In February, an idea was pitched to me about an anthology of stories set in the world of the Werewolf: the Apocalypse role-playing game. I was interested; previously, I’d written a story for an ebook called Darkened Streets (https://www.storytellersvault.com/product/294150/Darkened-Streets?term=Darkened+Streets) set in the same group of worlds that included the Werewolf setting, but focusing on stories of life on the road. It so happened that my story was set in the Wild West and was about a group of werewolves fighting against the downward spiral of environmental and moral corruption of the world by dark forces – which is also the primary theme of the Werewolf game. This new anthology would be set entirely in the Wild West-era of the United States, and I was delighted for a chance to revisit those characters.
But the main idea was to focus on the Changing Breeds – were-creatures OTHER than wolves – so the pack of werewolves from my story in Darkened Streets could be involved, but other characters would have to take center stage. This required a bit of a shift in perspective; hopefully I’ve succeeded in achieving that shift.
The new book is titled Changing Breeds: Wild West Tales. Complications arose – not the least of which was the arrival of a global pandemic – and it began to look like this anthology was doomed. By this time I was heavily invested in the project, so I began searching for people who could help keep this project together and usher it to publication. The initial list of prospective authors fell far short of the number of authors needed. Most were busy with other projects and couldn’t commit, so I pulled out my rolodex and searched for writers I knew who A) were familiar with the material and setting, and B) available to participate. I came up with eight more to add to the two (myself included) from the previous call. Ten stories is a decent length for an anthology, and the stories came rolling in. There is a bit of overlap – some types of were-creatures are more popular than others – but frankly I was delighted with the diversity of characters in these stories, and with the quality of writing the authors turned in. I wish we’d had greater diversity in the voices represented; if there IS a next time for me involving a similar project, I hope to do better.
Currently, Changing Breeds: Wild West Tales is in layout/design, so sadly I don’t even have a cover to show you yet. If all goes well, my next blog post should include more information about the book including the author list, and – with luck – I’ll be able to show you the cover. It’s exciting, but has been a long road to get to this point. It continues to be a rewarding process, but one that, I have to admit, I’m not eager to repeat in the very near future. It taught me a lot about putting together an anthology, and gives me perspective and a great deal of respect for those who’ve edited and assembled anthologies before me.