Publisher’s Note: Being young…

To a Child Dancing in the Wind

Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind!
                         —W. B. Yeats

I didn’t love this poem until I was old enough to really get it. It is so loving and tender and enchanted by the ineffable charm of innocent youth; and it is also so bitter.

When I was young I remember seeing that bitter look on older peoples’ faces at the oddest times. Just when I expected them to join in my delight at some wonderful plan my friends and I had cooked up—we’ll spend a whole winter in a cabin with nothing but a wood stove to keep us warm and we’ll write and paint and make maple syrup in the spring; or after my friend Mina and I read Peter S. Beagle’s I See by my Outfit and we wanted to ride across the country on motor scooters, when we were twelve—and suddenly there it was, trusted faces suffused with affectionate amusement, and laced with bitterness.

But why? Why?

Now I know.

There comes a day, the first of many days, when we tumble out our hair that the salt drops have wet, and feel not joy but confusion and even fear. Not yet dread, we’re still too optimistic for that. But the pure sweetness of dancing in the wind, oblivious to the water’s roar, is gone forever even though we don’t know it yet.

It is on a day like that, or shortly after, that Tiffany, Crystal, and Brittany, all daughters of Zeus, begin their stories in the Daughters of Zeus Trilogy, Kristine Grayson’s omnibus that we are publishing this week. It’s the third of four Grayson omnibuses WMG is publishing this spring.

In it, the girls have been stripped of their magic and their positions of power on Mount Olympus, and now they have to grow up. And like many teens, they must deal with a) Dad, who in their case is Zeus and doesn’t realize that the lusty days of his power and glory are over; b) their moms, human and protective, who don’t realize that despite the girls’ childhoods with the Gods, the girls aren’t as out of touch and incompetent as their moms think; c) relatives, such as Athena, Dionysus, Eros… you know; and d) the Fates. What could possibly go wrong?

Lots, of course. The girls are young and have not known a fool’s triumph, nor love lost as soon as won. But they’re about to know the ups and downs of being both teens and extraordinary.

Get the omnibus Tuesday, May 21. Also, get the individual novels, Tiffany Tumbles, Crystal Caves, and Brittany Bends, in brand new editions both as ebooks and paper.

Publisher’s Note: “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Dave’s panicked face inside a space pod, with lights from the recalcitrant and homicidal HAL playing over his helpless form, stayed with me for years. Haunted me, in fact, along with Frank’s body drifting into the void of space. I was fourteen years old when I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in the spring of 1969, in London. It was an experience that stuck.

My dad was a film lover, and filmmaker in a modest way, and we lived in a small town in Indiana where the number and variety of films that played in the theaters was also small. So when we traveled to larger and more cosmopolitan cities, Dad always went to see every movie he could. And he took my mother, brother, and me with him.

When it first came out, Kubrick’s masterpiece played at the Casino Cinerama in London, where my Dad was teaching. I had never seen a movie in Cinerama before, never been in a theater like that. It was an astounding experience and I remember leaving the theater wide-eyed and feeling as though I had really been someplace.

I still love space movies; I even like bad ones. I just want to go out there.

So when Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote this week about being the girl who confused the local librarian by loving science fiction, both in films and literature, I could relate. The first science fiction novels I remember reading were The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells, and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, both of which I read when my chief competitor, my brother, did. But I loved them, too. The big draw for me was a ticket to a life of adventure in unknown realms: unknown to me, anyway.

Kris turned her affection for sci-fi into a lifelong love affair by creating her own. She writes, “I started writing stories in the Diving Universe because I wanted to live in space and have adventures, and writing about it is the next best thing.” So she invented Boss, her alter ego and the heroine of Diving Into the Wreck, and the Diving Universe was born.

Many fans follow Boss and her colleagues, and it was with them in mind that the Diving Universe Kickstarter campaign was created. Read all about it here. You can get the latest Diving novel, The Renegat (truly a magnum opus), in June, months before it is available to the general public, as well as print and ebook editions of the whole series, and a whole lot more just by backing this limited time campaign. Come on and dive in; you’ll be in good company!

Gwyneth Gibby is Associate Publisher of WMG Publishing.

