Hello all, and welcome to the Oh Thank God It’s Finally Finished last-episode blog tour for the Flesh Cartel! 🙂 Episode #19 has just released, and thus concludes the serial whose first episode released nearly two years past. We’re so excited to be sharing the boys’ happy endings with you, and to be with you here on this last look at the nearly 400,000 word journey into and then out of the darkness of human trafficking. We’ve done our best to make this tour fun and interesting both for folks who haven’t yet read the books but might be considering doing so, and for folks who’ve already begun (or already finished!) the series. Plus, there’s some very cool prizes up for grabs at the end of the post!
Thank you all again so much for sharing the experience of the Flesh Cartel with us, and for being a part of our farewell tour. Thanks also to our host for having us!
If you follow/have been following the tour, you’ll see that one of our tour stops features art by the exceptionally talented Ariaa (y-gallery link). As a special treat for one lucky commenter on our tour, we’re commissioning one more Flesh Cartel-themed image from them . . . and the blog tour grand prize winner gets to pick the scene of their choice! So if you have a favourite scene from the series that you’d like to see brought to life in gorgeous art, now’s your chance! The lucky winner will also receive a $25 gift certificate to Riptide Publishing.
Haven’t read the series yet? We’re also giving away a copy of the first season to five lucky commenters! That’s six fantastic prizes in total! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on any stop on the tour. Each comment (up to one per tour stop) counts as its own entry, so the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.
About the Authors
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in Alberta 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!)
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
Connect with Heidi:
- Blog: www.heidibelleau.com
- Twitter: @HeidiBelleau
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/heidibelleau
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author and the Publisher 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.
Connect with Rachel:
- Website: rachelhaimowitz.com
- Tumblr: rachelhaimowitz.tumblr.com
- Twitter: @RachelHaimowitz
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/metarachel
- Email: email@example.com
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
R: Hi, and thank you for hosting us today! I’m a Jersey girl born and bred, so nobody’s allowed to insult Bon Jovi around me. Which actually probably tells you more about me than you wanted to know 😉 Seriously though, I publish in several genres (so far all with an m/m tilt, even if they’re not all actually romances), and I also run Riptide Publishing on the day-job side.
H: Hello hello! I was born and raised in Saint John, New Brunswick, moved to BC as a teen, lived there for nearly two decades, and now I live in Alberta, closer to civilization (and an international airport so my flights to conventions aren’t as expensive.) I’m a nerd and a modcloth addict. I have an Irish husband with a sexy accent who can read me the phone book as foreplay. I write queer romance for a living and am happy as hell about it.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
R: I blame Heidi. She pitched Flesh Cartel as . . . you know, I don’t even remember? I do remember that Mat and Dougie were not originally brothers, and that we were very worried about the serial format, and that she talked me into it with all kinds of very convincing arguments and that by the time she was done I was so excited about the prospect that we ended up writing the first three seasons in like three months.
H: I pitched it as “hey this story idea has been gnawing at me for years but nobody would ever publish it” and then the rest is history. Or is it? Well basically, I pitched a series of loosely interlinked episodic shorts about various characters within the greater setting of the Flesh Cartel, all following different characters on different paths. It was Rachel who suggested we follow the journey of two specific characters so that readers would be more invested in their fates and the story would have more “meat” than just kink. It was me who brought up the idea of them being brothers. So different, but so close to one another.
How do you create your characters?
R. For me, it’s a mix of preconceived notions and organic growth via the process of actually writing them. I often start with a situation more than with a whole person. Like, I might think to myself, “Okay, I want to write a story about a Broadway star who is also a pain slut and a sexual submissive and pursues one-night-stands for all the wrong reasons.” (That was the genesis of Master Class, actually.) Where I got that idea from, I have no idea–probably because I’m fascinated by how simultaneously constricting and freeing stardom is, and I’m a kinkster myself.) From there, I sit around thinking about what kind of situation might be a story worth telling, and what kind of personality traits this character would need to make all of this work. I get the basics down, and then I start writing. And once you do that, as long as you’ve got a carefully constructed character base, all the little details start coming out in the narrative as you go. Often they surprise the hell out of you, which frankly is pretty awesome.
H: Yep. I generally start with a concept that intrigues me, and then the character comes from that. Who would be the most interesting in this situation? Who would be the funniest? Who would provide the most conflict and emotional appeal? Like with Doug and Mat, we originally conceived of them as polar opposite friends who are turned against each other. But making them brothers added another layer of drama and complexity.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
R: I’ve been writing since as long as I physically knew how to. Like many writers, writing is a compulsion for me, and I’m miserable when I don’t have the time for it. As for inspiration, it comes from everywhere. I’d say it’s roughly one third people-watching; one third consuming other stories–books, tv, movies, campfire tales, anecdotes from your parents and grandparents, chats with your friends about things that’ve happened in their lives, stories are everywhere; and one third constantly asking “What if?” or “Why?” and needing to find answers.
H: I’m much the same. I was telling stories and having my father write them down for me before I could write, and I never stopped. When I’m not writing I’m anxious without explanation and stressed and depressed and my self-esteem suffers. I literally can’t not write. As for what inspires me, everything Rachel said. Basically my process is: a concept pops into my head, I create a character to fit the concept, and then I find someone to bounce ideas off of until the story takes shape. And then I write.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
R: I’m boring. I write on the couch or at my kitchen table. I need nothing to write but quiet.
H: I have a toddler at home, so the thing I need most to write is either headphones to block out annoying childrens programming, the door to my office/guest room closed or else if I’m really stuck, I’ll escape to Starbucks for a caffeinated drink and some kid-free time. Almost the entirity of the last season of Flesh Cartel I wrote in eight hour spurts at coffee shops. (Don’t worry, I order often and tip well!)
What do you like to read?
R: More or less everything I can get my hands on. The cereal box at breakfast, the shampoo bottle in the bathroom . . . you get the idea. Favorite leisure reading genres when I have time are a wide variety of speculative fiction: soft SF, all kinds of fantasy, magical realism, certain types of paranormal and horror, etc.
H: I like erotic romance, lately. The sexier the better, and it doesn’t matter the orientation. Outside of romance, I like gritty literary fiction–especially by women authors–and dystopia. LOVE dystopia.
Anything else you’d like to share?
R: I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who’s taken this journey with us. We know that the subjects in–and the graphicness of–the Flesh Cartel weren’t light or easy, and that starting this series required a lot of trust that we wouldn’t leave you miserable in the end. And we’re just so grateful for that. So thank you, again–we hope we made it worth your while 🙂
H: God, can I just say “what she said” AGAIN? Because yes, thank you! Thank you to our long-time readers, thank you to those of you picking up the series now that it’s finished and you can read it all in one go. Thank you to everyone following this tour and hosting us!