run all of the Diving series books into hardcover. The first one to release is The Renegat: A Diving Universe Novel. The rest of the Diving series hardcovers will be completed later this year.

So, tomorrow marks a first for us. The simultaneous release of a WMG book in ebook, audiobook, trade paperback AND hardcover.

So, if you missed all the previous talk about this new book, here’s the synopsis of The Renegat:

As a young recruit, brilliant engineer Nadim Crowe accidentally destroys an entire Scrapheap full of ships. Now, decades later, he ends up on the crew of the Renegat, the only ship in the Fleet ever sent on a mission backwards to investigate an ancient Scrapheap.

Something invaded that Scrapheap and the Fleet wants to know what. Or who.

The Renegat: The only ship the Fleet dares risk. The Renegat: A ship of misfits and screw-ups sent on an impossible mission. All alone in deep space.

A thrilling new addition to the Diving Universe.

You can find all available versions of The Renegat here.

And if you want to get a free sample of what to expect in The Renegat, click here to read Kris’ Free Fiction Monday offering this week: “Joyride,” which was a finalist for the 2018 Asimov’s Readers Choice Award for best novella and appears in a slightly different form in the novel.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive in!

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.

Publisher’s Note: Last Chance to Get Great Rewards from the Pulphouse Subscription Drive on Kickstarter!

Our Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Subscription Drive on Kickstarter is going amazingly well thanks to fans both new and long-established. We are so very grateful for your support!

If you have been meaning to check it out but haven’t yet (and believe me, I get it; so much to do, so little time…), now is your last chance. The Kickstarter ends Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 3:38 p.m. PDT.

As of this morning, we’ve already hit four stretch goals, which means supporters at the $5 level and higher get the following great rewards (in addition to their initial pledges):

  • one additional electronic copy of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine
  • ebook copy of Aliens Among Us: At Least in the Pages of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine
  • ebook copy of That’s Really Messed Up: Stories from Pulphouse Fiction Magazine
  • your choice of any lecture WMG Publishing does for writers ($50 value)
  • ebook copy of A Twist of the Knife: Mystery Stories from Pulphouse Fiction Magazine
  • your choice of any Classic Workshop WMG Publishing offers ($150 value)
  • ebook copy of Best of Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine
  • ebook copy of Best of Pulphouse: The Fiction Magazine
  • The First Myth Lecture Bundle: Creations ($200 value) 

As you can see, your pledge gets you A LOT of great stuff. And the higher the Kickstarter goes, the more rewards you can rack up.

Surely, that’s at least worth a look. Check out the Kickstarter here.

And if you’ve already supported the Kickstarter, be sure to check out all the fun stuff you’ll be getting once the Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Subscription Drive ends on Wednesday.

Again, thank you all. We couldn’t do this without you!

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.