10,000 blog comments!!!

Colorful celebration background with confetti. Vector Illustrati

Congratulations to

Melissa Weeks

who posted the 10,000th comment on this blog

Melissa will receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

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Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza wrap-up

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundA big, warm thank you to everyone who joined me last week for my five-year authorversary. Your comments and wishes meant so much to me. So many of you shared how you came to discover my books, and I appreciate the feedback. Again, thank you!

Now for the prize announcements. (All prizes were drawn at random, using Random.org.)

The winner of Spanking Bottom Red Wine is “Angela” (Angela with the gmail account).

Lisa Medley won the Day 5 drawing of a $30 Amazon gift card and a copy of Warrior.

Previous daily Amazon gift cards were:

  • Day 1 – SJ Maylee, $10 gift card
  • Day 2 – Nicole Zoltack, $15 gift card
  • Day 3 – Elise Maria Barton, $20 gift card
  • Day 4- Melissa Weeks, $25 gift card

All gift cards will go out today, and the wine will be shipped this week.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll sign up to follow my blog—it is the best way to get news of my releases and future contests. The signup is at the top of the sidebar on the right. You can unsubscribe by clicking on a clink in any of the emails.

Coming up will be:

  • A prize to the person who posts the 10,000th comment on my blog. It might even happen today! For sure this week.
  • A post on my “pantsing” process
  • Updates and excerpts from Warrior and Rod and Cane 5
  • Sometime later in the year (possibly after the first of the year) a prize drawing commemorating my 1,000th blog post.
  • Cool stuff I don’t know about yet—I’m a pantser, remember!

Have a great day, everybody!

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#8Sunday: From Terran…Marlix…so clueless

Ah, those language difficulties! Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. Terran has had a good run, but it’s time to wind it down. In August, I’ll switch to Warrior, the third Breeder book. But here is a final tidbit from Terran, book 2. Tara  has agreed to become Marlix’s breeder. They are negotiating terms.

CB_Terran_coverlg“What about my shop? Will you allow me to sell textiles?”

“You may run your shop.” Marlix scowled. “The male may not touch you.”

“Ramon? He’s not interested in me. He’s gay.”

“His happiness is of no concern to me, but I will make him exceedingly miserable if he touches you.”

Terran on Amazon

 

Terran Blurb

After fleeing heartache on Terra, Tara Diehl has adjusted to male-dominated Parseon better than most vendors until she is kidnapped by Alpha Marlix, a ruling commander. At first her tall, muscled abductor terrifies her, especially when he doesn’t hesitate to quell her struggle for freedom with some force. When her attempts to escape fail, she decides to seduce her way to freedom.

But out of seduction and subterfuge grow a true intimacy that cause Marlix and Tara to take action that drives Parseon to the brink of civil war, threatening not only their relationship, but also their lives.

Terran, the second book in the Breeder sci-fi series, is a “capture” romance involving a domineering but hunky alien, a female with a bad dye job and an even worse attitude.  All Breeder books can be read as stand-alones.

Click on the logo for other authors of Weekend Writing Warriors.

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Saturday Spankings: From Disciplinary Measures…some things are best left unexamined

Five years ago this past Wednesday, I signed my first publishing contract. So this month, for Saturday Spankings, I am excerpting from my backlisted works. This week’s is from Disciplinary Measures, Rod and Cane 4. As an anniversary present to myself, I’m squeezing in two extra sentences.

CB_Disciplinary-Measures_coverlg“Your ass is red like a cherry,” he said, and she bristled at the hint of pride that colored his tone, but then he massaged her bottom, stroking her skin, kneading the muscle underneath.

“Mm,” she said, wiggling. “I like that.”

“How did you like the spanking?” he asked.

“I don’t know.” She’d disliked the pain, yet something inside felt satisfied.

“It made you wet. You came like a firecracker.”

“Yes,” she admitted, her face growing hot with discomfort. She shied away from examining why she had gotten off on being dominated.

Disciplinary Measures on Amazon

Thank you for visiting. Please check out the other Saturday Spankings authors.

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Prize-A-Palooza Day 5—An excerpt from Warrior (Breeder 3)!

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundWow! Welcome to day 5 of my Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza! Like the past five years since I signed my first book contract, this week has flown by. Thank you everyone who partied with me (read my ramblings). I loved reading all your comments.

Yesterday’s winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is Melissa Weeks. Today’s prize is a $30 Amazon gift certificate AND a “surprise prize.” Want to know what it is?

Are you sure?

How about a copy of Breeder 3: Warrior? Yep, that’s it. In addition to the $30 Amazon gift certificate, today’s winner will receive a copy of Warrior when it is published.

