Release Party Chat Log – Of Passion and Steam

Of Passion and Steam Release Party

D.M. Atkins Ready to join us for the Release Party celebrating “Of Passion and Steam” anthology of Victorian and Steampunk erotica.
R.W. Whitefield I am very ready.
D.M. Atkins Cool. Authors, make sure you are at the special page for Authors and Staff Chat (which will give you both the internal and public screens at the same time).
D.M. Atkins You can find chat pages under the Community drop down menu.
D.M. Atkins Welcome to the Release Party for “Of Passion and Steam” – an anthology of Victorian and Steampunk erotica. We are honored to have quite a few of the authors and staff with us tonight and I’m hoping we can get a lively exchange!
Lon Sarver A deadly exchange might be more exciting, but less likely to leave us with authors to write sequels.
D.M. Atkins I’d like to encourage everyone to introduce themselves. I’m D.M. Atkins, aka Dany, the publisher and managing editor at ForbiddenFiction. (My typing might be odd tonight as one finger is bandaged.)
Lon Sarver I’m Lon Sarver, editor at FFP, and purveyor of fine snark.
R.W. Whitefield Hi! I’m R.W. Whitefield, author of “Clockwork Dolls.” I would prefer non-fatal chats, please.
KJ Kabza Hi, all! I’m KJ Kabza, and my story in OF PASSION AND STEAM is “Heart of Brass”. I’ve had about 60 short stories, mostly science fiction and fantasy, published in various places over the years, though “Heart of Brass” is my first with FFP.
M.E. Litman Hello! I’m M.E. Litman, the author of “The Facts in the Case of Miss Casimir” and I’m new to FFP.
D.M. Atkins “Heart of Brass” was also our first work accepted for this anthology and helped inspire us to look for more.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Hi, I’m Elizabeth Schechter, and my story in the anthology is “Infernal Machine”
Lon Sarver Way to go, KJ
Siol na Tine Heyla folks, I’m Siol, the art director and cover designer. 🙂
Lon Sarver *offers Elizabeth a suspiciously comfy-looking chair*
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, no! Not the comfy chair!
Lon Sarver Cardinal Fang, fetch… The Soft Cushions!
KJ Kabza Thanks for the kind words, Dany. Happy to inspire (:
D.M. Atkins Of course, with Elizabeth and Lon, the rest of us might just sit back an laugh as they always bounce off each other.
Lon Sarver Welcome to the official FFP bouncy castle. Please leave your shoes outside.
KJ Kabza Three hours’ worth is a lot of bouncing.
Elizabeth A. Schechter It’s good to mesh well with your editor.
Siol na Tine What, no ball pit? 🙁
Elizabeth A. Schechter Lon, which of us has the tigger ears tonight?
D.M. Atkins KJ – Funny thing is, I have a very old vibrator from the 40s, so it was very fun to read about some colorful interpretations of that period and machines which Elizabeth, KJ and Maddie all did!
Lon Sarver It’s in the middle of the bouncy platform
Elizabeth A. Schechter I could make a Dashcon joke, but I won’t.
Lon Sarver Not directly.
R.W. Whitefield Sorry I’m a little quiet, my girlfriend just proposed.
KJ Kabza (Welcome back, R.W. For a moment I thought you’d left the chat in disgust, once you thought there might not be a ball pit.)
D.M. Atkins Welcome guests, please log in if you can to give us more fun names than Anon#.
Elizabeth A. Schechter REALLY???? Mazel tov!!!
M.E. Litman Congratulations!
D.M. Atkins RW WOW
D.M. Atkins Congrats!
D.M. Atkins Love is awesome.
Siol na Tine Huzz… wait, did you accept? This is good, right?
Lon Sarver Fantastic!
R.W. Whitefield Thank you! I wish it were under better circumstances, our hand’s been a bit forced by the new prez. But I’m really happy to be marrying her.
Siol na Tine Oh, shit, yeah, there’s that.
D.M. Atkins Fantastic.
Siol na Tine Well, still, Huzzah!
KJ Kabza Seize the day, and all that. Warm congratulations, R.W.
Siol na Tine *throws confetti and non-bird-endangering rice*
R.W. Whitefield Thanks so much 🙂 *dances in the rice, bounces on cushions*
Elizabeth A. Schechter Blows bubbles.
D.M. Atkins That’s another thing I love about our anthologies, the diversity of orientations allowed by the medium.
Lon Sarver Siol, why do you want to endanger non-birds?
Elizabeth A. Schechter *snicker*
KJ Kabza (Man. This bouncy castle has everything.)
Siol na Tine Uhm… That’s… not… Argh! I love you, Lon.
D.M. Atkins One of the reasons we try to make sure of that in each topical one is a form of resistance.
M.E. Litman Monty Python references, non-bird endangerment… Yep. It’s got everything.
Lon Sarver Oh, hell yes. The stories in this anthology were among my favorite changes-of-pace because of the diversity of pairings and situations
Siol na Tine Aww dangit, I forgot to put tentacles on the cover…
R.W. Whitefield 🙂 That’s one of the things I love about steampunk in general, in books or at parties
M.E. Litman I’ve been devouring the excerpts posted, and I can’t wait to read more!
Siol na Tine Dany, why did you not… wait, no… LON why did you not remind me to put tentacles on the cover?!?!
M.E. Litman Heheh…
KJ Kabza R.W., the community or the genre? Or both?
R.W. Whitefield The community for sure. I got into steampunk because they threw the best nerd parties. It’s a really popular social scene for ppl who don’t conform to traditional gender or sexual roles
KJ Kabza More so than the wider SFF community, would you say?
KJ Kabza (I don’t often travel in specifically steampunk circles; I have more experience at general SFF cons.)
Elizabeth A. Schechter We have steampunk folks that show up at the Scottish Highland Games down here in Florida. And there’s a local antique mall that has steampunk days twice a year.
R.W. Whitefield Yes, more than the traditional SFF and nerd community in my experience, because it’s not just SFF. There are a lot of people from different scenes and social circles who get into steampunk, from the fashion or history side
Lon Sarver It can be. SF/F fandom is full of aging geeks who just got comfy in 1980s roles and see the Millenials coming in with their steampunk and genre crossing and tolerance as ruining their safe space.
R.W. Whitefield I’ve also seen more people of color at steampunk parties and events than at most traditional conventions (except for the anime cons around Detroit). It really brings people together.
D.M. Atkins Our local SF con split off into three conventions a few years ago, including a Steampunk one and an Anime one but I miss it all together.
Siol na Tine I found the Goth sub-set of SFF to be more accepting of gender variation than SFF in general, and that contributed significantly to the Steampunk scene, so I’m not surprised to hear it continues.
M.E. Litman I’m one of those who got into steampunk from the fashion/history angle, and I stayed for the great community.
Lon Sarver Siol, this is not surprising. Steampunk is, after all, what happened when Goths discovered brown.
Siol na Tine There’s also a gaming con that weekend
KJ Kabza Ah, I see. Interesting. Who knew that historians were a bastion of gender non-conforming types? Clearly I need to hang out with more academics.
Siol na Tine 4 cons in one weekend in the same major metro. No longer do we have guarantees to find our geeky friends in any one place :/
D.M. Atkins I’m a former costume designer and still a history buff, so I was drawn to it for that.
Elizabeth A. Schechter The steampunk groups are one of the few things keeping a couple of New York cons going from what I understand.
Siol na Tine @KJ – Erm, not sure the academic set is what you’re looking for there, so much as the hobbyists, but yeah.
R.W. Whitefield I got into costuming because of steampunk! I was strictly a jeans girl before that.
R.W. Whitefield Detroit also has a lot of crafty and DIY people who are attracted to the gadget aspect of it. It’s really fun to see people making real steam machines at a con with real welding tools…
