Author: DeAnna Knippling Page 2 of 68

The Alternate Universe Tango: Interview with Michael W. Lucas

Time could bifurcate, like a pair of trousers. You could end up in the wrong leg, living a life that was actually happening in the other leg, talking to people who weren’t in your leg, walking into walls that weren’t there anymore. Life could be horrible in the wrong trouser of Time.–Terry Pratchett

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because this deal will come to an end…in a matter of time!

Alternate Universe Tango: Michael W Lucas's Hydrogen Sleets

Michael W. Lucas has adorable pet rats and has written one of my favorite business books for creative types, Cash Flow for Creators. These two facts may or may not be connected.

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

The Montague Portal tales are about a future where humanity hasn’t been able to colonize space, but has found a way to travel to alternate universes with different physical laws. Perhaps there’s no law of gravity, or you don’t age, or it looks like ours but genes are contagious. Hydrogen Sleets takes us to a universe that’s much like ours, but right after the Big Bang. Humanity has built a space station to study how the first stars were formed. It’s an empty universe, what could possibly go wrong?

The answer is, of course: everything.

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

Oh, that’s a hard question. There are so many good ones to choose from!

I’d have to go with Doctor Who. There’s a certain glee to saying “we’re going to have lunch in eighteenth-century Moscow, and then we’ll visit the Borgias!” The DW storytellers, both old and new, have a blissful fecklessness for any rules of time travel, twisting them to suit the current story, that I find delightful. You need it to work this way? Okay, that’s what we do this episode.

3. What is one of your favorite songs featuring time? Or, if you used a theme song/playlist for your work, what was it?

I enjoy music that gives me a sense of far distant times. Blue Oyster Cult is really good at that, with songs like “Black Blade” and “Veteran of the Psychic Wars.”

ABOUT MICHAEL:

Michael W Lucas is the author of a few dozen books, and has more on the way. His most popular novels include the cozy mystery git commit murder and the thrillers Butterfly Stomp Waltz and Terrapin Sky Tango.

YOU CAN FIND HIM AT:

mwl.io

Take a dip into another universe with Michael W. Lucas’s Hydrogen Sleets and other tales at StoryBundle!

The Woman with the Time Travel Tattoo: Interview with Kim Antieau

Time is the longest distance between two places.–Tennesee Williams

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because time…waits for no reader!

The Woman with the Time Travel Tattoo: Kim Antieau's Her Frozen Wild

Kim Antieau always wanted to be a writer when she grew up, and here she is. She’s the author of The Jigsaw Woman, Coyote Cowgirl, and more.

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

When an American archaeologist discovers she shares DNA with an ancient tattooed mummy recently found in a grave in Siberia, she goes on a quest to Russia and through time to figure out what it all means. 

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

3. What is one of your favorite songs featuring time? Or, if you used a theme song/playlist for your work, what was it?

Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll.” 🙂

ABOUT KIM:

Kim Antieau currently lives in the Southwest of the United States with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.

YOU CAN FIND HER AT:

www.kimantieau.com

Time travel to the past with Kim Antieau’s Her Frozen Wild and other tales at StoryBundle!

Time Travel to the Past: Interview with Dean Wesley Smith

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.–Douglas Adams

Welcome to the Big Time StoryBundle, where you can find ten books on time travel and all things weird and timey wimey. Pay $5 for four ebooks, or a minimum of $15 to unlock all 10 ebooks. Once you purchase, you will be sent download links for your ebooks. More info about this StoryBundle is here.

This StoryBundle helps send money toward the Oregon Food Bank, which has been hit particularly hard due to the Oregon wildfires in the area, as well as the increased need from COVID-19.

But unless you’re a time traveler, don’t wait! Because time…is running out!

Time travel to the past with Warm Springs: A Thunder Mountain Novel

Dean Wesley Smith is the author of seventy bajillion novels, even more short stories, teaches excellent classes at WMG Workshops, edits a magazine (Pulphouse), co-edits an anthology series (Fiction River), and a lot more.

I asked him a few questions about time. I would have asked him more, but I think he’s busy 🙂

1. Tell us about your book. What’s it about, and how does time travel or other timey wimey weirdness fit into your book?

My book is in my Thunder Mountain series, where time travel back to around 1900 is the core of every book. In this book they use the idea of alternate universes in time travel to change an event. It is by far my most ambitious time travel novel to date.

2. What is one of your favorite time-related works? (Fiction, non-fiction, games, etc. all count!)

The Somewhere in Time movie is one of my favorites. Christopher Reeve was wonderful and I like the time period as well. 

ABOUT DEAN:

Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith published far over two hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds and hundreds of short stories and non-fiction books. He has over twenty-three million copies of his books in print.

YOU CAN FIND HIM AT:

www.deanwesleysmith.com

Time travel to the past with Dean Wesley Smith’s Warm Springs and other tales at StoryBundle!

Time Travel Stories, No Spaceship Required

Covers from the Big Time Bundle

Welcome to the Big Time Storybundle, home of time travel stories and other wibbly wobbly timey wimey weirdness.

Throw down a minimum of $5 US (or your local equivalent) and take home four books, including mine (The House Without a Summer). Increase your pledge to $15 in order to abscond with all ten books.

These future sci fi and fantasy classics were written by as fine a collection of huge nerds as I have had the pleasure to encounter (in this timeline at least).

We may not be able to make it possible to travel through time (forward, backward, or sideways). We maaaay not be able to shift you into an alternate dimension where current events are a little easier on your blood pressure. And we certainly never promised you a time machine.

But any of these books can definitely help you escape from the present moment!

Click here to take off 🙂

P.S. My story is The Year Without a Summer, a gothic horror novel that isn’t quite part of the Cthulhu mythos, but was written in part to play with Lovecraftian tropes taken to some logical conclusions. Goodbye, ordinary space-time.

On Treating Money with Respect

My latest adventures have involved straightening out my business and personal finances. It’s something that I knew I needed to do, but found so overwhelming that I kept putting it off. So much to accomplish, no real understanding.

It turned out I only needed two things in order to get started:

  • A road map.
  • An attitude adjustment.

The road map turned out to be in a book I read this previous May, Cash Flow for Creators, by Michael W. Lucas. I’ve been friends with him on Facebook for a while, and I know him as a goofy smartass with rats. But, it turns out, he’s a financially responsible smartass as well, and is able to explain things clearly.

That addressed the first half of the problem.

The second half involved a bunch of random crap.

When I initially tried to write out this article in my journal pages, I went on a three-page-long, handwritten rant about the ways my parents had screwed me up about money, which were not insignificant, but not really relevant to the article I wanted to share. And, further, my education was the sort that separated art and money: if you make art, then why on earth would you expect to make money?

When you’re living your life with the attitude that money is scary and you’ll never make money doing what you love…well, that’s kind of terrible, and it sets you up for all kinds of failures. I may not have discovered all the ways it is possible to fail regarding money, but I think I found most of ’em.

Sadly, reading financial books wasn’t enough.

Most people who write financial books already respect money; they take for granted that it’s obvious that money should be treated in certain ways.

I had no idea that money was a thing that required respect.

I didn’t approach my attitude shift consciously; I didn’t even know there was an attitude that needed to be shifted. But here’s what ended up being important:

  • Studying tarot for an upcoming series of novels.
  • Starting on The Artist’s Way for the second time.
  • Starting on a huge cross-stitch project.

None of these things make sense, if you’re starting from a position of respect for money. Why would studying the occult lead to solid financial advice? Why would doing a twelve-week artistic recovery program have anything to say about money? What on earth do craft projects have to do with being fiscally responsible? We all know the kind of financial damage a crafter on Etsy can do.

But when you’re looking for a fundamental change in attitude, it’s difficult to make changes from a starting point that assumes you already have the desired attitude.

Consider:

  • Becoming a confident public speaker.
  • Facing a serious phobia, like agoraphobia.
  • Going to that dentist’s or doctor’s appointment that’s been put off for years now.
  • Drawing boundaries with an abusive family member.
  • Standing up to bullies on Facebook (as in last month’s newsletter article, ahem).

Most people who can competently do those things—or at least not feel anxiety when considering them—give positive-sounding but useless advice: all you have to do is get started! Just take it in small steps! Just don’t let it be so hard!

What most well-meaning advice givers miss is the attitude change that happens before those techniques can work.

So how do we change our attitudes?

  • Examining our assumptions.
  • Situations that are so desperately urgent that they’re more compelling than our attitudes.
  • Random crap.

The last item, random crap, is often known as “synchronicity,” “coincidence,” or “the universe providing a helping hand.” I’ve been trying to allow random crap more influence in my life. It’s a gentler way to change than the other two.

So here’s why those odd elements helped me change my attitude:

  • Tarot: More than a few of the cards are about money, craftsmanship, and material success that drives other accomplishments.
  • Artist’s Way: Every day, you have to journal about what’s bothering you, and right now what’s bothering me are money and finances…and creative blocks related to those things.
  • Cross-stitch: I am working on a project that focuses me on literal material, but more figuratively on being consistent in small details, solving organizational puzzles (how can I stitch the front so the back doesn’t look like a spiderweb?), and not letting myself get tangled up as I try to make an ideal image of something.

