My short story (Fallen Star, Rising Star) is the lead in The World Outside the Window anthology, coming in January from RJ Buckley Publishing in both paperback and Amazon Kindle ebook format, but it's already available for pre-ordering. The anthology consists of 19 adult fiction stories by 19 authors, many of them published novelists. The stories run the gamut of fiction, from romance to horror, from suspense to sci-fi and fantasy. (My story is about two adolescent boys who discover a meteorite that turns out to be so much more.)
The collection has an interesting premise (which is well-illustrated by the cover). From the jacket blurb:
Imagine, if you will, a building of unknown origin. A building in which there are many rooms, each with a window that looks out upon a courtyard and a scene beyond.
In each room a person sits, staring out the window at the same people and objects that everyone else sees from their windows. Yet, as we tell our stories of what we see, we learn a basic truth of the universe. We learn that even though our eyes survey identical scenes, our minds take us to places that only we as individuals know and remind us of stories that only we can tell.
Outside the window we see a winding country lane leading into the distant countryside. We see two boys, perhaps 10 or 12 years old, tossing a baseball to each other. A girl of maybe 7 or 8 swings on a schoolyard swing set, while two lovers walk hand in hand along the side of the road. A ramshackle old mailbox sits on a slanted post, and nearby there is an old car, possibly from the ‘50s - appearing to be in good running condition. We see a church steeple and an older woman walking along the side of the road, seemingly headed for the church. A young soldier stands still, his face is pensive, and it is plain to see that he has much on his mind. Two men are in a heated discussion about something, but from inside our window we can only guess at what is causing their turmoil. Nearby a beautiful girl sits on a park bench, weeping. An old dog lies on the grass, peaceful and serene, watching a puppy frolicking through a flower bed. As day changes to evening and then to night, we see a twinkle in the sky. A falling star, perhaps a starship?
Yes, the characters are there for us, waiting, making no comments that will give us any clue as to who they are or what they may be doing. They are waiting for us to cast them in their roles, to give them direction. We can use one or all of them. We can make them walk down the country lane, drive the car, or follow along behind the woman as she heads for the church. It is our world to create, and we have total control of everything in it. Whatever happens, we make it happen. Loves, lies, war or peace, death or life, shackled to earth or bound for the stars, it is in our hands to decide their fate.
We sit at the window, taking in the complexity of the scene before us and after a few hours of pondering, we sit back and relax as we use our mind’s eye to peer into a world that we will shape into anything we wish it to be.
Slowly, we begin. We pick up our pens and write our stories of the world outside the window.
So every story in some way ties to the characters we see in the courtyard outside the window.
Here is the Table of Contents for the book (subject to change before publication). There may be some other authors you know there:
FALLEN STAR, RISING STAR – Mark Terence Chapman
MISERY LOVES COMPANY – Pamela K. Kinney
ROSE’S QUESTION – D. K. Christi
SMILE – Anthony Waugh
THE SILVER LINING – Rebecca Buckley
THE BLACK ROSE – Woodrow Walker
SAYING GOODBYE TO MISS MOLLY – Morgan St. James
THE SPLIT MIND – Robert A. Meacham
NEAL’S NOEL – Jay Osman
THE MAILBOX – Larry L. Evans
STRANGE DREAMS – B.W. Philpot
ONLY THERE WAS NO WIND – Jim Wilsky
AUSTIN, MY HERO – Tory Lynn
ETUDE & SMOKE RINGS – Lana M. Ho-Shing
TWILIGHT – Matthew Alan Pierce
THIS TIME FOREVER – Erin Gordon
SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY – Curtis M. Hendel
HOUSE ARREST – Richard Lord
KILLING FROST – E. Don Harpe
Noticing that my story comes first, I'd like to think that's because it's the best and the publisher wants to put our collective best foot forward. But who knows? Still, it's an honor to go first. I imagine a number of prospective readers will pick up the book, read the first page, and make a purchase decision based on that. So it'd better be good.
Of course, the publisher would want the last story to be good too, to leave a good taste in the reader's mind. And the middle stories need to be good, so the reader doesn't get bored before the end. And...aw, heck--they all have to be good. Just read 'em. You won't be disappointed.