This is a reaction to reading Roadhouse Blues by Malin James, not a review, and as such, it’s messy and as much about myself as it is about the book.
I was not prepared. Continue reading
Last week, I started an experiment: I want to see if I can make enough money through writing erotica to sustain our current situation as it is without making drastic changes (like getting a day job. The horror).
I’ve started publishing my stories a year and some months ago, but I’m not exactly raking in the cash. There has been an upswing, yes, and I start seeing things move into a positive direction, but I’m still leagues away from the pair of shoes I gave myself as a first tiny goal (which I then had to replace with new glasses, because boy, my eyesight is the worst).
Writing is my passion, the love of my life, and if I could do it for free, I would. But fact is, if I want to keep writing like I do – more or less full-time – then I have to earn some money with it, otherwise this is not a sustainable life. Continue reading
My husband — I call him ogre, lovingly — doesn’t read books written by women. He made an exception for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Harry Potter, and the first Twilight book. Continue reading
I have written about shame in the context of writing and reading romance before. But shame is not only something I had to overcome about my writing, it’s also a huge theme inside my writing. Erotica offers a safe space to explore erotic humiliation.
Shame and guilt as tools for social and moral control aren’t new. Back in the day, clerics created so called penitentials, detailing what constitutes a sin and how one should repent for it. Those penitentials dealt extensively with sex, outlining what was okay and what wasn’t. Basically everything but missionary intercourse between consensually married people put you in the sinner camp. Sex on certain days or during daylight hours could land you there as well.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
AAAAAAAAHHHHHH What do I do with my life now that I’ve finished this book?!!?!?!
My daughter once said after reading Red Queen that she never wanted to read another book, because what if the next story would replace the feels she now had? – Now I understand that sentiment. I want to stay in the world of Uprooted for a little longer, I want to feel the story and stay immersed in the magic. I don’t want to leave.
Uprooted is just beautifully written, with a rich atmoshere and palpable magic, and a plot that kept me turning pages without stopping for breath. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time.
Now that Salt is finally out, it’s time for me to get on with the next twisted fairytale — after all, I want this to be a series. I have a short list of fairytales I want to write, but as all of them are rather dark and in the realms of erotic horror, none of them seems a good fit for a continuation of what I started with Salt. Especially not since I want the next story to revolve around Durwin, Aiden’s gruff and rough man in Salt. He’s a difficult character to begin with, so I don’t want to put him into a story that makes him fully irredeemable and unlikeable — only a little. After all, I’m all here for complex and complicated characters.
Since there is no story on my list that is a good fit for Durwin, I spent the last days searching a home for him in another fairytale, and I think I found the right one. Apart from being not too dark, the story had to fulfill other conditions as well: I don’t want to lose any momentum I may be able to build up by writing in a completely different niche, so apart from having kinky bdsm elements, it also has to be hetero (I’m so sorry, I promised my dear friend Ann to finish the lesbian fairytale I started forever ago… I will do that next!) and predominantly mdom. I hate to limit myself too much in terms of what to write, but I also have to eat, so there is that. Additionally, I don’t want to tell the ever same stories that are repeated over and over again, so Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are out.
I get the draw of those stories, I do. They’re familiar, like your favorite pair of sweatpants, cozy and worn in and you know them inside out. On one hand, this makes it easier to get an “oh wow what a twist” effect, because they’re everyone’s favorite sweatpants, and people see it instantly when there’s something different about them. So it’s much easier to get the “oh clever” reaction this way. On the other hand – there’s hardly a twist that hasn’t been done, so it’s difficult to come up with something new and exciting. It’s hard.
With fairytales that are are a little more obscure and not on the forefront of everyone’s childhood memories, it’s harder to create the big revelatory wow-moment (provided that’s what you’re after) when dressing them up in a new way. But then, everything about them is new and exciting, and it’s even more satisfying if someone does find the easter-eggs and meta-moments in your stories. Salt, for example. It’s a retelling of the Love like Salt trope: folktales of Aarne-Thompson types 923 and 510. One of its iterations can be found in Shakespeare’s King Lear. That’s where Delia’s name comes from: Lear’s daughter Cordelia. In the play, she’s courted by the King of France.
