Short-Story Month, Day 24. Anthologies I’m Looking Forward To

By Jeff Baker

I submit stories to a lot of anthologies and I only get in a few (which is a pretty good average!) and I’m looking forward to one I didn’t get published in: “Schoolbooks and Sorcery,” an LGBT inclusive YA anthology of stories set in magical schools, edited by Michael M. Jones. It sounds fun, and I almost always order a book I submit to, even if I didn’t get into it.

As for my story, “After School,” I’ll keep you posted if it ever appears anywhere!

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Short-Story Month, Day 23 (late!) Stuff I Don’t Usually Read

By Jeff Baker

I don’t read a lot of Westerns and probably will never read a Western novel but I found a treasure trove of Western short-stories  while back. Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg edited a series of paperbacks each featuring stories (and a few poems!) all with a specific theme: “The Railroaders,” “The Lawmen,” “The Outlaws.” The variety in the stories is fantastic and the list of authors is a who’s-who: Owen Wister, O. Henry, Dorothy M. Johnson, Edward D. Hoch. The stories range from classics (“A Man Called Horse”) to a few (then) brand-new stories. The anthologies aren’t too hard to find and not too pricy. Well-worth it for the fine reads. (I may try writing a Western short myself some day!)

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Something To Howl About for Friday Flash Fics, May 24, 2019 by Jeff Baker


Mareck Silverlock and His All-Wolf Band

By Jeff Baker


Young Mareck cleared his throat.

“My report is on entertainment of the War Years. This was almost forty years ago. Europa and the American Continent were at war. Things were sad. People like, like my Grandfather decided to help.” He shifted on his legs and clutched the paper with his front paws. “In the early 1940s, most of the United States had never heard of Wolfsong. So, my Grandfather Mareck got some of his friends together and they toured the country performing. My Grandfather’s family had fled Europa after they passed the legga… legasha…”

“Legislation,” the teacher said, suppressing a smile.

“Legislation. Called the Wolf Act,” Young Mareck said. “The Wolf Act said that wolves were dangerous and a bad influence on other species.” He took a deep breath and glanced out at the class; everybody seemed to be listening. He went on.

“My Grandparents knew that those were all lies, so they set out to show the country what wolves were really like. They toured the country during the war using the name Mareck Silverlock and His All-Wolf Band. They were very popular and even made recordings. After the war, they were presented with a certifk…certify…with a paper that thanks them for their helping with the understanding of the Wolves in this country.” Young Mareck reached over behind the teacher’s desk and pulled out a large piece of cardboard. “And this is the poster my Grandfather used when he was touring thirty years ago.”

The kids leaned forward, rows of attentive ears and twitching whiskers, and wide eyes. The poster showed the head of a large wolf, head thrown back, mouth open in a howl, muzzle surrounded by frozen breath.

“Wow!” one of the cubs in the class breathed.

“Mareck, is that your Grandfather? In the picture?” one of the others asked.

“No,” Young Mareck said. “My Grandmother said this was someone who helped with the tour. He looked right for the picture, but he wasn’t in the band because he couldn’t sing!”

The other cubs and the teacher laughed and Mareck did too. He knew that when he got home, he was going to try out his howl.



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Side-Character Stories. Short-Story Month, Day # 22


By Jeff Baker

“And then what happened?”

The question which may indicate  that a kid is going to try to become a writer, but writers ask it too. I’m actually thinking about the relationship (just friends) of two characters in a series I’ve written about. Their background story might not fit the story, but it’s dying to be told.

‘Nathan Burgoine is a master at the art of telling side characters’ stories. His collection “Of Echoes Born” brings a lot of characters onstage, and the interconnected short story grouping is a trick I’m not sure I could pull off as well! Just glad I’m able to read them!

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“Best-Of” Anthologies I Love. Short-Story Month Day #21


By Jeff Baker

I read (and buy) tons of “Best Of The Year” anthologies. We are living in a golden age for Best-Ofs. Here are a few I love:

Lethe Press’ fine “Wilde Stories” (Best Gay Speculative Fiction,) “Heiresses of Russ” (Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction) and “Transcendent,” (Best Transgender Speculative Fiction.) All but the last are defunct, but these products of Steve Berman’s Lethe Press are well worth it. (I know, I know, these posts are starting to sound like the Steve Berman Appreciation Society!) ‘Nathan Burgoine has said a good deal about these in his post for Day # 21, so I’ll just agree.

Among the other Best-Of collections on my shelves is DAW Books’ “Year’s Best Fantasy Stories,” which ran for 14 volumes starting in 1975. First edited by Lin Carter, then by Arthur W. Saha. Masters like L. Sprague DeCamp and Fritz Leiber (who were still around and writing!) and discoveries by Robert E. Howard and  Clark Ashton Smith were featured, as well as stories by then-unknowns. I’ve wandered over to that shelf late at night and browsed my way through the stories. Wonderful!


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More On the Same Theme; Day #20 of Short-Story Month.


By Jeff Baker

What short-stories do I want more of? I’ve actually spoken (online) with Steve Berman, asking for more of his series set in the mysterious “Fallen Area,” a part of a city taken over by magic and shunted into another dimension. Berman has written four of these stories, all in his collection “Trysts,” and they have the flavor of the black-and-white “Twilight Zone” episodes. When I first read “The Anthvoke” I imagined it taking place on one of those studio sets TZ used to use, done up like a hotel room with the radiator on one wall. (Berman indicated he has a few more of these stories started. I hope he finishes them; a collection would be wonderful.

One series which will never be resumed; the excellent Edward D. Hoch’s fine stories about Doctor Sam Hawthorne, who reminisces about solving “impossible mysteries” in New England in the 20s through the 40s. The series had moved into the war years at the time of Hoch’s sudden death a decade ago, and I was always hoping to see what happened in Northmont when WWII ended.

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“Not In Kansas Anymore” (Ahem!) Two Masters of the short story for Day #19 of Short-Story Month.


By Jeff Baker (in Wichita, Kansas)

For Day # 19 of Short-Story Month, the theme is stories by an author from a country other than your own. I’ll recommend just about anything by two masters of the form.

First; “The Flung-Back Lid” by Peter Godfrey. Set in Godfrey’s native South Africa the mystery has Oom (“Uncle”) Rolf Le Roux solving the murder of a man stabbed to death while traveling alone in a cable car down from the top of a mountain. It is collected in “The Newtonian Egg” by Crippen and Landru, the title story being another fine impossible crime story. All the stories are full of vivid images of Godfrey’s home country. Godfrey stood up against the Apartheid regime and fled South Africa for England.

Second; Jorge Luis Borges from Argentina. Instantly associated with magical realism, Borges’ output of short stories is indescribable (“The Garden of Forking Paths,” “The Library of Babel.”) and the story I’m putting here is his homage to a writer from a country other than his; H. P. Lovecraft! In “There Are More Things,” Borges finds a twist that hadn’t been done by the jillions of Lovecraft imitators! I’ll recommend any of Borges’ stories again, and mention that I treasure my copy of the complete Borges stories.

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