Publisher’s Note: A Horse, Of Course

When you’re a designer, you tend to have colloquial names for the art we use on covers, especially when they are in a series. Sometimes they’re innocuously referred to, such as “women in beautiful dresses.” But sometimes, well, we use more caution when referring to them.

If you’ve ever read Dean Wesley Smith’s Thunder Mountain series, you’ll notice an art theme. Horses. Generally, cowboys on horses. To see all the Thunder Mountain covers and read more about the books, click here.

But inside the WMG offices, they’re referred to as the horse’s ass series. Because, well, a lot of them show the ass end of a horse. And we have a bit of a juvenile sense of humor sometimes.

Now that Dean lives in Vegas, he comes across all sorts of fascinating things. And wouldn’t you know it, he and Kris found a giant horse at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden—decorated for Christmas no less—and Kris had Dean pose for pictures. Naturally, Kris and Dean sent me some.  

(click the images to enlarge)

As you can see, horse’s ass pictures are even funnier with the author in them. What a wonderful gift for the holidays. I just hope that’s not what they meant by “Christmas bonus.” <grin>

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

Publisher’s Note: Two Surprise Gift Boxes, Just in Time for the Holidays

Today is Cyber Monday in the US, the day of great online deals to kick off the Christmas shopping season. It follows Black Friday (for great deals on in-store shopping, particularly at the major retailers) and Small Business Saturday (a holiday promoted by American Express to encourage shopping at, you guessed it, small businesses).

The opportunity for big discounts used be limited to a few hours of mad shopping. Recently, retailers have started expanding the great-deal window to last through the week.

Here at WMG, we decided to go one better: We have two amazing deals on book gift boxes that last for the better part of a month.

The WMG December Holiday Spectacular includes two surprise gift boxes: one for writers and one for the whole family. Each is valued at more than $250 but is an amazing holiday deal for $50.

The WMG Surprise Holiday Gift Box Includes 40 ebooks (novels, novellas, short-story collections, magazines, boxed sets, bundles, and a sampling of something from each of our 33 series). It has something for every reader and is a great way to share (or discover for yourself) why we call WMG The Home of Great Fiction!

The WMG Surprise Gift Box for Writers offers 12 ebooks, 1 classic workshop and 1 lecture to help the writer in your life make the most of their writing career.

The gift boxes will be available to order until noon PST December 19. They will be delivered on December 20.

So, if you’re shopping for that hard-to-please relative, need a gift for the person who has everything, or even looking to help someone celebrate Jolabokaflod in grand style, why not give the gift of reading with one of our WMG surprise gift boxes.

You can find out more and place an order here.

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

Publisher’s Note: Ready for Battle

We celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US on Thursday. And although we could all stand to celebrate a day of thankfulness, the history of the Thanksgiving holiday is fraught with issues.

You can read about some of the misinformation about the history of Thanksgiving (see this National Geographic article titled “A Few Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About Thanksgiving”).

In fact, it wasn’t until the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday, and the feast many of us associate with Thanksgiving became an annual tradition.

What has also become tradition is families battling over differences in their religion and politics over that Thanksgiving dinner table.

How ironic. A holiday meant to bring people together (inspired by the need for unity during a very divisive time in our country) will, in today’s political climate, likely drive many families even further apart.

I hope not. I won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family this year, but mainly because of logistics (they live on the East Coast, and I’m on the West Coast). But I have a feeling, if I did, I might have a hard time following my golden rule of interpersonal relationships: no politics, no religion.

Just in case your holiday is fraught, let me offer you a means to escape: The Valor: Military Science Fiction Bundle from Storybundle.

Curated by Dean Wesley Smith, this bundle offers ten titles sure to spark conversation.

There are three WMG books in this bundle, including Fiction River: Valor, edited by Lee Allred; Skirmishes: A Diving Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Dean’s Life of a Dream. The rest of the titles are: Perihelion by Tami Veldura, Can’t Shoot Straight Gang Returns by Blaze Ward, Battlenaut Crucible by Robert Jeschonek, Trial Under Fire: A BattleTech Novel by Loren Coleman, Guilt in Innocence by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Invincible by David Bruns, and Stealing from Pirates by Stefon Mears.

You can read all about this limited-time bundle here.

As Dean says about the bundle: “You’ll make someone’s life a little brighter, and have hours of wonderful science fiction reading going into the holidays.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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

 

Publisher’s Note: Finding the Time

I’m a schedule-driven person. I need deadlines and organization. Without them, I’ll procrastinate indefinitely. But give me a deadline and I’ll move heaven and earth to meet it.

This year, however, has been chaotic (to put it mildly). Some business years are more challenging than others, and this was one of the more challenging. Because of a couple of unexpected life rolls, we made a lot of changes to some aspects of our business (the retail and teaching side of the business primarily), and I found it was impossible to maintain a schedule.

So, I did what any effective leader does, I adapted. I realized part way into the year that a rigid schedule wasn’t possible, and I would need to be very flexible with handling projects on the fly. The more people involved in a project (and some of our projects, like Fiction River, involve a lot of people), the harder that is, but thanks to our amazing staff, we managed.

The most difficult part of steering a ship through rough waters, as I’ve done this year, is time management. So, how do you manage when there literally is not enough time in the day?

It means knowing that you’ll get overwhelmed and being honest with yourself about how long you can continue working at that pace. It means controlling what you can and recognizing what you can’t but leaving room in the day/week/month for the unexpected. It means, if you’re a schedule-driven person, staying as organized as you can to keep your sanity.

It also means recognizing when you can’t do any more and speaking up.

