A Short Anatomy of My New Short Story Collection by Ed Lynskey

I’m pleased to welcome Lake Charles author Ed Lynskey back to the blog today to talk about his latest release, the short story collection Smoking on Mount Rushmore.

Ed LynskeyPutting together a short story collection is a little more complex than just binding together a bunch of short stories. I have done three story collections (the first two used the tales from my private detective series). I took some time deliberating over which of my yarns to include in my new Smoking on Mount Rushmore. In the end, I opted to go with a little variety (soft-boiled, medium-boiled) rather than concentrate on the narrow scope of hardboiled/noir short fiction I like to work in.

Moreover, I also wanted to use those stories previously selected and published by the different editors at the crime and other ezines. I had the privilege to collaborate with such first-rate editors as Al Guthrie, Sarah Weinman, Anthony Neil Smith, Todd Robinson, and others.

Next came the editing stage. I wondered if I was alone in my thinking about doing that. My online research indicated short story collections typically undergo a rigorous editing process. After all, you are presenting the best of your short fiction. I also discovered short story collections are expected to offer bonus stories previously unpublished for readers to enjoy something new. I did not know that.

So, I inserted a pair of them to round out mine and identified Smoking on Mount Rushmore as being a New and Selected Stories. The most colorful title of its 16 short stories also became the collection’s title. Why re-invent the wheel, as they like to say? I’ve often heard readers’ comments made on how their reading short stories ends too soon for their liking, so I included several longer stories, including the title yarn from Smoking on Mount Rushmore.

One of the side fringe benefits of my readying Smoking on Mount Rushmore for publication has been that it has reawakened my interest in writing short stories. I have been on a long hiatus while I have been happy writing my novels. I hope to set aside some time and write a few short story drafts. If I am happy with the results, I will continue revising the drafts until I have presentable stories. I once got a kick out of writing in the short story form.

There is a great sense of accomplishment after you finish writing one that takes a great deal longer when writing a novel. Stories are not easier to compose than novels, but the short stories are not nearly as large and time-consuming. Hopefully, I will publish another short fiction collection in the next year or so.

Finally, I want to thank Elizabeth for having me back to say a few words on her wonderful literary blog. It is always fun.

Ed Lynskey is a crime fiction writer who lives near Washington, D.C. with his family. His mysteries featuring his P.I. Frank Johnson are The Dirt-Brown Derby, The Blue Cheer, Pelham Fell Here, Troglodytes, and The Zinc Zoo. His work has been anthologized by St. Martin’s Press and University of Virginia Press, and his reviews have appeared in New York Times Book Review and Washington Post. To learn more about Ed, visit his website.


  • Ed Lynskey

    March 25, 2013 - 6:33 PM

    Thanks for the comment, Jim. Thank you for hosting my guest blog, Elizabeth!


  • Jim Wilsky

    March 25, 2013 - 3:32 PM


    Look forward to reading Smoking on Mount Rushmore and enjoyed reading about the prep and strategy.

    Thanks for sharing.

    -Jim Wilsky

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