Time for Fun in the Sun

School ended for my daughter last Friday, which for me marks the official start of summer.

As a now third-grader (when did that happen???), we’re shifting from viewing summer as a time for full-time daycare to a time of summer camps and sports camps and sundry other activities. More planning for me, but also more fun for her.

Some of the activities she has coming up: cheerleading practice, theater camp, volleyball camp, art classes, and even some science classes thanks to our proximity to the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

And because I’m thinking about summertime adventures for my school-age child, I thought this would be a good time to remind you about a fantastic young adult novel by Dean Wesley Smith that involves sun and sand and lots of heart-stopping adventure.

Here’s the synopsis for The Adventures of Hawk:

USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith takes us on a thrill-ride adventure in some of the world’s most exotic places.

In search of his missing father, Danny Hawk must survive against all odds and a long way from home.

In 1970, Egypt breeds danger for Hawk and his friends. Hawk’s only hope to find his father rests in staying alive and ahead of the dangerous men chasing him.

Sometimes only a half-step ahead.

You can pick up a copy of the ebook or trade paperback here.

Now, I must go plan more summer adventures for my daughter—but hopefully none quite so thrilling as those in Dean’s book <grin>.

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

Something to Celebrate

My daughter celebrates her eighth birthday this week. We kicked off the celebrations with a Star Wars-themed get-together with a few of her oldest friends.

I love that she chose Star Wars. And that she dressed up as Rey (in costume, complete with staff, that my father and stepmother bought her). And that she chose red and black as her colors (based on the Star Wars cake we ordered).

I love all this most because Star Wars was one choice among a variety of options she considered, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Monster High, and Disney princesses.

She loves them all. She enjoys playing with Barbie dolls AND fighting with lightsabers. She can play with the boys AND play with the girls. She’s been known to dig in the dirt for slugs while wearing her Easter dress.

She can be HER. Part sf geek, part Disney princess, part tomboy, part girly-girl, all Nola.

Be a kind, considerate person above all. After that, do what makes you happy. That’s what I try to teach my daughter.

If I succeed as nothing else as her parent, I seem to be doing a pretty good job letting her choose her own interests and not forcing my likes or dislikes on her. Or traditional gender roles, for that matter. She lives in a time where can be free to make her own choices.

Now, that’s something I will absolutely celebrate.

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

Wishing Upon a Star

I’ve seen a handful of shooting stars in my life. I’ve made a wish on every one of them.

I’m not counting the meteor showers I’ve watched, mind you. That feels like cheating. I mean that rare event where a burst of light shoots across the sky out of the blue (or black, as the case may be).

I love that feeling of breathlessness and joy. Like you’ve witnessed something so special and fleeting it’s a miracle you saw it at all.

In that moment, wondrous things seem possible. So, why not dare to dream they might come true?

I tried to capture that feeling on the cover art of our latest volume of Fiction River. It’s called Wishes, after all.

The magical Rebecca Moesta edits this volume, the third young adult volume she has contributed to the Fiction River line.

Here’s the synopsis:

Forget the old adage that cautions against wishing. The sixteen stories in this latest Fiction River contain just the right amount of heart, magic, pathos, and even hope. From a daughter hoping to save her father with a crash-course in wishery to an unfortunate victim at the wrong end of someone else’s wish, these stories show teens trying to wish away their problems—with often unexpected results. But no matter the dilemma, this volume of Fiction River promises to lift your spirits and remind you just how much magic the universe offers.

Table of Contents
“The Rock of Kansas” by Eric Kent Edstrom
“Movie Boy and Music Girl” by Ron Collins
“Upon_a_Starship.pgm” by Brigid Collins
“Ellen Double Prime” by Alexandra Brandt
“Twin Wishes” by Jamie Ferguson
“Granted” by Robert Jeschonek
“If Wishes Were Kisses” by Lesley L. Smith
“A Winged Heart” by T. Thorn Coyle
“What Alanna Wished, How, and Why” by Dave Raines
“Blame it on the Ghosts” by Annie Reed
“Family, Fair and True” by Dayle A. Dermatis
“True” by Leslie Claire Walker
“How I Became a Fairy Godmother” by Bonnie Elizabeth
“Starfish at Ebbtide” by Lisa Silverthorne
“Turquoise Trail” by Diana Deverell
“As Fast as Wishes Travel” by Dale Hartley Emery

We can all use a little more hope these days. Perhaps this volume of Fiction River will be just the distraction you have been wishing for. You can buy it here.

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

Remembrances

Each Memorial Day, I’m grateful that I have no one directly related to me to mourn. I am related to many veterans, mind you. My father, stepfather, both grandfathers, husband and even an ex-husband served in the military. So did a number of my friends.

They all survived that service. Thank god.

And I realize how lucky I am. Because I’ll never forget watching my dad scanning the Vietnam Wall in D.C. for the names of his fellow soldiers, his friends. It’s one of the very few times I’ve seen my dad cry, and it was then that I realized just how horrific war must be. And how hard it must be to survive it.

And I remember attending a memorial service for a young man from this small town on the Oregon Coast shortly after I moved here. He had just graduated from high school. His mother and father both served. But even that did not prepare them for the pain of losing their son. I attended another service one year to the day later for the young man’s mother, who had shot herself at his graveside.

So, today I think not only about those who gave their lives in service to our country, but also those who are forever changed by war.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has written several stories about veterans, but the one most resonated to me as I wrote this is “Still Life, With Cats.” It’s a story about war, loss, and survival. And in honor of Memorial Day, it will be available here until my next publisher’s note has posted.

