Blurring the Lines
What’s the difference between erotic romance and erotica? The answer to this question will depend on whom you ask, and will often reveal the prejudices of the respondent. Romance readers may tell you that erotica is nothing but gratuitous sex, while romance focuses on committed relationships. Some will even equate erotica with porn. Erotica aficionados may mock the often-overused tropes of romance and dismiss its readers as timid or conventional.
Even people who have a more balanced view will point out that love is the sine qua non of romance, but an optional component of erotica. It’s also generally agreed that in romance, the protagonists don’t engage in sexual activities with people outside the relationship (which of course could be a threesome or even a reverse harem situation). Simple, right?
Well, not for me. The Journeyman’s Trial is labeled as erotica, but it includes a couple who are very much in love. At the same time, that love affair exists in parallel with other erotic activity that involves both members of the couple, who are each intimately engaged with other individuals.
That should put the book firmly outside the romance category – except for the fact that the members of the Guild also love one another. In fact, one of my objectives is to portray the Guild as a polyamorous extended family. In the first book, The Pornographer’s Apprentice, the Master Toymaker offers some hints about the powerful emotional connections among the first generation Guild members (several of whom died in a tragic accident that left the Master disfigured and bitter). The second book deepens this theme, as the new members of the Guild participate in a magical orgy that binds them to one another psychologically and spiritually as well as physically.
In Book 3 I hope to make it clear that the sex in which the Guild members indulge is not only for the sake of pleasure or fun, but also for strengthening the commitment the members have to one another.
Committed relationship? That’s a romance thing, right?
Ultimately I don’t really care what you call the book. I have little patience with genre conventions. Indeed, I take perverse pleasure in blurring the lines and breaking the rules.
Just like my characters in the Toymakers Guild.
Steampunk Erotica, MF, MM, FF, MFM, FMF, etcetera…
92,000 words, 321 pages
Smashwords and Amazon KDP
ISBN (Smashwords): 9780463505649
If she builds it, will they come?
Technically brilliant and thoroughly wanton, Gillian Smith has found her vocation: designing innovative erotic devices for the Toymakers Guild. Lust is a lubricant to creativity at Randerley Hall. But what happens when two Toymakers fall in love?
If you like intelligent, lusty women and kinky steam punk sex toys, pick up a copy of The Journeyman’s Trial.
Defying the repressive morality of the Victorian era, the Toymakers Guild uses advanced technology to fabricate bespoke sexual artifacts for the discrete pleasure of select clients. Its members are not only brilliant engineers but also sexual renegades seeking freedom from the prudish society that surrounds them. These are their stories.
At the foot of the stairs, she almost collided with a lean, dark figure. If he hadn’t grabbed her by both shoulders, they both might have tumbled to the floor.
“Why, hello, Jill!” A cocky smile lit the young man’s aquiline features. “I haven’t seen much of you lately.” He held on to her for considerably longer than was necessary to stabilise them. When he let go, she continued to feel his hands, heating her skin through the fabric of her garment.
“Good afternoon, Rafe.” She brushed some imaginary dust off her somewhat wrinkled lab coat. It was true that she’d barely spoken two words to her fellow journeyman since he’d rescued her on the moors two weeks before. Half the time he hadn’t even been at the dinner table. She’d wondered if he was travelling again. “I’ve been occupied with learning my new duties. The Master has been training me.”
His eyebrows arched. “Training, hmm? I’d like to know more about just what that entails!” He ran his fingers through his unkempt black locks. “I never got any sort of training from the Master. Of course, he hasn’t been around much. If I recall, he left Randerley only a few weeks after I joined the Guild.”
“When was that?” She wasn’t sure how she felt about the brash, forward young man who’d stolen a kiss within half an hour of her meeting him. Well, perhaps stolen wasn’t exactly the right term, but still, he seemed to have quite familiar manners.
“Two years ago last Christmas. Seems like a lifetime.”
“And before the Guild?”
His expression darkened. “I don’t really want to talk about that. Anyway, I’ve got an appointment with the Master in two minutes.”
Gillian stepped back to give him free access to the stairs. “You mustn’t keep him waiting, then.”
“But I’m really delighted to run into you.” He chuckled at his own jest. “Care to go riding with me tomorrow afternoon?”
“I’ve got quite a lot of work—”
“Tomorrow’s Saturday. Even that slave driver Featherstone takes Saturday afternoon off! Come on, Jill. Say yes!” His hand was back on her shoulder, casual, warm, maddening.
“Well… I grew up in the city, so I’m not much of a horsewoman.” She had to admit to being curious about Rafe. With his loose-limbed grace and easy smile, he was definitely attractive. Shouldn’t she be focused on her training, though?
“We’ll put you on Dorothea. She’s a sweet, biddable mare who won’t give you any trouble. And Samson likes her.”
“I don’t know…”
“I’ve got to go!” He squeezed her shoulder briefly and ran his fingers through her curls, then bounded up the stairs. “Meet you at the stables tomorrow at three,” he called out as he climbed out of sight.
“But…” There was no one to listen to Gillian’s excuses. In any case, why should she object? Rafe was a fellow member of the Guild. It was only fitting they should get to know one another – perhaps intimately.
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MQV4Y86
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09MQV4Y86
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1118032
Add on Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59740783-the-journeyman-s-trial
Special deal! Get The Pornographer’s Apprentice, The Toymakers Guild Book 1, for only 99 cents during the tour! Buy links here:
Rave Reviews for The Toymakers Guild Book 1
There are many more plot points, but I don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of this book. It has varied and steamy sex scenes that will take your breath away, a plucky heroine who doesn’t always come out on top (ahem), but who always prevails in her quest to be accepted as a Toymaker. ~ Fiona McGier, Goodreads
With thoughtfully written characters, hot sex scenes, and a well-paced and interesting plot, the Toymaker’s Apprentice leaves you asking only one question….when is the next book in the series coming out? ~ The Phantom Tollbooth, Amazon
[A] fast paced, hilarious, and thoroughly entertaining story as Gillian gets intimate with the staff and technology, only to find that there is a plot against the Guild that she takes on to save the day. I can’t wait to read what happens in the next book! ~ Arthur Royo, Amazon
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Pinterest, BookBub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh