I confess, I love a good short story or novella. Some of my favorite authors have written short stories that stick with me to this day. Edgar Allen Poe, James Joyce, O. Henry, Flannery O’Connor, John Cheever and, my favorite, Stephen King to name a few of those I admire. I enjoy short stories so much I decided to attempt to write some. I was in college and one of my English professors, Professor Malley at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, often challenged the class to write a short story for extra credit. Although I was an “A” student when it came to English, I was always up for extra credit.
After college I set writing aside for a while as I raised children and entered the workforce. Then about fifteen years ago I decided I’d take another whack at it.
Writing a short story is a lot more difficult that you might suspect. It’s not easy to develop a character, build a substantial plot, and tie it all up neatly in a limited number of words. The talent shown by authors who have successfully achieved this skill leaves me breathless as well as envious.
This past year I have had the opportunity to submit short stories to four anthologies. I have three more I’m working on now. Once the books were published I read them. It dawned on me anthologies, especially those containing the works of indie writers, are an excellent way to discover new authors. While most of my full length books are romantic thrillers, my short stories tend to be horror stories. These horror stories are what you might call “cautionary tales”.
There are times I just want a quick read before I go to sleep. A newspaper or magazine article will usually have political or criminal roots that more often than not make me angry. Not the kind of story to doze off into dreamland with. However a good short story will give me sufficient fiction to hold my interest without keeping me awake while I greedily consume two hundred or more pages. In fact I have been known to re-read short stories. They sometimes become comforting.
As children most of us have read fairy tales or had fairy tales read to us at bedtime. These are short stories for children. I remember Grimm’s fairy tales, Hans Christian Anderson’s stories, and even Aesop’s fables. I had my favorites then as well. Among them were “Rapunzel”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, and “Rumplestiltskin”. Andersen’s stories that stick with me are “The Snow Queen”, “The Red Shoes”, and “The Emperor’s New Suit(Clothes)”.
As an adult I’ve developed a taste for darker tales; although many fairy tales are in reality quite dark. The first one I can recall was by the brilliant Edgar Allen Poe. My father had given me his collection when I was seven years old. Perhaps that seems a bit young for such heavy reading, but my father knew me well. “The Tell Tale Heart” was the first to capture my imagination. But it was far from the last Poe to grab me. Of course Stephen King is my hero when it comes to short stories. “Strawberry Spring” is gripping. H.P. Lovecraft has his own style of terror, “The Rats in the Walls” still creeps me out. Most frightening for me is Stephen King’s “I Am the Doorway”. That one is not a bedtime story.
All this being said I would like to share links to the four anthologies where I currently have short stories.
The very first anthology I submitted to is “Awethology-Dark”. My short story is called “April Showers.” It was actually mentioned in a positive review for the collection. Awethology Dark
The same group of authors got together to pen a sort of holiday version of dark tales. “The December Awethology-Dark Volume” contains “A Christmas Treat: Spicy and Sweet”. It’s a tasty little gem that also got mentioned in a review. December Awethology- Dark Volume
Not content to be mildly dark I pulled out all the stops with “Old Habits” in a recent anthology of international authors. This story has been haunting me for some time. I hope it haunts you as well. Twisted Tales
When I was approached with the offer to join a group of women writers and contribute a short story to the first in a series of anthologies I jumped right in. “Burned Toast” has some basis in reality since it deals with domestic violence, something I experienced in my first marriage. Gems of Strength is a fascinating collection and while my story is a tad dark it is no way comparable to my earlier works. Gems of Strength – The Sisterhood
I have three more stories I’m working on for upcoming anthologies. But please, don’t just focus on my tales. These are collections filled with the wonderful works of indie writers. Take a taste. You very likely will find more than a couple you like. Consider the anthology an appetizer. Once you’ve teased your palate with an indie short story why not dine on the full meal. Plus you can always have another “shorty” for dessert.
2 thoughts on “Anthologies: Why Read Them?”
Good reminder, Lizzie of why anthologies are so necessary. I, too, am a fan of anthologies – both as a reader and a writer of short stories. They are great to read during short down times and great to write to break up long form writing. I don’t know how I skipped over them in my early days of reading. But, I’ve found them now and am a fan for life. Great post. Thanks!
Thanks for your comment. I love finding new indie writers this way as well. If you’re looking for a couple of good anthologies I hope you’ll check out one of the above. “Twisted Tales” has an interesting variety of stories and can be downloaded free at Readers Circle Avenue Park (http://readersavenuepark.weebly.com/) I hope to have the opportunity to read some of your short stories.