Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Discover Sierra Cartwright's Bind

I am thrilled to be talking to author Sierra Cartwright on her new paperback release, Bind, which is by far so damn delicious, you'll b begging for more. *grins*

Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write?
I’m a voracious reader. I have books and magazines everywhere, in the bathrooms, my car, living room, bedroom, office, even the kitchen counter. When I powered up my Kindle yesterday and hit the synch now button, eight books downloaded. My reading tastes are eclectic, and I’ll read anything recommended by one particular reviewer. When I travel, I always take along a book by Lee Child or Harlan Coben. I’ve just finished R.K. Lilley’s “In Flight,” and of course, one of the eight books that downloaded yesterday was the second in this series. I checked out of work for a bit to read “The Girl in 6E” by A.R. Torre. And I’m planning to hide away with Aleatha Romig’s “Betrayal.” Some of my favorite writers in my genre include Lexi Blake and Cherise Sinclair. Automatic one-clicks.

One thing that surprises people is the fact that a lot of my pleasure reading is actually non-fiction. I devour biographies, the more complex, the better. I love to explore what makes people do the things they do. I think it adds depth and texture to my characters. It certainly helps me understand their motivations better.

Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you?
Big confession here—alpha males are my biggest fascination. I know that in real life alpha men are complicated, and, let’s be honest, they can sometimes be assholes, too. Paradoxically, it’s that resoluteness, confidence that they know best and are right about everything, that frustrates, annoys, and intrigues me.

Another thing you’ll find in my books are strong, feisty heroines who know what they want. They’re achievers, focused, have agency. They’re the kind of woman I want to be.

So when they’re paired with an alpha male, who is almost most likely a Dom, conflict is inevitable. She may not believe that he knows best. And he’s going to learn to be a little more flexible. The act of loving her will transform him.

My favorite theme is absolutely dominance and submission, what it means, how it plays out, how it changes us as people. Not only do my protagonists have hot, kinky sex, it’s set against an emotional backdrop that helps us to see them as flawed characters. I hope readers struggle along with them, and, ultimately root for a happily ever after.

Do you have a favorite author who introduced you to the genre?
I began my writing career at Harlequin/Silhouette books, writing for the spicy Desire line. With a partner, I also wrote two romantic suspense novels for the Intimate Moments line. After a horrible divorce that I didn’t want, I returned to the working world and put writing onto the back burner for a while. Then I began writing on weekends and the evenings. But I was restless with the constrictions imposed by the contemporary romance rules.

Fortunately, ebooks were gaining in popularity, and I was able to stop using euphemisms and explore the topic of dominance and submission. I wrote a no-holds-barred erotic romance featuring a devilish Dom. And I was surprised when I had a contract within a couple of days of submitting it. Previously, I’d waited months for contract offers.

I’m lucky that I found a voice in erotic romance, even more fortunate that I can write sizzling BDSM novels and romantic suspense stories that have tons of heat.

What advantages or challenges does a writer in your genre face in today’s fiction market?
When I first started writing, I remember presenting a workshop with the title, “The Market Has Never Been Tougher.” Back then, Harlequin/Silhouette was one of the few publishers for contemporary romance. I remember being told there were something like two thousand submissions for each available publishing slot.

Today, with Kindle Unlimited and the meteoric rise of indie publishing, the world is completely different. Anyone can see their words in print.

I see publishing as a giant wheel that turns. Sales might fall off overall, then a compelling book will capture readers, igniting book sales everywhere. Just think of Harry Potter, the Twilight saga, Fifty Shades of Grey, the Hunger Games. It seems that just when sales flatten a bit, a whole new generation of readers will discover books. I embrace each new trend and am grateful for it.

Because so many books are published, I think it’s more and more difficult for authors to gain visibility. Once you find it, keeping it is another challenge. Marketing is a consuming demand. On the other hand, the interaction with readers is part of my lifeblood. I have formed real, lasting friendships with people who love my books. Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t go back to the old publishing model, even though I sold a lot more copies “in the day.”

What's on the top of your TBR pile right now?
My to be read pile is more than one hundred and eighty titles deep. On the first page of my Kindle library are titles from Eden Bradley, Angel Payne, Lexi Blake, Shayla Black, R.K. Lilley, Kennedy Layne, Nora Roberts, Helena Hunting, Stacey Kennedy, Eileen Dreyer, and Marie Force. I’m also eyeing a biography about the Vanderbilt family. And when I went to verify the title of it, I also added “Empty Mansions” to my cart. Thanks a lot, Love Romance and More! Now my list is a hundred and eighty-one titles deep.

