20 November 2021

Who Chose the Prose for Those Anthos?


I think I've mentioned, here at SleuthSayers, the fact that I've been submitting almost as many short stories to anthologies as I have to magazines these past couple of years. (Reminder: a collection is a group of stories written by the same author; an anthology is a group of stories written be different authors.) And the more stories I've sent to anthologies, the more I have come to appreciate the knowledge and professionalism of the folks who edit those books. I've done it myself only once, fifteen years ago. I had a great time with it, met some fine writers, made long-lasting friends in the process, and--I hope--produced a good anthology. But I haven't done it since. It's hard work, a lot harder than writing. 

As sort of a nod and vote of thanks to those editors, here's a list I put together of some of the recent anthologies I've been published in and the people who steered those ships.

NOTE 1: All these are within the past couple of years, except for those edited by folks with whom I've worked several times--in those cases I've listed multiple projects from the past.

NOTE 2: I've shortened some of the anthology titles, when possible (apologies to those editors). But the list is long enough as it is.

Editor                                                          Anthology

Josh Pachter          Only the Good Die Young (Untreed Reads, 2021)

                               The Great Filling Station Holdup (Down & Out Books, 2021)

                               The Beat of Black Wings (Untreed Reads, 2020)

Cameron Trost        The Black Beacon Book of Mystery (Black Beacon Books, 2020)

Abigail Linhardt       Winter's Vindication (SummerStorm Press, 2021)

Eric Guignard          Professor Charlatan Bardot's Travel Anthology (Dark Moon Books, 2021)

                                Pop the Clutch (Dark Moon Books, 2019)

                                Horror Library, Vol. 6 (Farolight Publishing, 2017)

                                After Death (Dark Moon Books, 2013)

Donna Carrick         A Grave Diagnosis (Carrick Publishing, 2020)

Lyn Worthen            Cozy Villages of Death (Independently published, 2020)

Michael Bracken      Jukes and Tonks (with Gary Phillips, Down & Out Books, 2020)

                                 The Eyes of Texas (Down & Out Books, 2019)

Otto Penzler             Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021 (with Lee Child, Mysterious Press, 2021)

                                 Best American Mystery Stories 2020 (with C. J. Box, HMH, 2020)

                                 Best American Mystery Stories 2018 (with Louise Penny, HMH, 2018)

                                 Best American Mystery Stories 2015 (with James Patterson, HMH, 2015) 

Verena Rose/Harriette Sackler/Shawn Reilly Simmons              Masthead (Level Best Books, 2020)

                                                                                                     Landfall (Level Best Books, 2018)

Greg Herren            Florida Happens (Bouchercon anthology, Three Rooms Press, 2018)

                                Blood on the Bayou (Boucheron anthology, Down & Out Books, 2016)

Rick Ollerman         Denim, Diamonds, and Death (Bouchercon anthology, Down & Out Books, 2019)

J. K. Larkin             Pets on the Prowl (Red Penguin Books, 2021)

                               Stand Out II: Best of the Red Penguin Collection (Red Penguin Books, 2021)

                               Behind Closed Doors (Red Penguin Books, 2021)

                               Heart Full of Love (Red Penguin Books, 2021)

                               What Lies Beyond (Red Penguin Books, 2020)

                               'Tis the Season (Red Penguin Books, 2020)

                               A Trip for the Books (Red Penguin Books, 2020)

Judy Tucker/Lottie Boggan        Mad Dogs and Moonshine (Queen's Hill Press, 2008)

                                                   Fireflies in Fruit Jars (Queen's Hill Press, 2007)

Sandra Murphy          Peace, Love, & Crime (Untreed Reads, 2020)

                                   A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books, 2019)

Philip Levin               Rocking Chairs and Afternoon Tales (Doctor's Dream Publishing, 2012)

                                  Magnolia Blossoms and Afternoon Tales (AWOC Publishing, 2010)

                                  Sweet Tea and Afternoon Tales (AWOC Publishing, 2009)

Barb Goffman           Crime Travel (Wildside Press, 2019)

