The Library of Spanking Fiction: Wellred Weekly
ArticlesItems of interest regarding all things spanking
In Conversation with: Celeste Jones
In this continuing series Wellred Weekly talks to Celeste Jones, lawyer and author of spanking fiction.
How long have you been writing spanking romances, and how did you get started?One day, about 10 years ago, I was having lunch with my mother when she leaned across the table and said to me, in a sort of stage whisper, "Have you ever heard of spanking? You know, like in sex?"
After I stopped choking on my food, I asked the reason for her question. Turns out that my mother had met a woman about my age in a creative writing class, they became friends. My mother's new friend wrote spanking stories for Discipline and Desire and one day she shared that information with my mother. My mother, thinking that I was very clever and could use some money suggested that I give it a try.
I contacted her friend, read a few stories, asked a ton of questions, experimented a bit and started selling short stories to Discipline and Desire. I wrote about 15 stories for them that were published on their site in 2004. After that my life got busy and I only wrote for them sporadically over the next few years. Most of those short stories are in my short story collection, The Long Arm of the Law.
About a year ago, I decided to get back into it. I wrote a few more stories for Discipline and Desire and started my blog in January. In July, Twenty One Days to a Better Attitude and Legal Briefs: Over the Knee Justice were published by Discipline and Desire. In August I self-published my first book, Underwear Probation, and I just self-published my second book, The Birthday Wish, in October.
Are you a spanko in real life? If you are, can you tell us when you first became aware of your kink and how you explored it?Until I met my mother's friend, I had never heard of Domestic Discipline (DD). But the more I talked to my new friend plus read stories and posts online, I found it intriguing. I am particularly fascinated by the idea of submission, including my own. I am by nature bold and self-confident, so it is not my first instinct to leave decision making to someone else or submit to discipline. However, I have learned that being with a man who is worthy of such trust and confidence from me, is much better than me feeling like I am carrying the whole burden.
I got married a couple years ago to a man who was not a spanko. However, we've both been pleasantly surprised by his reactions to our 'experiments'. It has been fun to watch him go from "you want me to what?" to swatting me fairly frequently at home and even giving me a quick smack on the ass while we are out in public.
Do you write any other spanking stories that are not in the romance genre? If not, why not?I think all of my stories have an element of romance to them. I suppose the reason that I haven't ventured away from the romance genre is because I like romance. Romance awakens romantic feelings for those we love and gives us hope.
As I said above, I am intrigued by the idea of submission, particularly as an act of love and respect, so that is the direction my stories tend to go.
I see so many unhappy and unhealthy relationships that I'd like for at least some of my writing to inspire readers to think about what makes a good relationship and to consider whether their own actions are hurting or hindering their relationships, particularly marriages.
For example, in my book Underwear Probation, the underlying theme is about trust between a husband and wife and the wife's struggle to trust her husband completely. They are in a DD relationship, but Daisy, the wife, has trouble giving over control to her husband. I think this is an important issue in marriage.
What challenges you most as a writer?Finding a balance between writing and promoting. I love blogging and all the nice people Iíve met in cyberspace, but if I spend all day visiting blogs, tweeting and emailing, I'm not doing my primary job which is to write.
Sometimes the challenge is coming up with new words for "butt" and "spank".
Another challenge is to continue to get better as a writer and a storyteller. Because I'm a lawyer in real life, many of my stories deal with women who are attorneys. It gives me a unique perspective but I don't want to be known as the woman who just writes about bitchy lawyers, though I suppose there could be worse labels to have and lawyers are fun to write about.
My very first short story, The Long Arm of the Law, is about Della, an attorney who is married to a judge and the conflicts that arise when she misbehaves both in court and at home.
In Legal Briefs: Over The Knee Justice there are two short stories about Jimmy and Eileen called Judge Not: Class Reunion and Judge Not: Family Gathering. Jimmy is a probation officer and Eileen is a judge, so the professional status is reversed from The Long Arm of the Law. Eileen is also a snob, so it's up to Jimmy to take her over his knee and let her know that, although he loves her, he's not going to put up with her snobby ways, especially as they relate to him. The other part of Legal Briefs is a novella called The Body Guard which is the story of Kendra, an assistant prosecuting attorney who is forced to allow a body guard, Zach, into her life after threats are made against her safety. Since Kendra is one of those bitchy, know-it-all lawyers, Zach finds that he must spank her repeatedly in order to get her to cooperate.
When writing a longer story, do you plot out the detail in advance, or make it up as you go along?No. I wish I could, but when I try plotting everything out I get all caught up in writing toward a point instead of letting the story unfold. I know many people are successful at detailed plotting and they probably don't end up editing (and deleting) as much as I do, but that's what works for me.
When you write, do you ever model any characters after actual people?Yes. In fact, in one of my stories the names of the couple are very similar to real people I know and some of the details are sufficiently close to reality that if my friend ever reads that book... I'm in deep trouble.
