In Part One of this blog miniseries, we learned how Victorian doctors defined “hysteria” and how they treated it. Spoiler alert: doctors used various methods of stimulation to bring women to achieve the “hysterical paroxysm”, i.e., an orgasm.
Around 1879, the electric or electro-mechanical vibrator was introduced into doctors’ tools of the trade for treating hysteria. Vibrators were first used in France, then this method spread to the rest of the European continent, England, and America.
But what did the Victorian vibrator look like? One perhaps imagines corseted women cowering as a mustachioed doctor approaches with some bizarre Steampunkish contraption… Continue reading →
I recently saw a revival of the play In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play by Sarah Ruhl. In case you haven’t heard about this play it takes place in upstate New York in the 1880s. A doctor provides treatments for hysteria – to both women and men – using the latest technology, the electric vibrator. In the course of the play there is emotional and sexual discovery amongst all the characters, along with several orgasms.
I originally saw the play in February 2009 at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California. The play had been written for the Berkeley Rep and made its debut there before being launched on Broadway. I’m not a theater regular – I do see shows from time to time – but when I heard about this play, I absolutely had to see it.
People frequently make broad assumptions about what it is I write. Friends, family, and acquaintances snicker about my “porn”. Romance writer colleagues imbued with the cadence of traditional romance often bandy about the term “erotica” as if to signal the ugly otherness of erotic romance.
So I will attempt to answer the provocative question What is erotica? and by doing so answer corollary questions about misunderstood erotic-like literary variations: Erotic romance, steamy romance, smut, porn, and Romantica®. Continue reading →
It’s June 14th and in the United States we’re celebrating Flag Day! I have a special promotion for June (Flag Day month) and July (Independence Day month). See the end of this post!
I generally write historical erotic romance, although I have also written contemporary, mythological, and Steampunk. But my comfort zone is historicals because I’m a historian and, I suppose, I’ve internally fetishized history to a certain extent.
Remember Torchwood? The Dr. Who spin-off show set in Cardiff? There’s definite sexual chemistry between Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper, and we the viewers so want something to happen, but we know Gwen already has a boyfriend who is a nice guy and she can’t just have an affair without consequences then suddenly…
When I was thinking about what to write for Naughty Flings, an anthology with the theme of springtime, the quintessential springtime myth came to mind, i.e., the story of Persephone. I decided to revisit this myth, but to put a new spin on it, which proved pretty easy.
I thought I’d end the year by starting at the beginning, and by doing so, I have to start with the end of a life. Carl Degler, professor emeritus of American history at Stanford University, died on Saturday, December 27, 2014, at the age of 93. It was an article by Degler that was influential on my embarking upon a career writing Victorian erotic romance. Continue reading →
Whew! I just finished Book 2 of my Harwell Heirs series on Friday December 13th and sent it to my editor at Ellora’s Cave. While I was editing and polishing that manuscript (working title: Lord Petersham’s Contract), I wrote 50,000 words of Book 3 in the series (working title: Miss Danby’s Condition) for November’s National Novel Writing Month. This intensive period of writing solidified a belief I’ve had about writing erotica from day one: sex is driven by the characters and not by the author. Continue reading →
I think this might be my last General’s Wife snippet for Snippet Sunday* for a while. The book is now with a copyeditor. (Thanks to P.T. Wyant for catching that typo last week! I hate typos! Go nuts copyeditor!) I’m hoping to release it by this November (cross fingers), so maybe I’ll do some more snippet teasers just before then.
In an earlier post, I had alluded to Pat and Sam being “very close buddies” which, of course, is a euphemism. Wait – what? They like each other? Aren’t they the heroes for our heroine Clara? Let’s just say I like to mix it up a bit with my writing and I have a soft spot for the bisexual beta hero. Continue reading →