Publisher’s Note: Out of the Deep Freeze

The first big story I wrote as a newspaper reporter was about a cold murder case. I was fascinated by how the case that had gone cold for 23 years had eventually been solved by two detectives. They let me look through all of the investigation files once the court case was closed and a woman had been sentenced to 9 years in prison for killing her husband. She shot him in the back with a 12-guage shotgun early one morning in the shoe repair shop they owned. She put their six-month-old daughter down to sleep in the back office, picked up the shotgun and loaded it, and went into the store to kill her husband.

Then she called the police. Crying, sobbing, and barely understandable, she said her husband had been shot during a robbery. A strange man shot him and fled out the back door into an alley. There was a manhunt and over the ensuing months several suspects were lined up for her to identify, but she never claimed any of them was the guy. The case went cold.

But the key to its solution lay right in the heart of the police department. When the two detectives went back over the files 23 years after the murder, they noticed something missing: an interview with the widow where the detectives confronted her about the disastrous state of the family finances for which her husband held her responsible, and the improbability of anyone choosing to rob a small shoe repair store with a shotgun early on a weekday morning, and then vanishing into thin air. Why hadn’t they grilled her about her story?

Because the lead detective on the case, a star in the department, was having an affair with her. Oops.

Cold cases, whether murder or otherwise, are fascinating partly because they have already defeated the people whose job it was to solve them. Maybe the detective had a giant blind spot, or there just wasn’t any evidence. The colder the case, the tougher to solve. But also, when a case has gone unsolved for a long time, the people involved go on about their lives, sometimes they change, sometimes they reinvent themselves, sometimes they bury secrets so deep even they can’t remember them.

This week WMG is having a special promotion of one of our most popular series: Dean Wesley Smith’s Cold Poker Gang. A small group of retired Las Vegas detectives get together to play poker once a week, eat Kentucky Fried chicken, drink iced tea, and solve cold cases. Oh and indulge in a little romance.

The reader reviews of these novels have been very entertaining, partly because people are so clearly enjoying the books. Here’s a typical review from a reader:

“5 stars: Retirees to the rescue!

Who says retirees have to sit on the porch in a rocking chair? These retired detectives sure do not. Mr. Smith created a great mystery and an underlying story as well. I really liked that cuss words were unnecessary as were gory details. It just goes to show that when you are a great writer, you don’t have to use these. Can’t wait to read more of the adventures of these retirees!”

The series starts with Kill Game, and it is free! The rest of the series (eight novels so far) are lining themselves up for anyone who is ready to get a start on their summer reading.

Dean says he often starts a book by choosing a title. He was a professional poker player so all of the Cold Poker Gang novels have titles that relate to poker: Cold Call, Calling Dead, Bad Beat, Dead Hand, Freezeout, Ace High, and Burn Card. The next novel, Side Pot, has had me wondering what it’s about since he announced it…

I’ll have to wait to find out. In the meantime, play big to win big and get the whole series. You could end up with a royal flush!

Publisher’s Note: Didi and Gogo vs the Demons

I imagine the conversations between my two elderly male cats as sounding like Vladimir and Estragon (Didi and Gogo) from Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot. Didi and Gogo’s dialogue runs along the lines: “Gogo: Let’s go. Didi: We can’t. Gogo: Why not? Didi: We’re waiting for Godot. Gogo: (despairingly). Ah!”

My Ollie and Grayson would no doubt sympathize with Cookie Monster when he called Sesame Street’s production, Waiting for Elmo, “A play so modern and so brilliant it makes absolutely noooo sense to anybody.”

But, really, waiting is as natural to cats as napping. Deep thoughts, likewise. Given the time and a quiet space, cats will solve all problems, mostly by out-waiting them.

Sadly yesterday, the noiseless tenor of Ollie and Grayson’s way was abruptly demolished. It happened like this:

(Ollie, svelt black and white; Grayson, large and gray; both washing up in readiness for their post-breakfast naps.)

(A sound of footsteps outside.)

(They lift their heads in unison.)

Grayson: What was that?

Ollie: What was that? Is someone here?

Grayson: Someone’s here.


Ollie: Who is it?

Grayson: Who?

Ollie: Who?

Grayson: Who knows?

(pause, more footsteps)

Ollie: Let’s go.

(He jumps off the bed where most of these conversations occur. Ollie pauses by the bedroom door. He thinks, “Closet? Kitchen cupboard?” Where to hide? What’s closer, safer? He makes his calculations .)

