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Monday, July 8, 2013

Guest Blog: Rayne Hall and the Ten Tales Anthologies

One of the great things about The Creativity Cauldron loop that I started (after requests from many of the folks who took my writing classes, for a place for people to stay in touch once the classes were over) is that there are so many really creative people there. Big surprise, right?

Among those folks is Rayne Hall, who has come up with a fabulous idea for a group of anthologies, some of which include a few other folks from the Creativity Cauldron loop (among others). I asked Rayne if she would like to come by my blog and share a little bit about those anthologies.

Take it away, Rayne:

A Taste of Ten Tales

Anthologies are wonderful. Like boxes of chocolate, they hold a variety of delightful flavours.

In the “Ten Tales” fantasy anthologies, all ten stories explore the same theme, each from a different angle. Every author has a different vision, a different writing style and a different approach to storytelling, so every reader will find something to their taste.

For example, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft contains ten stories about witches of all kinds, while in Spells: Ten Tales of Magic the authors share their idea of what magic is and how it works.

Readers sometimes tweet or email to tell me which stories they like best... and every reader has a different preference. Many readers discover a new favourite author they hadn't heard of before, and  read that author's novels next.

As the editor, I look for variety. The stories need to have the theme at their core. For example, in Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft the stories had to revolve around witchcraft, and not just mention it in passing.  At the same time, they need to interpret the theme in an original way; I don't want ten similar stories.

Where possible, I choose stories with main characters of different ages, ethnicities and physical abilities. This allows the readers to experience life from a new perspective. I also like stories set in a variety of cultures.

Strangely, most writers feel compelled to write about handsome able-bodied white twenty-somethings in New York, and a whole anthology with just that type would be dull. When I see a story whose main character is a blind child in the slums of Brazil, or a seventy-year old Japanese wheelchair-user, my interest perks.

I like stories which play with imaginative “what if?” scenarios,  which make the reader think or which explore ethical issues in a non-preachy way.

The Ten Tales are about horror and fantasy, and many involve magic. This may be real magic, based on an existing system - whether  that's modern Wicca or medieval Alchemy, Mongolian Shamanism or ceremonial magic of the Golden Dawn - or something fantastical the writer has invented.  Invented magic systems can be a joy to read in fantasy fiction, but they have to be believable.
With fantasy magic, I want to understand where the power comes from and how the mage directs it, what its limitations are and what ethical dilemmas it may stir. A story in which a wizard can achieve anything by merely pointing a wand is boring, and won't get into a Ten Tales book.

The Ten Tales books have become known for quality fantasy stories as well as for variety, and many readers who have enjoyed one book come back for more. Published so far are Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft.

Book Trailer for Beltane Anthology

About Rayne Hall

Rayne Hall has published more than forty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).
She holds a college degree in publishing management and a masters degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, Spells: Ten Tales of Magic, Undead: Ten Tales of Zombies and more. 

Which tales tempt you the most? I want to read the ones about witchcraft, of course...


  1. The books about magic, pirates, and horror intrigue me the most. What fun, doing these ten tales books must be!

    1. They do seem like fun, don't they? It's almost enough to tempt me away from novels :-)

    2. It sure is fun, putting together books filled with my favourite kinds of stories. Another thing I enjoy about it is commissioning artists to paint the cover pictures. :-)

  2. Great post!!
    These are VERY fun books. I highly recommend them. :-)

  3. I love your concept, Rayne. The Ten Tales anthologies sound like great reads. A little something for everyone. Hugs & Blessings ~Rain

    1. I think what works so well is that the readers get ten stories about their favourite subjects (say, witches or pirates) and all ten are different, so the reader can be confident that there'll be something they'll enjoy. This gives anthologies greater appeal than single-author collections.

    2. Anthologies are also great ways to discover new authors. Many times I have picked up an anthology because it featured one or two authors I already loved, just to find a new one whose books I immediately ran out and bought.

  4. It was very interesting, for me as a writer, to read about the process you through in choosing your stories. And now I see the value in writing about people older and younger than twenty-something. Thank you for writing this article, Rayne. And for publishing it, Deborah.