Category: Uncategorized Page 2 of 288

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.”


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.


Take a dip into another universe with Michael W. Lucas’s Hydrogen Sleets 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. 


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.


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.


  • 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:

(Artist’s Way:
(Cash Flow:

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!


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

Writing Craft: Vol 1 Conclusion

(This is a sample from my writing craft series; you can read more on Patreon. Please note that these first posts are about things that aren’t strictly about the craft of writing, but the craft of surviving as a writer, if you will, because I want to get them out of the way first.)

EEEEEEE!!!! Conclusion on Volume 1!!!!!!

I still have appendices to write and/or update. I’m gonna put together a list of exercises/short tasks, for one thing. So the volume isn’t ready to go live anytime soon, but still! I am manifoldly exclamatory!!!!!!

This first part of Writing Craft wasn’t much about the actual craft of turning your dreams into words: it will not teach you about character point-of-view strategies, pacing, or action scenes.

However, there are a number of issues and attitudes that, if you don’t address them, can cause you to fail to turn those dreams into words just as surely as writer’s block ever could.

Not all of those issues can be addressed in this book. For example, there are a lot of hang-ups involved in starting a business that have to be addressed before you can turn your dreams into words that other people buy on a regular basis, and there is an entire wealth of knowledge about taxes, business structure, advertising and marketing strategies, copyright, and so on, that I can’t cover here. But I believe this volume touches on the basics:

  • Always be legal.
  • Always be improving and stretching.
  • Please at least try to take care of yourself.

If you’re struggling with the issues around writing, please remember:

You don’t have to write.

(Click here for previous volume 1 Patreon posts…)




Styles: Stripped Down vs. Babble

Let us say that there are two types of books: ones that are stripped down to the bare minimum, and ones that are full of babble.

At each level, a book might tend toward stripped-down or babble.

Does the author use a lot of uncommon vocabulary words? Or do they keep it simple?

Are the sentences wordy or terse? Are the characters wordy or terse?

Do we spend a lot of time with lush description? Are we deep inside the character’s thoughts? Or does the story get shit done without wasting your time?

Does the plot meander or stick to the point? Are there a bunch of subplots? Or, even if the story has intricate plotting, does it all wrap up neatly at the end and make perfect sense? Is no loose end left untied?

If you’ve read anything that I’ve ever written, you will know that I am strongly in the babble camp. I am one of nature’s born babblers, although I tend not to talk a lot around people I don’t know. My vocabulary, while not stupendous, includes words like “stupendous.” My sentences tend toward the complex and indirect. I have yet to let good backstory pass me by.

Is that good or bad? It’s a preference.

I found myself researching different mystery subgenres in order to try to get a grip on where I wanted the mystery/crime side of my career to go. I definitely want to write some cozies, but they’re going to be a little off the beaten trail, and cozies aren’t all I want to write. What kind of covers should I use?

I was getting ready to commission some cozy covers that were a hundred percent on target for the cozy genre, when I discovered the that the cozies that were most likely to have that type of cover were for books that I didn’t want to read. I started reading a couple and had to put them down. I couldn’t figure out why. They seemed well enough written. I just couldn’t get past the first few pages.

Then I ran into a cozy that I liked. I bought it on the spot and read a chapter before I could put it down.

It had a similar number of reviews as other books I’d read and didn’t like, and a similarly high review score. What was the deal? Why did I like the one book so much, and just feel like something was missing from the other one?

I described the book to my daughter. She said, “Mom, it’s a babble book. You babble a lot. You like babble books.”


We talked about it for a while, and I’ve found myself in love with the idea: babble books versus stripped-down books. It’s not that I don’t like a really good stripped-down book. A lot of the pulp and early golden-age SF fiction is very stripped down, like an episode of Twilight Zone. Nothing extra.

But stripped-down fiction has to be really well done, and be really relevant to me personally, and be really short before I’ll get on board with it. With babble fiction, I almost don’t care how good it is. It’s like lowering myself into a bubble bath. I’m practically guaranteed to feel comfortable. Four automatic stars.

I mentioned this to a writer friend who’s a bit cynical; he said that people who read babble fiction are dying out and that’s why he can’t make a solid living off his fiction (he is pretty babble-ish). I disagreed with him in that it was a complete wash; my daughter, for example, is all about the babble. If you know anything about the web-comic thingy Homestuck, then you know that Gen Z loves their babble fiction.

But also he’s not wrong: a lot of the indie fiction that’s on Amazon and other sites is very stripped down, written for readers who don’t want to immerse themselves in a bubble bath, but who want to ingest some nice, chewy plot. The mystery sub-genres I’m sorting through definitely lean strongly toward stripped-down styles, particularly on the indie publishing side. But not exclusively.

I’m indentifying babble-style books in those genres and making a note of their covers, both indie and traditional or small-press publishers. There do seem to be subtle differences, although I can’t quite put a finger on what they are, yet.

I’m pretty sure it would be an uphill climb to try selling babble-filled cozies with the kinds of covers that go on stripped-down cozies, though, so I’ll have to rethink my plan. But It is nice to be able to put a finger on why I like some books more than others.

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




Page 2 of 288

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén