The Art of Collaboration

Here in the States, we just celebrated our Memorial Day holiday weekend, which is the official kickoff to summer (despite parts of New England getting snow!).  I live at the beach, so I missed the snow.  I even avoided the beach because it was so crowded with visitors.  But I did kick off my summer by attending a concert at our local amphitheater.

The concert featured Steve Martin, the Steep Canyon Rangers and Edie Brickell.  Most of you will recognize Steve Martin’s name–he’s a huge name in comedy and film.  But he’s also a heckuva banjo player and a composer.  The Steep Canyon Rangers are a Grammy-winning bluegrass string quintet, and these guys totally rocked the house.  Edie Brickell is the former vocalist for the New Bohemians, and a terrific lyricist.  If you want some fun, check out her Song of the Day blog (it really is a new song each day!).

Here’s one of the tunes they played, Jubilation Day.  (Official music video embedded via YouTube.)

The whole evening was filled with feel-good music.  But what surprised me was the creative collaboration between three artists who each already had a name, already had a brand and style of music.  I attended the concert wondering why artists would collaborate and risk watering down who they are.

Listening to the music, Martin’s comedy patter, Brickell’s explanation of the lyrics she’d written when she introduced songs, the answer to my question struck me.  The artists had collaborated because together they could create something even bigger than they could do individually.  No single person had to carry the load of the entire concert.  These people were having a blast and the audience got top-notch entertainment for a bargain price.

Daniel and the Angel coverI see collaborations happening more and more in books.  Publishers have always used anthologies as a way to package a top-selling author with newer authors and introduce readers to potential new favorites.  I discovered Jill Barnett’s Daniel and the Angel in a holiday anthology years ago (recently re-released in digital).


entangled 150x250 for BIOTM


And I loved reading the Entangled anthology, which features so many of my fellow Muses (Edie Ramer, Lori Brighton, Misty Evans, Liz Kreger, Michelle Diener, Cynthia Eden, Dale Mayer), along with other terrific authors.  A new anthology, Mirth, Murder & Mystery, features 6 full-length books plus 1 novella.



The Plume coverAnd if you like collections by a single author, and maybe some reading on the sexier side, check out The Plume Series by Ella Ardent.  You can pick up 9 novellas in three collections, and all the stories are linked!

I love the collaborations by multiple authors. It’s a convenient way for me to add to my digital library (and, thankfully, a huge anthology doesn’t way a ton in digital format!).


So, here’s my question to you:  Do you like to read collections and anthologies?  Have you ever discovered a new author that way?  Share about the anthologies you’ve loved!

About Amy Atwell

Amy Atwell is a storyteller at heart. After fifteen years in professional theater, she turned from the stage to the page to write contemporary capers and historical tales that combine romance and adventure. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing, she runs the online author communities WritingGIAM and Author E.M.S.
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12 Responses to The Art of Collaboration

  1. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Amy,

    I rarely read anthologies, but every once in a while I’ll find one with a favorite author and will then read all the stories in the collection. It’s a great way to get to know authors. After being a part of 2 anthologies I can tell you than I have many people coming to my website from the anthologies so it does work!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Haunted by Death

  2. Amy says:

    My first anthology was the ENTANGLED one you mentioned above. I had known many of the authors because of this website, but Jennifer Estep and Allison Brennan were new for me. On a side note, I really think Michelle Diener needs to extend her story from that anthology! 🙂

    I have recently bought a couple of new anthologies, including the Mirth, Murder and Mystery one and look forward to reading new authors (I have only read Adrienne and Misty’s from that collection). I like to read just any length of books, as I think they all have a place. So, whether the anthology is a collection of short stories or full length novels, I am happy to read them!
    Amy`s last blog was …Release Day Blitz: AVENGING ANGEL by Cynthia Eden

  3. I love anthologies. I’ve found some great “new” authors that way. Whether it will bring me new readers is yet to be seen. I have a story in an anthology (Smokin’ Hot Firemen) coming on in July. I’ll let you know. 😉

  4. I’m not a big anthology reader, however, when I pick up a good one, I’ll read it cover to cover. I especially love it when I find a new to me author with lots of backlist.

  5. Edie Ramer says:

    Amy, thanks for mentioning Entangled! I wish I’d been with you to see the concert. I saw them do a number on a talk show and really enjoyed listening to them.

    I started my writing career with mysteries, and I found many wonderful authors through anthologies. I still do. I’ve had short stories in two mystery anthologies and two paranormal romance anthologies. I don’t write what I don’t read, so clearly I like them!

    And I agree with Amy R about Michelle’s short story. I’d love to see that as a book, too.

  6. Misty Evans says:

    Amy A, thanks for mentioning both Entangled (I loved all the stories) and Mirth, Murder, & Mystery. Our own Cynthia Eden did a collection with some other authors too (Dark Nights, Dangerous Men).

    I’ve found everyone of the anthologies and boxed collections I’ve been included in to be a great experience. I’ve made new friends and enjoyed new-to-me stories. I hope readers will enjoy them too!

    • Amy says:

      I forgot about the Dark Nights, Dangerous Men because I own all those books individually. Love those books, too!

  7. Amy,
    I love reading collections/anthologies — it’s like the taster platter for me or a fabulous buffet :).
    Especially enjoyed reading ENTANGLED, too, since it featured so many of our friends!
    Marilyn Brant`s last blog was …Cover Reveal: A Summer in Europe…in Polish!

  8. Steve Martin?! How cool! I saw them on TV and they sounded great. I love holiday anthologies for some reason. Those short, sweet stories to get you the festive mood.

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