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Founded in 2010, WMG Publishing, Inc. is located in Lincoln City, OR. The company publishes more than 450 fiction and nonfiction titles in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats. In 2013, the company launched Fiction River: An Original Anthology Magazine, which publishes six volumes a year containing short fiction from New York Times bestsellers to debut authors. For more information about the company, go to www.wmgpublishing.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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As someone in the book business (with a background in journalism), you’d think nothing would surprise me. I’ve seen it all, read it all. Well, most of it anyway. That’s why I love it when a book throws me for a loop.
But I don’t love that feeling in real life. I don’t love irrational behavior. And lately it seems I have more experience than I ever hoped for with such behavior. I’m not going to go into details about that in this blog (or anywhere in cyberspace), but this week I realized why I find dealing with delusional people unsettling.
It’s like looking into a funhouse mirror. You know what reality should be, and you expect that to be reflected back to you, but instead what you get back is so twisted and turned it is almost entirely unrecognizable.
Constantly dealing with that warped sense of reality can threaten to drive a sane and reasonable person crazy.
Fortunately, I have a bunch of (mostly) reasonable and (mostly) sane people in my support system. So, here I am. Still sane. Mostly.
And I realized that as I was writing this blog, I kept thinking about a story in Dean Wesley Smith’s Seeders Universe. It’s called “A Pity About The Delusion.”
So, I thought, why not post it here for free. You can find it at the end of this post.
Perhaps I’m the delusional one after all, since I’m supposed to be selling books for a living and I just gave two of them away for free.
Maybe. But that’s the kind of delusional I can get behind.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.
A Pity About the Delusion
Dean Wesley Smith
Mandi Meyers turned the big, white Ford Explorer SUV onto Bryant Street and drove slowly past all the suburban homes that were damn hard to tell apart. Luckily, most of them had big numbers attached to the wall beside the standard two-car garage door.
She was looking for 1622, which would be on her right side.
All the lawns had once been beautiful, but now were patches of weeds, brown and dead now that it was summer and hot. All the cars left on the street were parked in the driveways or along the curbs. There clearly hadn’t been that many people in this neighborhood home when the world ended. She figured that most everyone here had jobs in downtown Portland and had died there, their cars more than likely parked in a transit-station parking lot.
The few that had died here on Bryant Street in that mid-morning were either self-employed or the parent that stayed home with the kids. But school in this town had already started in late August when the world ended, so she doubted there would be many kids bodies here either, even though this neighborhood was clearly one for young families.
She was used to mummified bodies in cars and along sidewalks, still in the same positions where they had fallen three years before. It felt strange to not see any bodies at all.
And if not for the weeds and brown lawns from the summer heat, she wouldn’t have been able to tell anything at all was wrong with this subdivision.
When the world ended, she had been working for the United States Air Force after finishing college. She had been twenty-three that day three years ago and had survived because she was working about thirty feet underground when the electromagnetic pulse hit the Earth and killed everyone who wasn’t inside protection.
No one knew the pulse was coming from space. One minute the world had billions of people, the next there were only millions left, most scattered across the planet wondering what had happened.
Many of the survivors killed themselves shortly after the first wave of deaths or went insane, unable to come to grips with everyone they loved being dead. But Mandi had been single and young. When the wave hit, her parents, her only family, had just moved to a small town in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.
She actually hadn’t seen them for a number of years, so she really didn’t miss them that much.
She had stayed with the other survivors in her unit and slowly, over time, a form of national organization started to come back together.
It seemed a lot of people in the military had survived, and a lot of people in subways and in tunnels and so on. And everyone wanted to rebuild before too much was lost.
Now, there was a national plan to restart five cities in the country and Portland had been picked as one of those cities because of its nearness to clean water, its long growing season, and mild winters. She had volunteered to come here and live and work.
Mostly she had picked Portland because she knew she would find the time to finally deal with her parents.
She had arrived last week in the first wave and had been too busy setting up everything for the thousands of more that would follow to try to get here, to her parents’ home, before now.
So finally, after three years of wondering, it was time for her to face the loss of her family. She had always known they would be dead, but seeing them was another matter. She needed to do that, then at some point get help coming here to bury them.