Sometimes, effective time management means taking time off.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a wonderful piece called Time Management (it is part of her Freelancer’s Survival Guide as well as a standalone short book). I find it a handy book to help remind me of best practices during challenging times.

You can find it here.

Speaking of helpful books, don’t forget that there’s another Freelancer’s Survival Guide Short Book called The Secrets of Success in The 2018 NaNoWriMo Writing Tools Bundle on StoryBundle, which, along with 11 other informative books, is available until the last week in November for National Novel Writing Month.

You can learn more about that bundle here.

But hurry. Time is running out on this one.

And while you’re there, check out the new Valor: Military SF Storybundle. I’ll have more information about that one in next week’s Publisher’s Note.

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

Publisher’s Note: Learning Something New Every Day

I was helping my daughter with her math homework the other day and she didn’t know the answer to the question, but she didn’t want to say that. She’s quite advanced at math (even more so at reading), so she felt like she should know all the answers. She was afraid that if she admitted she didn’t know something, the teacher would think she was stupid.

I was taken aback.

I told her no one knows everything, and there is no shame in not having all the answers. The key is to find out that answer. To investigate. To seek out understanding. To learn.

And never stop learning.

That’s a lesson all of us need to be reminded of from time to time.

It’s why we offer writing and publishing business workshops, for example. To pass along what we’ve learned. And as we keep learning, the workshops grow and evolve.

We just finished up the 2018 Business Master Class, for example. We learned a lot, including that Las Vegas is a much better—but also more expensive—venue for the in-person workshops. Which means we probably need to raise the rates.

But for a limited time, we’re offering an Early Bird Rate of $750 for the 2019 Business Master Class, which will be held October 25-30, 2019, at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. The focus of this workshop is Long-Term Business Strategies for Writers and Independent Publishers. We will be announcing new instructors through the spring and should end up with around ten to twelve again. So, if you’re interested, now’s the time to sign up. You can do that here.

We also have about four spots left for the 2019 Anthology Workshop. The writing for this workshop starts at the end of November, so if you want to sign up for this one, you need to act fast. The fee is $750 and the dates for the workshop itself are March 1-6, 2019, at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Learn more here.

And don’t forget that we have online lectures and workshops going year-round. Lately we’ve added a new series of workshops to help writers plan the future of their writing business. Because it is a business, and businesses need a plan.

We address this topic in a series of four six-week workshops called The Future Workshop Series. They are:

#1: REFRESH AND RENEW: How to Keep Your Inventory Selling.
#2: OPPORTUNITIES: How to Evaluate and See Opportunities.
#3: STRUCTURE: Habits and Structures for Long-Term Survival
#4: PATIENCE: How, When, Why… Pacing a Career.

The first of these workshops starts this Wednesday, Nov. 7. There are three ways to sign up: you can buy one at a time (the workshops are $300 each); purchase the bundle of all four of them for $1,000 (a savings of $200); or sign up for a lifetime subscription to all the workshops (which has a value of more than $14,000) for $3,000.

For more information or to sign up, go to https://wmg-publishing-workshops-and-lectures.teachable.com/.

They say you should learn something new every day. If you’re a writer, these workshops are an excellent place to start.

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

Publisher’s Note: Let the festivals begin!

Dia de los Muertos. Calan Gaeaf. Halloween. Samhain. Diwali…The names themselves sound like a magic incantation, a calling from one world into the next. These are all fall festivals that have roots reaching into the distant past where myth and memory mingle.

I love this time of year. And it’s mostly because of those ancient human feelings that we still have: fear of the dark and a need for reassurance when the nights get long and the cold creeps into our bones. But we also still harbor a fascination with the unknown. What is out there in the dark? And who?

These days we entertain ourselves with scary symbols and images during this season, ghosts and skeletons and eerily carved pumpkins, almost as a reminder of the wonder and fear that originated so long ago. But last year, during the total solar eclipse here in Lincoln City, Oregon, when the moon covered the sun and the day turned to night as though someone flipped the off switch, I had the kind of overpowering sense that I imagine our ancient ancestors must have had when darkness conquered the light. It’s a feeling that bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the soul, a sense of astonishment, of the power of the natural world, and an instant certainty of my own feebleness and insignificance. It was both uncanny and absolutely thrilling. I was agog.

No wonder we conjure spirits to guide us through these encounters with the great mysteries of the universe and our place in it. If there’s one thing we at WMG can provide you with, it’s informative and entertaining guides through the liminal worlds of Halloween, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos and the rest. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith seem to feel right at home there. Dean has created ghosts who fall in love and spend the afterlife helping the rest of us in the Ghost of a Chance series, as well as dozens of creepy stories with weird characters who inhabit that most liminal of suburban neighborhoods, Bryant Street.

It’s hard to know where to start with all the weird and wonderful characters Kris has created: her books are chockablock with ghosts, mermaids, wizards, and familiars.

Hands down my personal favorite is Ruby.

When she first appears in “Familiar Territory,” she is still a little kitten who intends to become the familiar of a wizard named Winston. He is a kind and humble wizard, with small magic powers. Ruby herself is tiny, soft, black and there is nothing humble about her. Her body is small and her mouth is big. And the adventures she and Winston tackle together are matters of life and death.

Just for you, we have made the Ghost of a Chance Starter Bundle, three novels in one ebook, available. Ruby is also yours for the taking by way of Familiarity: A Winston and Ruby Collection. And we’re tossing into the mix a classic volume of Fiction River—Haunted, which is bursting with ghosts. You can get all three for $2.99 each, but only this week.

Take your pick of guides and enjoy this festive time as we slide into the darkness.

Gwyneth Gibby, WMG Associate Publisher. October 29, 2018.