According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s account History of the Kings of Britain written in the 12th century, she’s said to have married the king of the Franks after Lear banished her. In Shakespeare’s play, he doesn’t get a name, but legend/history (which, to be fair, is nebulous since it’s far back in the past and also part of 12th century legitimization fiction identifies him as King Aganippus of the Franks. Now, that name is a mouthful, so I passed on naming my male main character after said king. Instead, I named his horse after this king of the Franks. But that’s just a little anecdote on the side.
Back to Durwin and his fairytale. He’s not only a gruff grumbler, he’s also very much anti-fae, so I want his story to force him to reexamine his stance on this matter. I didn’t find a tale that would force him to get over himself by falling in love with a fairy, but I found the next best thing: a werewolf.
The tale I’m talking about is The She-Wolf, a Croatian fairytale found in A. H. Wratislaw’s Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources (London: Elliot Stock, 1889), pp. 290-291. It’s a story of Aarne-Thompson type 402, Animal brides, and it’s relatively short:
Once Upon a Time there was an enchanted mill haunted by a she-wolf. One day a soldier went there to sleep and watched from a hiding place how the wolf came and took off its skin, turning into a woman. When she lied down to sleep, the soldier took away her skin and nailed it to the mill wheel. Then he woke the woman (shouting at her!).
She woke up in fear and called for her skin, but since it was nailed to the mill wheel, it didn’t come to her. And then — I kid you not, there is no in between, it’s literally the next sentence! — the pair married and had two children. But the woman was always unhappy, for she used to be a wolf. One day her son, who’d heard about the story, asked the father if it was true, and the father told him where the wolf skin was. The son told this to his mother, who thanked him for rescuing her and took off with her skin to never be seen again.
Now, this story has a huge dubcon factor to it, with the soldier stealing the wolf skin and forcing her to be something she is not. And the fact that she disappears as soon as she learns where he keeps her skin points strongly into the direction of forced marriage and marital rape. So why would I choose this story as less dark than the other ones on my list (stories like Bluebeard, The Robber Bride, or Hänsel and Gretel)? It’s all in that empty space between the soldier waking the wolf and them marrying.
It’s a lot like Kleist’s The Marquise of O. who’s rescued from an attack but then, while unconscious, is raped by her rescuer and finds herself pregnant with no idea who did it. The rape of the Marquise happens within the space of a dash; just like this dash, the possibilities in The She-Wolf lie in the ellipsis.
However, I’m not going to turn this into a rape story. Durwin is a rough character, yes, and there will (probably) be rough sex, but I will figure out a way to make the story less rape-y. The beautiful thing about fairytale retellings is that I can take the bare bones of a tale and shape it into a new story that reflects on the problematic aspects of its source material. For this, The She-Wolf offers a lot of room, and I’m absolutely positive that I can turn a 1 1/2 page story into a 40 -50K book.
It’s been a long time since my last post, and I’m so happy to tell you that my new story is finally out! I worked hard and long on this book, and I’m thrilled that there soon will be a paperback edition as well. For now, you can download Salt on Amazon, Barns and Noble, Apple and Kobo. And since it’s almost Christmas, I have a gift for you as well: You can download The Hunting Game, a bonus story set in the Kinky Ever After of Salt for FREE! [Available here]& on [Amazon]
I’ve been fascinated with fairytales since I’ve been a little girl roaming the woods around my grandmother’s house with the apt name Owl Castle. Now that I’m an adult, I love to discover the sensual potential in old tales and twist them into new, exciting stories. I’m dreaming of a series of illustrated erotic fairytales, but that’s something for the future. The first book in my series of twisted fairytales is out now: Salt, a retelling of the tale Love like Salt.
Delia has lived her entire life in her father’s court until one wrong answer sees her cast out into the world with nothing more than the dress she wears and the sound of the White King’s curse echoing in her ears.
When his hunting party stumbles across a nameless girl in the forest, King Aiden does not expect his offer of help to be met with a request for a place beneath his table or an offer of servitude, but he cannot resist.