Andrew MacRae       Mid-Century Murder (Darkhouse Books, 2020)

                                  Sancuary (Darkhouse Books, 2018)

                                  We've Been Trumped (Darkhouse Books, 2016)

Johnny Lowe            What Would Elvis Think? (Clinton Ink-Slingers, 2019)

Theresa Halverson/Sarah Faxon             Released (No Bad Books Press, 2021)

Judy Penz Sheluk       Moonlight & Misadventure (Superior Shores Press, 2021)

                                    Heartbreaks & Half-Truths (Superior Shores Press, 2020)

Jake Devlin                 BOULD Awards Anthology (Independently published, 2021)

                                    BOULD Awards Anthology (Independently published, 2020)

Patricia Gaddis/Alexandra Pollock        Mini-Mysteries Digest (Heinrich-Bauer, 2021)

John Connor                Crimeucopia: The Cosy Nostra (Murderous Ink Press, 2021)

                                     Crimeucopia: Dead Man's Hand (Murderous Ink Press, 2021)

                                     Crimeucopia: As in Funny Ha-Ha (Murderous Ink Press, 2021)

                                     Crimeucopia: The I's Have It (Murderous Ink Press, 2021)

Tony Burton                Ten for Ten (Wolfmont Publishing, 2008)

                                    Crime and Suspense I (Wolfmont Publishing, 2007)

                                    The Seven Deadly Sins (Wolfmont Publishing, 2007)

Owen Litwin                The Odds Are Against Us (Liberty Island Media, 2019)

Sarah E. Glen             Mardi Gras Mysteries (Mystery and Horror LLC, 2021)

Some of the above editors (Barb, Michael, Rick, Lyn, Judy Tucker, etc.) have also edited magazines and other projects that contained my creations, and I've found these folks to be just as able and helpful at that as they were with the anthologies. A good editor is a godsend in this crazy business, and I thank them all sincerely.

Questions: Have any of you worked with the editors I've mentioned? Do you have stories in any of their upcoming anthologies? How about other editors, and if so, what were your experiences? Have you edited anthologies yourself? Also, what are some of the more "different" anthologies, themewise, to have featured your work? Please let me know in the comments section below. (If you're interested, here's an earlier SleuthSayers post that discusses themed anthos.)

Meanwhile, keep writing those stories--for anthologies, magazines, collections, and whatever other markets you might find. Good luck with them all!



  1. John, congratulations on your enormous output. Thanks for this great list of good places to send work.

    I recognize many of the names here, too.

    Our fellow Sleuthsayer Michael Bracken has edited my stories in Black Cat and two issues of Mickey Finn: 21st-Century Noir, including one coming out in issue 3 next year, and a story in Groovy Gumshoes, PIs in the 21st Century, due out next spring.

    I also have a story in Masthead, and enjoyed working with both previous groups of editors/publishers at Level Best (Kate Flora, Ruth McCarthy, Susan Oleksiw first, then Leslie Wheeler, Kat Fast, Barbara Ross and Mark Ammons). My first four published stories were in Level Best Anthologies.

    Jay Hartman at Untreed Reads was good to work with in the last Killer Wore Cranberry Anthology.

    You and I both have stories in the upcoming but untitled Sleuthsayers Anthology, another collaboration with Michael Bracken and Barb Goffman.

    Leah Cutter is great to work with at Mystery, Crime & Mayhem, where I have placed four stories, too.

    Art Taylor and I worked on a story inspired by a Warren Zevon song last summer. Art is putting together an anthology but I don't know the title or a publication date for that, but I guess my story will be in it when it appears.

    As I look at my spreadsheet, I see that five other stories are currently under submission to anthologies, too. Don't know their fate yet.

    1. Steve, I think you're probably submitting more stories to anthologies than I am! Congrats on your great track record, with these editors--especially your presence in so many of Michael's and Level Best's anthologies. Looks like I'll be with you in Michael's Mickey Finn 3, and I know we're both looking forward to that one.

