Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz for taking the time to talk with us today. Don’t forget to check out our review of Flesh Cartel Episode #19: Promise. There is also a Giveaway, so don’t miss that.
Title: Flesh Cartel Episode #19: Promise
Author:s Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz
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!
Grilling the Co-Author: Rachel Interviews Heidi:
Heidi and Rachel have obviously worked together closely for a long time now on this project, but it turns out they don’t know everything about each other yet. So they thought it’d be fun to ask each other the tough (or silly) questions about the Flesh Cartel. Rachel, take it away!
R: So, what’s it like to spend two years writing with such a luminary author? How do you handle that much genius in one place?
H: Haw haw. To be honest I was a fan of your books and still definitely in a position of “I’m not worthy” when you suggested we co-write together. I nearly died of the fangirling, but I like to think I ultimately held my own despite the starry eyes.
R: You so did. I’m a huge fan of yours, too! *snuggles* On a more serious note, what are your favorite and least favorite parts of the co-writing process, in general and/or specifically with regard to the Flesh Cartel?
H: Favourite? That whenever I get stuck on a line or a paragraph, there’s somebody to write a crucial sentence or two to get me unstuck. Least favourite? Trying to coordinate writing times. Because of my method–I like to write simultaneously in the same doc, vs. passing a document or taking turns as some co-authors do–we have to arrange times when we’re both free to write together. Not so easy when there’s a timezone difference between you, or one of you happens to run a press and work way too damn much… :coughs:
R: :innocently hands you a tissue: Who ended up being your personal favorite and least favorite characters in the Flesh Cartel? Or maybe your favorite and second-favorite characters, if you prefer?
H: God this is tough! They’re all my babies! I love Nate for being so giving and driven and head over heels in love with Mat. I love Dougie and Mat because of how thoroughly dismantled their minds were. Least favourite in hindsight was probably Madame. I’d have loved to explore her more. I feel like the reader response was largely “what a bitch” and I wonder if maybe I should have given her more depth (while still making her irredeemably evil, because in her line of work she most certainly is.)
R: Were there any characters or story threads that you wish we could’ve fleshed out more?
H: Oops, I half answered this question already I guess! I’d have loved to have done a little more in the recovery end of things. We’d originally plotted a scene where Doug went on a date with a young woman from his past and how it went disastrously, and I’d have loved to write it, but ultimately the pacing of the story just didn’t allow for it. But there were so many aspects of his recovery I wanted to explore more fully. However, I still think this last episode should provide satisfying closure.
R: Do you ever rue the day you said, “Hey Rachel, let’s write this serial”? 🙂
H: I do and I don’t. I do when we have to do yet another hour or day of work, whether it be editing or marketing or blurb writing, or, or, or. I don’t when the monthly royalty cheque comes in. We worked hard on this series, and it’s really paid off, and I can’t complain about that!
R: What was the best/most exciting/most rewarding part, for you personally, of doing this project?
H: Seeing the reader response! Because of the subject matter I was expecting a small niche audience… or even for the book to flop entirely, but I guess we hit a chord with people because it was way more successful than we ever could have imagined! And I don’t mean just commercial success, but the fact that people got so invested in the stories of these characters. Month after month, people preordered and read them on release night and nudged us on twitter for hints and spoilers. It’s the first book I’ve ever written where people have drawn honest-to-God fanart. I could never have predicted such a passionate, dedicated response, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
R: I know how hard it is to pick one favorite scene from a story that is almost 400,000 words long, so how about this: what’s your favorite scene from each season, and why?
H: You know I actually think this is even harder of a question?
Season 1: Dougie in the bath, and the man bathing him is kind then turns cruel. I loved to write it because it showed that twisted, conditional kindness abusive people bestow upon you . . . and how quickly they turn it on you the minute you don’t give them what they want. I loved that scene. The first season is pretty over the top, but I like to think that specific scene was a moment of subtlety.
Season 2: Dougie dreams of Nikolai. After days of sexual torture, Dougie has finally reached the breaking point and is finally on the edge of begging Nikolai for his release. Right before he gets there, he has a fevered dream of a vivid family memory in which Nikolai replaces everyone he loves, including Mat.
Season 3: Roger and Mat become close. This is a bit of a cheat since it’s not a specific scene, more an arc that carries through this season. Mat’s lost everything and hates himself, and who appears but Nikolai’s right hand man . . . who’s there to carry out more manipulation, who Mat hasn’t liked since their first meeting and yet by the end of season 3 they’ve formed a crucial and even affectionate bond.
Season 4: Dougie’s last days with Nikolai. Even though their relationship is twisted and abusive, even though Dougie’s feelings are Stockholm Syndrome instead of genuine love, there’s still a real sense of tragedy and loss at seeing them separated. And poor Roger’s heartbroken, too. Gah!
Season 5: The kiss! Hands down, nuff said.
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!
With the help of the FBI, Mat Carmichael has let himself be re-taken by the Flesh Cartel. Objective? Rescue his brother, exact revenge, and destroy the entire organization from the inside.
FBI Special Agent Nate Johnson will be playing backup, of course, but to get Dougie out alive, Mat will need to make sure his brother is out of Allen’s clutches before calling in the troops. Now that Mat’s back in bondage, though, there’s no way he can do it alone. He’ll have to ask for help from the only man within the Cartel who cares about Dougie’s welfare: Nikolai. And even knowing it will destroy him, Nikolai delivers.
Bringing down the Cartel should have been the hardest part, but it doesn’t take long to realize that the real challenge has only just begun. Dougie doesn’t know how to be free anymore, and Mat is forced to admit that he may no longer be strong enough to help himself, let alone his brother. But with loved ones in their corner and their love for each other banked but not extinguished, Mat and Dougie learn that you can come home again, no matter how desperate the circumstances you’ve left behind.
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.
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 Heidi:
- Blog: www.heidibelleau.com
- Twitter: @HeidiBelleau
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/heidibelleau
- Email: email@example.com
Connect with Rachel:
- Website: rachelhaimowitz.com
- Tumblr: rachelhaimowitz.tumblr.com
- Twitter: @RachelHaimowitz
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/metarachel
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you follow/have been following the tour, you’ll see that one of our tour stops features art by the exceptionally talented Ariaa. 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
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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