By Morgan Karpiel
In my last blog entry, I swore off publishers in the wake of Dorchester’s paperback demise. Swearing off publishers is a lot like swearing off men. It’s a bold conviction that usually dissipates with the first tight pair of jeans or royalty contracts that cruises by, but for now, I’ve got my Thelma and Louise on and I’m stomping the accelerator.
So now I’m wading through self-publishing as a newbie, armed with a good freelance editor, a cover artist, and a few FB friends to light the way. My first challenge when publishing The Inventor to Kindle was: how to classify a romance novella that features a jeweled, steampunk sex machine? This, to me, sounded like pretty hot erotica fantasy material, but I soon learned that is sooo 1999.
While I’ve been dealing with “life issues” and writing in my own little world, the universe of erotica has changed a bit. Graphic sex is not necessarily erotica, especially if it isn’t written with particular words . . . like the names you call people when they cut you off in traffic. Sex machines, if used by only one person at a time and according to the manual, are not necessarily erotic props. Sex with two, f-bomb dropping, patent-leather clad, shape-shifters with whips, however, is no doubt the cutting edge of fantasy erotica these days.
And I’m not knocking it. If I saw two bare chests like those that grace the covers of shape shifting threesome novels, I’d drop an f-bomb or two. And it’s not like (in some fantasy world) I’d refuse a drink from an abs-of-steel shape shifter and his very best alpha tag team buddy, who instantly recognized me as their one true mate. I might wonder how they got to be so close and all, but I’d listen intently while they described my various parts in good old fashion gutter sex language and let me examine their whips. I mean, I like it fine. And I’ll read it. I just don’t write it, exactly.
What I write is still, well . . . romantic (in my mind, at least), with characters who have to realize more than an orgasm or two. There are lots of good erotica novels out there like that and I was really aiming for Inventor to be among them. So what is it, exactly? Romance. Erotica. Romantic erotica? Steampunk erotica?
I finally settled on “Steampunk Romance” and, while I listed it in other categories as well, I think that category best describes it for me. Ironically, the reviewers called it erotic, so there you go. Of course, I’d love other opinions too. The book is on sale for .99 cents on Amazon here and, as part of this shameless plug, I’ve included the cover and the blurb:
For the Countess of Caithmore, a life of wealth has led to misery. Abandoned by her husband and widely accused of being nothing more than a porcelain doll without passion or intelligence, she has ventured into dangerous territory and commissioned the help of the most famous inventor in New Europa for a scandalous project.
In the depths of his laboratory, she will submit herself to a custom-built machine that will determine the extent of her coldness once and for all. The answer she craves carries a hidden risk, however, and the man whose invention has proven her ability to feel passion may not accept the role of lover-by-proxy for long.
The first in the Fantasies of New Europa series, The Inventor debuts a collection of romance novellas set at the beginning of a lush and adventurous era, in a world limited only by imagination. Amid the golden hue of gaslights and the clatter of horse-drawn coaches, the series follows a generation of dreamers and explorers that will find each other through separate twists of fate. They will brave impossible odds, solve the exotic mysteries of their time and navigate the sensual desires of the human heart.
For those who read and want more, the next in the series (The Admiral) will be out the 17th of this month. And for this first, self-publishing milestone, I also have to thank my fellow divas, and Jojo in particular, for being such great motivators and facilitators. There’s nothing like a few saucy writers to make you think you can accomplish anything.