Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cara Bristol Brings Warrior to Wicked Wanton Wednesday

Cara Bristol is here today driving my spell checker crazy with her newest sci-fi release.  She brings a whole new lexicon to Wicked Wanton Wednesday and spanking fiction with her creative and fascinating third in the Breeder series...  Warrior.  

Stay tuned after the excerpt for a wonderful and informative interview about trends in ebook spanking fiction and some personal tidbits as well.  (This is my tease, FYI)

Warrior (Breeder 3) 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 guerrilla resistance movement against Qalin. Marlix’s aide Urazi hunts her down to bring her home to fulfill her duty. But when love blossoms between them, and provinces fall to Qalin, Anika and Urazi realize home has ceased to exist, and they are all that stand between the people of Parseon and the end of the world.

Warrior is the third and final book of the Breeder science fiction romance series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Warrior (Breeder 3) excerpt:

She stared at the bloodied body. “Is Grogan dead?”

Urazi knelt and checked for a pulse against the alpha’s neck. “Yes.” He peered up at her. “Who is he to you? Has he used you?”

“Monto, no!” she gasped, not considering the alpha’s intentions pertinent. “Grogan is the leader of the Guerilla Resistance against Qalin and Artom, which I have joined,” she explained. Urazi’s eyes narrowed, and she added, “Grogan was training me and other breeders to fight.” Breeders could approach a sentry without arousing his suspicion then immobilize him, allowing male guerrillas to storm the post and secure it. She thrust back her shoulders with defiant pride. She, a female, was capable of supporting the war effort in a productive way.

Urazi rose to his feet to examine the paper target. “You are an excellent sharpshooter, but winning a battle requires more than skill with a crossbow. You would not fare well in hand-to-hand combat.”

Anika shrugged. “If I have a crossbow, I will not need to engage in hand-to-hand combat.”

“Did it help you today?” Urazi strode to Grogan’s body, and yanked up his bloodied uniform shirt. Attached to the alpha’s nipple was an insignia ring. Urazi unclipped it and carried it over to her.

Anika stared. A single star. Province one. Qalin.

“You have joined with the enemy to strike against your own people? You would betray your Alpha? Your sibling?”

Qalin’s insignia lay in Urazi’s palm, damning, but untrue. So untrue. “No! How could you say that? The Resistance plans to strike against Qalin. Against Artom.”

Urazi tucked the star into his uniform pouch.

“But maybe Grogan is an infiltrator acting alone,” she argued, fighting against the insidious memories; the ease with which she’d been accepted into the camp when her comrades learned of her familiarity with both Marlix’s and Dak’s provinces; Grogan’s constant but subtle questions about locations. He’d asked if she’d ever encountered Marlix himself. At the time, she’d feigned ignorance of the latter, fearing they would send her back to him.

Anika clutched her throat. What if Urazi’s accusation was correct?

“If he were an ordinary alpha or beta, I might concede it possible. But he is—by your account—the leader. I do not believe in coincidence. I have been observing the camp. Neither Marlix nor Dak would have sent females into combat.

“The Resistance you are so proud to be a part of is using you as expendable cannon fodder.”

Warrior Links:



Maddie’s Intimate Author’s Corner

I’m thrilled to have Cara Bristol in the corner today for the first time.  Cara is always on top of trends in the spanking fiction community and I was excited to pick her brain on some hot topics.  <rubbing hands together in anticipation>  Here we go…

MT:  Cara, get us started by tell me a little bit about your new book, the third in your Breeder series.  An inspiration, a funny anecdote, or a mishap during the process, something won’t find in the pages or the blurb.

CB:  In the Breeder series, I used every single letter of alphabet for names, including q, x, y, and z! In Warrior, just for fun, I included an anagram of my own name, both my pen name and my real name. Can you find them? (Hint: the anagram of my pen name is a spelling variation).

MT:  Oh goodie, a puzzle.  I can’t wait to see how many get it right.  You’re going to have to give me a pass, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Its at the top of my TBR, though.