And remember, everyone who posts a comment this week is entered into a drawing for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine. (Shipping to US only. A winner outside the US will receive a commensurate gift certificate instead). The winner of today’s drawing and the winner of Spanking Bottom Red Wine will be announced on Monday. All gift certificates will be sent out on Monday, and the wine will be shipped next week. Warrior will be emailed when it published–this fall. I will also have a few final comments on Monday. I hope you’ll join me one more day!

If you’ve enjoyed my blog this week, I hope you’ll consider signing up to receive email notification of new posts. It’s the best way to receive info about new releases and future contests. The signup is located in the sidebar top right. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking on a link in an email.

Speaking of future contests…since I started my blog, I’ve posted more than 900 blogs and had almost than 9,900 comments! When I post blog No. 1,000, somebody who has commented that month will receive a prize. And, the 10,000th commenter  also will receive a prize. I expect the 10,000th comment to occur no later than September. The 100th blog might occur before the end of the year.

 Day 1 ♥  Day 2  ♥ Day 3 ♥  Day 4

I promised a sneak peek at Warrior—I’ll get to that in moment. First some info on what to expect from me in the future.

World domination.

Just kidding.

Currently, I am prepping Warrior for an August submission to Loose Id, after which I anticipate a fall 2014 release (based on past experience, I’m thinking October-ish). Once I put Warrior to bed, I am going to finish writing Rod and Cane 5. In September, the rights to Unexpected Consequences will revert back to me. There will be a gap when it will not be available for sale, but I intend to re-release it as a self-published book. The rights to my vampire romance, A Scent of Longing revert to me in December. I will have to do a little rewriting on that one (it contains some proprietary character info owned by Decadent Publishing), so there will be a gap of a couple of months before I can get that one out. But I am going rogue! I anticipate more self-pubbing in my future.

After these projects, I have several potentials demanding to be written, including a new sci-fi romance set on Parseon but with brand new characters, a totally new sci-romance, possibly another domestic discipline series, AND more Rod and Cane books. I plan to use the Magic Eight Ball to help me decide which ones to write first.

Just kidding. But I have not decided just yet what I’ll do next. I’ll have to see which one yells the loudest after I finish Rod and Cane 5. One thing I have learned in five years is that I am a pantser–both in my writing style and my career planning.

But now a *drum roll*….

An excerpt from Breeder 3:Warrior

“Hold steady. Grip the stock of the crossbow from below with your left hand. Do not get in the way of the bolt.” Grogan stepped so close, his hardened manhood prodded her left flank. Anika gritted her teeth, and considered dropping her trigger finger to reach into her boot for Tara’s knitting needle.

Yes, hold steady now, Grogan.

“Line your target between the crosshairs.”

Young girl has some dangerous hobbyTarget in sight. Anika closed her left eye and peered through the scope with her right at the life-size outline of a male sketched in soot on an unrolled parchment scroll tacked to a tree fifty meters away. Focused on the round smudge center torso.

Grogan pressed his erection in the crease of her buttocks. “Squeeze…the trigger.”

Anika superimposed her instructor’s likeness onto the faceless target and discharged the bolt. The bow recoiled with a pop and released the arrow. With satisfying thunk it embedded in the tree. Lowering her weapon, Anika and stepped out of range of the alpha’s erection and strode to examine the result.

Right through the heart.

“Fair. For a female,” Grogan judged.

She compared her results—dead center—with Grogan’s. He’d missed the target completely, hitting it outside the outline. Perhaps the weight of his erection had unbalanced his shot.

She marched to the starting line with Grogan dogging her heels, flinging advice as wild as his aim. She shot better than every male of the Resistance, but walked a precarious path, awakening each morn to wonder if this would be the day she would fall prey to her compatriots. To Grogan who had singled her out for special training.

But joining the Guerilla Resistance against Qalin and Artom was preferable to what lay outside the camp. Anika shuddered.

After leaving Marlix’s abode, she’d roamed the countryside for a week before she straggled into the militia group attempting to defeat Qalin and Artom using guerilla tactics. Their secret weapon?

Breeders. No one would suspect a female of being an armed fighter.

But her instructor saw no reason to abandon the old use for females. Thus far she’d dodged him, but her luck and his patience could not last much longer.

“Many females can hit the target, but few have the strength as you do to cock the bowstring. You are the best female shooter by far,” Grogan conceded, his praise falling short of recognizing her true ability.

No good would come from stating fact—that she was their best shooter period.

“You have trained enough for one day. Let us retire to the camp,” Grogan said. “You may bring me the midday meal.” He peered at the sky. The star of Parseon hung overhead, its heat barely reaching the atmosphere to edge the temperature over freezing. But the chill provided an excuse to layer on multiple articles of clothing. The inconvenience of removing them had saved her on more than one occasion. Still, a clothing barrier offered scant protection. Some males—Grogan—saw impediments as a challenge.

“I feel as though I need more practice.” She peered at him from beneath downcast lashes and slumped her shoulders in a pretense of self-effacement.  “May I please try one more time?”

Usually the number of people milling around afforded opportunity to avoid or divert him.

But today, the alphas had formed two teams and split up, one group hunting for small game, another on reconnaissance. The females had been sent to forage for whatever they could find to replenish the dwindling food stores. Only she—by Grogan’s orders—remained in camp.

She jabbed  the crossbow nose down onto the ground and stepped on the metal cocking stirrup.

“You have practiced enough for one day.” Temper edged his voice.

Anika pulled back the bowstring until it locked, extracted a bolt from the quiver and slipped it into the flight groove. Cocked and loaded, the crossbow had to be fired for it was too dangerous to leave a loaded weapon lying about. A bump or a jolt could discharge the projectile. She raised the crossbow to shoulder height, slipped her finger off the metal guard, and caressed the trigger.

“Did you hear what I said?” Grogan’s tone sharpened. “Look at me when I speak to you!”

She snapped a sharp pivot. Through the scope, the crosshairs formed a perfect X on his chest.

His eyes bulged in alarm, and he stumbled over his feet.

Even Grogan could not fail to hit a target at such close range.

“I heard what you said,” Anika replied before turning back to the paper target and pulling the trigger. Th-th-thunk! Her bolt landed next to the previous one. Dead center. Again. She lowered the weapon.

Grogan seized her arm in a bruising grip, and yanked her around to face him.  “Never point a loaded weapon at me! Do you understand?” He shook her.

Anika took stock of her instructor’s reddening complexion, the slight tremor of his body, the decreased bulge in his uniform pants. Satisfaction swelled, but she bowed her head. “I apologize, alpha. When you ordered me to look at you, I had no thought but to obey.”

Stars exploded under the impact of his fist. She would have fallen, except he caught her, and struck her again. That one did knock her off her feet. She hit the frozen ground hard, and air whooshed from her lungs. Sharp pain radiated from her left cheek, as if the zygoma of her cheekbone had been shattered. Grogan struck out with his foot, but she saw the kick coming, and rolled so that his boot only kissed her ribs. Her crossbow lay several meters away where it had flown out of her grip.

Grogan followed her gaze, jerking slightly as if to lunge for the weapon. A blur of gray flashed in her periphery. Grogan hit the ground face up, his arms pinned by a large male in a dirty uniform. One of Qalin’s guards?

Anika could not see the attacker, only his back and Grogan’s face as the larger male rained a barrage of merciless blows upon it. Bones crunched. His nose shattered in a spray of blood.

Had the camp been occupied, Grogan’s screams would have brought defenders, but only she remained. Would she be the next victim?

Anika scrambled for her crossbow. The limb on the front had been dented. The scope misaligned. How would she sight it? Fire it? Would her bolt veer off?  In a panic, she required three tries to cock it. She fumbled an arrow into the groove.

Grogan had fallen silent, unmoving. He’d never had a chance. The attack had been too sudden, too vicious to defend.

The assailant rose to his feet.

With trembling hands, Anika lifted the crossbow as the attacker turned.

Unofficial Warrior Blurb

A female fighting for freedom. A male armed with determination.

Can they save their people?

As a despotic Qalin marches through Parseon intent on conquering every province, Commander Marlix pledges his sister to another Alpha to protect her. Desperate to decide her own fate, Anika flees and finds refuge with the guerilla resistance movement against Qalin. Marlix’s beta Urazi, a male of lesser status, tracks her down intending to bring her home to fulfill her duty. But when love blossoms between them, and provinces fall to Qalin, Anika and Urazi realize the home they knew has ceased to exist, and they alone are all that stand between the people of Parseon and a fate worse than death.

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Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza Day 4

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundCongratulations to Elise-Maria Barton who won the $20 Amazon in yesterday’s Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza drawing.

Today’s prize is a $25 Amazon gift certificate. To enter, post a comment pertinent to something I’ve written and leave your email address. The winner will be announced tomorrow. But wait! That’s not all. For each day you comment, you receive an entry into a drawing for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine (a non U.S resident winner will receive a gift certificate instead of the wine).  Comment all five days, get five chances. Complete contest rules here.

Day 1 ♥ Day 2 ♥ Day 3

By 2013, I’d been published for four years, but success had been checkered. While my Rod and Cane Society domestic discipline series sparkled, several non spanking romances fizzled. Body Politics had come out in January 2013 and did very well. In May 2013 I had three releases–none of which produced any significant income. Destiny’s Chance, my main book and the one I’d counted on, bombed. Disciplinary Measures (Rod and Cane 4), a short story, was released initially on Loose I’d website only. Once it dropped off the home page, so did my  sales. (In October 2013 Loose Id finally released it on Amazon and sales took off). And after splitting royalties seven ways, the Coming to Terms anthology income was negligible also.

