Fantasies in Color
Sharon Lynn Fisher
Genre: Steampunk Erotica (BDSM)
Publisher: West 26th Street Press
Date of Publication: Oct. 29, 2014
Number of pages: 45
Word Count: 12,000
Cover Artist: Rafido
Second novelette in the Fantasies in Color series by RWA RITA-nominated author Sharon Lynn Fisher ...
Pearl knows it was Raven who stole her mama's heart -- a beautiful quartz stone given to her by Pearl's father right before he died. She sets off alone to the crow-man's keep determined to bring back the stone, but she's caught by a servant and taken to the tower.
The dark-winged ruler of the keep isn't at all what she imagined, and he isn't about to let Pearl go before unlocking all her mysteries -- mysteries she never dreamed her body possessed.
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We pass through a corridor lit by more of the strange lamps, most notably an octopus with an arm span of a dozen feet and a large green light bulb for a head. A clock is mounted just under the bulb, and as it strikes the hour, the arms begin to adjust their position along the wall, accompanied by the unmistakable sound of grinding gears.
Wilkes catches me eyeing it and says, “Master makes them all himself.”
“Who is ‘Master’?” I reply, fear sharpening the edges of my voice. “Where does he come from? Who made him like that?”
“Same as makes us all, Pearl. The Maker.”
“You mean to say he was born like that?”
“Are any of us as we were when we first separated from our mothers’ bodies?”
This sounds like something my pa would say, and is not at all the sort of chat I want to have right now.
“What makes him do it?” I demand. “Why does he steal things?”
“Master Raven acquires objects for his inventions. Cast-off things, or things the owner will not long miss.”
“Ha,” I grunt, “and what would a silly old crow-man who has no use for other living souls know about that?”
Wilkes follows me down the corridor, so he can’t see it’s not only anger that’s choking me up. But also I can’t see what he thinks of my answer.
At the end of the corridor we climb a dizzying number of steps that wind upward like a corkscrew. We rise up through a hole in the floor into the “workshop.”
Workbenches line the walls, and every surface is covered with what look like machines in various states of repair or assembly. There are heaps of “acquired” objects up here as well, and I steal a quick look around the room for Ma’s stone.
The tower has but one large window fitted with amber-tinted panes, so it’s only moderately brighter than the rooms below. More lamps range around the perimeter, but these mostly use clear light bulbs so it feels less like being in a submersible — or at least what I’d imagine a submersible to feel like. Near the window is a tall easel holding a stack of parchment. Symbols and numbers and diagrams have been scratched over almost every inch of the first sheet. I notice now that many sheets, similarly scrawled upon, have been hung along the walls. Some of the diagrams seem to be carefully labeled drawings of Raven himself.
“Here, Wilkes,” he calls, and Wilkes takes me by the arm and leads me over to the easel. Next to it is a sort of stand, shaped like an X, with a system of straps and buckles.
I jump as the manservant pushes me toward the stand, and the moment my back touches it I begin to fight him in earnest.
“What are you doing?” I demand, shoving at his chest.
Wilkes doesn’t reply, but he uses his body to seal me against the stand. His eyes bore into mine, transmitting something hot and alive, as he raises my arms over my head.
Raven joins us, and I cry out as he fits leather cuffs over my wrists and ankles.
“Leave us,” orders Raven.
As Wilkes withdraws, Raven steps back, cradles his elbow in one hand, and props his head on the other, watching me.
“What do you want from me?” I shout, straining against the cuffs.
His brow furrows as his eyes move over me. I’m not sure he’s heard me.
“Master Raven!” I insist.
He drops his arms and moves to stand directly in front of me. We regard each other, my heart vibrating my chest, and I become aware that the fear that grips me is changing — in a way I don’t understand well enough to explain to anyone, including myself.
My heart still hammers. My breaths come faster. I am afraid. But something warm and velvet is awake and moving low in my belly.
Raven reaches for a lever and tugs it gently. The X-stand tilts backward, angling my body.
He draws nearer, reaching a gloved hand to the top fastening of my corset. I gasp as he runs a finger from the hook, along the ridge of the corset, tip grazing the soft, rounded flesh above. His finger passes back and forth, my breath increasing with his momentum, until finally his fingertip stops just above my nipple. He presses into the soft flesh and then suddenly tugs upward.
My nipple pops free of the corset. Heat builds between my legs and my mouth waters. He meets my gaze, and my lips part, short puffs of breath moving in and out. His fingertip slides down, and with the soft leather of his glove he begins to slowly rub.
“I … Master … ”
He ducks his head closer, positioning the magnifying device over his eye and focusing it over my nipple. I feel the cold metal of its tip pressing against me, surrounding the small red flower.
