Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kate Douglas: Anthologies

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 . 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 Douglas


***Kate's winner is Sammie!  Please email with your mailing information.  Thanks!***


kermitsafrog said...

Like you, I have discovered many very good authors/storylines that I enjoyed by reading anthologies. My only problem is, is that when an author puts crucial details in a short story/anthology; sometimes it is very hard to track that volume down if you like to read a series from beginning to end. Am I making sense?

Lil said...

I suppose that one of the reasons that I sometimes read romance anthologies is that I am pressed on time but want a satisfying story. Unfortunately, you are correct, I don't often that the author's voices are equally appealing to me. However, I am not over the hope of striking on a new voice to be enamored with and, of course, following authors that I already enjoy.

Tori Juelich said...

I love anthologies!!! I much prefer the books that have 3 or 4 authors with long stories rather than 20 authors with stories that are only a few pages long. It's hard to fully grasp if you'll like a writer and their style, with just a few pages to go by.
I appreciate that you, Kate, in my opinion have always been very clear on where in the series your stories that are in the anthologies belong. :)


I have found some awesome authors from reading the

Pat Cochran said...

I enjoy anthologies! They sometimes give
me a taste of new-to-me authors which I
can follow up later. They also are handy
when I am short on time but want to read
something. I am currently reading The
Mammoth Book Of Ghost Romance. So far,
I have gotten a good look at the works of
five previously unread-by-me authors.

erin said...

Thanks for the great post and congrats on the re-releases! I'm w/ you... I have mixed feelings about anthologies. Most of the time I buy them b/c a favorite author is included but I usually only end up like that story or maybe one more. When I used to buy them in print, I felt a bit ripped off cuz I only enjoyed a small part. With e-books, I don't have to buy the entire anthology which I like.

Kate Douglas said...

That's what we're aiming for here, Erin, by offering the stories by themselves. Unfortunately, I seem to be unable to write a novella tied to a series without having it important to the story line as a whole. I'm working on that! I did it with Crystal Dreams, the novella that went with my DemonSlayers series, but so far that's the only time I feel I've been successful.

Kermit, you ALWAYS make sense! I tried to let my readers know that the stories should be read in order, but a lot of people don't go to authors' websites or get their newsletters, and so they miss out on little details like that!

Lil, Tori and Pat, I do like hearing that you enjoy the short stuff in anthologies, as long as it's a good story. Like I said, I've discovered a lot of authors through anthologies...which, of course, ends up costing me a fortune because then I go back and have to buy everything they've written!

Kelly said...

I am so excited for the new generation. I have all the books even the novellas because I was hooked and had to read them in order that's after I picked up the second book first. I loved your story but I think the other stories where not as good as yours. But to me it was worth it so I had them all. Is it April yet?

Kate Douglas said...

Not April yet, dammit! I'm anxious, too!

Nicki Bland said...

I love anthologies. I've found so many authors that I hadn't even heard of and have gone back and read their other books. If I get an author who I really don't enjoy, that helps me too because now I know not to buy any of their full length books.

Michelle A said...

I like the anthologies - I have found some good authors who I wouldn't have probably read if not for them. The only one I haven't read is the first one - can't seem to find it :( So I am looking forward to the digital release :)

Karen H in NC said...

I enjoy reading anthologies. I like those written by favorite authors as well as those by new-to-me authors. As long as they are in the favorite genre, I'm happy. I do appreciate those where all the stories deal with the general theme of the anthology and all in the same time period. I like historical romances best.

Kate Douglas said...

So far, it appears that we're running with anthologies ahead. This is good--I've heard from so many readers who don't like them, that it's nice to know there are those of you who do.

Jammie Jingles said...

I got started on WT by reading a Sexy Beast. Unfortunately I cannot afford many books so I am still waiting for some books to show up in discount dstores. I still wouldn't change a thing!

Eli Yanti said...

So far I have not read so many anthologies but I enjoy reading few of them :)

Kate Douglas said...

Jammie, I've done that with series I got interested in, only to discover that it was an older one and books were out of print! VERY frustrating, and thank goodness for used book stores. Authors don't make anything on the sales of used books, but I'd rather see my readers finding the books however they can (EXCEPT by pirated copies--I have problems with those!) so they can follow a series. A few years ago I began reading Elizabeth Lowell--she has a LOT of books, and it's amazing how many I've been able to find. Of course, now I also buy her new releases the minute they're out. Have to sneak my mail-ordered books in when the husband isn't watching...

Karen H in NC said...

Just wondering if a winner was ever drawn for this giveaway.