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Just a quickie

Until I started reading romance, I wasn’t familiar with anthologies of anything but poetry. Then for a long time, I avoided these collections of short(er) stories, not sure I saw the point.

Publishers often put them out to promote newer authors, combining their novellas with one or two bestselling authors whose readers will automatically buy anything they put out. Good for the author and the publisher, but also good for the reader.

An anthology is an easy way to get a taste of an author you’ve never read before without a huge commitment of time or money. The only thing to keep in mind is that a 20,000 word story will not have the same depth of character and plot as a full novel.

Finding new authors aside, the reason I’m now an anthology convert is that I can enjoy a complete story without getting sucked in for a whole day. For me, a good book is as addictive as crack. I am pretty much incapable of putting it down unless I absolutely have to.

Short stories are great for reading on the cross-trainer or during lunch. I can start one while waiting at the orthodontist’s office, and if I get sucked back in at home, no biggie. Depending on the length, the whole read is one to two hours tops.

I still crave full-length novels, and give in to them several times a week—after I get my writing done—but for those days when I don’t have time for a full read, one story out of an anthology is just the thing I need.

I’m in the middle of two right now…

1. SEAL of My Dreams: a collection of very short but satisfying Navy SEAL stories written by eighteen romance authors with 100% of proceeds going to the Veterans Research Corporation, a non-profit fundraiser for veterans' medical research.

2. Rescue Me: a romantic suspense anthology with stories by Cherry Adair, Lora Leigh, and Cindy Gerard.

What about you? Ever read any anthologies? Thoughts?

Photo credit: OLD BOOK © Peter Dolinsky |

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  1. Reply

    The short story is making a come back and getting even shorter. As attention spans shorten ( I’m parroting that. I’m not so sure it’s true.) and time constraints feel more real and reading devices grow smaller i.e. your phone, so called “flash fiction” has emerged. Can you imagine a story on Twitter?

    And, here.

    “Elizabeth Strout won a Pulitzer Prize for “Olive Kitteridge,” a set of short stories tied together by the recurring appearance of her title character. Pulitzers for short fiction have been given out only twice in the last two decades:..”

    For the writer who enjoys holding an entire story in their mind before it is written this is a great development for their talent.

    Back-in-the-day. The argument ran: Naw, a short story is nothing but a scene from the novel you don’t want to write.

    It’s hard to make everyone happy. 🙂

    • Reply

      Forgot this from the Newsobserver article.

      “Genre writers and publishers seem to think so. (( Short Stories are worth the trouble)) Harlequin, the 1,000-pound gorilla of the gargantuan romance market, publishes long lists of short stories both in print and online

      Raleigh romance powerhouse Virginia Kantra recently cracked The New York Times best-seller list – not the first time, by the way – as a contributor to an anthology titled “Shifter,” and regularly joins other authors in collections of abbreviated girl-gets-her-guy tales.”

      From the Pulitzer to Harleqin. From Oprah to your desk. Looks like someone is reading Short Stories.

      • Reply

        Thanks for sharing all that, Curtis. I like the deeper plot and characterization of a full-length novel, but there are definitely times when I like a short, satisfying read.

        Not sure I agree with the attention span thing either, but I do think there are more entertainment options competing for our time. If we don’t get sucked in right away, we’ll find another way to occupy ourselves.

  2. Reply

    Gwen, I like your points about the value of reading short stories. I generally read them only in women’s magazines while waiting in a doctor’s office. The NAVY Seals one sounds really interesting, and I like that the proceeds go to a good cause. I’m not much of a romantic suspense buff (sorry!!) but maybe the second anthology will change my mind. I know I’ll take a chance on yours when you publish, if you promise me I won’t suffer nightmares as a result. (I’m such a chicken when it comes to suspense and scary stuff. LOL)

  3. Reply

    Jolyse: The anthology isn’t all RS, about 1/2 RS and 1/2 contemporary. I don’t like all romantic suspense. For example, I’m not a big fan of serial killer stories, though I will read certain authors that I really like even though they lean in that direction.

    I prefer danger and intrigue without the creepy factor.

    Thanks for your support and vote of confidence. 😉

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