Gradually, I started putting together the idea that I didn’t respect money. I feared any situation involving a close look at my finances, because money was dangerous.

But anyone who’s ever handled anything dangerous—like a car—knows that people who are terrified of a dangerous thing usually screw it up. Fear of a thing can be just as bad as being arrogant about it. The terrified student driver is just as bad as the one who learned everything they know in Grand Theft Auto.

My tarot deck whispered to me that I was letting other people push me around about money. The Artist’s Way rolled its eyes and told me that I had to bring what was in my head out into the material world, which would cost money…and, hey, treat myself better while I was doing it. My cross-stitch project said, You know how to do this already. The hardest part is choosing the big picture. After that, do your best, assume that you’ll make mistakes, and adjust the pattern slightly as you go.

If you’re struggling with money, you, too, may be having issues of fear and/or disrespect. In addition, you may have serious external setbacks that you have no control of, but still have to find a way to cope with. I’m sorry. Things will be even harder for you.

My advice here:

  • Admit that you’re not where you want to be.
  • Let it be uncomfortable. Don’t force yourself to move forward…but don’t blow off your discomfort, either.
  • Listen to whatever coincidences come your way.

Coincidences, metaphors, inspirations, and other bootstrapping methods will come your way. Once you stop hiding from yourself the fact that you’re not where you want to be, they turn out to be all over the place. It’s called the “frequency illusion.” When you’re thinking about something, you’ll see it everywhere.

In other words: allow yourself some time for some random crap. Your subconscious is already shining a spotlight on what you need to see.

Here’s the cross-stitch pattern I picked, by the way:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/704131682/honeysuckle-and-primrose-floral-panel


(Artist’s Way: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/615570.The_Artist_s_Way)
(Cash Flow: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53402810-cash-flow-for-creators)

New Releases! A bunch!

Stories We Tell After Midnight

Stories We Tell After Midnight, Vol 2, the ghostly cover!

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

Revenge, hunger, and horror—all after midnight. 24 tales edited by Rachel Brune. Includes my short story, “The Thing These Relationships Have in Common Is You.”

The Wild Hunt

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

A fierce host rides across the winter sky at night, in wild pursuit of whoever crosses their path, when the nights are long and the winter winds howl, stay inside, lest you cross the path of the Hunt…and become their prey…

Thirteen tales of those who hunt, and those who are hunted! Contains my story, “The Last Private in the Gray Hoodie and Blue Jeans Brigade.” Click here to ride out!

Here Be Zombies

Universal Sales Link | Goodreads

Brainsssss! The dead are walking, hungry and brains taste so good… !3 tales of eater and the eaten! Contains my short story “Zombie Girl Invasion” (as De Kenyon) and my novel Alice’s Adventures in Underland: The Queen of Stilled Hearts.

New Release: Good Neighbors

New short story release, a horror/suspense tale in the vein of Twilight Zone

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

What makes the fae so terrifying is how subtle they are…

One foggy night, Lee Warnick waits for her dad to come home from the factory. Lately, more and more people have been disappearing from her small town, and she feels that her family might be next.

No one else will talk about it, but Lee knows the truth: the fae have been abducting people, on the nights when the fog rises up.

Haunted by nightmares and terrified for her family, Lee must find a way to keep the faeries from striking again…

A night full of primal dread…and horrifying illusions.

Good Neighbors

Lee Warnick leaned her head on her arms and watched out the window. Her mom said, “Come away from the window, Lee, why don’t you call your friend Jenny? Or watch some TV?” but Lee ignored her. Her dad was working late at Smithfield Parts Fabrication—the factory—that night, and she wanted to see him come home.

Her mom wasn’t fooling anybody. They were both nervous.

That day had been one of those fall days that are too beautiful, too perfect. The sky was a clear and artificial blue-green, and the leaves rattled as they tumbled along the streets and through the parks, picking up strays. Everything had come easy at school. For example, almost everyone had gotten an A on the math test from last week, and nobody had gotten lower than a C. The worst thing that had happened was that a couple of senior boys were smoking behind the building and had made rude comments to her, but their hearts weren’t in it. It was the kind of day where no elementary school kids were beaten up for their lunch money, no stray dogs were kicked, and no soufflés went flat.

Those days, those days. Those terrifying days.

About four o’clock the air turned damp and cool and wet. “It’ll be foggy tonight.” About a dozen people called her mom to tell her that, as if she didn’t know. With her husband working late at the factory tonight. Driving home in that fog.

