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Featured Anthologies

Monterey Shorts Anthologies

  Discover how they did it, and how your writing group might duplicate their success. Read Publish an Anthology: How it's done.  




Monterey Shorts

What happens when a group of talented diverse writers subject themselves to the support and criticism of each other?  If they are lucky--magic.

Find reviews, author profiles and an engaging excerpt.

Monterey Shorts

 Reviews of Monterey Shorts:' 

Praise for Monterey Shorts!


"There's a distinct flavor of life on the Monterey Peninsula in this eclectic collection of stories. The mindset is there, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes adventurous, and sometimes just weird, but you come away having been entertained and with the smell of the bay in your hair."

---Christopher Moore

NY Times Best selling author of Lamb and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

"These stories are like time capsules filled with memories waiting to be discovered."

---Robert Irvine

Author of the Moroni Traveler series


"Monterey Shorts charms, chills, intrigues, and entertains. These ten authors have created a collection of stories that is a pleasure to read and one that is full of revelations about the Monterey Peninsula area they call home. Enjoy!

---Steve Sharon    Screenwriter of the Clint Eastwood film, The Dead Pool


"Makes you want to read on...." ---The Monterey County Herald


"The stories in Monterey Shorts capture the mythical flavor and real details of the Monterey Peninsula -- through ten sets of eyes. Some stories use the landscape as just a jumping-off point, others for the heart of the story. It's the next best thing to being there."

---Kevin J. Anderson

NY Times Best selling author of Dune: The Butlerian Jihad

"Like any collection of works [Monterey Shorts] varies from mediocre to impressive - but one has to admire [these] FWOMPers..."

---John Snider Editor of

"Widely diverse in subject matter and style of writing --- spellbinding, funny, fantastic, mysterious, nostalgic, suspenseful --- the stories are all well written..." ---The Carmel Pine Cone

"[Monterey Shorts] makes fun reading, especially to those who recognize the shops, streets, and coffee-houses where the stories are set."

---The Coast weekly

About Some of the Authors

Walter E. Gourlay

A native of New York City, Gourlay moved to the Monterey Peninsula after retiring from teaching at Michigan State University. He has a doctorate in Chinese History from Harvard and has done considerable academic writing. Before his teaching career, he was a freelance writer for men's adventure magazines. For some time he worked in public relations, and managed a concert hall in New York. He has now returned to writing fiction. A founding member of FWOMP, he belongs to the local chapter of the National Writers Union. The Pebbles writing group in Carmel, of which he is also a member, has recently published two of his short stories in a collection. He's now writing his wartime memoirs and researching a historical novel set in New York City, Java, and Japan during the Napoleonic Wars. Walter lives in Carmel, California.


Mark C. Angel

After nearly twenty years as an emergency services professional, Angel has worked in ambulance services, firefighting, ocean rescue, disaster response and community emergency preparedness. A volunteer with the American Red Cross since high school, he most recently spent three weeks in New York City assisting with disaster relief efforts. In his spare time, he practices Tai Chi and volunteers as a scientific diver with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. He has a bachelor's degree in psychobiology and music from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and has traveled and dived extensively on four continents. Mark is currently in the process of publishing his first novel, Rexriders.


Pat Hanson

Hanson has a doctorate in Community Health, a nine-page resume, is a veteran health and sexuality educator, Chair of the Santa Cruz/Monterey Local 7 of the National Writers' Union, and owns her own consulting business, Health Matters. Her hobbies (when she allows them) include film, Tai Chi, new thought spirituality, sunbathing and tub-soaking.


Shaheen Schmidt

As the saying goes, "Beauty is only skin deep." And as a beautician, Schmidt doesn't just do people's hair. She is an expert at dealing with the proverbial "bad hair day". Her talent for knowing about interesting local activities and events, aimed at improving one's mind, body and spirit, has proven invaluable to Shaheen's friends and clients. Living nearly twenty years on the Monterey Peninsula, she has experienced much of what the area has to offer for a lifestyle makeover. Shaheen has an insatiable interest in the arts, and is an accomplished painter, photographer, videographer and dancer. Now, as a founding member of FWOMP, she makes her writing debut with "A Place to Heal."


Mike Tyrrel

Tyrrelr is the grateful husband of a fine wife and the proud father of two daughters who have turned their home into a resting place of homeless lizards, snakes, birds and other creatures. Because the Tyrrel household doesn't have a television, Mike tells them adventure stories nightly, one of which is included in Monterey Shorts. Mike has worked with computers throughout his 30-year career. He designed and currently oversees the software in a factory that builds an automobile that typically wins the annual award for best American-made compact automobile/truck. It did exactly that in 1999, 2000, and 2002.


