book reviews

Hooray for Anthologies

Anthologies are collections of short stories, usually tied together by a theme. They provide readers with a chance to enjoy great writing in smaller bites than they get in a novel. They’re perfect reading:

  • during lunch
  • while standing in a line at the pharmacy (6 feet apart of course)
  • while waiting for a doctor appointment
  • while brushing your teeth
  • when the elevator breaks and you’re waiting for the fire department
  • while walking the dog

I’m impressed how many excellent anthologies I’ve run across through Indie friends. I originally planned to include three here but as I prepped the article, I kept finding more. Here’s the final list:

2 From California Writers Circle:


“Masquerade” winks at the illusion of reality in 26 entertaining short stories–each hiding secrets and surprises. The authors are from California Writers Circle. They invite you to take a peek behind the mask and discover what is revealed. Choose from a range of genres including mystery, adventure, romance, history, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, social commentary, and satire. See what themes our authors have waiting for you at the masquerade.

If this sounds good to you, take advantage of the free digital book January 15-16. Can’t go wrong!


The death of famed society writer Adam Knight rocks the bustling art community of Laguna Beach and sets off questions about whether his fall from the high cliffs above the ocean was an accident, a suicide, or murder. When police dismiss the death as an accident, Adam’s sister and two close friends become amateur sleuths, interviewing those who knew him, narrowing down the list of suspects, and staging a reenactment of that deadly night to expose the shocking truth.

This is written by the authors of California Writers Circle. Each took on a chapter and together, they turned it into a story!


Alex Cavanaugh’s IWSG Group (Insecure Writers Support Group, of which I am a proud member) publishes about one anthology a year. Each is themed and includes stories written by excellent authors:

Robbie Cheadle

If you follow Robbie’s blog, you probably–like me–wonder how she does everything she does. She is a working mother who bakes the most amazing deserts and writes endless numbers of fun-to-read books in multiple genres. These are just some of the anthologies she has participated in:

Horror Anthologies (edited by Dan Alatorre):
Dark Visions

Paranormal Anthologies (edited by Kaye Lynne Booth):
Spirits of the West
Whispers of the Past

Murder mystery Anthology (edited by Stephen Bentley)
Death Among Us

Wartime Christmas Tales

by Anne Clare and the Second World War Authors Group:

Anne Clare, who blogs at Naptime Author, published a well-received anthology of WWII Christmas fiction with friends from the Second World War Authors Group. The cover is gorgeous and the stories also. You’ll love it:

Soldiers stumbling upon mercy and miracles; children sharing gifts of friendship and love; romance finding its way into lonely, war-weary hearts; resistance fighters, spies, families on the home front—all bringing their own rays of hope in the darkest of time.

More about anthologies

More great anthologies by Indies

About Anthologies

Co-authoring a book

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.

76 thoughts on “Hooray for Anthologies

  1. What a great list, Jacqui. Yes, Robbie astonishes me too. She’s so prolific.
    I like your list of places that are suited to reading anthologies, but I’m not sure that I’d be reading if the lift broke and I was waiting to be rescued. I’d be panicking! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting that two of the anthologies are titles Masquerade but with different angles! Interesting post, Jacqui. I enjoyed your sense of humor as to when one could read an anthology – when stuck in the elevator while waiting for the fire department to show up. Let’s hope the anthology is not one about short stories of suspense! Also walking the dog – oh, perhaps an audio anthology! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Jacqui!! I’ve become more and more of a fan of anthologies for precisely the same reasons you said, bite-sized, quick, easy reads! And here I was thinking I was the only person who read while brushing my teeth!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great round up, Jacqui! I picked up Masquerade, thanks for the suggestion. I just finished Sally’s Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries. And I agree with the assessments of Robbie. I’m known to walk around the house and walk the dogs listening to a audiobook downloaded from the library through Overdrive!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jacqui – that was really interesting to read up about the various anthologies and types etc … that’s great to beam up Robbie Cheadle … she’s done wonders, as have you with all your various projects. Stay safe … and all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for pointing me to some recommended anthologies, Jacqui. I will be forever grateful for being included in an IWSG anthology. What an opportunity and experience for a new writer. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great comment by Smorgasbord comparing anthologies to a box of chocolates. So true! You can pick and choose what you like. When I read anthologies, I love how each story leaves you with a new perspective on life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks so much for the “Wartime Christmas Tales” mention! You’ve got a great list of stories to check out here. I’ve found lately that shorter fiction makes nice reading during busy times- I may have to add some of these to my list!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Jacqui, thank you for your wonderful shout out, I do appreciate it. I enjoy writing for anthologies, I enjoy writing short stories and meeting new authors. I think there are a lot of marketing benefit to anthologies. I also read a fair number of anthologies.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve seen a lot of launches for anthologies lately. They’ve made for some great reading, though I haven’t yet read a story “while brushing teeth?” LOL. I’ve read a few of your recommendations, but not all. And you’re so right that Robbie is amazing. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Anthologies are a great way to find new authors. I published one on behalf of my writer’s group, THE WORLD AND THE STARS, a mix of speculative fiction, and the only real challenge was the process of putting it together – 24 authors, 24 stories with individual intros to each. Nice to have it out there, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anthologies are wonderful! Great for writers, too. I tell all my writer colleagues that writing short stories for anthologies is a great way to build yourself up, both technically and professionally. Might I recommend the anthology from Left Hand Publishers called “Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths,” which features two of the best stories I’ve written (IMHO) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.