“You never knew when something might happen.”

But that was it, wasn’t it? Nobody knew. Nobody knew why some people, on foggy nights in the town of East Smithville, just flat-out disappeared.

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

They would take one or two or three or six people a year. The records went back to 1875, and there were no years where no people were taken; the most was six, although one of them had looked more like a crib death than a taking, at least to Lee.

But it could have started before 1875. That’s just when the records started.

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

Read more here!

(https://books2read.com/tenebrosities-good-neighbors)

New Release: Evil Twin

New short story release, a horror/suspense tale in the vein of Twilight Zone

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads

A haunting tale of a monster who lived inside mirrors, and the ghost he left behind when he died…

What would you do to get rid of an abusive ghost?

When Michael’s father died, he left behind a grown-up family shattered by years of his broken, abusive, alcoholic behavior—and a legion of adoring fans who hung on every word of his stories.

They called him creative. But the truth was that Michael’s father had the ability to violate the boundary between one side of the mirror and the other, traveling between reflections and watching, and interfering, with other people’s private lives until there was little of the man left—only a monster.

Now the man is dead. But part of the monster has been left behind…

Evil Twin

One last time of cleaning up after you, Dad.

I’d slept downstairs on the couch, expecting him to get up and stumble downstairs, looking for beer or bourbon or something to piss in, but his body was still in the shower stall. His hip, covered with old blue jeans, lay against the glass door, pressed flat against the soap scum. His head lay against the fiberglass wall, curly white-gold hair surrounding his head like a halo. His pants bulged, filled but fortunately not overrunning with shit. I was tempted to turn the shower on and hose him down, one last time. You’re a drunk, you’ve always been a drunk, you died a drunk, you even haunted me drunk. He still wore his professorial corduroy jacket with leather patches at the elbows, real as the number on the scale after Thanksgiving. At least he hadn’t haunted me in the leisure suit Mom had him buried in.

I shoved the double-paned shower doors open so I could get at his legs. His right boot caught against the glass, then suddenly unstuck itself and lumped onto the rug. I grabbed him by the ankle and pulled until his head thumped onto the shower floor, then lifted his other leg and turned his hips around until he was an L-shape with his legs out on the tiles.

If he’d been alive, I would have worried about tearing the skin under his shirt, or on his face. A fact learned from my long history of cleaning up after my father: cheekbones get caught on the damnedest things. Ridges between rooms, uneven tiles, rubber floor mats. I used to always put a pillow under his head when I had to drag him out of places by myself, one of those u-shaped corduroy travel pillows. Kept it in a Ziploc bag under the passenger seat in the car, so the car wouldn’t smell like puke.

I pulled him out of the shower stall onto the rug, being careful not to look toward the medicine cabinet, and checked that he wasn’t leaving a trail. He was; the cup had runneth over. I rolled both Dad and the rug onto a fitted sheet from the closet that I couldn’t remember seeing lately on our bed. I closed my eyes as I passed the hall mirror, then covered it with a sheet on the way back.

Then I called Joanna and got serious about dragging him out of the house…

Read more here!

Wonderland Press Policy Statement re: 2020 Politics

Anyone who’s met me or interacted with me online knows that I am a very political person. I try not to be annoying about it. Instead of ranting, I try to infuse my opinions into my fiction. In my personal online spaces, I am much more openly political, but try to keep it positive, either bringing news articles to the forefront or reposting positive messages of support, rather than wallowing in sarcasm and negativity (although yes, sometimes I give in to the temptation).

I have tried to keep my politics off the blog, because it’s a publishing blog–not a political one. However, it has become clear that, as a matter of business, it is important to establish certain policies:

  • Wonderland Press does not support Trump and/or other actual or aspirant dictators, or their policies.
  • Wonderland Press does not support people or institutions that try to preserve or establish White supremacy, cisgender and heteronormative privilege, suppression of human rights, or other forms of bullying.
  • Wonderland Press will not be responding to, but will be preserving and/or reporting harassment, threats, manipulative, and other negative emails, and will develop additional asshole mitigation policies as necessary.

In the past, I’ve been less than perfect in carrying out the actions implied by those policies. Thank you for your patience, and feel free to let me know if I’ve face-planted in not carrying them out well. The policies themselves are not up for discussion. –DeAnna

Online Boundaries

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about boundaries; one of the things I realized was that I’m much better at online boundaries than I am in person. In person, I’ve only been enforcing (some) boundaries for the last few years. Online, I’ve been enforcing boundaries since 1992, and doubling down on them since 2016.