R.W. Whitefield …that they are “borrowing” from their machine shop day job.
D.M. Atkins I got into costuming long before I even attended conventions but really took off when I joined the SCA in the late 70s.
Siol na Tine I think we get into it kind of automatically because it’s easy for geeks to agree that while Victorian era clothing looks really cool, Victorian-era social interactions were seriously flawed.
D.M. Atkins Siol – Yes, best of both worlds then.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, sweet Muppety Odin, yes. Getting around the rampant Imperialistic racism is FUN when writing…
R.W. Whitefield I’d love to know how everyone handled that.
Siol na Tine Of course, there’s the question of how to embrace the good sides without embracing the Colonialism…
Lon Sarver I like it when the impirialism and racism are confronted head on by making the gadget-wielding begoggled heroes fighting against the evils of Empire and Capital. But that may just be my socialism showing, again.
Siol na Tine Maybe, but not to a fault.
Lon Sarver Which makes me think, “Firefly as stealth steampunk: Discuss”
Siol na Tine But what of our Authors? How DID you handle those balances?
M.E. Litman As with any era in history, you have to recognize the bad even while you celebrate the good. But the great thing about steampunk is that you can take liberties with the world and the characters.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I didn’t have it so much in “Infernal Machines.” One character was Russian, the other way a French Jew. I’ve dealt with it in other writing, and will be doing it again when I go back to that world.
Lon Sarver Cool
Elizabeth A. Schechter But yeah, I had a main character who was the son of a British officer and who grew up in colonial India. Funtimes….
D.M. Atkins Elizabeth, I look forward to that.
M.E. Litman My story is very much inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, who was a great writer, but a horrible xenophobe. I tried to steer clear of that, along with any colonialist or racial tensions. There are plenty of other tensions to worry about in the story.
Lon Sarver Sometimes, especially in short pieces, one can simply ignore larger issues. But it’s very hard to do so while also having diversity of characters in the story.
D.M. Atkins I would love to see more racial diversity in our stories. Annabeth has been the best at bringing that in so far.
R.W. Whitefield I didn’t deal with it very much in “Clockwork Dolls,” but I set it in a world I originally created for an RPG campaign where steampunk cosplayers had taken over a world populated by telepathic floating squids. I have always wanted to explore a post-racist, post-gender-role world that still retained an imperialist or otherwise oppressive social structure
Siol na Tine How does that oppression manifest outside of the racism and sexism, then?
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, yes. If I ever do the steampunk Russian Revolution bit that follows the characters from Infernal Machines, i’ll get to explore things like anti-semitism and racism and polticial oppresion. But that requires reseach.
Siol na Tine (not that there aren’t plenty of options, I’m just asking which ones you ran with)
D.M. Atkins Hopefully Soil’s plot bunnies and enthusiasm will help fuel more RW>
Lon Sarver Wait, there were telepathic squids? Why did no one tell me?
Elizabeth A. Schechter I missed a turn. I know I did.
M.E. Litman Telepathic squids, you say???
D.M. Atkins Nope, didn’t get to that yet, apparently.
R.W. Whitefield Class and economic oppression, mostly. I reread “Atlas Shrugged” a few years ago and had some angry, Art Deco ideas
D.M. Atkins More tentacle options, right? ME?
R.W. Whitefield The squids were kind of a side note in the actual story 😛
Siol na Tine Angry Art Deco…
Lon Sarver Now I have an idea for a “historical preserve” invented by post-human civilization that has mistaken steampunk for actual victorian history…
Elizabeth A. Schechter Angry Art Deco sounds like Metropolis
KJ Kabza Elizabeth, you win.
Siol na Tine Poor marginalized telepathic squids…
Lon Sarver I’m sold. Metropolis re-visioned as queer steampunk.
R.W. Whitefield And yeah, I am planning out a sequel once I finish with my current creative project. It helps so much to know someone cares about your story and characters.
M.E. Litman I’m ready for the telepathic squid spin-off story.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Ooohhh…. that would require me going back and rewatching the movie. Okay!
Lon Sarver Remember, with telepaths, it really is the thought that counts.
R.W. Whitefield Aaaah, yes. Check out the Netflix streaming version, it includes lost footage and an entirely new character
Lon Sarver *goes to bookmark that*
Elizabeth A. Schechter <very big movie-buff grin>
Siol na Tine 😀
D.M. Atkins This is one of the things I love about doing this work — seeing the collective creativity and the way we can inspire each other.
Siol na Tine Inspire… derail… ;p
Lon Sarver Eh, whatever. As long as the penmonkeys keep monkeying, we’re good.
Siol na Tine “I know you were in the middle of a novel about Julius Cesar as a corporate man-whore, but could you maybe take a break to write a novella about queer dragons in the Andes? We have this collection, you see…”
D.M. Atkins Does that make you the clown in this circus, Lon?
R.W. Whitefield I’m happy to monkey around like this 😀
Siol na Tine Ooh! Can I be on the trapeeze? Or the trampoline… one of those.
D.M. Atkins At least I get to wear the top hat here.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I thought Lon and I were the bouncy ones.
Siol na Tine And weild the whip! ;p
M.E. Litman Oh my!
Siol na Tine You’re right, Elizabeth, I’m just flying high.
D.M. Atkins Definitely the whip and the crop.
Elizabeth A. Schechter DM, that reminds me of a Muppet Show bit — someone goes to Kermit and says it’s nice to see someone sane in the group. Kermit looks and him and says “I hired the rest of them.”
D.M. Atkins We need to add the top hat next time we do a photo of me, Siol.
Siol na Tine …. Cirque du Prohibé
D.M. Atkins I’m Kermit…
D.M. Atkins Now that makes more sense.
Siol na Tine Uhhh, no… Please don’t make me picture BDSM Kermit. My childhood needs some refuges still
R.W. Whitefield I feel like Miss Piggy would be the one wielding the whip in that case.
D.M. Atkins So, back to the stories. Time for a teaser? Raise your hands if you wanna go first?
Siol na Tine This is true… and canonical, so I guess BDSM Piggy is ok
Siol na Tine LOL please save us!
Lon Sarver Wait, does that make me Scooter? I thought I was Gonzo?
M.E. Litman *apprehensively raises hand for a teaser*
Lon Sarver Hey, did we have a topic around here?
Siol na Tine I think that makes me Scooter. Places everyone! And cue Litman’s teaser!
D.M. Atkins You are definitely Gonzo, Lon.
D.M. Atkins Go for it ME!
Lon Sarver …And my pants are full of starfish.
KJ Kabza …Meanwhile, I’ve been sitting here trying to think of how to answer Siol’s (much earlier) question of how “Heart of Brass” embraces “the good” of the Victorian era without embracing Colonialism, and I’m not really sure how to answer. The story is not explicitly set in a world where imperialism is a Thing, and the city is not meant to be London, or even necessarily a version of it. I guess the answer is, “I took a hell of a lot of creative liberties”.
KJ Kabza Wait… starfish?
KJ Kabza Nevermind. I’m clearly lost.
M.E. Litman I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat while I stood on the stone doorstep, awaiting the appearance of Miss Casimir. It was a manservant who answered when I worked up the courage to knock at the door, the same blank-eyed manservant who had delivered her letter the previous day.Â

