Today, I am very excited to bring you Author Helena Harker. In her lecture below, Harker considers how writing steampunk allows us to consider social norms for women during the Victorian period. Harker is currently celebrating the release of Camilla's Consequences, an erotic steampunk novel. An excerpt of her work is below. Please take a look!
Today’s Lecture by SteamU Professor: Helena Harker
Helena Harker is a teacher by day, writer by night, a daydreamer who loves to escape to other worlds. Her fiction is populated by strong men, passionate women and lots of steampunk inventions. In her free time she enjoys photography and curling up with a good book.
Further Discourses Available: Amazon.com
The blurb for Camilla’s Consequences:
Camilla is a sexual blackmailer. After a betrayal from her fiancé, she spends her days exacting revenge against men who are unfaithful. Armed with an iron resolve, her Panoptoscope and a handbag filled with instruments of castigation, she becomes a formidable adversary. Her quest for revenge has hardened her heart, but a small part of her still thirsts for passion and the heat of a man’s touch.
Hephaestus is a skilled metallurgist who hammers iron into any shape. When Camilla walks into his forge asking him to repair a pendant, flames of passion ignite between them. After Camilla receives letters that threaten to expose her, she seeks his protection as well as his love. However, in order to melt her heart, Hephaestus must resort to extreme measures to make her see that pardon, not punishment, is needed for love to grow and lust to be fulfilled.
Today’s Lecture: Steampunk Women, Camilla's Consequences Release
Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of my steampunk erotic romance, Camilla’s Consequences, a story of love, revenge and betrayal. There are plenty of steampunk creations in addition to some fem-dom elements as Camilla tracks down adulterers and punishes them for their sins.
This is the second steampunk story I have written. The previous one was a novella called Carnal Devices. I have to say I enjoy writing steampunk because it gives me so much freedom. I can do a lot of research about Victorian England and use those historical facts, but whenever I want to deviate from that and create wild inventions, I can! So I can strike a balance between history and fantasy/science fiction. I have always loved this time period with its corsets and rigid social conventions. In terms of plot, it’s possible to have so many different levels of complexity in terms of a person’s social standing, a woman’s place in society, the conflict between science and religion. And the technological innovations add a completely different flavour to the story as well. I have written urban fantasy and thriller novels, but steampunk seems to be where I am most comfortable, and I plan to continue exploring and creating in this genre.
I am also writing another steampunk novel called Ivy’s Inventions, but this one only has romantic elements. It’s not erotica, unlike the other two. This will allow me to focus more on the plot and less on the sexual tension between the characters.
Homework: An excerpt from Camilla's Consequences
Hunting men is a most lucrative occupation, one I enjoy with an ardent passion. As I wait for Lord Aldridge to exit his tent, I silently curse him for choosing to pitch his camp in this godforsaken bog. Although we are barely an hour outside London, it seems I have been transported to the jungles of Borneo. The dank, moist air wreaks havoc with my curls, my riding boots slip through the mud and my walking skirt reeks of rotting leaves and mallard droppings.
Silent, shielded by darkness, I rest my body against the trunk of a tree that leans precariously over the pond and adjust the lens of the Panoptoscope against my eye. Motionless against the elm’s rough bark, I blend into my environment. Although my hiding place is barely ten yards away from Aldridge’s simple canvas tent, he will never see me.
I aim the ‘Scope at my quarry and peer through the lens. How magical. My newest, truly ingenious modification far exceeds my expectations. My contraption allows me to see in the dark, and for a few moments I imagine myself to be a panther lurking in the undergrowth, waiting for the perfect moment to ambush my prey.
The leafless trees appear in various shades of gray, their limbs hanging low, resembling eerie fingers that reach for the tent. Lantern light glows inside, and shadowy figures stir within the canvas walls. Lord Aldridge has brought company. It is not unexpected. After all, Aldridge has many suitors.
All of whom are male.
Come out, Aldridge. Your judgment awaits. Often, I choose to confront men and punish them for their sins. It is a good thing that I do, for who else would pass judgment over them and sentence them for their transgressions? Surely not another man. No, it is a woman’s duty to judge men and determine whether they should be condemned for their actions.
Thank you for joining us, Helena!
Please stop by next Friday for a lecture by Chris White on Writing Steampunk.
Until then . . .