Story spotlight: “The Women of Whale Rock” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Whale Rock’s sheriff, Dan Retsler, considers himself a practical man. But he has no explanation for the horrible deaths that take place on his beach. Nor does he know why so many locals fear the sea. The answer lies in legends of mermaids—not the pretty kind, but the kind that lure sailors to their deaths. Retsler doesn’t believe in them, but nothing quite explains the women he sees, near the beach when he investigates a friend’s sudden and tragic death.
“The Women of Whale Rock” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.

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About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes in almost every genre. Generally, she uses her real name (Rusch) for most of her writing. Under that name, she publishes bestselling science fiction and fantasy, award-winning mysteries, acclaimed mainstream fiction, controversial nonfiction, and the occasional romance. Her novels have made bestseller lists around the world and her short fiction has appeared in eighteen best of the year collections. She has won more than twenty-five awards for her fiction, including the Hugo, Le Prix Imaginales, the Asimov’s Readers Choice award, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Choice Award.

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Story spotlight: “Ondine” by Brenda Carre

Bernadine’s mother, Mama Ondine, is a diva—the premier diva of New York, and possibly the whole of the world. Her huge voice always seemed to reach to infinity, mesmerizing the entire audience, but especially rising up to Bernardine to rip out her heart.

Bernadine was just the opposite. Unattractive, awkward, and sickly – and she was especially sick right before Mama Ondine gave a big performance.

One day the province of British Columbia invited the diva to go to Victoria and sing for a Federal Gala. Three days on the far western coast of Canada. The pull of the ocean was irresistible to Bernadine and she talked Mama into the trip even though she had to lie to do so. Would it be a deadly choice for her or for Mama Ondine?
“Ondine” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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Brenda Carre writes long and short fiction with a dark, mythic twist. Her short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Fiction River, to mention a few. Her indomitable character ‘Gret’ was the cover story in Pulp Literature Magazine’s issue 15. She is currently working on a big book mythic/epic fantasy series she calls: ‘Lara Croft meets a Wizard-of-Earthsea in the Pacific Northwest’. She also writes spicy romance under the name, Tess Cornwall. Brenda is a visual artist and educator, and teaches a workshop on mapping through story.

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Story spotlight: “Kelpie Christmas” by Steve Vernon

What brings Rhonda (full-time assassin for hire), Lady Macbeth (part-time assassin and full-time librarian), and a kelpie (mythical sea-beast) to a dark wintry city alley?

What secret is hiding inside of the Salvation Army cauldron?

All of these answers and more are waiting for you in this short paranormal romance shoot-em-up story—written for readers who HATE to read romance.
“Kelpie Christmas” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.

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Steve is a writer and an oral tradition storyteller; he learned the storytelling tradition from his grandfather, and regularly tells stories to in-person audiences ranging from 5 to 5,000 spectators. He writes horror, paranormal, dark fantasy, and ghost stories, and specializes in the fine old art of booga-booga.

Think of Steve as that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the saber-tooth tiger.

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Story spotlight: “Brown and the Hotel Colorado Haunts” by J. A. Campbell

Join Brown for some ghost hunting fun!

When she’s not busy herding sheep, she uses her border collie eye to keep wayward spirits in line.

As the guest of honor at a Halloween celebration at haunted Hotel Colorado, she’ll have plenty of ghosts to keep her busy, but she’s the dog for the job.
“Brown and the Hotel Colorado Haunts” is in the Haunted collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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When Julie is not writing she’s often out riding horses, or working sheep with her dogs. She lives in Colorado with a handful of cats, some sheep, Kira and Bran her border collies, her Arabian endurance horses Triska and Cavalier, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories the Tales of the Travelers series, and many other young adult books. her passions include horses, writing about horses, dogs and writing about dogs. She writes fantasy, sci fi, horror, and all related genres. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association, Science Fiction Writers of America, and the Dog Writers of America Association and the editor for Story Emporium fiction magazine.

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Story spotlight: “Salt Water” by Deb Logan

Maris, a fifteen-year-old girl from Wichita, Kansas has never seen the ocean. Intentionally. Her parents have an unreasonable fear of the sea. When Dad allows Maris to accompany her best friend on a family vacation to Portland, Oregon, he has no idea that their ultimate destination will be Cannon Beach … and the wild waters of the Pacific Ocean. Maris is about to learn the truth behind the family taboo against salt water.