He showed me to the parlor, where Miss Casimir was waiting. I suppressed a gasp. She was dressed in a robe of red brocade, which lay luxuriously across her shoulders, exposing her delicate collarbones. My alarm at finding her so dressed came out in an awkward, barking cough. She nodded in greeting, but said nothing.

The lights in the house were dim, save for a lantern set upon the parlor table. Picking it up, she led me to a heavy door which opened onto a set of stone stairs disappearing downwards into the dark. The bobbing pool of light cast by the lantern threw long shadows against the walls of the narrow stairwell. Looking at my feet and the curving flagstones beneath them brought on a minor bout of vertigo, so I kept my gaze fixed ahead of me, on my guide. Her footsteps, delicate but decisive, beat out a steady rhythm like a hypnotist’s drum. Her thick, mahogany hair was twisted and pinned into a loose bun at the back of her head. Red fabric draped from her shoulders and over her hips, which rocked gently as she descended the stairs. From the way the light played on the curves and folds of her robe, I began to suspect that she wore nothing beneath it. I shook my head, admonishing myself for thoughts of such impropriety.

M.E. Litman (I hope I did this correctly)
D.M. Atkins {end}
D.M. Atkins Yes
KJ Kabza “Red fabric draped from her shoulders and over her hips, which rocked gently as she descended the stairs.” I love the visual!
Lon Sarver Impropriety! Ah, my pure sensibilities! What editor let such filth be printed?
Lon Sarver Oh, wait. That was me. Nevermind.
M.E. Litman Thank you! (And yes, that was you.)
R.W. Whitefield “Her footsteps, delicate but decisive, beat out a steady rhythm like a hypnotist’s drum.” The rhythm of this line really mirrors the action. A little gem.
Lon Sarver And little details like that are the difference between an homage and a pastiche.
Siol na Tine 😀
Siol na Tine Wait, in which direction?
Lon Sarver Toward homage. Pastiche reproduces, but does not innovate.
Siol na Tine Ahhhh, gotcha
M.E. Litman Thanks!
Siol na Tine This is one of the stories where it’s hard to explore what you’ve got without spoilers, isn’t it… 😉
Lon Sarver That’s why I reccomended we accept your story when it was submitted. Miss Casimir wasn’t the only Lovecraft-inspired tale we’ve gotten, but it was one of the few to do something with the inspriration other than to add tentacles and needlessly ambitious adjectives to a sex scene.
D.M. Atkins Exactly
KJ Kabza “Needlessly ambitious adjectives” LOL
D.M. Atkins Yeah, listening to Lon rant is one the best parts of working here.
M.E. Litman I am honored that you folks liked it!
Elizabeth A. Schechter (Sorry. Ran away from the computer for a moment.)
D.M. Atkins So, who’s next?
KJ Kabza Reading Lovecraft’s prose is sort of like trying to walk through a ball pit with swim flippers on.
KJ Kabza Oh! I can go.
Elizabeth A. Schechter That is quite possibly the best description of Lovecraft EVER.
M.E. Litman Haha! That’s fair.
Elizabeth A. Schechter And, you know, we have the ball pit. Anyone got flippers?
Lon Sarver Alan Moore has said he believes that the “unspeakable rites” Lovecraft alluded to were sexual rituals with mythos monsters. I liked that you went there.
D.M. Atkins Definitely.
Siol na Tine I… had no idea Lovecraft was so similar to Henson… Please, someone go on?
D.M. Atkins I have a snorkel.
KJ Kabza Wait… Henson believed in sexual rites with mythos monsters?
M.E. Litman There are some ante-diluvian horrors lurking in that ball pit.
R.W. Whitefield Capturing Lovecraft’s eldritch feel while paring down the prose style to something readable is quite a feat.
Siol na Tine No, Henson believed in walking through ball pits with flippers on.
Lon Sarver The muppets were not puppets at all, they were his inconcievable children
Siol na Tine Well… maybe he also believed in the sex rites, I don’t actually know for sure he didn’t…
KJ Kabza This is twice now that my jokes have failed to land.
KJ Kabza Must chat harder.
Siol na Tine Not your fault, I’m a silly literalist.
D.M. Atkins No, they landed.
Siol na Tine I got your joke, I just replied straight-faced.
Lon Sarver No, Siol just plays a really good straight man, despite being niether.
Siol na Tine ROFLMAO
Elizabeth A. Schechter We *could* consider David Bowie’s codpiece in Labyrinth as a mythos monster…
D.M. Atkins KJ then it is your turn to amuse us….
KJ Kabza My understatement has been under-understated. *head asplode*
Lon Sarver Tenticular, at least.
Siol na Tine His wig was a more likely candidate, though… ahem, what’s next, then?
KJ Kabza Wait. Yes! Excerpt:
KJ Kabza “Madam,” said Dashiell. “May I present The Locomotive.”

Lady Gallantine exhaled. She entered the room in awe. “Why… it’s so curious.”

“Can you guess how it works?”

She shook her head.

Dashiell swallowed. He entered after her, the room’s heat rolling over him, coaxing sweat from his brow and neck. “Lie on the mat on your back, with your feet toward the Machine. Arrange yourself such that the therapeutic end–this piece here–is just touching the doorway to your places.”

“My places?”

Dashiell inhaled. “Yes. Your entrance.”

Lady Gallantine frowned at him in incomprehension.

Dashiell closed his eyes. The heat was rising quickly in here. He knelt by the mat, removing his jacket and pushing up his shirtsleeves. “I’ll show you. Sit down and lift up your skirts.”

She obeyed.

M.E. Litman Ooo… “Your places”… How dirty and Victorian!
KJ Kabza I’m fascinated with the notion that, historically, female masturbation was once seen as a medical treatment. “Heart of Brass” envisions a Chastarium, a place where women with unwelcome levels of desire may get “safely treated”.
KJ Kabza Thanks!
Elizabeth A. Schechter Ah!
R.W. Whitefield Dashiell’s embarrassment is palpable. I love it.
Siol na Tine Hysterical, even…
KJ Kabza I was interested in examining the Victorian-esque juxtaposition of “the world of reason” (cool, rational medical treatment) with messy human needs and emotion.
D.M. Atkins It’s too bad Maddie’s not here because she has the more “straight historical” version of this as well.
Lon Sarver It’s a touchy subject
D.M. Atkins And folks you will love KJ’s ending to this story.
Siol na Tine It kind of reminds me of Barbarella, actually…
KJ Kabza Thanks, Dany!
Lon Sarver LOL
Elizabeth A. Schechter She breaks the machine? Oh, fun!
Siol na Tine Only a little, though
Siol na Tine Oh, I didn’t mean that, Elizabeth! Just… here, sweet young lady, enter my machine!
Siol na Tine Barbarella in different costumes is totally steampunk softcore
D.M. Atkins It’s a nice twist that goes against the gender expectations.
KJ Kabza Let us just say, Elizabeth, that the levels of treatment she requires are surprising to the protagonist (:
Siol na Tine Awesome, KJ 😀
KJ Kabza Thanks again, Dany. That was precisely what I was going for.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I haven’t had time since we got our copies to actually sit down and READ it.
D.M. Atkins Folks, do have fun with this collection. We certainly have.
Siol na Tine Oh, that reminds me I need to request my copy, don’t I…
Elizabeth A. Schechter I have to fix that.
M.E. Litman How do I go about requesting a copy?
KJ Kabza I’m glad you said that, Elizabeth–I haven’t yet had the time either!
R.W. Whitefield I haven’t either 🙁 Shamefaced.
D.M. Atkins When we get stories this well done it makes us so much happier to do our jobs here. All of you managed exciting twists on this.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Well I’m in good company. 😉
D.M. Atkins So, who’s next up?
Elizabeth A. Schechter Me! Me! Pick me!
Siol na Tine Ooh!
Elizabeth A. Schechter Excerpt start:
Elizabeth A. Schechter I had done my work well. Before I could gather my thoughts, the mechanism was working, and the ornate scroll-work snapped to life like a trap, pinning my arms to my sides, catching both of my legs, caging my head so that I couldn’t turn. I struggled, unable to move at all as the gears kept on turning. The panel that I’d been so desperate to get into earlier opened, the sides rising and taking my legs with them, spreading them wide until it felt like my hips were going to snap. By the time the movement stopped, the chair had tipped back so I was helplessly reclined. I tested my bonds and cursed — I was stuck, and likely to stay that way until Sasha returned and could figure out how to release me. Then I heard another click, and the gears began to turn once more. That was when I saw movement; a pair of metal arms appeared, one rising from between my legs, the other dropping from over my head, and I caught my breath in wonder as I saw what embellished the end of each arm.

The Artificer in me saw first that they were beautifully-made wooden cocks on the arms with the finest articulation that I had ever seen. That voice was quickly silenced when one of the cocks stopped at a level with my hips, and the other lowered itself towards the cage that imprisoned my head. A cage, I suddenly noticed, that had an opening over the mouth that was just large enough to admit the wooden intruder now approaching.

“No…” I whispered. “No! Stop!” I twisted as much as I could, all the while ordering the machine to stop, to release me. It didn’t accept voice commands, and soon I wasn’t in any position to give them any more.

D.M. Atkins Go for it!
Elizabeth A. Schechter <end>
Lon Sarver Steampunk teledildonics.
R.W. Whitefield Fearboner activated.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I love predicament bondage. It’s so much FUN.
D.M. Atkins You managed non-con masturbation.
Siol na Tine …. So, wait, she made the machine, but didn’t make that part? I shall have to read this to find out what happened there…
D.M. Atkins He and no, he fixed a machine he didn’t make.
Siol na Tine He, sorry, couldn’t tell from the first person, shouldn’t have assumed.
Elizabeth A. Schechter He. The POV is from our student artificer Elijah, who discovered this machine made by a legendary maker. But he didn’t know what it DID… until now.
Lon Sarver It was a case of, “I wonder what this button does…”
D.M. Atkins And I love all the character details you give us in what is a very short time relatively.
Siol na Tine Hehehheheheheheh ooooops
KJ Kabza This is, like, the sexy steampunk BDSM version of “honestly, doctor, I slipped in the shower”.
Elizabeth A. Schechter And he didn’t even know that the button was THERE. Lon, when you offered the suspiciously comfy chair, were you refering to the most singularly ugly chair in all of Paris?
Elizabeth A. Schechter (which is how Elijah’s lover refers to this thing)
R.W. Whitefield Ooh, a Curious Sofa?
Lon Sarver Moo hoo ha ha
Elizabeth A. Schechter I thought so. 😉
Lon Sarver I might have been.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Yes, the thing looks like a chair. An UGLY chair. And it’s clearly a machine, but there’s no switch or button. No way to turn it on and see what it does… until Elijah finds it by accident. And there’s the story.
Siol na Tine Sounds intriguing, Elizabeth 🙂
D.M. Atkins And his lover had just left for the evening…
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, it’s fun. And it all started with finding vintage dildos on sale at auction.
R.W. Whitefield Whoa, like an estate sale?
Lon Sarver Not attached to a mechanical chair, yeah?
KJ Kabza (Coincidentally, Elizabeth, that sounds like a great opening line for an autobiography.)
Elizabeth A. Schechter Well, in my head, that’s where they ended up.
Lon Sarver Though I’m kind of sorry I had to pass up the vintage GYN exam table I saw at a salvage yard, once…
KJ Kabza Wow! Quite a find.
Siol na Tine Wow, Lon, I’m… kinda glad?
D.M. Atkins Yeah, that was awesome but we had nowhere to put it.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I found a Victorian TENS device at a LOCAL antique mall. right next to the Japanese erotic ivories.
Siol na Tine *shudders*
Siol na Tine Oh, that’s awesome
Elizabeth A. Schechter In the middle of Central Florida, and spitting distance from Disneyworld. Rocked my world.
D.M. Atkins We do have the vintage massage table, electric hand massager, etc.
R.W. Whitefield Wow, the best thing I’ve ever found at a garage sale etc. was an old tin of aspirin with the aspirin still in it. You guys…
D.M. Atkins I have “yard sale magic”
M.E. Litman Electric “hand massager”? Sounds suspicious.
KJ Kabza Mostly I just find dirty glassware at garage sales. Some people have all the luck.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Best part of that day though, was completely freaking out the bored teenager who came over to see what I was geeking out over. Broke the poor girl’s brain.
D.M. Atkins Oh, I have a picture of the hand device. It works too! But it’s too heavy for my hand.
Lon Sarver I once found, at a tiny yard sale with, so far as I could tell no signs, a set of CD-ROMs identified only by “Creepy” written in Sharpie on them.
R.W. Whitefield …I totally use my Magic Wand for wrist cramp.
Elizabeth A. Schechter But if you go look at the About Infernal Machines blog post that went up yesterday or today, there’s a link to the photo from the auction.
Lon Sarver Despite that being the opening for many a creepypasta story, I bought them.
KJ Kabza AND?
R.W. Whitefield what was on them?!
Siol na Tine Wait, Lon, you’re not just being weird, that actually happened?
Elizabeth A. Schechter Cmon, Lon. You can’t just leave it there!
Lon Sarver Turns out they were image archives of an old horror comic, “Creepy.” True story.
Siol na Tine LOL that’s kind of cool
Siol na Tine Was it any good as a comic?
Lon Sarver Sort of. Most of it was pretty standard twist-ending stuff, gory revenge stories, that kind of thing. If you’ve seen the show “Tales From the Crypt,” you’ve seen the best of the type.
Siol na Tine *Nod*
Siol na Tine If they were print, I’d want to use them to decoupage a box or soemthing for you…
Siol na Tine Speaking of horror and boxes, do we have more sexy machines?
Lon Sarver [link src=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy”]
KJ Kabza Elizabeth, the advertisement of the early form of the Sybian you link to in your “About Infernal Machines” blog post is gold.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Isn’t that fantastic???
R.W. Whitefield Horse-riding machine, hah 🙂
Siol na Tine Oh, the Sybian! I forgot! *coughs*
R.W. Whitefield I have sexy machines! And I finally picked out an excerpt
Lon Sarver Yay!
Siol na Tine Oooooohhh!
R.W. Whitefield Anke knew that she could never engineer herself to be beautiful. She never even kept mirrors in her workshop, not needing them. In order to create her latest illusion, she’d chosen to polish a sheet of tin to a sheen and prop it up against a worktable rather than torture herself by purchasing a real mirror. After all, she’d only need it the once, and afterwards she could beat the tin that had once contained her reflection into something useful that would never show her face again.

Anke’s skin was already as pale as a bone china dish, the telltale pallor of a woman who never left her lab. She stared at herself in the makeshift mirror, her eyes tracing the lines of her face, her hands busy mixing powder into water. Anke had managed todevelop an organic glaze that, when applied to a human face, would give it the shiny, cold mien of porcelain instead of the soft warmth of flesh. She applied it now, her eyes closed tightly as she drew the brush over her skin, feeling the slickness of the solution tighten and dry. When she opened her eyes, her face shone stiff, like a doll’s, and she felt not herself. It was the first time she had looked at herself in ages.

