Though most of them are now packed away in boxes in a storage unit, I would say I have about 500 books in my private library and a good many of them are anthologies. Some people don't like anthologies; my own mother was one of them. If a book held a collection of short stories, she wouldn't touch it. I, on the other hand, find there's nothing better than a collection of stories to give you a variety of writing styles and techniques, as well as introducing you to characters who just might become some of your favorites. There have been several occasions when I've read a short story and been so intrigued or enchanted by either the story or the characters that I've gone on to find other books by that same author. Some authors and characters I've met this way and gone on to follow faithfully: Jim Butcher and his wizard/private investigator Harry Dresden; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous creation, Sherlock Holmes, Tanya Huff and Henry Fitzroy, the vampiric son of Henry VIII, or any of Agatha Christie's detecting creations such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.

I've often said I love to write too much to be able to pen "short" fiction. I start out with the best intentions, and soon get carried away and before I know it, I've got a novel on my hands! Conversely, there have been a few times when an idea just wasn't long enough for an entire book and those I've managed to turn into either a short story or a novelette. "Blood will Freeze" and "The Best Dentist in Orange County" are two which come to mind. (I actually managed to write one short story--"Death comes for Miss Naomi"--which has been rejected by every editor it's been sent too because it's too short! Go figure!) Although I've had several short stories featured in magazines, both in print and online, I find being chosen for an anthology both a struggle and an honor. When I submitted "The Key", I was told its acceptable hinged on changing one word in the text. One word! Did I agree? You better believe it!

Several times, I've been notified my stories have gone on to the second round of selection, only to be told a little later they were disqualified. The times I've been accepted, it was a fast arm-pump and a shouted "Yes!"

Presently, I have stories featured in Animal Magnetism and Wolfsongs Volume I. The former is a book of animal stories put together by S.A. Parham and W. Olivia Race, and was compiled by the editors shortly after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The contributors get no royalties from the book; all proceeds go to helping the animals who were either abandoned or lost their owners during the storm. My story "The Cat's Letter to his Mistress" was written in memory of my own cat, Thibault (and how appropriate is that, for a cat with a French name to be featured in a book to help the animals of New Orleans?) It's a twist on the "aliens among us" theme but a pleasant one, I think.

The other book is Wolfsongs Volume I, edited by M.H. Bonham, which explores the werewolf theme. The story I submitted, "Well-Met by Moonlight" (a paraphrasing of the words spoken by Oberon to Titania in A Mid-summer's Night Dream) was originally published on's Amazon Shorts and later in the premier issue of Sounds of the Night magazine, put out by sams dot publishing. It features one of my vampires, Damien la Croix, and is my spin on the asteroid-striking-Earth-cataclysm theme with its own surprise ending (at least, I hope it's a surprise!) Wolfsongs Volume I recently won an award from Preditors and Editors.

There are anthologies for every taste and every genre--from Westerns to Mysteries, Horror to Romance. Try an anthology, you might like it! Think of it as a sampler...a way to let you meet new writers and perhaps help you find new favorites.

(LINKS: ANIMAL MAGNETISM:!1000%2Ci%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AToni%20V.%20Sweeney&page=3



  1. Mary Ricksen // July 7, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

    I enjoy anthologies myself. It makes me feel like I have a twofer.
    And like you said it gives us more than one author and style. And let me add I can read one story quickly and start another next time. Works for me.
    Good luck with the books!

  2. Judy // July 7, 2009 at 4:35 PM  

    Good post, Toni. I tend not to read anthologies but after your post I'm much more open to them. Good luck with the wolf and animal books. They sound good!

  3. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2009 at 7:14 PM  

    funny, I save anthologies for times when I don't have anything else on my stack. Then I love them!

  4. Mona Risk // July 7, 2009 at 11:43 PM  

    I have to admit I read only two anthologies in my life. I don't know why.

  5. Nightingale // July 8, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

    I enjoy short stories and anthologies. I remember a real find one time of an anthology with a fairy story by Tanith Lee. Toni's short stories rock.

  6. Pamela Varnado // July 8, 2009 at 1:04 PM  

    I've found some of my favorite authors after reading an anthology. Teaming a well-know author with newer author is a great way for publishers to showcase their writers.

  7. Jianne Carlo // July 8, 2009 at 3:11 PM  

    I love anthologies, if the author does her/his job. If a secondary character becomes appealing I want to know more. I want his/her story.


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