Ken Jones

Jones moved to the Monterey Peninsula in March of 2001, after retiring from the Boeing Company. He and his wife, Southern California natives, felt a growing attraction to the Central Coast for many years, which became too powerful to resist during a visit in the fall of ‘99. Ken's working career involved a great deal of technical and business writing, but he began writing for pleasure in 1985, focusing mainly on short story fiction. Ken is an active member of the California Writers Club as well as several other area writers groups. He and his wife, Anne, live in Pacific Grove with their deaf, one-eyed cat Lucky.


Lele Dahle


Dahle grew up on the Monterey Peninsula. An early love for reading led to her interest in writing. She has written many short stories and is currently working on a first novel.

Byron Merritt

Merrit lives in Pacific Grove, California, and works as a full time emergency room nurse and part time writer. He's taken first and third places in local writing competitions and has posted numerous science fiction stories/articles on the Internet at various webzines. He says that he derives much of his writing abilities via his genes; his grandfather was the internationally best-selling author Frank Herbert of Dune fame. Byron is currently working on multiple science fiction and fantasy short stories, novels, and novelettes.

Chris Kemp

Kemp is . . . well, a writer. His day job is as a technical writer for Starfish Software, he runs a side business as a public relations and marketing communications consultant, and his hobby is authoring what he calls "a subtle breed of supernatural fiction." Teenagers and young adults figure heavily in his story cycles, one of which concerns an unusual family that lives in a fictional town (Palo Pacifica) based on Pacific Grove, California. A story from that series, "Resurrected," is presented here. Chris lives in Pacific Grove with Linda, his lovely wife of over twenty years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is a charter member of FWOP.






Sample  story from Monterey Shorts:
Monte-Ray Gunn

by Byron Merritt

   Of all the Alien Enterprise Zones in all the galaxies, I had to pick Monterey, California. Of course there are other AEZ's on Earth: one each in New Turkey, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, and two more in the good ol' Independent States of America, one in the Florida Keys and another in Fargo, North Dakota. I'll never understand why Fargo was picked. Somebody told me once it was because of linguistic variables or some such thing.
   Who knows.
   But, hey, that's none of my business. As a detective for MAH — Monterey Alien Homicide — my job keeps me fairly isolated in this incredibly diverse community. 

  Captain Terry Bryce,  my C.O., woke me up today before the crack of noon, startin' me off in a foul mood. I'd been up late last night drinkin' Procyon micro-beer and eatin' live Purcovian Tschk! (I'm not exactly sure what Tschk! is and I don't care. They taste good and don't run away particularly fast when you try to eat them, that's all that matters to me). 



Monterey Shorts 2 Further Explores the
Myth, Magic and Mystery of the Monterey Peninsula

Highly anticipated sequel to the successful regional anthology, Monterey Shorts,
weaves the exquisite fabric of the area into twenty brand new short stories.

When it comes to the new anthology, Monterey Shorts 2: More on the Line, Thomas Steinbeck probably says it best. "Monterey Shorts 2 is a truly engaging collection of short stories written by authors of talent, perception and wit," he offers. "This fine selection skillfully illustrates the inevitable tidal influence of place in our perceptions, dreams and creations."

You might say that Steinbeck knows a thing or two about fiction indigenous to Monterey and its surrounding area. Not only is he the son of local literary icon, John Steinbeck, his own fiction is imbued with the region’s flavor, as witnessed in his fine collection of short stories, Down to a Soundless Sea.

What, then, is this volume of which he speaks so glowingly? Put simply, Monterey Shorts 2: More on the Line is the second installment in a series of short story collections by the Fiction Writers of the Monterey Peninsula (FWOMP). Encompassing a number of genres and styles, these anthologies are unified only by the region in which they are set. Monterey Shorts 2, in particular, gains distinction by how it takes the rich fabric of the area—past, present and future—and weaves it into the colorful design of every last narrative.

FWOMP, the creative force behind the book, is a local writer’s collective, now over five years old, that initially got together to share and meaningfully critique each other’s work. "When we started our intention was never to produce books," says chairman and co-founder Byron Merritt, "but when the first collection became kind of a self-publishing phenomenon—it’s sold over 3,000 copies to date thanks to great support from regional booksellers—it was only natural to think about a follow-up."

"It became apparent that we stumbled upon a formula that connected with local readers and visitors alike," adds founding member Chris Kemp, who oversaw the editing process and helmed pre-press duties. "Everyone loves reading about the area, and that’s an appetite we don’t foresee being satiated any time soon."

For volume two of the series, FWOMP upped the ante considerably. "Everything about Monterey Shorts 2 is a significant step forward from the original," asserts Merritt. "Our writing has improved, the illustrations are more plentiful and evocative, and you’re getting twenty stories instead of ten."

Monterey Shorts 2: More on the Line, was released April 3 and retails for $15.95, truly a value given that there are over 400 pages of original material. As is the case with Monterey Shorts, it is available at local bookstores and In addition, the book may be purchased directly with PayPal from FWOMP’s website,, which readers may wish to visit for more information about the group and its works.

For more information on this unique group of writers, check out these news articles written about them and their new book:


About the Authors

Byron Merritt is the founder of Fiction Writers of the Monterey Peninsula, which was established in January of 2000.

He continues to raise teenage twins (a boy and a girl) while working full time as an emergency room nurse.

Lately his writing life has consisted of writing shorts stories. But he’s  interviewed famous authors, too, and has had some of these interviews published in countries as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom.



His grandfather, the famous Dune author Frank Herbert, was an early inspiration in his writing career. Brian Herbert (Byron’s uncle) and Kevin J. Anderson—coauthors of the New York Times best-selling Dune prequels—remain an important influence in his writing life.

 Byron currently lives in Pacific Grove, California with his beautiful fiancé, Stasia, the polish princess. 

Ken Jones moved to the Monterey Peninsula after retiring from the Boeing Company in March of 2001. Southern Californian natives, he and his wife felt a growing attraction to the Central Coast that finally became too powerful to resist.

Ken holds a Bachelors of Science in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from Northern Arizona University and his working career involved technical and business writing.

He began writing for pleasure in the mid 80's, focusing primarily on short story fiction. Ken's short-short stories have received Honorable Mention in the Coast Weekly's annual 101 Word Short Story Contests in 2001, 2002 and in 2003. In '03, in addition to one HM, his Holiday Dinners was awarded first prize.

 He is working on a novel length mystery that builds on the primary characters from his story Borscht in The Bay published in Monterey Shorts. Five of Ken's stories are contained in The Barmaid, The Bean Counter and the Bungee Jumper, a collection of short stories and poetry produced in November '03 by the Pebbles Writing Group of



Ken and his wife Anne have one daughter, Nora, and one grandson. Ken and Anne live in Pacific Grove with their deaf, one-eyed (or in the more sensitive words of her loving Veterinarian, 'sound challenged and monocular') cat Lucky.

Lele Dahle grew up on the Monterey Peninsula. An early love for reading led to her interest in writing. She has written many short stories and is currently working on a first novel.


Linda Price  is a founding member of FWOMP. She took a year off following the disappearance of her husband in March 2001 while he was boating on the Monterey Bay.
During this time, she claims her life was on 'pause'. "Fiction draws from the real life drama that puts people's lives on 'pause'," she claims. "Sometimes it is personal, and sometimes shared, such as the trauma of 9/ll." Writing has helped her through many 'pauses' in her fifty-seven years.

Linda stays on her boat in the Monterey Marina when she comes down from the Lake Tahoe cabin where she moved from her Carmel Valley home in 2002. She has worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines, taught high school for fourteen years in local schools, and worked most of her adult career as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and on staff at CHOMP.

When asked what she 'does' now, she says, "I write murder mysteries." An enthusiastic participant in the early planning for MONTEREY SHORTS, she regrets that she was unable to submit her story, Murder in Monterey. She notes that 'life goes on' even when one takes a 'pause' and is proud of the group's progress in her absence. Happy to be writing mysteries rather than living them, she looks forward to participating in future projects. 

Walter E. Gourlay , a native New Yorker, and a World War Two veteran, has had a varied career. At various times he’s been a labor union activist, a writer and copy editor of pulp fiction, house manager of a noted concert hall in Manhattan, and public relations director for an international firm.

He earned a doctorate in Chinese history at Harvard and taught graduate and undergraduates at Michigan State University for twenty years before moving to California. His monograph, “The Chinese Communist Cadre” was published by MIT, and another of his papers “’Yellow’ Unionism in Shanghai”, was distributed by the Harvard Program in East Asian Studies. He’s a founding member of Fiction Writers of the Monterey Peninsula (FWOMP), a member of The Monterey Writers’ Workshop, is on the Steering Committee of the local chapter of the National Writers Union, and is Program Chairman of Central Coast Writers. He writes a monthly page for the Newsletter of the Carmel Residents’ Association. Two of his short stories--"Marriage Makes Strange Bedfellows" and "The Night We Killed Music"—were included in the anthology Pebbles, (Thunderbird Writers Group, 1999). Five of his stories, are in The Barmaid, the Bean Counter and the Bungee Jumper, (Pebbles Group, 2003). One of them, “Laundry” is excerpted from his wartime memoirs, a work in progress. His story, “Reunion” appears in Monterey Shorts, published in 2002.

 He is now researching a monograph on “Chiang Kai-shek and Mussolini”, and doing research for on an historical novel set in New York City, Java, and Japan during the Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, based on Dutch and Japanese sources and New York City archives.

 Walter lives in Carmel, California.

Mark Angel was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula. He currently resides in Carmel Valley. He will soon publish a science fiction novel entitled Rexriders, about a civilization that coexists with dinosaurs. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychobiology with a minor in music from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an Associate of Science in fire protection technology from Monterey Peninsula College. Mark is currently employed as an Emergency Medical Technician with American Medical Response, and he has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross, Carmel Area Chapter for over 20 years.

Shaheen Schmidt, a native of Iran, has lived in the United States since 1985, and currently resides in Carmel Valley. Although she works in Carmel as a hair designer, she has an insatiable curiosity and interest in visual arts, dance, music and writing and is one of the founding members of Fiction Writers of the Monterey Peninsula. Since childhood, she has kept a journal and special notebook to write her stories, fully illustrated in her own hand. Shaheen’s writing is often inspired by music she hears, or spending time in nature.

Mike Tyrrel and his fine wife Sue are refugees from Chicago’s brief summers and long, cold winters. They reside now in the hills overlooking the Salinas Valley, where the days are long and warm, and the turkeys and deer munch on their garden.

Mike has been in data processing since high school, and over the years has built and managed several large-scale IBM data centers. Mike designed the software that controls the automobile assembly line at the NUMMI plant. After eight years at NUMMI, he still gets a kick out of watching rolls of steel turn into shiny finished products that are driven off the assembly line in a mere 20 hours. With no television in their home, Mike told stories to his two daughters, Dot and Katy, every night. The girls picked the two stories you will read in Monterey Shorts 2. The daughters have also written their own stories, and have invented numerous board games. They have been fortunate to be home schooled by their mom. Dot, the older sister, is second on the list of most active public library users with over 4,000 withdrawals! Katy is catching up.  Ages ago, while working at a bank and managing 35 people, Mike had an interoffice memo he’d written receive a grade of "F" by his boss, Tom Kimble, the senior vice president. It hurt! But the memo truly was bad, and his boss’ honesty started Mike on a journey to improve his writing skills. Through FWOMP's critique process, by enduring seemingly endless rewrites, and by pouring through how-to-do-it-correctly books, Mike has grown as a writer and his work continues to improve. He's put his novel on hold for the moment, and is currently working on an anthology of children's short stories. Mike thanks Tom Kimble for caring enough to give him that "F", and FWOMP for their thoughtful criticism.

Frances Rossi believes her insatiable need to write must stem from her 16th Century French literary ancestor, Etienne Pasquier, known for his encyclopedic historical work, Recherche de la France. In keeping with that tradition, she has written several articles for publication on the history of the Church.  "A Flash of Red" was her first published fiction story.

Frances is active in I Cantori di Carmel, a local chorus, and sings in the Carmel Mission choir.  She is also taking part in the Carmel Bach Festival Chorus.

She serves as web master for the FWOMP site, and works for SandCastles Toys in the Barnyard on their website.

She has worked as Director of Religious Education in Catholic parishes in Western Colorado, as well as on the Monterey Peninsula. She lives with her father, Robert Paquette, in Pebble Beach, is the mother of three grown children, and now has two grand-children.






