Monday, February 10, 2014

On Steampunk, smart girls and spankings....

Dr. Gladys DeWalt: The sexiest thing about her is her mind.

Sapiosexual: (noun) One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature; behaviour of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.

When I sat down to write Dangerous Science, I didn't start with a plot or a plan or even a concept. I only had three things in mind as I typed "Chapter One" on the blank white space staring back at me from my MacBook. 1.) The book would be Steampunk. 2.) The main character would be a smart woman. 3.) The book would have a male authority figure, and feature some spanking.

I do a lot of reading across a lot of different genres. Erotica is my guilty pleasure, and books that feature spankings give me an extra naughty thrill. But I've read enough spanking erotica to know what turns me on, and what turns me off. Turn ons: A strong male disciplinarian who corrects for good and just reasons, or spanks a woman for her and his mutual pleasure. Turn offs: A woman portrayed as so stupid, flawed or mean that she needs to be spanked if she is to make proper decisions.

Another turn on: Intelligence. I don't care how muscle-bound the character, how white his teeth or how handsome he is. If he's monosyllabic or a bully with one set of rules for himself and one set of rules for the woman, then he won't even register on my heat index. Perhaps this is why I fantasize about being spanked by Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer but not Stephen Segal. Brute force usually means brute intelligence, and brutes do nothing for me.

As a genre, Steampunk lends itself perfectly for the formation of clever characters. Women can be anything in the world of Victorian futurism; they can be airship pilots or scientists or explorers or spies. They can go toe to toe with brilliant men, whether it's in drawing rooms of London or on African expeditions. With Steampunk, we can enjoy the romantic structure and customs of Victorian times, but without all that icky suppression of women.

In Dangerous Science, part of what eventually endears Dr. Gladys DeWalt to Professor Sebastian Cromwell is that he deserves her. She's brilliant, and he respects that.  He's brilliant, so she respects him. She is not incapable of caring for herself or making her own decisions or being a full intellectual partner to him as they face the challenge that will decide her - and ultimately his - fate. Any submission Gladys gives Sebastian is earned, even if she doesn't quite realize that when he is forced to discipline her.

Now, I'm not judging those who prefer the Kitten-Up-A-Tree kind of girl. It's not for me to invalidate the preference for the White Knight coming to save the Helpless Maiden. I'm just saying it's not for me. The geek in me revels in crafting a character who wins the man almost by accident, and often when she's on the way to doing something more interesting that looking for romance.

The geek in me, the sapiosexual in me, the reader and nerd and science buff in me wants to write women who represent the Smart Girl. Because Smart is Sexy.

Dangerous Science will be released on February 12 by Blushing Books. Look for it then in the Blushing Books Web store, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.


  1. Intriguing! I don't think I've ever read a Steampunk Spanking story before.

    1. Thank you, Cara. From what I've been told, this is the first Steampunk for my publisher.