Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moving House

I'm moving.
But only on the Internet.
The Cat-Herder and I will be staying put in our cozy Massachusetts home. This blog, however, is wending its way to www.teresanoelleroberts.com. I may occasionally post here, but they will be duplicates of what I've posted on the new site.

As a Website, it's still rough, definitely a work in progress. But like a new home that still needs to lose the 80s wallpaper and get a landscaping upgrade and a new stove, it's my work in progress, dammit, and I'm proud of it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

An off-topic plea for help

Regular readers might remember me mentioning my friend Randy here on several occasions. He's a blind mountain climber and martial artist, an all around inspirational guy--and I believe I've offered him up for other folks to use as a hero, since I know the "real" Randy too well to do do so. Well, Randy is a board member at New Hampshire Association for the Blind. Every year, in June, NHAB has a walkathon to support its program, and for the last few years, I've walked with Randy's team, raising my pittance for programs that aid visually impaired New Hampshire residents.

Anyway, it's that time of year again. If you're in a position to support a good cause,  I urge you to go to my donation page and make a contribution. Doesn't have to be a big one. Every little bit helps support a great cause.

Since this is a blog about romance and erotica writing, I'll throw in the romantic bit of the NHAB story. Several years back I dragged my friend Tracy along for the walk and she met Randy. I can't call it love at first sight (and not just because I can imagine the bad jokes Randy would make about my using that cliched expression about him!), but it was certainly intrigued at first acquaintance, and it grew from there.  She is now Mrs. Randy . I was in their wedding last year. Randy's guide dog had a tux of his own for the occasion.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

quick update

Fun review of Carnal Machines here. The blogger really liked my story, "Human Powered."

Meanwhile, I'm dealing with changing ISPs and email addresses. If I'd stored my emails on the old ISP's server, the new ISP could have forwarded a message to all my contacts, letting them know the new address. But I prefer to keep my information on my own computer, and thus I'm alerting everyone myself. This is a pest. However, I'm still reluctant to store my address book online. It seems too hackable that way. I actually trust my own security more. This may be ridiculous, but I have control over it. Yes, I"m a control freak.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm in Washington DC this week, enjoying a history- and food-geek vacation with the Cat-Herder and friends. When I have time and technical capabilities (translate as "I forgot the cable for my camera and this laptop doesn't have a card reader") I'll post pictures of Thomas Jefferson's "writing machine," JQ Adams' chess set, and other fun things. The writing machine is quite steampunk, only it's real.

I just received edits for A Satyr for Midwinter, which makes the fact vacation must someday end a bit less onerous. I love this book and am very excited to know it will be out soon. It concludes the Seasons of Sorania Cycle, and features a sexy, tragic satyr,a practical, tough heroine who, in a land touched by magic, is much better at dealing with the mundane, and a ghost who manages to get quite lively with both hero and heroine.

But I didn't interrupt my vacation to post about me. I have updates on the Carnal Machines blog tour.

1)  Poe Von Page, the author of "Mutiny on the Danika Blue" is joining the tour, posting on May 14.  Here's her blog address:  http://poevonpage.blogspot.com/.

2) The amazing Lisabet  Sarai is doing a contest tomorrow, May 12, on her blog and giving away a copy of Carnal Machines. She is clearly a more generous soul than I am, because I don't want to give up either of my author copies. This is partly because I haven't been able to pry one copy out of the Cat-Herder's hands yet. Anyway, Lisabet's blog addy is: http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com. You know you want to join the contest!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Steampun, sustainability, and sex: the Carnal Machines Blog Tour

