The Tricky Part About Writing Anthologies

Moonday Mania

A blog about the craft of writing

Starla Kaye has published 19 novels, 22 novellas and 6 anthologies and today she is sharing with us the tricky part about writing anthologies. Her current release, Cowboys in Charge, includes seven stories of strong, loving cowboys and the women who try their patience. If you like your reading on the spicy side add Cowboys in Charge to you TBR pile. Please welcome author Starla Kaye to today’s Moonday Mania.

The Tricky Part About Writing Anthologies

There has been a growing market for anthologies, especially after the many “Chicken Soup for…” books have started being published. Anthologies are easy reads and offer a reader numerous temporary stopping places while reading. And they are available from many publishers and in many genres. I, too, enjoy reading anthologies…and writing them.

While I have only been a part of two anthologies with other authors, I have five others published where I am the only author. With each of these anthologies I have learned different tricks about writing them. It isn’t as easy as it seems to be.

I have two anthologies of my own from Black Velvet Seductions: Cowboys in Charge and Her Cowboy’s Way. And I was part of the anthology Spanked!

I also have three anthologies of my own from Blushing Books: North Pole Magic, Ranch Christmas, and Ranch Heat. And I was part of the anthology Blushing Cheeks Volume One.

The two anthologies I am part of, Blushing Cheeks Volume One and Spanked! have a common theme: spanking in all of the stories. In turn, the titles reflect the theme so the readers know what types of stories are included.

That is a key element to any anthology: using a theme that will pull all of the stories together. Equally important is the title, as in all books.

In Ranch Christmas and Ranch Heat, it is clear that the stories will in some way have to do with ranching and cowboys. The same is true for Cowboys in Charge and Her Cowboy’s Way.

North Pole Magic is a Christmas contemporary fantasy romance that deals with three stories about Kris Kringle’s grown up children. The title fits well because it hints at a Christmas story and something to do with Santa and the magic elements involved in anything to do with him.

Her Cowboy’s Way is a different type of anthology than any of the other anthologies. This is a group of twelve short stories that deal with one couple’s life over a year. I see these stories as snippets of their life.

My newest release from Black Velvet Seductions, Cowboys in Charge, combines the stories of seven different couples (cowboys) at Christmas time. So the common theme here was cowboys, and there was an additional theme of Christmas romances. These stories also all involve some kind of domestic discipline element, which is hinted at by the “in charge” part of the title.

Writing Cowboys in Charge was the most complicated of the anthologies I’ve done to date. My publisher and I were looking for 6-8 stories with the common elements of cowboys, Christmas, and domestic discipline. Each of the individual story titles also reflects elements of their story.

In “Snowed in with Her Cowboy,” James and Kelly are a ranching couple dealing with the disagreement over starting a family. They get snowed in together, finally having time to face their issues.

In “Too Much Red at Christmas Time,” Trent and Lizzie deal with financial matters that are getting worse with her addiction to Christmas shopping. Since this is a dd story, that is hinted at from “too much red” in the title.

In “For the Love of His Cowgirl,” Adam and Amber are drifting apart in their marriage. The title hints at how much Adam, a cowboy, loves his wife and what he is willing to do to save his marriage.

In “Cowboys and Their Toys,” Jason is not only a cowboy but also a Dom. “Their Toys” refers to part of Jason’s interests. They are dealing with how far to take his interest in BDSM and whether she can deal with any of it anymore.

In “Naughty, Naughty Cowgirl,” Justin and Nicci reach a point where she isn’t sure she can continue with his being head of their household and the dd issues.

In “All I Want for Christmas (Biggest Prize Ever),” Ryan is a bad-ass bull rider who has always believed that one day he would stop the rodeo and settle down with Krystal, his lover. Unfortunately she has finally given up on him. The title hints at his winning prizes as a bull rider and that he needs to work to make his desire of marrying Krystal come true, with a goal of Christmas time.

