Publisher’s Note: Short Reads for a Busy Week


If your week is shaping up to be as hectic as mine have been lately, I’ve got some short fiction to tell you about. Two new short stories by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in fact.

The first is called “The Wedding Ring.” I find Vegas wedding stories fascinating, in part, because I’ve been married in Vegas more than once but always as a planned event (and never with Elvis officiating). I guess I just like the simplicity of a Vegas wedding. Big fuss and planning never appealed to me. And my last wedding—the only one I wore an honest-to-goodness wedding dress for because I finally knew this was the one—was the only one where we invited guests to attend. It was a wonderfully romantic ceremony made even better by the addition of our daughter to the ceremony.

But “The Wedding Ring” is not a romance. Not even close.

Here’s the synopsis:

When Serena meets Dylan in a casino hallway, she embraces the fairy tale. Whirlwind romance, Vegas wedding, all of it.

But when the fairy tale ends abruptly, she vows to find out why. And what she discovers proves more shocking than winning big in Vegas.

Named one of the best short mysteries of the year for 2018 by SeuthSayers.

You can buy “The Wedding Ring” here.

The second story is available for free this week only on Kris’ website as her latest Free Fiction offering. It’s called “Sales. Force.” and while it, too, deals with love (lost love, love potions), it’s also not even close to a romance. Here’s the synopsis:

Kaylee uses her magic to help her boss, Nia, keep the balance when Nia needs someone with Kaylee’s particular talents. But when Kaylee returns to work shortly after her fiancé dies, the assignment Nia proposes leaves Kaylee puzzled.

Nia wants Kaylee to investigate a new love potion. Kaylee wants to use her magical strength to get over her grief.

This assignment might help Kaylee move on in ways she never expected.

Click here to read “Sales. Force.” on Kris’ website or here to buy it to read whenever you want on your own device.

So, if you want a short respite from the sunny summer weather, and delightfully dark and twisty tales, give one or both of these stories a try.

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: One Steamy Summer


We’re having a particularly humid summer here on the Oregon Coast. In an average year, July is our driest month, at about 63 percent humidity. We spent much of July this year at more than 90 percent humidity. We don’t normally hit that even in the winter. Our max average is just above 80 percent humidity.

And although our temperatures have been about average (in the 60s), that humidity still takes a toll. (I know, I know, those of you living in places like the Southeast, Midwest, and other regions or countries with hot, humid climates just rolled your eyes, but hear me out.) We’re not used to this here on the Oregon Coast. I’m used to having to bundle up in layers to walk to work because of the cooler temperatures and strong winds, but when you have to wear a jacket and it’s still warmish and humid: you sweat when you move. And now that I’m on that walking streak, that means even though I can now drive, I often don’t. I still prefer to walk as many places as I can…while I can. If I wanted to get all sweaty just because I stepped outside, I’d live in the Southeast near my family.

I know I shouldn’t complain. We’re far better off here than a lot of you are in other areas of the Northern Hemisphere right now, weather-wise. So, I’ll stop whining about it.

Besides, I have a much more interesting kind of steam-related topic to talk about. Steampunk. And sorcery. Because this Wednesday marks the launch of our latest Storybundle, Sorcery & Steam, curated by Dean Wesley Smith. And although most of you know the drill on Storybundles already, this one is different for us.

For the first time since we’ve been doing Storybundles, the three books in this bundle are exclusive to the Storybundle. We’ll release them wide once the Storybundle ends, but until then, this bundle is the only way to get them as soon as possible. (With one exception: Fiction River Presents ebook subscribers received the new volume the same day the Storybundle launched, per their subscription terms. For more information on Fiction River Presents subscriptions, click here.)

Those books are: Killing the Angel of Death by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Luck Be Ladies: A Poker Boy Collection by Dean Wesley Smith, and Fiction River Presents: Sorcery & Steam, edited by Gwyneth Gibby.

Here are the synopses for each book:

Killing the Angel of Death

When Roderigo and Izzy form a group to stop the Angel of Death from taking more innocent lives, they realize they need help. One by one, Roderigo recruits people who see the creatures, who know their evil magic, who suffer from the damage the angels wreak.

When Roderigo enlists the newest recruit—a war-damaged sniper—he achieves the formula for the group’s ultimate success. But he might have just doomed the group to the ultimate failure.

A gut-wrenching story about love, loss, and the powerful inevitability of grief.

Luck Be Ladies

Superhero Poker Boy works for Stan, the God of Poker. But sometimes Poker Boy and his team come to the aid of Lady Luck, the most powerful God of them all. And the boss of everything.

In these five Poker Boy stories, meet three of Lady Luck’s four daughters. In the novella, “For the Balance of a Heart,” Lady Luck asks Poker Boy to find her missing daughter, the Queen of Hearts. In “That Lost Riddle,” Poker Boy helps the Queen of Diamonds solve an ancient riddle. And in “The Rules of the Game,” Poker Boy assists Lady Luck with her warrior daughter, the Queen of Clubs.

But Poker Boy also gets to save Lady Luck in “Luck Be a Lady” and rescue Lady Luck’s one great love in “You Forgive the Night’s Scream.”

Enjoy the crazy world of Poker Boy, one of the newest and most puzzling superheroes you might ever meet.

Fiction River Presents: Sorcery & Steam

Steampunk and sorcery offer fantastic flights of imagination in this latest volume of Fiction River Presents. From the merciless march of Lovecraftian prose to the echoes of Russell Hoban’s Ridley Walker, these nine authors create convincing and compelling worlds that feel like familiar places from some past life or dream. With engaging characters often caught in agonizing situations, this spellbinding volume proves why Adventures Fantastic says the Fiction River series “is one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today.”

Includes:
“Murmuration of a Darkening Sea” by Lee Allred
“Heart” by Leslie Claire Walker
“The Whirring Dreams of Aberrant Blood” by Cindie Geddes
“The Clunkety” by Brenda Carre
“Skinwalker” by Valerie Brook
“Dead Men Walking” by Annie Reed
“The Airship Adventures of Captain Jane Fury” by Anthea Sharp
“Trouble Aboard the Flying Scotsman” by Alistair Kimble
“The Scottish Play” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

For more information or to buy this Storybundle, click here.

I can’t think of a better distraction from the steamy weather outside than sitting someplace cool and reading great books.

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: Be Still My Beating Heart


Last week, I had my first post-surgery screening MRI. This was to check to make sure my brain is healing properly (and that the tumor isn’t regrowing). I’ll have many more MRIs in my life, but this first one, I think, will have been the hardest.

I didn’t realize that the imaging check-in desk and waiting area at Oregon Health & Science University (for MRIs, ultrasounds, etc.) was right down the hall from where I spent most of my days in the hospital. OHSU is a very big complex—we had to take a tram, for example, to get from where the MRI was done to my neurosurgeon’s office—so it didn’t occur to me I’d be so close. And I didn’t expect the PTSD-like reaction I’d have upon realizing that.

My heart started racing, and I wound up pacing back and forth in the hallway for a good half hour till the staff called me back. Thankfully, the MRI itself was on a totally different floor, and I find the loud repetitive noises in an MRI oddly calming (like focusing on the sound of your own breathing), so I did fine during the test. But that’s not the kind of pulse-pounding experience I enjoy.

Ironically, I also had with me a copy of Fiction River: Pulse Pounders, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, which I had brought along to give to the oncology radiologist I met with a couple of months ago for a consultation. During my appointment, we got off track talking about Marvel and DC comics and his love of sf books, especially the Dune books. When I mentioned that we had published an original Frank Herbert story in one of our early anthology volumes, his eyes lit up. I resolved at that moment to bring him a copy of that book on my next visit. His professional skills helped me tremendously to feel comfortable with the long-term course of treatment we agreed on (not to do radiation at this time), so I wanted to repay him with the fruits of my professional skills.

He was thrilled to read it.

Which reminded me that we have so many gems in the Fiction River collection. Debut stories for authors who would rise to great acclaim over the years, award-winning stories, original prequels to bestselling series’ and stories like the original Frank Herbert. It’s really quite a series.

So, to remind you of this particular release from Fiction River’s second year, here’s the synopsis:

Starts with a bang.

Ends with a bang.

And a lot of bang in between.

Pulse Pounders. Ranging from straight thriller to science fiction, fantasy to pulp adventure, these stories make your heart race. Share the excitement as a woman held hostage in a chair has only a few minutes to escape, and a man trapped in a time loop revisits a crisis point in the past. Including an original never-before-published Frank Herbert story, these page-turners show why Adventures Fantastic says Fiction River “is one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today.”