“Salt Water” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.

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A prolific copywriter by day, Deb Logan has been published in WMG Publishing’s Fiction River anthologies, Dreaming Robot Press’s Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide anthologies, Windrift Books’ Chronicle Worlds anthologies, and other markets. She has also released several short stories, short story collections, and novels for young readers, including the popular “Dani Erickson” series.

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The Faery’s Choice

Three faery boys—Nuár, Aodh, and Táinar—are spending their day pretending to be great hunters when they come across a human girl. Annie accidentally crossed from her world to the Land of Faerie, but doesn’t know how to return to her home.

Táinar tells Annie she can’t go back to her world, and offers to show her the wonders of Faerie. The children head off to visit a group of river naiads, and maybe even see a kelpie, but Nuár is troubled.

Why did Táinar tell Annie she can never return to her own world? And is he truly interested in showing the girl the magic of Faerie—or does Táinar have something else in mind?
“The Faery’s Choice” is in The Faerie Summer bundle. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the bundle’s Facebook page.

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Jamie focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the Old West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in – even though that house no longer exists. She’s curated a number of short story bundles and anthologies, and is working on several more, including a monster-themed anthology series she’s co-editing with DeAnna Knippling. Jamie lives in Colorado, and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep…yet…

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Interview: Bundle Up! by Jamie Ferguson


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This interview, in which DeAnna Knippling interviews Jamie J. Ferguson, originally appeared on the Wonderland Press website.

The Interview

1. First, tell us about bundles and other beasts. Briefly, what are they, who should buy them, and where can you get them? Optional: what’s your favorite format?

Until I started writing Bundle Up!, I’d never realized how confusing the terminology can be. 🙂 I finally switched to using terms like “multi-author project” in the book to make it clear the concepts could apply to different types of projects.

Some people use “bundle” to apply to any collection of stories or books that are packaged together for sale. I’ve found that while this makes logical sense, it tends to confuse people, so I use “bundle” to refer specifically to collections of ebooks that are created using a bundling website. These sites handle splitting royalties among the participants, and may offer the option to donate a percentage of the proceeds to charity.

Other beasts include anthologies, which are collections of stories packaged together into a single book; magazines, which are similar to anthologies, but may include additional content, like essays; and boxed sets, which are collections of books in either print or ebook format. And there are even more permutations—for example, you could create a bundle of audiobooks, or a bundle of bundles of ebooks.

The three main sites where you can purchase ebook bundles are BundleRabbit, StoryBundle, and Humble Bundle. Bundles created via BundleRabbit may also be available for sale on sites like Amazon. Anything that doesn’t qualify as an ebook bundle can be sold at any retail channel that sells books.

I don’t have a favorite format—I feel that there are situations where each format works well. That said, for collections of short stories, I prefer the anthology format to the bundle format. A bundle of short stories is an ebook that contains other ebooks, so the formatting can vary quite a bit between the items in the collection. An anthology is a single book, so the formatting is consistent across all stories in the collection.
2. I’ve worked with you on a bunch of different projects (and, in fact, I did edits on Bundle Up!), and I know that you’re super organized, to the point where it’s almost a minor superpower. Please gimme a story about how you came to appreciate that about yourself. I’m always interested in how people find their minor superpowers. 🙂

My organizational superpower has always been there, so I can’t really remember a time when it wasn’t present. My mom says I made lists even as a small child. 🙂 What isn’t apparent to most people is that I’m super organized in giant swaths, but will ignore other areas if they’re not as important to me at the moment.

For example, once a month or two I’ll have built up a pile of papers and books and random things that eventually gets so high it starts to block my monitor, or I won’t have any room left to put my tea. At this point I “clean my desk,” which usually involves sorting through some things, and moving the rest to a pile elsewhere in my jam-packed office. But the colorful spreadsheets I use to track the writing and publishing projects I work on are very detailed and structured.

It’s kind of like synesthesia. I associate letters and numbers with colors, and didn’t realize until I was well into adulthood that most people don’t do this type of thing because this seems so normal to me that I rarely even think about it.
3. Your book is featured in the Nano Writing Tools Bundle aimed at writers doing a project for the National Novel Writing Month. How did you get involved with that bundle, and has it been a positive experience?