In “A Special Gift for Her Cowboy,” Joshua and Christina are both working hard and going in separate directions. They each struggle with how to save their marriage and she comes up with a special gift that she hopes will entice him back.

CONTEST INFO:  Leave a comment and an email address at each of the following blogs between 12-12-11 and 12-15-11. The randomly selected winner who has stopped by each blog and left a comment will receive a copy of the ebook Cowboys in Charge AND a special Christmas gift.

Blog:  Gabrielle Bisset – I’m talking about “Shhh, don’t tell anyone…Starla Kaye is in love with 7 cowboys”

Blog:  Jessica Aspen – I’m talking about “The tricky part about writing anthologies”

Blog:  BVS Reader’s Blog – I’m talking about “The poignancy of Christmas stories”

Cowboys in Charge Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Domestic Discipline Length:  114 page anthology Release Date:  December 1, 2011 Publisher:  Black Velvet Seductions Amazon Buy Link:

All Romance Ebooks Buy Link:

Publisher Buy Link:

You can find Starla at or on her Amazon Author page follow her on Facebook or on Twitter


Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft

11 responses to “The Tricky Part About Writing Anthologies

  1. Wow! Thanks for the list of your publishing credits. You do get things done, don’t you?

  2. loves to dive

    I find reading anthologies is a good way to get to know authors you haven’t read yet. You aren’t invested in a comlete novel yet can get a feel for their style.

    Your books sound great.

    lvs2dv (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Thanks, elainecougler and loves to dive, for stopping by here to comment. I agree that reading an author’s anthology or an author’s story within a group anthology is a good way to decide if an author’s style is one you will enjoy.
    My publisher is giving away the first story in this anthology, Snowed in with Her Cowboy, as a free read. Here is the link:

    Please also stop in at the other two blogs in this mini-tour. The BVS Reader’s Blog post hasn’t been put up yet, but please check it out later today.

  4. Brinda Berry

    I can see that putting an anthology together takes a lot of planning. I like reading them because I always lack time and it’s a way to read a complete story when I’m short on time.

  5. Brinda Berry, yes, pulling together a good anthology takes some thought. And creating each story is tricky because they have to incorporate many of the same elements that a longer story has: believable/enjoyable characters, a conflict, character growth, a tentative black moment, and a satisfactory ending for the reader.

  6. I’m not sure what happened to the comment I left earlier. It showed up on my office computer, yet I can’t see it now. Gotta love the Internet.

    Anyway…thank all of you for stopping by and commenting today. I like reading anthologies, too. It is an easy way to see if I will like an author’s style.

    • Thanks Starla for guesting on Jessica Aspen Writes and on such an interesting topic. Sorry about the comment confusion, I fixed it! I think most authors are curious about anthologies, there seem to be a lot out there and publishers like them. And I’m looking forward to being interviewed on Starla’s blog, on January 11th.

  7. Barbara

    This sounds like a GREAT anthology! Great post and giveaway! Happy Holidays!

  8. I also enjoy reading anthologies, they are like a sampler. But, like a box of chocolate, sometimes you get a few stories that sour your appetite.

    I’ve been included in one anthology, and as one of the authors, I found it a very tough sell.

    • Sherry, how did the book of short stories sell compared to the anthology? Was it easier to sell a book with a common theme that only you had written? I think Starla’s book (since it is all written by her) might compare more to Storyteller, your short story collection.

  9. I agree with Sherry in that an anthology with mixed authors is slightly tougher to sell. I know for myself when I buy a book with 3 or more short stories or short novellas from different authors that I buy it for one particular author. Most of the time I don’t even read the other authors’ stories, which is wrong and I know it.

    Anthologies that are only my stories sell better for me. I’ve got two now from Black Velvet Seductions: Cowboys in Charge and Her Cowboy’s Way (12 short stories of the same couple). And I’ve got three anthologies from Blushing Books: North Pole Magic, Ranch Christmas and Ranch Heat. All three sell very well.

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