Tell me a little about the characters in Bind from Totally Bound Publishing
In Bind, my first mass-market release, Connor Donovan is a Dom, the CEO of Donovan Worldwide. He took over the company after his father’s untimely death. As a result, he’s been forced to make tough decisions, be in the leadership role, save the firm from bankruptcy. He makes up his mind quickly and never backtracks.

His father had a child out of wedlock and caused a family scandal, hurting Connor’s mother deeply and leaving Connor with rigid views on relationships. So when Lara Bertrand, the sexy, competent daughter of a business rival walks into his office with a marriage proposal, he’s stunned. He’s not against the idea of a wedding, but he takes it very, very seriously. If he were to agree to something like that, there would be specific rules. He won’t agree to an arrangement in name only. It will be a real marriage, including Lara’s complete submissive surrender.

Where’s the story set? How much influence did the setting have on the atmosphere/characters/development of the story?

I was born in England, but spent most of my life in Colorado. A couple of years ago, I moved to Texas, and I’m in love with my new home. We have wild, wild weather, incredible storms on the Gulf Coast. And I love Houston. The downtown skyline is incredible. It’s the fourth largest city in the United States with tons of business opportunities. We have Southern manners, incredible bayous, a multi-ethnic population, and a vibrancy that seems to hum.

Most of the fifty-plus books that I’ve written have been set in Colorado. But the delicious Doms of the Donovan Dynasty all have stories set in Texas.

The main reason I moved to Texas is that I fell in love with Galveston. One year, to escape the cold Colorado winter, I took a writing retreat to Galveston. Later that year, I took an extended leave of absence from work and returned for a month-long stay. I fell in love with Galveston, its incredible history, fantastic homes, warm Gulf waters, and lush vegetation. In a move completely foreign to me, I signed a lease on a rental home, quit my job, and moved into a one-hundred-year-old cottage in Galveston.

I began exploring the area. I toured Moody Mansion numerous times, Bishop’s Palace on four occasions, and took every tour offered by the historical society. I began to learn about the area’s history and the families who founded the city.

Those families, especially the Moodys, provided the broad brushstrokes for the characters in the Donovan Dynasty.

Without the retreats and the fact I have made Texas my home, there would be no Donovan Dynasty. The family is larger than life, much like the Lone Star state itself.

If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write?
Five words? Are you kidding me? How many times can I revise? Seriously, this is a great question. It really made me think, and I appreciate that. How about this… She embraced all life’s experiences.

How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae?
Never. For me, it’s the other way around. Day-to-day minutiae distracts me from my muse. Left to my own devices, I would forever be in a fantasy world of books, ideas, and dreams. To me, all of life is a smorgasbord of ideas, possibilities, my beloved, “what if…?”

What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?

I’m thrilled to say that the Donovan Dynasty will be followed, by popular demand, with a series featuring Julien Bonds. Julien is an incredible, enigmatic character who I’ve carried in my mind and heart for almost three years. (My relationship with him lasted longer than my last marriage!) Julien, with all his complexities, flaws, humanity, will finally get his story.

Bind by Sierra Cartwright
Series: The Donovan Dynasty
Totally Bound Publishing
Contemporary BDSM Erotic Romance

Book blurb:
Only one man can help her. The only question is, what price is she willing to pay?

Faced with the potentially overwhelming loss of her family's fortune, Lara Bertrand turns to the one man who can help her, the gorgeous and powerful Connor Donovan. She knows he's dangerous to her on every level. Only desperation would drive her to make such a risky proposition. After all, she knows all about his ruthless nature and relentless determination to succeed.

When the classy, elegant Lara walks into his office with an outrageous proposal, Connor is stunned and more than a little intrigued. Ever since he first met her, he's been attracted to the cool beauty, but she's more than kept her distance.

Connor is absolutely willing to help her out. For a price. He not only wants her hand in marriage, but also her total submissive surrender…

Adult Excerpt:

