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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52 Responses to Authorversary Prize-A-Palooza Day 4

  1. I loved the first chapter of Breeder. I still remember the sneeze 🙂 you are making me think about sharing excerpts before books are available. I normally don’t do it!!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Just make sure you as the author edit it fully and pick an excerpt with a hook at the beginning and a cliffhanger at the end.

  2. Cara Bristol says:

    Wanted to let everyone know that I have to drive my mother to a doctor’s appointment this morning–so my responses to comments will be delayed until the afternoon, but I will respond! Thank you everybody–you’re been so great about joining in!

  3. PJ Friel says:

    I love it when characters completely blow up our well laid plans. LOL!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      It was a challenge. I much to prefer to write from inspiration than hard-lined plotting. I feel like the stuff that comes to me on the fly is much better than what I devise while plotting.

  4. Donna says:

    Bravo! I’m thrilled about your success! It’s okay to say you did everything right when you put the effort in and received the pay-off.

  5. Sandra says:

    I loved Breeder and Terran and am so happy Urazi is getting is own story!! The fact that M/F is “wrong” in this world is nothing like I’ve read before.

  6. Renee M says:

    Wow just wow. Isn’t it amazing that the greatest changes and pivotal moments occur when we step outside our comfort zone. Breeder and Terran are great books. I will tell you as a reader that I am willing to follow a writer into a new genre at least once to see if they can carry it off. You blew us out of the water with Breeder – it is great. I was also hooked on Terran before it came out from following the Saturday Spankings Blog excerpts that you posted. I actually get excited about a lot of books from that particular blog. Thanks for sharing your story. Have a happy 😀

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thanks. It’s nice to know that Saturday Spankings had a positive effect. I’ve been doing the weekly blot hops for years. I used to do Six Sentence Sunday. Now I do both Saturday Spankings and Weekend Writing Warriors (WeWriWa). BTW, this week will be the last time I feature Terran on WeWriWa. In August, I’m going to excerpt from Warrior.

  7. Lisa Medley says:

    I love that you ventured out into uncharted territory. I’ve enjoyed all of your stories but the sci/fi rings my bells.

  8. Livia Grant says:

    So I was one of your fans you dragged over to Breeder, a bit skeptical on the sci-fi since I rarely read that genre, but your gut was absolutely right. All of the things you did convinced me to try it and I loved it! Don’t discount the power of your title either. There is something powerful with the word Breeder, at least for me. That alone would have caught my attention. I was one of those R&C fans that read your full unedited excerpt (I still remember your warning that day that it was un-edited) and I knew immediately I was definitely going to buy it. Looking forward to Warrior.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you, Livia. I actually put a lot of thought into each and every title, because I agree with you. Titles are critical. They are probably what catches my attention first. Covers are very important (hate to say it, but probably more important), but I personally have never bought a book because I liked the cover–but I have bought books because of the title.

  9. Yes, I remember you posting excerpts for Breeder, and making me very excited for its release. Looking forward to tomorrow’s excerpt!

    ~Jessica
    jessicasubject.writer at gmail dot com

    • Cara Bristol says:

      When a reader can remember what I did when–music to my ears. It is so hard to get feedback and metrics in this business, so anecdotal info means a lot.

  10. S.J. Maylee says:

    Reading through this post was like a walk down memory lane. I remember those early Terran posts. I was so excited to read that book and I have the same feeling now about Warrior. Definitely looking forward to reading its snippets.
    I’m so curious about what you’re going to work on after Warrior. 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I’m curious too! LOL. I do intend to finish up Rod and Cane 5, and then I have some ideas that you’ll hear about tomorrow.

  11. Melissa Weeks says:

    im glad you wrote breeder i absolutely loved it and terran omg cant wait to read the excerpt tomorrow for warrior woop i have to admit its the first book i noticed and i read it and loved it ;p

    misky90501 at yahoo dot com

  12. Wanda Fittro says:

    When the characters insist you write their story, you have to, no matter the consequences. I’m glad you discovered a series from Breeder.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I am such a pantser. I have hard plotted a few stories, but basically I only plan enough in advance that I know my destination and few key points to hit along the way–and then I deviate from that. That’s why I don’t envision the series until I get into the story. I did the same with Rod and Cane. I cannot imagine plotting out an entire series–but never say never. I pantsed my career too.

  13. Leigh Smith says:

    Glad you listened to your “inner voice”.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I’ve never been led astray when I listened to my inner voice–but have gotten in trouble when I ignored it. Sometimes the hard part is differentiating between a “wish” and instinct. It is nice when an instinct shouts at you instead of whispers!

  14. Building momentum with readers is so important.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Yes, I am very conscious now of the need to build a reader base. And even though I write for myself, I try to keep in mind what my readers might be expecting from me.

  15. Renee Rose says:

    I agree, the first chapter of Breeder was so very compelling. It’s interesting that you didn’t see it as a spanking romance– I definitely thought there would be more spanking than there was, so that makes sense. I love the misogynist world– so very hot!!! (fantasy only of course–LOL) 🙂 renee rose author @ gmail

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I gave very serious thought to not including spanking at all in Breeder. And again in Terran. Although it is not gratuitous in either story, spanking is not essential to the plot. I could have written the stories without it. I did decide to keep it for my spanking fiction readers. And yes, there IS spanking in Warrior.