I had to get Rod and Cane 5 out in a hurry. I was chiseling away at it — had 20K written– when I got an idea for a sci-fi story, inspired by an idea of women as sex slaves.  These wouldn’t be consensual BDSM slaves protected by hard limits and safewords, but women who were by law without any rights. Of course, I could not set such a story in present times, so it had to be sci-fi.

Sci-fi? What did I know about sci-fi other than watching Star Trek and reading The Andromeda Strain?

But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone and gradually the kinky domination tale turned dystopian. What if society were a caste system and women existed on the lowest rung? What if women had so little value that men partnered with each other used women only as breeding incubators? What if one of the highest ranking males of the society  purchased a slave for breeding, fell in love with her and rejected his male partner? What if everything these people were taught and believed with unshakable certainty was bullshit?

CB_Breeder_coverlgBreeder!

Between the time I first got the idea for Rod and Cane 5 and when I finally got around  to writing it, my enthusiasm for RC 5 had cooled, while Breeder was shouting, “Write me! Write me!” But I was worried. And had reason to be.

Of three books that had bombed,  two were paranormal. I figured it was because I had no paranormal fan base. I damn sure had no science fiction fan base. Furthermore, people either like sci-fi or they don’t. I had serious doubts that my contemporary spanking fiction fans would follow me into a sci-fi world, and feared that science fiction readers would be turned off by the spanking.

I wasn’t even sure if I should include spanking. From the beginning, I did not see Breeder as a spanking romance. It was too dark. I saw it as a dystopian science fiction romance set a violent, misogynistic world. Omra isn’t secretly thrilled by male dominance, she fears it. She’s been brutalized by it. Can I/should I include spanking alongside vicious beatings? Could I write story that included domestic discipline and domestic violence? Would people confuse them?

Would Loose Id even want the story? M/M romance is one of its mainstays. Between the lines, Breeder has a pro-gay social message, but in the actual story the lead character rejects his M/M relationship for an M/F one.

I foresaw an M/M sex scene. Would M/F romance readers be turned off by M/M content, brief though it was?

I felt like I was taking a big risk with everything. I could make myself crazy thinking about all the what-ifs so I decided to write the story exactly as I envisioned it and worry about what happened later.

From the onset, I felt Breeder had the most compelling opening chapter of any book I’d written. My gut told me if I could get people read the first chapter, they would buy the book.  With previous works, I always had used the blurb as the marketing tool. With Breeder, I knew it was the excerpt.

So I broke one of my key rules of not releasing unedited excerpts, and I ran a first chapter of Breeder on my blog while still writing the first draft of the novel. (However,  I combed through the excerpted material meticulously). The reaction I got to the excerpt was heartening. People liked it. They were intrigued.

To save time in case Loose Id didn’t accept it, I submitted a partial and synopsis rather than the complete manuscript as was my practice.  I had a contract in a week.

Breeder was different from all my other book projects. I truly mean no arrogance when I say this, but for first time I did everything right.  I took a more active role with the cover art, and I changed the way I promoted the book so that there was a demand for it before the book came out. I also had huge support from my Street Team and my author friends. Many, many people shared Facebook posts, wrote reviews, tweeted, blogged. I had an entire village supporting this book.

Breeder released in October 2013 to instantaneous success. I made money more on Breeder in three months than I’d made in the previous year. It has become my most successful book to date.

In typical fashion, I started writing Breeder thinking it was going to be a stand-alone. But I got into it and realized it had series potential, and envisioned a trilogy: Breeder, Terran and Enclave. When I told my editor to expect a series, she asked if there would be five books since there were five Alphas of Parseon. Duh. I hadn’t even thought of that! I gave it serious consideration, but when I realized that two of the Alphas were hardcore bad guys, I knew I needed to stick with the trilogy.

As soon as I’d had Breeder finished (but before it was published), I’d begun working on Rod and Cane 5 again, but when Breeder did so well, I set Rod and Cane on the back burner again (poor Liz Davenport!) to write Breeder 2: Terran. That was something else I did right–this time I did not break the momentum.

CB_Terran_coverlgI knew at the start heroine Tara would be injured and would be taken to hero Marlix’s domicile to recover. What I didn’t know was how to get her there. It was the equivalent of a Walmart checker being brought to the Lincoln bedroom of the White House to convalesce.  And then, unbeknownst to me, Marlix kidnapped her. Problem solved!

But then he moved her to the Enclave. New problem created. The grand battle of book three was supposed to occur at the sooper sekrit Enclave, but Marlix revealed too much in Terran. Not to mention that Qalin burned it to the ground! Between the two of them they destroyed the setting for my third book. Now what was I going to do? To to complicate matters, I’d tagged Anika as the heroine but I had no idea who the hero was! Urazi? Commander Ilian? Tarbek’s replacement? The first two books starred Alpha Commanders. Shouldn’t I continue with an Alpha as the lead of book three? When I realized beta Urazi needed to prove himself—that he was in fact a mis-assigned alpha, I had my third book. Warrior.

All of the changes that have begun to occur in books one and two come to a head in book 3. I think readers will be surprised at what occurs. There are scenes in Warrior readers might find disturbing, but I chose to write it as I envisioned it. If Breeder was dystopian sci-fi and Terran was romantic comedy, Warrior is romantic suspense (and maybe a little erotic horror). It is the most action-packed of all the books.

I am in editing mode on Warrior, and will be submitting to Loose Id in a couple of weeks. I anticipate a fall publication date.

Coming in the fall 2014-- Warrior (Breeder 3), the end of the trilogy.

Coming in the fall 2014– Warrior (Breeder 3), the end of the trilogy.

Coming tomorrow: a sneak peek excerpt from Warrior and some thoughts of what I might do after the Breeder series.

Tomorrow’s Amazon gift certificate will be $30, plus a secret prize! A “surprise prize.” And remember, every time you post a comment, you’re entered for a chance to win a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine. Be sure to leave your email address.

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Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza day 3

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundCongratulations to Nicole Zoltack who won the $15 Amazon gift card in yesterday’s Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza drawing.

Today’s prize is a $20 Amazon gift certificate. Leave a comment on today’s post and your email address and you’ll be entered.  In addition, commenters will enter a drawing for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine.  (Comment five days, get five chances to win). If a non US resident wins, a substitute prize of a commensurate gift certificate will be given instead.

Day One ♥  Day Two

Five years ago TODAY I signed my first book contract with Black Velvet Seductions. But it wasn’t until Loose Id published Unexpected Consequences, the first Rod and Cane Society spanking romance, two years later in the fall of 2011, that my erotic romance career started to move. With Unexpected Consequences, I received my very first four-digit monthly royalty payment, ended the year with five digits, and began to develop a fan base of spanking fiction readers. People started to identify “Cara Bristol” with spanking romance.

This is one of those books that received critical, but not popular acclaim. Great reviews. Poor sales.

This is one of those books that received critical, but not popular acclaim. Great reviews. Poor sales.

So it was time for another book! I had a draft of the second Rod and Cane story, False Pretenses, sitting my computer.

So I polished it up and submitted it, right?

Wrong. I started writing a new novel in a totally different genre. A contemporary “cougar” romance about a divorcee dumped by her husband for a girl their college daughter’s age. She finds solace in the arms of a young hottie—the sexy doctor next door. Reckless in Moonlight was published in January 2012. It was raunchy and sweet. A hot sexy read–that tanked. It never did well. I doubt its Amazon sales ranking  ever rose above 50K.

So I learned my lesson, and spanked False Pretenses into submission, right?

Uh…no.

I fell in love with Decadent Publishing’s 1NS series, got an idea for a vampire romance, and then wrote, submitted and published A Scent of Longing in April 2012. Sweet. Funny. So poignant, it made me cry at the end. Like Unexpected Consequences, it practically wrote itself. Unlike Unexpected Consequences, it, well, fizzled.

This was my first paranormal. I LOVED this story, but it never sold well.

This was my first paranormal. I LOVED this story, but it never sold well.

So this time, I got with the program and finished up False Pretenses, right?

Yes, finally I did.  Loose Id published False Pretenses in June 2012. Of all the characters I’ve created, Emma Dupree most resembles me. She is a petite blond, who worked in insurance and wanted to be a journalist. I am a petite blond who was journalist but ended up working in insurance. Of all the heroes, Dan Tanner is probably the “nicest.” He’s the good guy who never gets the girl—except in False Pretenses, he does.

False Pretenses sold well. I followed up with Rod and Cane 3, Body Politics (released January 2013). I had a lot of fun writing it, and its feminist v. dom conflict  was quite popular with readers too. Of all my heroes, Mark DeLuca is my favorite (Shh! Don’t tell the others). Damn, that man is sexy! After Body Politics was published, I received my single largest royalty check EVER until this year (more about that later). At this point in my career, I had three Rod and Canes published, and I was cooking with gas!

The second Rod and Cane Society book. Yep. It sold very well.

The second Rod and Cane Society book. Yep. It sold very well.

