Why I like Writing Short Stories by Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas has graciously agreed to fill in for Phyliss Miranda today. Let’s make her welcome!

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Thank you for having me. I’m happy to be back with everyone and talking about one of my loves. Writers often ask me why I write short stories. And, I have to say simply, “For the love of writing.”

But in truth, the benefits are far more than that. 

It all started one week before Christmas in ‘93. I’d just finished a novel and mailed it in. I was free and had a list. Shopping, making cookies, decorating, and cleaning house. I put in my first batch of cookies when the phone rang. It was my agent, who rarely called. “Jodi, I want you to write a short story. Think it over, come up with a few ideas and we’ll talk in January.” We talked about a big publishing house that was offering me the bottom slot in an anthology. She hung up. The cookies were burned. 

I scraped the cookie sheet and started again. As I put the next batch in, the phone rang again. “Hello, Jodi,” an editor at the big publishing house said. “What is your idea?”

Now, I’d had about ten minutes to think and so I said, “Two old men go to a train station in Texas the Christmas after the Civil War. They’ve ordered their boss, Holly, a mail-order husband for Christmas. One man steps off the train. He’s tall, dark, and handsome and he’s wearing a Union uniform. Before they can get to him, the man passes out drunk. Sam looks at Ben and says, “Great, we not only got her a Yankee, we got her a dead drunk Yankee.” 

“Sold,” the editor said, “Can you get it to us by January?” 

I hung up, took out the second batch of burned cookies and danced around the kitchen. I bought gift cards, let my two boys decorate, picked up Christmas cookies from the bakery and went back to my tiny study to work. 

A year later A HUSBAND FOR HOLLY hit the NYTimes thanks to Pat Potter the lead writer. 

And, I fell in love with writing short stories.

Here are three of my favorite short stories. I’m proud as can be of each one.


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36 thoughts on “Why I like Writing Short Stories by Jodi Thomas”

    • What a wonderful story which led to your writing for the anthology and subsequent short stories.

      • I’m glad you enjoyed her post, Denise. Jodi is just so versatile. She can write long, short, and in between. Doesn’t matter to her. I’m totally in awe.

    • Hi Glenda, boy I sure agree with you! Jodi writes some darn good stories and each one brims with heart and warmth. I don’t know how she does it. I’ve been trying to learn her secret but with no success.

    • Hi Glenda. Thanks for stopping by and visiting with Miss Jodi. I’ve had computer problems and want to thank her for giving us a great blog about short stories. I appreciate you and each reader who dropped by and left messages. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Glenda, Thanks for stopping by. I truly appreciate Jodi stepping in for me since I’ve been having computer problems. Also a big thank you to Felicia for taking care of getting Jodi’s blog up. Isn’t she (and Linda) great writers? Hugs, Phyliss

  1. Jodi- You are so gifted in writing short stories. Sometimes us readers need just a short uplifting story. I know I truly enjoy them because long books, which I read & love, sometimes end up taking me to long to read with my work. If only I could figure out how to make my boss understand I have a book I need to return too fast. Ha ha, so Short stories are perfect for me when work has me overloaded.
    I’ve missed A Husband For Holly, but I’m going to Amazon now and find it.
    I hope you have a Marvelous March and a super 2020. Love you Dearly.

    • Tonya, short stories are perfect when we only have a little time but need that craving satisfied. Yeah, bosses really look at us funny and their eyes glaze over when we try to explain our reading addiction to them!! 🙂 I hope you have better success than I ever did.

  2. Love short stories and glad you jumped on the chance. You are a gifted writer and thanks for all you do. Have a blessed day.

    • Kristi, you can’t go wrong with a Jodi Thomas book, whether long or short. They’re all so good. I first read her in 1991 or 92 and I was hooked for good.

      • What a cute story to read from Jodi Thomas on how she got started in 93 with short stories..heck with the burnt cookies. I found you Linda Broday by reading and buying every book Jodi had written at the time tho I didn’t find either of your books till 2008. Love anthologies…heck love all your stories

  3. Great picture of you Jodi! Thanks for filling in for Phyliss today. I thought I have read all your books. However, I have not read A Husband for Holly. Have to see if I can find that one.

    • Hi Kathy, thanks for dropping by and reading Jodi’s blog. Isn’t she a jewel for filling in for me? I’ve had Internet problems and needed help, so Jodi and Linda B. come to my rescue. I know you’ll love A Husband for Holly and bet you can find it. Thank you for being a faithful P&P reader. Hope you have a wonderful evening. Big hugs, Phyliss

  4. short stories are wonderful to have if waiting in a waiting room, hospital, or where ever you are with a short time to fill!

    • Hi Teresa, I totally agree … when you have to wait, a short story fills in the time! I appreciate you and hope you have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Janine, good to hear from you. I totally agreed when we don’t have enough time to read a long book, a short story is the answer. I love them to not only read, but to write. I hope you have a wonderful evening. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Jess, good to hear from you. Wasn’t Jodi’s story fun to read! Thanks for leaving a comment. Hope you have a great evening. Hugs, Phyliss

  5. I love short stories myself, their nice when you don’t have a lot of time to read. So bring on the short stories.

    • Hi Quilt Lady, good to hear from you. I love short stories and enjoy writing them, too. As long as there are writers and readers, they’ll always be short stories. Jodi is the best and I truly thank her for writing a great blog for all to enjoy. Hope you have a wonderful evening. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Melanie, thanks for stopping by. I love short stories, too; and Jodi sure wrote a great, and funny, blog about her experiences. I appreciate each and every faithful P&P follower. Hope you have a wonderful evening. So glad to have my Internet up and going…I’ve missed it! Hugs, Phyliss

    • Hi Kathleen, thanks for much for stopping by and reading Jodi’s blog. I love short stories, too. That’s where I got my start and it was thanks to Jodi, Linda B. and the late DeWanna Pace. Have a wonderful evening, and thanks for being a faithful P&P follower. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. Jodi , I love EVERY book you’ve written, but your short story One Wish was one of my favorites!! Short stories are great because I can sit , relax and finish .

    • Hi Rose Ann, thanks for coming by and reading Jodi’s blog. I finally have my Internet up and going again, so truly thank everybody for their patience. Her blogs are always interesting and this one was sure a fun read. She’ll read all of your responses. I truly thank you and everyone for their support during my Internet problems. The Fillies and our readers are the best!!!! Hugs, Phyliss

  7. Welcome Jodi. That is funny and so cool how it came to short stories. I love short stories in between a long one. Thank you for sharing today. Keep up the fabulous work.

    • Thanks, Lori, for dropping by and reading Jodi’s blog. I truly appreciate her for stepping in for me today, since I just got my Internet fixed and can make some responses. Isn’t that a fun story she shared! Appreciate you all. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. I love short stories. My life is usually in chaos, like so many other’s. I have a stash of anthologies so I can grab a quick stories when I have a little time to read. Sometimes I would really like the story to be filled out a bit more so I could spend more time with the characters and learn more of their story. Most are tightly written and satisfying. I have enjoyed many of your books. Really enjoyed the GIVE ME A TEXAS……. series of anthologies that you did with some of the Fillies. I looked up the anthology A HUSBAND FOR HOLLY is part of. It looks like one I would enjoy, but is going to have to come from a secondary market

  9. I missed getting to read this blog yesterday! Thanks for dropping by P&P! I love your books but haven’t had the opportunity to read one of your short stories!

  10. I loved reading about what led Jodi to write short stories! So fun – and my favorite of those she shared is Winter’s camp! Thanks for stepping in for Phyllis, Jodi. We so appreciate you!

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