(Then—all hell breaks loose outside. Banging so loud it hurts the eardrums and knocks a picture off the wall. Men yell to each other and laugh—the brutes! An excruciating wrenching sound, like the Titanic breaking up as it goes down in icy waters. Pounding, pounding—will it never stop? Ollie bolts for the closet. Grayson, fatter and arthritic, looks around helplessly, and then heaves his bulk off the bed and lumbers down the hallway to the “safety” of the kitchen.)

Let us draw a curtain on this tragic scene. It went on all day. The drama did not end well. For cats, anyway. Certain indignities and hurt feelings should be relegated to the dark shadows of unrecorded history.

The new siding for the house looks nice, but boy it makes a lot of noise going up.

At WMG, we are all cat lovers. Cats pop up fairly often in WMG fiction. Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes about that tiny black familiar, Ruby, so cute and yet so mouthy among others. And this week, Dean Wesley Smith has chosen a cat story to begin the latest issue of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, which comes out April 30.

As always, Pulphouse offers up a smorgasbord of short fiction, some of which tickles you, some knocks you upside the head, and some slaps you on the back with slightly off-color bonhomie. The first story this time is called “The Fur Tsunami,” by the late Kent Patterson. It, like Beckett’s Godot, is an absurdist comedy with tragedy at its core. And it’s about cats. Lots and lots of cats.

This new issue includes stories from Pulphouse favorites such as Patterson, Annie Reed, Kevin J. Anderson and O’Neil De Noux, along with some who are new to this publication, Brenda Carre and Robert J. McCarter.

Here’s the description:

The Cutting Edge of Modern Short Fiction.

A three-time Hugo Award nominated magazine, this issue of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine offers up fifteen fantastic stories by some of the best writers working in modern short fiction. No genre limitations, no topic limitations, just great stories. Attitude, feel, and high quality fiction equals Pulphouse.

“The Fur Tsunami” by Kent Patterson
“Unnatural Law” by J. Steven York
“A Cherub by Any Other Name” by Annie Reed
“PMS and a Hand Grenade” by Brenda Carre
“The Disappearing Neighborhood” by Robert J. McCarter
“Hello Brain, It’s Me” by Ray Vukcevich
“Eye of Newt: A Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. Adventure” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Knock on Wood” by Rob Vagle
“Featuring Martin and Lewis” by O’Neil De Noux
“Double Date” by William Oday
“Sleeping with the Devil” by Kelly Washington
“Upgrade? Up Yours” by Jerry Oltion
“Between” by M. L. Buchman
“The Thousandth Atlas” by Robert Jeschonek
“The Injustice Collector” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Minions at Work: Burn Noticed” by J Steven York

Get this lively issue full of entertaining stories by your favorite authors starting Tuesday, April 30.

Meanwhile, if you could just spare a sympathetic thought for cats; the demons who are replacing the siding on our house will continue their dark rites on Monday.

Publisher’s Note: What on earth has happened to Fate?

I am an opera lover—not a taste that I share with many of my friends. Years ago when the Metropolitan Opera still toured the country every year, I would go and sit night after night alone to experience La Bohème, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, and Carmen. Opera is really about emotion and music, and particularly in the great tragic operas, it’s about Fate.

The stories themselves could be ripped from today’s headlines: poor young girl dies of tuberculosis after quarreling with her lover; woman commits suicide when her heartless foreign lover deserts her; when a rather naïve soldier falls for a gypsy dancer, he kills her after she leaves him for a famous matador. They could have ended differently; Butterfly blackmails her unfaithful former lover into providing for herself and their child, and becomes a wealthy businesswoman, for example.

But Fate! Fate will not be hoodwinked into prosaic endings. When Carmen turns over her cards and each one says La Mort, death!, she understands quite well that nothing awaits her but doom. (No one tries to comfort her by saying, “Well, everything happens for a reason.”)

All of this came to mind this week as we prepare to release Kristine Grayson’s whimsical trilogy, The Fates. Her Fates are quite different. For one thing, there are three of them, and they can’t agree about much of anything let alone dooming lovers to premature death; for another, Grayson’s Fates do not hide in the background and move people around like chess pieces; they get right into the action and mix themselves and everyone else up. But the biggest difference is that no matter what they do, their endings are always happy. Ever after, in fact.

Tomorrow, The Fates Trilogy; A Fates Universe Omnibus will be available everywhere, and you can read Simply Irresistible, Absolutely Captivated, and Totally Spellbound back to back. One after the other, each one says not La Mort, but L’Amour!