As Aiden pushes her further and further in his desire to see how far she is willing to go, Delia learns that her father’s curse might not be as terrible as she feared. As her new king and his mistress initiate her into a world of lust and abandon, she finds something no princess could ever dare dream of; love and the freedom to be entirely herself.
But is her freedom worth the price when it means to deny herself the one thing she really wants — being with Aiden for the rest of her life?
Delia and Aiden celebrate their anniversary by recreating the way they met: with a hunting game. Whoever out of a chosen group of hunters catches Delia gets to claim her. Delia has to learn a lesson and King Aiden won’t let anyone get between him and his prey. Before her lie three days in the arms of her capturer, and he’s intent on showing her the error of her ways.
There’s a lot of room to explore domination and submission in the Happy Ever After, and in this follow-up to Salt, Delia and Aiden follow their wicked desires without inhibition and restraint — but not without restraining.
Tomorrow starts my favorite month of the year, November. The beautiful, terrifying month of novel-writing-frenzy. I’ve failed every single one of my last three attempts at nanowrimo and camp nanowrimo, and yet I am here to try it again. I have too many WIPs as that I should start yet another one, and too little motivation and ideas on top of it. All I have is my basic premise and a cover (because instead of creating an outline or brainstorming plot, I created the second most important thing you need to write a novel: a cover).
I also have the firm resolution to keep this story as free of smut as possible (which means I will allow myself between one and three sex scenes but not a single one more). I haven’t written nearly as much this year as in the years before, and every single story I wrote was erotica and bursting with smut. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I love writing sex, and I’m pretty good at it. But I need to make sure I haven’t unlearned to write anything else. So my nano story is going to be my practice-piece. A story to reconnect with storytelling beyond carnal desire.
After her untimely death, a necromancer is asked to bring Sophie Blackwood back to life. Her family ignores his warnings that the dead never like their return, but when he turns out to be right and Sophie is no longer like she used to be, they park her with the man who resurrected her — And despite knowing better (and Sophie constantly reminding him of his wrongdoings), Phil de Morteau slowly falls in love with his new protegé. But can Sophie ever be happy amongst the living, when all her days are grey and numb?
Despite not really having a plan, over the last few days as November was approaching, my thoughts started zeroing in on my story, and plot points and characters started popping up in my dreams and also in my waking hours. So maybe I’m not as plan-less as I think. I hardly ever start a story with more than a very rough idea of what’s going to happen, even though I really want to learn to be a better plotter.
Now, I’m wondering if I should maybe post my nano story on platforms like wattpad and tumblr (and my website) as I go, chapter by chapter, as a way not only to keep myself on track but also to expand my audience. I’m torn about it, because it would mean to give the story away for free long before I can earn anything with it. On the other hand, building a platform is an investment into my career as a writer, so this should be a no-brainer. I haven’t reached the size of readership yet that I could allow myself to be miserly with my stories. Besides, what I will be posting is a first draft; it will change through editing before I will publish it for purchase — if I’ll do that at all. The biggest challenge will be to finish this thing, anyways.
♛ Twisted Fairytales: Salt ♛
All it takes is one wrong answer to turn a life upside down.
Delia is born a princess, but when she gives an honest answer to her father’s question of how much she loves him, she’s no longer welcome at his court. Chased off by the unreasonable king and cursed to a life of drudgery, she finds herself with nowhere to go and nothing but the dress on her back to her name. Delia stumbles through the woods that border her father’s lands from the neighboring kingdom, but when she’s discovered by a large hunting party led by her father’s adversary, her only choices are either starvation in the forest or pledging her services to the Foreign King and become a pawn once again.
As the new and handsome king is interrogating her, she realizes she has another choice, one that her father gave her as he cast her out: a life of humiliation and subservience, a fate that she’s more than willing to choose if only it means her true identity stays undiscovered and she thus keeps her freedom. She pledges her services to the king to do anything he asks of her, no matter how debasing, as long as he grants her a place under his table.
Intrigued by the offer and curious as to how far she will go, he accepts her bargain and sweeps her off to his castle where Delia learns what it means to serve a king whose imagination is as dark and wicked as her own.
This retelling of the fairytale Love like Salt gives an old story a new twist and delves deep into the world of domination and submission.
❧ Coming Soon ❧