Friday, August 7, 2020

How Anthologies Keep me in the Game

I'm certainly not the first ATB contributor to talk about how hard it is to keep writing and publishing in The Age of COVID. But I composed several posts before COVID was even a rumor in the US about how much I've been struggling to write. In fact, I'd be out of the writing game completely these days if not for this blog, my roll as an assistant editor at Cast of Wonders, and my participation in anthologies.

Thank goodness for those hard working editors determined to put out great collections of short stories, and thank goodness even more that some of them have been kind enough to invite me to participate.  I've had trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of cranking out a 90,000 word novel, but a few 5,000 word short stories have been doable goals.
My last novel (Touch of Smoke) was released in February of 2019. I've started work on 3 (THREE!) manuscripts since then, but they're all languishing and collecting dust. However, since February of 2019, I've release short stories in two anthologies, and I have two more on the way. Yay me! I've found that having deadlines imposed by someone other than myself is tremendously motivational. Below is a highlight of some of those short story anthologies that are keeping me in the game.


The pulp magazine era was bristling with brawny men and statuesque women globetrotting, getting
into and out of danger. Their exploits quickened the pulses of their readers, young and old alike. They have rise to some of the most enduring heroes known the world-round.

To honor and celebrate a bygone era, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a stellar line-up of writers to produce new thrills and chills, spanning mystery, sword and sorcery, horror, science fiction, romance, and adventures.

Featuring my story: The Green Lady and the Rogue
The Revolutionary War has devastated Tamsyn Gruene’s small North Carolina hometown. Having suffered overwhelming losses of personal property along with deaths of their husbands and sons, the community is on the brink of starvation and ruin.
For months Tamsyn and her band of merry outlaws evade British soldiers and militia men while thieving enough plunder to keep their community going, spawning legends and songs up and down the east coast of the Green Lady. She makes a grave mistake, however, when she and her gang try to rob the charming yet devious Gabriel Labeau, a blockade runner who makes his living smuggling supplies to the highest bidders.
Tamsyn sacrifices herself to ensure her gang’s freedom and becomes Labeau’s willing captive. Convinced she can seduce him and negotiate her release, the two spend a night of passion together that leaves both Tamsyn and Labeau uncertain of who actually captured whom.


To celebrate bad-ass moms everywhere, Crazy 8 Press has assembled a fantastic line-up of authors to
create stories spanning numerous genres, including sci-fi, contemporary, historical, and fantasy. Since moms and badassery come in infinite forms, the authors were given only one criteria: that their story be about a bad-ass mother or mother figure, whatever that meant to them.

From grandmas to new moms, biological moms to adoptive moms to mom figures, this collection features a fantastic range of stories. A human mom on the PTA of a school for supernatural kids. A new mom who adopts two babies with special powers. A hard-boiled detective who stumbles upon a mystery while looking for childcare. A grandma who fights back against an unsavory mayoral candidate. A witch who battles dark magic while wrangling her kids. An artificial intelligence who nurtures delinquent boys sent to her care. And much, much more.

Featuring my story: The Art of Crafting Resistance

It's campaign season in Faffton and an uncanny, silver-tongued stranger has come to town with plans of winning the election for Mayor. He quickly charms the locals into giving him their support, but Lucy and Grandma Winnie soon discover his political plans threaten the beliefs and traditions they both hold dear. Lucy and Grandma Winnie team up to craft a grassroots resistance that fights back with truth, common sense, a lot of yarn, and a little bit of magic.

Paperback available on AmazonBook Depository, and IndieBound

Winter 2020: Thrilling Adventure Yarns; 

Volume 2

Another great collection of pulp fiction inspired short stories from Crazy 8 Press and editor Bob Greenburg, coming soon. Featuring my historical romance: The Constantinople Affair

Set in the classic Hollywood golden era, Meg, a spunky and ambitious young screen writer and  Lex, a famous Hollywood playboy, are hired for the same film. They butt heads on stage and on the streets, but soon they'll be making sparks in the sheets. Meg thinks Lex is a shallow heart-breaker, but when her screenwriting partner and studio execs try to push Meg out of the scene, Lex might just be the one to help her save her job and make her name in Hollywood.

February 2021: Untitled YA "Transformations" Anthology

The theme of this anthology is “transformation,” which can mean so many things. Does your character have a revelation that alters the way they see the world? Do they experience a life-changing event? Do they make a choice that changes them forever? Does their physical body look different at the end of the story than it did at the beginning? Are they a shapeshifter of some kind? All are fair game.

I'm still working on my ideas for this one, but there will certainly be updates here on ATB along the way.

I hope that these short stories are the bits of fuel that keep my engine going, helping me make it over this Writer's Block Mountain. There are novels to be written on the other side, and I'm looking forward to getting to them in the coming year.

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