The safety of fiction

My foray into writing taboo erotica.

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

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Oh, such delicious shame!

About Erotic Humiliation and Princess Kali’s “Enough to make you blush”

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.

Continue reading

Salt – a bdsm fairytale.

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.

Synopsis:

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?

The Hunting Game

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.

Download The Hunting Game for free!

Source: Salt – a bdsm fairytale. – Jo Henny Wolf

Nanowrimo 2016: Embarking on adventure

One more day till Nanowrimo.

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.

The story? This:

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.

Sharing the story or not?

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.

What do you think? Should I publish this WIP as I go or rather not?

Let me know in the comments!

Source: Nanowrimo 2016: Embarking on adventure – Jo Henny Wolf

Why I will never stop loving the Beauty and the Beast trope | Jo Henny Wolf

I am a sucker for Beauty and the beast tales. Give me a woman falling in love with a beast and I’m salivating all over it. Never mind all those problematic aspects where the trope can go horribly wrong.  But why is it that this fairytale has such an effect on me, and that it gets me every time? My heart starts pounding  when Beauty meets her beast and they share a first, awkward moment. When the beast enters the story in all its unrefined roughness, coarse and sometimes outright nasty (or not, more often, when the *beastliness* comes only from its appearance, not its character), I can’t help but rooting for it to find its match and lover in Beauty.

Read more: Why I will never stop loving the Beauty and the Beast trope | Jo Henny Wolf

5 tricks to get you writing when you’re stuck in a rut |

You don’t have to write every day to be a writer. You’re still a writer when you’re between stories, when you haven’t written a word in weeks. That’s okay, and no reason to feel guilty, because guilt just makes it worse. So this is not meant to be another stress factor by telling you that you have to write in order to be a writer (TM). But sometimes, you want to write, you have the time and you have the ideas, but as soon as you sit down and put your fingers to the keyboard, some great incapability overwhelms you and the resistance is too big to push against. When you know what you should do, and want to do, but for some reason don’t manage to do. I found that the following five tricks helped me when I was stuck in those cruel phases, and in times of trouble, I regularly go back to them.

Read more: 5 tricks to get you writing when you’re stuck in a rut |

Romance and Shame

When I told my grandfather that I am writing romance, he made a face and said I should rather write something real, and serious – as if stories concentrating on love and relationships aren’t real and something you shouldn’t waste your time with. It’s an opinion about genre fiction you get to hear all the time, mostly without having asked for it, and it’s so entrenched that I still felt I had to apologize for writing it when I had long realized that those are the stories I’m drawn to, and end up writing over and over again. It’s also the stories I have been reading all my life, so no big surprise there.

I was ashamed of reading romance all my life, too. The cheesy covers sure were no help in lessening the stigma. Each time I got a new one at the railway station kiosk or the supermarket, marked down in price for being remaindered, I fixed my eyes on the floor and avoided to meet anyone’s eyes – especially those of the cashier – at all costs. But the thirst was real, and I needed a new romance novel every few days. I still have them all, cluttering the lower shelves of my bookcases, hidden behind more *respectable* reading material. For some reason I don’t manage to get rid of them. I haven’t bought a new romance book in a while, but that doesn’t mean I don’t pull out some Christina Dodd, Amanda Quick or Eloisa James once in a while and reread my favorites.

Those books made me feel when nothing else could. I found comfort in stories of feisty heroines fighting for their right to love, to live like they wanted, found strength in their defiance, and, let’s be real, I discovered more than one kink between the pages of paperback love. So why should I be ashamed of my love of romance? Why are the words about love and two people finding each other and overcoming their differences and conflicts lesser in worth than other words, lesser even than other genre fiction like Sci Fi or Crime? Sure, not every genre novel is a literary gem, but that doesn’t mean that the genre as a whole is trash. I still think that Anne Golon’s Angélique series is among some of the best books I ever read, and it was marketed as romance for lack of a better label.

Romance novels aren’t just about love and, well, romance, they’re about women, and for women, and that’s probably the thing that makes them *less* than your average fiction written by the average white male dude. Sexism is as strong in publishing as it is as anywhere else – just take a look at Young Adult fiction.

It’s no surprise, I think, that it’s my grandfather criticizing my choices in the stories I write, someone who certainly never even touched a romance novel and judges the genre as a whole by its cover. I found the opinion so deeply ingrained in myself that I defended my writing of romance to a former – male – lecturer from my university with the apologetic words of “Someone has to write it.”

