Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Watchmaker's Lady by Heather Massey: Character Interview & Excerpt


Erotic Steampunk
Matthew Goddard is a lonely watchmaker in 1840 New England. One fateful day, he discovers the lover of his dreams in a dusty corner of the local general store—Isabel, a bisque porcelain mannequin head with mesmerizing, smoky blue eyes. When Matthew invites her to come live with him, she eagerly “accepts.”

The couple embarks on a lust-filled affair, one fueled by Matthew’s wild imagination. In order to provide Isabel with a brass body and pretty clothes, he begins a secret side business selling clockwork sex toys to his wealthy female customers.

Danger, however, threatens their idyllic romance when a disgruntled customer exposes Matthew’s forbidden business to the townspeople. Despite the growing menace, Matthew will stop at nothing in order to save his soul mate—and protect their love.


The Watchmaker's Lady is the first of three erotic clockpunk romances in my new Clockpunk Trilogy. Each hero will be an artisan of some kind (story #2 will feature a blacksmith!).




Excerpt
Chapter One

Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, 1840
At half-past nine in the morning, the door to the shop of “Matthew J. Goddard, Watchmaker – Clock Repair” swung open, inviting in a blast of crisp November air.
Behind the main counter, Matthew glanced up from his oak rolltop bench, his right foot pausing over the flywheel treadle. A lady, obviously wealthy, stepped through the opening. She sashayed toward him, cloak and skirts rustling softly. A gleam of anticipation lit her hazel eyes.
Matthew openly studied her. He’d never seen her in town before. She was probably new to the area, or hailed from nearby Worcester. Many people were moving there, and often sought recreation in idyllic Shrewsbury.
The lady’s pine green bonnet had a single, wide bow. Cascades of spaniel curls framed her powdered face. Matthew’s gaze traveled over her high cheek bones and too-full lips before dropping to her cloak. Its dark, stylishly cut fabric covered her dress completely, but flashes of pine green trim peeked out from beneath the hem.
Matthew stood. He bowed slightly as the lady approached the counter. “Good day, Madam. How can I be of service?”
“You’re Mr. Goddard?” she asked breathlessly, her gaze darting about the shop.
“I am.”
Her gaze finally settled on his face. “Oh, thank goodness. I’m in the right place, then. My name is Mrs. Benjamin Rutherford. My husband and I recently moved here. We’re in the south end. Are you familiar with the area?”
Matthew nodded. He’d been born here. “Shrewsbury is a fine community. You made an excellent choice.”
“I couldn’t agree more. A…close friend and neighbor recommended you, quite highly, as a matter of fact.”
She produced a brown velvet reticule embroidered with flowers and opened the drawstrings. Her black-gloved fingers withdrew a pocket watch. This item she placed upon the glass countertop, a light clink echoing in the wake of her action. “It’s my husband’s watch. I accidentally dropped it, and now it doesn’t work.” She didn’t sound very remorseful.
Matthew picked up the piece and turned it around in his hands. The Vaucher Frères open-faced, rose gold pocket watch—he estimated 18 karats—was well-constructed. Indeed, it was a far cry from the low quality Swiss watches that had infiltrated the market these days. He opened a drawer behind the counter and pulled out some precision screwdrivers and tweezers. “Does your husband know you dropped it?” he murmured.
The lady blushed and looked down. “Not yet. I was hoping you might be able to repair it before he finds out.”
One corner of his mouth curled upward as he spread a piece of clean white linen in a tray and placed the tray on the counter. Working carefully, he removed the case. It took him only a moment to discover the source of the problem. “It’s not broken. The oil has dried up, however. I can lubricate it for you. When do you need it back?”
“Ah, within the hour, if you could. Don’t worry about the cost. I can compensate you handsomely for the rush work.” Mrs. Rutherford moistened her lips. They shone a bright pink in the lantern light.
“I can start immediately.”
She nodded. He showed her to a chair where she could sit and wait. Returning to his bench, he reached for a bottle of French clock oil, which in his opinion was the best around. The standard oiling only took about twenty minutes. He called Mrs. Rutherford back to the counter when he was finished.
Once again, her flickering gaze swept over the shop. It was as if she expected someone else to appear at any moment, or was looking for something.
Matthew gestured to the display case behind her. The walnut and glass shelving housed a collection of quality watches and jewelry. Some were unclaimed items he had previously repaired; others were undiscovered treasures he’d found at a bargain during his occasional travels. “May I interest you in some of my finest pieces? Perhaps your husband would like a monocle, or some diamond stud pins.”
Mrs. Rutherford gave them an obligatory, yet cursory glance. “They’re all lovely, but….”
Matthew braced his hands palm down upon the counter and regarded her expectantly. “Yes?”
She dropped her voice to a whisper as she met his piercing gaze. “Truth be told, I’m interested in your…other service.”
Matthew smiled warmly, knowing it would put her at ease. “Ah, yes. Well, it just so happens that I recently completed a new product. Would you like to see it?”
Mrs. Rutherford nodded eagerly. “I would, very much.”