It was probably a bad idea to write something so close to real people that I know, but honestly, my friend's behavior is so bad, she needs to be spanked, repeatedly. When I spend time with her I drive home with my head spinning with story ideas because she is so disrespectful of her husband, though she disguises it as being 'helpful'. She does things like buying him new clothes because she thinks the clothes he buys aren't good enough or stretching the truth about his credentials so that he looks more impressive. She needs to be taken down a peg or two and the way to do it is across her husband's knee.
Do you have a favourite book or story that you've written? Can you tell us why it is special to you?Stories really are like children and I hate to single one out above the others. Currently my favorite is The Birthday Wish because I just wrote it and it's rather different from my other books because it's an erotic spanking novella rather than an account of domestic discipline or punishment spankings.
The Birthday Wish takes place on Mimi's fortieth birthday. She's divorced, alone and unhappy with her life, but she makes a wish on a birthday candle and is magically transported to the home of Paolo, a sexy man who knows all of her secret desires, including her wish to be spanked. During her time with Paolo he spanks her several times, mostly playfully but sometimes to punish Mimi for putting herself down. She makes a second wish and they are both transported to a sex shop where they make some purchases which they put into use before Mimi wakes up back in her home. Was it all a dream? Will she ever see Paolo again?
There's only one way to find out.
Name some stories by other spanking authors that you like, and say why.There are a number of things that I think make up a good spanking story.
First, I have to like the heroine and I need to identify with whatever it is that drives her to the behavior that results in a spanking. In Renee Roseís book, Pleasing the Colonel, the heroine lies about her credentials in order to secure a job as a governess. This lie is necessary because her father's death has put the family in financial straits and she needs a job to support herself and to send money to her mother. This heroine does something wrong, but her motives are not selfish or childish. Plus, she's an excellent governess, so even though she lied about her qualifications, she's still capable of doing the job well.
If the heroine is bratty and immature, I'm not interested in reading about her. I also wonder why the hero, who usually seems wonderful, is putting up with her crap. I have several unfinished books on my kindle that fall into this category.
Second, I like to see a caring relationship between the hero and heroine. I want to root for them and hope for their happy ending, so to speak. Going back to Pleasing The Colonel, although their relationship starts out a bit rocky, the Colonel and Amanda the governess develop a relationship of mutual respect that turns into love.
Third, the spanking element has to suit me. The punishments should be appropriate to the offense and described with plenty of detail. Creative uses of corner time, implements and lecturing also score points with me. In Pleasing the Colonel, one of my favorite scenes involves Amanda and the Colonel's sister. The two women have a contentious relationship and when the Colonel finally has enough of their sniping at each other, he puts them both over his desk and uses a strap on them, then asks each of them if the other has been punished enough. The sister says "no" so both women get a few more strokes, but Amanda is wise enough to answer "yes" when she's asked, thus ending the punishment for both of them. I thought this was a clever scene because it showed the Colonel's wisdom, the sister's spitefulness and Amanda's good sense. Plus, it was twice the red cheeks of a single spanking.
What are your views on self publishing?In general, I think that self-publishing is a boon for anyone who wants to give it a try and in particular for spanko writers. From what I have seen, there is a large variety of spanking books available on Amazon (where I do most of my 'research') but the appetite of readers for more books is large.
In the past, producing a book was done through traditional publishers who had specific requirements for content and length. The cost of producing a book made them hesitant to deviate from their guidelines to try something new. I wonder how many of your readers sent manuscripts off to publishers only to be rejected because their story didn't fit the publisherís checklist.
With self-publishing, the checklist is out the window. Take a look at the spanking stories available on Amazon from self-published authors as well as those that are produced by publishing houses. You can find anything from very short stories of ten pages or less, to short story collections, novellas and full length novels. The content ranges from contemporary and historical romances to stories that are more of a spanking scene or session than a full length story.
Because of the option to self-publish, I think that publishers now have to be less rigid in their criteria and be willing to consider topics they might have rejected in the past, including F/F and M/M stories, in order for writers to go with them rather than self-publishing. I think anything that increases competition and requires everyone to up their game is good for the market.
Self-publishing opens up the market place for anyone to make their book available for sale. You may not get rich, but doesn't everyone who writes secretly have a desire to see their book for sale and wonder if others will love it as much as they do? With self-publishing, that option is easy and affordable.
The downside: because self-publishing is so fast, easy and affordable, many people slap their books up on Amazon without giving them proper proofreading or story editing. However, I will say that the books I referenced in my earlier answer as being unread on my kindle were all from publishing companies and not self-published authors.
For me, self-publishing appeals to my independent and bossy nature. I know there are many different opinions out there on the topic, but for me, it's what works best right now. Basically, if I am doing the work to write, edit and promote my book, shouldn't I get all the profits too?
I'm also brash enough that I am willing to take the plunge and publish a book without an editor or publisher to back me up. I'm fortunate to have a couple of wonderful critique partners that I'd put up against any paid editor out there. So even though I am self-publishing, it's still a team effort.
Thanks so much for this opportunity to have a chat. I love to hear from readers so I hope you'll leave a comment or visit me at my blog.
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