Please can you tell us about each of your stories?
Lisabet Sarai: Challenge to Him puts a historical twist on the anthology's billionaire theme. My story unfolds during the Gilded Age, the first decade of the twentieth century. My hero Andrew MacInytre is a wealthy industrialist in the mold of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Cornelius Vanderbilt. The tale is set during 4th of July weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, in an outrageously opulent seaside mansion modeled on The Breakers and Marble House.
Andrew can buy anything in the world, except what he truly desires: a willing partner who will surrender to his dominant sexuality. Meanwhile, his mother keeps trying to marry him off to rich, insipid, vanilla young women of his own class. When he meets intellectual and labor activist Olivia Alcott, his intuitions tell him she is a latent submissive. He convinces her to spend the holiday with him, in order to fend off aspiring Mrs. MacIntyres and explore the limits of her submission. He discovers that Olivia is as hungry as he is for kinky experiences.
Olivia's initiation into dominance and submission at the hands of a Russian poet ended badly, but that doesn't stop her from craving more. She and Andrew share an immediate erotic and emotional bond. Coming from such different worlds, though, she assumes they can't possibly have a future together. Andrew MacIntyre, however, is used to getting what he wants.
All in all, I think readers are going to love the book.
Cheryl Dragon: Devoted to Him...Both from broken homes, Jason and Fiona take marriage very seriously. Will tradition ruin their kink or make them even more committed?
Jason Abbot is a man who has everything, including the perfect submissive fiancée. His parents' ugly divorce and Fiona's lack of a father at all in her life has him convinced that commitment and tradition are the only ways to make them both feel safe. Marriage won't curtail their bondage play or his dominant side. However, one change seems only logical—Jason has shared Fiona with other Doms before, but how can he share his wife? When she starts questioning that change, his doubts grow. Being a good Dom is one thing but being a reliable husband is another.
Fiona loves only Jason but enjoys letting Doms-in-training practice on her and pleasing two men in role-playing scenes. She also knows just how much Jason loves to share and watch her in action with other men. Her entire sex life is about what Jason wants since he fulfils her needs perfectly. Commitment doesn't have to mean cutting out what they both enjoy. She knows she can live without other men, but marriage is forever and she doesn't want him to grow bored with her. Pleasing him is all that matters and she knows when pushing back is better than obedience—especially when he punishes her so well!
Tanith Davenport: Ready for Him follows my tattooed, pierced martial artist heroine Jade Bleecker, who is in Las Vegas for the weddings of her three best friends. On leaving the hotel bar one evening, she interrupts a mugging in progress and subdues the attacker; the victim, an attractive blond man, invites her up to his suite for a nightcap, where she discovers he is Will Vandenmeer, billionaire poster boy for the Vandenmeer Casino and Hotel chain and owner of the premier BDSM club in New York City – and he is keen to induct her into his world.
Sam Crescent: Belonging to Him:
He won't take no for an answer.
Simon Allen is a billionaire and a dominant. He takes what he wants and to hell with the consequences. From the moment Hope Pattern enters his office for her interview as his personal assistant, Simon knows he is going to have her.
Taking Hope as his sub is the easy part. She gives him everything: her body, her trust and her heart. But she refuses to be his wife. Simon will not give up until Hope is his wife. He hasn’t become a billionaire by giving up. Hope will be his.
She is crumbling under his domination. What will happen when she gives Simon that last part of herself? Will he be done with her or will he finally prove to her what it means to be his woman?
Amy Armstrong: Hot for Him is the love story of enigmatic self-made billionaire Charles Hunt and feisty wild child Elena Meadows. Elena receives an invite to Cannes from her uncle Henry, but upon her arrival she discovers that Henry has been called away on business and his partner Charles has been left to man the helm. Elena has always been attracted to the American billionaire but found his dominant personality at odds with her own. Charles is convinced they are a good much, but if Elena wants to begin a relationship with him, she will have to learn to embrace her submissive tendencies. However breaking the habit of a lifetime doesn’t come easy for the self-confessed control freak.
