The WMG Newsletter

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About WMG Publishing

Founded in 2010, WMG Publishing, Inc. is located in Lincoln City, OR. The company publishes more than 700 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. In 2018, the company relaunched Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, a quarterly publication containing short fiction from New York Times bestsellers to debut authors. WMG Publishing, Inc. is also an industry leader in the cutting edge of independent publishing, offering online lectures and workshops as well as in-person workshops in Las Vegas. For more information about WMG learning opportunities, go to www.wmgworkshops.comFor more information about the company, go to www.wmgpublishinginc.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Latest News

Publisher’s Note: I’m Back!


You haven’t heard from me for 12 weeks, and I am very glad to be back at the helm of WMG. But so much has happened since the last blog I wrote was published, I don’t quite know where to begin.

On that date—March 25, 2019—I spent the morning working from home on the Kristine Grayson website before checking in as an outpatient at the local hospital for a scheduled MRI.

But first, let me explain how we got to the MRI in the first place.

For what I now know is about two years, my health was in decline. I didn’t start to really notice until last fall when I began having problems communicating. I would be speaking and all of a sudden, I would stop being able to make words. Not for long. Just a minute or two. Still, it freaked me out. But it would pass, and like lots of other busy, successful women past 40, I brushed it off as just a sign that I was getting older. I had people counting on me in my personal, professional, and civic lives, and I wasn’t going to let a few bumps in the road slow me down. Just like I hadn’t let the joint issues and fatigue I’d been experiencing for at least a year slow me down.

Then, just as 2018 was drawing to a close, the weirdest thing happened. I was in a restaurant with my husband, mom, and stepfather, and my right hand suddenly went numb. The numbness slowly spread up my arm in an eight-inch block until it crossed my back and hit my spine and then it was gone. I’ve never felt anything like it, and it scared the hell out of me. But still, I brushed it off as another issue with my spine or tendons like so many issues I’ve had before. You do that when you’re a chronic pain sufferer, as I have been since the age of 16. You just suck it up and continue on.

And so I did. Until the next time it happened. Similar, but different. At this point, I realized I should go see my primary care physician to at least discuss what was going on and get an actual medical opinion. My fear was multiple sclerosis. It runs in my family.

It took a while to get the appointment, but by the time I did, I was ready. I’d been Googling symptoms (not recommended if you don’t know what you’re doing…you’ll be convinced you’re dying no matter what it is), and I had a list of things I couldn’t explain dating back about two years. That list might have saved my life.

My doctor used that list to fight with my insurance company to get the MRI approved. She suspected a brain tumor. I had ruled that out in my research because I wasn’t having seizures. At least not the kind I’d heard about, like grand mal seizures. But while she checked for a whole host of other possibilities, she wasn’t willing to drop the MRI. And my list helped her win that battle.

Thank goodness she did. (I would have paid for it out-of-pocket if they had, but it would have taken longer to schedule…time it turns out I didn’t have.)

So, on the Monday of Spring Break, I went in for my MRI. I asked my husband to drive me, which is weird because I am very independent and usually handle all of this stuff on my own. And there’s no reason you can’t drive after an MRI. Plus, the hospital is less than five miles from my house. But ask him I did. He must have sensed something, too, because he waited in the parking lot for me to text him that the test was over.

They did the test. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. And when the tech pulled me out of the machine, he asked me one question before my world tilted on its axis: How are you feeling? Fine, I said.

Then, he told me that the doctor had been reading my scans in real time and had asked the tech to walk me straight to the ER to be admitted. I didn’t even have a chance to change out of the scrubs they had me wear for the test. I stopped only long enough to text my husband. This is the message he received: “Being admitted to ER. Please come.”

He was there almost instantly. I can only imagine what that text did to him.

Upon being admitted to the ER, I got the news from an ER doc I’ve known for a long time (it’s a small town): I had a very large tumor (4.8 cm by 4.5 cm) on the left side of my brain. They suspected benign meningioma, but I would need to be transferred to a hospital in the Valley. I would need to have a craniotomy within days to remove the tumor. The size made it very serious. And when they did the neuro exam in the ER, I realized for the first time how much I had been ignoring. The doctor asked me to hop on one foot—and I couldn’t remember how to do that.

I was transferred to the ICU to await a bed at OHSU (my preferred hospital as it has a dedicated brain center and renowned neurology department). Thankfully, it was also in-network.

On Tuesday, I was admitted to OHSU in Portland. Once there, I found out that the scariest symptoms I’d been having were actually partial (focal) seizures—the very thing I thought I wasn’t having, which made me rule out brain tumor. The weird numbness thing: a partial (meaning only affecting one area of the brain…you are very aware of what’s happening to you) seizure called a Jacksonian march seizure. The speech issues were another type of seizure. I was started on anticonvulsants immediately.

I spent Wednesday getting my affairs in order, just in case. Thursday, I underwent an angiogram to see if they could preempt significant blood loss during the craniotomy (they couldn’t, as it turns out).

Friday, March 29, the neurosurgeon cut open my skull and removed the tumor. On Monday, April 1, they sent me home to continue the long recovery process.

I have so much more to say about that, but not now. This is already longer than the longest blog I’d written to date.

But I will say this much more: one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my recovery is regaining the use of my right hand (which I couldn’t move or feel at all after the surgery). Because of the brain trauma, I was on head injury protocol for the first six weeks of recovery. My screen time was very limited. I couldn’t watch TV for weeks. Even reading was hard. I couldn’t handle noise or movement or even talking on the phone.

I still have months of recovery ahead of me, but I’m at least 80 percent back now. I’m typing this blog at close to my pre-tumor speed, so that tells you something about the progress I’ve made toward regaining that right hand function. I’m walking more than I have in two years. My brain is still not where it once was, but that was expected to be the slowest of all to recover.

I still can’t drive. I had two seizures after my surgery that required an increase of my anticonvulsants. I will be on those for at least one more month and perhaps for the rest of my life. We don’t know yet.

And my tumor wasn’t benign, but it wasn’t cancer either, thankfully. It was atypical, a form of WHO Grade II meningioma called clear cell, which is more common in people my age but is very rare overall, and much more aggressive than other types, so it has a much higher chance of regrowing, even with a gross total resection, as I had. So, I will have two more MRIs this year and at least one per year for the rest of my life. I might need to have another craniotomy in the future. I might need to have radiation at that point as well. Or it might never recur. I’m going to focus my energy on the latter.

So, I’m back in the saddle again. And I’m so very glad to be here.

I didn’t stop working completely during my recovery, of course, because I’m me (and yes, I was working from my hospital bed in the days leading up to the surgery). But while the amazing WMG staff was taking on the yeoman’s task of doing my job on top of theirs, I helped where I could.

My most significant contribution was to the Grayson novels and omnibuses we had scheduled for release before I abruptly left for my tour in tumorville. I had already set the design template for the new Grayson look, so I was able to continue working on those covers during my recovery. It was very helpful for my mental state to feel like I could still contribute something. And while I believed I had found the art for the newest Grayson novel, Hidden Charm, I felt like I should read at least some of the book to make sure.

Before I knew it, I had read the whole thing. And reading was still hard. So, if I read it that fast post-brain surgery, you will understand how incredibly good it is.

Here’s the synopsis:

When a Charming Prince named Sonny rescues Rapunzel from her tower prison, she rides off with him and gets on with her life—her real life in the Greater World. They set up a home in Los Angeles, and she begins to discover the strength of her magic.

But when Sonny disappears, Rapunzel needs help finding him.

Enter Henry, the Frog Prince, who works the front desk of the Archetype Place. Only Henry can help Rapunzel find her husband because of the vast power it took to conquer Sonny. But Henry wants nothing to do with Rapunzel or her problem. He fights enough of his own.

A typically fun Grayson romp through the world of magic and love.

Hidden Charm is available for preorder now, and it officially releases Tuesday, June 18. Click here for more details.

Also releasing on June 18, as Gwyneth mentioned in this blog last week, is the fourth omnibus of the Grayson novels, this one containing Wickedly Charming, Charming Blue, and Hidden Charm. That’s the way to go if you like ebooks and want to read (or reread) the other two novels that came before this latest one. Click here for more details.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for their patience and support during this trying time. We’re a small staff with big jobs, so when one of us goes down, it’s a big impact. And I received so many cards and emails at home while I was recovering wishing me well that what I mostly felt during my recovery, and still feel today, is grateful. I am a very lucky woman, and I’m thankful that my story, too, had a happy ending.

