We live in crazy times. (An understatement, I know.) Weird shit keeps happening. And nothing goes the way it’s supposed to go. These are the times we live in.

Take this blog, for example.

We couldn’t post the one I originally wrote for Monday, Aug. 30, because our web host decided to delete all the content on our site (it’s a long and frustrating story filled with gross incompetence that I’d rather not rehash at this time). We finally got the site back up thanks wholly to the ingenuity of WMG’s intrepid IT Manager.

And just in case more website weirdness happens over the long holiday weekend upcoming, I felt like we should post the next blog early.

So, here we are days late for one blog and early for the next. Somehow, that seems wholly appropriate for the times we live in.

Speaking of strange times, school starts on Tuesday. At least, I think it does. The district calendar lists two start days. And I still have very little information as to how school will be handled.

I do know two things thanks to state mandates, at least: Masks will be required by everyone entering school buildings during school hours, and vaccines will be mandated for all teachers, support staff and volunteers.

Other than that, we’re flying blind here. Even my teacher friends don’t fully know what’s going on yet.

You might think I’m angry about all this. I’m not. Frustrated, yes. But I also know that the schools are dealing with extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Before they could even assemble the classroom rosters, for example, they have the daunting task of tracking down all the students who got “lost” during online schooling. Given last year’s attendance rates, which by the end of the year were about 30 percent, that’s a lot of lost kids.

I can’t even imagine what school administrators are dealing with now, and I’ve worked in enough fields to understand that if you’re not in the field, you don’t fully understand the challenges. Just because you eat in a restaurant, for example, doesn’t mean you know what it takes to run one.

The pandemic has certainly driven that home. I approach everything with even more patience now than I would have before. Everyone is struggling. I get it.

We’re trying to navigate school on a different world than the one we’ve always known. We continue to be in uncharted territory. And that requires flexibility, backup plans, and no small measure of creativity.

Good thing I navigate other worlds all the time. They might be fictional, but I find science fiction helps explain a lot these days.

At the very least, it helps distract us from the bizarre reality we live in now.

So, if you’re looking for a little otherworldly distraction too, check out the Cosmic Visionaries StoryBundle, curated by frequent Pulphouse Fiction Magazine contributor Robert Jeschonek.

Here’s a bit about the bundle in his words:

What is it about space opera that makes us love it so much? The action, the exotic settings, the colorful characters, the alien species? The promise of countless adventures in the face of the great unknown? The excitement of imagining what humanity may someday become and accomplish in the vast reaches of the final frontier?

Or is it mostly just that space opera is so gosh-darn cool? The ships…the technology…the planets…the ray guns and laser swords. In many ways, it’s the ultimate escapist genre, transporting us to places and situations that dwarf our everyday troubles in every possible way. And yet, at its heart, space opera is all about us, about what it means to be human and how we can triumph over our limitations.

WMG has two books in this ten-book bundle: Maelstrom: A Diving Universe Novella by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Ball of Confusion: An Earth Protection League Novella by Dean Wesley Smith.

Click here to learn more.

And if Maelstrom makes you crave more adventures in Kris’ Diving Universe, her newest novel in the Diving Series, The Chase, publishes Sept. 21 but is available for preorder now in ebook, trade paperback, and hardcover.

Click here for more information.

Back in the real world, I’m taking it day by day. Nola will learn new things one way or the other. Crazy times are certainly not short on life lessons.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.