How about this one.  I ask all sci-fi authors this burning question Star Trek, Star Wars, or Battlestar Gallactica???

CB:  Star Trek!

MT:  And of course the follow up,  Captain Kirk or Picard which ever your generation may be, Han Solo, or Captain Adama.  If the answers is ‘who?’, this interview is over.  Just kidding.

CB:  Toughie! It’s close to even, but if I had to pick, I’d say Picard. Kirk was a bit of a loose cannon.

MT: I’d agree with Picard, if you like the sexy accent and the older man thing he’s got going on.  But have you seen Captain Adama???  I should have clarified its Captain Lee “Apollo” Adama.  Does that change your answer??? 

MT:  Next question.  Writing a series is a huge undertaking with interwoven story lines and multiple characters, how do you keep everything straight? 

CB:  I know some authors will use a series manual to keep track of all the details, but other than keeping a list of names (to ensure I didn’t keep repeating the same letter), I kept it all in my head. I wrote them in close succession, and I pantsed every one. Sometimes I had to go back to a previous book and check “facts,” but I knew my characters so well, I didn’t have to do that very often.

MT:  You’ve touched on my next question, plotter or pantser?  (Plotter:  methodical process including an outline, notes and highlighters, or pantser:  fly by the seat of your pants, write frenetically and go back and clean up the mess.) What is you writing process? 

CB:  I am a pantser who plots and then ignores the outline and pants anyway. I outlined Warrior, and followed it about 1/3 the way through, then veered off. I think what I came up with on the fly was so much better than what I had “hard-plotted.” You can see remnants of my original plot, though. I had intended that the villain (Qalin) would plant a spy in the good guy’s (Marlix’s) inner circle. So I created two possibilities: Zoulin the guard and Nibor the cook. They’re still in the book but they aren’t spies. Even though I write on the fly, I do not write frenetically, and there is a not a lot of clean-up. I think it through as I write—which is why I write slow. About 500 wph when I’m really truckin’.

MT:  I’m thinking 500 wph in a standard 8 hour day.  Nice! 
The next question is about publishing.  To self-pub, or not, that is the question.  Do you or have you self-published?  What do you find are the pros and cons?

CB: After releasing 14 titles with publishers, I have ventured into indie waters. The rights to Unexpected Consequences, the first Rod and Cane Society series spanking romance, reverted to me, and I self-published it. And Warrior, the third Breeder book is self-pubbed.

I think there are four cons to self-publishing. One, I think if you are new to authoring, self-publishing can overwhelm you (even though it’s not that hard). There are so many decisions to make and you may not have all the necessary contacts. Second, many writers self-publish too soon. If you go with a publisher who offers GOOD (and that is the qualifier) editing, you will learn so much and produce a better product for it. You’ve heard the rules, and you think you’re doing it right, but nothing teaches you better than seeing your manuscript a red-lined! Third,  because of  no. 2, there is still stigma attached to self-publishing. The perception that indie books are not as good as traditional books still exists. Fourth, if what you want is a print book in a brick and mortar bookstore, you are still better off to go with a traditional publisher because as an indie, you will not have the same access to distribution. But, if you are focusing on e-books (which IS the wave of the future, like it or not!), no. 4 is not an issue.

The pros: first, the potential to make money is far greater in the electronic book market because you are not giving away half your royalties. You can take advantage of more markets. A publisher might hold the print rights to your book, but never print it. If you’re indie, you venture into that market, or audio, or foreign translations. You can take advantage of vendor incentives like KindleUnlimited or being able to list your book for free to boost sales.

Which leads to the second big pro: control. You have complete control over what to release and when and how it will look. One of the things that has bedeviled me was the timing of releases. I wanted to pace out my books so that they generated a continuous income stream. I’d bust my ass to get a manuscript to my publisher early, but they didn’t  get to it right away, and there went my schedule. Once I had three books release in the same month. I was torn in three directions and couldn’t promote any of them effectively.

