Kristine Kathryn Rusch loves to write in series. She says so herself.
As her publisher, I keep track of all of her series. That’s no small feat. Some of them are complex, more like series within series. Some of them of more abstract, with a recurring character but not necessarily enough to hold together a series yet. There’s even one where the “series” is held together by a fictional place, and the stories run the genre gamut from horror and fantasy to mystery and literary.
I’m probably the only one on the planet who truly knows, just by the title, what story belongs to what series and how it fits. Not even Kris knows her own stories that well.
It’s my superpower.
But my superpower is tied to my brain, and trust me, no one else wants to go in there.
So, for those of you mercifully existing outside my head, we’re launching a brand-new Kickstarter with a novel concept. The purpose of this Kickstarter: Introduce readers to the first book in ten of Kris’ most popular series, all in one huge ebook bundle.
That’s a $40 value, but in this Kickstarter, you can get it for only $25. And the Starter Kit comes with every other reward we’re offering.
The list of rewards includes the ebooks of every book in each series included in the Starter Kit, two special Kickstarter-exclusive writing workshops, half-price discounts on lifetime workshop subscriptions, and even a bundle of all 300 ebooks in these ten series!
I’ve been in teaching mode a lot lately. Last week marked the end of the semester at Western Colorado University, where I’m a lecturer in the Publishing Concentration for the Graduate Program in Creative Writing. And, of course, we do all sorts of teaching here at WMG.
Most of our online courses are taught by Dean Wesley Smith (although Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I have contributed a few there, too). And as this is the Time of Great Forgetting for writers, we’re holding a flash sale on all of our online workshops and lectures.
It runs through 7 p.m. PDT Wednesday, May 11.
To get 50% off on anything on WMG’s Teachable online courses, just click here and hit purchase. Then on the next page, put in the code:
And if you want some great suggestions on how to make the most of the flash sale and keep focused over the next few months, check out Dean’s blog here.
There’s a lot to be learned from fiction, too, I’ve found. And here at WMG, we, of course, have fiction in spades.
And our latest issue of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine offers up some of the most cutting edge writing out there!
Here’s the synopsis:
A three-time Hugo Award nominated magazine, Issue #17 of Pulphouse Fiction Magazine offers up twenty-one 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.
Includes: “Fast” by J. Steven York “Uncomfortable Shoes” by Rob Vagle “Ascent of a Lifetime” by Karen Aria Lin “Candy Detectives” by Connor Whiteley “Between a Sock and a Hard Place” byTeri J. Babcock “Toobychubbies” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman “Another Body” by O’Neil De Noux “Murder by Voice” by Kent Patterson “It Came from the Coffee Maker” by Martin L. Shoemaker “Locks and Keys and the Truth at the Heart of It” by Dayle A. Dermatis “Baby, One More Time” by David H. Hendrickson “The Diaper Room Key to Cosmic Plumbing” by Brenda Carre “Cleanup Crew” by Ray Vukcevich “The Case of the Missing Semicolon” by Christina Boufis “This World We Live In” by Chrissy Wissler “Harvey’s Babies” by Louisa Swann “New Beginnings” by R.W. Wallace “Red Letter Day” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch “As If Nothing Had Happened” by Jerry Oltion “Death of a Woman of Ill Repute” by Annie Reed “The Asteroid That Stays Crunchy in Milk” by Robert Jeschonek
I mean, look at that list of titles! How can you not want to dive into such a fantastic collection of stories?
We’re in home improvement mode at my house. While I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, for example, we started painting walls.
Our house has a bit of an odd construction. It has a gambrel roof, which you can read all about here. The long and short of things is that this roof style is something not seen much in modern construction, and certainly not often on houses (it’s mostly barns and warehouses).
Adding to this oddity, the house is built into a hill, with the main living areas on the top floor and the bedrooms downstairs in what is technically a daylight basement.
Because of the roof style, our main floor is mostly one big open room, with a bump out in the middle of one wall for the full bath (why there’s a full bath on a floor with no bedrooms, I don’t know). Otherwise, it’s a big open space with high ceilings and a lot of surface to paint, including a 30-foot-long stretch of wall.
So, we started with that long wall.
And I’m amazed at how much of a difference a coat of paint can make. The house seems brighter, even though the walls went from a stark white to a greige. Sometimes, just polishing up one element can be a real game-changer.
We find that with writing, too. Maybe it’s your characters that need polishing. Or maybe you want smoother first drafts. Or perhaps, it’s a bigger change: like quitting your day job and writing full time.
Just like there are tools for painting, there are tools for writing. And The 2022 Write Stuff StoryBundle can help you with everything I just mentioned and a whole lot more.
Here’s a bit about the bundle from its curator, our own Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
In the 21st century, the writing world changes daily. New tech, new ways to promote, new ways to think about publishing. One thing that doesn’t change? How to tell good stories. The other thing that doesn’t change? The difficulties of living the writing life. In the Write Stuff Bundle for 2022, we have all of those topics covered, from how to live the writing life to the latest greatest tech.
We’ve started a new blog/newsletter called Every Day’s a Holiday on Substack, and we’ve had some fun with funky holidays, some of them quite whimsical, but who’s counting, right? We’ve celebrated Everything You Think is Wrong Day, and National Get Over It Day, among others. And later this week we’ll be celebrating National Tell a Story Day, of course!
But today is an actual National Holiday as declared by Congress, and it highlights one of my favorite facts of nature. Today is National DNA Day, celebrated on April 25 every year since 2003, to commemorate the day in 1953 when Nature magazine first published the findings of Francis Crick and James Watson describing the structure of DNA.
Mind you, there were numerous other scientists who contributed to the discovery, including Raymond Gosling and Rosalind Franklin, Linus Pauling and Robert Corey. But as with many scientific discoveries, popular history tends to boil down the process until we have a name or two associated with really big strides in our attempts to understand and describe the world around us.
But here’s the thing about DNA that I love: it is composed of the same four nucleobases—cytosines, guanine, adenine, and thymine—in every single living thing. Everything. Every organism, whether plant, microbe, or animal, has them, and every living thing uses those four nucleobases to replicate and eventually determine the structure and function of every part of the approximately 13 million species on our planet.
What an amazing and beautiful and efficient world we live in!
I spent most of my formal education in the humanities, learning about arts and letters, performing arts and media. Which is my excuse for why, when I finally got around to finishing a BA in my late twenties, I had to take some science classes, one of which was molecular biology, and I did not know this fact of nature. I’ll never forget how astounded I was the day our professor told us that DNA’s building blocks, its four nucleobases plus the sugar and phosphate molecules to which they are attached, were in every living thing.
I was gobsmacked.
You mean plants don’t have plant building blocks and fish don’t have fish building blocks?
Nope. All the same stuff.
It gets better. Not only are all living things constructed using the same nucleobases, even the famous double helixes those bases form (as described by Crick and Watson) are remarkably similar from one organism to the next.
In 2003, after the Human Genome Project had finished mapping the miles of human genes, which contain the DNA and RNA genetic material, they announced that all human beings share 99.9% of their genetic material, only a tiny proportion is different from one person to the next; and humans and chimpanzees share 96% of their genetic material, humans and bananas have 60% similarity in genetic material, and even 60% of the genetic material of fruit flies is the same as humans.
Which explains The Fly, among other things.
But I digress.
DNA belongs to all of us, or we belong to it, from the soaring eagle to the slug, and everything in between. We are the same.
When you get down to basics, we are vastly more similar than we are different, and here’s the best part: it seems to me that treating the small differences from one person to another as welcome variety, as nature’s way to entertain us, keep us on our toes, rather than as something to fear or deplore is unquestionably the way to go.
That meager .1 percent variation can account for some very entertaining novelties; I mean from Picasso to Banksy, from Shakespeare to Chinua Achebe to Ursula Le Guin, from Louis Armstrong to Hildegard of Bingen to Sting—there’s an awful lot to enjoy.
I hate garage sales. I know many people enjoy them. The mystery of whether that found item is trash or treasure. The adventure of the hunt for great bargains found only at garage sales. The thrill of getting something useful for a steal.
I hate holding garage sales even more than shopping them. But for some mysterious reason, I seem to forget that hatred every decade or so and agree to have one.
