We’re thrilled to host Cari Waites on her blog tour, Stealing Innocents. She explains why she chose to write under a pseudonym and why the content is on the darker side for the collection. Thanks for being here, Cari….I mean Lisa!
From Cari Waites:
Hi! Welcome to the blog tour for Stealing Innocents by Cari Waites. Who is not-so-secretly Lisa Henry. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Stealing Innocents, and sharing some of my influences, ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win prizes!
A few people have asked me why I chose to write Stealing Innocents under a pseudonym. Two reasons, really. Firstly, I wanted to experiment in self-publishing. Secondly, I wasn’t sure that these stories would sit well with the Lisa Henry brand.
The Cari Waites stories were going to be an experiment in absolute bare bones self-publishing. No promo, no advertising, no hitching them to the Lisa Henry wagon. I was just going to put the stories out there and see how they did on their own. And surprisingly, they did okay. Thanks to a few enthusiastic reviews on Goodreads, word actually did get out about my Cari Waites stuff. Mostly words like, “Holy shit, have you seen this?” And eventually that reader-generated interest ended with a contract to publish the stories with Riptide. (I am the worst. Self-publisher. Ever.) So much for the great experiment!
Seriously though, these stories are so much better for having been through the Riptide editorial wringer! So that’s one thing I learned from the experiment: Riptide editors are the greatest. Okay, no, I already knew that.
When it came to putting the stories out through Riptide, we decided that it was time to come clean and admit that Cari Waites was also Lisa Henry. Because most people know that I skew dark whenever I’m given the chance anyway. If I have a brand, that’s probably it. I mean, anyone who’s read Another Man’s Treasure can testify to that. And the way we’ve done it, Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites, is to at least keep a thin line between the stuff that can be classified as romance, and the stuff that really, really can’t.
I’m not sure yet if Cari Waites has any more stories left in her. She probably does. For every sweet story I’m working on in my WIPs, there’s a darker one. And for every darker story, there’s a “Holy crap, even I can’t believe I went there” one.
Basically, I like to mix things up a bit. If there’s a formula to writing stories, I haven’t found it yet. I like to keep surprising readers, if I can. Which probably means my next release will be tooth-rottingly sweet and as fluffy as a bunny. Ha! And nobody will ever see that coming!
About Stealing Innocents:
Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.
This collection contains three edited second editions stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.
Meet Lisa Henry:
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Cari Waites is her much darker alter ego.
Connect with Lisa:
To celebrate the release of Stealing Innocents, Lisa is giving away a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook of your choice of title from Lisa’s backlist. Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Lisa can reach you if you win!
Please consult the long list of triggers for this collection if you are sensitive to particular situations: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/stealing-innocents
Gamble Everything is an intense telling of how a boy is stripped from his existing life and thrust into one he will not be able to leave.
Danny’s father sells him off to be used for a $12K gambling debt. Clyde knows full well what is about to happen. For some crazy reason, the things Danny has dealt with from his gambling, loser father hasn’t yet broken him. He still feels allegiance and wants to do this to help him. It’s a few months to pay off the debt. He can handle it, right?
From the moment Danny is taken to Archer, his life will never be the same. Archer’s goal is to break him mentally and physically. To rip his layers off one by one and build him back up into who he wants Danny to be. Danny is Daniel and Archer will be his Daddy. All Daniel has to do is release all his fight and give in to what Archer wants. Full trust, full compliance, fully owned.
Gamble Everything is one of those stories that has you turning pages to see what will happen. Will Daniel fully comply? Will he escape. Is this exactly what he wants in life? A pawn in a game he has no idea the rules of, he’s surely not going to be the winner. Even with the non-con and dub-con, this book is intriguing and just enough sadistic to make the heart race and leave you a bit stunned. Great writing in a small package.
Drew’s in a mental facility for depression. He doesn’t think he’s crazy, just tired. Then the nightmares start. Being taken from his room into a tiled space. Pushed down, forced to perform and then back in his room by morning. Is it a dream? A nightmare? Why isn’t it a normal nightmare with real fears like drowning or sharks? Why is he having nightmares of something his mind, his imaginations have never conjured up before.
The second time Drew realizes that it’s real, what he thinks is a nightmare is real. He’s determined to make himself remember. To know that it’s real and he’s not crazy. This short is just sad to read. This poor guy is struggling against what he knows is reality and what isn’t. When in a mental facility, one’s going to question their sanity and reality over and over again. Drew desperately wants to believe he’s not crazy, that the events he fears are real. But, is it worse that they’re fake and just a nightmare and Drew is crazy? Or, is it worse that he’s right, it’s real and he’s a victim, stuck in a place to be repeatedly abused? Either way, he’s outvoted.
First And Only
Wow. This short story was one of tragedy from start to finish. David was always being dumped by his wife or lover. His current wife is cheating on him so he decides the best revenge is to seduce her almost 19-year-old son, Sage.
David’s a lawyer so he knows in order to be lawful, Sage must come to him. Set a trap and wait for the prey. That’s exactly what he does. He seduces Sage and takes what he wants from him. Like all his prior escapades, David is traded for another. So quickly too. But, he’s done being the loser. Done being the one taken advantage of and he will get his revenge after all. It just might cost him more than he was willing to give.
First and Only takes revenge into a completely different level of messed up! However, like the rest of the stories in this set, it’s another page turning ball of dub-con.
Sometime a story comes along that literally leaves you stunned and scrambling for words. Falling Angels is every bit that situation for me. A tough topic and story from beginning to end. Human trafficking and the horror it brings to the innocent victims is told in a dramatic and heartbreaking story of Dima, or Arkady as he was later named by his first tormentor.
Never the recipient of kindness, Arkady would never dream that the hell he first endured was the kindest he would have it. When he is finally given a reprieve, tragedy strikes again. Arkady’s story was haunting. Many ‘if only’ moments followed the final words. This one made me shed a few tears and was the perfect ending for the appropriately named Stealing Innocents collection.
I like to delve into the dark reads and this collection was exasperating, wicked and decadent all at the same time. Waites is a genius!