The Road Back

Browse more Books Search for: The WMG Newsletter Get advanced notice of new releases, bonus content, and so much more. Subscribe Now Doc Hill Mystery Available in: ebook, $2.99 Amazon Kobo and others. The Road Back: A Doc Hill Story Dean Wesley Smith USA Today...

Story Podcast: The Road Back

What if your life depended on the astute observations of a kindly stranger? If someone walked in your house right now, what would they see?

Smith's Monthly Cover #1Tumbled stacks of books and a blinking computer monitor along with coffee mugs ringed with lipstick and headless chew toys might be a normal state of affairs. Business as usual. It might also indicate that a terrible struggle occurred between a writer and a small-but-ruthless dog bent on distracting her from anything productive. The logical conclusion might be that they went for a walk.

Or not.

What if a terrible possibility lurks behind ordinary observations?

Dead Money ebook cover webThat might have been one of the questions in author Dean Wesley Smith’s mind as he wrote our story for this week’s podcast, “The Road Back.” He takes the stuff of the everyday and twists it into an intriguing story set in the same universe as his poker thriller, Dead Money.

In print and electronic editions, you can also find this story in the first issue of Smith’s Monthlywhich features new and original short stories like this one, plus full novels and great non-fiction.

 

This podcast is no longer available. To listen to the current podcast, please click here.

You can read “The Road Back” in Smith’s Monthly #1available in ebook and trade paperback, and can also be found as a stand alone story in ebooks format at your favorite retailer.

Publisher’s Note: Setbacks and Opportunities


I remember just a couple of months ago writing about our last 50 percent off workshop sale, which we called The Last Sale. Vaccination rates were going up here in the US, Covid numbers were coming down, and we seemed to finally see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. It wasn’t over yet, to be sure, but we had hope.

I knew Covid wasn’t done with us yet (as I’ve mentioned, Nola still isn’t eligible to be vaccinated, so my family never really left masking and other mitigation measures behind), but I didn’t see the Delta variant coming.

Maybe I should have, but that’s neither here nor there at this point.

In Oregon, case numbers are exploding, including here on the Oregon Coast. Our governor just reissued a statewide mask mandate (the third state to do so) and our local casino shut its doors for the next two weeks. Including the hotel. During a heat wave in the Valley where tourists are flocking here in droves. They’re losing big money with that move, but the safety of their employees and guests was paramount.

And we’re not even one of the worst-hit states. Not by far.

Whether this should have been able to happen in the US, with our fortunate and easy access to highly effective vaccines is not a topic I’m going to delve into in this blog.

But the reality that things are shutting down again (and have been in other parts of the world) has led us to realize that this thing is far from over.

And so, we’re bringing back our sales. It’s the way we can help, and we all need as much help as we can get to get through these trying times.

So, from now until Aug. 25, we’re offering 50%-off sale on everything on Teachable. Every WMG Publishing Workshop, Lecture, Pop-Up, Class, or Subscription on Teachable is half price.

Go to the WMG Teachable page and click on “see all courses.“ Then find the course you would like to buy and hit purchase. On the top of the next page there is a place to put in the code:

SETBACK

Click here to learn more.

At least the opportunity to learn new skills is something we can count on paying off in the future, no matter what happens.

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

Stories from Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine

Pulphouse BooksPulphouse Fiction MagazineAnthology Available in:ebook, $4.99trade paperback, $9.99 Get the ebook! Get the ebook direct from WMG! Get the trade paperback! Stories from Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine Edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch Pulphouse: The...

Publisher’s Note: Back to School—Again!


My ten-year-old daughter went to school again last week for the first time in almost a year. She was a bit nervous (we’ve been very open about the science of everything) but so very excited to see her friends and classmates again—well, the half that are in her cohort for hybrid learning, anyway—even though she knew it would not be the same as pre-pandemic school. I was equal parts hopeful and terrified (that science thing again…).

Even though I’ve obviously been living through this pandemic, it’s hard to track with a world where my child goes to school in a mask, with half the students in the classroom and half on a TV screen, where she can’t get within six feet of friends she hasn’t seen in almost a year—let alone hug them as she so desperately wants to do.

But this is where we are. And it’s progress. Good progress, despite my initial reservations.

Baby steps. Or, in this case, child steps.

There’s a light waaaay at the end of the tunnel now. But we’ve still got a fair way to go.

Which is why WMG is holding another workshop sale to help our writers further their craft and their career goals from the safety of their homes.

It is, appropriately, the Back to School—Again sale!

Now through 5 p.m. PST Thursday, March 4, every WMG Publishing workshop, lecture, pop-up, class, or subscription on Teachable will be HALF PRICE! That even includes the brand-new Collection Classes.

Click here to read all the details on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. Dean, as you know if you’ve taken any of our workshops, is the mastermind behind the WMG Workshops.

So, stock up on workshops and lectures to get you through the coming months, and make 2021 even better.

Or even grab one of the Lifetime Workshop Subscriptions for half price and really commit to learning and writing!

The coupon code to get anything on WMG’s Teachable at half price now through 5 p.m. PST Thursday, March 4, is:

AGAIN

Click here to use it.

And have fun learning—again!

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: Boss is Back!


It’s a very cool thing when your job requires you to read some of your favorite books. That happens to me all the time, of course, but one of my favorite assignments of all is working on Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving series. From the kickass main character of Boss to the vast mystery of the Fleet to the incredibly rich universe, these books are everything I love most about great fiction.

