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The observant among you will notice that there’s a new Kickstarter on the right side of this web page.

Yes, we just finished one Kickstarter and we started another immediately. That’s not the best way to run a Kickstarter, but we made a few decisions along the way that made us decide this is the way to go.

First, “we” are me, Dean, and everyone at WMG Publishing. We’ve been working very hard on this project for a year now, with an eye to going live in October. Events pushed our Pulphouse Kickstarter back a few weeks, and brushed it against this one. Instead of being vague, now I’ll go into specifics.

For years, I’ve noodled around with the idea of releasing holiday stories every day during the holiday season. I first thought of a blog tour for me and several authors, but that seemed like a weird amount of work for very little gain. (Like a progressive dinner: it sounds like fun until you actually have to go from house to house, trying to eat the food.)

I talked with Dean about it, and we brainstormed. I came up with three holiday anthologies—The Winter Holidays, Bloody Christmas, and Joyous Christmas—and I asked writers to contribute. I wanted stories that ran from American Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

In 2019, that’s 35 days. I opened the anthologies to our regular writers, and got about 100 stories, all wonderful. Not all were what I wanted, though. I ended up with 33 stories, 11 in each anthology, but I was missing two. I decided to write those myself.

I had always planned to include a Kristine Grayson Santa Series novella, but my muse decided to write a Santa Series novel instead. My muse lied to me, telling me that the novel (which I had initially planned as a novel…all the way back in the 1980s!) was actually a short story(!). So I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote.

I finished everything in July and turned it in. Four anthologies, if you count the compilation of the 35 stories which we will release in July of 2020, the novel, and a story order for the calendar.

We will release the stories first in calendar format, starting on November 28, 2019. (See why we had to do the Kickstarter now?) Meaning, if you sign up for this, you’ll get a story per day for 35 days. You’ll get them via email with a link to the ebook format of your choice. That email will have a letter from me, introducing the story, and letting you know what the story’s tone/genre is. In other words, the story might be light and funny. The next day’s story might be dark and scary. But you’ll know before you read.

On each email, there will be one of the three headers below.

If you get this cute little blue guy, you’ll see that the story belongs in The Winter Holidays anthology, and will be blood-and-gore free. A few of the stories here are touching, some are cute, and more than one focuses on a made-up holiday. So, if you see that header, you’ll know…no Christmas in this story. Just something to celebrate winter or a different holiday.

If you get this joyful little gray snowperson, then you’ll know that you’re going to have a non-religious Christmas story with a happy ending. You might also run into some light fantasy elements as well, maybe a visit from Santa or one of the elves. Maybe a ghost or two or three. A romance, as well, which means that everything with this header will make you smile.

And if this rather creepy snowperson shows up in your header, then be warned: the story could be dark. It might also make you smile, but there’s no guaranteed happy ending. You might shudder instead. Or grin at the cleverness of a particular criminal or the inventiveness of one of the authors. I will promise you will have a quick and suspenseful read each time you see this header.

Why the variation in tone? Because somewhere during the holiday season, I get sick of happily ever after. I mix up my holiday romance reading with some very enjoyable holiday mysteries. Every year, I put out a  holiday recommended reading list (which will go live the day after Thanksgiving), so that you can do your holiday reading. And this year, I’ve decided to add to that reading with these projects.

Once the newsletters are done, and you’ve collected your 35 stories in ebook on your device, you might want to get rid of the clutter before July. That’s when the collection of the introductions and the stories will appear. (Yes, we were inspired by all those Christmas in July sales.) In the heat of the summer, you’ll probably want a winter chill…so there you go. Unless you’re from somewhere Down Under, and want your winter holiday stories…in your winter.

All three anthologies will hit print next October, just as we’re ramping up the next WMG Holiday Spectacular…if the Kickstarter is as successful as we hope it will be.

Yes, I want to make this an annual thing. I don’t know if I’ll write a holiday novel every year, but I can manage a holiday novella or two. And then there will be stories by other authors, truly remarkable authors, edited by me to round out your holiday season.

I spent a lot of years unable to celebrate the holidays. I couldn’t really go out because of my health issues and I couldn’t see holiday movies in the theater because our local theater decided heat was a luxury. I couldn’t eat with friends at local restaurants. So I read and read and read holiday books. They got me through—that, and online holiday calendars. Those showed up with a gift per day, a video or a game, and they were lovely little surprises.

Indulge yourself and give yourself that same kind of holiday surprise. And if you have some friends who love to read, give them the calendar to commemorate the season. We even have a reward that lets you share with two friends.

To our knowledge, no one has ever tried anything like this. That’s what the new world of publishing and licensing lets us do—experiment in cool ways.

We hope—heck, I hope—that you’ll give this a try. I hope that you’ll have as much fun with it as I did. It was a delight to put together. I hope it’ll brighten your holiday season as much as it brightened my year this year.

Here’s the video along with a link to the Kickstarter itself. Click through. See how fun this crazy idea is, and please consider backing us. Thank you!

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