Victorians: Hysteria and the Vibrator, Part Two: The Vibrator

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

Victorians: Hysteria and the Vibrator, Part One: Hysteria

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.

“Had to” because I had already started my notes for Dr. Christopher’s Device (later The Pleasure Device). Perhaps I should have subtitled that book, Or, The Vibrator Erotic Romance. Continue reading

The Harwell Heirs, Reverted

Rights reverted, that is…

A special announcement to fans of historical erotic romance! My Victorian series Harwell Heirs is currently in limbo. Rights for two of the three books are in the process of reverting to me. I’m preparing to re-launch the series in February 2016.

So, if you are looking for The Pleasure Device (Harwell Heirs Book 1) and Disobedience By Design (Harwell Heirs Book 2) they are not available at the moment! But hang on tight, because I’m editing the text (minor edits really, no changes to the story) and getting new covers made (I cannot wait to show you the new covers!!) in preparation for the relaunch.
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Steampunk Inspiration (Part 1): A Naughty Device

Steampunk? A historian writing Steampunk?

I’m used to writing about characters and situations and places that actually existed or could have possibly existed (I mean, c’mon, it is fiction). I’m definitely not used to writing stories that take place in some futuristic pseudo-past where women wear corsets — leather corsets! — on top of their clothes. Besides I know absolutely nothing about science or mechanics (except when I was young and owned a VW Bug).

What’s the old adage? “Write what you know”? When you get right down to it, what on Earth does a librarian-art historian really know about erotica, much less Steampunk erotica? Continue reading

New Releases: Victorian Pleasures

I’ve mentioned my 2011 National Novel Writing Month novel, Dr. Christopher’s Device, a few times. I’m totally excited that it will be released on November 27, 2013, by Ellora’s Cave as The Pleasure Device. In October, one of my short stories (actually a short, short work of flash fiction), “The Demonstration”, was released as part of Go Deeper Press’s Dirty Little Numbers anthology.

What I’ve not told anyone yet is how the two stories are related. Continue reading