I happy to have Heidi Belleau at Smexy today to not only celebrate the release of The Flesh Cartel which she co-writes with Rachel Haimowitz but also to celebrate the Riptide Publishing anniversary. Take it away Heidi.
Thank you for joining us for The Flesh Cartel virtual book tour! All week long, we’ll be giving readers an up-close look at our new psychosexual thriller, The Flesh Cartel. The first episode in this serial story, Capture, is now available for purchase via the Riptide Publishing website. Because October is also Riptide Publishing’s Anniversary Blog Hop Bash month, we’re giving away an extra special reader prize at every stop along this tour—and all month long! One commenter from every stop we make in October will win a $10 credit to Riptide Publishing. Simply leave a comment below by 11:59 pm on Sunday, Oct 7th (email address included) to enter. Visit the First Anniversary Blog Hop Bash page for our complete October schedule, and make sure to check out each stop to increase your chances of winning great prizes all month long!
Five Reasons We Love Serial Fiction (And Why You Should, Too!)
When I first pitched the basic concept of The Flesh Cartel to Rachel Haimowitz and our editor Sarah Frantz, I’d originally conceived of it as a serial series of short stories all featuring different characters. Eventually, Rachel in her infinite wisdom suggested we follow two characters along one longer arc in a series of novels. It took me a month to sell her on the serial format, although now she’s a believer. I’m guessing there’s a few non-believers out here in the great wide world, too. Allow me to seduce you?
1. At Riptide, it doesn’t have to cost any more than buying a series of books.
Yes, if you buy The Flesh Cartel episode by episode, you’ll be paying $2.99 for each installment, which is the across-the-board price of short fiction at Riptide, but can definitely add up. However, on the Riptide website you can also buy by season, either after the season has “aired” in one lump package, or by subscribing beforehand, which means you get each episode as they come out while still only paying the discounted season price, which is comparable to a novel of the same length (and thus significantly cheaper than buying the episodes separately). In other words: if you buy by the season, buying serial costs the exact same as buying a book. It’s just the format that’s different.
2. It gives you a breather.
The Flesh Cartel is an intense story with content meant to push boundaries. It never lets up. Now of course, as readers you can do one of two things when you’re faced with content like that: you can choose to put the book down when it gets to be too much (and maybe never pick it up again), or you can be like me and be unable to look away, and read in one long binge marathon session. If you are the first kind of person, congratulations, I bet you can also only eat one potato chip, you paragon of virtue, you! If you’re the second, serial fiction might be just what you need. Marathon reading, especially with a story like The Flesh Cartel, has its downfalls. First of all, when you binge read, especially with a suspenseful book, you may start to skim or pay less attention to the details because you’re so determined to reach a resolution. You stop enjoying the journey because you’re focused on the destination. Even if you’re not rushed, reading in one marathon session might mean the story all blurs together in one long narrative blob instead of as a series of distinct events, just by virtue of the fact that you read for ten hours straight. In essence, the same way a ten hour drive feels different in your mind than two five hour ones. Thirdly, with a story that’s as dark and heavy as The Flesh Cartel, you might become numbed to the content or even bored of it. It may start to feel repetitive, just by virtue of proximity. Spacing the content out lets you come at each episode afresh, ready to be tortured all over again.
3. It turns up the suspense to 11.
Above all, The Flesh Cartel is a thriller, which means it lives and dies on how much it makes its readers squirm. How anxious it makes them. How much they fear for the characters. How desperate they get for the next page. Well, imagine that same suspense, but now you have to wait a month between installments. Enjoy! ;)
4. Episodic arcs and novel-length arcs are completely different beasts.
A novel with one long arc has different priorities and a different structure from a series of shorter episodic arcs. The Flesh Cartel isn’t a book split up into pieces, it’s a series of episodes, each with their own arc and storyline that fits into a larger whole. This means we can take time to explore in detail stuff that might be reduced to narrative exposition in a traditional novel, which by necessity is structured differently. Think of it as the difference between a movie and a miniseries. The miniseries isn’t just one two hour movie split up arbitrarily into half hour chunks. Each episode justifies its existence, its own place as part of the whole. A movie isn’t just a miniseries chopped down to a shorter run-time. Both are satisfying in their own way. Same with serial fiction at Riptide. The Flesh Cartel is a completely different story as a serial than it could have been as a series of novels (or even one long novel), and just as worth the time and money. (Or at least we’d like to think!)
5. It’s a journey
The way Rachel and I have this series planned, we’re looking at least four seasons, all but one of them with four to five episodes. That means at least 14 episodes total, which, coming out at a rate of one a month, is more than a year of stories. If you can fall in love with characters and become invested in them after one book, just imagine how you’ll feel after they’ve been with you every month for a year. It’s the ultimate slow burn relationship, and we hope to have you along for the ride!
In this first installment of the exciting new psychosexual thriller, The Flesh Cartel, orphaned brothers Mat and Dougie Carmichael are stolen in the night from their own home. Taken to a horrifying processing facility, they are assessed, microchipped, and subjected to unspeakable brutality—all in preparation for sale to the highest bidder.
In a world where every person has a price, the beautiful and subduable PhD student Dougie is highly prized. His brother, a rough-edged MMA fighter, is less desirable—and potentially too dangerous—but he still has his own appeal.
Abused and locked up under round-the-clock surveillance, with no idea where they are or even why they’ve been taken, escape seems impossible, which leaves staying together their only hope. And after being separated once by the foster system, they’ll do anything to keep it from happening again. Anything at all.
Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and the Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.
When she’s not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn.
You can find Rachel at her website, Tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Fantasy Unbound. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.