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  • Writer's pictureWendy Harrison

TWO TO GET READY - June 1, 2024

I find myself in the happy position of having two stories scheduled for publication in the same month. June is indeed busting out all over. What my tales have in common is that they were both written in response to calls for submissions for anthologies, a process that was a mystery to me (pun intended!) when I wrote my first short mystery story.

My internet wanderings paid off as I discovered how the process works. It begins when an editor and publisher agree on a theme for a volume of short stories and then establish rules for formats, word counts, and other variables, including a schedule that will end with publication. Some anthologies are by invitation only, when editors contact writers they are already familiar with and invite them to submit a story. Others are open call, where anyone can submit. These calls are circulated on the internet, on Facebook, and often generously shared within the community of short mystery writers.

There are advantages to writing for an anthology for people like me who have trouble getting started on a new story. It’s a lot easier when the editor tells you at the beginning what kind of story they want, including the genre, the length, and the theme. Those themes range from “hard-boiled stories from the foggy back alleys of Hollywood’s infamous past” to “must use the words Moon, Western, Placebo.”

Since my introduction to the world of submission calls, I have had seventeen stories accepted for publication in a wide range of anthologies (as well as five more for publications of various kinds). From gargoyles (horror) to a nagging dead mother (ghost story) to an astrophysicist trying not to fall in love with an astrologer (romance) to a treasure-hunting parrot (adventure) to multiple homicides, I’ve come to love the benefits offered by the anthology process.

Now back to the two new stories that are coming out this month. The submission call that resulted in my story, “Red Ink,” was for a story that would fit the anthology title, Larceny and Second Chances. I had been mulling a story about a tattoo artist for some time. When I saw the name of the anthology, the plot fell into place.

The other story, “Spllit/Personality,” will appear in the anthology Two for the Show. The call was for, “Two times the trouble, two times the love. Two locations. Dual time lines.”  I thought a mystery I had been working on would be a perfect fit. A retired undercover cop assumes a second identity to see that justice is done. Two personalities in one character. Fortunately for me, the editor agreed my two-fer would work, which is how I found myself with the great pleasure of seeing two of my stories find an audience in the same month.

I’ll be making an announcement here on the blog for each of the stories when they are officially launched. I’d love to hear what you think of them.



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