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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THE PUZZLE BOX
THE PUZZLE BOX
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.
About the Author:
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).
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Oklahoma City. But I also lived in Memphis for about eight years, and I’ve lived in Seattle now for about seventeen.
Tell us your latest news?
In addition to my Fantasies in Color erotica series, I also write sci-fi romance (for Tor Books). I have a new novel coming out Feb. 3 — ECHO 8.
If you want the very latest newsworthy thing that happened to me, I was a finalist in the Wattpad sci-fi group’s six-word story competition (which had more than 500 entries!). My story was: Parallel Earth attacks! We’re organ donors.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was 6. I was shy and self-conscious as a kid, and books were my refuge. Really they were my favorite things in the world. I always knew my life would be about books somehow.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess I’ve always considered myself a writer. I was always either scribbling fiction or writing for my day job. I’ve worked as a journalist and also in communications and marketing.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first published book (GHOST PLANET) was inspired by its own title. I almost always write that way — I think of a title, and a whole story unpacks from there. RAVEN TAKES A PEARL is the first exception to that rule in many years. The original seed of that idea was a visualization of the story’s hero, Poe.
Do you have a specific writing style?
All of my work seems to contain a geek-ish component. In my sci-fi romances I’ve incorporated various scientific concepts — Gaia theory, symbiogenesis, recombinant DNA, parallel universes, quantum physics, and parapsychology. My first Fantasies in Color story (THE GARDEN RULES) has a bit of tech in it, in the form of a recreational drug that utilizes nanorobotics. And the dom in RAVEN is definitely a geek at heart.
How did you come up with the title?
As I mentioned above, I almost always come up with titles first, and they often seem to come just out of the blue. In this case, I’d already started writing the story. I wanted something that hinted at the fantasy and steampunk element of the tale, as well as the BDSM component. An earlier version was “Raven Binds the Maiden.”
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I mainly wrote this story for fun, and I hope that readers will have fun reading it. But when I write I often do end up with some rather high-concept stuff that I didn’t necessarily intend, and this story is no different. It’s about not being afraid to leave your safe place and become the person you really want to be. The sexual component is just a metaphor for transformation. With that said, I think sexual transformations are wonderful too!
How much of the book is realistic?
Ha, well, as a steampunk BDSM story, I’d have to say that very little of it is realistic. Though I do hope the characters will feel real to readers, and that they’ll be able to connect with their emotions and experiences in some way.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not directly, no. But of course all of what I write comes out of this giant melting pot of all my life experiences.
What books have most influenced your life most?
A WRINKLE IN TIME — Very precious to me as a child.
WATERSHIP DOWN — I read seven times as an adolescent.
JANE EYRE — First book I read after a long fiction-reading dry spell, during my college years.
TWILIGHT — Yep! After reading this book I read more about the author, and her success story persuaded me it was time to commit to writing that first novel.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I think I’d have to say my friend and critique partner, author Laurie Green. She started reading for me at a time when I was feeling pretty low, and I don’t know whether I would have kept going without her reassurance and encouragement.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading MARKED SON, by Shea Berkley. She and I were both finalists for the RWA 2009 Golden Heart Awards. She’s a fabulous writer!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jo Walton, another Tor author. She writes quirky speculative fiction. And I’ve really enjoyed Hugh Howey’s WOOL series.
What are your current projects?
I’m planning to write at least two more stories for the Fantasies in Color series. I have an in-progress novella on Wattpad that’s doing pretty well (2.7K reads) — RED: LOVE IN THE TIME OF FLESH-EATERS. And I’ve started a fourth sci-fi romance novel that I’m hoping my agent will sell to Tor.
What would you like my readers to know?
That I’m so grateful to people who buy and read books! And thanks so much for taking the time to read this interview.
Visit her at www.sharonlynnfisher.com
5 ebook copies (winner’s choice epub or mobi)