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: June is bustin’ out all over


You know that scene in The Exorcist where Linda Blair’s head spins around while Max von Sydow throws out the Devil in the name of the Father? (I only know about the scene because it became famous apart from the movie; I don’t go to scary movies, as a rule, because I am so easily fooled and I scream in the movie theater, which is embarrassing, and then have nightmares later, which is annoying.) Yeah, that’s pretty much how I’ve been feeling lately. Not because I am possessed, although you never know, but because WMG is producing so many terrific books I can’t keep track of them all!

June is chock-a-bloc with romance and science fiction. Kristine Grayson’s fourth omnibus, The Charming Trilogy Vol. 2, comes out June 18. And later this month we’re publishing a Fiction River Special Edition edited by Kristine Grayson called Summer Sizzles, and boy does it in this volume. Sizzle, I mean. Nine tales of romantic suspense set in the sweltering, lurid kind of summer when inhibitions are thrown aside like a cheap dress and passion burns so hot it makes the night air billow with steam.

Then the Diving series latest magnum opus, The Renegat, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch,will be available for preorder—unless you happen to be one of the lucky people who supported the Diving Kickstarter, in which case you’ll get the ebook at the end of the month.

There’s a new science fiction Storybundle coming called Space Travelers; WMG will have several works in that. Both Kris and Dean Wesley Smith are in it and you won’t want to miss it.

Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, no one writes science fiction like Dean Wesley Smith. And if you don’t believe me look no further than the Earth Protection League series about a couple of elderly people living in a nursing home who periodically get zapped across the galaxy to protect Earth from danger. The novel, The Life of a Dream, and four short stories in the series will charm and delight you and leave you begging for more.

And if that doesn’t convince you, some of the weirdest, most intriguing of Dean’s sci-fi stories are in Alien Vibrations: Five Strange Science Fiction Short Stories. Here’s the description:

From two androids falling in lust on an alien planet to a story that spans generations, Dean’s science fiction reads like no other. Here he takes you along on an alien first contact to a movie, then jumps you a thousand years into the future to take a peak at a basic university class. The collection ends with a multi-generational story of looking for a lost gold mine and what finding it really means.

Funny, sexy, and just plain strange, these stories keep the reader turning pages.

And I’m not even going to mention Buckey the Space Pirate and Poker Boy, two characters who are so wacky, so resistant to the normal rules of even fictional behavior, they have no counterparts anywhere in the Known Universe. Fact.

While I’m at it, I’d like to mention my favorite stories of Dean’s; the Bryant Street stories. They are kind of science fiction, and they’re kind of surreal; they take the reader into a dimension of their own that can be odd, or strange, or even kind of tender. Try out a few. A collection of the strangest will be coming soon. At least I hope so.

And now it’s time for me to say my prayers and hope my head doesn’t twist off like Linda Blair’s and go spinning into space. Of course, if it did, Dean would just write a story about it landing somewhere on Bryant Street…

Publisher’s Note: Old Friends and New


Some movies I never get tired of watching. Holiday Inn, Singing in the Rain, The Thin Man, Gosford Park, and of course, The Wizard of Oz. They’re all wonderful movies, but for none of them do I feel a more deeply rooted affection than for The Wizard of Oz.

This weekend I watched the movie (again) and also a documentary about all the difficulties the filmmakers fought through to get it finished. There was such a tussle between the studio executives and the producers, they had to start production over more than once. In the end, five different directors worked on the film at different times—five. Victor Fleming got screen credit for it, but he wasn’t even the last director on the film. That was King Vidor who directed all of the Kansas scenes, including Judy Garland’s classic rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a scene the studio wanted to cut. It took a lot of persistence to get the movie not only finished, but finished right.

One of the reasons for the lasting strength of my affection is that those characters were my friends. I only got to see them once a year during the annual television broadcasts of the movie. (One year my mother forbade me to watch because it gave me such bad nightmares; that tornado, the witch and her hourglass—time running out! Those flying monkeys! Eeek!) Despite the nightmares for a year or two, I looked forward to that broadcast with joyful anticipation even though I knew the story; I knew Toto would get away and the Wicked Witch would melt, (O what a world!) and the Wizard was a phony but a sweetie nonetheless. I looked forward to it because I loved them all. And still do.

And I kind of miss the fact that we had to wait. Nowadays it seems like everything is accessible, anytime, anywhere. But back in the day, we had to carry Dorothy and her friends and their story in our memories and hearts and dreams (nightmares sometimes). We had to keep them alive from one year to the next. Of course, L. Frank Baum wrote a series of Oz books, almost one a year after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, until 1920.

But what are fans to do if there is a loooong delay?

Well, fans can get very excited and eager. Let me see, who do we know whose fans have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for a new novel? Chomping at the bit, shall we say?

WMG’s very own Kristine Grayson. Let’s let the fans speak for themselves.

 “I am addicted to Kristine Grayson’s tales…”

“Dear Author, thanks for the story! I sincerely hope there is more to come…”

“I enjoyed this book so much that I started in on the next one right away. I like the new twists she gives to the fairy tales. I will certainly check all her books.”

“This book is part of a series that will highlight familiar characters and tell their tale. It’s the sort of good writing you keep coming back to again and again.”

“Can’t wait to read the next one from this author.”

Now, the waiting is (almost) over. Hidden Charm, the first new Grayson novel in five years comes out later this month, and is available for preorder now. Here’s the description:

When a Charming Prince named Sonny rescues Rapunzel from her tower prison, she rides off with him and gets on with her life—her real life in the Greater World. They set up a home in Los Angeles, and she begins to discover the strength of her magic.

But when Sonny disappears, Rapunzel needs help finding him.

Enter Henry, the Frog Prince, who works the front desk of the Archetype Place. Only Henry can help Rapunzel find her husband because of the vast power it took to conquer Sonny. But Henry wants nothing to do with Rapunzel or her problem. He fights enough of his own.

A typically fun Grayson romp through the world of magic and love.

Sometimes it takes a bit longer to not only finish a project, but to finish it right. And it is worth the wait. We trust fans have kept Grayson’s fairy tale characters and their stories alive in their hearts. And now fans new and old can get caught up in the world of Hidden Charm.

Available at your favorite bookstore June 18, 2019.

Preorder Now!

Publisher’s Note: Pes Planus


My dad was a veteran of the largest and deadliest war in human history: World War II. Dad was in the US Army, infantry, deployed first to North Africa and then Italy. His unit was in combat, but the Army wisely did not ask Dad to shoot at anyone or anything since he was so short-sighted he’d had to memorize the eye chart in order to pass the physical. He also had pes planus, more often called flat feet, which could also be a medical disqualifier, but somehow he hid that, too. Despite his physical limitations, or maybe because of them, he left the army at the end of the war with a bad back and impaired hearing from getting too close to mortar fire, but otherwise as fit as when he joined up.

Anywhere from 56 to 85 million people, both military and civilians, were not so lucky; they died during the six years between 1939 and 1945 from combat, torture, starvation, and disease—all part of the war. Here’s the part that gets me: World War II was mass destruction that included both the historic and systematic murder of six million European Jews and the dropping of two atomic bombs that slaughtered a quarter of a million Japanese people.

I’m proud of my dad and his buddies. Dad kept in contact and met up with a couple them periodically for the rest of his life. George Roth was president of Spiral Binding Co. of New Jersey and also a wonderful storyteller. He invented a character named Whispering Jack Smith, a member of their army unit who couldn’t speak above a whisper, and George told stories in a whisper about their escapades together in order to get his three rambunctious sons to quiet down at bedtime. Cooper was a chemist and went on to some kind of illustrious career that was Top Secret, or so I thought as a kid. They all joined up to fight Fascism, to fight Hitler, and to fight for Freedom with a capital F. And I’m glad they did and that they all survived.

But it was madness, all of it, and so much destruction of life and beauty and art, it was a diabolical madness. I would say, let us not forget. But many have already forgotten.

