Saturday, December 4, 2010

Anthologies: Collecting the Best of the Best – Part 1


Hi everyone,

This month, I’m writing about anthologies. Several of my short stories have recently appeared in anthologies, so I thought I’d make this the subject of my December blogs.

When I was in grade school, I used to read anthologies of horror stories. (Yes, sixth grade to be exact.) Looking back I wonder why these Alfred Hitchcock Presents-type stories were in the school because most of them had black and white illustrations that could scare the pants off you.

The best (and most disturbing) short story was “Wendigo’s Child” by Thomas F. Monteleone that appeared in Monster Tales: Vampires, Werewolves, and Things. If anyone’s ever read it (and seen the line art drawing) you know exactly what I’m talking about. The last line still sticks with me decades later. “It was looking up at him.”

You can’t get much better than that. (And if anyone out there has a copy of the story, please let me know!! I don’t have one!)

In high school, I was hooked on horror anthologies. It seemed that every week another collection of spine-tingling tales would be released, and I would devour each book. The collections usually had titles like Horrors, Terrors, Fears, Nightmares, and featured a dozen or more stories. Every so often the anthology included a story by a famous author (Clive Barker, Robert Bloch, Stephen King) and the rest of the stories were written by… I don’t even remember.

But what I do remember was delving into the world of horror fiction and becoming addicted to the art of storytelling. Some of the stories came across as dull, others were okay, none of them kept me awake at night, but a few were memorable. Each story showed me how different writers handled the same genre, wrote in a specific voice, and created characters and plots in their own unique way. In reading these stories I learned what worked and what didn’t, I developed a sense for great openings and even greater endings, and I kept telling myself “one day, one of my stories will be in a book.” I was right!

In 2010 two of my horror stories were published in anthologies. “The Ape” was featured in The Four Horsemen: An Anthology of Conquest, War, Famine & Death. Published by Pill Hill Press, this collection of twenty-five short stories is based on The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

“Whispers from the Past” appeared in the Pill Hill Press anthology, Haunted. This book is a collection of forty-two tales about haunted places.

How did I get my stories published? I answered the call for submissions and sent in my highly polished manuscripts. I was pleased to discover that the editors liked what they read and chose the stories for publication.

Anthologies are a great way for writers to get their stories published and read by the masses. If you’re just starting out, it’s an impressive writing credit, and if you’ve already been published, it’s always nice to have your story included in a collection with other talented writers.

To read excerpts and learn more about “The Ape” and “Whispers from the Past” visit the Anthologies section (or Horror section) of my website: www.KelliWilkins.com

Next week, we’ll chat about my romance anthology, Naughty Nobles!

Happy reading,

Kelli

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