This past weekend was one of those lapses.
Every year, this part of the county holds the Great Oregon Coast Garage Sale. (That’s grandiose marketing for a sale that only includes about 10 miles of said coastline, but that’s marketing for you.)
This year, they decided to hold it on Easter weekend (for reasons I can’t quite fathom—it’s usually the weekend after Earth Day, which makes much more sense). And in order to inspire my daughter to par down the copious amounts of stuff that fill our house, I agreed to participate.
WMG Associate Publisher Gwyneth Gibby and I held one together. In addition to working together, we also live right next door to each other (and have been friends for almost 20 years now), so our worlds collide a lot.
Garage sales are definitely better with friends, but I’ve once again vowed to never do it again. It rained on us twice (ah, the Oregon Coast) and by the end of the day my body hurt in ways that I haven’t experienced since I underwent brain surgery.
All for $87 in profit. And I still have a bunch of stuff to get rid of somehow.
But my daughter is happy with her newfound cash (I let her keep it all), and we do have less stuff.
Still, if I ever talk about holding another garage sale, someone please stop me by any means necessary. It won’t be a crime, it’ll be a mercy.
I’m not sure whether Kristine Kathryn Rusch or Dean Wesley Smith has written a story about garage sales at some point, but I do know that they’ve written plenty of crime stories.
For more than four decades, New York Times and USA Today bestselling writers Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith have been writing professional mystery short stories that have won awards and sold millions of copies, plus they have been acclaimed and enjoyed by fans over the entire world.
Now, for the first time, they collect 100 of their mystery short stories into a five-volume series called Crimes Collide. Fifty stories total from each author, with ten stories from Rusch and ten from Smith in every volume.
Volume 1 starts off the series with light or cozy stories.
Volume 2 takes a journey through history, exploring past mysteries—from our own timeline and alternate ones.
Volume 3 features mysteries colliding across genres.
We did some minor remodeling last week. At least, it was supposed to be minor. Home improvement project never turn out to be as minor as they should be, I’ve learned. Especially in older homes.
What was supposed to happen was the replacement of our kitchen sink and faucet, as well as the addition of an under-sink water purifier.
That all did happen, but for a while, it looked like we were in for a very expensive complication.
Once the old sink was pulled out, we discovered dry rot in the counter. As we figured out a plan to address that (without replacing the counter), we also discovered that the new sink (despite having the same dimensions as the old sink) didn’t fit into the hole. Different attachment system (who knew?). But that dry rot meant simply cutting a bigger hole was a real challenge. The plumber wasn’t entirely sure what to do (other than get a new counter), so I called in a neighbor friend from down the street who I knew had the tools and carpentry skills to problem-solve. What he didn’t have, it turns out, was the people skills to work with the plumber.
Meanwhile, I didn’t have the coping skills (bad news from the vet, but that’s another story), so my poor husband, who had just arrived home from an appointment, walked into a real mess. Normally, I’m the one to handle these situations (years of apprenticing my stepfather in his handyman business come in, well, handy), but not that day.
So, off to work I went and left the men to sort things out. I guess I missed quite the show. The plumber almost walked out. The neighbor did walk out. And John, who does not tolerate drama, cut the hole himself.
When I came home, we had a pretty new sink and faucet. And I didn’t need to order a new counter. Sometimes, the best way to manage a situation you’re struggling with is to recognize that you can’t manage it.
Writers face this all the time. A million hurdles can come between a writer and their writing.
That’s why WMG offers so many courses to help writers recognize those hurdles, and even more importantly, overcome them.
As I mentioned last week, we have the most extensive offering of online writing workshops available anywhere. And you only have a few days left to get everything we have available on Teachable is half price! That’s right: all classes, workshops, lectures, pop-ups, subscriptions, challenges…everything!
To receive the discount, click Purchase on the course(s) you want and then on the top of the next page put in the coupon code:
The spring sale will last until 7 p.m. PDT Thursday, April 14.
Now, I can’t guarantee you won’t find more issues than you expected when you start delving into your writing blocks, but WMG’s Teachable provides all the tools you need to fix them. No plumbers necessary.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.