What the Chinese dragon reveals about Kindle Unlimited, Amazon books sales, rankings…

122 uc dragon

 

This is a screenshot taken on January 22, 2015 of my Amazon dashboard showing sales for Unexpected Consequences, a 3-year-old book for sale on Amazon. The shape reminded me of a Chinese dragon, but beyond that, it illustrates some interesting tidbits about book sales, and the effects of Kindle Unlimited borrows on sales and rankings.

First, I should point out that the red line shows book sales. The blue line shows Kindle Unlimited borrows.

Second, I should note some history and figures: When rights to Unexpected Consequences reverted to me in September 2014, I self-published it and re-released it in the Kindle Unlimited program, which allows readers to borrow a book for free. If readers read 10 percent of a borrowed book, its author is compensated from a pool of money provided by Amazon. Since I’ve been in the program, per qualifying book borrow, I’ve received $1.51

This is part of a series of blogs about my adventures in self-publishing.

This is part of a series of blogs about my adventures in self-publishing.

(Sept), $1.34 (Oct.), $1.39 (Nov), $1.42 (Dec). If I sell a copy of UC, my royalty is $2.79 minus a delivery fee of a few cents.

When its 90-day  KU commitment on Unexpected Consequences expired on December 23, 2014,  I did not renew it because I wanted to test a theory that by making a book available for borrow, readers were less apt to buy it. That is: sales would be greater if it wasn’t in the borrow program (And remember, I receive much higher compensation per book if it sells, than if it’s downloaded as a borrow).

So what does the dragon show?

  • On the farthest point left (Dec 23-25) , the absence of a blue line shows where the UC was removed from the KU program.
  • The blue line picks up again on Dec. 26, and from Dec. 27-Jan. 7 shows borrows at a rate of 1-2 per day. How can there be borrows when it’s not in the program? Well, remember the 10%? The blue blips demonstrate that I receive credit for a borrow not when a book is downloaded but when it’s been read. These are previous borrows that readers finally got around to reading. This explains why I always see a spike in borrows (but not sales) when I look at my dashboard very early in the morning–readers were reading the night before!
  • I suspect–this is a new hypothesis requiring further observation & number crunching–that while borrows are not credited as “units sold” until they’re read, they affect sales rankings immediately. I have seen my rankings shift in the positive when there has been no spike on my dashboard, and have seen no positive ranking shift (or a downshift) when I’ve gotten a surge in borrows credited.
  • In the middle of the dragon’s body, from Jan. 7 to Jan. 16, there are no borrows credited and the blue line is gone. Everyone who previously downloaded the book has read it. What you can’t see here is that my sales rankings (and thus visibility) had plummeted. UC was ranking in 90,000s during this period, after being in the 20,000s. On January 16, I put Unexpected Consequences back in the KU program and you can see the blue line spike in the dragon’s head, far right.
  • On Jan. 19, at the height of the spike, there were 10 borrows and 5 sales–so 15 total units of Unexpected Consequences downloaded. Sales ranking on the morning of Jan. 19 shot to 11,755.

Since it’s been back in KU, my rankings have bounced around in the 10,000s and 20,000s.

I crunched the numbers for a 10 day period before it was removed from KU and after it was removed from the program when there was no more KU revenue coming in:

  • In KU, UC averaged 3.3 sales per day and 8.3 borrows ($20.98 average total revenue – Dec. )
  • Not on KU, UC averaged 4.7 sales per day and no borrows ($13.11 average total revenue per day)

I’d heard stories from “big name” authors who reported a big loss in income when their fan base started borrowing their books instead of buying them.So why did I do better in the KU program than out of it? Because I’m not a big name author whose massive buying fan base has shifted to borrowing. Instead, I’m attracting new readers who are more willing to try an author new to them if the book is free.

My conclusion is that at least at this point in my writing career, Kindle Unlimited is beneficial to me. However, I will keep my eye on the numbers.

CaraBristol_RandCSociety_UnexpectedConsequences_200x300Unexpected Consequences on Amazon

Newlywed Melania Traynor loves life, shoes, and most of all, her husband Jared – a tall, handsome, protective man with a commanding side. He’s a member of the secret Rod and Cane Society, an organization of men who maintain discipline in the home with a loving heart and an open hand. When he tells her he believes in domestic discipline and will spank her if she misbehaves, she enters into their marriage with eyes wide shut confident she’ll never be on the receiving end. But when she disobeys Jared, she discovers that discipline isn’t all talk.

 

CaraBristol_RandCSociety_ReasonableDoubts_400x600Reasonable Doubts now on Kindle Unlimited!

Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval  JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?

Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.

But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?