***

One thing that reminds us of what we human beings are composed—imagination, compassion, creation, destruction, brutality, viciousness, transcendence—is art. At WMG, what Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith write is sometimes funny, sometimes scary or sad, sometimes astonishing, and sometimes thrilling. It’s all about humans, even the stories about aliens, and it covers everything we humans are composed of, as listed above, and more. We’re focusing on Kris’s Diving Universe this week in particular because the new novel in that series, The Renegat, is due to be published in September, but we are offering it early as part of the Diving Universe Kickstarter that ends this week.

A very cool thing about the Diving Universe is the novels take the reader on a ride through space as though space were the human spirit—vast, full of mystery and conflict with forces we don’t understand, fascinating. An early reader of The Renegat said “the 800+ pages go by so quickly, really at a thriller pace.” Because it is a thriller!

Check out the Kickstarter page and check out all the cool stuff you can get. And if you want a thrill, one that will pose no threat to your pes planus or aching back, you can get an early epub of The Renegat as a reward for a $5 pledge.

Publisher’s Note: Being young…


To a Child Dancing in the Wind

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!
                         —W. B. Yeats

I didn’t love this poem until I was old enough to really get it. It is so loving and tender and enchanted by the ineffable charm of innocent youth; and it is also so bitter.

When I was young I remember seeing that bitter look on older peoples’ faces at the oddest times. Just when I expected them to join in my delight at some wonderful plan my friends and I had cooked up—we’ll spend a whole winter in a cabin with nothing but a wood stove to keep us warm and we’ll write and paint and make maple syrup in the spring; or after my friend Mina and I read Peter S. Beagle’s I See by my Outfit and we wanted to ride across the country on motor scooters, when we were twelve—and suddenly there it was, trusted faces suffused with affectionate amusement, and laced with bitterness.

But why? Why?

Now I know.

There comes a day, the first of many days, when we tumble out our hair that the salt drops have wet, and feel not joy but confusion and even fear. Not yet dread, we’re still too optimistic for that. But the pure sweetness of dancing in the wind, oblivious to the water’s roar, is gone forever even though we don’t know it yet.

It is on a day like that, or shortly after, that Tiffany, Crystal, and Brittany, all daughters of Zeus, begin their stories in the Daughters of Zeus Trilogy, Kristine Grayson’s omnibus that we are publishing this week. It’s the third of four Grayson omnibuses WMG is publishing this spring.

In it, the girls have been stripped of their magic and their positions of power on Mount Olympus, and now they have to grow up. And like many teens, they must deal with a) Dad, who in their case is Zeus and doesn’t realize that the lusty days of his power and glory are over; b) their moms, human and protective, who don’t realize that despite the girls’ childhoods with the Gods, the girls aren’t as out of touch and incompetent as their moms think; c) relatives, such as Athena, Dionysus, Eros… you know; and d) the Fates. What could possibly go wrong?

Lots, of course. The girls are young and have not known a fool’s triumph, nor love lost as soon as won. But they’re about to know the ups and downs of being both teens and extraordinary.

Get the omnibus Tuesday, May 21. Also, get the individual novels, Tiffany Tumbles, Crystal Caves, and Brittany Bends, in brand new editions both as ebooks and paper.

Publisher’s Note: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”


Dave’s panicked face inside a space pod, with lights from the recalcitrant and homicidal HAL playing over his helpless form, stayed with me for years. Haunted me, in fact, along with Frank’s body drifting into the void of space. I was fourteen years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in the spring of 1969, in London. It was an experience that stuck.

My dad was a film lover, and filmmaker in a modest way, and we lived in a small town in Indiana where the number and variety of films that played in the theaters was also small. So when we traveled to larger and more cosmopolitan cities, Dad always went to see every movie he could. And he took my mother, brother, and me with him.

When it first came out, Kubrick’s masterpiece played at the Casino Cinerama in London, where my Dad was teaching. I had never seen a movie in Cinerama before, never been in a theater like that. It was an astounding experience and I remember leaving the theater wide-eyed and feeling as though I had really been someplace.

I still love space movies; I even like bad ones. I just want to go out there.

So when Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote this week about being the girl who confused the local librarian by loving science fiction, both in films and literature, I could relate. The first science fiction novels I remember reading were The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, both of which I read when my chief competitor, my brother, did. But I loved them, too. The big draw for me was a ticket to a life of adventure in unknown realms: unknown to me, anyway.

