To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
My newest release, which I’m sharing info about today, is a short story titled On Display. It’s a very sexy erotica piece about a bouncer/personal trainer named Hunter and a Pilates instructor named Olivia who discover both a mutual attraction and an affinity for exhibitionism.
Coming up, I have a free read which bridges two books in my Storm series – Should’ve Known Better, which released in April, and Underneath It All, which will release this fall. The story is called Moving Day. It will be on Smashwords and Wattpad and possibly other places.
I am also self-publishing an anthology with two friends of mine, Isabo Kelly and Stacey Agdern. It’s a set of three interrelated stories and runs around 84,000 words before edits.
In the fall and winter I will have more releases coming from Twenty or Less Press, Ellora’s Cave, and Loose Id, including three more paperbacks.
Do you have a book that was easiest to write or one that was the hardest?
I found Master Class very easy to write, in that it poured out of my fingers. I had never understood what writers meant when they said that; now I do.
As far as the hardest, hmmmm, that’s a tough one. Probably a story titled Awakening which my agent is shopping right now. I jokingly dubbed it “The Book That Would Never End” because the first draft just went on and on and on. It’s a BDSM story, but the BDSM isn’t too heavy. There’s a lot of romance to it.
When you begin your stories, do you go with the flow, or go with an outline?
I’m sure readers have heard the terms plotters and pantsers. Many writers are a combination of the two, me included, though I lean much closer to a pantser. My books often have scenes or entire plot points I hadn’t originally planned on, but they seemed to fit the story. I usually start with a half-page to full-page outline – certainly not paragraphs. Mostly it’s just a bunch of phrases. I move stuff around if I need to, or add something if an idea occurs to me but it’s until later in the book. Many times I delete things from the outline because they no longer fit with where the plot is going.
Is it hard coming up with titles or characters names?
I don’t usually have trouble coming up with titles, though a couple of mine have been changed. Funny enough, Master Class was called Awakening when I submitted it, but Loose Id already had a similarly-titled book so they asked me for a list of alternate names. I brainstormed with my editor and came up with the clever play on words, Master Class. The hero is both a Dom and a professor, you see. ;-)
And now Awakening is the title of that BDSM story my agent has out on submission.
As for character names, I keep a Word document of all the major names I’ve used. If I find myself stumped about a name, I go online to those baby name websites and troll until I find one I like.
If you were to replenish your cabinets with one junk food, what would it be?
I’m going to go with a snacky thing since you said cabinets. Cheez-its – I love them. No fancy flavors, though I eat the ones made from whole grains now. Cheez-its with Pepsi; junk food perfection.
Is music a factor for you while you are writing? Do certain songs put you in the right frame of mind to write certain stories?
I don’t normally listen to music while I’m writing. It distracts me. Sometimes if it’s loud and I’m out somewhere I’ll throw my headphones in to block out the noise, but I’ve never been one to have soundtracks for books or to use music as a muse. You may notice, however, I have an affinity for using song titles as book titles. My Buffalo Intimdiators trilogy is named after three Foreigner songs – Head Games, Cold As Ice, and Double Vision. The titles fit with the theme of ménages, though, so the idea wasn’t entirely random.
What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know?
Don’t write to the market. DO make sure what you’re writing is sellable, but don’t write a copycat novel to one already popular. By the time you’d get it out there, even if you were an established author, the trend will probably have passed.
On Display by Cassandra Carr
An Exotika® contemporary erotica story from Ellora’s Cave
Hunter wants Olivia, and the feeling is mutual. She decides to take her secret attraction public and show up at the club where he’s bouncing, ready to lay everything on the line to snag him. Hunter can’t believe his luck, and soon makes his own move on the woman he’s lusted after for months. Things heat up between them during an exciting—and exhibitionist—evening that leaves them both anticipating more sexy times to come.
Shit, where did he go?
Olivia jumped and a large hand shot out to steady her with a solid grip to her waist. She looked up. Hunter. “You scared me.”
“I see that.” He tilted his head. “You look flushed. You okay?”
“Yeah. I just get hot when I dance.”
“You were hot before that.” A shocked expression flitted over his face before he looked down and coughed. Olivia had to fight a laugh.
Well, at least it’s more evidence he’s interested.