R.W. Whitefield <end>
KJ Kabza Very compelling.
Siol na Tine Poor Anke has such low self esteem :/
M.E. Litman What a cool concept! Though I am so sad for this character already.
D.M. Atkins And there are a number of interesting machines she made for her lover as well…
D.M. Atkins Or would be lover.
Siol na Tine I immediately wonder how she makes sure she’ll be able to open her eyes after it hardens, but I know the intricacies of fantasy makeup were not the goal here.
R.W. Whitefield Thanks, guys! LOL, I’m not much of a makeup person. I can’t even open my eyes easily after I put normal gunk on them
Lon Sarver Getting Anke’s characterization right was the thing that took longest with that story, if I recall rightly. Bringing out her insecurities without making her seem an *unattractive* mess…
Siol na Tine Heh, I feel you. I only wear makeup for theatrical or other performance purposes.
D.M. Atkins It was clear in the story that there is so much more to the world than what we see. It’s great complexity with out over-saturation. It does make me share Siol’s desire for more of it too.
Siol na Tine Anke came across to me as actually really beautiful but totally oblivious
R.W. Whitefield Thank you 🙂 Her characterization was a challenge, but I’m super proud of how it came out.
Siol na Tine Having a standard of beauty grounded in arbitrary traits she happens not to have, like golden hair, etc.
R.W. Whitefield Lon really pushed me to new heights. Yeah…and I also enjoyed making Lady Phoebe as plump as I dared. I appreciate that Victorians thought fat ladies were hot.
Siol na Tine Having grown up with bright copper hair and pale skin with freckles, wishing to be golden and flawless all over, I can identify
Lon Sarver Exactly. Here’s this beautiful genius whe sees herself as not valuable because she’s not upper class, or dainty, or what-have-you.
M.E. Litman Hurray for different body types!
Siol na Tine Right! And yes, I loved that Phoebe is lucious!
Lon Sarver Bringing that out without breaking her point of view was a balancing act. Lots of fiddly edits.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Lon is good at pushing you to be better.
R.W. Whitefield Lon is amazing. I’ve loved working with all of the editors at FFP.
D.M. Atkins POV to writing is the equivalent of flight of hand to a magic trick, it’s vital and takes lots of work to get it right.
D.M. Atkins slight of hand
Siol na Tine *nod*
Siol na Tine I kinda like “flight of hand” though… sounds like a collection title…;)
D.M. Atkins Grins. I’ll add it to the idea list.
Elizabeth A. Schechter For what theme?
D.M. Atkins Magic tricks?
D.M. Atkins Pic pockets?
R.W. Whitefield that’s definitely better than what my mind immediately went to
Siol na Tine Magic Tricks is quite a name in its own right… Sorcery + Sex Work = ….?
D.M. Atkins Yeah
D.M. Atkins I’d love to see that.
KJ Kabza Whereas I get this weird mental image of a pair of conjoined hands flying like a pair of wings, a la Hieronymus Bosch.
KJ Kabza Don’t mind me.
Elizabeth A. Schechter No, that’s kinda where I went with it.
D.M. Atkins Oh, for those interested, I loaded up a photo of my vintage “massager”: [link src=”http://forbiddenfiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DSCN0153.jpg”]
R.W. Whitefield It’s the migration of the mandibles…
Siol na Tine I went there too, I’m just well trained to return to the gutter as needed ;p
KJ Kabza Goodness. That looks ominous.
Elizabeth A. Schechter That looks dangerous. How powerful is it?
R.W. Whitefield It looks like a hand grenade. I bet it produces EXPLOSIVE orgasms.
D.M. Atkins Pretty powerful and works. I’m wearning 60s vintage leather gloves for that too. It was the original art for the CFS.
Elizabeth A. Schechter <rimshot>
D.M. Atkins I’ve turned it on but prefer to stick to my more modern and probably less prone to accidents devices for my personal use.
M.E. Litman That looks terrifying!
Siol na Tine … HOW does it work?
Lon Sarver *less* prone to accidents. “Hey, what smells like smoke?”
Elizabeth A. Schechter “Do you smoke after sex?”
Lon Sarver Siol, the grenade-looking part is the motor. The flat but under the hand is what vibrates.
D.M. Atkins If I fall asleep with one of them on…
Lon Sarver the vibrations are transmitted through the fingers to the spot to which therapy is to be directed.
Siol na Tine So it’s for external use…?
Siol na Tine Ohh, I get it. That…sounds kind of painful on the hands, though.
Lon Sarver OMG I hope so
Elizabeth A. Schechter Siol, how would it be for INTERNAL use????
Siol na Tine Fingers…?
Elizabeth A. Schechter Because that’s scary…
D.M. Atkins I think she was expecting a dildo version.
Siol na Tine Not the device itself, the fingers!
Siol na Tine I was, actually, from the other Victorian devices I’ve seen
R.W. Whitefield I bet that thing sounds like a motorboat.
D.M. Atkins Yes, it’s too much for my hand and weighs too much.
Siol na Tine I suspect it was meant for a man to operate on a woman, eh?
D.M. Atkins We’re guessing it’s 3 lbs or so.
Lon Sarver Three, four pounds?
KJ Kabza Somewhat related: a book recommendation for everyone, if you haven’t seen/read it already. [link src=”https://www.amazon.com/American-Sex-Machines-Hidden-History/dp/1558505342″]
Lon Sarver Well, yes, it was meant for a man to operate. Women don’t get all that complicated technology stuff. *ducks*
D.M. Atkins Are there pictures of the devices in the book?
KJ Kabza Some of them, but not all.
KJ Kabza Well, they’re sketches and patent illustrations, so not actual photographs, no.
Siol na Tine Say that again next time I have to help you with your computer, Lon ;p
KJ Kabza It’s hardly an exhaustive encyclopedia, but it’s a good thing to add to a reference collection.
Siol na Tine That looks fascinating, KJ
R.W. Whitefield BOUGHT OMG
D.M. Atkins I think we need that book for the office.
Lon Sarver For “research purposes”
KJ Kabza I find the section on masturbation-prevention devices especially terrifying
Siol na Tine I’m mildly surprised you didn’t just say “Oh, yeah, that one. It’s on the 3rd shelf to the left.”
KJ Kabza Me too 😀
KJ Kabza So glad I could assist.
Siol na Tine Dany’s book collection on gender and sex issues is staggering
KJ Kabza I don’t doubt it.
Lon Sarver It’s fucking huge.
D.M. Atkins I know Siol, I do have a good library, but didn’t have that yet.
Siol na Tine Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Dany Atkins has a huge…. LIBRARY!
Siol na Tine ;p
KJ Kabza How about this one? [link src=”https://www.amazon.com/Deviant-Desires-Incredibly-Strange-Sex/dp/1890451037″]
KJ Kabza Though that’s getting off the topic of sex machines
Siol na Tine We had a topic? *searches for her telescope goggles*
Siol na Tine I bet what we had was an excerpt…
D.M. Atkins Well, while you mention it, Lon has a teaser ready from one of Madeleine Swann’s stories.
KJ Kabza Ah yes! Good good.
Lon Sarver <Begin>
Lon Sarver Helena shook her head. ”I couldn’t possibly bear thoughts of such an ugly manner.” As he filed through pages on his desk she looked upward—and wished she hadn’t.
“Oh, fear not,” he said as he followed her gaze after her sharp intake of breath, “that metal contraption is merely a vibration device for easing back ailments, nothing a lady with a hysterical womb need concern herself with.”
“A hysterical….”
“Well, yes,” Dr Britestone seemed taken aback that she didn’t know her own prognosis. “A lady’s womb can cause fits of nervousness and knows only one cure.”
“Complete bed rest,” said Helena bitterly.
“Of course not,” laughed Dr Britestone, “that is the very last thing it needs. If you’ll permit me to say, a woman as handsome as yourself should not be shut away. Oh, I’ve embarrassed you.” A blush had crept over Helena’s cheeks and she rubbed the side of her face, willing it to turn pale again.