Kris turned her affection for sci-fi into a lifelong love affair by creating her own. She writes, “I started writing stories in the Diving Universe because I wanted to live in space and have adventures, and writing about it is the next best thing.” So she invented Boss, her alter ego and the heroine of Diving Into the Wreck, and the Diving Universe was born.

Many fans follow Boss and her colleagues, and it was with them in mind that the Diving Universe Kickstarter campaign was created. Read all about it here. You can get the latest Diving novel, The Renegat (truly a magnum opus), in June, months before it is available to the general public, as well as print and ebook editions of the whole series, and a whole lot more just by backing this limited time campaign. Come on and dive in; you’ll be in good company!

Gwyneth Gibby is Associate Publisher of WMG Publishing.

Publisher’s Note: Out of the Deep Freeze


The first big story I wrote as a newspaper reporter was about a cold murder case. I was fascinated by how the case that had gone cold for 23 years had eventually been solved by two detectives. They let me look through all of the investigation files once the court case was closed and a woman had been sentenced to 9 years in prison for killing her husband. She shot him in the back with a 12-guage shotgun early one morning in the shoe repair shop they owned. She put their six-month-old daughter down to sleep in the back office, picked up the shotgun and loaded it, and went into the store to kill her husband.

Then she called the police. Crying, sobbing, and barely understandable, she said her husband had been shot during a robbery. A strange man shot him and fled out the back door into an alley. There was a manhunt and over the ensuing months several suspects were lined up for her to identify, but she never claimed any of them was the guy. The case went cold.

But the key to its solution lay right in the heart of the police department. When the two detectives went back over the files 23 years after the murder, they noticed something missing: an interview with the widow where the detectives confronted her about the disastrous state of the family finances for which her husband held her responsible, and the improbability of anyone choosing to rob a small shoe repair store with a shotgun early on a weekday morning, and then vanishing into thin air. Why hadn’t they grilled her about her story?

Because the lead detective on the case, a star in the department, was having an affair with her. Oops.

Cold cases, whether murder or otherwise, are fascinating partly because they have already defeated the people whose job it was to solve them. Maybe the detective had a giant blind spot, or there just wasn’t any evidence. The colder the case, the tougher to solve. But also, when a case has gone unsolved for a long time, the people involved go on about their lives, sometimes they change, sometimes they reinvent themselves, sometimes they bury secrets so deep even they can’t remember them.

This week WMG is having a special promotion of one of our most popular series: Dean Wesley Smith’s Cold Poker Gang. A small group of retired Las Vegas detectives get together to play poker once a week, eat Kentucky Fried chicken, drink iced tea, and solve cold cases. Oh and indulge in a little romance.

The reader reviews of these novels have been very entertaining, partly because people are so clearly enjoying the books. Here’s a typical review from a reader:

“5 stars: Retirees to the rescue!

Who says retirees have to sit on the porch in a rocking chair? These retired detectives sure do not. Mr. Smith created a great mystery and an underlying story as well. I really liked that cuss words were unnecessary as were gory details. It just goes to show that when you are a great writer, you don’t have to use these. Can’t wait to read more of the adventures of these retirees!”

The series starts with Kill Game, and it is free! The rest of the series (eight novels so far) are lining themselves up for anyone who is ready to get a start on their summer reading.

Dean says he often starts a book by choosing a title. He was a professional poker player so all of the Cold Poker Gang novels have titles that relate to poker: Cold Call, Calling Dead, Bad Beat, Dead Hand, Freezeout, Ace High, and Burn Card. The next novel, Side Pot, has had me wondering what it’s about since he announced it…

I’ll have to wait to find out. In the meantime, play big to win big and get the whole series. You could end up with a royal flush!

Publisher’s Note: Didi and Gogo vs the Demons

I imagine the conversations between my two elderly male cats as sounding like Vladimir and Estragon (Didi and Gogo) from Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot. Didi and Gogo’s dialogue runs along the lines: “Gogo: Let’s go. Didi: We can’t. Gogo: Why not? Didi: We’re waiting for Godot. Gogo: (despairingly). Ah!”

My Ollie and Grayson would no doubt sympathize with Cookie Monster when he called Sesame Street’s production, Waiting for Elmo, “A play so modern and so brilliant it makes absolutely noooo sense to anybody.”

But, really, waiting is as natural to cats as napping. Deep thoughts, likewise. Given the time and a quiet space, cats will solve all problems, mostly by out-waiting them.

Sadly yesterday, the noiseless tenor of Ollie and Grayson’s way was abruptly demolished. It happened like this:

(Ollie, svelt black and white; Grayson, large and gray; both washing up in readiness for their post-breakfast naps.)

(A sound of footsteps outside.)

(They lift their heads in unison.)

Grayson: What was that?

Ollie: What was that? Is someone here?

Grayson: Someone’s here.

(pause)

Ollie: Who is it?

Grayson: Who?

Ollie: Who?

Grayson: Who knows?

(pause, more footsteps)

Ollie: Let’s go.

(He jumps off the bed where most of these conversations occur. Ollie pauses by the bedroom door. He thinks, “Closet? Kitchen cupboard?” Where to hide? What’s closer, safer? He makes his calculations .)

(Then—all hell breaks loose outside. Banging so loud it hurts the eardrums and knocks a picture off the wall. Men yell to each other and laugh—the brutes! An excruciating wrenching sound, like the Titanic breaking up as it goes down in icy waters. Pounding, pounding—will it never stop? Ollie bolts for the closet. Grayson, fatter and arthritic, looks around helplessly, and then heaves his bulk off the bed and lumbers down the hallway to the “safety” of the kitchen.)

Let us draw a curtain on this tragic scene. It went on all day. The drama did not end well. For cats, anyway. Certain indignities and hurt feelings should be relegated to the dark shadows of unrecorded history.

The new siding for the house looks nice, but boy it makes a lot of noise going up.

At WMG, we are all cat lovers. Cats pop up fairly often in WMG fiction. Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes about that tiny black familiar, Ruby, so cute and yet so mouthy among others. And this week, Dean Wesley Smith has chosen a cat story to begin the latest issue of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, which comes out April 30.

As always, Pulphouse offers up a smorgasbord of short fiction, some of which tickles you, some knocks you upside the head, and some slaps you on the back with slightly off-color bonhomie. The first story this time is called “The Fur Tsunami,” by the late Kent Patterson. It, like Beckett’s Godot, is an absurdist comedy with tragedy at its core. And it’s about cats. Lots and lots of cats.

This new issue includes stories from Pulphouse favorites such as Patterson, Annie Reed, Kevin J. Anderson and O’Neil De Noux, along with some who are new to this publication, Brenda Carre and Robert J. McCarter.

Here’s the description:

The Cutting Edge of Modern Short Fiction.

A three-time Hugo Award nominated magazine, this issue of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine offers up fifteen fantastic stories by some of the best writers working in modern short fiction. No genre limitations, no topic limitations, just great stories. Attitude, feel, and high quality fiction equals Pulphouse.

“The Fur Tsunami” by Kent Patterson
“Unnatural Law” by J. Steven York
“A Cherub by Any Other Name” by Annie Reed
“PMS and a Hand Grenade” by Brenda Carre
“The Disappearing Neighborhood” by Robert J. McCarter
“Hello Brain, It’s Me” by Ray Vukcevich
“Eye of Newt: A Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. Adventure” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Knock on Wood” by Rob Vagle
“Featuring Martin and Lewis” by O’Neil De Noux
“Double Date” by William Oday
“Sleeping with the Devil” by Kelly Washington
“Upgrade? Up Yours” by Jerry Oltion
“Between” by M. L. Buchman
“The Thousandth Atlas” by Robert Jeschonek
“The Injustice Collector” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Minions at Work: Burn Noticed” by J Steven York

Get this lively issue full of entertaining stories by your favorite authors starting Tuesday, April 30.

Meanwhile, if you could just spare a sympathetic thought for cats; the demons who are replacing the siding on our house will continue their dark rites on Monday.

Publisher’s Note: What on earth has happened to Fate?


I am an opera lover—not a taste that I share with many of my friends. Years ago when the Metropolitan Opera still toured the country every year, I would go and sit night after night alone to experience La Bohème, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, and Carmen. Opera is really about emotion and music, and particularly in the great tragic operas, it’s about Fate.

The stories themselves could be ripped from today’s headlines: poor young girl dies of tuberculosis after quarreling with her lover; woman commits suicide when her heartless foreign lover deserts her; when a rather naïve soldier falls for a gypsy dancer, he kills her after she leaves him for a famous matador. They could have ended differently; Butterfly blackmails her unfaithful former lover into providing for herself and their child, and becomes a wealthy businesswoman, for example.

But Fate! Fate will not be hoodwinked into prosaic endings. When Carmen turns over her cards and each one says La Mort, death!, she understands quite well that nothing awaits her but doom. (No one tries to comfort her by saying, “Well, everything happens for a reason.”)

All of this came to mind this week as we prepare to release Kristine Grayson’s whimsical trilogy, The Fates. Her Fates are quite different. For one thing, there are three of them, and they can’t agree about much of anything let alone dooming lovers to premature death; for another, Grayson’s Fates do not hide in the background and move people around like chess pieces; they get right into the action and mix themselves and everyone else up. But the biggest difference is that no matter what they do, their endings are always happy. Ever after, in fact.

Tomorrow, The Fates Trilogy; A Fates Universe Omnibus will be available everywhere, and you can read Simply Irresistible, Absolutely Captivated, and Totally Spellbound back to back. One after the other, each one says not La Mort, but L’Amour!

Publisher’s Note: Ode to Joy


Sunday I spent a couple of hours talking to my oldest friend. She is exactly three months younger than I am and we’ve been like sisters our whole lives. We live on opposite coasts, so our main communication these days is very long phone conversations a few times a year.

Sunday, after catching up on life and family, old friends and books, we ended up talking about writing. Our fathers were English professors, so maybe it was natural that we both loved reading books and writing from the time we were little. We wrote stories and poems and plays, performed some of them, too. Because it was fun.

Mina went on to get an MA in English and teach professional writing for many years. I ran off to the theater, filmmaking, and journalism. Neither one of us writing fiction. Every ten years or so I’d painfully crank out a short story. Stash it in the proverbial drawer and go back to real life.

But if you work at WMG for Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith—among all the other wonderful writers who contribute to Fiction River and Pulphouse and participate in workshops—the joy of writing fiction kind of sneaks up on you, slips its little hand in yours and asks you to come out and play.

So I did. And do. For fun.

Kris blogged about her youthful writing adventures last week, and it rang a bell for me. Of course, she and Dean do much more than write for fun. Among other things, they have written a whole series of books on the profession of writing, the WMG Writer’s Guides, and Kris has a magnum opus called The Freelancer’s Survival Guide. Countless people have turned to these books for guidance. And now, just in time for Kris’s Spring Writing Storybundle, we are publishing her latest, Writing With Chronic Illness.

Here’s the description:

In this WMG Writer’s Guide, award-winning author Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers words of wisdom for writers who suffer from chronic illnesses and who want to keep working, to improve their craft and spread their creative wings.

A long-time sufferer herself, Rusch reports from the trenches. She tells us her own struggle with health issues and how they challenge her. But none of it actually derailed her career; she worked out ways to keep writing, and in the process became an international bestselling author with hundreds of books in print.

Rusch helps writers customize a plan of action based on the writer’s individual experience. She shows how to increase productivity by developing a positive, and realistic, outlook.

Importantly, Rusch points the way to reclaim the joy of writing, and celebrate success.

The bundle has LOTS more in it, too. Look out for it on Thursday; it includes Dean’s lecture on Carving out Time for Your Writing, Kevin J. Anderson’s The Million Dollar Writing Series Boxed Set, and Mark Leslie Lefebvre’s Killing it on Kobo, and six more wonderful books of information and advice for writers.

And now you see why I mentioned the importance of joy. Even if Dean and Kris didn’t talk, write, and lecture about joy often, anyone paying attention would surely detect that the enjoyment of writing is at the heart of what they do and why they do it. And I’m here to tell you it’s infectious.

My friend Mina said I had inspired her to have some fun writing, too. Maybe we can trade some stories before the next time we talk…see? Infectious.