  16. Susan Clement says:

    I have absolutely loved Breeder and Terran. I am an avid paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy reader. I actually found Breeder as a recommendation from Amazon itself. Those books that appear on the bottom when you are looking at a particular book. I, of course, read the burb and the reviews and decided to take a chance. It is not a long book but I needed more sci-fi to read. I cannot tell you how much I absolutely loved that book. The world building was amazing, the caste system, unbelievable. I have already re-read Breeder! Bottom line, a great series. I stalked your blog, FB, anywhere I could look hoping there would be a sequel soon. Again, may I sincerely ask that you consider more than a trilogy. The world you have built has so much more you could tell us about it and the different characters. I understand it is your writing muse that tells you when to move on or continue. I will so miss this world and its characters after the final book. You have been brilliant with this storyline!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you found it thru an Amazon recommendation. That means the algorithms are working in my favor. I am considering a spin-off series. It would be set on Parseon but in the future, and would feature the children of the existing characters (since they all seem to end up pregnant).

      You guys are making me give away all of tomorrow’s secrets today.

  17. bn100 says:

    Interesting background info on the book

  18. So glad you didn’t hold back and published Breeder anyways. You can always get new fans. You don’t have to just please your existing ones.
    Can’t wait for Warrior !!

    stamper_sierra [at] yahoo [dot] com

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Fans are golden to me. I treasure each one. I love it when new readers find my books, but I am so grateful to my existing readers.

  19. Susie Rowell Durham says:

    I must try these books, they sound like something I would like!

  20. Holy cow, I totally want to pick your brain now, because I have a story that is just begging to be finished. But since I don’t have the fan base yet, it is going to be a huge leap of faith to ask people to follow me.
    I loved your first excerpt from Breeder, and knew I had to read it.
    And I loved it!
    Thanks for sharing all of this with us.
    As a new author, this is helping me tremendously, and giving me a ton of insight.
    🙂
    Thanks!
    🙂

  21. Stephanie F. says:

    I remember reading the blurb for Breeder and being intrigued but then I read the excerpt and was hooked. I immediately bought and read it, I don’t think I put the book down once. It was so unique and intriguing. It wasn’t like the typical scifi romances I had read. I loved the dark undertones of it. I was also thrilled that the cover actually fit the book, which is very rare. So excited for tomorrow’s peak at three.

    fsteph55(at)yahoo(dot)com

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you. In the past, Loose Id’s cover artists had created my covers based on written information I included on the form. With Breeder, I took the liberty of including my own inspiration photos that I’d run on my blog and used on Pinterest. I was stunned when the artist used them on the cover. So I repeated the process for Terran. And she used them that time too. So guess what I’ll do for Warrior?

      Also with previous books, I was lucky to get my cover a week before the release. With Breeder, I made a point to request that I get it ahead of time. I had my covers about a month before the release.

  22. Laurel Lasky says:

    I remember reading the excerpt and was hooked. I had read some of your previous book and loved them. As a spanako when I go on amazon I find an author I like and check out any other books and if there are others I buy them. The only time I won’t buy a book is if it is so short (9 pages $2.99) I am offended. Now on amazon if you put in spanking romance there are lots of so called authors that are climbing on the band wagon and writing ridiculous 5 pages to 15 trying to cash in. I find the best way to find what I like is to check out the pubs. like BB, LSF, and so on. I won’t buy any counterfeit ebooks as that’s totally rotten. I am looking forward to reading Warrior. Big hugs. 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      You’re the kind of reader authors love!!! I have also seen some of those books– a few pages for $2.99. Ridiculous. Maybe I could sell my grocery list? Hmm….

  23. angel says:

    Your experts and post where killing me Because they where so good and left me dying to know what was next It was the first time I ever counted the days until a book was released A few times I was like augh Can I post telling her stop sharing stop doing the blog stop everything except writing Terran If I say Pretty please I need it would that make it not so rude You did a great job with the series and I am looking forward to Warrior
    noangelalways@gmail.com

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Are you saying, “Get to work!” LOL. I’m writing as fast as I can. I started working on these blogs a month ago. Actually, I write fiction 6 days a week, and then write blogs one day a week.

      • angel says:

        I am so kidding you I know you can not only write you must take some brakes in between as all writing and no fun will make for a very boring book lol But seriously I love your blog and the others it is like our own little family here in spanking story lane I couldn’t go on with out all you guys some days you are the only adults I have contact with and even when I only get to read but don’t have the time to comment makes the times I get join in even more special

  24. flchen1 says:

    Ooh, I’m reading some of this week’s posts out of order, so it’s great to learn more about your Breeder trilogy! This sounds completely fascinating, and I’m delighted to be able to to dive into the series now, knowing that your planned finale is coming soon! And I like that you’re considering a spin-off 😉 Woohoo, Cara!

  25. I absolutely loved Breeder & you’re right that excerpt had everyone waiting with baited breathe. I can’t believe I haven’t read Terran yet. The plan had been after Breeder was to read it the moment it came out. Life happened. I think I’ll have to hurry & read it before the next comes out. I am as big of a spanking romance fan as it gets, but Breeder was the first book I had read in a long time that had me vibrating with excitement. I had the after reading glow for weeks after that book.

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