What’s this? A recipe? Why?
I’m not changing gears, don’t worry. But as I’m publishing my next book Pie & Punishment in January (SO SOON!), I thought I’d honor the occasion with my favorite pie recipe. Alright, it’s not exactly a pie. It’s a traditional cake named after the Austrian city Linz, and has been a family staple for exactly that reason. My grandmother bakes them around Christmas and gives them out to everyone. The longer you let Linzertorte rest, the better it is, so don’t plan on eating it the same day when you bake. Wait at least over night.
This recipe contains cherry schnaps – you can leave it out if you prefer. I’m giving you metric measurements, because that’s how I roll.
makes 2 (you can thank me later)
- 500g flour
- 400g ground hazelnuts
- 400g sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cocoa
- 2 tsp cinnammon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 400g butter
- 1 cl (or 1 Tbsp) cherry schnaps
- 2 eggs
- 2 jars of Raspberry jam (between 200 and 300 g/jar; alternatively, mix raspberry and currant jam)
- egg yolk with a dash of milk for glazing
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then add butter, eggs and schnaps and mix/knead into uniform dough.
- Split into two, then separate some dough from each portion for the top.
- Roll out the bigger portion with flour and place in ∅28cm baking tray. Push the edge up to form a brim/lip and spread a jar of raspberry jam on each pie. Roll out the sectioned dough (approx. 3-5mm) and either cut into stripes to weave, or use a cookie cutter and cut out forms and place on top of jam. Brush with yolk/milk mixture.
- Bake 70 minutes at 170°C
- Let cool in mold, and rest at least a day. As it rests, the crumbly, yummy pie absorbs the jam. It’s a dream.
It’s December, or as we call it in my family, the Christmas Month. It’s freezing cold, gets dark at 4 PM (or thereabout), and we’re strapped for cash, because – it’s the Christmas Month and I love giving gifts to the people I love. But what I love even more is huddling up with a blanket, hot tea and a book to crank up those warm thinky thoughts. I never spend as much money on books as in December. It’s probably something every reader can relate to. Why do all the good books have to come out in winter?
This December, I’ve teamed up with a bunch of cool authors on BookFunnel to bring you free reads for steamy nights to load up your kindle. Head over and find your next cozy, steamy read to warm you up (but don’t forget to wrap your feet with a blanket). I know I will grab some free books while it lasts, because social distancing is best when you have something fun to read ;). And you might find your next favorite author.
Steamy Nights Giveaway: https://books.bookfunnel.com/sexywinter/v0567n05iz
Age-gap romances are a whole category of their own inside the romance genre. I can either eat them up like candy or sneak a peek and run the other way. It depends on the specific constellation in the book in question, but maybe some of it depends on my own biases, too. It’s a complicated relationship.
Next month, my 20th anniversary with my husband is coming up. As my kids like to remind us (frequently, with the judgement only teenagers muster over their parent’s life choices), we have a little age gap. All things considered, a seven-year difference isn’t the world and hardly even counts as a contender in the age-gap romance category. But given my barely legal age of 18 when we married, I get why my kids find it gross. I would blow a gasket if one of them started seeing an older person at their current age. Continue Reading
The first time I read Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, I was struck by its beautiful prose. The novel’s adaptation The Handmaiden (2016) achieves something similar with its lush aesthetic. Its beautiful, calm shots hide a thick plot of layered manipulation.
The Handmaiden transports the plot of Fingersmith from Victorian England to Korea in the 1930s under Japanese occupation. Despite this change in location and time, the movie follows the book’s plot closely — until it doesn’t. When reading, I wasn’t prepared for the big plot twist at the end of the first part of the book. The movie kept the three-act-structure of the book, and I knew what was coming. And yet, director Park took the twist and twisted it again so cleverly that I was as surprised as with the book.
Prompt #13: Imagine you found a magic lantern (or other container) and inside lived a genie who only granted sexual wishes. If that genie gave you 3 wishes, what would you wish for? And why?
I couldn’t think of anything at first. Probably the first sign that I’m pretty happy with my lot, broken and damaged as it might be. I asked my ogre: If you had three sexual wishes, what would you want?