Amazon | Amazon UK

 

 

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Spotlight on Expecting Surrender by Trent Evans

expectingThank you for having me over to your blog, Cara. :-)

I’m very happy to say that my newest erotic romance novel, Expecting Surrender, is finally complete and published. Cara was kind enough to let me peek in and tell her fine readers about it (and share a little excerpt as well). This book is something I haven’t seen much of, which is an exploration of how a married couple navigate their increasingly intense D/s dynamic with the joys — and difficulties — of pregnancy. I hope you’ll have a look at it;)

Read on for the description, excerpt and buy links. Thanks again for having me on. Cara!

 

Product Description

They’d called it The Game. An intriguing truth or dare, a little spice to an already hot sexual chemistry between two married professionals. But what started as a mere game evolved into something so much more, a dark, exciting adventure into serious power exchange. It soon became the center of their lives, the beating, lust-fueled heart of their sexual relationship.

It was an exploration of pleasure, of pain, of elemental desire. A married couple diving deep into the waters of Dominance and submission. Like forbidden fruit, The Game had opened their eyes to the primal drives, the animal lusts lurking within each of them — and they knew they’d never be the same again.

Then came the day she’d received the surprise news… in the form of a positive pregnancy test.

Now Keihl and Kirsten, deeply in love, facing a profound, joyful change in their lives, must contemplate the prospect of putting aside The Game, just when things are really heating up. After all, pregnancy and BDSM are utterly incompatible. Right?

Or was there a way to have both? Perhaps Kirsten’s pregnancy might open up an entirely new world to them within the alluring, lust-drenched context of a loving, yet strict, Dominance and submission dynamic? Perhaps the pregnancy might change them both in ways neither of them yet understand?

Two lovers will discover if Dominance and submission, if pain and pleasure, and finding the real people they are inside is indeed still possible, now that a baby is on the way…

Publisher’s Warning: Intended for mature readers. 18 and over only!

This is a contemporary MF BDSM erotic romance. The novel contains the following themes: explicit sexuality, pervasive D/s, exhibitionism, spanking, bondage, and other BDSM activities. If such content might offend you, please do not purchase this book.

Word count: 134,520 words.

Page Count: 470 pages

Expecting Surrender Excerpt

The snow fell outside so hard he’d stopped watching it, the endless, brilliant white a mesmerizing pattern that threatened to hypnotize. The sting of the coffee against his lips was a welcome, bracing wake up, the time zone difference already taking its toll on him. The dining area was packed as he’d expected on a Tuesday morning. Wall to wall business; suits, ties, and a purpose.

The phone came to life suddenly, its vibrating drifting it across the tabletop. He snatched it up just before the phone toppled over the edge.

<I have no idea what I’m doing.>

She’d done it! His cock stirred immediately to life behind the navy slacks he’d chosen that morning, his erection quickly swollen and aching. He’d forbidden himself to masturbate last night, falling asleep to the vision of his wife’s breasts in his hands, her bright liquid eyes gazing up at him as her perfect teeth worried her lip.

Now, as he opened the picture she’d sent him, his cock throbbed even worse. She’d snapped the picture in their bathroom, the same robe she’d worn the morning he’d left, draped loosely over her shoulders. Her heavy breasts were exposed, the gentle curve of her belly leading down to the bare, plump lips of her pussy.

He typed in a reply. <Very nice. One problem though. Can you guess what it is?>

Then he hit send, smiling with anticipation.

He knew it was very early there, just after six in the morning, her time. He hoped she wasn’t worshiping the porcelain god again. Her morning sickness seemed to be totally unpredictable; she’d go almost a week with nary a symptom, then suddenly she’d be laid out, not even able to keep water down. She still insisted on toughing it out, and going to work on those days, but more than once she’d texted him from the bathroom at her office, insisting that this time, this time, she really was going to die.

But early or not, he intended to hold her accountable to him. It didn’t make any sense on its face; he’d simply issued an order for no other reason than he could. Crazy. But it made his cock just as hard as if he’d had her kneeling right there before him, her freshly spanked bottom spread upon her heels.

The pleasure of petty despotism.

<I did what you asked…> she replied.

<You were supposed to be naked, weren’t you?>

He took a deep breath, his pulse pounding, loving every second of the anticipation.

<You can see everything!>

He could just imagine her face, her frown, her chin firm even as her lip trembled ever so slightly.

<You disobeyed me. I said naked, and I meant it.> He paused, thinking, wanting to get this just right. <We’ll talk about it when I get back. And we’ll come to an agreement on how you should be punished.>

Her reply took two very long minutes to pop up on the screen.

<I don’t like this, Keihl.>

Shit.

