With the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I’ve been taken back in time a lot lately to what the world was like in the late ‘90s/early 2000s. So many things have changed since then.

I didn’t get a text alert or push notification that the first tower was hit, I got a phone call from my then-husband.

He couldn’t even talk, he could only tell me to turn on the TV, because that’s how we got news immediately back then. But when I turned it on, there was nothing but static. It was tuned to ABC.

I lived in northern New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001. Our television stations (the big three: ABC, CBS, NBC) broadcast from giant antennae on the top of 1 World Trade Center, the North Tower. The first tower hit.

Life changed for many of us that day. Even more so for those of us near Ground Zero.

I can’t watch the images. I saw them in real time, and they are burned into my memory.

So, this year, I focused on podcasts. Those I can handle. They let me reflect on that time period with more clarity and less trauma.

They also let me reminisce about what life was like in the years before 9/11. Before smartphones and Covid and Zoom.

What were you doing in the ‘90s? My high school graduation, undergraduate college years and first career were all in the ‘90s.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch attended hundreds of science fiction fan conventions in the ‘90s. She loved them. And she started writing short stories starring characters Spade and Paladin honored that love of the fans and the conventions.

The stories became known as Spade/Paladin Conundrums. And both mystery readers and science fiction fans loved them. She’s written eight of those short stories over the years.

When the pandemic hit, and Kris needed a place to escape the world and have fun in her fiction, she turned once again to the ‘90s and the Spade/Paladin Conundrums. But this time, she wrote a novel. It’s called Ten Little Fen.

The novel won’t officially be released until November, but you can get a copy early through our latest Kickstarter. And since the Kickstarter has already hit several stretch goals, you’ll also get electronic editions of several of the Spade/Paladin short stories (including one that’s exclusive to the Kickstarter), special pop-up workshops for writers, and a whole lot more to come.

Check out the Kickstarter here, and be sure to watch Kris’ video about the fun that is the Spade/Paladin Conundrums.

Because couldn’t we all use a bit of fun and nostalgia these days?

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