Keystone Chronicles

Today I was pointed to an awesome review of The 2017 Young Explorer’s Guide on Kirkus, which is coming out December 1 and features my short story “Blaze-of-Glory Shoes.” Aside from that coolness, I realized that I still haven’t done a big plug for another anthology I was published in recently: Keystone Chronicles, which was released in the summer from Third Flatiron Anthologies.

When your work is accepted into an anthology you have no way of knowing if the combined product is actually going to be something you like – really, though I’ve never heard authors discuss this openly. You could get your copy and find that you don’t like the cover, or the layout seems off, or you read through the other stories or poems and find that none of them strike your fancy. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t happened to me. The reason I say this is because I don’t promote works that I don’t truly believe are worth the effort.

…Good gods, that sounds like a line from a politician. I’ve clearly been watching too much election coverage. One more day, one more day…

51jsjcjh4lAnyway, the point is that when I say Keystone Chronicles is worth checking out, it’s not just because my story is in there. It’s because I read through the anthology and really enjoyed it. The theme is the idea of a “keystone” – that which holds everything together, provides support, or sits at the heart of something. The premise itself is pretty vague, which I think is why we ended up with such a diverse and awesome anthology. My story, “Coding Haven,” focuses on the idea of an individual as keystone, specifically a depressed programmer who’s responsible for saving humanity again after uploading everyone’s consciousness into a massive VR simulation. Every other story in Keystone takes a different tack, but there were three in particular that caught my eye, all from authors who I had never heard of before:

  • “Telling the Bees” by Judith Field – In a fairy-tale-esque story, two investigators try to save a young boy from a woodland creature, employing nature’s magic to save the day. Great air of mystery about this one, and a really fun story.
  • “The White Picket Fence” by A.P. Sessler – Two young lovers don’t want their walk home from school to end – and then suddenly it doesn’t, and they might be trapped walking forever. The most literary story here, in my opinion, and exceptionally well-written.
  • “Every Planet Has One” by John Marr – A weary man travels from town to town, trying to convince the inhabitants their planet is about to be destroyed. The twist isn’t that he’s right – it’s the reason why he’s right. Probably my favorite here, due to the slow reveal and gravitas Marr employs.

Like I said, the entire anthology was a pleasure to read, and I’m really proud to say that my story is part of it. If you’re looking for some new short fiction, I highly encourage you to check out Keystone. And if you enjoy it (I’m sure you will), drop a review on Amazon to help spread the word.


2 thoughts on “Keystone Chronicles

  1. You’re kind of a role model for me, Brandon! I’ve followed your example and will have my first short story published in an anthology also, in December. Check out my blog site for the details. Thanks and keep up the inspirational work.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Michele – I really appreciate it! Congrats on the sale to Polar Expressions. I’m a huge fan of Canadian small press – that one looks really sweet. Hope your current writing projects are going well!

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