Victoria Janssen

Erotica author, aka Elspeth Potter, on Writing from the Inside

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Quick Guide to Purchasing My Work

Shorter Work

"Crimean Fairy Tale," an erotic romance set during the Crimean War. About 7000 words, available for Kindle and for Smashwords and for Nook.

"The Magnificent Threesome," a 6000 word short story set in a loosely historical American West, is available for Kindle and for Nook.

"Under Her Uniform," a Spice Brief - tie-in to The Moonlight Mistress (electronic only): (2012)
Harlequin e-book (Adobe editions)
Google e-book from Powell's
Mills and Boon e-book (UK)
The Sony Bookstore
Audiobook at, read by Kelsey Larsen.

Erotic Exploits (electronic only):
Seven Tales of Speculative Lesbian Erotica by Victoria Janssen. Includes: "Free Falling"; "Camera"; "Wire," a sequel to "Camera"; "Toy," a sequel to "Wire"; "The Princess on the Rock"; "Place, Park, Scene, Dark"; and "Mo'o and the Woman."

Download my first published erotic story, "Water Music," in PDF format. Also available for Kindle and for Nook.


The Duke and The Pirate Queen: (2010)
Barnes & Noble
Audiobook at, read by Phoebe Stewart.

The Moonlight Mistress: (2009)
Barnes & Noble
Audiobook at, read by Patsy Kelland.
FlipKart in India.
Italian translation.
Italian translation for Kindle

The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover: (2008)
Barnes & Noble
Audiobook at, read by Helen Stern.
Russian translation.
French translation.
German translation.
Download "Camille, Henri, Maxime," a free outtake in PDF format (please note this outtake is explicit).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Under Her Uniform" is here!

Available today, at Harlequin! Go here.

"Under Her Uniform" by Victoria Janssen

Isobel Hailey has disguised herself as a man so she can fight in the British Army in World War I. Only a few people know the truth, including her two officer lovers--so why can’t she stop thinking about handsome Corporal Andrew Southey instead? Hailey has to keep her wits about her and her erotic fantasies hidden so she doesn’t blow her cover. But when she and Southey find themselves working closely on a mission, their attraction--and the truth--is impossible to deny.

A sequel to Victoria Janssen’s The Moonlight Mistress, now available in ebook from Spice Books.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Publications update!

I have a few new short stories out and upcoming.

"Vanilla." May 2011. Dream Lover: Paranormal Tales of Erotic Romance. Cleis Press. Kristina Wright, editor.

"Crimean Fairy Tale." August 2011. The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance. Sonia Florens, editor. Running Press (USA)/Robinson (UK).

"Under Her Uniform (Hailey's Story)." May 2012. Spice Brief. Harlequin. Available only in electronic format. This story involves characters who appeared in The Moonlight Mistress.

"The Airplane Story." June 2012. Girl Fever: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex for Lesbians. Cleis Press. Sacchi Green, ed.

My regular blogging continues here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blog Relocation

This blog has moved! New posts appear at my website. You can susbscribe to the new feed here.

You can also follow me on Twitter.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Launch Party! Dukes & Pirates all welcome!

I've moved this blog to my website - all new posts will appear there. RSS Feed for the new address. Please stop by and visit!

I'm having a launch party for The Duke and The Pirate Queen, and if you're in the area, I'd love for you to attend.

Saturday, December 11, 2010, 3 pm

Big Blue Marble Bookstore, 551 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Food! Drink! Books!

More info and directions at the store's website.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Interview: Victoria Janssen

I've moved this blog to my website - after this week, all posts will appear there. RSS Feed for the new address. Please stop by and visit!

Remember how, a while back, I mentioned that a journalist friend was helping me with promotion? Well, she interviewed me. Below is the result.


Captain Leung, the coolly powerful privateer, silk-clad and barefoot. Maxime, the charismatic, magnificently endowed ruler of a dukedom by the sea. In The Duke and the Pirate Queen, Victoria Janssen’s third novel, these characters take the spotlight in a vibrant world even more lush than The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover, the Harlequin Spice novel where they first appeared.

Q: These two characters are unusual and very equally matched. At what point while writing The Duchess did you realize that Maxime gets his own book?

VJ: Probably close to the end. I didn’t think about him much until I had to write him. It was more that I wanted Captain Leung to have her own book and I thought – who would be a good partner for her?

Q: Some reviewers thought Maxime was such an alpha male that he should have been the romantic lead in the first book.

