Who is Gillian Smith? (Guest Post by Lisabet Sarai)
Gillian Smith, the heroine of my Toymakers Guild series, is a scientific genius and a sexual adventurer. She’s only nineteen when she shows up at the door of Randerley Hall, successfully figures out the access code and demonstrates sufficient talent in both the technical and carnal realms to win a place for herself among the secretive and selective band of erotic artificers.
As the series continues, she becomes more mature, taming some of her impulsiveness and learning to understand the nuances of desire. She assumes increasing responsibility for the work of the Guild, providing design guidance and supervising the other engineers. Meanwhile, she remains open to the varied opportunities for sensual pleasure offered by Guild membership. She understands that lust is the lubricant for the Guild’s creativity and that despite the outrageous ways that it is sometimes expressed, the bonds among the Toymakers go far beyond the physical.
Authors often – perhaps even always – use aspects of themselves when creating their characters. Nevertheless, Gillian is not me. When I was nineteen, I was a dreamy bookworm, not an engineer. While she is bold and self-confident, I was painfully shy. Her appearance – tall, slender, with curly reddish hair – has little in common with my short, curvy build and mousy brown locks.
Still, at her age I was as fascinated by sex as she is, if nowhere near as active. As I grew older, that fascination deepened. I began to explore my kinks and cravings and live out my fantasies in a manner that she’d understand. I’ve had sexual adventures she’d find quite familiar. In the meantime, my view of sexuality ended up having quite a lot in common with hers – that even what seems like casual lust has emotional and spiritual dimensions.
I also must admit to basing some of Gillian’s emotions and behavior as a technical project leader on my own experience. I did end up as an engineer of sorts: a software engineer. Most of the technology in the Toymakers Guild series comes straight out of my imagination. I couldn’t wire a motor or machine a set of gears to save my life. But I do know what it’s like trying to deal with bugs in your programs when you’re facing a critical deadline. I understand the heavy burden of responsibility that comes with commitments that seem impossible to fulfill.
So, yes, Jill and I do share some traits and beliefs, though there’s more than a century between our worlds and half a century between our ages. To me, though, she’s an independent individual – and after three novels, remarkably real. As an author, I’m amazed by the way characters develop over the course of writing a book. They begin as a sketch, perhaps borrowing from people we know (including ourselves), but before long they have lives of their own. Having followed her for more than three years and two hundred fifty thousand words, I know who Gillian Smith is. Honestly, though, I don’t know where she came from.
At Randerley Hall, lust is a lubricant to creativity. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is forbidden.
Defying the repressive morality of the Victorian era, the Toymakers Guild uses advanced technology to fabricate bespoke sexual devices 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.
Nineteen-year-old prodigy Gillian Smith arrives at Randerley to apply for an apprenticeship in the Guild. With her technical abilities and her lascivious temperament, she is eminently suited to join the Master Toymaker’s close-knit band of uninhibited erotic artisans. Gillian flourishes among the Toymakers, designing and implementing ever-more-outrageous carnal contraptions. Each voluptuous commission she completes, each sensual adventure she enjoys, binds her more tightly to the Guild and to the perverse, tortured genius who is its founder.
If you like brilliant, wanton women and kinky steam punk sex toys, dive into the alternate universe of the The Toymakers Guild.
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Rave Reviews for The Toymakers Guild
The Pornographer’s Apprentice,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
The Journeyman’s Trial, The Toymakers Guild Book 2
Although set in the Victorian era, the denizens of Randerley Hall are thoroughly modern in the enthusiastic and open way they embrace their sexuality, pushing boundaries with the same vigor and gusto they push the boundaries of science. The members of The Guild embrace all manner of delightfully kinky perversions, while making scientific breakthroughs that are far ahead of their time. “The Journeyman’s Trial” has everything—adventure, romance, intrigue, and sizzling sensuality. I highly recommend you take the plunge and dive in. ~ Lawrence Westerman, Amazon
Lisabet Sarai has taken on the challenge of following up The Pornographer’s Apprentice. I’m happy to say she’s exceeded her own lofty standards of writing. The dialogue in the story is unique, accurate to the era, and oftentimes features beautiful lines. You can look forward to a shocking mass of creativity from the ingenious mind of Miss Sarai. The erotic scenes are written beautifully and explosively. I found the pleasure of the characters hit me just as hard as it hit them. I’m looking forward to more from this world and the characters! ~ Amazon Customer, Verified Purchaser
The Master’s Mark, The Toymakers Guild Book 3
Miss Sarai has one incredible and naughty imagination. That imagination shines through in the kinky chemistry of the guildmates and their various lewd liaisons! Each character stands out as exciting and fun without a single one feeling redundant. ~ Amazon Customer, Verified Purchaser
.. an excellent example of lusty yet tasteful erotica with an engaging plot and characters the reader actually cares about. The richly crafted steampunk setting, the chemistry between the characters, and the lusty passion heating up every page all come together in this breathtaking finale of the Toymakers series. ~ Michael Swanson, Amazon
Excerpt – PG
Gillian stepped into a vast space, two storeys high, luxuriously panelled in dark wood. Excitement made her heart race. The place was like something from a dream.