Continued: Sample  story from Monterey Shorts:
Monte-Ray Gunn

by Byron Merritt

   I also learned not to say Tschk! in front of others last night when a large opaque Tlinolian sat next to me and I ordered a third round for myself. Saliva left my mouth — involuntarily of course — and set off one helluva brawl . . . which started a terrific headache that's still with me this mornin'.    
   After leavin' the 400 tier apartment in Seaside where I bunk my tired hide, I travel downtown aboard a floater that wings itself to the top of the MAH Strata-Building on the Washington Flyway. Cloud cover is below the 200th tier so I'm greeted with sunshine as I step out of the floater's oval passenger belly and duck underneath its bat-like wings, their capacitor cells hummin' with the charges they receive from the wind currents of the Monterey Peninsula. The overly-brilliant reflection of sun off the glass of the floater feels like splinters in my head, as I inadvertently glance back after exitin' the craft.     
   I don't like the sun. Never have. Especially after a  night of drinkin' and Tschk! eatin'. Unfortunately my apartment lies well above the fog and cumulus, but it's the only thing a lowly detective like myself could afford. Although two-million world-credits ain't too bad considerin' housin' costs around here.  
   I grab a newsdisk from a hover-dispenser, shove it into my shaded eyeglass monitor and watch the news as I descend in a digivator to the 95th level. These news people need to get a life. They're still talkin' about this millennium quant-computer bug. For Corsicans sake! Get over it! The year 3000 rolled over three weeks ago!
   "145th tier, Mr. Gunn," a sexy voice announces. I grunt for the digivator to continue. It was nice of Digi to tell me. She knows I like to stop for Roolusian coffee on that level, but not today. I drank two pots before leavin' my place and besides, I've got to get into work and find out what's so damn important that I start early. 
   The digivator shimmers and I step off onto the main tier of MAH. "Have a great day," Digi says as I step off. 
   "Thanks doll," I reply and watch her doors vaporize as she heads off to pick up the next transport. 
   Captain Bryce's office is on the other side of this expansive level and, unfortunately, all the personnel lev's are in use so I have to use my feet to get there. Oh well, it'll give me time to finish my newsdisk. 
   As I walk, the scenes and text from the newsdisk whip by my glasses. Oh for the love of Sirius! I can't believe these politicians are still bickerin' about buildin' a second floater zone into Carmel Valley. Last week it took me two minutes to get from Monterey to the mouth of the valley. I remember when it used to take thirty seconds. "Build the damn thing," I mutter to myself. 
   I finally enter the cramped, cluttered office of Captain Bryce and find her sittin' at her desk talkin' to a cup of coffee. I think she's been at this job too long. 
   "Detective!" she squeals in that high-pitched voice of hers and embraces me with a powerful hug. Her orange and olive-spiked hair jabs me in the nose and mouth and I spit it out. Last week it was purple and gold. I can't keep up with her changes or her husbands; she's got sixteen of ‘em and an equal number of hair spikes. She adopted the polyandry and free-lovin' theorem from the duck-billed Troskonians in the Ofarum galaxy, as did a few million other humans. I ain't one of ‘em.   
   "What's the big idea?" I ask, gruffly. "Why you wakin' me up so early? It ain't even eleven o'clock yet."
   I darken my glasses and crunch down into a nearby levchair. I feel the caress of air around my butt as I continue to spit out colorful strands of hair that taste like the kitchen floor in my apartment. Don't ask how I know that. 
   I look up at the captain and she's got her bottom lip stuck out and her red scaneyes lookin' at the floor. I'm a sucker for women who pout.
   "Knock it off already!" I say. "You know I hate it when you do that."
   She smiles, sits in my lap and gives me another hug, fillin' my nose and mouth with her damn pelt again. I rasp tryin' to get rid of the stuff and push her to her feet. She doesn't seem to notice the displeasure her jabbing hair causes me. 
   "I'm so glad you're here, Ray," she says while bouncin' around her office watering the multitude of plants surroundin' us. Some look pretty mean so I keep my distance. "I have an assignment for you." 
   She winks at me and smiles as she watches me tuck my crumpled shirt into the a-little-too-tight pants I threw on. She sighs wistfully.
   "What this time?" I ask sarcastically. "Another lost Andronian fish?" 
   I ain't had a real case since I got here. There's not much crime around Monterey with the camsats and genetic restructurin' done to weed out unwanted tendencies. Personality changes are available to any who request it through the reformation centers that dot this sector of the Milky Way. I don't let anyone mess around with my head, although Captain has reportedly had several enhancements that make her more pleasant to work with.       
   Yeah right.  
   "No, silly," she says puttin' down her water jug. A nearby plant picks it up and eats it. I pretend not to notice. I look at her red eyes and watch them light up, burnin' into mine. I look away, my head still achin'. 
   Then she says somethin' that catches my limited attention: "A murder!"
Monterey Shorts