Hi everyone! Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz here, sharing the inside scoop on the latest episode of our serial fiction thriller The Flesh Cartel, “Auction,” now available from Riptide Publishing. Pants Off Reviews has become our unofficial host for The Flesh Cartel, so we’re thrilled to share some exclusive details here about the next season of The Flesh Cartel, Fragmentation, starting January 2013!
We’ve brought a special prize with us to celebrate the release of Auction—one lucky commenter will win a swag pack stuffed with The Flesh Cartel gear! To enter, simply comment on this post in the comments section below before midnight on Sunday, 11/11. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you are the chosen winner.
Please note--this interview contains (vague) spoilers. We’re going to answer some of the questions that have been on readers’ minds since the moment they started reading The Flesh Cartel. If you prefer not to know what lies ahead for Mat and Dougie, don’t read any further!
The Flesh Cartel contains a lot of violence. Tell us—will things get more torturous for Mat and Dougie, or will they get a little bit of downtime?
No, no downtime at all. Not even a little bit. However, the way they’re tortured definitely changes; as Nikolai would tell you quite vehemently if you asked, he’s, and we quote, “not a rapist.” (Seriously though, he totally is. There’s some major cognitive dissonance going on in that man’s head, the reasons for which we’ll get to . . . eventually.) In upcoming episodes, brute force gets traded for subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) psychological and emotional manipulation. And each brother experiences that manipulation very differently.
Do we see any more of Nikolai, the man we briefly glimpse at the beginning of episode 1?
Yes. Nikolai will be back. Rather quite a lot in Season 2, in fact.
Will there be any new sympathetic characters?
In a way, Nikolai himself is quite a sympathetic character. Or at least he will be if we’ve done our jobs right. He adheres quite strictly to a very clear set of rules and morals that all make perfect sense in his head, and at times comes across as kind and strong and even loving--which at times he genuinely is. Make no mistake--Nikolai is one of several villains of the piece, but it’s not a black and white situation, and there are reasons for his worldview that, when revealed, may make you sympathize for him against your will.
You also meet a couple of other characters who are (or have been) in the same predicament as Mat and Dougie. First there’s a glimpse of a young woman going through exactly what they’re going through, and then later, an older man who may or may not be an eerie specter of what’s to come . . .
Are the both of you (Heidi and Rachel) nervous about the release of this next installment? More-so than episode one? Less so?
Rachel: I think I’m a lot calmer about this one. In a way, the “worst” of it--at least in terms of the overt brutality--is over in episode 1. If you’ve made it that far, you should be just fine with the rest of the series, although what starts to happen in Season 2 is so much more insidious and terrifying (to me at least) than what happens in Season 1.
Heidi: I think every release comes with a certain amount of jitters, more so when you’re releasing something as boundary-pushing and polarizing as this. Especially after Amazon giving us the boot, the journey hasn’t been all roses and daisies. However, the amount of support we received in the wake of the whole Amazon fiasco, even among people who really AREN’T our audience for this book--people for whom the content is objectionable or just too extreme--is really heartening. So I’m trying to think about that in amongst the paralyzing thoughts of AHH PEOPLE ARE GOING TO THINK I’M A SERIAL KILLER. [Rachel: She isn’t. *shifty-eyes*]
So do the boys get a happy ending eventually?
It’ll take them four to five seasons to get there, but they will get a, um, not-unhappy ending? No, that’s probably not fair; though they will both be irrevocably changed by their experiences, the series will absolutely end on a positive note for both of them. Will it be a traditional Romance HEA? Well, this isn’t a romance, so draw your own conclusions from that! Hopefully it will be satisfying no matter what.
But will they get their revenge?
All I’m saying is, Mat’s training is all about teaching him behaviors without breaking his spirit: in fact, it’s all calculated to make him feel hate more intensely. And he’s locked up with a whole bunch of boxing equipment to keep physically fit. And they’ve been hurting his little brother, often right in front of him. Who knows what a man like that may wind up doing when he gets the chance . . .
Blurb: In episode two of The Flesh Cartel, the dark purpose behind Mat and Dougie Carmichael’s abduction is revealed. Though Dougie is protected from the worst of the guards’ brutality, he’s disgusted to find himself halfway to broken—despairing of escape and terrified of pain. Mat holds onto hope despite repeated rapes and beatings, but threats toward his brother teach him well to lay aside his pride and pick his battles carefully.
Worn down by days of unrelenting fear and abuse, Mat and Dougie are packaged and marketed with the same ruthless efficiency as any consumer product: Dougie the prettyboy twink, Mat the rabid pit bull. They are led to the auction block as the showpiece of the house’s collection.
Mat would rather be beaten to death than play the role of obedient slave for sale, but Dougie, desperate not to be separated from his brother, strikes a deal with the pitiless Madame who
runs the auction house and controls both their fates. It might just be enough to keep them together—slaves, but together—assuming Mat even wants to be after Dougie fulfills his end of his deal with the devil.
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.
You can find her tweeting as @HeidiBelleau, email her at email@example.com, or visit her blog: http://heidi-below-zero.blogspot.com.
- Leave a Comment with email
- Must be 18yrs or older
- Winner has 48hrs to reply to my email or another winner gets chosen
- Giveaway runs until November 11th 11:59pm EST