      Looking back, I see that I am indeed sending more stories to magazines than anthos, but I'm just grateful that the market in anthologies is out there, and is always changing. Thank you as always for your thoughts, and keep sending in those stories!

    2. Just looked at your list again and realized I accidentally left off Judy Penz Sheluk. We were both in Heartbreaks & Half-Truths, weren't we? (Man, this getting old stuff is for the birds...)

    3. Yep, we were together in H&H. You're a familiar face (name) in a lot of these!

      I hope Judy'll be doing more of those Superior Shores anthos in the future.

  2. My apologies, everyone--I just realized that when this list of editors and anthogies is viewed on a phone, the formatting is off. I created the post on my desktop iMac, and it looks fine when viewed there or on my iPad, but it's wacky on my iPhone. I'm sure it was my use of tabbing and spacing that gorked it up,

    Will correct that in future posts that contain similar lists.

  3. As always I'm staggered by your output, John. Of the editors on your list, I've worked with Michael, Lyn, Judy, Sandy, Otto, and Josh. I've got a story in Michael's Mickey Finn 2, which should be out very shortly (and also a story in MF 3, coming next year). I'd also give a tip of the deerstalker here to David Marcum, Sherlockian supreme, who was a pleasure to work with in a recent Holmes anthology. I haven't edited an anthology myself, and doubt I'll do so any time soon. Like you, though, I seem to be sending more and more stories to anthologies, in part because there are only a few magazine markets open to crime and mystery at any given time. Of the 24 stories I've written so far this year, 20 were written in response to anthology calls.

    1. Whoa, 20 out of 24 written for anthologies. You're proving what I've been thinking, Joe. I believe there are just more mystery anthologies being published now than in the past. As for output, I'm the one who's impressed by yours, these past few years!

      I've not worked with David Marcum, but I've heard only good things about him, and have shared space with him in the Strand several times. FYI, I've never been in a Holmes anthology! I must set that as a goal.

      Thanks as always for stopping in, here!

  4. Replies
    1. Hey Bob. Yep, there have been a lot of anthologies out there, especially over the past few years. And many of them have been mystery-themed. The trick is finding them before the submission windows slam shut.

      Hope you and yours are well. Thanks for coming by!

  5. Hi John, you & I both have stories in this year's BOULD anthology. I've only been anthologized once before, in 2018, in a book called Drabbledark.

    I look forward to your appearance in a Sherlock Holmes anthology! I know it will happen.

  6. Elizabeth, congratulations on your BOULD story--I'm looking forward to reading it!

    As for Holmes, I'm afraid the closest I've come is several stories in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine.

    Take care!

  7. John - sorry this is a little late to the party, but... :)

    I would be curious to know just how many of those listed above are true, coffee-drinking A-mericans, and how many are tea-sipping Limies such as myself.

    Now, before you say "Do your own research, you lazy bum!" I have a theory that the 'imbalance' is possibly due to attitude and cultural influences. One of those influences (or 2 to be correct) is that AHMM & EQMM are considered to be Americana (rather than Brit) territory. Yes, you do have the occasional Brit, but unlike The Beatles, there is no British Invasion.

    There are no longer any serious UK-based Crime Fiction magazines - and even Andy Cox over at TTA is now selling up and moving on (he of Crimewave magazine). A quick Google of UK Crime Fiction Magazines brought up, top of the list Silver Blade (which is US based, and more SF/Spec/Fantasy orientated.)

    So not only do you have a heavy US-centric marketplace, but there is little motivation for UK neo-writers to look at anything other than a 'straight to novel' writing model. Yes, you do have the ability to self-publish a collection of your work, but there is still the old 'vanity press' stigma attached in some respects.

    I'd also be curious as to how many presses mentioned above take their output into the high street bookshops rather than just Amazon (paper) and various electronic outlets - or register their own ISBNs...

    Guess I'm going to have to do some research after all... :)

    You've always been a pleasure to work with, John, and hopefully once we're back up and running in 2022, we'll still be working together :)


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