“Oh, no, doctor,” she said, “I was merely a little… taken aback.”
“No, a problem such as this needs regular intervals of… attention. If you lean back in the seat I will proceed.”
Dr Britestone reached behind him and lifted a contraption from inside his lower desk drawer. Helena studied it dubiously, her nerves getting the better of her. He pulled out a small, though no less monstrous, mechanical thing. He held it by a short black grip at one end and pointed the other—a tiny, flat rubber plunger—toward her. At the side of its thick silver body was a handle for turning. “This is the Pulsocon Hand Vibrator,” he announced proudly.
Helena felt the hairs rising on her entire body and began shaking with fear. She wondered if a great needle would pop out of the end, filled with opiates that would knock her to the ground. “No!” she squealed, rising up and backing away.
Lon Sarver <end>
Lon Sarver Huh. I meant to put spaces between the paragraphs. Just imagine I’m reading it in a breathless rush.
R.W. Whitefield I definitely had a “Yellow Wallpaper” moment at “‘Complete bed rest,’ said Helena bitterly.”
KJ Kabza “Pulsocon” is a great name.
D.M. Atkins Yes, RW but luckily for her, this treatment is much nicer.
R.W. Whitefield Saved by the bzzz.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Wow. Someone else who knows The Yellow Wallpaper. Awesome.
Siol na Tine I had to read it in school
Siol na Tine don’t remember which class…. was years ago
M.E. Litman I definitely also got the “Yellow Wallpaper” vibe.
Lon Sarver That was from “A Stimulating Cure” by Madeline Swann, by the way.
M.E. Litman (Pun intended?)
Lon Sarver Yellow Wallpaper?
Siol na Tine “What does the Yellow Wallpaper represent?” “Um, fuck you?”
KJ Kabza I’ve read the story, but didn’t get the vibe. Maybe I just don’t remember the story all that well.
Elizabeth A. Schechter The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Siol na Tine [link src=”https://www.nlm.nih.gov/theliteratureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digitalDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf”]
Siol na Tine You can has.
D.M. Atkins So, Madeleine Swann, has four stories in the collection, all of which are more Victorian than Steampunk. “Beyond the Bedroom and Into the Night” is based on Dracula.
D.M. Atkins With one of the female vampires seducing the heroine who then seduces her own brother.
Siol na Tine The Yellow Wallpaper is more or less about a woman who is having her sexism-induced depression mansplained to her, and the cure is for her to be as passive as possible.
Elizabeth A. Schechter IIRC, she’s suffering from post-partum depression, and the “cure” is to lock her in a room by herself.
Lon Sarver Ew.
D.M. Atkins The other two of her stories are about women escaping the norms of their day. One to the theatre: “Live Performance at the Grand Guignol” and the other to the circus: “The Fair, Laudanum and Passion”
Siol na Tine Was it post-partum? I forgot that part. Anyway, a more Stimulating Cure would have done her obvious good, but that would have challenged the authority of the men in her life, so of course not.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I *think* so, but it’s been a while.
Siol na Tine Swann’s stories seem at times to be in direct rebellion of that, actually.
Siol na Tine The Fair, Laudanum and Passion was a very fun cover to construct
D.M. Atkins Almost all her stories are about women discovering their sexuality in direct or indirect rebellion to their culture.
Siol na Tine back when we were experimenting with doing full covers for all stories.
Siol na Tine I was digging around for public domain images of old fashion plates and real Victorian circus posters. 😀
R.W. Whitefield The Stimulating Cure does have a very pro-active ending. I really dig that–subverting the ideal of the sexually passive Victorian woman.
D.M. Atkins I loved the freedom and creativity that the short story covers gave us but they took so much time and money to do.
Siol na Tine Yeah 🙁
Siol na Tine I do miss them sometimes, though, because a lot more of our short stories have those mythic and fringe themes that make the research phase of the art really interesting
Siol na Tine Our novels are always fascinating, but not always in ways that send me on footnote chain binges
D.M. Atkins Do be honest, most of the stories in OPS are tied into female sexuality resisting the larger cultural norms.
D.M. Atkins We have two works by Slave Nano, who writes femme dom works.
KJ Kabza I was lucky enough to get a cover for “Heart of Brass” (since it’s old enough), and I love it.
Siol na Tine Hm, it’s true, isn’t it? I hadn’t specifically noticed that.
Siol na Tine KJ, Heart of Brass is actually Dany’s work, it’s before my time!
Elizabeth A. Schechter Because denial of female sexuality is a big part of Victorian culture.
Siol na Tine She found amazing stuff for it 😀
D.M. Atkins Aww, Thanks, KJ, that’s from back when I was doing the covers.
Siol na Tine It’s true, Elizabeth, and I think it’s an easy target, but an important one.
KJ Kabza Siol, she did!
D.M. Atkins I used a painting from the actual Victorian period as the basis for “Heart of Brass.” And a couple months later, someone copied our cover.
Elizabeth A. Schechter What???
KJ Kabza Whoa. I didn’t know that.
Siol na Tine I do wonder… there was really denial of *all* sexuality, but I don’t often see erotica exploring how the Victorian era was oppressive to het male sexuality, per se…
Siol na Tine oh, wow, I didn’t remember that Dany
D.M. Atkins Yeah, don’t think I told anyone about the copying thing. It’s not illegal since they didn’t use my art, just my ideas and the title.
Elizabeth A. Schechter That’s because it really wasn’t to het male sexuality. Men were EXPECTED to have sex. Unless it was homosexual sex, then NOPE/
KJ Kabza Still. It’s frustrating. Flattering on some level maybe? But also frustrating.
Elizabeth A. Schechter If a Victorian man DIDN’T have regular sexual relations, there was clearly something wrong with him.
Siol na Tine Yes, but the parameters of that sex, how he could feel about it, etc. were still very constrained. Can’t you just imagine the very emotional hetero Victorian man who really just wants to snuggle with someone who loves him, and is instead expected to get a casual lay and move on?
Siol na Tine Anyway… Just pondering down the “Patriarchy hurts men too” path a bit.
R.W. Whitefield Stiff upper lip 🙁 Also, the anti-masturbation devices–there were plenty for men.
Siol na Tine Exactly
Elizabeth A. Schechter Yes, yes there were. Because onanism was a sin.
D.M. Atkins Looks like they have redone the cover since then but same title: [link src=”http://amzn.to/2kz8eSA”]
R.W. Whitefield Wow, you weren’t kidding. She’s even in a similar pose.
Lon Sarver Flattery of the sincerest form.
D.M. Atkins Yeah, it was even more similar before.
Siol na Tine Did they just take the cover outright, or…?
D.M. Atkins No, same layout originally and the same title.
KJ Kabza Dang. Well, at least the story is nothing like mine…
D.M. Atkins It’s, unfortunately, a common practice for big companies to do that.
Siol na Tine Yeah :/
D.M. Atkins Our came out in March, theirs came out in May.
KJ Kabza And at least anyone who bothers to look for that sort of detail can see which came first. So I guess that’s something.
D.M. Atkins It’s also why we search Amazon and Goodreads for similar titles before we publish.
Lon Sarver Ready for another bit of story?
Siol na Tine Yay!
KJ Kabza Sure, Lon!
D.M. Atkins We often end up changing titles for marketing reasons including a glut of the same title.
D.M. Atkins Sure.
Lon Sarver This one’s from M. Swann’s “The Fair, Laudanum, and Passion”
Lon Sarver <begin>
Lon Sarver “Why not have some brandy with us?” he offered eagerly, seemingly concerned she was frightened.