His answer: “I have everything. What more could I want for? My wife already does everything I could come up with.” (Yup, that’s me.)
It’s the same for me.
So either we’re the most boring, unimaginative people this side of Eden, or we really are this happy. In which case: Yawn.
Yet, the truth is different. Yes, I can’t think of anything I could wish for (except to come for once, but I’m okay as is, too). But also: I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to find a genie with the power to grant me sexual wishes. I don’t want to, because I don’t dare to think about it. Let’s be real: I would want everything. Continue Reading
This will be a bit of a all-over-the-place kinda post. There will be some legal talk about beekeeping, sinful baking, and some book review quickies.
First, I switched projects once again. As I got stuck writing Durwin’s story, I decided to work on something else instead. So now I’m working on a fun romp of a first draft I finished quite a while ago. Editing! Fun! Wow, I really love me some commas. And those over-complicated, never-ending, convoluted sentences! The draft is a mess, and after going through it a first time, I was ready to give up and move on. On the other hand, I had tons of fun rereading it. Which means:
No giving up this time, Jo!
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. Continue Reading
A Quickie about Sex Scenes in writing
Writing sex scenes can be incredibly awkward. How many arms and legs are involved, do they stick out from the right places, or has someone grown extra limbs from his back or stomach? There’s a lot of logistics involved. You have to keep the wildest beasts of all in check: your character’s battling tongues. Your smut can go from glorious to cringeworthy to hilarious with the use of one single euphemism.
After some time of writing a lot of sex, it can feel like all you’re doing is reciting mechanical procedures. It’s always the same, and there’s only a limited number of ways to do the deed. If you work on your smut following schemata, it shows. As readers, we pick up on it when we’re being presented with a tried and trusted choreography. When characters in the story before us follow a rigid program, doing gymnastics from checkpoint to checkpoint, we notice.
The best sex scene comes from character. At least, that’s what I feel after reading and writing a lot of smut. The best (dirtiest, filthiest, smuttiest) smut can feel empty when it’s just cardboard characters performing a choreography. The simplest sex act can take my breath away and give me tingles when it rings true because it originates within the character.
But that’s me. I love to convey emotions through physical expressions. I love to show my character’s insides. Not just the red and wet stuff, but their soul. Their feelings. Their vulnerable inner places. Love it.
The juicy stuff doesn’t have to pause a story. It shouldn’t be a gimmick. It should be relevant, to the characters and the story. But that’s not all. Writing sex is not just about mechanics or emotions, characters or story.
There’s more to it, for me. Writing and reading something just for the pleasure of it is hugely liberating. It’s deciding for myself and taking charge of my desires. My pleasure.
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
After a sort-of-timeout of three years, it’s time to get back on track. I learned a lot in that time, and to be completely honest, I don’t feel ready yet to leave my seclusion. If it was only for me, I would keep writing and posting stories for free on my fandom blog. The publishing process scares me. The thought of actually submitting a manuscript to a publisher terrifies me, and so I keep putting it off. As long as I don’t submit anything, I’m not in any danger of rejection, and I can still cling to my dream of one day. But I am not alone, it’s not only me. I have a real life with real responsibilities, in this case a family in need of a new car. Which means, I need to start making some money. Not a lot, thankfully. Just a little.
I need a plan.
Since I’m so scared of submitting my work to agents or publishers, and I generally like being my own boss, I’m going to take the self-publishing route. At least for a little while. Which brings me right back to my need for a plan. I once took a project management class at university, but I guess I forgot a lot of that stuff, and it’s been a while. But it can’t hurt to make a list so as to visualize the things I need to do in order to reach my goals.
My goals could be divided in long term and short term goals; the latter are smaller and probably easier to achieve, whereas the former involve a lot of work, dedication and practice. Of course the immediate goals require work too, but they’re easier to realize. My passion, of course, lies with my long term goals. I have dreams, and I’m pursuing them.
For now, though, the first step on my way will probably be to finish the stories I’m working on. I won’t need a website or a mailing list if I don’t have the content to go along with it. It’s necessary to learn about publishing and marketing, but it all starts and ends with writing. So back to the keyboard.
(But hey, I’m a procrastinator par excellence, so I guess I’m going to make that list first…)