VJ: They’re totally wrong about him being alpha. There's a section I had to cut from The Duchess in which he is completely not your typical Alpha Hero. (You can download it for free from my website.) He’s much more of a diplomat than “my testosterone drives me to be in charge.” So really he operates more in the sort of traditional female role of negotiation and emotional bonds.

Q: The cover art is compelling. It shows Captain Leung’s power and her muscles. How did you decide on her appearance?

VJ: I wanted Imena to look powerful and atypical of romance heroines, to make it clear she was different. So at a glance you would know that this was somebody interesting and there were other possibilities for women in this world. Also, I described her in a way that I thought Sylvie [a character appearing in both The Duke and the Pirate Queen and The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover, Janssen’s first Harlequin Spice title] would find hot!

Q: What made you think of having Captain Leung’s head be shaven and covered in tattoos?

VJ: Maybe the last Rush Hour movie, a movie with a woman with a map tattooed on her scalp. It seemed that her value was reduced to what she had tattooed on her, and I wanted to strike against that: “These are the things I choose.” And tattoos on your scalp…you have got to be tough to get that done.

Q: At 30, Captain Leung is the youngest of your heroines. What made you decide to write older characters?

VJ: I wanted to write about somebody in that stage of life because fewer romance, or even erotica, authors do. Not callow, but she’s not at that age where she’s looking back in regret, like Camille [The Duchess]. Stories about older women are more neglected in our society. There’re fewer role models.

Q: As fantastical as this book is, it also works as a story about a thirtyish career woman who is enormously competent at her job, going home to her usually unconventional parents who have turned suddenly conventional about pressuring her to get married. Is that what you intended?

VJ: Anytime you’re writing fantasy or science fiction, you’re using an imaginary world to write about us, a lens or a mirror to make you think about the issue from an unexpected angle, like light shooting off a mirror at an angle. I try not to force it, but once I find it in what I’ve written, I can emphasize it a bit, to give the characters more depth and to develop a theme. Sometimes I find unexpected things about the characters this way.

Q: Is that what happened with the Venom/Cassidy character? You showed him to be rich and shabby at once, pretentious but lethal, especially with your dialogue.

VJ: To me, dialogue is almost inextricable from characterization. The bit on the desert island, for instance, where Maxime tells Captain Leung a big secret – I didn’t come up with that until I was writing that scene. I often discover things through dialogue. I'll have them conversing back and forth and then my back brain speaks up. If I try to direct it too much, it gets really dry and flat.

Q: In an alternate universe, if the Squirting Squid tavern were real, where would it be?

VJ: Way south of South Street, one of those blocks where there aren’t any businesses left but a single bar. Except if was Philly, the drinks would be good, and the food would be, too – it would have been turned into a gastropub!

Q: Who are some of your favorite romance writers, and what did you learn from them?

VJ: Judith Ivory. I learned you don’t have to have a pleasant hero or heroine. You don’t have to like them immediately to be involved in the book.

Laura Kinsale. You can have cracktastic plots. You can have things in a romance novel that include penguins in the Falkland Islands, ninjas, heroes with vertigo. Very freeing.

Carla Kelly. The knack of writing about ordinary people.

Georgette Heyer. Fun with cross-dressing and banter.

Q: By the end of your career, how many books would you like to have published?

VJ: I cannot imagine an answer to that question. I can’t imagine an end. If I had to decide how many, I’d have to decide right now which ideas to use and which not to use.

Q: What are some things you would like to write next?

VJ: A Victorian-set romance with a lady adventurer and a candy magnate who’s also a spy…a bitter and angry candy magnate. A space opera. A young adult novel, with lots of angst. Definitely a Western, possibly steampunk or fantasy -- a weird Western. And something with woolly mammoths.


If you've got questions for my FAQ, ask them here!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"The World Beyond the Story" and Release Day!

Today, I posted on "The World Beyond the Story" at Ella Drake's blog.

And it's release day for The Duke and The Pirate Queen! Imagine fireworks going off! And check out my new website design, including blog!!!

"Captain Imena Leung, imperial privateer, is a woman who answers to no one – until her parents decree that she must marry and give up her ship. Her employer, the magnificent Duke Maxime, is expected to marry according to his king’s wishes. Neither is free to love as they please. But when Captain Leung learns of a plot to assassinate Maxime, she abducts him and takes to the seas to protect him. And aboard her ship, fighting to survive pirates, storms, and the sex rituals they encounter on a desert island, they learn to live by nobody’s rules except their own.