“I know,” he said. He, for his part, is an unapologetic, avid reader of romance.

I’m still working on emancipating myself from prejudice. Now that I accepted my fate, so to speak, accepted that stories about love and overcoming conflict are not only my jam in reading but also the thing I write most passionately about, I had to do some soul-searching, had to face the root of my hesitance and my prejudices and question their origins. Once I became aware of the systemic sexism in the publishing industry and the underlying devaluation of women’s words and stories, I refused to let myself feel ashamed for it any longer.

I’m no longer apologetic of my writing, and I no longer hide the covers of the books I read.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and disheartened when browsing ebook categories and trying to work out the space where your own story fits. *Knowing your market* can easily drift off into *the market is full already there’s no space for me*. Maybe it’s not that important to know the competition, though. Sure, always do your research, but maybe the most important thing amongst it all is just to WRITE YOUR STORY. So, there are 1001 naughty fairy tales out there… but not yours. And if fanfiction taught me one thing, then it is that the thirst for certain tropes never dies. There are countless variations of ONE idea/trope, but all of them are unique, and they all have their readers. So I will not hang my head. There’s a lot of space in the universe.

My inner critic is a liar

The key to writing a story is routine. The key to routine is discipline. Discipline is a concept I constantly struggle with. Is it such a surprise then that I constantly struggle with my self-esteem, too, when I fail so much at this most basic concept?

I have my self-doubt so ingrained in me that it’s hard to get past it. My inner critic is constantly telling me that I’m not good enough, that I will never succeed. That I’m a failure, and a disappointment. My inner critic is a filthy liar, though, and maybe I just have to give him the face of someone I despise so as to learn to unhear him. My inner critic is a cold-hearted man with a burning loathing of those living in a world of words and stories. He begrudges them their dreams and thoughts because he never was allowed to follow his dreams, and no one ever thought he could have even one sensitive bone under his pasty skin, no thought beyond what’s sensible and pragmatic. He calls it reality, he calls it truth, but it isn’t. It’s his grudge speaking out of him, his disappointment with himself.

My inner critic wears a familiar face, and I must not trust him. My inner critic is a liar, and I have to emancipate myself from him. I have to learn to believe in myself. And anyway, even discipline can be learned. All it needs is structure and time. I don’t have structure, but I do have enough time to build it.

Making a detour around haunted head

I developed a bit of a condition here… I’m still on my daily wordcount goal of 300 words, and after I had a bit of a slump, not writing a word for several days, I began to count anything into my wordcount out of sheer despair. Blog posts. Emails. Everything. Then I started a short story that has lingered in my head for a while now, but even this didn’t get the juices flowing. Then I decided to write something that haunted me.

You know how you can develop a so called ship? I didn’t know what this meant until I entered tumblr and somehow slid into the depths of a fandom. Well, I know how it felt to ship a character with another, but I didn’t know there was a whole terminology for it (yes, I googled “OTP” – it means One True Pairing, just for the record). I didn’t know this could happen with my own characters. I mean, sometimes it’s intended to happen (writing romance without a ship is not a good idea), but in my case, it’s not. These two characters can under no circumstances end up in any relationship whatsoever, especially since one of them is the villain (yes, my antagonist is also a villain, happens to the best of us) and the other one is the hero of my story. They’re opposed in insuperable conflict that ends with one of them dead.  But I ship them so hard. So I decided to give me some writing practice and write my own fanfiction. Let them get hot and steamy with each other without any intention of ever – ever – including it in the book (let alone let it see the light of day). Without any intention of even fitting it into the story.

And suddenly, I write 3000 instead of 300 words a day. Might be that this is without merit, since it’s written with the specific premise of never seeing a printing press. Perhaps I waste my days. But I don’t think so. It gets my creative mojo flowing, and I try to incorporate some writing exercises. I think it’s not the what you write everyday that is important, but the that you write everyday.   (Uh, sorry for any deadly grammatical sins I committed here). The more words you produce, the more likely it is there are some gems among them. And if not, it’s still easier to work with already written words than to produce brilliance from scratch.

And it helps me to free my head from any haunting shipper feels that could invade my story. They’re all packed up now, neat and tidy, in their own folder. And hey, if you never write just for your own fun, why you’re doing this at all? Yes, being a writer includes seeing writing as your job, but what good is it if you have absolutely no fun in your job? Right, you’re likely going to quit or develop a serious stress disorder.

So, have fun, stay positive and write your own fanfiction.