The Appeal of Historical Anthologies

Today, I welcome friend and fellow author Cryssa Bazos to the blog. Cryssa and a wonderful group of authors have collaborated on Betrayal, which has just been released. Make sure you snap up your copy soon – it’s a free download available through Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.

Here’s Cryssa to talk about the wide appeal of historical anthologies.

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Since its beginning, the anthology was used to showcase poetry collections, but over time it expanded to include short fiction. There has been a recent resurgence of anthologies that has followed a trend towards shorter fiction. With social media permeating every aspect of our lives and a general explosion of streaming and online binging, our attention span has understandably shortened. Anthologies are now experiencing a renaissance, thanks to the changing needs of readers. But can they appeal to historical fiction readers?

Size once mattered for historical fiction. It was accepted that it usually took a great many words to build the past credibly. There are histories to weave in, contexts to set, and details of everyday life to showcase. Fans of the genre generally favoured large, plummy tomes, where they can lose themselves for days without surfacing in the present world. Consider favourites like Sara Donati’s Into the Wilderness series, or any of Sharon Kay Penman’s work. 

But a collection of historical short fiction can still offer a rich experience. Here are a few considerations to tempt the historical fiction reader to explore the genre through an anthology. 

1. Bite-sized stories

Computers and the internet were supposed to make our lives easier and more efficient, but there is so much more vying for our attention. Not everyone has time to read more than an hour here or there, in between appointments and meetings. This is where historical anthologies shine. They offer a taste of the past which can be consumed in one sitting. A reader doesn’t need to make a lengthy commitment as they would to a series or a nine-hundred page novel.

2. Variety

The anthology has the advantage of being able to bring different authors together in one collection. Stories may be connected by theme, as in the case of our new anthology Betrayal where the stories explore treachery and betrayal in its various forms. Stories may also be linked by a historical artefact, like a piece of jewelry, that moves through each story and touches the various characters through the ages. A collection may also explore a single historical event through differing perspectives. Regardless of how the collection is organized, the reader is given an opportunity to thoroughly explore history through various lenses. 

3. Discover a new author

Everyone has their favourite authors, the ones whose work they will auto-buy the moment they learn of a latest release. Sometimes it’s hard to take a chance on a new author particularly for an established series. Anthologies give the reader the opportunity to find a new author with bite sized stories. At times the work can link to an author’s series, but even if it doesn’t, the author’s style may speak to the reader and spark an interest in their work. 

4. Discover a new era

It’s easy to get rooted to our preferred reading, and anthologies offer an excellent way to test the waters of a new historical era. It’s great way to travel back to a different time and learn more about histories you would otherwise not explore.

Historical anthologies may be short fiction in a genre that prizes lengthy stories, but they are hardly lightweights. Instead, they are highly concentrated nuggets to savour and enjoy. There’s no better time than the present to expand your reading and dip into an anthology collection. You may discover a portal to another era, guided by a fresh new author. 

Cryssa Bazos is an award-winning historical fiction author and a seventeenth century enthusiast. Her debut novel, Traitor’s Knot is the Medalist winner of the 2017 New Apple Award for Historical Fiction and a finalist for the 2018 EPIC eBook Awards for Historical Romance. Her second novel, Severed Knot, is a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree and a finalist for the 2019 Chaucer Award. Visit her website for more information. 

About Betrayal

Betrayal, treachery, treason, deceit, perfidy—all names for the calculated violation of trust. And it’s been rife since humans trod the earth.

A promise broken

A mission betrayed

A lover’s desertion

A parent’s deception

An unwitting act of treason

Betrayal by comrades

Betrayal by friends

Could you resist the forces of misplaced loyalty, power hunger, emotional blackmail, or plain greed? Is there ever redemption, or will the destruction visit future generations and even alter history? These questions are still with us today.

Read twelve tales by twelve accomplished writers who explore these historical yet timeless challenges from post Roman Britain to the present day. 

Betrayal is a free download available through Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books. 