In this sequel to The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (December 2008), Janssen creates an erotic world aglow with even more lush details. But even in this fantasy setting, the characters resonate with the maturity and the subtle, wry sweetness that Janssen’s readers have come to expect. In Captain Leung, Janssen shows the full glory of a powerful woman meeting her match."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Writing Explicitly" at Kate Elliott's blog

Today, I'm posting on "Writing Explicitly" at Kate Elliott's blog - visit, comment!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Sexy Pirates" at The Smutketeers

I'm a guest of The Smutketeers all this week talking about "Sexy Pirates" - and am also giving away a print copy of The Duke & The Pirate Queen. Stop by their blog to enter!

Also, keep an eye on this blog; in the next few weeks it's going to be moving to my website domain, with a new design and everything. I'll make sure to have pointers when it happens.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Siegfried Sassoon, "Haunted"


Evening was in the wood, louring with storm.
A time of drought had sucked the weedy pool
And baked the channels; birds had done with song.
Thirst was a dream of fountains in the moon,
Or willow-music blown across the water
Leisurely sliding on by weir and mill.

Uneasy was the man who wandered, brooding,
His face a little whiter than the dusk.
A drone of sultry wings flicker’d in his head.
The end of sunset burning thro’ the boughs
Died in a smear of red; exhausted hours
Cumber’d, and ugly sorrows hemmed him in.

He thought: ‘Somewhere there’s thunder,’ as he strove
To shake off dread; he dared not look behind him,
But stood, the sweat of horror on his face.

He blunder’d down a path, trampling on thistles,
In sudden race to leave the ghostly trees.
And: ‘Soon I’ll be in open fields,’ he thought,
And half remembered starlight on the meadows,
Scent of mown grass and voices of tired men,
Fading along the field-paths; home and sleep
And cool-swept upland spaces, whispering leaves,
And far off the long churring night-jar’s note.

But something in the wood, trying to daunt him,
Led him confused in circles through the thicket.
He was forgetting his old wretched folly,
And freedom was his need; his throat was choking.
Barbed brambles gripped and clawed him round his legs,
And he floundered over snags and hidden stumps.
Mumbling: ‘I will get out! I must get out!’
Butting and thrusting up the baffling gloom,
Pausing to listen in a space ’twixt thorns,
He peers around with peering, frantic eyes.

An evil creature in the twilight looping,
Flapped blindly in his face. Beating it off,
He screeched in terror, and straightway something clambered
Heavily from an oak, and dropped, bent double,
To shamble at him zigzag, squat and bestial.

Headlong he charges down the wood, and falls
With roaring brain—agony—the snap’t spark--
And blots of green and purple in his eyes.
Then the slow fingers groping on his neck,
And at his heart the strangling clasp of death.

--Siegfried Sassoon, The Old Huntsman and Other Poems, 1918

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Siegfried Sassoon, "To My Brother"

To My Brother

Give me your hand, my brother, search my face;
Look in these eyes lest I should think of shame;
For we have made an end of all things base.
We are returning by the road we came.

Your lot is with the ghosts of soldiers dead,
And I am in the field where men must fight.
But in the gloom I see your laurell’d head
And through your victory I shall win the light.

--Siegfried Sassoon, The Old Huntsman and Other Poems, 1918

Friday, November 26, 2010

Things I Like To Write About

I'm trying to find my bliss.

It's been so long since I've deliberately sought out inspiration on this scale that it feels like something new! I haven't had time to come up with a totally new project since back in 2007. Ever since then, I've been writing from book to book, under contractual demands. It's freeing to imagine all the different things I could be writing right now; or, at least, after I finish a couple of short-term writing goals from the to-do list.

I'm trying a bit of free-association. What have I written about in the past that gave me great joy? What thrills me when I read about it? What things/situations/events make me eager to write? And can I reduce some of my free association to a list of Things I Like which might coalesce into a new idea?

World War One
losing and finding family
space opera
social class
psychic powers
postwar traumas
formal address
woolly mammoths

...and the list goes on.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

And in other news, Erotic Exploits is now available for the Nook. If you have a Nook, and are willing to download the free sample, please let me know if the formatting looks all right or is terrible. The preview function does not seem to be working for me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Speculative Erotica Markets -- Philcon 2010

Almost every year at Philcon, I moderate the panel on selling fantastic (science fiction and fantasy) erotica. It was interesting this year to note how the panel topics have shifted over time: print to electronic to self-electronic.

For several years, after I first began to publish erotica, just before the beginning of the twenty-first century, at science fiction conventions I would give talks or host discussion groups on selling science fiction/fantasy erotica. I would focus on short stories, in particular selling sf/f erotica to mainstream erotica markets, also discussing sex in science fiction/fantasy in general. Once I'd sold novels, I added in chat about print publication, and my experiences writing erotica for Harlequin.