I was a fan of the Diving books before I took the helm of WMG, and now I get to be part of bringing them to all of her other fans. That is as incredibly cool as it sounds.

And so, tomorrow will be a very exciting day at the WMG offices, even if those offices are now in several different locations thanks to the pandemic. Because tomorrow marks the release of the latest Diving novel: Thieves!

Set at the same time as Searching for the Fleet, Thieves features Boss diving the Boneyard and making some very exciting discoveries. Here is the synopsis:

A race against time.

Weeks after Boss’ injury from the runabout dive, she continues the mission to salvage Fleet wrecks for the Lost Souls Corporation. But Boss feels like she lost something after that fateful dive.

Until something happens in the Boneyard to catch her attention. Something that sparks her interest with an intensity she thought she lost.

Now, Boss must assemble a team—her old team—to dive this new discovery.

But Boss worries that someone knows her plans. That the Boneyard might prove more sentient than she knows.

She feels the clock ticking—and she worries time will run out once and for all.

A thrilling new adventure, Thieves provides pulse-pounding new developments in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s award-winning Diving series.

Click here to buy the book in ebook, paperback or hardcover.

As for me, I need to get back to reading the next book in the series, The Chase. There’s a preview of the first few chapters at the back of Thieves. We don’t have a release date for The Chase yet, but we will later this spring. And once you read that preview, you’ll know why I’m spending my nights and weekends working until I finish it.

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it <grin>.

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: Jury’s Back on This New Project


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.

I knew I wouldn’t be seated on the jury. I was in the last numbered seat for the pool and the case wasn’t one that would get a lot of people kicked off for conflicts or an inability to be impartial (only so riled up one can get about a civil case involving a broken storm drain).

I could have gotten out of jury duty altogether, I suppose. Brain surgery is a pretty good excuse. But I believe in honoring my civic duty, and if I’m well enough to work and drive and such, I’m well enough to abide by my constitutional obligations.

And I made the best of it by walking to a favorite Irish pub for lunch. (I love Irish soda bread.) The weather was even interesting. Graupel (an icy snow mix like soft hail) and sun. A cold but lovely walk.

Plus, I had lots of reading material to entertain me while I waited outside the courtroom (no reading in the courtroom itself, of course) thanks to our newest ebook release from Dean Wesley Smith.

As we mentioned in our year-end wrap-up, last January, Dean launched into a Kickstarter campaign with his Make 100 challenge. For that challenge he is publishing one hundred paperback books. That’s a new paperback book every 3.65 days.

Well, the first project related to this challenge published last week, with the paperback and hardcover editions coming soon.

The First Thirty-Three: Stories in the Make 100 Challenge contains stories from many of Dean’s most popular series, including Poker Boy, Cold Poker Gang, Pilgrim Hugh, Seeders Universe and Thunder Mountain, along with a number of standalone stories.

Here’s the synopsis:

USA Today bestselling writer, Dean Wesley Smith presents thirty-three different short stories ranging across most of his different series.

Sixty-seven more stories follow in the next two volumes.

Hours of reading from one of the greatest short story writers working today. Make sure you get all three volumes.

Click here for more information.

The next volume will be released in February and the final one in March, so stay tuned!

We are launching a new Make 100 Kickstarter later this month. So, stay tuned for that news, as well!

Meanwhile, I’ve got plenty to entertain me for the rest of January, when I must inevitably make another trip or few to the courthouse.

Wish me luck!

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: 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: A New Edition of A Dangerous Road


As promised in my blog two weeks ago, WMG has released a new edition of A Dangerous Road by Kris Nelscott featuring a reader’s guide and book discussion questions.

This is by popular demand. Kris has been getting inquiries for years about this kind of edition, because A Dangerous Road—the first book in the Smokey Dalton series—is perfect for book clubs and reader groups to discuss.

But writing discussion questions is a particular skill. One I don’t have any experience doing. Fortunately, multi-talented associate publisher Gwyneth Gibby does possess such experience.

She wrote the questions and I designed a whole new cover for this edition.

If you’ve never read A Dangerous Road, this is a great time to start. Here’s the synopsis:

Private Investigator Smokey Dalton works for Memphis, Tennessee’s black community. He has almost no interaction with the white hierarchy, even though they exist only blocks away. So he’s surprised the day a white woman walks into his Beale Street office. Laura Hathaway has sought him out because he’s a beneficiary in her mother’s will, and Laura wants to know why.

So does Smokey. He’s never heard of the Hathaways, but his search will take him on a journey that will challenge everything he’s ever known, including his own identity.

Set against the backdrop of the strike and protests that will end with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, A Dangerous Road combines the politics of race, betrayal, unexpected love, and the terrible cost of trust.

It’s a story so memorable the Mystery Writers of America chose it as one of the top five novels of the year and the Historical Mystery Appreciation Society honored it as the winner of the Herodotus Award for Best Historical Mystery.

The new edition is available in ebook and trade paperback and is the same price as the regular edition. You can buy the new edition here.

The regular edition—which is available in ebook, trade paperback, and audiobook—is available here.

So, if you’re looking for a new book to recommend to your book club or reading group, consider A Dangerous Road. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.

A Dangerous Road: Reading Group Guide Edition

Browse more Books Search for: The WMG Newsletter Get advanced notice of new releases, bonus content, and so much more. Subscribe Now Smokey DaltonHistoricalMystery Available in: ebook, $4.99 Trade paperback, $14.99 Get the ebook! Get the trade paperback A Dangerous...