Her best friend, Donna, had offered to come along to her parents’ new home on this first trip, but Mandi had declined, saying she needed to do this herself. She didn’t even know if they had been home that morning of the electromagnetic wave.
If not, her parents were somewhere in the city and were going to be tough to find among all the bodies. But since the new government was working to give every body a decent burial and record what information was with the body, she might find them eventually.
Donna had been really, really worried about her coming alone. She said what little Mandi had said about her parents had not been complimentary. But Mandi had insisted she would be fine.
It had taken her almost an hour from downtown Portland to work her way out her into the suburb city called Lake Oswego. Part of the way the big freeway had been cleared by her people.
And part of the way she had been forced to use the police bumper attached to the big SUV front to gently nudge a car or two out of the way.
But now this suburban street was clear.
The winding street turned to her right and then wound back to the left.
She was getting close. Then, as she came around a gentle bend in the street she could see her parent’s home.
The lawn was green.
Flowers were growing in the flowerbed along the sidewalk.
That wasn’t possible.
Mandi stopped the car and closed her eyes, then opened them again.
The lawn was still green among rows of brown lawns and the flowers were clearly being watered.
From military satellites, she knew that only two people had been living in downtown Portland itself, and there were scattered survivors living out in the suburbs, but she hadn’t really paid any attention to see if any of those survivors lived close to her parents’ address.
Let alone their very address.
She shook her head to try to clear it, but the green grass and flowers remained.
She pulled the big SUV over near the front of the house and sat there, shaking.
Then she took a couple of deep breaths.
She had to think and be clear or this could turn out very ugly.
She had no idea who was in that house or how sane they might be. She leaned over and took out the loaded service pistol she had put in the glove box of the big car.
Donna had insisted on that just in case.
With the pistol in one hand, she slowly climbed out of the big SUV and into the heat of the later afternoon sun. She tucked the pistol in the back of her jeans and ran her hands through her short, brown hair.
She had kept it short for the last three years since it was just easier to keep clean and take care of.
The green lawn was still there in front of her parent’s house, as impossible as it was.
She moved slowly up the walk towards the front door, some of her basic training coming back in.
She moved slowly, one hand on the gun, as she scanned the neighborhood, looking for anyone watching her.
Nothing moving at all in the heat.
Except for this one house, the neighborhood was dead.
She reached the front porch and rang the bell, feeling so numb she couldn’t believe any of this was possible.
Was she having a hallucination?
Had she gotten sick on the way out here, or was she having some sort of reaction to actually finally seeing her parents dead?
She had no idea who was going to answer that door or what kind of reception she was going to get. For all she knew, one of her parents had survived and had gone completely crazy in three years and wouldn’t even recognize her.
After a moment the door handle turned and the door swung open.
Her father stood there, trim and fit and looking younger than she remembered him.
And he was as naked as the day he was born, with a drink in one hand.
She forced herself to look only into his eyes.
Music drifted from the inside of the house and Mandi could smell the wonderful odor of baking cookies.
“Hey, Mandi,” her father said, smiling at her. “Glad you could make it. Come on in.”
She started to open her mouth, but she knew she could say nothing.
That was not the response she had expected at all.
“Don’t let all the cold air out,” he said, standing back from the door. “It’s hot enough in here as it is.”
He laughed at that for some reason.
It was a saying he always had said when she was growing up with them in Southern California.
She nodded to him and stepped through the door.
He shut the door behind her.
The cool, air-conditioned air felt wonderful after the heat outside.
And all the lights were on.
Somehow her father must have set up a generator to run the lights and the air-conditioning.
The home looked standard, right out of the 1990s, just as their home had been when she was growing up. Couches were nice brown cloth and the carpeting tan. A large-screen television sat in a large entertainment center on one wall, and two recliners faced that area.
There was a large dining area off the living room with an oak table with ten matching wooden chairs. A wide, carpeted hallway disappeared off to the right. It must go off to bathrooms and bedrooms.
This was a nice, spacious suburban home, nicely furnished and kept clean.
Then from the kitchen area off the dining room, Mandi’s mother shouted, “Who is it, dear?”
“Come see,” her father said, smiling at her. “Mandi has decided to join the party.”
