Thanks, Leena, for the invitation to blog. Today I’m talking about anthologies, those collections of stories publishers love to release. Anthologies, for authors, are a mixed blessing. Generally they consist of three or four separate novellas by as many writers, usually within the same genre and sometimes written around a single theme. As often as not, they’re totally different without any connection beyond the fact they’re all historical, or all mysteries, or, as in my case, all paranormal.
The good thing is that the collection within an anthology allows publishers the opportunity to showcase new authors, sometimes to introduce a new series or to reignite interest in an older series. The bad thing is that not all readers want to read those other stories, but once invested in a series, they have to buy the anthology in order to read the one story that belongs to a series they’re following.
And this is where my particular interest in this issue comes in: the long-running Wolf Tales series from Kensington Publishing has twelve novels separated by nine novellas (up to Wolf Tales 10). All but one (Camille’s Dawn in the Wild Nights anthology) appeared as part of the Sexy Beast series of anthologies, and each had “Chanku” in the title so that readers would know they were part of the Wolf Tales saga of sexy shapeshifters, known as Chanku. Unfortunately, my readers often didn’t realize the novellas were an integral part of the story arc, and that’s my fault.
For some reason, I could not pull myself away from the overall story of the Chanku to write something that wasn’t totally connected to the Wolf Tales books both preceding each novella and following it. It was like that from the beginning when Kensington released the very first Wolf Tales—originally published by Changeling Press in an ongoing serial format that had appeared online—without the final chapter. That was released in the first Sexy Beast anthology as Chanku Rising, but was essentially the conclusion to the first five “parts” in the debut edition of Wolf Tales.
Kensington originally contracted for three Wolf Tales and three Chanku novellas—obviously the story didn’t end there—and when it finally came to a conclusion with Wolf Tales 12, there was a grand total of twenty-one stories, counting the novellas, that completed the story arc.
But the anthologies were still collections of stories with various authors and a lot of my readers never realized that, in most cases, the novellas completed or introduced Wolf Tales novels.
Finally after seven years, Kensington is releasing the novellas on their own. Their titles have been slightly changed to keep them in proper order: Wolf Tales 1.5: Chanku Rising, Wolf Tales 2.5: Chanku Dawn (originally Camille’s Dawn), Wolf Tales 3.5: Chanku Fallen, etc. Kensington is releasing three a month through March, and then in April, my new Chanku series, Spirit Wild, debuts with Dark Wolf.
This new series is all about the children of the original Chanku shapeshifters all grown up, though if you haven’t read a single Wolf Tales or Sexy Beast story, you will have no problem getting into this new set of books. I can’t WAIT to see how readers respond to Lily Cheval, to Alex Aragat, and Annie McClintock as adults. And there’s a new character who’s going to take Lily on the ride of her life—Sebastian Xenakis, a powerful wizard, quite possibly a murderer, and maybe the one who will finally steal Lily’s heart.
The second book—Dark Moon—is also complete, though I’m not certain of the exact release date. That one follows Igmutaka, the spirit guide, and Mik and Tala’s daughter, Mikaela Star. Sunny Daye returns—she was introduced in Wolf Tales 12—and you’ll catch up on all the Chanku as their grown children interact with the first generation. Times have changed, though, and if you read WT 12, you’ll know that the Chanku now live in a world fully aware of their existence.
There are first chapters of all the Chanku stories on my website at www.katedouglas.com/eroticromance . If you’re an adult, click to enter the site and you’ll see the new Chanku ebook covers. Click on a cover and it will take you to first chapter. A long excerpt of Dark Wolf is also posted—again, click on the cover and that will take you to it.
What is your opinion of anthologies? I have to admit to mixed feelings. I discovered some of my favorite authors reading anthologies—Meljean Brook and Nalini Singh come to mind. Sometimes, though, I’m disappointed by the collections and find that the only story I actually read and enjoy is the one I went searching for by an author I already follow. I’d love to hear your opinion, and if you leave a comment, you’ll be entered to win a copy of Wolf Tales 12, or if you’d prefer, a copy of Sexy Beast VI, VII or VIII.
***Kate's winner is Sammie! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing information. Thanks!***