Next I wrote a story for the Coming to Terms domestic discipline anthology with six author friends, and Rod and Cane 4, Disciplinary Measures, which as a Loose Id “Fling” (short story), was initially only published on LI’s website (another mistake on my part). Not having fully learned my lesson about changing horses in the middle of the stream, I also wrote and published Destiny’s Chance, a reincarnation paranormal that was cursed from the onset. I must have incurred some bad karma somewhere. Why Loose Id accepted it, I’ll never know. I wish they hadn’t. Loose Id wanted so many changes to the original manuscript that I deemed it unfixable, threw it out. and started from scratch, from once upon a time. And I still ended up rewriting at least half of version two, after which it still went through a couple more rounds of edits. I hated that book by the time it was done. That was the only time in my erotic romance career that I dreaded writing. In the end, I think Destiny’s Chance turned into interesting story, but it never sold well.

My personal favorite of the Rod and Cane books. Feminist v. Dom! Another hit!

My personal favorite of the Rod and Cane books. Feminist v. Dom! Another hit!

And then I started writing Rod and Cane 5. I knew it would sell.  Fans had begun asking for it and revving up their one-click fingers. I was 20K into Rod and Cane 5, when out of the blue I got an idea for a totally different story in a totally different genre—sci fi!

Decades ago I’d written a couple of Twilight Zone-ish short stories, but other than that, I’d never written science fiction before. I’d read some sci-fi, but didn’t read a lot of it. I had no sci-fi fan base. Zero. I was pretty sure most of my spanking fiction readers did not read sci-fi. There’s a lot of overlap in sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal and both my paranormals had bombed. I would be stupid to abandon a guaranteed money-maker (Rod and Cane) for a probable crash-and-burn (sci-fi).

Hadn’t I learned my lesson? Apparently not.

I dropped Rod and Cane 5 like a hot potato and dove into the sci-fi story.

And had the biggest hit of my career. Coming tomorrow: what I did right with the Breeder series.

Every wonder what you would you would do if you were reincarnated and had a second chance at love? Well, apparently readers don't. This book tanked. And it had spanking in it!

Every wonder what you would do if reincarnation gave you a second chance at love? Apparently readers don’t. This book tanked. And it had spanking in it!

Leave me a comment and your email to enter to win today’s prize of a $20 Amazon gift certificate. and an entry for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red wine.

Tomorrow’s prize will be a $25 Amazon gift certificate and another wine entry. Be sure to leave your email address!

Clicking on any book cover will take you to an Amazon BUY LINK.

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Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza Day 2

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundCongratulations to SJ Maylee who won the $10 Amazon in yesterday’s Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza drawing.

Today’s prize is a $15 Amazon gift certificate. Remember all commenters from all the days will be entered into a drawing for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine.  (Comment all five days, get five chances to win).

Day One post here

Complete contest rules

By August 2010, a year after I signed my first contract (Intimate Submission with Black Velvet Seductions), I had two short novellas published on the BVS website and one anthology available as an ebook and in print on Amazon. But no one seemed to know BVS existed. Ellora’s Cave people knew. Samhaim, yes. Loose Id, yes. Black Velvet Seductions, uh no. I had a freebie WordPress blog (see it here) and nobody knew it existed either. In a week, I’d get maybe 50 visits.

afterwards

After completing the first drat of Spanking Melania, I stumbled across this photo. These were my characters!

And then on August 2, 2010, I logged onto my blog at 9 a.m. and discovered 75 people had visited already. I checked where they were coming from, and they were referred by “My Bottom Smarts.” If you write spanking fiction, you know exactly who that is. MBS (now defunct) was a very popular spanking blogger who listed MY blog as being friendly to spanking. By the end of day, I’d  had 350 hits! More–way more–than I usually got in a month at the time.

I was over the moon with excitement, and I thought, wow, spanking is hot. There’s a market here. I got a surge of motivation and inspiration from those hits.

I’d researched domestic discipline and spanking. The secrecy of the lifestyle intrigued me. Spankos do not tell their kids, their family, their vanilla friends about their kink. When I got that spike in blog hits, it sparked an idea…what if spanking didn’t need to quite so secret? What if there was a private club of men who spanked their wives? What if a naïve bride married a man who belonged to that club but she thought it was just a fraternal organization?

And Spanking Melania was born. I wrote the first draft of 26K words in 13 days (upon revision, it ended up over 30K). That book remains to this day the single most effortless piece of writing I’ve done. The story felt channeled. It was magical.

I realized midway through writing I had a series on my hands–that I could write about all the couples who belonged to the secret society. I submitted Spanking Melania first to BVS in September, who accepted it informally  immediately (though it took a couple of months to get a contract). By January 2011, my publisher hadn’t done anything with Spanking Melania, had not begun to edit it, and from looking at  my 2010 year-end royalties, it was clear none of my other books were selling with BVS.  My gut (and my husband) told me Spanking Melania  needed a larger, more visible publisher–especially since it would be a series.

It was a wrenching decision, but I asked BVS to release me from the contract, and the publisher graciously agreed.

The little book that could. Unexpected Consequences launched a series AND  my career.

The little book that could. Unexpected Consequences launched a series AND my career.

I was so disheartened to be starting over at square one. But I polished Spanking Melania some more, retitled it Unexpected Consequences,  and began researching publishers, devising a shortlist of three who might be interested in my kinky little DD romance.

Loose Id had said on its website that they wanted stories that would “make them squirm.” I thought Unexpected Consequences was squirm-worthy (it made me squirm!), but Loose Id was number three on my list because its focus seemed to be M/M and I was writing M/F.

I had my submission ready to send to Ellora’s Cave, which had just come out with a new”Taboo” line, which seemed perfect for a kinky DD romance. Samhain, because of its emphasis on quality stories ranked high on my list at number two.  I had planned to sit on my submission over the weekend, read over my query one more time and click send on Monday morning. I’d been tweeting about my upcoming submission (not specifying where I would submit). That Saturday an editor at Loose Id DMed me on Twitter, said she’d read and liked Intimate Submission, and asked if I ever had considered submitting to Loose Id.

Now what the hell was I going I do? Should I stick to my strategy and send an “over the transom” submission into the “slush pile” of my first choice or do I submit it to my third choice who actually requested the manuscript?

Another pivotal, wrenching decision.

I chose Loose Id. I signed a contract in April 2011, and Unexpected Consequences was published September 21, 2011. I did not expect it, but on September 25, 2011, I received a royalty statement for four days. UC had made more money in four days just on LI’s website (Amazon royalties would come months later) than I had gotten in any quarter with the BVS books.

Unexpected Consequences became the goose that laid bronze eggs. It sold quite well for about year, and now nearly three years later, still has sales spikes and maintains a nice little income stream. UC gave me my first four digit monthly royalty check, and started to generate a fan base of spanking fiction readers. Momentum built. I was selling books!

And then I did something stupid, reckless.

Coming tomorrow: mistakes and setbacks. Tomorrow’s prize will be a $20 Amazon gift card.

Post a pertinent comment about something I’ve written today, leave your email, and you’ll be entered into the drawing for a $15 Amazon gift certificate and a chance at the bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine.

For book buy links, click on any book cover.

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Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza Day 1

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundFive years ago this week I signed my first erotic romance publishing contract. Since then, I’ve released 15 titles. During my authorversary I will share the stories behind the books,decisions and consequences, and offer a new prize drawing each day of the event. Every day the prize increases! In addition, everyone who posts a comment will receive an entry into a  drawing for a bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine. (Comment on multiple days, get multiple entries for the wine). To receive the wine, you must live in the U.S. and must provide a street address (not a post office box). If the winner lives outside the U.S., a substitute prize will be awarded.

Today’s prize is a $10 Amazon gift certificate. The winner will be announced tomorrow. Be sure to leave your email address! (Complete contest rules here).

Let’s begin at the beginning…

Before erotic romance, I wrote mainstream women’s fiction. Five years ago in 2009, I had one self-published print novel under my belt (which I’d lost money on), three unpublished novels, and a collection of short stories, a few of which had been published in magazines (biggest coups: a $2,000 sale to Good Housekeeping, and a $1,000 sale to Woman’s World ). I’d won a dozen fiction writing awards. But with the exception of infrequent, limited short story successes, mostly I’d garnered rejections. Between agents, publishers, and magazines, I had racked up several hundred. I’d been contracted with two agents both of whom were unable to sell any of my novels.

I’d read romance since I was a teenager. But sometime in the mid 2000s, I started reading erotic romance. I’d read a Lora Leigh ménage book that contained spanking within a sex scene, and I remember thinking, hm…that’s interesting. I also read a Shayla Black BDSM book that I thought was very well written.

But I wrote mainstream and planned to hop back on the hamster wheel and begin submitting my short story collection to agents.

The original cover of Intimate Submission. The current cover looks like the one on Spanked!

And then I got the idea.

One day, I was bored and for fun wrote a playful story about an employment interview that turns sexual when the female job candidate and her prospective male boss succumb to their mutual attraction.  I threw everything I could think of into the story. It had BDSM undertones and a sexual smorgasbord that included sex toys, anal sex, and spanking. At the end, the reader learns that the couple are married and are role playing to celebrate their anniversary. I had wanted to write something different from what I was reading (Danger, Will Robinson, danger!)—so I juxtaposed the past with the present, contrasting what happened when the couple first had met with what was occurring now.

I titled the story Intimate Submission.

In my typical humble way, when I completed the story I thought, this isn’t bad, maybe I can sell this. Where I acquired the optimism after garnering hundreds of rejections, I don’t know.  Um…ego?

That was May 2009.  The ebook market was very different then. I was aware of Ellora’s Cave, but did not know of any publishers who published erotic shorts. Through the miracle of Google, I landed on Black Velvet Seductions, a small ebook publisher who’d put out a call for submissions for a “spanked wives anthology.” The stories had to be 5-15K  (at 11K mine was). They had to focus on a relationship (mine did). And they had to contain spanking. (Check, please!).

I fired off a submission immediately. I’d never felt more positive about a submission in my life. I was almost sure I had sold it.

secret-desires-cover2

This is the cover of my second erotic romance, Secret Desires, as it looked when it was first released.

A month later I received a one page critique of my story—and a rejection. Basically, BVS hated the way I played fast and loose with the time and did not like the ending (that the couple was married), but offered to look at the story again  if I reworked it and rewrote the end.

Rewrite the end?! That was the POINT of the story! My first inclination was to say no thanks. But by morning I admitted to myself that I wasn’t getting anywhere doing things my way, so I would give it a shot. I emailed the editor thanking her for the critique (seriously, no one has ever written a full-page manuscript critique after a submission before) and said I would resubmit.

I kept many of the same scenes, switched to a strict chronology, changed the characters’ motivation, and rewrote the end. Off it went.

And BVS sent me an acceptance letter and a contract, which I signed on July 23, 2009! Intimate Submission was first published in October 2009, but it was only available on the BVS website as a pdf. Amazon was not accepting works of less than 30K at that time. (Later when Amazon started taking shorts, BVS did release it for Kindle as a stand-alone).

By the time Intimate Submission came out, I’d read the two stories by anthology co-authors Starla Kaye and Richard Savage and saw that their novellas focused more on domestic discipline than erotic spanking. So I decided to try that. My second erotic romance, Secret Desires, was an M/F/M ménage DD story (I was still going with the smorgasbord theme). I submitted it to BVS, and it was accepted for the “spanked wives” anthology and published as a stand-alone July 2010 on the BVS’s website. Both stories came out in the anthology Spanked! in ebook and print in October 2010.

Yay! I was published! I had a foot in the door!

Spanked! contains both Intimate Submission and Secret Desires. This same cover is also used on both stories which are available individually for 99 cents.

Spanked! contains both Intimate Submission and Secret Desires. This same cover is also used on both stories which are available individually for 99 cents.

Foot in the door? More like a toe—maybe. And just the little one. Not even the big toe. I received my very first quarterly royalty check for Intimate Submission in January 2010, and it was $30. At the end of 2010, with the two stand-alone stories and the anthology, I only made $300 for the entire year.

And then out of the blue something happened to change everything.

Coming tomorrow: an unexpected surprise and the book that did get me a foot in the door. Tomorrow’s prize will be a $15 Amazon gift card.

Reminder: today’s Authorversary prize is a $10 Amazon gift certificate. To enter, leave me a comment pertinent to this post and your email address either in the sign-in box or in the comment box. The winner will be chosen by random drawing and announced in tomorrow. Also, You’ll receive one entry toward the bottle of Spanking Bottom Red Wine.

For book buy links, click on any book cover!

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#8Sunday: From Terran…she’s a feisty one!

Vector flying Star with light pink christmas backgroundWelcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. Thank you for visiting today.  You’re invited to join me July 21-25 for my 5-year authorversary celebration. I promise prizes. Lots of prizes. (Details here).

But now, my weekend excerpt from Terran, book 2 of the Breeder sci-fi romance series.

CB_Terran_coverlgHis eye detected a shadow, a flash of movement, and instinctively he ducked. A ewer flew over his head and shattered against the door frame.

“You son of a bitch!” Tara yelled.

She hurled a cooking pot lid, and then the pot itself at his head. Marlix stepped out of the path. “Monto! What are you doing?”

“How dare you!”

Terran blurb – Buy Link

After fleeing heartache on Terra, Tara Diehl has adjusted to male-dominated Parseon better than most vendors until she is kidnapped by Alpha Marlix, a ruling commander. At first her tall, muscled abductor terrifies her, especially when he doesn’t hesitate to quell her struggle for freedom with some force. When her attempts to escape fail, she decides to seduce her way to freedom.

But out of seduction and subterfuge grow a true intimacy that cause Marlix and Tara to take action that drives Parseon to the brink of civil war, threatening not only their relationship, but also their lives.

Terran, the second book in the Breeder sci-fi series, is a “capture” romance involving a domineering but hunky alien, a female with a bad dye job and an even worse attitude.  All Breeder books can be read as stand-alones.

Return to Weekend Writing Warriors here.

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