Publisher’s Note: 2019 Wrap-up: A Helluva Year

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.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Universe

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s new Diving Universe novel, The Renegat, published in September. But whoa Nelly, that’s not all there is to that story.

The Renegat is number eight in the series, a magnum opus, and we wanted to do something unique (for us) to the mark the occasion. We ran a Kickstarter campaign in June to get the new novel into the hands of superfans before the official launch date, and to raise the funds to publish the entire Diving series, eight novels and three novellas, as an elegant set of eleven hardback volumes. Creating this set was no small feat. Publisher Allyson Longueira, while recovering from (successful) brain surgery (yeah, at WMG we don’t even do health crises by halves), produced these beautiful books.

“Rusch’s Diving Universe series…is simply one of the coolest spacefaring and spaceship milieux I have read.” —

Dean Wesley Smith’s Cold Poker Gang Mysteries

Meanwhile, in another part of the universe, and just in time for the holidays, fans of Dean Wesley Smith’s Cold Poker Gang series got what they’ve been waiting for. Dean’s new novel, Heads Up: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery, hit the shelves and the online stores. This series continues to be one of WMG’s most popular.

In the new mystery, a couple of new recruits, that is to say newly retired Las Vegas detectives, take on a cold missing-person case that is somehow connected to the abandoned old Hotel Nevada. Some clever detecting and a bit of romance make this a perfect holiday read.

Kristine Grayson’s Fantasy Romances

Looking back, you could say love was a major theme for 2019.

We released four omnibus editions of Kristine Grayson novels, a cornucopia of romantic fantasy: The Charming Trilogy, Vols. 1 & 2; The Daughters of Zeus; and The Fates Trilogy.

To the delight of the many Grayson fans, there were also two new Grayson novels this year: a new Charming novel, Hidden Charm; and just in time for the holidays, Tidings of Comfort and Joy, the latest in the Santa Series.

Fiction River: An Original Anthology Magazine

Fiction River also started the year with love, with Fiction River: Feel the Love, editor Mark Leslie’s anthology of stories about every kind of love.

The theme heated up with Fiction River Special Edition: Summer Sizzles, in which Kristine Grayson invited readers to indulge in a feast of romantic suspense, capped by a gothic romance novella.

Buy what season of love is complete without spies, cloaks and daggers, and secret missions? Award-winning editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch used her magic touch to put together Fiction River Special Edition: Spies.

Finally, Mark Leslie returned with Fiction River: Superstitious to set us up for a spooky Halloween.

Also in the spring and summer came three new Fiction River Presents volumes, Fiction River’s line of reprint anthologies by series editor Allyson Longueira. These volumes reprinted some of our favorite science fiction and steampunk stories from previous years.

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine

Pulphouse Fiction Magazine rounded out its second year with its Fall 2019 issue, which was just released in December. In addition to four regular issues, we published three books of stories from the magazine: You Really Liked That?, No Way, and Snot-nosed Aliens.

It’s been a banner year for Pulphouse!

Kris Nelscott’s Smokey Dalton Series

In another first for WMG, Kris Nelscott’s award-winning novel A Dangerous Road, the first in the Smokey Dalton Mystery series, got a new edition this year designed for reading groups.


WMG had books in ten Storybundles in 2019, eight of which either Kris or Dean curated. Fantasy Detectives, Saving the World, Space Travelers and, Historical Mystery are just a few of the themes from this year. The bundles are a great way for readers to be introduced to new writers in their favorite genres and to get the books they might have missed from their favorite writers.

Dean Wesley Smith’s Make 100 Challenge

In 2019, Dean launched into a Kickstarter campaign with his Make 100 challenge. For that challenge he is publishing one hundred paperback books. Yes, that number is one hundred, aka 100, one with two zeros, a century, five score. A new paperback book every 3.65 days. Watch for these come to fruition in early 2020.

New Nonfiction

Speaking of challenges, 2019 was not our first challenging health year, and there is something very human about facing those challenges head on and moving on to better days. Kris wrote a book about doing exactly that called Writing with Chronic Illness: Improve Outlook and Productivity, that WMG published in April 2019. In it Kris relates how she herself has dealt with chronic illness and still managed to stay productive, creative, and looking forward!

WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019

To cap off the year publishing-wise, WMG launched a revolutionary new project. A long-time dream of Kris’s, we are offering a Holiday Calendar of Stories, thirty-five original stories in all, in three genres. Here’s the description:

Every day, starting on November 28, 2019, and running through January 1, 2020, subscribers get an original short story sent to them (or the recipient of their choice) via email.

Each story is accompanied by an introduction in which award-winning editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch tells you which kind of story you have, be it a Joyous Christmas story or a darker Bloody Christmas mystery or a Winter Holiday tale.

Subscribers get each story in ebook format (epub and mobi), so they can read them daily on their own devices anywhere, anytime. Or they can store them up and binge on a weekend.

We have big plans for future projects like this one, so stay tuned!

Workshops and Lectures

We had a bumper crop of wonderful stories for Fiction River, Pulphouse, and The WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019 in this year’s Anthology Workshop. Writers are already hard at work writing for the upcoming workshop in February 2020.

The Business Master Class was a huge success this year in Las Vegas, where we had a record number of attendees. Industry experts covered a wide range of topics, including book production and distribution, writing productivity, audiobooks, overseas sales, contracts, bundles, licensing, and much more.

The 2020 Master Class will be the last in this format (it is already fully booked, but you can be added to the waiting list by clicking here), so keep your eyes and ears open as we announce new directions in 2020.

Kris taught four in-person craft workshops in 2019. These were intensive five-day workshops on writing mystery, romance, series, and memorable characters. The topics change from year to year, and science fiction, fantasy, and short story writing are coming in 2020. For information on these 2020 workshops, click here.

In addition to the in-person Vegas workshops, WMG also offers a plethora of online workshops and lectures through Teachable. Dean creates new online workshops every year and comes up with new ideas for the Pop-Up Series that pop into his super-creative brain whenever he thinks it will be fun. This year was no exception. And looking forward, workshops will offer insight into how to plan the decade ahead, writing in shared worlds, as well as the long list of classic workshops that are always in demand.

Plus, WMG launched three new challenges this year: The Short Story Challenge, The Novel Challenge, and just last week, The Great Publishing Challenge. Writers have seen great success in the earlier challenges already. For example, more than a dozen writers in the short story challenge completed more than 26 stories in a row, so they each received $900 in workshop credit. Plus, they each have more than 26 new stories to market! How awesome is that?

And if you are busy making your New Year Resolutions, The Great Publishing Challenge and The Decade Ahead yearlong class that will focus on finding a balance between life, publishing, and writing are excellent places to start!

So, off we go into 2020. It’s going to be exciting. We can’t wait!

Gwyneth Gibby is associate publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, former Hollywood director, and an expert in narrative storytelling.

Publisher’s Note: Saving the Universe

Have you ever found yourself walking across a supermarket parking lot on a sunny day, mentally ticking through your shopping list, minding your own business, and been stopped dead in your tracks by the sound of a dog barking in a nearby car? Not much can catapult me from a pleasant frame of mind to anxious confusion faster than that sound.

Because it must be investigated.

Having been a journalist, I have reported stories of dogs trapped in hot cars, people trapped in their vehicles on flooded roads, houses burned down leaving badly injured survivors, or worse. So, OK, I have a mind alert to potential catastrophe. But I am ill-equipped to deal with ambiguous calls for help. Is that dog roasting and desperate? Or is he just impatient to get the treats his owner always brings him when they go to the store? (Good boy!)

I am convinced that the main power superheroes have is freedom from doubt. Self-doubt mostly, but also freedom from the gnawing dread that maybe there isn’t a solution to every person’s suffering. But superheroes aren’t the only ones who tackle dangers great and small. And frankly, my admiration is much greater for the mere heroes and heroines who jump right in to save their worlds, carrying their burdens of self-doubt and dread along with them.

What better way to savor the saviors than indulge in Dean Wesley Smith’s new Storybundle, Saving the World. Dean’s goal in curating this bundle was to find as many ways as he could to save as many worlds as writers could come up with. He offers the reader eight novels and two short-story collections. In addition to Dean’s book from the Thunder Mountain series, The Taft Ranch, you will find Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving novel Searching for the Fleet, and four novels by some of the most entertaining and original authors writing about worlds that need saving in a multitude of genres. There are sci-fi, time travel, space opera, thriller, magic and more.

It’s that time of year when the days get shorter and the evenings longer, and the world can seem a darker place in more ways than one. These stories dispel doubt and dread (admittedly after conjuring it), and if you treat yourself to them, and you’re good, they will leave you feeling as satisfied and happy as a puppy.

Gwyneth Gibby is Associate Publisher of WMG Publishing.

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.