<What don’t you like?>

<You’re not here. I want you here. I need you here with me.>

<But I can’t be there with you — so this is a way we work around that fact. Are you saying you don’t want to do this?>

Another long pause, each second ramping up his uncertainty. Maybe this was too much, too soon? Was this something that left her cold? He’d thought about that, but it didn’t seem to fit. She loved to be dominated physically — both her words and her body’s responses made that as plain as day. But perhaps this separation broke that spell. Could she play The Game from thousands of miles away? Would it be the same when he wasn’t there to enforce his demands?

Or maybe he just wasn’t up to the task.

Fucking pussy. Sac up and give her what she needs.

<I want to do… everything. You have no idea. But when you’re not right here, it makes it so much harder for me.> A pause. <I can’t believe I’m admitting this to you, but the idea that you can… control me. From across the country. It makes me wet.>

God, yes.

<I’m glad it makes you wet. That’s how I want you when I’m away. Wet and needy.>

<I am. Fuck, I soo am.>

<You’re going to have to endure, bad girl. When I come home, you’ll get your relief. After I punish you.>

<Yes, Sir:( >

He was so hard now he was almost groaning with it, laying a concealing section of the paper over his lap, just in case. It really could work, the psychological side of things. Getting into her head, bending her will to his; it held a unique appeal he’d never considered before. It was something he knew he wanted more of, even as he didn’t know why he wanted it, what particular need within him it satisfied. Or maybe that was simply too close to a brutal truth about him, a door to a part of his dark soul he hadn’t yet had the courage to open? He had his hand on the knob, and he was turning it — and it simply wasn’t yet time.

But he couldn’t be afraid of it forever.

He was curious about something though.

<If you don’t like this, then how come obeying my commands from thousands of miles makes your cunt drip?>

He wasn’t sure what she’d say — or what he hoped she’d say — but her response had him leaning back in his chair, stunned.

<It’s humiliating — as hell. But I like it. I didn’t know I liked it… until the first second I read your text this morning. How messed up am I?>

<In my book, that’s as far from messed up as you can get.>

Should he tell her? Really tell her?

Be careful here.

<Kirsten, it’s time to tell you something else. I LIKE that it’s hard for you to obey. I LIKE that it embarrasses you. How fucked up does that make me then?>

He actually felt the blush flaming as he hit send. It was as brutally honest as he could be, but the fact that it was about him, about deep-seated desires he seemed to be uncovering daily, made it even more difficult. It felt like he’d stripped himself bare. Showing another person — even your own wife — who you really were was never easy. Especially for someone who was apparently a twisted, kinky sonofabitch like him.

The phone vibrated again. For a moment he didn’t want to read it, a split second of terror so strong it nearly paralyzed him. What had he done? He should never have told her that. Never in a million fucking years. He picked up the phone with a visibly shaking hand, and read the text.

<I’m glad. :) >

Oh, how he wanted to reach across those countless miles and hug her now, to hold her close, to never let her go. His joy and his possessive lust filling him to bursting as he read those two words.

<Why does that make you glad, Kirsten?>

His pulse pounded in his throat as he waited. To him it felt as if the room had hushed, everyone around him eager for her next message, as if a giant spotlight had pinned him in place, a spectacle for all around to watch.

<I don’t know how to say this, so I’ll just say it. I like that it turns you on, that it makes you hard. Even when… fuck. Even when you hurt me, punish me. I hate it at the time, the pain, the embarrassment. But at the same time, I like that it turns you on. And that turns me on even more. God, I hope the NSA isn’t reading this.>

Keihl burst out laughing, the two men at the table next to him looking back at him with raised eyebrows. How on God’s green Earth had he gotten so lucky to have a woman like this, a wife so wonderful it felt like a grand injustice for all the other poor bastards who didn’t get to have her? How was this possible?

The tears in his eyes blurred his vision as he typed the last text.

<I’ll have instructions for you later today, but I want you to know something, bad girl. I love you so much. I’ll talk to you tonight:) >

Purchase Links

 Amazon |   Barnes & Noble | Google Play

 Apple | All Romance | Smashwords | Kobo

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The Goddess’s Curse cover and blurb reveal!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00014]

Release date March 15, 2015 

Cover art by Mina Carter

The Goddess’s Curse blurb

(Version 2, a little different from what was in the newsletter, still subject to change)

 

Sharona women and Lahon men keep separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate with the barbarians.

Stricken by a virulent but mysterious evil, Reena, the queen’s daughter, jumps at the chance to accompany a cousin on her mating journey so she can at least see the Lahon before she dies.

Garat, Lahon leader, has only hatred for the Sharona because of the woman who birthed and killed his son years ago. Now that a massive earthquake has left his people with precious little water, he has the perfect excuse to avenge his son’s death by driving the Sharona from their homeland to take what the Lahon need.

