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.
If you haven’t guessed from the publisher’s description of The Pleasure Device, the “device” is an electro-mechanical vibrating machine, or, as we know (and love) it today, a vibrator. Yes, the vibrator was actually a thing in the second half of the nineteenth century, although it was originally used as a non-sexual massager. Its use as a treatment for hysteria in Victorian England began around 1879, when my novel takes place.
When I wrote Dr. Christopher (as I call it and will probably continue to call it, so if you ever meet me, I might call it that; it’s okay, though, as Dr. Julius Christopher is a central character in the book), I wanted the opening scene to depict a demonstration of the electro-mechanical vibrating device. What better way to do this than to show it from the point of view of the subject being demonstrated upon and what she experiences—the frustration of being a study participant, the pleasure experienced from the device. So that’s how the novel originally opened.
And then I began editing the manuscript.
One of the “rules” of genre fiction, perhaps particularly romance fiction, is that the opening has to somehow reference or be in the point of view of one of the main characters: hero, heroine, antagonist/villain. The young woman who was the subject of the vibrator experiment in my novel, Grace Danby, is not one of those three. She is a major character, but she’s a secondary or tertiary heroine. So, I had to change the point of view of that scene to the only other main character who was actually in that scene, Dr. Julius Christopher.
The scene works very well from Dr. Christopher’s point of view. Still, Grace’s side of the story needed to be told.
I saved the original version of the scene fully intending one day to create a short story out of it, maybe as an “extra” at the end of the novel should I ever self-publish it. But then, sometime in March, I saw the call for submissions at Go Deeper Press for “erotic stories of less than 500 words…Stories in which characters climax are particularly welcomed…” and I thought, why not?
The end result is that Grace’s side of the story gets to be told in Dirty Little Numbers.