And if you want to read another fantastic story about the horrors of war, click here to read “The Museum of Modern Warfare,” which is her Free Fiction for this week.

While I can’t thank those who gave their lives for my freedom, I can thank all of you who have been touched by such a loss. My heart goes out to you all.

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

Cats and Dogs

You’ve heard the old saying “fighting like cats and dogs.” Well, what if you’re fighting about cats and dogs.

My husband and I argue very little. But one of those rare sources of conflict is about our pets.

We’re both animal-lovers, he and I. And we love cats and dogs more or less equally. But we brought different species into this marriage…and different histories.

I came with three cats. He brought one dog. My cats are better trained than his dog. Hence, my frustration and our latest argument.

I read a fascinating article the other day about training cats (I’d share the link, but it was in my Apple News feed and I don’t subscribe to National Geographic. However, you can Google the topic and find lots of similar articles, as it turns out.)

It’s different in some ways than training a dog. You can use treats, yes, but you also need to ignore negative behavior directly (negative attention is attention, after all) and correct it in a detached way (like leaving something on the counter that will make noise when the cat jumps up). If the cat knows it was you, though, they’ll hold a grudge. Cats think of us as big clumsy cats, so there’s no deferring to the human “alpha.”

Dogs, however, know we’re different. And they need to know who’s in charge. Well, the dog thinks my husband is the alpha. And this is where we run into trouble.

Grace is a sweet dog but we simply can’t undo all of the problems the ex-wife created. She was bought to be a purse poodle and then a housedog. She was even trained to poop in a box.

We’ve worked to train her to be a “dog,” but my husband will only go so far. He’d rather adjust our behavior instead of hers. He feels sorry for her, really. I do, too, but I’m not ready to accept that a dog is in control of my house.

So, conflict.

I want her to be better trained (or at least as well-trained as my cats for goodness sake). He just wants her happy.

And here’s the real source of my frustration: so do I. But, you know, not eat the cat litter and then puke up cat poop all over the house.

We’ll work it out, I’m sure. After all, he spoils all of us, so it’s hard to argue with the man’s motives.

I guess on this one topic, we’re just as different as cats and dogs.

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

Technology and change

I’m writing this blog on my older laptop because my newer laptop is in the shop, so to speak. I had stopped using the older laptop for everyday work (and got the newer, which was new when the company bought it less than a year ago) because it had gotten completely bogged down.

When you have more than 600 titles, you have a ton of files. And some of those files (like the photo and design files) are huge. And let’s not even consider the size of the video files.

As a result, the entire WMG digital inventory takes up more than a quarter terabyte. As in 275GB or 2,750MB or 2,750,000K.

Remember when 64 to 100MB storage seemed like a huge amount of storage space? I do. Now, I have individual files that big.

And that adds up. But that was only part of the problem.

Because all of my advanced computer programs need a lot of RAM to run. That combination of factors rendered my older laptop more or less useless.

It used to be that we housed our digital inventory on my computer (with several backup systems). But that became untenable. So now, we have moved everything to the cloud (with physical backups, of course). That helped with problem number one.

But problem number two remains.

Now, my newer laptop has more RAM but the same about of storage space—250GB. As I mentioned, we moved our inventory onto the cloud, and all of my computer programs are more or less on the cloud, but they still need to sync to the hard drive to be usable. This isn’t normally a problem. Until a syncing error causes a cascading effect of file downloads to fill up the hard drive and render the computer useless.

As happened to my newer laptop today. It’s fixable and I’ll lose nothing (thanks to cloud syncing and backups), but it’s still annoying. I need to access the cloud on or plug a backup into something, so I’m thankful for the backup laptop. Even if I’ve just spent the past three hours updating the damned thing. It still has RAM problems, which is why I’m writing this in Google docs instead of Word, but the point is I have options.

If this had happened a few years ago even, I would have at a minimum lost productivity until my computer was fixed or I bought a new one. Now, if necessary, I can use apps on my phone to edit and write documents, check my email, sign contracts, you name it. I’m still functioning almost at full capacity, and that’s just amazing to me.

In fact, I was shocked at my reaction to the crash. It has been a very stressful week, and I’m fried. Under similar circumstances in the past, I would have lost it when I realized that the crash was beyond my technical expertise and I’d need a professional. But today, the moment I realized I’d lost all function on it I also realized that I’d lost, effectively, nothing. Now that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.

So, while change is hard, it can also be wonderful.

And that’s also how we feel about the next change I’m going to talk about: Moving the WMG Coast Workshops to Las Vegas.

The Oregon Coast, you see, is a bit like my old laptop. Not quite capable of keeping up with the latest technology. It’s a beautiful place for our workshop participants to visit, but we’re not super accessible (the last hour of the drive out here is on windy two-lane roads). And our technology infrastructure can be problematic. Plus, it’s a small town with limited amenities, including, and especially, conference space.

Now that the primary instructors for all of our workshops—Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith—have moved to (or are in the process of moving to) Las Vegas, we decided it was time for a change.

Starting with the 2018 Master Class, we’ll be at the Golden Nugget on Fremont. Details on that, and the whole slate of 2019 workshops, can be found here. We’ve even got a revival of the Kris and Dean show on the books!

I hope you enjoy the new opportunities this move offers. And as a reminder, if you can’t or won’t travel, we have a whole slate of online workshops available right on your computer.

Or your phone or tablet, if your computer is in the shop.

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