Lara looked up at Connor Donovan and knew she was doomed. Attraction zipped through her. No matter how nervous he made her, she wanted what he offered.
“I’d like to show you the playroom,” he said.
Her blood became sluggish. “I assume you’re not talking about board games.”
“You’re correct.”
Her knees went weak.
“Come here.”
Each time she interacted with him, she found him more compelling, more dangerous. Logic should dictate that familiarity would make her feel more certain, but it had the opposite effect.
“You look beautiful,” he told her.
His gray eyes seemed darker than they had earlier.
With his large palms, he framed her face. She parted her lips slightly, silently praying he’d move in for a kiss.
He brushed back strands of hair that were curled around her cheekbones, and she placed her hands on his wrists.
“Behind your back,” he said.
“I like to touch.”
“I like to be obeyed,” he countered.
Reluctantly, she complied.
His kiss started slowly, softly.
She closed her eyes and swayed. He offered his body as support, and his strength flowed into her.
He deepened the kiss, forcing her lips apart, tasting, touching, demanding. She was helpless. The combination of his determination and masculine power silenced her deepest objections. She wanted this man.
Before she was ready, he ended the kiss.
Connor stared at her intently, as if seeking an answer to a question so deep that he didn’t know how to ask it.
Before she could possibly be prepared, he moved in again, this time with force, demanding her capitulation.
She was lost.
Keeping her hands in place took every bit of her mental energy. Physical sensation bombarded her, and she ached to participate.
When her breathing was erratic and her body responsive, he eased back.
“I could kiss you all night, and it wouldn’t be enough.”
“For me, either,” she confessed.
He lowered his hands. “You pleased me.”
The words were heady, and she exhaled an unsteady breath.
“You can put your hands at your sides. I’ll show you the playroom. “But first, I want to see you on the bench.”
Her heart skidded to a halt.
“What do you say?”
“Yes, Sir.”
The approval in his tone made excitement trip through her.
“You remember that we talked about safe words?”
She couldn’t believe they were having this conversation. “Yes.”
“Unless there are words you want to use, we can use red and yellow. Red for stop immediately, yellow for slow down, we need to talk, I’m scared, or to let me know you need something.”
“That works for me.”
“Tell me what we’re going to do,” he said.
“Ah…” She could hardly make herself use the words. “You’re going to punish me in some way for not keeping my hands behind my back earlier this afternoon.”
He nodded. “I want you to face the bed and hold onto the bench. I expect you to stay in place. Tell me you understand.”
Unhurriedly, she got into place, and he drew up her dress.
She bit her lower lip.
“Your ass was made for a beating, Lara,” he said as he outlined the top part of her panties. “I’m going to take these off.”
She closed her eyes.
He drew her underwear down and tossed them on top of the bed. “Gorgeous. Now spread your legs as far as you can and turn your toes inward.”
Lara found it impossible to breathe.
“So lovely.”
He rubbed her buttocks, light, then quick. Abruptly, he stopped.
She was anticipating that he’d strike her then, but he didn’t. Instead, he slid a finger back and forth against her clit. Shocked, she drew her legs together.
“Stay in position,” he warned.
He’d moistened his finger before touching her, and since she was already a little damp, it only took a few seconds for her to become slick.
She began to sway in response to his touch. It’d been a long time since she’d had sex and his touch aroused her quickly.
Before she expected it, he entered.
In response, she moaned. If this was punishment…
He began to finger her. She rose up but was careful not to let her legs close. Then she felt him push his thumb against her clit. The pressure was unbearably wonderful. “Mmm,” she said.
“Do you like this, my responsive little Lara?”
“So, so much,” she said, feeling an orgasm beginning.
But instead of driving her to completion, he pulled back then slapped her right buttock, hard.
She yelped.
Almost right away, the pain receded. Then it vanished when he pushed his finger back into her. The orgasm began to unfurl again. “Yes…”
He kept one hand between her legs but slapped her left ass cheek with the other.
The shocking sting added to the throbbing sensation.
“Oh, yes,” he said. “Tell me what you want.”
She shoved her pussy backward, wordlessly asking for more. “An orgasm.”
“An orgasm, Sir,” he coached.
“Yes! An orgasm, Sir.”
She locked her knees for a moment as she fought for rational thought. “Please. Please, may I have an orgasm? Sir?”
“Have you earned it yet?” He spanked her right cheek again.
The orgasm started to burn in her. “More. Please.”
“Beg,” he told her.
“Please, will you spank me? Please will you give me an orgasm, Sir?”
“Absolutely perfect responses, little Lara,” he approved.
He smacked her left cheek, and he kept the punishment going, slapping the right side of her ass five times in quick succession before moving back to the left. “I…”
“Whenever you’re ready,” he encouraged.
He continued to rain the blows on her bare skin, and the climax gathered force.
“I want your response,” he told her.
His words and the small amount of pain made her tremble.
She cried out, choking on a sob as she thrust her hips back, demanding he give her what she needed.

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Meet the Author

Sierra Cartwright was born in Manchester, England and raised in the US. She is the acclaimed author of more than twenty erotic romances. She has won numerous awards and is a USA Today bestselling author. Sierra contributed to the Clandestine Classics project from Total-E-Bound, with her retelling of the classic Jane Eyre. The project generated international interest, and her book was featured in segments on shows including Jimmy Kimmell and Anderson Cooper Live. Time Magazine andEntertainment Weekly.

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway~ The Guardian by Sarah Fine