Mandi recognized that phrase, but darned if she could place it.
Her mother came out of the kitchen, also totally nude and thinner than Mandi remembered.
Her mom smiled at her. “Glad you could make it, dear. Jim, get her a drink before the other guests get out of the pool.”
Mandi again just opened her mouth, then closed it.
What the hell could she even say?
It had been three years since the world had ended. Yet her parents seemed to think everything was normal and there were other guests in the pool.
And why were they standing around naked.
And why weren’t they excited to see her?
It felt more like she had just stepped back in time, into her own past. There was so much of that past she had pushed away and forgotten. This felt like part of it.
But that wasn’t possible.
She could feel the room spinning some, so she moved over to a chair at the kitchen table and dropped into it.
Her mother smiled at her and went back into the kitchen while her father went to the bar in one corner of the family room and started working on a drink for her.
Neither of them made any movement to cover up their nakedness in front of her.
At that moment, the sliding back door to the kitchen area opened and four other naked people walked in, all of them in their late twenties, all of them laughing and dripping wet.
Somewhere, in her distant memory, she recognized them.
All of them.
“This can’t be happening,” she said to herself, shaking her head.
She closed her eyes, but the laughing and the voices continued.
“Not feeling well, dear?” he father asked. “It’s okay if you just go back to your room.”
“Sure is,” he mom said, coming in and putting a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen table.
The four other nude people gathered around, each grabbing a cookie.
“You better get a couple of those before they’re gone,” he father said, winking at her.
Then all of the naked people went into the living room and sat down, laughing and talking while Mandi sat at the kitchen table, stunned.
She put her head down on the hard wood, jammed her eyes closed as she used to do when she was a young girl and didn’t want to see or know something her parents were doing, and just let the voices and the scene of six naked people sitting around fade away.
The next thing Mandi knew, a hand was gently touching her shoulder.
“Mandi? Mandi?” the voice whispered. “Are you all right?”
She pushed back from the table, stunned, almost tipping her chair over in the process.
The house was dark and hot and smelled like a tomb. She had dust on her hands and she was sure on her face where she had put her head on the dusty tabletop.
Donna stood there with Henry Stevens, one of the main contractors working on getting the airport back up and running. Both of them had flashlights tied to their heads and another in one hand.
“I got worried when you didn’t come back,” Donna said, “so Henry and I came to see if you were all right.”
“How long have I been gone?” Mandi asked, trying to brush herself off.
“Seven hours,” Donna said.
Mandi nodded and stood.
Donna handed her a flashlight and Mandi went out into the living room.
Six bodies were there, on the couch and chairs, none of them wearing clothes.
They had basically become mummies in the heat of the house.
Donna recognized her father in a big recliner and her mother sitting next to another man on the couch.
“My mother, my father,” Mandi said, shining a light on the two grinning skeletons as a way of introducing them to Donna and Henry.
Mandi just shook her head, staring at the scene. It had been just after eight in the morning on a weekday when the electromagnetic wave hit and killed most everyone. And yet her parents, even here in Portland, even at the age of forty, were still up to their old games.
“Do you know these other four?” Henry asked.
“More than likely neighbors,” Mandi said. “Over for a morning of sex and mate-swapping, more than likely, considering none of them are dressed.”
Donna glanced at her, a very worried look in her eyes.
“Don’t worry,” Mandi said, smiling at her friend. “I dealt with my parent’s behavior a long time ago, when I was very young. I had forgotten it until now.”
“Wow,” Henry said, shaking his head. “Way beyond my comfort level.”
Both Donna and Mandi nodded.
It had always been beyond Mandi’s comfort level. She had grown up with naked adults coming and going at all hours and the sounds of sex coming from strange places in the house. It was no wonder she wasn’t interested in sex or getting married.
She was really going to need some help getting past that childhood, if she ever could.
Maybe seeing them like this would help.
With one last look at her parents, she said, “Lets get out of here. Let them have their party. For them, it was the perfect way to leave the planet.”
She went toward the front door and waited until Henry and Donna were outside ahead of her. Then with one last look at the six naked mummified bodies in the suburban house, she said what she had always said to her parents when they told her they were “getting together with friends.”
