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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Caroline Clemmons for Tessa Gray

As it says above, Caroline Clemmons here for Tessa Gray, who is overwhelmed with her day job teaching college plus the published author part of our Yellow Rose RWA chapter’s Winter Rose Contest. DeLaine Roberts is heading the unpublished portion of the contest. Those two ladies are busy, busy, busy right now.

I snapped up the chance to step in for Tessa. I have wanted to ask your opinion of anthologies. Me? I love them. The reasons I enjoy anthologies are:

1.      I can read an entire selection while waiting at an appointment or before I go to bed—even during commercials if I’m watching TV with my Hero husband.

2.       I’ve often discovered new authors whose books I then bought and enjoyed.

3.       The stories are overview visits to places and times so I know if I want a longer visit.

I have just finished reading HEARTS AND SPURS, a Valentine anthology by Prairie Rose Publishing. What a treat that was! Each story was a winner. I had read the Prairie Rose release WISHING FOR A COWBOY at Christmas and loved it. As soon as HEARTS AND SPURS released, I purchased it and started reading.

Crafting a short story for an anthology is a gift. I so admire those who do it so well, such as the women in HEARTS AND SPURS. Kathleen Rice Adams, Linda Broday, Tracy Garrett, Tanya Hansen, Sarah J. Macneal, Phyliss Miranda, Cheryl Pierson, Jacquie Rogers, and Livia J. Washburn are the nine authors whose stories are included. Each story is a gift to the reader—a mini-getaway to another time and place. I didn’t find a new author to read in HEARTS AND SPURS because most of these are already among my favorite authors. Cheryl and Livia are the publishers of Prairie Rose.

Talk about the earlier WISHING FOR A COWBOY prompted several of us western romance authors to create our own anthology. This one will be of sixteen very short stories and be titled RAWHIDE ‘N ROSES and be out in March. Proceeds will be donated to a charity for wild horse rescue. After all, we are western writers. What’s more western than horses?

One might think that writing for an anthology is less complicated than creating an entire book. It should be. For me, creating a short story for RAWHIDE ‘N ROSES was a challenge. Visualize me agonizing and beating my head against the keyboard. Sigh.

Writing short is difficult for me because I want to add in too many details and secondary characters. No time for that with a short story and only a little time in a novella. Participants in this anthology had to keep our stories short due to the number of authors. Was this ever a learning experience for me!

The sixteen authors are Simone Beaudelaire, Alison Bruce, Caroline Clemmons (me), Cheri K. Clifton, Keta Diablo, Peggy L. Henderson, Lyn Horner, Susan Horsnell, Paty Jager, Charlene Raddon, Jacquie Rogers, Carol A. Spradling , Chad Strong, Margaret Tanner, Rain Trueax, and Celia Yeary.

Susan Horsnell is editor and formatter. She is so professional and organized, one would think she engaged in editing and formatting full time as a paying job. Alas, she is donating her time. Charlene Raddon created the cover—imagine trying to please sixteen artistic people! Good thing she didn’t have us all in one room or she’d probably have lassoed us and tied us to the furniture. Instead, she showed patience and flexibility.  The group is even planning another anthology in the summer.

Many groups publish an anthology each year. Hero and I often buy collections from Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America as well as other groups that tout “the best of” whatever year for that type story. In these anthologies, I have discovered some of my now-favorite mystery authors. I’m pleased that now romance authors are publishing anthologies, too.  More reading for me.

Do you like anthologies? If so, what do you like about them?   


  1. I love anthologies for one reason: Christmas. All I really want in a Christmas story is the story, and that's pretty much all there's room for in anthologies. I admit they've made me like others, too, but Christmas ones are still my favorite. I hope someday to write a story for one, but until then, I'll just keep reading them.

  2. Short stories are relatively new in my reading world. The short stories we were forced to read in high school pretty much cured me from ever reading another one. Many, many years went by, and I was invited to contribute a short story to an anthology--what a boon to an unpublished author! Despite my trepidation, I jumped in headfirst. Over the next year, I developed a fondness for the shorter format, and at this point, probably 50% of my reading is either anthologies or single-sell shorts. Quite a turnaround. Yes, I love novels just as much as always, but sometimes I want to get my HEA fix and I don't have time to read a whole book. So shorts are perfect, and I think they're gaining in popularity with other readers for the same reason.

    And Caroline, I'm really excited to read your short-short story in Rawhide 'n Roses. I bet you nailed it out of the gate, just like always. ☺

  3. As a reader, not an author - I enjoy anthologies. It gives me an opportunity to read authors that are new to me an I often go on to buy books by them. It's like sampling a new flavor of ice cream. You get a taste and decide if you want a whole scoop of that flavor. Looking forward to March!

  4. Caroline, thank you for your kind words about the PRP anthologies. Praise from an author of your talent just warms my heart. :-)

    I must admit that, like Jacquie, reading literary short stories in high school cured me of the desire to poke my nose into shorts as an adult. I THOUGHT I preferred novels, because the stories could be so much more intricate -- deeper and richer somehow, it seemed.

    I was wrong. Over the past few years, I've discovered several new-favorite authors and captivating tales in anthologies. (Credit probably should go to the "Give Me a Texas..." anthos by Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyliss Miranda, and Dewanna Pace.)

    I'm looking forward to snagging a copy of RAWHIDE 'N ROSES hot off the press in March. I'm sure it will be wonderful Kudos to you and the rest of the participating authors for diving into such an enormous project and for donating the proceeds to such a good cause. (Sixteen authors? OMG! I admire Susan's fortitude for wrangling that herd. Y'all send that woman a barrel of her favorite libation, why don't you? :-D )


  5. Me, me! I like anthologies for all the reasons you stated. Good luck with RAWHIDE AND ROSES.


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