When he encounters Reena on the mating journey he takes her hostage to force the Sharona to capitulate to his demands, but finds himself drawn to her instead. As his desire rises lust for revenge wanes.

But after what he’s done, can he convince her his motives are good and that the true evil lies in the palace? Can he give up what his people need and destroy everything she believes in to save her life?

Beware the Ides of March and The Goddess Curse…

Some background on The Goddess’s Curse

  • After I created the male dominated world of Parseon in the Breeder sci-fi romance trilogy, I decided women needed equal time, so on “Shalondia” the women rule–however the men are still alpha.
  • I drew initial inspiration from the Amazons of  Greek mythology, a race of women warriors.
  • I also drew inspiration from the eons-old male fear of female sexuality. I thought, what if it truly was a power to be feared?
  • Originally I was going to release The Goddess Curse in April, but then realized the Ides of March would occur just before that time. Roman emperor Julius Caesar was betrayed by Brutus and stabbed to death on the Ides of March in 44 BC. The Ides is the midpoint of the Roman calendar month, which corresponds to March 15 on our calendar. Caesar had been warned by a seer that harm would befall him before the Ides. It was Shakespeare who coined the phrase, “Beware the Ides of March.” Betrayal is a theme that runs through The Goddess’s Curse, so I thought, why not release it on the Ideas of March?
  • The Goddess’s Curse is a fantasy erotic romance with a touch of sci-fi and paranormal.
  • If you thought Qalin of Warrior (Breeder 3) was evil, wait until you meet the villain of The Goddess’s Curse. Muwahaha….

To be notified of The Goddess’s Curse release, sign up to receive my New Release Newsletter. It comes with an anti-spam guarantee. You will ONLY receive an email when I have a new book out. Next newsletter delivery: March 15, 2015.

Sign up here

 

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#SatSpanks, #8Sunday: Reasonable Doubts about their compatibility…

CaraBristol_RandCSociety_ReasonableDoubts_400x600Widow seeks older gentleman for long-term domestic discipline relationship. If Liz had written a personal ad, that’s probably what she’d say. But that’s not what she got in Grant. He’s younger than her and he’s not a spanker. This snippet follows a night of passion in which Grant had been coached to give Liz a few swats.

From Reasonable Doubts, my new erotic romance

The few pats Grant had delivered might never have happened at all. Only his concern and the tantalizing memory remained. A taste of what she couldn’t have. She didn’t fault Grant. She had been aware going into this relationship he didn’t spank. But, if this little bit dismayed him, she could predict his horror if she’d had him whale into her until she was cherry red through to the next day. He’d probably turn himself in at the police station. Not that she’d ever be able to get him to spank her like that—he would halt long before that point.

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 ARe | Barnes & Noble

Reasonable Doubts Blurb

Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval  JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?

Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.

But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?

Thanks for visiting! To check out the other authors of Saturday Spankings and Weekend Writing Warriors, click on one of the logos. Saturday Spankings, as the name suggests, features spanking fiction and posts on Saturday. Weekend Writing Warriors offers all genres (romance, sci-fi, mystery, fantasy, etc.) and goes live on Sunday.

Saturday Spankings

 

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Getting ready to travel…

Magnetic Compass On A World MapMy husband and I love to travel. I’ve made it a goal to visit all 50 states in the US (38 and counting), and all seven continents (four so far).  We’ve seen a lot of the world, but there’s so much more to see. We haven’t been on a “big” trip in a while, because in recent years we sold our house, moved half way across the U.S., built a house, and moved again. Discretionary income was diverted to the house project. But we expect to take another big trip this fall, a European river cruise through Prague and Budapest.

Our trips tend to be at least two weeks long, and we’ve taken several three-week and even four-week trips. To be gone that long takes some planning beyond arranging the trip itself.

Here’s my pre-travel task list:

  • Arrange to pay bills. For a week long trip, nothing really needs to be done. But for a month? Bills have to paid. Now that I have electronic bill paying, I can schedule payments in advance. Before I had electronic bill paying, I used to double the previous month’s payment.
  • Pet care. For a week, I can leave our cat Hannah alone with a supersized litter box and food and water dispensers. Longer than a week, I have someone check on her every few days to scoop the poop and freshen her water. I used to have two cats specifically so one wouldn’t be lonely when we traveled, but Mikey died last year.
  • Clean the house. The house can easily get that ransacked look when we’re getting ready to leave, but I don’t like to come home to a messy house. So a couple of days before we leave, I clean, and we take care to keep the clutter corralled. When I’ve had a housekeeper that I felt comfortable to leave alone in house, that was the best! We’d leave the house in a whirlwind and come home to a clean one. It was like magic!
  • Do whatever laundry exists. There will be a huge mound when we return so I want to minimize what I can.
  • Mow the lawn. (Husband does this). If it’s summer and we’re gone a long time, we might arrange for a lawn service to mow it while we’re gone.
  • Plan for the first meal. When coming home from a trip, we’re tired and don’t feel like stopping at the store, so I’ll plan that first dinner at home in advance. In the weeks before a trip, I’ll usually cook a big pot of something and freeze some to have for that first meal. I also make sure that we have milk for my coffee and cereal the next morning. Milk (at least the 1% stuff) freezes well.
  • Grocery planning. I adjust my grocery shopping schedule so that we run out of food about the time we’re ready to leave. I also have a grocery list prepared for when I get back because after two to four weeks, I’ll never remember that we need eggs or potatoes or light bulbs.
  • Contact the bank and credit card companies. If we’re traveling out of the country, I notify our credit card companies and the bank so our credit/ATM cards aren’t frozen due to “unusual activity.”
  • Make a “to do” list for when we get home. I leave myself a reminder of things that will need to be done upon return (appointments, phone calls to make, upcoming events, etc),
  • Holding & rescheduling the mail and newspaper. If it’s a short trip (one week), I’ll have the mail delivered so that it’s there when we get home. If it’s been a long trip, I’ll often delay delivery by a day to give me a chance to get other stuff done before tackling the mail. I note on the calendar when I have the mail and newspaper are scheduled to resume, because I forget. Dealing with the mail is my least favorite task.
  • We put lights on a timer and arrange for neighbors to put out and bring in our trash can. If it’s winter, we set the thermostat low, but high enough to prevent pipes from freezing.

I think that’s it! What sorts of things do you do to plan for vacation?

As for the fun part, the actual traveling, today I’m talking a little bit about that on SJ Maylee’s blog—including the one trip that changed the way I think about travel. You can check out the interview here.

 

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A dating, networking site for spankos…

I heard about DD Life, a dating site for spankos, about the time I was wrapping up Reasonable Doubts, the latest Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline romance. In Reasonable Doubts, widowed heroine Liz is faced with dating for the first time in her spankophile adult life. She could have used a site like DD Life! So I wanted to interview “Princess,” the site’s founder and administrator:  

DDL LogoCara Bristol: How would you describe DD Life? Is is a site primarily for people looking to hook up romantically with like-minded partners, or for people looking to network or form friendships?

Princess: DDLife http://www.myddlife.com is a Domestic Discipline Networking Website started in October 2014. The website is for those seeking a DD partner and for those already living DD to Network with like minded people.

Cara Bristol: Do you think dating is more difficult for “spankos?” Why?

Princess: Indeed! It is still a taboo subject for many and it can be very hard to find a partner. It is a subject that many people are uncomfortable discussing with those outside the scene. Online websites help but as a Spanko for 20 years I know from experience the difficulties faced in finding a partner.

Cara Bristol: What can DD life offer couples?

Princess: DDLife welcomes couples, Myself and my husband run the website and I always had the view in mind that DDLife is for everyone. For couples we have groups, forums, magazine articles and much more. We are also planning a DD meet up for October 2015 where like minded people can meet others in real life.

Cara Bristol: What do people get for their membership?

Princess: Our membership offers many benefits. You have your own profile that you can customise, upload photos and videos. We have Forums, Groups, Blogs, Chat rooms, Instant Messaging and Video messaging. We also have magazine articles and an Events page. We also have our online DDLife Shop. Membership is £6.99 a month or you can join at the special price of £15 for 3 months or £20 for 6 months. All memberships come with a 3 day trial.

Cara Bristol: You’re in the UK. Do expect to draw members from other countries, or is DD life primarily aimed at Brits?

Princess: We welcome Members from around the world! We have many members from Different countries. Most of our members are From the UK, The States and Canada though we have many from Europe and beyond.

Cara Bristol: What do you think is the biggest misconception about domestic discipline?

Princess: The biggest misconception is that Domestic Discipline is abuse. This is simply not the case. Many DD relationships begin when the woman brings the idea to her partner. Everything is discussed before hand and consented by both partners. I have been into DD for over 20 years and in no way is is abuse at all.

images000Cara Bristol: What is the biggest benefit of DD?

Princess: Communication. Having had times where I have not lived DD I have seen the difference in lifestyles. Everything is Discussed in a DD relationship right from the start. Arguments rarely happen as each partner knows what there role in the relationship is and is clear on what is expected, there is little if any conflict in a DD relationship.

Cara Bristol: Can you share a bit of your journey with DD?

Princess: I first heard about DD in my late teens, like many it started off as being interested in spanking but I knew I needed more. I needed to be with a strong, loving and in control man. I found out about DD and when I read what I found it was as if it had been written just for me! I knew exactly what kind of man I was looking for from that point on. DD is a Need for me and not just something that I wanted. After many years of searching I am now happily married to my husband SirDD.