I’d been planning on writing Bundle Up! for a long time, but kept putting it off partly because I felt I didn’t have enough experience, and partly because the idea of writing a non-fiction book was a little frightening. In the summer of 2018, Mark Leslie Lefebvre interviewed me about bundles, curation, and collaboration on his Stark Reflections podcast. I mentioned writing my book during the interview—I figured that by committing to the project in a public forum I’d put pressure on myself to finally start on the project—and my plan worked! I told Chuck Heintzelman, the founder of BundleRabbit, that I’d finally started working on the manuscript. He mentioned it to Kevin J. Anderson, the curator of the NaNoWriMo Writing Tools bundle, and Kevin contacted me and extended an invitation—with the obvious caveat that my book would have to be done.

I was super excited about this opportunity. Not only had I started writing my book, I also had the opportunity to be part of the annual NaNoWriMo bundle! Having a super firm deadline meant I had to buckle down and focus, which I did. I’d probably still be poking at the manuscript if I hadn’t had this opportunity.

In addition to all that, it’s not only been a really fun experience to be a part of this collection, I’m also a fan of the charity we’re working with. The Challenger Center for Space Science Education, a non-profit education organization founded by the families of the crew of the space shuttle Challenger, gets a portion of the proceeds from the NaNoWriMo bundle.
4. If a writer wanted to get involved in a bundle, what would be the best way to do that? What would make it worth it for an author to organize a bundle of their own?

Networking is by far the best way to get involved in a bundle or any other kind of multi-author project. It’s not the only way, of course. You can submit a story in response to an anthology call, put your ebook up in BundleRabbit’s Marketplace, etc. But if you connect with other authors, they’ll be more likely to invite you to participate in a project.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration if you’re interested in organizing a collection. Most people just decide to do it and jump right in, which is exactly how I ended up curating my first collection a few years ago. 🙂 But I know several authors who organized one collection and then swore they’d never do it again, and there are several main reasons why. There’s a lot of cat herding involved—as the curator, you need to make sure the authors sign the contract, get their stories/ebooks in on time, give you biographies, and so on. You also need to plan on doing a fair amount of promotion, and/or rely on the authors to help out—but not all authors understand how to do this. One of the most common complaints I hear from curators is that they expected the authors to pitch in more on the marketing side.
5. If you had one tip for authors on how to make the impact of the bundles (and anthologies) they’re in more effective, what would it be?

I’m going to cheat and give two tips, since I consider them both important. 🙂

The first is to figure out what you can do—and are willing to do—to promote the collection, and do it! Ideally, think this through ahead of time so that you can schedule time to write promotional posts, put together marketing images, and so on.

The second is to collaborate on promotion. I’ve found collaboration with other authors to be a huge benefit of multi-author collections. Not only can this help promote the collection, by working on marketing with other authors, you’re also promoting each other.
and last but not least, the bonus question:

6. Is there any note that you’d like to leave your readers on? (Hint: the additional promo question.)

Be creative! 🙂

One of the sections in my book is called Think Outside the Boxed Set. It contains examples of less common ways to use story/book collections, like creating a collective of authors who share tasks related to a series of collections. (Examples of this particular approach include the Uncollected Anthology, which I joined in 2018, and Boundary Shock Quarterly, a speculative fiction magazine created by Blaze Ward.) There are always more ways of doing things! Don’t allow yourself to be constrained by what you’ve seen others do—give yourself the freedom to think of new ideas, and try them out!

About DeAnna Knippling

DeAnna Knippling is a freelance writer, editor, and book designer living in Colorado. She runs Wonderland Press, a micropublisher of curious fiction and non-fiction for iconoclasts.

Story spotlight: “And the Sea Shall Give Up its Dead” by P.D. Cacek

Mac, retired professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, spends his time watching The Weather Channel and talking to George, the ghost Gerald invented so that he didn’t have to talk to himself.

When the bodies start washing up on beaches around the world, Mac has a lot more to say to George – and George has some things to say as well.
“And the Sea Shall Give Up its Dead” is in the Beneath the Waves collection. You can learn more on BundleRabbit, Goodreads, and the collection’s Facebook page.

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P.D. Cacek originally aspired to be an actress, but her dreams were dashed when, while playing Dinosaur Number 1 in her high school’s production of By the Skin of Our Teeth, she inadvertently crawled off the stage and landed in the orchestra pit. Dinosaur Number 1 died that night, but the experience put her on the significantly less perilous path of writing horror.