I’ve presented four cons and only two pros, but the cons are tiny and the pros are HUGE.

MT:  Good insights.  Particularly about print rights.  

I’d just add one con:  time.  If you are a moonlighting author like myself, it is nice to lay much of the post production work at another's feet.  Fortunately, the publishers I work with value the authors opinion, or at least like to keep us happy so that they ask for input on covers, offer final copy review, etc.  Otherwise, with a forty hour per week job in addition to writing, I’d be much less productive as a do it myselfer.

MT:  Social media is a wonderful thing, but it also takes a lot of time away from writing.  How do you balance the two?

CB:  People always say you have to set limits on social media participation so you have time to write, but really, the reverse is what needs to happen. You need to set a daily goal of how much you’re going to write and stick to it. Any time left over can go to social media.

MT:  A daily goal for writing?  What a novel idea.  No pun intended, really.  I love that you have such discipline.  How do I get some of that?  I write when the spirit moves me, which is feast or famine.  When it’s famine time, that’s when I blog and chat on FB, unless I get sucked in by a friend, which often happens.

MT:  There has been a lot of discussion in social media and the blogs of late about changes in the e-book industry, including difficulties with self publishing and also the recent crack down on erotic content including titles, cover art, and the scary Amazon dungeon.  How have you been affected and what do you see as the future impact on authors?

CB:  OMG. About a month before the release of Warrior, Breeder, the first book, was adult tagged and thrown into the dungeon. That meant that when the 3rd book released, the 1st book would be invisible. Crisis! When Loose Id, my publisher, was unable to get the book untagged. I spent a frantic week on the phone with Amazon and got the adult tag removed. But after all the drama, I understand Amazon’s position, truly I do. They are trying to avoid salacious packaging on their site. From my observation, they don’t care what’s in the book, they only care what buyers (and potentially, children) see as they browse. So cover and blurb are the targets. Some books clearly, obviously are adult . Others clearly, obviously are NOT. But there is a huge gray area in the middle, and that’s where authors and publishers need to make smart, business decisions. “Adult” is in the eye of the beholder, and Amazon is the beholder.

MT:  As a former parole of the Amazon dungeon, I feel your pain.  I’m glad you were able to fix it before your new release, which would have been devastating.  We know that a new book in a series catches the eye of new readers and your older books soar, too.  I’m sure it was horrible.

How about some fun stuff before we go?   Tell me 5 fun facts about yourself that would surprise us if we knew, sexy or mundane is up to you…

CB:  My five...

1.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

2.  I’m an only child.

3.  I love to crunch numbers. I track my book sales, figure out percentages earned (from various vendor sites), maintain a monthly household budget, estimate investment growth, etc. This is fun to me. But, I don’t bother to balance my checkbook. If I get within $20 of what the bank says I have, I figure it’s close enough.

4.  I have not been to a movie in maybe a decade. I don’t like sitting in a theater for two hours.

5.  My husband encouraged me to write erotic romance because he said, “sex sells.” And then he was shocked by what I wrote.

MT:  Hahaha!  I love #5.  I guess Mr. Bristol learned to be careful what he asked for.  I’m also with you on #4.  I don’t see the appeal of sitting in a crowded theater with a bunch of coughing, chatting, chair kicking, wrapper crinkling strangers.  Except for the popcorn, which can’t be beat. 

That wraps it up for us.  Thanks for chatting with me Cara, it was so much fun.  Come back any time and best of luck with Warrior.  I know it will do great!

Here's more information on Cara and ways to follow her work:  

Cara Bristol bio

Cara Bristol continues to evolve, adding new subgenres of erotic romance to her repertoire. She has written spanking romance, contemporary romance, paranormal, and science fiction romance. No matter what the genre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

Join me next week Wicked Wanton fans when my guest will be new author Meredith O’Reilly.  Have a Happy Halloween!


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