My Lady Gambler
Stories of Erotic Romance, Corsets, and an England That Never Was Victoria Pond
Genre: erotica, erotic romance, steampunk romance, steampunk erotica, steampunk Regency
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
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A collection of erotic romance in the Age of Steam, featuring a Regency novella...
Cara St. Cross is determined to play at the highest-stakes poker club in all of Great Britain... even if getting in requires her to dress like a man. Stanley, Lord Greenhope, doesn’t truly believe that “Mister” St. Cross has had relations with his wife, but that doesn’t stop him from challenging the (wo)man to a duel.
In the early Age of Steam, duels are still legal, young ladies get kidnapped to Gretna Green, and only the villains seem to care whether Cara wins at the tables.
As well as the Regency novella, My Lady Gambler, this collection includes three short stories of Victorian-style steampunk erotica:
Miss Carlotta Stembridge crafts her own troupe of dancing automatons in “The Clockwork Dancers”. When she meets a flesh-and-blood dancer who steals her heart, she must fight society and her own creations if she wants to keep him in her life.
In “On the Curious Condition of the Anachronism in Modern Aviation Structures,” First Mate Jess Priory of the merchant airship Aer Nova offers passage to a handsome doctor. Lucky thing she did, since his skills come in handy when the ship is attacked!
The possibility of a time machine causes more problems than it solves in “Dorothea Franklin’s Marvelous Machine,” Thankfully, the inventor can console herself with the darkly sexy, powerful Sir George, Grand Master of the London Masons.
1. What attracted you to this genre?
Let’s define “this genre” as erotica in general, because I have a great story for that. I fell into erotica on a lark.
Just before Valentine’s Day of 2008, I was surfing the internet when I saw that Circlet Press (publishers of erotica with a science fiction and fantasy bent) had posted a contest. The theme was “the future of Valentine’s Day,” and writers were asked to come up with a SF erotica story of 1000 words or less.
According to my clock, I had about an hour before the contest deadline. I thought Why not? And, thus, I knocked out “Terran Export” – a story about voyeurism and the commercialization of culture. (Aliens buy tickets to watch an Earth-born man have a good time.)
I had just enough time to write the story, proofread it for grammatical errors, and email it in. Next thing I knew, I’d won the contest! Instant erotica writer. And a career was born.
If you’re interested, you can read “Terran Export” on my website.
2. Did you have a say about your final book cover?
The best thing about self-publishing is that you have control over everything. I found this amazing cover artist, Anne Cain, and she agreed to do my book. She nailed it on the first go-round, though, so I never even asked for revisions.
3. How did you pick the title of your book?
It was an ordeal. Titles are my fiercest enemy. Eventually, I chose to title the whole collection for its star novella, My Lady Gambler, with a subtitle explaining the nature of the whole thing “Stories of erotic romance, corsets, and an England that never was.”
But let’s start with the novella. It went through a million names, but it was a Regency, so it had to sound vaguely like something in that genre. You know, “Lady something-or-other” and “Lord so-and-so’s whatever.” My critique group dubbed it My Lady Chrome Cock, and that stuck for a while. Eventually I was torn between My Lady Gambler and A Gentleman at the Tables, and chose the one with fewer words.
The subtitle took longer. Did I want to call the collection My Lady Gambler and Other Stories? The titles got long. My Lady Gambler and Other Stories of Steampunk Erotica from Centuries Past. And so on, but none of that would fit very well on a book cover!
Eventually, as I perused my many bookshelves, I saw that Gail Carringer’s Soulless had this little description on it, in the lower right, and I thought: Oh! Subtitle!
4. How long have you been writing? What/who got you started?
I’ve been writing for the longest time. For love and for hope of eventual money/fame. My hard drive have stories from every phase of my life. It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t write.
But I didn’t start to take writing seriously as a career until 2006. Oh, I’d already amassed rejection letters from magazines and book publishers before then, but as a hobbyist. In 2006 I took stock of my life and realized that the one thing I always did was write and edit. So I picked up odd jobs editing for local magazines and got serious about submitting stories. And, then, in 2008 it started picking up. I won that contest at Circlet. I sold my first short story (also to Circlet in 2011). I got a contract job writing for a videogame (2009). And now I write full-time.
5. What do you do during a writer's block?
One thing I learned as a videogame writer: You can’t stop when you have writer’s block. If you’re a professional writer, then you have words to write. You have deadlines. You can’t just say, “I don’t feel like it.” Truck drivers don’t say, “I don’t feel like driving a truck today.”
So when I have writer’s block, I work through it. If I’m stuck on a plot point, then I start roughing in what could happen. If I’m stuck on a character, I give him or her an outrageous accent (which I cut later). If the problem is that my writing feels flat, I go back to my outline and write the scene anyway. Yeah, it might be flat, but I can edit it later. And, often, those words that seemed so lifeless when I wrote them, end up being great. Sure, I didn’t have passion when I put them on paper, but I’ve spent years (and money!) learning craft. All that knowledge and skill doesn’t go away just because I’m having a bad day.
Videogames taught me to be a hack writer, and it’s working for me. But I still write slowly because there are so many projects!
6. Anything you want to ask our readers before you go?
What’s your favorite holiday romance novel of all time? I’ve never read a single one (if you can believe it), but I love heartwarming holiday fiction. (I wait anxiously for every Connie Willis Christmas release, inevitably full of silly Christmas songs and uplifting aspects of humanity.)
About the Author :
Victoria Pond is a professional writer on projects ranging from video games to novels. She lives in Seattle with a husband and a cat, where she sings with a Celtic band and is working on the next novella in her steampunk erotica universe.
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/VictoriaPond
Amazon Author Central – www.amazon.com/author/victoriapond