P.D. is the author of over 200 short stories, and has won both a World Fantasy Award and a Bram Stoker Award for her short fiction. She’s written five novels: Night Prayers, Canyons, Night Players, The Wind Caller, and The Selkie.

“Horror is an emotion, something that reaches past all the barriers and finds the one dark corner of our self-image that has not grown up. Horror doesn’t have to include dismemberments or gushing wounds or ancient demons dredged up by a new housing development. Anything, even a simple evening’s walk, can be horrific if you look at it the right way … and I do.”

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Doorway into Faerie: Sixteen Tales of Magic and Enchantment

Step through the portal and enter the world of Faerie.

What if you followed a path through a city park, and found yourself in another land? What if the archway you just passed is really a portal to Faerie? What if the guardian of an opening into our world has perished, and left the doorway unattended?

If you catch a glimpse of the Faery Queen
Consider whether you should remain unseen
If you come across a faery ring
Listen to the wind laugh, and murmur and sing
But beware, for if you enter the world of the Fae
You may have no choice but to stay…

Walk through the doorway and into sixteen different worlds of magic and enchantment in the third volume of the anthology series A Procession of Faeries.

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The Stories

Sidewynd,” by Alexandra Brandt, takes us to Edinburgh, Scotland. Born of two worlds but important to neither, Sky Patel balances life between her beloved city and its mirror in the faerie realm known as the Wynd. But everything changes with the retirement of her friend and mentor—and sole protector of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Now, despite her best intentions, Sky finds her careful balance cracking. And she may be called to do more—and be more—than she could ever believe possible.

In “Midnight Thread,” by Brigid Collins, Cassandra keeps the spiders’ way, carrying a spool of midnight thread to repair the web she’d strung along the ley line. She’d planned to catch the lake pixies when they swarmed at the end of the summer, but had been foiled by her sister, who insisted on creating “art” with one of the pixies. Reduced to dining on moths, Cassandra learns something new and surprising about her own sister.

Lodie is dying, and takes her beloved horse out for one last ride in Diana Benedict’s “Dancing in the Moonlight.” They come across the queen of the faeries, who is following the ley line on the way to her summer court. Even with her magic the queen cannot cure Lodie, but she offers Lodie her heart’s desire.

In Annie Reed’s “How We Danced,” the stroke that robbed Claudia of the use of her body left something magical behind—a doorway to the Other Place. A happy place where she can escape the limitations of the real world for a little while.

If only she had someone to share it with.

Someone who would take her dancing.

The Good Neighbors,” by DeAnna Knippling, is set in the small town of East Smithville where nobody knew why some people, on foggy nights, just flat-out disappeared.

Or rather, everyone knew why. The fairies took people.

The question was: how did the fairies decide who to take?

Tamara is bespelled by a faerie curse, framed for stealing a baby, and watches her boyfriend get spirited away by the beguiling fae bitch in Dayle A. Dermatis’ “At the Mirk and Midnight Hour.”

But Tamara isn’t someone who takes this sort of shit lying down.

She has a legacy to uphold, and a boyfriend to rescue…and a secret that will rock both the faerie and mundane worlds.

Detective Ron Conroy gave up hoping for a better world a long time ago in Karen L. Abrahamson’s “With One Shoe“. When he attends the dilapidated home of Elvira Paradis to investigate the disappearance of her daughter, he finds not only a woman worn beyond her years, but also visions of someplace—else. Someplace wonderful.

A delinquent youth becomes the primary suspect and takes Ron into the world of high school art classes, unrequited love and lost hope. Will the investigation result in the arrest of the wrong man—or rekindle Ron’s faith?

It’s hard to believe something as small as a sneeze can change the world, but that’s exactly what happens in Louisa Swann’s “One Good Sneeze.” Chiaroscuro Addicott Settlemire Moss didn’t believe in faeries, even though Da had always insisted they were real. And then Chia’s world turned upside down the day she found herself in the Land of the Infamous Fae.

In Lisa Silverthorne’s “Dust,” Club Oberon is an opulent dance club where bands of beautiful, vacuous fey hung out when they weren’t on Portland’s streets—stealing human souls. They lured humans to the exclusive downtown club with a pinch and a promise: a pinch of fey dust and a promise of Tír na nÓg’s riches if they’d only take that one last step…into oblivion.

In “To Have…and To Hold,” by Deb Logan, Artie Woodward and Jed Kendrick have fallen in love and plan to marry. But when Jed’s Irish grandmother invites them to visit her in Dublin, they discover what their shared ability to see the creatures they call “Terrors” really means. They are Seers. They can see the Fae…but the Fae don’t like being seen. When Jed is kidnapped and ensorcelled by the Faery Queen, Artie must use every skill she has to rescue the man she loves!

The Gothic mansion in Brenda Carre’s “Venom” would be the perfect place to haunt if there were such things as ghosts. But Marietta knows ghosts aren’t real, since her stupid sister hasn’t come back to haunt her. She wheedles her way into the house to talk with the old woman who lives there, hoping to find something of worth. But instead she learns about venom, which can be useful in so many ways…

Koko and Shacho are living in the ruins of civilization in Japan after a world war in Rei Rosenquist’s “Along These Lines.” Koko goes in search of the Magician, a magical being who had provided a spell to stop the hydrogen bomb and end the wars. Only that was a fairy tale, a story Shacho told on good days. The Magician wasn’t real.

Except the Magician was real after all.

In Linda Jordan’s “At the Crossroads,” Maureen is spending a year in Ireland after the deaths of her grandmother and parents. She’s rented a cottage next to the woods, unaware that her cottage stands at the crossroads of her world and Faerie.

Brea’s mother had not been a normal human woman, but a mystery born of water and starlight in Anthea Sharp’s “Waterborne.” Brea’s soul stirs with a fierce longing for more. She leaves her village after the death of her father, and searches for answers…and for home.

We go back to 1969 in Jamie Ferguson’s “And Then There Are Cats.” Abby had been looking forward to watching the landing of the Apollo 11 lunar module on television, but her orange tabby cat Neill snuck out the screen door, so she’s spending her day chasing after him instead. He runs across the street, into the city park, and down a path Abby hasn’t seen before. Finally Neill leaps off the path and into a small meadow in the middle of a forest…except Abby knows there’s no forest anywhere near the city…

In Sharon Kae Reamer’s “Night Shepherd,” Juliette von der Lahn does biogenetics research late at night in the University of Cologne biology lab. In addition to working on her doctorate, she uses her magic to clone hybrid animals with special properties. One night a korrigan appears in the lab and tells Juliette that the night shepherd, a creature out of Breton Celtic legend, has perished. But these mythical creatures don’t just die, they transform. And they get hungry. Juliette has no idea how to clone the night shepherd, but with the veil open and the irresistible scent of human blood in the air, she’d better learn fast.

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A Procession of Faeries

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Bundle Up: Creating and Promoting Story and Book Collections

Your all-purpose guide for anthologies, boxed sets, and ebook bundles!

Do you want to put together an anthology, boxed set, or ebook bundle, but aren’t sure where to start, nor how to effectively handle promotion? Or are you an author interested in collaborating with other authors on a project, but don’t know what this will entail?

Whether you’re creating a collection or an author participating in one, Bundle Up! can help you! The more aware you are of what’s involved, the more efficient and productive you—and the project—will be.

Today’s software tools make it faster and easier to create collections of stories and books than ever before. They also provide new and innovative ways to create—and promote—these projects.

If you’re an author and are considering participating in a multi-author collection, this book will provide you information about what to expect, how to contribute to promotion, and how to make the most out of your participation in the project.

If you’re a curator organizing a multi-author collection, this book will walk you through the many decisions you’ll need to make and will help you make your project more efficient and successful.

About the Author

Jamie has curated ten multi-author collections and is working on many more, including a monster-themed anthology series she’s co-editing with DeAnna Knippling. She’s also a member of the Uncollected Anthology, an urban and contemporary fantasy author collective, which she joined in the spring of 2018.

She loves creating colorful spreadsheets and has spent her day job career working in software. She’s worked as a developer, product manager, engineering manager, and is currently working as a technical program manager at a large, high-tech company where she creates order out of chaos.

In her fiction, Jamie focuses on getting into the minds and hearts of her characters, whether she’s writing about a saloon girl in the Old West, a man who discovers the barista he’s in love with is a naiad, or a ghost who haunts the house she was killed in—even though that house no longer exists.

Jamie lives in Colorado and spends her free time in a futile quest to wear out her two border collies, since she hasn’t given in and gotten them their own herd of sheep. Yet.

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