“Hold very still,” he says, and I try to stop breathing. But it’s not possible.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Yes, since I was a kid! I was a shy kid and books were my whole world. I started very young, writing stories that were my own versions of stories by other authors I liked.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I’ve pretty much always thought of myself as a writer! I was always either scribbling fiction or working as a writer in my job.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
Either four years or twenty. I first started writing with hopes of publishing when I was in my early twenties. But then I gave it up for a long time. I started again when my daughter was very young. The first full-length novel I wrote at that time was GHOST PLANET, and that was published by Tor Books in 2012.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I work as editorial director for SilkWords (where I’m also a partner). SilkWords is an interactive romance and erotica publisher. We publish branched fiction (Pick Your Path), and Reader Vote stories. If you’re curious, there’s a lot of free content up on our site: www.silkwords.com.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My tour book is RAVEN TAKES A PEARL, a steampunk BDSM novelette, second in my Fantasies in Color series. Twenty words was hard!
Steampunk lass leaves home for the first time to steal back her mother’s prize possession — finds herself instead.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Both! I publish science fiction romance novels via Tor Books, and I indie publish my erotica novelettes.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
My first published novel took less than two months. (True story!) My second took a year and a half. (Alas, also a true story.) My erotica stories are novelette length and take a couple weeks to write the first draft.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
There are more Fantasies in Color stories coming! I also have a new Tor book out on Feb. 3 (ECHO 8, a paranormal, suspense, sci-fi mash-up with a love triangle). And I have an in-progress novelette on Wattpad — RED: LOVE IN THE TIME OF FLESH-EATERS (free read).
What genre would you place your books into?
Sci-Fi/Fantasy, though I do love mash-ups (see previous question!).
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I’ve always written speculative fiction, and probably always will. I really love worldbuilding, and steampunk has such compelling settings. RAVEN is sort of a dark sister to a sweet steampunk romance I wrote for SilkWords, A HEART FOR COPPER. They both are set in the same world, have a hero who’s an inventor, and have a heroine who experiences an awakening.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites. She’s smart and doesn’t take crap from anyone, not even the powerful and secretive Mr. Rochester. Ha, I just realized you said from one of MY books. But I think that would be like choosing a favorite child, so I’ll stick with this!
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
Since I was six! Books inspired me to write.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Post book contract, writing becomes as much profession as passion, and I’m pretty businesslike about it. In other words I work at my desk in silence most of the time. But it does get lonely, so sometimes I go to coffee shops just to be around other people. And I do sometimes listen to music when editing.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I’m on a self-imposed intervention with review reading. Up until recently I have read every word of every review. But occasionally there’s a really painful one and it’s impossible to scrub it out of your brain once you’ve read it. Nowadays if I see less than three stars, I don’t read it.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Almost without fail I choose a title first, and the rest of the story unpacks from that. But for RAVEN, I was well into writing the story before the title came.
How do you come up with characters names in your books?
Sometimes I name them after a literary character I love (like Elizabeth in GHOST PLANET). Sometimes the name is symbolic (like Pearl in RAVEN). Their name may have a meaning in another language (Asha and Pax in THE OPHELIA PROPHECY). And sometimes it’s just a name that seems like it suits them (Tess, Ross, and Jake in ECHO 8).
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I always have some sense of the character by the time I’m a few pages in, but it’s usually in the revision process where their characters really develop.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Not so much morals, but higher-concept stuff does seem to creep into my work. What it means to be human is a very common theme, explored through characters like Master Raven who are not fully human, and are often marginalized because of it.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I have a Kindle but still love paper. Trade paperback, I think. Nice big words, not too heavy.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I’m not very good at choosing favorites (more on that below!), but a few books I loved and read multiple times: A WRINKLE IN TIME (loved the close family bonds, and awkward Meg), WATERSHIP DOWN (amazing characters), and LORD OF THE RINGS (amazing characters and setting). These days I don’t ever seem to have time for re-reading.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Some do, yes. Readers have to adjust expectations when it comes to films — things that work in books don’t always work in movies. My current favorite is the TV adaptation of OUTLANDER. A friend and I did an eight-hour binge on that one! I love it because it’s got great writing and they made good actor choices. I think my least favorite adaptation was THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. I didn’t think the screenplay did the book justice.
Your favorite food is? Your favorite singer/group is? Your favorite color is? Your favorite Author is?
I suck at favorites! If I pick one, pretty soon I’m thinking about all the reasons I love a different one!
An RWA RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, Sharon Lynn Fisher writes stories for the geeky at heart — meaty mash-ups of sci-fi, suspense, and romance, with no apology for the latter. She lives where it rains nine months of the year. And she has a strange obsession with gingers (down to her freaky orange cat). In addition to her erotica stories, she’s authored three science fiction romance novels for Tor Books: Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2015).
Visit her at www.sharonlynnfisher.com