He shifted his weight, crossing his arms over his chest, and she had to suppress the urge to drool. The man was beautiful. There was no other way to describe him. Olivia loved his hair. It was thick and wavy and when it was down it hung to his shoulders. His face was angular as if he had some Native American ancestry and his chocolate-brown eyes could be either intense or full of mirth, depending on his mood. She’d spent more than one night with her Hitachi Magic Wand, imagining his full lips skating over her heated skin.
That same skin was definitely warm now. If she’d thought dancing had made her sweat, this was torture. How was a woman expected to just sit there and let hotness like Hunter go unexplored?
“Do you, um,” Hunter gestured toward the back of the club, “want to get some air?” Her eyebrows drew down. There was no exit that way. Clearing his throat and sending her a smile, he continued. “There’s a patio no one uses on a night like tonight when it’s so freaking hot. It was a smoking patio, now Vince uses it for private parties and stuff.” Hunter looked away and then back at her. He was babbling. It was adorable and sexy all at the same time.
“Sure, that sounds good. Can’t be any hotter than it is in here.”
He laughed. Dimples. I’m a dead woman. “Yeah, it’s like an oven, isn’t it? The air-conditioning is no match for all the people.”
She attempted to hop off her barstool without flashing him and realized he’d never let her waist go. His other hand joined in the act and he brought her gracefully to the floor. “Thanks.” He was dangerously close and Olivia hoped like hell she’d have the courage to make it known how much she wanted him. Maybe he’d make it unnecessary.
He placed a hand on her back right above the swell of her ass and guided her through the crowd and toward a dimly lit hallway. As Hunter leaned in, his breath fanned over her ear. Olivia shivered. “We don’t keep the lights on anymore. It discourages people from coming back here now that there’s nowhere for them to go.”
Olivia nodded mutely and Hunter guided her farther into the recesses of the hallway until they came to a door, which he pushed open and held for her.
She took a few seconds to assess her surroundings. “Wow, this is really nice.”
He closed the door behind them. “Yeah, now that the smoke smell is finally getting better and Vince added some crap customers like, it’s not bad.”
Her hand shot up to cover her mouth after a laugh tumbled out. Hunter grinned and those dimples made another appearance. “I’m sorry.”
“About what? Laughing at me?”
“I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at your description of this area. ‘Crap customers like’?”
“You know what I mean.” He gestured to the various potted plants scattered throughout the area and the grill in the corner. “Customers love the trees with the little white lights, no matter how boring and common they are now. And the grill? I don’t remember the last time that was used, except at our employee party about eight months ago.”
He caressed her cheek. “You have no idea how gorgeous you look in the moonlight.”
She shook her head with a chuckle. “That’s quite a line.”
“Not a line. The truth.” Before she could comment further, he’d moved his hand to the back of her neck and brought her face to his. “I need to kiss you.”
Their lips met and Olivia moaned. As if that was the sign he was looking for, Hunter snaked his other arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him, sliding a thick thigh between her legs as he deepened the kiss. His tongue demanded entrance to her mouth, and with a sigh, she opened to him. Hunter wasted no time, pushing inside and exploring her depths. Her tongue chased his when he retreated and he groaned.
Even if they went no further she’d have fodder for hundreds of nights of fantasies. Oh, could the man kiss. He put his entire body into it, slowly stoking the fire inside her. Finally they came up for air, both panting.
He leaned back a little more and fixed a heated stare on her. “I’m on break with about twenty minutes left. I need you.”
She couldn’t deny him. Hell, she didn’t want to. “Then take me.”
About the Author:
So who am I? I've been writing my whole life, but only decided to pursue writing as a career in the past couple of years. I'm lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband named Inspiration who brings home the bacon so I can stay home and fry it (and eat it all before he's able to fight through the rush hour traffic - I'm mean that way, but like I always say, don't get between a woman and her bacon).
I live in Western New York with Inspiration and our young daughter, Too Cute for Words. I'm a major hockey fan, which explains why many of my heroes are hockey players. If you haven't looked at the guys playing the sport today, search for some images. You won't be disappointed.
I'm a member of the leading professional association for romance novelists, Romance Writers of America, and also serve as president of my local chapter. I've met so many interesting people through these organizations and highly recommend them to any aspiring writer!
I'm represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Sanford J Greenburg and Associates.
As you can see, my life is pretty busy, but I try to take as much time as I can to write. And re-write. And re-write. It's a never-ending, vicious circle, and I love it!