As she pulled the door closed, she thought she caught the sound of laughter and ice in a glass making a clicking sound as someone drank for courage.
Or maybe that was just her memory.
“A Pity About the Delusion” copyright © 2013 Dean Wesley Smith, cover design copyright © 2013 WMG Publishing, cover photo by Ekaterina Yudina/Dreamstime.com
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
I was talking to a friend the other day about watching the World Cup. My husband and I are watching as many games as we can and following the progression to the Round of 16 (and will continue along into the quarterfinals this week).
If you had asked during the last World Cup if I was a sports fan (for you non-soccer folks, the World Cup is played every four years), I would have said no (or even hell-no, depending on the sport).
Soccer (football to most of you) was one of those hell, no sports. I didn’t grow up watching it or playing it, so I didn’t have the base of knowledge I had for baseball and football (the US kind).
Add to this my acquired distaste of all sports, and the last thing I’d have done was flip on a World Cup match.
So when I mentioned watching the World Cup to my friend, she mentioned how she was still getting used to me being a sports fan.
And in that moment I realized that my distaste of sports had never been about the sports themselves, it was about the interpersonal relationships I was experiencing.
I loved watching sports as a kid. My dad played on the company softball team, and we’d be out every weekend cheering him on. He watched football and baseball at home, but not religiously, and I grew up cheering on the Yankees and Giants.
As a teenager, after my parents divorced and my mom remarried, I spent less time with my dad and more time with my stepfather. He was all sports, all the time. If there was a game on the TV, that was what we were watching, and we’d better be quiet. It wasn’t something we did together, really. It was a strong reminder of what I’d lost. And I learned to resent those sports.
When my ex-husband turned out to be the same kind of domineering sports fan my stepfather was, my resentment grew to loathing. It got so bad that the sound of sneakers on a basketball court were like fingernails on a chalkboard.
So imagine my dilemma when, two years ago, my now-husband invited me to attend the Pac-12 college basketball championships in Las Vegas. We had known each other for many years but only very recently started dating. Vegas sounded fun, but the basketball thing had me worried. How could I tolerate even one game, let alone a whole schedule of them? But I had a feeling about this guy, and he made everything else we did fun, so I decided to chance it.
I’m so glad I did.
We had a blast, and a whole new world of sports appreciation opened up for me. Because John doesn’t force me to watch sports because it’s some sort of patriarchal right. He includes me in his viewing experience. He helps me understand what’s going on in the sports he has more experience with than I. And sometimes, he proposes we learn a new sport together.
Which is how we’ve come to watch the World Cup this year.
As for who we’re rooting for? That one was easy, but I’ll leave you to guess which one it is.
And if you’d rather read about sports than watch them, check out Dean Wesley Smith’s nonfiction book “The First Tee Panic: And Other Very Real Golf Stories.”
Here’s the synopsis:
Former PGA Golf Professional and USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith walks you step-by-step, club-by-club from your car to the first tee and beyond in a laugh-out-loud style that not only teaches, but entertains. Any golfer recognizes the fears, the patterns, the downright horrors of the first shot of a round. Ever topped that first shot just off the front edge of the tee box? Or worse yet, whiffed it completely? Come on, admit it. It happened. Remember? The problems with that first shot don’t start with the swing. Nope, the problems start in the parking lot. And this book will get you flawlessly from the parking lot, through the clubhouse, onto the driving range, over the putting green, and finally successfully off the first tee with a smile.
You can buy the book here.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.
I’ve been talking to my sister a lot lately about being strong women in our 40s. She and I have been through a lot the past few years that have sparked this conversation. I’m a bit ahead of her, as I should be because I’m the oldest. But we both marvel at the changes in ourselves.
Mentally, we’re in the best place we’ve ever been. We know who we are, and we won’t accept what isn’t true to that. As a result, my sister and I are having frank, open conversations for the first time in our lives.
We fought like cats and dogs as kids. We never hated each other, per se, but we certainly didn’t enjoy spending time with each other. As we matured into adults, we became closer, but there was still a gulf created by the pain and misunderstandings of our childhood. We walked on eggshells, forever afraid of offending each other.