Table of Contents
“The Chair” by JC Andrijeski
“Change of Mind” by Kevin J. Anderson & Peter J. Wacks
“A Man of His Times” by Patrick O’Sullivan
“Tower One” by Thomas K. Carpenter
“Big and Shady” by David Farland
“Daisy Wong: The Hell of the Unprepared Sinners” by Jamie McNabb
“The Yellow Coat” by Frank Herbert
“Fraternization” by Ron Collins
“Frostburnt” by Brigid Collins
“The Scent of Amber and Vanilla” by Dayle A. Dermatis
“The Mer” by Phaedra Weldon
“Sole Survivor” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Three Strikes” by Chuck Heintzelman

If you haven’t read this one in a while, you might consider giving it a reread. And if you’ve never read it, there’s no time like the present. Click here for more information.

And click here to read more about the entire Fiction River line.

Now, this kind of pounding pulse I’m more than okay with.

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: Proximity is Everything


One of the most annoying things about my brain surgery recovery is that I’m not allowed to drive. That will end at some point, but I have no idea yet when. So, for the most part, I must get where I need to go on foot.

This is a mixed blessing. The brain tumor itself had weakened my body to the point that doctors were surprised I could still walk when they finally discovered it. Now that the tumor is gone, walking is actually the best thing I can do for my recovery.

But I need to rebuild my muscles and stamina as I go, so I can only walk so far.

As a result, I need to confine my walking to a limited radius from my house so I don’t wind up accidently stranded somewhere or way overdo it getting myself home.

As I was figuring out where I could and could not go, I realized something that having ready access to a car had robbed me of: my house, which I bought 13 years ago, is in the best possible location one could ask for. Who knew?

From here, I’m within 2,000 steps of the following (and this is not an all-inclusive list):

  • My office
  • A grocery store
  • A natural foods store
  • My doctor’s office
  • My salon
  • Urgent care
  • A dentist’s office
  • The police station
  • A fire station
  • A pharmacy
  • The post office
  • City Hall
  • The local library
  • An outlet mall
  • The cultural center
  • My daughter’s karate dojo
  • Beach access
  • Lake access

Oh, and add to that a good dozen restaurants, including a coffee shop, pizza place, two Thai food places, Mexican food, high-end seafood place, a fish ‘n chips place, barbecue place, ice cream shop, two fast-food places and more.

Plus, the two nonprofit boards I’m on hold their board meetings within that same radius.

Ironically, I can also walk to the car wash, but, you know, not so useful…

I had no idea until I needed it how very close I am to just about everything.

And if I truly needed it, I’m just a block away from a bus stop.

That proximity to so many things has made what could feel like a very restrictive part of my recovery into something kinda cool.

And once I started back to working in the office, I pretty much walk everywhere. I’m on a streak now. I’ve hit at least 5,000 steps every day since June 8. And I’ll make sure I have enough rain gear so that doesn’t have to stop once the weather turns all Oregon Coast again this fall.

It’s amazing what close proximity will do for you.

But sometimes, proximity (albeit of a different variety) is not your friend. I discovered that recently, too, when we were alerted to a problem with our newest release’s books cover.

We mostly use stock art for our book covers. We’re not alone. The big trads do this a lot, too. But sometimes you wind up in a situation where another cover looks far too similar to your own. This happened with Hidden Charm. A reader alerted us to this fact. I had conducted a search prior to using that particular art, but Amazon shows different things to different people, so the cover at issue did not come up for me at that time. This is not unusual.

Normally, I wouldn’t stress out about another cover having the same art. This is a known quantity when it comes to using stock art for cover design. But in this case, the topic of the book (also an alternative take on the Rapunzel fairy tale) was too close for comfort. The other author released her book first, so we redid ours. It’s more about common courtesy than anything else, frankly.

So, here’s the redesigned cover of Hidden Charm. I used the same model but she’s in a different pose. This was important because we’d already launched the book, and done a lot of sales and marketing, and we didn’t want to confuse the readers who had already bought the book. That would be even worse than an unfortunate coincidence.

This is not the first time we’ve run into another book using the same art on the cover as ours (although it’s not common). But it was the first one where we decided we had to redo ours. This time, it exceeded the proximity threshold.

Oh, and one final note about proximity: You’re running out of time to buy the Space Travelers Storybundle, curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Click here to learn more about this bundle—which includes WMG books Duplicate Effort, A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kris, Sector Justice: A Seeders Universe Novel by Dean Wesley Smith, and Fiction River Presents: Space Travelers.

As for me, I’m off to the post office—on foot, of course.

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: Sizzling Release to Mark the Start of Summer

Here on the Oregon Coast, we mark the start of summer not at Memorial Day weekend (as is the custom everywhere else I have lived) but with the Fourth of July, because that’s when the tourist season really heats up in this little coastal town.

And I can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer than with our latest Fiction River volume. It’s a special edition edited by Kristine Grayson called Summer Sizzles. And wow, does it.