Cara Bristol: Why did you start this site?

Princess: The website was started as we found a lack of DD websites and in particular networking websites. There are many fantastic DD information websites out there but not many where you can have interaction with others. We wanted to build a friendly welcoming website where people could be free to discuss DD with others.

DD Life is listed in my blog roll, or you can click here to visit

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How to tell your partner you want to be spanked

How do you open the discussion and share your needs with a partner that first time? I’m guest blogging on Rollin Hand’s’ Disciplinary Tales with some tips on how to let your partner know you want to be spanked.

Come visit, and if you leave a comment with your email, you’ll be entered into a drawing for Rod and Cane Society (spanking) mug and you’ll receive a Rod and Cane Society membership card.

Visit Rollin’s blog here

Also, I’m on Renee Rose’s blog talking about making romance heroes heroic in the ways that matter.

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On making erotic romance sexy and REAL…

Oh, we love fantasy in romance novels. I don’t mean fantasy as in the specific genre involving magical elements, but in the romantic and/or sexual sense where we let our imagination run wild. Heroines are swept away (even kidnapped) by strong, macho, dominant, sexually-skilled, rich, well-endowed, (add your adjective here) men who fall madly in love with them. And even though the men are wounded, bitter, angry, tormented, promiscuous, unable to commit (add negative trait here) that ceases to be a problem. Love is all they need. Once they overcome that first bump in the road, the couple lives blissfully, happily, and faithfully ever after.

I’ve written my share of fantasy into my erotic romances. This time I wanted to do something different. I wanted to write a real romance, a story that was hot and sexy, yet true-to-life. To create a relationship that one would actually wish for–the best possible kind of real, where he is heroic in the ways that matter and he makes your heart and stomach flutter.

In Reasonable Doubts, I tried to create a spanking romance to mirror real life issues:

  • The daunting prospect of dating after being married for a long time
  • Having sex with somebody new for the first time in decades
  • A relationship in which one person has a kink (spanking) but the other does not
  • The nerve-wracking prospect of raising the subject of that kink with one’s new partner.
  • Having an older heroine (45) and hero (39) because not everyone is 20-something
  • Having a nice guy as a hero instead of arrogant, a-hole of a lothario
  • Having a woman who had a happy, loving marriage and wants to find that again

I hope readers will relate to Liz and Grant and their story.

CaraBristol_RandCSociety_ReasonableDoubts_400x600An excerpt from Reasonable Doubts:

“Let’s go.” Grant swatted her ass. A wave of longing rolled through her like thunder traveling across an open plain. She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment and swayed. More. Please more.

But there wouldn’t be more, because Grant wasn’t that way.

Why couldn’t he be a gentleman and a spanker? Was she foolish to start a relationship with a man who could give only half of what she needed? She’d never settled before. But at the idea of walking away from Grant, a little pang shot through her.

But maybe that ache afforded reason enough to call it quits—get out now before she became more attracted, more attached. She needed a man with the confidence to take her in hand and provide what she needed without her having to ask. A head of household who provided stability, structure, and discipline. A mother-may-I guy would not fit the bill.

Grant was a nice man. A good man. They had no commitments, but eventually she would meet someone who could provide everything she needed, and she would move on. It wasn’t right to use him to stave off the loneliness or to scratch an itch. He deserved better.

“Hey…are you okay?” Grant settled a gentle hand on her shoulder, and she realized a long moment had passed since she’d agreed to leave.

Dating did not get easier when you got older. If anything, it got more complicated. She took a deep breath and turned. She didn’t want to disappoint him, to hurt him. She liked him. Enjoyed his company, his conversation, his laugh.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t do this.”

“If you’re not ready, we don’t have to. I understand,” he said.

He didn’t understand. She would not be ready, ever. Not with him. But the words to mark paid to their fledgling relationship refused to leave her lips. Why did he have to be so nice? Attractive. Sexy. Damn him!

“Why don’t we go have some tea and dessert?” he suggested.

“All right,” she agreed, because she couldn’t bring herself to ask him to take her home.

She slipped out of his sports coat and felt an instant loss of warmth. “Thank you.” She returned it, giving back more than his jacket.

“Are you sure? It’s still chilly in here.”

The only thing she was sure about was how confused she was. “I’m good. Thank you.”

Grant shrugged into his jacket, and they exited the gallery. Misery thickened Liz’s throat, but she held her head high as they strolled down the corridor. They avoided the crowded elevator for the empty stairwell. Liz started to descend the steps, but Grant stopped her on the landing. He lightly gripped her upper arms.

“Listen,” he said. “I’m attracted to you, and I want to sleep with you. But it has to be right. You were married a long time, and this is a big step. We’ll take it at your pace. I’m sorry if I came on too strong.”

He brushed his thumb over her face, and Liz realized she was crying. Her face heated with mortification.

“Hey….” He wrapped his arms around her in a hug, and she hid her face against his neck. He chuckled, a sound of such tenderness, Liz cried harder. “Sweetheart?” Grant rocked her. “Tell me why you’re so upset.”

Because she wanted to sleep with him, but she needed him to spank her. Because her emotions were stronger than she’d thought. She craved discipline, but she desired it from him. Grant had wrapped himself around her heart the way his arms fit so snuggly around her shoulders. “B-because…I don’t know. Because I’m crazy.”

“I like crazy women.”

“Nobody likes crazy women.”

“I like you.”

“Then you’re crazy.”

“See? We’re perfect for each other.”

She smiled through her tears. A measure of heartache receded, but confusion still reigned. “I’m a basket case.”

“I like baskets.”

Laughter snorted out her nose. She thumped his chest with her fist. “You’re too nice to me.” You don’t make it easy.

Or maybe she complicated the situation. She and Grant had connected. Perhaps she should get out of her own way and let nature run its course. Stop analyzing and go with the flow. Counselor, counsel thyself. Many friends had sought her advice, used her as a sounding board to work through relationship woes. She could read people and had an instinct for who would be good together. How many couples had she matched up over the years? Dozens, probably. But her life was a mess. A turmoil of conflicted emotion.

Fix me a spanking, won’t you, darling?

Some people drank to calm their nerves. Others exercised or meditated. She’d been spanked. So many times, after a grueling day at work, Otis had taken one glance at her and taken her in hand.

Spank me, Grant.

“Can I reconsider?” she asked.

“Reconsider?” he raised his eyebrows.

“I’d like to sleep with you. Tonight,” she said.

“You don’t have to do that. I can wait,” he said, but a lopsided, hopeful smile slid across his face.

She shook her head. “I don’t want to wait.”

As if he feared she might change her mind again, he hustled her down the stairs.

Reasonable Doubts blurb

Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval  JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?

Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.

But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 ARe | Barnes & Noble

rc mug Reasonable Doubts is on virtual tour!

Visit and comment on one of my guest blogs and you can receive a Rod and Cane Society membership card AND enter a drawing for Rod and Cane Society coffee mug. Today, I’m with Renee Rose. There are fifteen stops in all. Each blog you comment on, gives you one more chance to win a mug. You can find the complete tour stop list here.

Coming Soon! The Goddess’s Curse! To be notified of its release, sign up to receive my New Release Newsletter. It comes with a no-spam promise. You’ll only receive an email when I have a new release. Subscribe here.

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#SatSpanks, #8Sunday: From widow to hussy…

Reasonable Doubts, a Rod and Cane Society spanking romance has been published and is available here:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 ARe | Barnes & Noble

With that out of the way, welcome to Saturday Spankings and Weekend Writing Warriors, blog hops in which authors present eight-sentence excerpts. Guess which book I’m excerpting from?

Reasonable Doubts! How did you know? :-) In the story, Liz Davenport is a widow with a spanking fetish who was in a domestic discipline marriage. She has begun to date Grant, a man who is not into spanking. In this scene, Liz wakes up in Grant’s bed for the first time:

CaraBristol_RandCSociety_ReasonableDoubts_400x600Against the wall stood a single sturdy masculine dresser, while, a nightstand supported a lamp, an alarm clock, a suspense novel typical of the kind enjoyed by men, and two discarded condom wrappers. Beige carpeting was strewn with male and female clothing.

She’d slept with a man. Twice. After a brief respite, they’d enjoyed a second go-round. Her list of lovers now had two names on it. Her late husband and Grant. You hussy.

Reasonable Doubts Blurb

Widow Liz Davenport assumes when she begins to date, her new man will be like her late husband–a member of the Rod and Cane Society and an experienced disciplinarian who can provide her with loving guidance she requires to feel grounded and secure. So why is she attracted to Grant Davis, an ex-Naval  JAG officer who works for her nemesis and has never spanked a woman in his life?

Events in his recent past have forced Grant to take stock of his life and try some new things. But spank a woman? He’s never considered that before, but with Liz’s coaching he’s willing to try.

But when the past collides with the present, will he be able to step up and become the disciplinarian Liz needs?

Thanks for visiting! To check out the other authors of Saturday Spankings and Weekend Writing Warriors, click on one of the logos. Saturday Spankings, as the name suggests, features spanking fiction and posts on Saturday. Weekend Writing Warriors offers all genres (romance, sci-fi, mystery, fantasy, etc.) and goes live on Sunday.

