Friday, December 06, 2013

Introducing Chenoire, and the Three-Legged Stool

After a "soft reveal" yesterday, I'm happy to share the cover for a "secret project" I've been involved with and that's now out in the world--well, it's out for preorder and will be out in the world on December 18.

First, meet "Chenoire." (And can I hear a "yum!") It's about a young ornithologist, Faith, who is trying to save her academic career by studying the effects of the Gulf oil spill on the birds of rural St. Bernard Parish, east of New Orleans. She's been suffering from depression since losing her twin sister in an auto accident, but when she stumbles into a sexy guy named Zackary Prejean and the mysterious crossroads community of Chenoire during the middle of gator-hunting season, she has to snap out of it or die trying. Only then she learns something more dangerous....

"Chenoire" is part of a new venture announced on Wednesday called StoryFront, so it seemed like a good time to talk about these changing publishing times in which we live. I once thought "New York" was the only way to go, Big Publishing being the One Ring to Rule Them All (gratuitous Lord of the Rings nod).

But in the last few years, it seems to me the authors most able to survive all the changes taking place in publishing are the ones who can 1) Write a freakish breakout hit that will either have housewives buying whips and chains or teenage girls lining up for "Team Studboy" T-shirts; or 2) Diversify and work their backsides off.

Since #1 seems awfully precarious, not to mention unlikely, #2 seems much more practical. Now admittedly, I'm still very new to this whole book-writing thing, so those of you who've been around it longer than I, bear with me. I still wake up most days wondering when I'm going to, well, wake up, only to find endless Saturdays spent with drunken football fans stretching into my future (gratuitous day-job nod).

Still, with my admittedly limited experience, I now think of publishing as a three-legged stool. New York's still the holy grail in many ways, and I've been fortunate in that regard. But small publishers offer a lot of advantages, and I now see them as the second leg of that stool. Which brings us to StoryFront, a new publishing imprint that gives short-story authors a new forum to publish their works of less than 20,000 words and gives novelists a chance to try their hand at a creating new worlds, experimenting in a new genre, or promoting interest in the novels by setting shorts in their novel worlds.

For me, "Chenoire" was a way to share some new characters set in my much-loved South Louisiana in an inexpensive Kindle download. It's a sweeter paranormal romance than my Penton books, and it's less violent than...well, anything I've written. [Very oblique nod to the day job, which seems to inspire violent thoughts and badly behaved villains.]

(The third leg of the stool, by the way, is self-publishing, an area into which I haven't yet ventured but very likely will at some point if I feel I have the right project and the ability to jump the "discoverability" hurdle self-pubbed authors find themselves facing.)

Will StoryFront be a successful venture? I don't know, but I'm always ready to experiment...which is how I ended up writing serial novels, but that's another story for another time. Some people, and I've historically been one of them, are not fans of the short format. I'm learning to enjoy writing them, though, as a quick dip into a new world and a way to challenge myself into layering depth into fewer words.

Do you like short stories and novellas? If you're a reader, do you read them? If you're an author, have you dabbled in them? Leave a comment, and I'll pick a winner to receive a copy of "Chenoire"!

Speaking of winning, by the way, did you know the members of the Southern Magic RWA Chapter, including myself, are giving away piles of books this month? Seriously, you could win 34 books! There are some awesome authors in this chapter and some awesome books in this pile. After you leave your comment below to enter the drawing for "Chenoire," click here to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for the big giveaway, and hop over to some of the author websites to check 'em out. Contest ends Dec. 16.


Roger said...

Oh yes, I like short stories and novellas. Many authors offer some on their web sites for free. A wonderful way to learn more of their series or a look at something new. Kindle has made these easily accessible. Have Chenoire pre-ordered. Thanks.

robertsonreads said...

Hi Suzanne,
For me, I don't care of the length of a novel as long as it's well written and I'm not wasting my time or money on it.
And, yes the publishing world has changed greatly over the past few years and how we can receive our books, i.e., Kindle, Nook, iPad. I love being able to read my books electronically.
Thank you,
Ginger aka robertsonreads

Suzanne Johnson said...

Thanks @Roger and @Ginger! I've started appreciating shorts more now that I realize how hard they are to write! I swear they're tougher than novels.

SandyG265 said...

Hi Suzanne,

I'm not a big fan of short stories only because I find that a lot of them aren't well written. However I really enjoy novellas. I think that length really gives an author a chance to develop the story and give the characters some depth.

miki said...

i'm starting to enjoy novella and shorts story a lot more now and i appreciate when they give us more info on a universe or a xcharacter , it's true it's a great way to discover new author or universe but i like when they are like bonus or real stand alone ....when they are giving important info for a future book in a series i don't like it as much because they become integral part of it and when missed you don't understand the series anymore ( i got teh case with one book written by karen chance...i loved both her series i followed them i read a few of her stort story available free on her website and those could be read as stand alone or indepently of teh story but then i picked a book and understood nothing we got hint about past events i absolutely didn't remembered about until i discovered that before that volume was a short novella available in an anthology that was a bad experience...

now i do enjoy wjhen authors give us a little soemthing like those to wait before teh next release and it's so great when all format are availabel so those who need pdf can have one

^^ so far i have enjoyed all you have written so i have no worries!

Chris Bailey said...

Definitely tough to condense an entire beginning/middle/end into a short! But I have total confidence in your ability, and look forward to what looks like a compelling (scaly shifter?!?) story.

BookLady said...

Yes, I enjoy short stories and novellas especially in paranormal romance and urban fantasy. They are a great way to try out new authors.

Liz S. said...

I have found some wonderful new authors through novellas. My only regret is many times you want more about the characters and sometimes no novels are written with those characters later. Looking forward to your newest adventure!

Ali Hubbard said...

You are amazing as always. I can't wait to read this. And book length is like music to me...I like different things according to my mood.

bn100 said...

Sometimes read short stories

Martha Lawson said...

I read them and have found lots of new authors that way! Chenoire sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win.

mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com