But now, well, those days are long gone. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, we can’t and don’t talk about. We lean on each other for advice and support. We share the craziness of raising our kids. The challenges and joys of our marriages. How different we are now.
And how (who knew?) we are so very much alike.
Her life is in transition, just like mine has been the past couple of years. And I know that although it’s tough now, she’ll be so much happier in a couple of years. She’ll have let go of the baggage of our youth and embraced her power and her potential.
Just like I have.
My only regret is that we live on opposite coasts so I can’t be there in person to help her through it and witness first-hand the amazing woman she is becoming. Thank goodness for modern technology.
And thank goodness I’m surrounded by other strong women, both real and fictional.
Speaking of, the latest book by one such real woman—Kristine Kathryn Rusch—is now available for preorder on Amazon (it was already available on Kobo and some other retailers). Searching for the Fleet is part of Kris’ Diving Series, which is known for its strong female characters.
Here’s the synopsis:
Leaving Boss behind to continue diving the Boneyard, Ivoire Engineer Yash Zarlengo returns to the Lost Souls Corporation’s headquarters to analyze the data from the runabout they discovered there.
Convinced that the experience in the Boneyard proves the Fleet still exists, Yash buries herself in her work, interested in little else.
Ivoire Captain Jonathan “Coop” Cooper notices Yash’s growing obsession with finding the Fleet and joins her in her search.
For the first time in six years, the crew of the Ivoire feels real hope. Coop and Yash know all too well the dangers hope can pose. But this time their hope might just lead them somewhere no one expected.
A page-turning adventure, Searching for the Fleet expands Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s award-winning Diving series into uncharted territory.
So if you’re feeling empowered, grab this latest novel now so you can start reading the moment it’s released, which is Sept. 18, 2018. You can find more information here.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.
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>.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ok, now that I have your attention, I want to reassure you that my blog opening was not a marketing trick to keep you reading. I really mean it.
We’ve made the first ebook in four of Dean Wesley Smith’s series free:
Offered a free trip into a remote Idaho wilderness that she loves and studies, Professor Dawn Edwards can’t refuse. On the trip she meets Professor Madison Rogers, and they fall for each other before they even reach their destination.
But living in the Old West proves to be a brutal task. Somehow, Dawn must survive to rescue herself, her friends, and the man she loves.
A science fiction novel of new times in the old west.
USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith takes you into the world of his acclaimed novel Dead Money with a brand new series focused around a group of retired Las Vegas Police detectives playing poker and solving cold cases.
Retired Detective Bayard Lott hosts the weekly poker games at his home. The group calls themselves the Cold Poker Gang. And they have proven very successful in closing old cases.
Lott’s very first homicide case as a brand-new detective had gone cold more than twenty years earlier. But retired Reno detective Julia Rogers, new to the Cold Poker Gang, suggests they look at that case again for personal reasons.
From that simple suggestion spins one of the strangest and most complicated murder mystery puzzles the gang has ever seen.
Starting into a brand new series, USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith asks a simple question: What happens if ghosts can fight crime and bad guys?
Just fifteen minutes after Dr. Jewel Kelly meets Deputy Sheriff Tommy Ralston, they both die. They simply become ghosts, hanging around their own death scene in the mountains of Montana, waiting for something to happen. But even as ghosts they find each other really attractive.
In life, they both worked to help people. It seems that in the afterlife, their job continues.
The strangest crime-fighting ghost duo ever. And the sexiest.
USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith introduces his galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe with a new novel.
Paleontologist Callie Sheridan spent a few days deep in the Oregon Caves on a dig with three students from the University of Oregon. When they emerged, they found almost everyone in the world dead. Survival became her only thought.
Mathematician and galactic explorer Vardis Fisher dropped into orbit over a planet where almost all of the human life had been recently killed for no obvious reason. Suddenly, hundreds of other ships, all human, appear in orbit and start working to save the planet’s remaining population.
Together, Callie and Fisher work to discover the secrets of a galaxy that has been hidden in plain sight, even from the powerful humans who rescued millions. And in the process, they just might change everything.
You can find out more information about each book and series by clicking on the links above.
So, if you haven’t tried these series, now is the time. You literally have nothing to lose.