DON’T MISS OTHER POSTS ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION.  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Katherine – Tudor Duchess

If you think of the Tudors in terms of Henry VIII – think again. Tony Riches is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. His other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess and Brandon – Tudor Knight. I’ve read several of Tony’s novels – they’re captivating with intriguing characters and a marvellous sense of time and place.

Tony Riches continues his passion for the Tudor dynasty with a new novel Katherine – Tudor Duchess, which is bound to be just as wonderful a read. Here’s the teaser:

Attractive, wealthy and influential, Katherine Willoughby is one of the most unusual ladies of the Tudor court. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Katherine knows all his six wives, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and his son Edward.

When her father dies, Katherine becomes the ward of Tudor knight, Sir Charles Brandon. Her Spanish mother, Maria de Salinas, is Queen Catherine of Aragon’s lady in waiting, so it is a challenging time for them when King Henry marries the enigmatic Anne Boleyn.

Following Anne’s dramatic downfall, Katherine marries Charles Brandon, and becomes Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen. After the short reign of young Catherine Howard, and the death of Jane Seymour, Katherine and Brandon are chosen to welcome Anna of Cleves as she arrives in England.

When the royal marriage is annulled, Katherine’s good friend, Catherine Parr becomes the king’s sixth wife, and they work to promote religious reform. Katherine’s young sons are tutored with the future king, Prince Edward, and become his friends, but when Edward dies his Catholic sister Mary is crowned queen. Katherine’s Protestant faith puts her family in great danger – from which there seems no escape.

Katherine’s remarkable true story continues the epic tale of the rise of the Tudors, which began with the best-selling Tudor trilogy and concludes with the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. For more information about Tony’s books visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk or find him on  Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches. 

Katherine – Tudor Duchess is available in eBook and paperback from Amazon UK and Amazon US

You can read about Tony’s earlier novels Mary – Tudor Princess and Owen – Book One of the Tudor Trilogy.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

The Power of Fiction – Authors have their say

Source: Getty Images

Do authors have a different perspective on the power of fiction than readers? (Readers gave their views last week.)  A number of authors are here with theirs today.

Shirley Patton obtained a PhD at 50 and left academia to write full time. She is the author of The Secrets We Keep.

To transport you into other lives, times and places so that you are transformed, enlightened, entertained, moved, enriched – all or any of these – as a result.

Lael Braday says she grew up poor in ‘podunk Kansas’ and now lives in ‘shoppingville, NC:

Stories tell the truth of emotions, relationships, and the underlying politics of dynamics.

Lynn Goodwin is an author, a book reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network, and she is an editor, writer, reviewer, and manuscript coach at Writer Advice. Lynn is the author of Talent.

Fiction has the power to transport the mind and transform actions. In addition it can entertain and enlighten.

Bob Rich is from Australia and is a writer and editor with 17 published books. He is the author of the novel Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance.

Fiction at its best is the distillation of reality. It can be more powerful than nonfiction, through focusing on emotional reactions. Reading well-written fiction can take a person into someone else’s life and circumstances in a way that movies, and even visiting places and talking with others cannot.

Inge H. Borg was born in Austria but moved to the US in 1965. She is the author of Khamsin: The Devil Wind of the Nile.

To intelligent readers (now, don’t anyone groan!), apart from the escape of every-day life, well researched fiction broadens their horizon – but above all, it should bring them joy, curiosity – and the occasional nightmare if it’s a thriller).

Tony Riches lives in Wales and has written several novels about the lives of the early Tudors. He is the author of Mary – Tudor Princess.

When Lord Reith set up the BBC he said it should ‘inform, educate and entertain’.  I believe the power of fiction is that it does all these in ways which are different for every reader. The best fiction teaches us something about ourselves.

Clearly, fiction is pretty powerful stuff!!

Highlights from our readers: Escape … empathy … travel … risk … significant moments … defeats loneliness … builds understanding … bearing life’s tribulations.

Highlights from our authors: To transform, enlighten, entertain, enrich … tell the truth of emotions and relationships … transport the mind and transform actions … the distillation of reality … joy and curiosity … teach us something about ourselves.

A slightly different perspective, don’t you think?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.