I recently realized that I’ve had twenty-one stories published in the past two years. 🙂 Wow!!! I had to go through my spreadsheet to make sure I wasn’t miscounting. Three of these stories have been included in more than one collection, so I’ve been in twenty-four collections total.
Not only is this super awesome, it made me think back to a few years ago, when I decided to attend the WMG anthology workshop in part because I wanted to figure out where I stood as a writer. The anthology workshop has this format: the students write 6 short stories ahead of time, each one on a specific theme. At the workshop there are 6 editors, each buying stories for one of 6 anthologies – but unlike with any other anthology, you get to hear all of the editors talk about why they would/wouldn’t buy each story. I sold 3 of the 6 stories I wrote to 3 different editors at that workshop, which told me my writing was at the level I thought (and hoped!) it was at.
Since that workshop, which was about two and a half years ago, I’ve written gobs of new stories, and I’ve learned more about the craft of writing and how to stay focused and motivated. I’ve been invited to participate in story bundles and anthologies, and some of those collections have pushed me to write stories I’m sure I would never have even thought to write. For example, I wrote “The Other Side of the Portal” for A Fistful of Dinosaurs, which was edited by Chuck Anderson and Jim LeMay of Mad Cow Press. If it weren’t for Chuck and Jim, I might never have written a dinosaur story – much less one set in tunnels under present-day London. 🙂
The first short story bundle I organized – Fantasy in the City – went live on July 11th, 2016 – two years ago. At the time, I thought that maybe I’d do another bundle if the first one went well, but I didn’t realize what would actually happen. I’ve now put together 5 story bundles, 3 anthologies, and am working on a number of additional anthologies which are in states ranging from almost ready to launch to one that I just sent out the guidelines for. I love putting together collections! This isn’t a surprise, since I love organizing things – just like Rosie and Jasper. 🙂 But when I got started, I had no idea I’d end up organizing so many collections.
I also didn’t realize I’d end up collaborating with other authors on collections. I’m currently working on a monster-themed anthology series with DeAnna Knippling, and am collaborating with a group of authors on another series (I’ll post more about that in a few weeks!). It’s turned out to be a lot of fun to work with other people. DeAnna and I had a ball looking at monster-themed magazine covers from the 1930s-40s; I put together a Pinterest board to give the fantastic artist we hired to design our cover a feel for what we were looking for.
And to continue the “I had no idea I’d do X” theme, two years ago I had no idea I’d write a series of how-to posts for authors, nor did I suspect I’d start an interview series.
Past Me could only see some of the things Future Me would do. I look forward to seeing where I go from here. The one thing I know for sure is that I’m going to surprise myself. 🙂