I love short stories. I love to read them, and I love to write them.
While there are several well-paid venues for short stories (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Woman’s World come to mind) most short stories will never find a “home” that lucrative.
But that doesn’t stop those of us who love to write them.
I find calls for themed anthologies to be a welcome challenge. They spur my imagination and provide an outlet for works of short creative writing. Some are organized by groups such as chapters of Sisters in Crime, or by presses.
They may not pay much (sometimes nothing at all) but they are fun. And I often find that the other contributors are skilled, recognized authors. It’s an honor to be included in the same book as many of them.
In the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of seeing one of my stories, "Tarnished Hope," released in the Malice Domestic anthology, "Murder Most Conventional." The theme there was, not surprisingly, conventions.
Another, "Frozen Assets," was released in the Chesapeake Chapter of SINC’s "Chesapeake Crimes Storm Warning," which asked for stories with a strong weather component. I used an urban winter storm.
Along with fellow WWK blogger Warren Bull, I am awaiting the release of "Black Coffee," an anthology due out this month from Darkhouse Books. Warren has two stories in the anthology, "A Christmas Journey" and "Killer Euology." Mine is "Last Laugh," although we did talk about renaming it "Bitter Dregs."
My writing critique group has released an anthology each year for the past several years, and we are busy assembling another. Theme: paranormal. I am working on a werewolf story and a gate-to-hell story. We will pick one to include.
Of course not all my submissions have been accepted. I haven’t been able to get a story in any of the anthologies put out by the Guppy Chapter of SINC, although I do have one under consideration now. Word on it should be out this month.
I also submitted an entry to the Bouchercon "Under the Oaks" anthology, released at the last Bouchercon in Raleigh, but once again, I was not successful.
Presently I’m working on a submission for next year’s Malice Domestic Convention anthology, "Murder Most Historical." I started a story set in the 1870’s in the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland, but I’m finding it a real challenge. Practically every sentence presents a need to do research. (Were working-class men’s shirts pullovers or did they button? Were they made of linsey-woolsey? Did a man need to wear at least a vest over the shirt for him to be considered “dressed” when he went into town? How about when he was working?) I’ve always admired people who could write realistic-feeling historical fiction, and I have an even greater admiration for them now.
Do you enjoy short story anthologies? Have you ever tried to write for one?