Another way my stories found their way into the world in 2021 was someone else publishing them first. These were professional sales, anthologies, and magazines. I figured I should mention these, because it was a pretty good year for this wonderful way of getting stories out into the world.
And also because I’m delighted and honored by the stellar company my words get to keep! And I have to say one of the best things about getting author copies is all the great reading I get to do.
For the stories I have rights back for, I’ve included links below. But for each and every one of these, my tales are made better by the amazing stories by wonderful writers around them. If you love short stories as much as I do, be sure to click through and pick up these fantastic publications.
The year started off with Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem, the quarterly crime magazine I’ve been contributing to since July of 2020. Issue #5, Crimes in the Countryside appeared in February, and marked my first foray into cozies! My story Adventures in Winter Driving is set in my Storms of Future Past universe. This prequel tale involves a rather unusual evening of Christmas tree decorating. My sweetie Jason A. Adams also has his story The Death of Secrets in this issue, the first of several times we got to share a table of contents in 2021.
Fiction River: Dark and Deadly Passions appeared in March, and features my contemporary fiction story What Breaks a Man. It’s about a father and son, and a road trip from hell that only gets worse from there. This was my first foray into contemporary fiction and crime fiction, two genres I revisit often.
My big month for other folks publishing my writing was in May, and it started off with portal fantasy. An Impossible Desert Flower invites readers into the shared world of Cave Creek, and the frequently odd occurrences there. I had a great time drawing from my experience with rare and unusual plants for this one for the volume Open Ended Threat. Jason had not one but two stories in Bitter Mountain Moonlight!
A very different issue of Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem came next, with Passionate Crimes. That’s one of the things I love about being part of the MCM Syndicate. We get to write across all kinds of crime and mystery subgenres. In this case, my story The Last Twist in the Game explores how very badly families can sometimes behave toward each other.
In another change of mood and genre, Sylvia Magazine published On Choosing the Perfect Peach Dress, my first professional sale in the UK. This time around the family relationship is close and loving, as a man struggles with how to send his beloved auntie off in style.
My sweet romance The Inn, the Black Cat, and Two Halves of the Same Heart appeared in A Cat of Romantic Soul, part of WMG Publishing’s Year of the Cat project. This one was a reprint from the 2020 Holiday Spectacular, so it was a treat having it featured with a fabulous collection of kitty-forward romance stories.
And to close out the exciting month of May, my shortest fiction story so far appeared in Crime And… (Blaze Ward Presents Book 5). This project took the quite cool approach of each story completing the title. So Crime And… Absolution visits a couple toward the end of what I can only call a challenging marriage. Even with so much more short story writing, I’m not sure if I’ll ever manage 1300 words again! Jason’s contribution Crime and… Education, takes an entirely different mood from mine, which is often the case.
The complete Year of the Cat ebook omnibus appeared in June, with all one hundred stories from the twelve different volumes of the series. So that brought back The Inn, the Black Cat, and Two Halves of the Same Heart, as well as a story that was included in 2020’s volume A Cat of Perfect Taste. The Magic Cat of the Hidden Springs Inn and Spa introduced the inn and its series of delightful magic cats, who are thankfully willing to assist hapless humans in matters of the heart.
July brought another omnibus edition, with the Holiday Spectacular #2: All 37 Stories and Introductions. The 2020 Holiday Spectacular was the original publication of The Inn, the Black Cat, and Two Halves of the Same Heart. It also included my holiday crime story Pungent Justice, which ventures to 1990s Ohio winter, and does indeed feature justice of the pungent variety. And finally, Finding Sanctuary, set on Longest Night, when people gather for healing, letting go, and welcoming hope. Jason’s story Andrew and Shichi-Go-San is a heartwarming story of an Air Force family stationed in Japan, celebrating a special day in a new way.
August brought the return of Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem with #7: Long Ago. All the stories focused on crimes set in the past. Cora Robertson’s Proper Sitting Porch journeys to the now-ghost town of Rhyolite, just outside of Death Valley National Park during the Gold Rush. Rhyolite and Death Valley are two of my favorite places in the world, and I had a fantastic time spinning this tale of revenge. Jason’s Ithaca Sue has a similar setting and era, but strikes a decidedly different tone.
In October, the paperback versions of the 2020 Holiday Spectacular volumes came out. Mysterious Christmas had Pungent Justice, Sweet Holidays had Finding Sanctuary and Jason’s Andrew and Shichi-Go-San, and Fantastic Christmas had The Inn, the Black Cat, and Two Halves of the Same Heart.
Then in November, the print version of 2020’s Sweet Valentines Holiday Spectacular arrived, with my sweet romance Good Luck in Disguise. This one also features a cat, and plans for a romantic Valentines Day ball getting abruptly changed. I’d say for the better.
November also brought Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem #8: The Contract, for another of those fictional changes of pace that I love. The Keys to a Better New Year turns to two friends barely into their young adulthood. One from a struggling family, the other unable to ignore the pain of her friend and others. Jason’s Suffer Not the Children is a prequel to his wonderful Agonist novella, featuring the origins of a kick-ass heroine.
We were both tickled to get invited to write for the excellent Uncollected Anthology, and Magical Arts came out in December. I ventured to Atlanta for The Findings of Magic, a story about the dangers of magical objects getting misplaced. And Jason visited a very different Atlanta with The End of the Rainbow, all about taking great care with what you agree to.
And last but definitely not least, the Holiday Spectacular returned for 2021, and my story Sometimes Strange Magic Casts the Best Spell went out to subscribers on New Year’s Eve. This was my third visit to the Hidden Springs Inn and Spa, this time on New Year’s Eve in 1999. While it’s a sweet romance, it very much fits into the theme of Weird Holidays. Keep an eye out for the print and ebook versions coming in 2022!
While we know all too well now how hard it is to predict what the year ahead will bring, I intend to keep increasing my odds by writing and submitting short fiction. I hope to bring you another of these fun publishing wrap-ups next January.
Happy 2022 to you and yours, and Happy Reading!