For me, one of the delights of the steampunk genre is the richness of the real Victorian era as source material. Not only can a writer draw upon the period’s inventive spirit, elegant fashions, and delightful tension between public restraint and a seething underground lustiness, the contradictions of the Victorian age offer all sorts of thematic possibilities. Never before or since has the notion of the middle-class woman as the pure, protected, and rather helpless “angel of the house” been so strong and yet the organized women’s movement began in the 19th century. In the 21st century, we’re a long way from that imaginary angel of the house, and yet in some ways we’re still revisiting Victorian arguments about gender roles, sexuality, and how sexuality, intellect and power converge. A steampunk story, Victorian in spirit but not in detail, offers tremendous scope for examining sexuality politics—and in the case of an erotic steampunk story, examining sexuality itself.
Often in steampunk stories, the Victorian fascination with invention and progress is depicted as all about the shiny gadgets and the gee-whiz factor, like Jules Verne on steroids. But the 19th-century ingenuity that gave birth to cars, sewing machines, typewriters and electric lights (and building on Victorian discoveries, to manned space flight, iPhones, and coffee machines that can brew you a fix in under a minute) was a double-edged sword. All that “progress” made lives easier and probably saved countless lives—but it also led to our current polluted, oil-dependent world that might have to relearn pre-Industrial Revolution technology to survive.
Even before the historical Victorian era, a few clever people worried about the destructive effects of the great god Progress—think William Blake’s “dark Satanic mills” spewing filthy coal smoke and destroying the ancient social fabric of the English countryside. Some people, at least, were aware that the increased comfort and convenience of their lives might have a long-term price, but it must have been hard to look past the wonders of buying a ready-made dress or having gaslight.
My story “Human-Powered” combines three of my personal fascinations--women’s changing roles in the Victorian age,sustainable technology, and of course juicy sex. Claire, my clever and determined engineer heroine has developed what she hopes will be a clean and virtually limitless source of energy—but it’s a rather dirty clean source of energy, one she can’t discuss at the women’s college where she teaches. Women, even women engineers, are supposed to be innocent and above feeling desire, after all. The only person she can trust to help her work out the bugs in her sexual-frustration fueled generator and go public with the invention is her late husband’s attractive research partner. And once they get together, the real challenge will be staying frustrated enough to test the device.
Here’s a teasing taste: “Your letter asking for my help said only that the device uses the energy of the human body to power itself. You said you would be more specific when we met and I verified that it should work as you theorized. Not only will it, but if it proves suitable for mass production, it could bring electricity to the most isolated homestead. But does it gather all the energy we generate in a day, or something more specific? Do you envision it sitting in a workshop, or in the kitchen as a housewife does her chores? Maybe a schoolyard? Children at play are certainly energetic.”
Now came the part she’d most dreaded when envisioning this meeting. On one hand, her plan would use a form of energy that was wasted otherwise—and one in unlimited supply. On the other hand, the particulars were delicate, especially to discuss with such an attractive man.
Claire schooled herself not to blush. “It gathers the yearnings of the unmarried and the unhappily married and converts all that heat into useful form while—in theory, once I get it working properly—easing a lonely person’s restlessness.”
If only she could get it to work for her. Her empty widow’s bed was driving her mad with loneliness, but most men didn’t wish a tinkering, teaching wife and she lacked both time and patience for the niceties of courtship. “To sell it, we’d have to refer to something vague like ‘electrical impulses inherent to the adult human body’, so as not to cause scandal.”
Doctor Lowell stood and leaned across his great oak desk, an aggressive move that brought him closer than propriety allowed.
Or than Claire’s own sense of propriety could combat. He loomed close enough that his aftershave filled her nostrils, layered over a scent that could only be the muskiness of an aroused man—not the same as her late husband’s, but close enough to make her heart pound against her corset boning and awaken neglected, intimate parts of her body. She ached, yearning for touch, for kisses, for caresses. For, to be frank, a man in her arms, a man’s prick inside her.
She forced the thoughts away. It was impossible for her, as for so many in this world of rigid rules, to enjoy such pleasures anymore. But that was the value of her invention. If Doctor Lowell would help her construct it, there would be no shortage of fuel for it, and people’s longings could light their lamps instead of giving them the vapors or prompting them to do things they’d regret later.
Such as kissing Doctor Lowell, which seemed like a far better idea than Claire knew it was.

Pity the “arcane engineering” in my story wouldn’t actually work. My hippie heart would rejoice to think of all that pollution-free power. And generating it would be so much more fun than anything that works in the real world!

The whole blog tour...

May 2  Teresa Noelle Roberts http://teresanoelleroberts.blogspot.com
May 3  Kathleen Bradean http:/kathleenbradean.blogspot.com
May 7  Elizabeth Schechter http://easchechter.wordpress.com/blog
May 8  Delilah Devlin http://delilahdevlin.com/blog
May 10 Renee Michaels (need the address!)
May 11 Elias St. James (my blog) http://dlkingerotica.blogspot.com
May 13 Janine Ashbless http://janineashbless.blogspot.com