***
A free download of the entire first chapter is available here (multiple formats available).



Greetings!   I am thrilled to introduce my guests today.  Join me in welcoming the talented Matthew Goddard and his amazing companion, Isabel.  Let’s get started, shall we?  Please tell us about yourselves. 

Many thanks for hosting us. My name is Matthew Goddard. I run a watchmaker’s shop in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I build and repair pocket watches and clocks, mostly.
 
 
He gestures to the clockwork automaton sitting beside him* This is Isabel, my companion. What’s that, darling? *strikes a listening pose* Yes, of course. *turns back* Isabel said she’s delighted to be here. She said she enjoys reading the newspaper and assisting me with repairs. 
 
 
What do you do to unwind and relax?

*Matthew turns to Isabel and they share a knowing look* Isabel has a brass clockwork body beneath this beautiful dress, you know. She enjoys it when I stimulate her mainspring. *blushes* I do that quite a bit, actually.


Who should play you in a film?
 
 
*puzzled look* Begging your pardon, but what is a “film”? *turns aside to Isabel* Do you know what a “film” is? *Matthew shakes his head* I’m sorry, but she doesn’t know either.
 
 
 
 What would we find under your bed?
 
 
 
 *Matthew blushes again* Er, discarded clothes.
 
 
 
 What makes you happy?
 
 
 
 *With a shy smile, Matthew threads his fingers into Isabel’s brass hand* This lovely lady right here. There’s no doubt in my mind that Isabel is my soul mate. We’re meant to be together. For eternity. *leans toward Isabel* Did you want to add something? *clears his throat* Isabel said nothing makes her happier than being with me. *Matthew squeezes her hand* You’re too, too kind, my lady!



Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.


She’s also an author: Her latest sci-fi romance is The Watchmaker’s Lady (Clockpunk Trilogy #1) from Red Sage Publishing. To learn more about her published work, visit www.heathermassey.com.

 




Now for the giveaway! One visitor will receive a digital copy of The Watchmaker’s Lady. Available formats: PDF, Epub, and .mobi. The deadline to enter is midnight on April 6, EST.
To enter, leave a comment that answers the following question: If you could build an automaton of any kind, what would it be (or do)?


a Rafflecopter giveaway



8 comments:

Laurie said...

I'd like one that did all the housework and cleaned up the kitchen. That would be super - sort of like "The Jetson's" maid. :)

Pauline Baird Jones said...

Fun excerpt and interview, Heather! LOL! You have a most inventive mind! Mega congrats on your release. I love your cover!

Pauline Baird Jones said...

Oh! Forgot to answer the question! Sorry, let's see, my ideal automaton be attached to the front of my truck and clear my path during rush hout. And gently set aside those drivers who clearly don't have a good grasp of driving laws. Yeah, real gently. (grin)

Laurie said...

Oh, Pauline....I love the cover, too and I LOVE your automation idea...Mine would also spray paint (Glow in the dark, kind) on tailgater's.

Marlene Harris said...

I still want the maid from the Jetsons. Anything that would clean up after the cats would be a tremendous help!
Congrats on the release and the review in RT. Awesome!

SusanD1408 Crochet Addict said...

I would make one that would do the hoovering, polishing and cleaning. I'll keep up on the tidying honest :-)

PuttPutt1198Eve said...

Ny automaton would clean the bathroom and wash the kitchen floor! Just call her Cindermaton!

Heather Massey said...

Hi, folks! Thanks so much for visiting and entering the giveaway.

The Randomizer has spoken and the winner is...PuttPutt1198Eve!

PuttPutt, please email me at heather "at" heathermassey.com to claim your prize.