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Renee Rose on Mob Mistress and the appeal of the bad boy…

mob mistriessBy Renee Rose

I’ve always been drawn to the bad boy. Not the whiny rebel bad boys, because they aren’t alpha enough, but the tough guy ones. I loved Danny from Grease. Exciting, reckless, dangerous…the bad boy captures our imagination as the representation of the naughtier side of life.

Sometimes there’s an element of danger to them, even though we, as the reader, know he would never hurt the heroine. The danger amps the heat level between the couple.  I love the scenarios where the heroine doesn’t feel safe. I’m thinking of Belle, when she first meets her Beast, or Ann when she meets King Kong. I always thought it would be hot to be Bruce Banner’s girlfriend, because when in a temper, the Hulk is pure animal, beyond reason, yet still caring for his lady.

To me, mobsters have that bad boy appeal. Tough, alpha males who demand respect, they embody the heart of a dominant. And yet, we can’t see them as too amoral, or we write them off as a love match.

In Mob Mistress, Bobby Manghini isn’t wrapped up in anything violent or dastardly. A few bribes to get contracting jobs is all we see of his mafia side. And yet, Lexi, his “goomah” isn’t quite sure how safe he is, especially at first. Here’s a scene from their first night together:

He kissed Lexi, cupping the back of her head to hold her in place. She responded, her lips soft and supple. When they pulled apart he settled beside her, stroking his hand up and down the curve of her hip. “So, are you in some kind of trouble?”

She went still. “What do you mean?”

“I get the feeling you wouldn’t normally do something like this. Gina introduced us for a reason. I’m hoping it’s not because you’re an informer.” He grinned when her eyes rounded and she shook her head. “You need something from me. What is it?”

She opened her mouth but no words came out.

“Is it money? Are you running from someone? Do you need protection?”

She drew in a shaky breath. “No, not at all.”

He shook his head. “Don’t ever lie to me, Lexi. It irritates me.”

She blinked with wide eyes, but did not speak.

He prompted, “Try it again.”

Tears formed and he watched her struggle to keep them back. “I got evicted today,” she admitted, not quite meeting his eye.

He nodded, unsurprised. He knew something had to be going on, because she was definitely not your usual bar floozy out to sink her claws into a rich guy. She seemed like a smart, normal girl who had never done anything like this in her life. Which added to her appeal. “Is your stuff still there, at your apartment?”

“Yeah.”

He got up and fished his phone out of his trouser pocket on the floor. “What is the address?” he asked, his thumb poised over the keypad.

She lifted her eyebrows. “Why?”

“Because, I’m going to get it back for you,” he answered impatiently, then raised his eyebrows to prompt her.

“3650 E. Walnut, #254.”

“Landlord’s name and number?”

“Darrell Jones. I’ll get his number,” she said, rolling out of bed and padding back into the living room. When she returned with her phone, she looked nervous. “What are you going to do to him?”

He laughed. “What do you want me to do to him?”

“Nothing…I mean —”

He chuckled again. “I was just thinking along the lines of paying him enough to open up the place and let me move your stuff out.”

“Oh,” she said, looking embarrassed. “Sorry. I just…don’t know how all this works.”

“I’m just an ordinary guy, Lex. I work in real estate and new construction. I use family contacts to make deals, and I’m not above bending the law a bit to avoid paying Uncle Sam more than his fair share, but I’m not a criminal.”

Her face flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“Come here,” he said, tugging her hand so she crawled back up on the bed with him. He kissed her. “I’m not offended. I think you’re cute.”

Mob Mistress blurb

When hair stylist Lexi Tyler finds herself evicted from her apartment, her best friend sets her up with the mobster Bobby Manghini, knowing he likes to play sugar daddy. He offers her a luxury apartment overlooking the city and spending cash every time he sees her, but one thing is clear: he is the bossman.

Lexi soon discovers Bobby backs up his rules with firm, over the knee discipline, but he also takes responsibility for all her problems, giving her more support than she ever dreamed of having from a man

Mobster Bobby Manghini likes to be the man in control, particularly with women, which is why he prefers a mistress for sex, even though he’s no longer married. When he strikes a deal with Lexi to be at his beck and call, he finds in her the full package — a hot, intelligent woman who is turned on by his dominance and willing to submit to his punishment. But when she finds out he doesn’t have a wife, she is hurt by the deception and severs all ties.

Can he prove to her their relationship meant more than a business arrangement? Or will he lose the one woman willing to give him everything he ever desired?

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Renee Rose / Darling Adams is a naughty author and kinkster who loves writing about hot alpha males, Dominance/submission and power exchanges. Named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, her books are all centered around kink.

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