Wednesday, September 16, 2020


 Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines

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I confess I love reading anthologies. Reading a series is nice, but there is something exciting about reading a collection of short stories on a theme. I am always amazed at the creativity of writers. I notice the same thing in my writer's group. We all have the same prompt yet the stories are so varied.

I've been a participant in six different collections. Three were Medieval and fun to research and find the nugget for the stories. Two were western romance. The first story was a continuation of one of the characters from my very first published novella. The second was a 'spicy' story released last year. The fifth one was a western for a western anthology on the untamed west.

The Untamed West by [L. J. Washburn, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, James Reasoner, Matthew P. Mayo, Tom  Rizzo, J.E.S.  Hays, Ben  Goheen, Dorothy A.  Bell, Angela  Raines, Dennis Doty]
Released in 2018

This year I will have another western short story in an anthology on the theme of under western stars. I laugh for I'd started a story for this collection and then another character popped into my head and demanded I tell his story. (Sigh) I gave in and Gilbert Hopkins had his story told.

The other wonderful part of reading anthologies is the chance to read the work of authors I'd not heard of or had read very little of. I think of anthologies as the modern version of the short stories magazines from the early 1930s onward. Ellery Queen, Isaac Asimov, True Detective and so many more magazines that gave writers their start. It allowed the authors to grow an audience for future fans. 

Photo property of the author

So for those who ask why I love anthologies, they give me as a reader a chance to find new favorite storytellers. As an author, it helps me grow my own fan base. It's a win-win.

How many others like reading or writing for anthologies? 

So the story of Gilbert Hopkins, newspaperman - I'll give you a short excerpt:

As he thought about it, Gilbert knew he had a story, if the child were willing to share what happened with him. Gently and professionally as possible he asked a general question, “Do you think your mother lives here, or somewhere in the area?” 

The child, who looked nowhere near twelve with big brown eyes and short auburn hair, looked first right then left, then softly answered, “Don't know. Father has, had, a place ‘bout twenty miles north o’ here. A’for he died he told me ta’ try and find my mother.” 

“Did you walk all the way here?” Gilbert asked, wondering at the constitution of the child if they’d walked the whole way. Then he realized the child said the father had died. He frowned, his brow furrowing. 

“I ‘ave money ta pay,” the child interjected quickly having seen the frown. Then as if anticipating a rejection added, “Father said mother left when I was ’bout a year old. I ‘ave a picture if’n that’ll help.” 

Reaching out Gilbert took the photograph, smiling at how quickly the child had driven the point home. Looking down at the young face he could see the resemblance. He wondered what would have caused the woman to leave, to leave her child. What kind of woman or what circumstances led to her actions? 

Looking up Gilbert saw the hope in the child’s eyes. He didn't want to disappoint yet he didn't want to give false hope. “I know most of the people around here, and I've not seen anyone who looks like this woman. If you would like we can send her descrip‐ tion to the papers in addition to this one and see if anyone might know of her whereabouts. Would that be okay?

Doris Gardner-McCraw -

Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

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