Overhead, a dome of leaded glass bathed the room in daylight. At the second storey level, a semi-circular gallery followed the curving walls, reachable from a stair to her left. Arrayed on the wall to her right was a dazzling collection of pliers, metal snips, tweezers, wrenches, hammers, drills, clamps, vices, springs, glass tubes, rubber piping, brass flanges, hydraulic cylinders, coils of wire, gears and pulleys, switches and dials, gauges and meters—every sort of tool and part she’d ever encountered as well as many that were unfamiliar.
On the far wall hung parts of another sort: hands, fingers, feet, splayed thighs, open mouths, as well as phalluses of varied proportions. She could not determine the materials from across the room, though some of the models looked startlingly life-like. Her diligent studies of the catalogue suggested some might be fashioned of leather, others from India rubber.
Several large workbenches filled the centre of the room, each cabled with its own electric lighting fixture dangling from a rack above. Ian and Archie huddled together at the closest table, peering through a magnifier at a mess of wiring.
“Mr. Burns! Mr. Fawcett! Let me officially introduce our new apprentice. This is Gillian Smith.”
Archie looked up, startled. “What? You accepted a girl?”
“Provisionally.” Amelia frowned at the florid young man. “Subject to the Master’s final approval. Meanwhile, I expect you to welcome her, introduce her to our procedures and processes, and put her to work.”
“I’ll put her to work, for sure,” Ian muttered.
“What did you say, Mr. Burns?”
“Um, nothing, ma’am.”
The director stepped closer to the contraption on the bench. “Is this the circuitry for the Marlborough device?”
Ian swallowed. “Yes, ma’am.”
“And do you have it functioning yet?”
“Almost,” Archie volunteered. “Just one more small problem to fix, and we’ll be ready to test.”
“Indeed.” She scrutinised the web of copper strands for several minutes, then turned to Gillian. “Perhaps you can assist them, Miss Smith. They appear to be somewhat out of their depth.”
Apparently feeling that this was sufficient instruction, Mrs. Featherstone headed for the door, but she paused exiting. “I shall see you all at dinner. And I shall expect a full report on your progress. Do you understand?”
“Of course, Mrs. Featherstone,” the young men chimed in unison.
Gillian just grinned.
Ian and Archie wore glum expressions in the wake of Amelia’s departure.
“So what’s the problem?” Gillian asked.
“You know about electrical stuff?” Archie asked.
“To some extent. My father taught me the basics.”
“Main motor’s not getting power,” said Ian.
“Or else the motor itself is defective,” countered Archie.
“Impossible. I’ve built a dozen motors with this design.”
“Well, I’ve successfully wired at least two dozen dildos.” Archie grimaced in Gillian’s direction. “He does mechanical, mostly. I do electrical. How about you?”
“I have some experience with both types of work, though my speciality is mathematics and logic.” She stepped closer to the circular magnifier. “Might I take a look?”
“Be our guest,” said Ian. “We are well and truly stuck.”
Under the lens, every detail of the circuitry became clear. In fact, the design was quite elegant, the layout logical and precise. She scanned the interwoven wires, focusing on their connections. In thirty seconds, she had located the fault.
“There,” she said. “Between pins fourteen and fifteen. The solder is not adhering.” Backing away, she let Archie look.
“By Jove, you’re right.” A smile lit his boyish face. “Thank you!”
“May I try fixing it? Just for practice?” She added a bit of softness to her voice, a tentative quality that did not reflect her true nature. The last thing she wanted was to intimidate the other apprentices.
“Why not?” said Archie gallantly. “If you have trouble, I can take over.”
He handed her a length of solder and a tiny torch. The tip where the flame emerged could not have been more than a sixteenth of an inch in diameter. Gillian had never seen anything so marvellous.
It took no more than a minute for her to melt the silvery metal into a miniscule blob that bridged the two wires. She surveyed the circuit again. “That’s the only issue that I can see. Why don’t you switch it on, Archie? We can see if that did the trick.”
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, BookBub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh