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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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