Willa Edwards: Working For Him tells the story of Serena Carter and Richard Barrett. Serena is the head engineer for Richard's multinational airline company. Every year they get together at the company meeting to explore their BDSM fantasies for a week. When the meeting is over, they go their separate ways, each to their own separate worlds. Except this year, Richard has a whole different proposal for Serena. When a rival company threatens to prevent an important deal, citing his ties to the BDSM world, Richard thinks he has the perfect solution. To give his public image an overhaul by tying a different kind of knot with Serena. But she's not as quick to want to turn their yearly fling into a permanent partnership.
How did you get the opportunity to feature in this anthology?
Lisabet Sarai: Although I love writing BDSM, I wasn't interested when my editor first mentioned the call. To be honest, I don't find money erotic. (I may be the only woman in the world who feels that way!) However, Stacey said that the other books in Total-E-Bound's Billionaire series had been really popular, so I started to think about how I could tweak the requirements to make them interesting to me personally. I remembered my visits to the Newport mansions, which are now museums – how they epitomized the excesses of wealth for me – and realized I could make my hero one of the classes of individuals who built them. By the time Stacey ok'ed the idea, I already had a feeling for Andrew and Olivia, and their dynamics.
Cheryl Dragon: Stacey, the Editor-in-Chief, was kind enough to ask me if I had the time/idea/inclination. I'd met her at the RT conference earlier in the year so hopefully that was a good impression. I mulled the anthology call info overnight and an idea turned up. So I had to juggle my schedule to get it written in time...but I'm thrilled I got the chance :)
Tanith Davenport: I already had my story planned out under a different title. When I saw the submissions call for Tied to the Billionaire, I sent in my synopsis and Total-e-Bound loved it – I suspect it was the feisty heroine that clinched it!
Sam Crescent: The editor of the anthology picked my story along with the other five authors in the book. I saw the call for submission and the moment I read the details, Belonging to Him, came to me so easily. Simon and Hope's story felt so natural to write. I had no choice; I stopped everything else I was working on to finish it.
Amy Armstrong: My publisher Total-E-Bound contacted me with the idea for the anthology and asked if I would like to submit a story to the collection. I’d read many books with a BDSM theme, but I’d never written one so I was excited to take on a new challenge.
Willa Edwards: I'd had this idea floating around in my head for some time about a couple that met yearly to act out their BDSM fantasies, but I couldn't completely catch hold of it. When the submission call came out from Total-E-Bound, something inside my head clicked, and I knew the story I'd been trying to write for a year or so had been Richard and Serena's story, and they'd been waiting for me to get it the whole time.
What are your thoughts on the other submissions?
Lisabet Sarai: They're very different from mine, which is what makes a great anthology! I love the fact that none of their heroines are doormats, giving lie to the notion that submissives are wimps. Tanith's heroine Jade, in particular, really appealed to me – a tattooed martial artist with a mohawk! Clare's dungeon commitment ceremony struck me as extremely sexy. Willa did a gorgeous job evoking the emotional intensity of submission, the joy and the utter trust. Amy's story shows a great deal of insight into how surrender can be simultaneously scary and fulfilling for someone who normally has a lot of control and responsibility. And Sam's dominant Simon is so alpha; one wonders that Hope could hold out long enough to keep the story going!
Cheryl Dragon: Hot, hot, hot!! So glad they let me join in!!
Tanith Davenport: It’s good that we have all written very different heroes and heroines – it would have been easy to fall into a trap of “generic dominant billionaire meets generic submissive heroine”. As it stands, the stories complement each other very well.
Sam Crescent: I think this anthology is diverse and offers a little something for everyone. Not all the stories are based in the same time period and are all different in their own way. I'm so happy and honoured to be among such fantastic authors.
Amy Armstrong: The stories in the anthology are all very diverse which is wonderful as that gives readers a taste of the many different types of BDSM relationships. I feel very privileged to be included amongst such wonderful authors.
Willa Edwards: I love all the other stories in this volume. It’s amazing to see how different they all are, given that we all started with the same submission guidelines. I never would have even thought to write a historical like Lisabet did, or a heroine like Tanith's. That's one of my absolute favourite parts about writing, how different and diverse we can all be. And how all those difference only improve the reading experience.
Why are anthologies so important for the reading and writing community?
Lisabet Sarai: Anthologies are great for readers because they offer the opportunity to sample a bunch of authors at the same time. They're a bit like going to a buffet: you can “taste” many different dishes, and you might well get some surprises. Later, if you're hungry for more of a particular flavour, you can buy a full portion by that author.
Meanwhile, anthologies give us authors a chance to cross-market. Each of the contributors to Tied to the Billionaire has a different group of readers. One of my readers might buy the book because it includes a piece by me, only to discover that she loves the tales by authors who were previously unknown to her. And vice versa. In the case of this anthology, we authors decided to do a joint blog hop, so we could explicitly swap fans.
Cheryl Dragon: I think anthologies are important because it gives readers a chance to try new authors. You may love a couple of authors in our anthology but haven't given some of us a read yet. If the publisher put us all together in a themed anthology you might read the whole thing and find new authors you love! For writers, it's great to cross promote and have a writing challenge now and then.
Tanith Davenport: Anthologies allow new and lesser known writers a chance to reach a wider audience and give readers a chance to check out new writers without buying a full length book.
Sam Crescent: I think anthologies are a great way to showcase several authors writing style. Also, they're filled with short stories that don't take a lot of time to finish and with crazy, busy lives that we live, reading short stories that has a start, middle and end, is refreshing.
Amy Armstrong: Anthologies are a great way to showcase the work of different authors. They allow readers to sample several different authors writing styles and discover new writers they might not perhaps have found otherwise. From a writer’s perspective, submitting to an anthology is the perfect way to pick up new fans. Each writer involved will have their own set of fans who will then be made aware of you and your work. For new or aspiring authors, having a story accepted in an anthology is a great way to get your foot in the door with a publisher.
Willa Edwards: Anthologies are great for introducing readers to new writers they might not have otherwise come upon. I know I've become a huge fan of several authors after reading their works as part of an anthology. And they give readers a great value, having so many great stories all in one volume.
Do you have a preference between writing for collections and writing a standalone piece?
Lisabet Sarai: I don't have a strong preference, but I do like Total-E-Bound's policy of releasing each contribution to an anthology as a stand-alone title – I get two pubs for the work of one! Anthologies typically make enough money to compensate for the fact that royalties are split among the authors. When Total-E-Bound posts a call for an anthology, they've already done the market research. They have reason to believe that the collection will sell. And usually, it does.
Another plus for me is being given the theme as a writing prompt. I've come up with some of my favorite stories in response to a theme or premise proposed by someone else. I guess I view it as a kind of assignment – and I always got straight A's!
My standalone work tends to be a bit strange by romance standards. For example, my most recent novel Rajasthani Moon crammed six or seven different sub-genres into the same book, including steampunk, BDSM, werewolf and ménage. I think it came out really well, but more traditional readers might not agree.
Cheryl Dragon: That's tricky. If the theme grabs my attention, I don't mind collections. But sometimes the limitations of a collection conflicts with the idea I have (they may want MF but I have an idea that's MM for the theme). The muse wins...so I look at collections as an opportunity. If my idea fits in, great. If not, standalones are always an option for that story. I always read submission calls for anthologies/collections but I'm picky about which ones I go after. If the story doesn't truly fit...I'd rather have the standalone than trying to force it. We want to keep the muse and the readers happy!
Tanith Davenport: Not especially – I have plenty of ideas for stand-alone stories in my metaphorical waiting room, but it’s always good to be inspired by a submissions call. Both are a challenge in different ways, and I always like to challenge myself when I write.
Sam Crescent: Most of my work is part of series and I've got a few standalone books. I love the way series or collections to delve into a certain area or genre and expand on it.
Amy Armstrong: I think there are advantages to the two. Hot for Him, my story in the anthology was the shortest piece of work I’d written and I found it incredibly challenging to stick to the lower word count. However it was a great way to practice a more concise writing style in which I had to make every paragraph count. There wasn’t the space for the long, descriptive paragraphs or pages of action that I would normally include in a novel. That being said, I love character driven stories and writing for the collection allowed me to focus more closely on the characters rather than being distracted by a long, complicated plot.
Willa Edwards: I really enjoy both. While I do like writing my own series and creating my own worlds, the rush of sudden inspiration that can come with a submission call is intoxicating. Sometimes creating your own works can be kind of lonely, and it’s fantastic when you get the opportunity to work with other authors towards a shared goal.
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