Since March of 2020, I’ve been working on an ebook. It’s a collection of 10 short stories that draw inspiration from the setting of White Wolf’s Werewolf: the Apocalypse tabletop role-playing game. More specifically, the stories are about the other were-creatures in the world: bats, bears, foxes, crows, spiders, and many more – the list is long, but these ten stories incorporate a number of different weres – collectively called the “Changing Breeds” – into their narratives. The anthology is set in the Wild West of the United States, circa 1870-1900.
The title of the book is Changing Breeds: Wild West Tales. It isn’t a terribly original title nor very creative, but in this case I felt it was more important to convey as much information as possible while still keeping the title short. It’s also important to make clear that this is a fiction collection, and not a book of source material for the role-playing game. This book was published under the aegis of White Wolf’s community content site, the Storytellers Vault. (https://www.storytellersvault.com?affiliate id=234579) It’s perhaps one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to publish material – in fact, it’s the ONLY way to self-publish material that uses White Wolf’s Intellectual Property. Part of the rules for publishing in the Storytellers Vault is that only ebooks are allowed – so my apologies to all you who would rather buy a dead tree version of the book (I’m one of you), but a PDF is the only format in which this book is available at this time.
I’m immensely proud of this book. It took a lot of work – and caused no small amount of stress – to put it together. We lost our original editor thanks to life complications related to the global pandemic under which we all are coping right now, and I had to take over the project to keep it moving. Originally I was only supposed to be one of the contributing authors, but life sometimes has other plans in store for us. It was an unfortunate situation, and I wish things had worked out differently.
My first task was to find a new editor, and Carol Darnell agreed to take on that role. We already had a bunch of terrific stories to work with, which always makes an editor’s job easier. The book ended up coming out about a month later than I hoped for, but in debuting so close to Hallowe’en as it has the timing might be unexpectedly perfect for a book with a spooky underlying theme.
That theme is one of technological horror. The were-creatures of the world are in a battle against the Wyrm, a supernatual force bent on corrupting the world to better serve its needs. The Wyrm is entropy personified. This corruption takes on not only the form of pollution and toxic waste, but also the less obvious forms of greed, corporate malfeasance, and the subjugation of the natural world and its governing spirits through technological advances. Werewolves and other were creatures fight against the influence of the Wyrm – Eco-Warriors if you will – with the sad realization that, ultimately, they are doomed to fail. Some have already fallen to the Wyrm’s influence, and now work to help achieve the Wyrms goals, much to the sorrow of their former comrades. It is the will to keep fighting, keep striving against the fall of night, that I find so admirable, and it was this indomitable spirit of the setting that inspires me.
The authors assembled for this anthology are an impressive group of writers: I’m thrilled beyond words that each of them agreed to participate. Veteran writers like Christine Morgan, Aaron Rosenberg, Angel Leigh McCoy, Joyce Chng, Sarah Hans, Megan Mackie, Rick Heinz, and Stephen R. Lickman contributed excellent work to this collection of stories. We were also able to recruit Crystal Mazur, whose fiction work perhaps isn’t as well known but her contribution is every bit as solid as the rest.
I’m delighted with the selection of stories we’ve created for your reading pleasure. A wide variety of were-creatures are represented, and the new spin my fellow authors put on the Old West is intriguing and thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy it!
To order a PDF copy of Changing Breeds: Wild West Tales, follow this link (https://www.storytellersvault.com/product/331555/Changing-Breeds-Wild-West-Tales-Anthology) to the Storytellers Vault.