For the last few years, another local author, Stephanie Burke, has also participated in the Philcon panels; she focuses on electronic publishing, mostly in erotic romance, and talks about how she broke into and continues to sell to those markets.

This year, for the first time I found myself discussing self-publishing at the panel, as well. It seems to be the year of it. I read an interesting article in the Novelists, Inc. newsletter about how cover quality can influence sales of Kindle/Smashwords/etc. books; if you've received back the rights to a novel from your print publisher, usually you will need to do a new cover. Some writers have seen significant sales increases simply from getting a new, better cover that looks good as a thumbnail. One of this year's panelists was L.W. Perkins, a cover artist for numerous small presses and for electronic press Liquid Silver (please note her site is undergoing renovation at the moment; I gave the link for future reference).

I've been following reports from fellow writers who've experimented with electronically publishing novels or short stories they were unable to sell elsewhere, or that were out of print; sometimes they have significant sales. I've been following discussions of using free Kindle downloads to encourage sales of an author's backlist.

Last year, I didn't have any of that information. This year, discussion of these possibilities is becoming more and more mainstream.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rachel Kramer Bussel interview

Please welcome my guest, Rachel Kramer Bussel! Rachel and I met almost a decade back, when we were both reading our stories from Best Lesbian Erotica at Bluestockings in New York City. She graciously consented to answer some questions I had about the process of editing and her latest anthology, Passion: Erotic Romance for Women.


How do you choose a focus for an anthology? How did you choose the focus of Passion?

I try to look at what readers might want to read, what I’m interested in, and what would be fun to work on. I like having a theme but it’s tricky because you don’t want the stories to be too similar to each other, so a theme like passion and erotic romance is wide enough that there’s room for plenty of variety.

I’ve done a lot of kinky anthologies and wanted to try something a little sweeter and more romantic, though there is definitely kink in it. I was surprised to find that it was a challenge to write my own story, “Five Senses,” but it also brought me to a range of new authors who work in the erotic romance field, something I’m looking forward to continuing with 2011’s Obsessed anthology, and another erotic romance book to follow.

How does your original idea for an anthology translate into the call for submissions, and into the stories you eventually choose?

Sometimes it’s a more exact match than others, and that process has gotten refined over time. I put out very detailed calls in terms of what they should look like but regarding content try to leave plenty of room to allow authors to come up with whatever strikes their fancy.

To me the beauty of editing an anthology is that so much of it is based on the writers’ creativity; they always come up with a cool take on my original idea that I never could have foreseen. One great example of that in Passion is Jacqueline Applebee’s story “My Dark Knight.” I know nothing about Renaissance Fair type of play but I didn’t need to to appreciate her story, which also touches on the uncertainty of new relationships, especially where you really like someone and aren’t sure exactly how they feel about you. I look for stories that have a real-life nuance to them, where even if the plot is outlandish, there’s relatable emotion between the characters.

What's the hardest part of choosing stories? The most fun?

The hardest part is rejecting stories. I hate that, and sometimes it makes me want to quit editing anthologies because it’s not fun at all, but I also know I’ll always be working on new anthologies so I can pass along those calls for submissions.

The most fun part is finding a story that just nails the theme perfectly and is so wonderful I want to read it to everyone I know. Those are the gems and make the very time-consuming process of reading submissions a joy.

How do you choose the order in which stories appear? What input does the publisher have into the final product?

I tend to select the first and last stories as ones that will, respectively, suck the reader in and leave the reader satisfied but maybe wanting a little more, and beyond that, I don’t have a highly scientific ordering process. I add stories as I go over a few months of editing, and at the end may move them around. I like to build up to the more intense stories, but a lot of it, for me, is actually pretty random.

Cleis Press rarely alters the order of the stories, though they do have final approval of manuscripts and sometimes stories get cut for space or if they aren’t quite a fit with the book. I appreciate this attention to detail and think it makes the books truly beautiful, inside and out. They find outstanding cover photographs and work hard to create quality, memorable books.

What was the first anthology you edited? How did that come about?

I co-edited the anthology Up All Night: True Lesbian Sex Stories, and was brought on board by co-editor Stacy Bias. She asked me to help and that book includes stories by Tristan Taormino and L. Elise Bland. That came out in 2004 and then soon after I started editing anthologies on my own, like Glamour Girls: Femme/Femme Erotica and Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z.


Thanks, Rachel! I'm looking forward to the anthology!