“Good idea,” said the snake-girl, “I’ve got a bottle of Laudanum in my bag. We should add some.” The strongman cheered.

“Heathens,” joked Art. “You can just have straight brandy if you would prefer,” he said, turning to Ettie.

“No,” she replied, drawing a shocked glance. “I shall have some. A small glass,” she corrected herself hurriedly. Her words filled her with a delirious freedom, the like of which she had never experienced. It felt like the most outrageous thing anybody had ever done. She reasoned the hours spent lighting the gas-lamps against the dark, waiting for Gabe to shuffle indoors with the reek of bordellos and opium dens oozing from his coat, had earned her the right to taste his world.

“Here you are,” said the snake-girl after slopping the contents of a bottle into glasses of amber liquid. “My name’s Penny.”

Lon Sarver The liquid burned, and Ettie’s eyes watered for the second time that day. Art shrugged and accepted a glass himself, and for a time they chatted amiably. As the strongman, Gus, explained that the weights were not as heavy as some were led to believe, Ettie noticed the beautiful way the dust floated in the candlelight. A silence followed.
“I have always wanted,” said Gus eventually, his voice soft and thoughtful, “to be a voyeur, or to instigate a group situation.”Ettie almost choked, too shocked to speak.
Penny laughed, “This again. You should stop talking about it and just do it.”Ettie glanced at Art, who shifted uncomfortably in his seat.“Perhaps I will,” said Gus petulantly.“Very well, then do so,” replied Penny provokingly.
Gus lowered himself to the ground in front of Penny. Ettie’s mouth opened in horror when she realised what he was going to do. She had seen it in the pictures in Gabe’s secret books but had never thought of it as something people truly did. Penny giggled self-consciously and opened her legs for him. Ettie realised her own breath was quickening as Gus lifted Penny’s skirts to remove her undergarments. She helped him, sighing deeply when his lips made contact with her private ones. The embarrassment seemed to leave her as she opened her legs wider, making soft appreciative noises. She pulled her arms free of her dress, exposing her breasts and hard nipples. Ettie hoped her sharp intake of breath was inaudible, realising she was hot and wet between her legs.
<end>
R.W. Whitefield This was such a cute story in its own way. I love sideshow stories, and showing the circus workers as people rather than allegories is a nice change from nearly any other story I’ve ever read involving carnys.
D.M. Atkins Very much so RW. Maddie manages to make everyone in her stories come alive as real.
Siol na Tine Ettie’s naivete really makes the whole story adorable without it getting creepy.
D.M. Atkins The sense of wonder she gives them bring the reader into that same place.
Siol na Tine Ettie just made me want to make little yarn pom-poms to cheer her on…
D.M. Atkins The first of her stories we accepted was “The Woods in Winter” which will go into the werewolf collection if we get enough stories for it.
KJ Kabza I like that Gus just blurts it right out.
D.M. Atkins She also does very good work on the historical aspects.
KJ Kabza It’s a very human thing to do.
KJ Kabza Dany, I’m surprised you haven’t gotten more werewolf stories, considering how (relatively?) mainstream they are. Or is it that the ones you’re getting aren’t innovative enough?
Lon Sarver That latter bit.
Lon Sarver The problem with popular story types is that everyone submits more of the same.
Lon Sarver And that market is already glutted.
Siol na Tine We’re picky!
Lon Sarver We’ve got a few good pieces that play with werewolf tropes.
D.M. Atkins We are pretty picky and are quite a few authors who don’t finish edits. There werewolf collection was stalled but a novella where the author disappeared on us. No response to email or mail…
Siol na Tine It’s not always about innovation, but it IS always about quality, and with werewolves being so popular, there’s a bigger slush pile to plow through for gems
D.M. Atkins We would love to be able to finish that collection if anyone comes up with a good werewolf story for us. Same with the dragon one.
KJ Kabza Wow, Dany. I’m amazed that an author would be midway though a project, an accepted project no less, and just disappear.
Siol na Tine I don’t suppose you know how many words away we are?
R.W. Whitefield Yeah, that boggles my mind.
Lon Sarver A dragon and a werewolf walk into a gay bar…
Siol na Tine @KJ – Sometimes life just happens to people.
D.M. Atkins We do have two dragon stories working their way through development.
Siol na Tine Sometimes they lose nerve, get overwhelmed, etc.
Siol na Tine Or just… change their mind.
D.M. Atkins Yep. We have the stalled/dead list. Luckily, it’s not huge, but it’s about a year’s worth of work.
Lon Sarver I hope it’s just that. Sometimes people die, and no one notifies the publisher.
Siol na Tine We’ve had authors and artists disappear on us only to reappear months or even a couple years later to tell us that they’d been dealing with cancer and just didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with anything, even to the point of remembering to tell us that.
Lon Sarver Yeah
R.W. Whitefield Dang that’s sad 🙁
Siol na Tine It’s hard to be mad at people for stuff like that.
Siol na Tine Throw a fit and try to flounce off a signed contract? Oh hell no!
D.M. Atkins Evey new author is a gamble for us which is why publishers like to work with people they know already. Better chance of the process working.
Siol na Tine But overwhelm? Illness? Human. So very human.
Siol na Tine Yup. SAme with our artists. The ones who do a good cover, and keep us in the loop are golden.
KJ Kabza Indeed. I just hope you haven’t had too many of the “throw a fit and flounce” variety.
Siol na Tine Fewer flouncers than ghosts, I think.
D.M. Atkins We modified out contracts so they can be more flexible in handling crisis and other delays for authors. They deadlines (and contract length) now roll over a year if they are missed. It means we don’t loose publication time and the author doesn’t have to feel more guilty etc.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Good to know.
R.W. Whitefield Very good to know.
D.M. Atkins We get at least one flounce a year. More in the early days where we hadn’t learned how to filter for that better.
KJ Kabza Filter as in make more robust or flexible contracts, or filter as in detect red flags about authors before things get that far?
Lon Sarver Both
Siol na Tine At the artist end we’re more likely to have ghosts, either that they just never get back to us with the initial sketches, or worse, once it’s approved, with the art. I’ve had to do some last-minute comp covers to make up for artist existence failure, but not very often, as we usually know in time to change gears.
D.M. Atkins I am an author and understand how difficult it can be. For example, the US right now is a mess and it’s creating havoc everywhere including in publishing.
D.M. Atkins KJ – Both.
Siol na Tine We did have one who seemed likely to flounce, but she came through in the end, and the cover was great.
Lon Sarver We’ve also had authors who seemed to ghost us, only to find later that an email got lost somewhere and each of us was waiting for the other to respond.
D.M. Atkins First year was the roughest. We revised our process and contracts several times when author tried to use us as a “free editing service” instead of a publisher.
KJ Kabza Yikes.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, lovely.
R.W. Whitefield Wow, that’s shady.
Siol na Tine Right?
Lon Sarver Yeah. Or the authors who thought that by publisher, we meant, someone who will do all the work and ask nothing more of you than your first draft, which was of course perfect.
D.M. Atkins Got hit several times. They thought they could just take the story and self publish after we did all the work.
Lon Sarver Yep
KJ Kabza Dany, that’s horrible. I’m so sorry that happened to everyone.
D.M. Atkins We are constantly having to adapt to what we learn in a very quickly changing business.
Lon Sarver It’s a learning experience. I’m sure some of them were just being ignorant of how publishing and contracts work.
Lon Sarver We’re getting better at adapting on the fly.
Siol na Tine I get a little revenge thrill when their self-made covers show no artistic or technical skill, though. ;}
D.M. Atkins There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that authors don’t hear about. I’ve seen so many publishers go down because the business side is so much harder than they realized going in.
Siol na Tine Seriously. You KNEW what to expect, Dany, and you’re still startled by the workload.
Siol na Tine I’m amazed at how many different hats Dany wears to make FFP go.
Lon Sarver It’s why so many new businesses fail. Someone gets in it for the love of whatever, and then didn’t know that 80% of any business is the un-fun stuff that supports the stuff they love to do.
Siol na Tine Erm… do we still have excerpts to play with? We’ve rather gone down a dour bit of business here :/
D.M. Atkins Yeah, Lon, what about the horse? LOL
KJ Kabza Sorry about that! I’ve never worked in trade publishing myself, so I ask curious, unsexy questions.
R.W. Whitefield It’s a fascinating look behind the scenes.
Siol na Tine @KJ – Not a problem. 🙂
Lon Sarver This one is from Slave Nano’s Lady Sally and the Automaton Horse
Lon Sarver <begin>
Lon Sarver “It’s taken me years to build it up. There are some choice examples of the art of saddlery here. Every item is hand-made by skilled craftsmen and many are antiques of considerable value. You see this crop here,” said Lady Sally taking one down from its mount on the wall and slicing it through the air. “This was the riding crop of the Duke of Wellington, used at the battle of Waterloo, no less. I have my favourites of course.”

She showed Lord Melchiot a whip with the head of Nefertiti carved in ebony and another with its handle moulded into the shape of a horse’s head and a third with a serpent in Celtic design made from the purest silver.
“They are beautiful objects, Lady Sally, I’m most impressed.”

“Yes, I can see how intrigued you are by my collection. And it’s not just the design and craftsmanship of the handles I admire. I feel there’s as much artistry in the canes and straps. You see, each crop and whip is different; each has its own personality, and when I use them I feel the character of every crop. Each one has a different width and flexibility and will deliver its own quality of sting, don’t you agree?”

Lon Sarver “Why, yes Lady Sally, I’m an aficionado of the riding crop. I believe that, used mercilessly by a jockey, it will drive a steed on to exceptional bursts of speed, as I believe you witnessed to your cost at the Ebor Races the other day,” Lord Melchiot boasted as he stroked his ginger moustache.

“Ah, yes,” replied Lady Sally, “that was indeed an impressive sprint to the finish line by your horse. And Nemesis is one of my finest stallions, one in a long line of pedigree race horses. It would take something exceptional to overcome him. But, ’tis no matter, as I’ve said, I’m not an ungracious loser, Lord Melchiot. However, I do divert from you on this point, your Lordship. You see, I’ve never used any of these crops on a horse. I only ever use my whips to administer punishment to men.”

