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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Revival of the short story anthology

The e-book revolution has its detractors, but few can deny that it has been good for the revival of the short story, novella and the anthology.

For years, the received opinion has been that ‘short stories don’t sell’. The men’s short story market, once vibrant in UK magazines, is definitely moribund. Go back far enough and we had Weekend, Titbits, and Parade – all gone. Short story anthologies included Argosy (UK) and The Saint Magazine. Men’s magazines such as Playboy, Men Only, Escort, and Fiesta ran stories – not necessarily of an erotic nature. The stories were in the main adventure and crime. From time to time a specialist magazine arrived on the newsagent shelves, though briefly; brave attempts, indeed: World of Horror, New Witchcraft, and Science Fiction Monthly. I sold stories to four of the above, but by then the writing was on the wall (instead of in the pages). One periodical that has survived is The London Magazine, but it’s a hard nut to crack. The women’s magazine market is still healthy, though even that too has shrunk.

Perhaps the decision-makers deem imagination passé. The same malaise hit TV some time ago, as well. Reality TV has almost obliterated fiction presentations. (I know, dramatic work is very expensive in comparison.)

So we must welcome the e-book for once again providing an outlet and a marketplace for short fiction writers and readers. Save for the few, the rewards may not be great in monetary terms, but it’s rewarding to see your story out there, hopefully being read and enjoyed, because that’s the main impetus for writing in the first place – to entertain.

Currently available e-book anthologies that feature my stories are:

Story title                                                         Anthology

SILENCE (2011)                                                 THE TRADITIONAL WEST

HAZARD (2013)                                                LIVIN’ ON JACKS AND QUEENS

SLEEP WELL, MY DARLING (2014)             NOIR NATION #4


MESCAL MAKERS (2014)                              WESTERN TALES #5

‘Silence’ is a long short story that embraces the concept of ‘silence’ – the omerta of the early Mafia in New York and the Old West. The Traditional West contains stories from 24 writers, some of which have become award winners. This collection is also a large format 384-page paperback.
‘Hazard’ concerns Ace Hazard, a gambler on a riverboat. Livin’ on Jacks and Queens is an Old West anthology about gambling, edited by Robert J. Randisi and features 14 brand-new stories.
‘Sleep well, my darling’ is a noir crime story about a marriage that goes wrong, leading to murder. Noir Nation #4 has 'over 20 entries from some of the very best literary crime fiction writers in the international scene' - plus photos of exotic tattoos...

‘Processionary Penitents’ is a private eye Leon Cazador story set during Spain’s Easter - Semana Santa. Crooked Cats' Tales show-cases the work of 20 Crooked Cat authors.

‘Mescal Makers’ tells of the meeting between an Apache and a priest in 1790 and how torture led to an understanding. Western Tales #5 is one of a series of western anthologies; this contains 'Six short stories from some of the best western writers working in the genre today!'


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