It turns out that I know many, many people online who are good at in-person boundaries but are struggling to enforce online boundaries right now. Here are some of my rules of thumb:

  • You are not required to tolerate bad behavior on a social media post that you control, even from old friends, business connections, and close relatives. If you can delete it, it is your “house,” and people must abide by your rules if they wish to remain.
  • You are allowed to compartmentalize your relationships. It may not be appropriate for you to connect with coworkers on social media, particularly if they try to take advantage of that connection.
  • “Keeping the peace” means telling others that it is okay to hurt or take advantage of you, and of anyone else in your presence.
  • You are not required to make contact with someone else in a way that makes you uncomfortable. For example, if you hate using Facebook and someone insists that you must be on Facebook in order to talk to them, then what they’re doing is making sure they only speak to you when you’re in a mood to compromise.
  • You don’t owe anyone an explanation for not responding, not responding soon enough, or not responding in a way they want to hear. “I saw your message but didn’t feel able to answer at the time” should suffice, if you’d like to respond.
  • You are not required to tolerate the presence of anyone who sexualizes a nonsexual interaction without your consent. They are trying to determine the extent to which they can control you.
  • There are no awards for being the person who never blocks, unfriends, or mutes people who make you uncomfortable. The people who want to make sure “you don’t live in an echo chamber” are mostly concerned that you don’t live in their echo chamber.
  • You lose nothing by distancing or cutting off a relationship that makes you uncomfortable. The person in question was never going to support you, either personally or professionally, except as it benefitted themselves. Make room for people who truly support you.
  • The bare minimum for an online connection is that the person is pleased and supportive of your successes, and disappointed for your sake for your setbacks.
  • Even the most heated discussion can be held politely, with respect for each other’s autonomy. If one party insists on a level of polite behavior that they do not hold themselves to, they are attempting to control you.
  • If someone is attempting to control you, you are allowed to withdraw your politeness. You don’t need to be positively rude, although you certainly may. The worst thing you can do to an asshole online is to refuse to play—but please do take screenshots, and if you must respond in order to defend your reputation, do it in a place that you can control, and can delete responses from assholes.
  • Politeness without the ability to snub another person for their bad behavior is not politeness, but submission and compliance.
  • Decide what your boundaries for interaction in your spaces are ahead of time, such as “no politics, sex, or religion” or “no personal insults or manipulative or harassing behavior” or “doubling down on bad behavior automatically gets the perpetrator a block.” Decide what you will do to enforce those boundaries—and stick to it. In my opinion, multiple warnings should turn into a block. (Be careful about unfriending people; they will often return to continue harassing you, if your posts are at all public.)
  • Decide how you will respond to rude behavior ahead of time, so you’re less likely to be pressured into making a fool of yourself in a heated moment.
  • Decode how you will be wrong ahead of time. I suggest first acknowledging the situation, then stating what action you will take, which may or may not include an apology. “I didn’t know that. I’ll think about it” is a good phrase to use in order to give yourself some breathing room.
  • Apologies are a way to influence a bad situation. You don’t need to grovel or explain. “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand how important this was to you” is a good apology. Combining it with your plan for what you will do about the situation—whether or not that plan makes other people happy—makes it a great apology.
  • A bad faith apology is worse than no apology, especially on social media, where it can be recorded, shared, and brought forth for decades. “I’m sorry that you’re angry about this” is a manipulation tool, not an apology.
  • Assholes don’t have relationships; they have degrees of control. If they cannot control you, they will often take a sour grapes tactic: your lack of cooperation means that you’re worthless and/or incompetent. This is often called “the devaluation phase” in psychological literature.
  • Assholes want to win. They do not care about fairness, duty, sanity, good health, safety, legality, or nuanced points of view. They do not believe in your autonomy or personhood on a very basic level, and often can hardly imagine their own existence beyond the present moment. Their actions toward you are not truly personal. You need not take to heart anything they say.
  • Fallacies exist to train you to recognize bad faith arguments, including your own. Everyone has some point upon which they become an asshole: the thing is not to make a habit of it.
  • If you’re not sure whether someone is being an asshole or not, ask them to clarify their statement. “I’m not sure what you mean here; it sounds like you’re saying ____” will often do the trick. Be open to people with poor communication skills who are supportive and mean well.

To sum up:

  • People who support you are happy for the good things in your life, and disappointed for your sake for the things that didn’t turn out well.
  • If you want to be surrounded by people who support you, you have to make room for them by cutting out the people who do not.
  • You can’t “win” against an asshole, but you can plan ahead how best to allow them to defeat themselves.

Good luck!

Like what you read here? More of the same at the Wonderland Press newsletter!

(Fallacies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies)

 

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