Here’s the synopsis:

In this fourth Fiction River Special Edition, bestselling romance author and editor Kristine Grayson takes readers into the world of romantic suspense. These nine breathtaking stories—from military romance to love in the criminal underworld, from a highly unusual shipboard romance to a modern gothic novella set on an idyllic island—make a perfect beginning to summer reading. The heat of attraction, the sparks of passion, and the frisson of suspense all thread their way through every story in this spectacular volume.

Table of Contents:
“Night Moves” by Katie Pressa
“Safe Like Cedar” by Lisa Silverthorne
“Flying Above the Hindu Kush” by M.L. Buchman
“Love on the Run” by Kelly Washington
“Need to Know” by Sabrina Chase
“Bribing Ghosts” by Leah Cutter
“Come Summer, Come Winter, I’ll Come for You” by Rei Rosenquist
“Totality” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“That Summer on Blue Heron Island” by Dayle A. Dermatis

This scintillating volume is available in ebook and paperback here. And don’t forget about the subscription option so you never miss a volume. Learn more here.

So, once the Fourth of July fireworks have faded (or if fireworks just aren’t your jam in the first place), grab a copy of this latest Fiction River and watch sparks fly on the page instead.

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: When You Need a Little Space


While I was out on medical leave, some very cool space news happened. Astronomers announced on April 10 that they had finally captured a picture of something most people thought we’d never see: a black hole. This was very early on in my recovery, but even I recognized how monumental that little news notification on my iPhone was.

If you haven’t heard about that yet or read about it, click here.

I had to read about it in pieces, but I read everything I could find over the next few days. (Of course, the fact that a woman is the face of this discovery was also very cool!)

Space has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I was even in Young Astronauts in junior high and seriously considered studying aerospace engineering in college.

Although I obviously did choose that path, I still find myself staring up at the night sky and wondering what all is out there.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I have this (and many other things) in common. In fact space, particularly space travel, is the inspiration for not only a new Fiction River Presents, which she edited, but also a new Storybundle, which she curated.

About the Space Travelers Storybundle, she says:

When most people think of science fiction, they think of space, that final frontier. They think of traveling in space or living in space or being in space. Eventually, they come back to Earth and think about things like time travel or futuristic gadgets, but ask the normal person what they imagine when someone says “science fiction,” and they respond “space.”

I know my love for sf came from my love for space. I discovered both at the same time. I watched the Apollo program throughout my childhood, and the same year I discovered Star Trek, I also watched human beings land on the Moon. That fired my imagination so firmly that I think nothing can shake those two things apart. Space is something, for me, to look forward to.

Space is hope.

Space isn’t always hope, not for the people (and creatures) involved in this Space Traveler bundle. Sometimes space is adventure. Sometimes space is scary. And often space is fascinating—like nothing we’ve seen before.

Click here to learn more about this bundle—which includes WMG books Duplicate Effort, A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kris, Sector Justice: A Seeders Universe Novel by Dean Wesley Smith, and Fiction River Presents: Space Travelers.

The latter, which also released as a standalone product last week, is the latest in the Fiction River Presents magazine line, which features reprints of some of our favorite Fiction River stories. (To read more about Fiction River and its subscription options click here.)

Here’s the synopsis for Fiction River Presents: Space Travelers:

Pulling from the list of her favorite stories for this volume of Fiction River Presents, editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch takes readers on a thrilling journey. From little rovers exploring the planets where humans cannot yet go, to human explorers flung into realms of space/time beyond their knowledge and experience, to aliens who drop in for a visit to Earth for purposes only they can fathom—these travelers entertain, sometimes terrify, and always fascinate.

With this tantalizing volume, Rusch asks the reader, “Wanna go for a ride?”

Table of Contents:
“Tendrils” by Leigh Saunders
“Moonfall” by Lisa Silverthorne
“The Rock of Kansas” by Eric Kent Edstrom
“Hot Jupiters” by Steven Mohan, Jr.
“Embedded” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Ice Dogs” by Kris Austen Radcliffe
“Closing the Big Bang” by Michéle Laframboise
“Time, Expressed as an Entrée” by Robert T. Jeschonek

Click here to buy the new volume on its own.

And in other space news, Kris’ latest Diving Universe novel, The Renegat, is now available for ebook preorder.

Here’s the synopsis:

As a young recruit, brilliant engineer Nadim Crowe accidentally destroys an entire Boneyard 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 Boneyard.

Something invaded that Boneyard 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.

Click here for more information on that.

So much space. So little time.

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