Lady Sally observed the look of shock on Lord Melchiot as the full possibilities of his defeat in the bet finally dawned on him.

Lon Sarver <end>
R.W. Whitefield These characters seem very well-matched.
R.W. Whitefield Like…very much up to dealing with each other.
Lon Sarver Yes.
D.M. Atkins And we didn’t even get to the description of the mechanical horse…
Lon Sarver It’s very much a “the arrogant man has met his match” story
Siol na Tine Awwwwwwww!
KJ Kabza I always do appreciate a good battle of wits/banter/composure.
Siol na Tine Erm, I mean, aww about the horse
Siol na Tine (BRB)
Lon Sarver Gotta leave something for them to discover
Elizabeth A. Schechter That sounds like fun.
R.W. Whitefield Exciting 😀 I do love a good clash of equals in a saucy story.
D.M. Atkins She sets out to “teach him” how to be a better “rider.”
D.M. Atkins Also, if you enjoy the other author’s stories, feel free to go to their story pages and leave feedback. It helps both the author and the other readers.
KJ Kabza It’s too bad that the other authors’ schedules didn’t line up better and we couldn’t have them in the chat. But, as has been said, life happens.
R.W. Whitefield I’ve really enjoyed this chat, and I’m excited to sit down with the anthology and go through all the stories at my leisure.
Lon Sarver Good! Tell all your friends! Explain that reading ForbiddenFiction anthologies is what taught you to be such a fantastic lover!
D.M. Atkins Yeah, some had personal conflicts and then their is the time difference that makes it hard to join in from places like Scotland.
Elizabeth A. Schechter It’s like 2 in the morning there, isn’t it?
KJ Kabza Ooo yeah, the time zone thing…
Lon Sarver Bah, with sufficient coffee, time zones melt away
D.M. Atkins And, as always, much of what happens is that we craft anthologies around the writing our favorite authors send us. So you can shape what comes in the future.
D.M. Atkins We are currently alternating between solo author anthologies (for folks who’ve published over 50K words with us) and multi-author themed collections like this one.
Siol na Tine I’m sorry folks, I need to bow out a touch early. My co-partner is having a migraine and fatigue and needs my help. :/
R.W. Whitefield Siol, it was nice talking to you 🙂
D.M. Atkins Aww, see you soon Siol.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, dear. Go take care of them.
KJ Kabza Not a problem at all, Siol. It was great chatting with you. I hope they feel better soon!
D.M. Atkins So, for those wondering… The next anthology we’ll be publishing is “Keys to Romance” a collection by Julian Keys set to release on Feb. 14th.
Siol na Tine Thank you, I’m glad to get to chat with you, too. See you soon, Dany, Lon. To the rest of you, TTFN!
Lon Sarver See you!
D.M. Atkins We had a solo author collection by Konrad Hartmann released in Oct.
Elizabeth A. Schechter That was interesting.
Lon Sarver Not, “interesting”
D.M. Atkins So late spring, early summer will most likely be a themed collection.
Elizabeth A. Schechter More like “INNNN-ta-resting….”
D.M. Atkins (We would ideally have at least one anthology out per quarter.)
Lon Sarver Though they cost more than that.
D.M. Atkins Yeah, Konrad’s work is always that kind of interesting.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Konrad’s work fits squarely into the oddly shaped box of bizarro fiction.
Lon Sarver Yes
D.M. Atkins Definitely.
Elizabeth A. Schechter And I’m not sure if I like it or if I’m creeped out by it.
Lon Sarver That’s why we love him.
R.W. Whitefield Intriguing!
Lon Sarver That’s the reaction we wanted!
D.M. Atkins And in the other extreme, Keys collection next month are all light contemporary het romances.
KJ Kabza I want to high-five FFP for your commitment to variety.
Lon Sarver I have wondered if we collided Keys’ collection and Hartmann’s, at speed, if they would annihilate into pure energy.
Elizabeth A. Schechter You could power a starship, if you had a dilithium crystal.
D.M. Atkins Another one I would like to see get enough stories to complete is our second fairy tale collection, “Into the Wicked Woods.”
Lon Sarver As it is, we make sure not to shelve them next to each other. Our insurance requires it.
D.M. Atkins LOL
D.M. Atkins And for some reason, we have a lot of fantasy novels in progress right now. Which is fun. Including sequels to previous works. Like, Elizabeth’s “Rebel Mage” series and Nicholas Kinsley’s “Albion Rising.”
D.M. Atkins Oh, and I started a Bi Books group on FB because I was frustrated that there weren’t any groups to talk about our great bi themed fiction too.
Lon Sarver It’s almost like folks think bisexuality doesn’t exist.
Elizabeth A. Schechter We’re unicorns.
D.M. Atkins Oh, James L. Wolf’s “Edge of a Knife,” in the “Flame Cycle” series is currently set for March release.
Lon Sarver Maybe that’s why I can’t see my reflection in the mirror.
D.M. Atkins Bi and transgender themes in Wolf’s series.
Lon Sarver Stupid biphobic mirrors.
D.M. Atkins Lon, Vampire, remember?
Elizabeth A. Schechter Vampire unicorns?
Lon Sarver Shhhh! It’s a secret!
D.M. Atkins Oops.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Vampire unicorn shapeshifters. Sounds like something Harlequin would come out with.
Lon Sarver They’re supposed to think editors only metaphorically drain authors dry…
R.W. Whitefield Vampicorns. It’s a little better than the half-elf, half-angel, half-demon character I played against in high school D&D.
D.M. Atkins Please post about Of Passion and Steam on your social media, link back to story page and/or blog tour. We’re giving away both a print and an ebook in drawings.
Lon Sarver I think I’ve seen that My Little Pony fanfic…
Elizabeth A. Schechter Your characters was three halves?
R.W. Whitefield My best friend’s. She couldn’t do math…
Elizabeth A. Schechter Don’t be like me. I plain forgot the book came out.
D.M. Atkins Why not? We already have a staff mascost who is The Ninja Lobster Pidgeon, and his sidekick/lover, Robin the Bird Wonder.
Lon Sarver Hey, NLP is half pigeon, half lobster, and all ninja!
KJ Kabza Dany, do FFP authors get a discount on ordering print copies?
R.W. Whitefield Sounds delicious.
D.M. Atkins Yes. First one is free. All others are 25% off.
KJ Kabza Awesome. Thanks!
D.M. Atkins And if you have unpaid royalties, we can take it out of that.
D.M. Atkins You have to use the link Siol provided earlier to order them directly from us for the discount.
KJ Kabza Er… I don’t think I have that link?
D.M. Atkins Then CreateSpace will drop ship them to you directly.
Elizabeth A. Schechter KJ, it’s in the staff chat.
D.M. Atkins It’s in the section of Author & Staff Only forum under “How do get a copy of my book?”
KJ Kabza Ah! Thanks, I see it now. Sorry for my confusion.
D.M. Atkins Lots of other important info in that forum too.
D.M. Atkins KJ, the website has had three incarnations since you first came on board, so I can understand.
Lon Sarver OK, folks. This has been fun.
Lon Sarver I have important research I need to go do.
D.M. Atkins I really wanted to thank everyone for coming out tonight. And, even more importantly, for your amazing stories.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Thanks, DM!
R.W. Whitefield Thanks for this opportunity! 🙂
KJ Kabza You’re welcome! I’m so glad FFP has stuck it out. You do good work.
Elizabeth A. Schechter I need to go fall down now. Mornings start early here.
Lon Sarver A survey of pillow softness…
Elizabeth A. Schechter Oh, you, too?
Lon Sarver Thanks, everyone!
D.M. Atkins Oh, and feel free to join us on other author chats as it’s always more fun with more of us here.
Elizabeth A. Schechter Gnite, all!
KJ Kabza Goodnight!
D.M. Atkins Yeah, this is our 5th anniversary next month.
R.W. Whitefield G’night!
D.M. Atkins We set up the first website in 2011 and began publishing on Feb. 11, 2012.
D.M. Atkins Night all!
KJ Kabza And here’s to many more years. Until next time!
 

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