I have jury duty the entire month of January (yes, it’s a whole month here on the sparsely populated Oregon Coast…). I was originally called for jury duty in August of last year, but as I wasn’t yet cleared to drive at the time I had to respond to the summons (less than three months after my brain surgery), I had to defer. I chose January because I figured it had the lightest trial schedule within my deferment window.
So far, I’ve been right. I’ve been called one day so far. I was there from 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. before I was released. Two hours of it was waiting outside the courtroom with 59 of my fellow citizens until the judge was ready for us. Other than the hour or so for lunch, the rest was sitting through voir dire.
Last week, we lost two of our authors. One on Tuesday and the other on Thursday. Both from cancer.
To say it was a punch in the gut is an understatement.
Mike Resnick was a long-time contributor to our magazines. He was a Pulphouse writer during its original run. And he contributed a story to our first year of Fiction River (Fiction River: Time Streams). And he had a story in just about every issue of the newly reincarnated Pulphouse Fiction Magazine.
When I was in grad school in 2003, I worked on a special section for the Columbia Missourian called Vision 2020. As the name implies, we were looking ahead at what we thought would happen by the year 2020.
Sadly, I don’t remember what we put in it. That is one of the things that has fallen away post-surgery. But I do remember thinking how very far off 2020 sounded then. Seventeen years ago. So much has happened since then.
The past decade brought some major challenges, including a difficult divorce, bitter custody battle, and to cap it off, brain surgery.
But it also brought many joys. My daughter was born in 2010. I married the love of my life in 2018. And I took the helm of WMG in 2012.
How do you measure a year?
Sometimes it feels like the song from Rent, “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,” and every one of them goes by at an excruciatingly slow pace.
Or, as in 2019, suddenly you realize that 525,600 minutes of life and work and growth have passed by in a blink! WMG has launched multiple big, new projects; published new novels in multiple series; released four volumes of our Fiction River anthology magazine and three of Fiction River Presents; published four issues and three books for Pulphouse Fiction Magazine; run four exciting, even groundbreaking, Kickstarter projects; held the annual Master Class, Anthology Workshop, and several writing workshops all now in Las Vegas; and introduced exciting new online workshops, lectures, and mentorships.
And all that even though our intrepid publisher had a hell of a year and was on reduced (and for a couple of months, no capacity) for almost three-quarters of the year.
So, as 2019 draws to a close, let’s take a look back on what, despite the challenges, turned out to be a very productive year.
This week will see several joyous celebrations. Today is the first day of Hanukkah (it began Sunday evening at sundown). Wednesday is Christmas. And Thursday is Boxing Day as well as the first day of Kwanzaa.
Each of these holidays has a very rich history and traditions.
We have a tradition of our own here at WMG, which is to give away a free story this week (as we all happen to celebrate Christmas).
As autumn draws to a close this week, I have more fall releases to tell you about: the final issues of the year for Fiction River and Pulphouse Fiction Magazine.
The fall issue of Pulphouse, also known as Issue #8, comes out later this week. From clockwork cowboys to zombie PIs, this issue of Pulphouse represents the cutting edge of modern short fiction with the following lineup of stories:
The holiday project I’ve been talking about so much lately actually came into being last year. And the many volumes of Fiction River and Pulphouse Fiction Magazine we published this year were conceived of many months before that.
You see, in publishing, we play the long game for the most part. There are projects that we by necessity pull together quickly. But I’m a planner, and I prefer the long game if I can.
The magazines we publish have always been a long game prospect. They are labor intensive by their nature, so planning really is key.
Today is Cyber Monday, and I have new releases and a new Storybundle to tell you about so you can factor those into your holiday shopping plans.
First off is a festive new novel by Kristine Grayson called Tidings of Comfort and Joy. It’s part of her Santa Series (the first three in the series are the novellas Up on the Rooftop, Visions of Sugar Plums, and Dressed in Holiday Style).
I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, to be sure. The day after Thanksgiving marks the eight-month anniversary of my craniotomy, and I finally feel mostly like myself again. I was able to stop taking my seizure medication several weeks ago, and that...
As I mentioned last week, we have a ton of projects going right now, and part of the reason for that is that I’m still playing catchup from being out on medical leave this spring. So recently, I took a deep dive into finishing up one of those outstanding projects.
The project, which was the driving force behind WMG’s May Kickstarter, is to produce hardcover versions of all the books published so far in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Series.
The Kickstarter provided the funding. But I needed to find the time to do the work. No easy task these days.