Theo Fenraven admits he’s a woman

Settle down, boys, girls, and other. This is not a confession post. πŸ™‚ This was a search term used to find my blog, and I admit it gave me pause. Then I laughed. I wondered about the person who typed that in the search field. Were they investigating a rumor? Trying to confirm something someone told them? And why would it matter? It seems some people still can’t get past the genital thing. Weird.

Search terms are fun to read. For the longest time, “porn cake” showed up in the strings. Why anyone would search on that particular phrase beats me, but it led them to my blog because one day I posted this pic:


What did they think when they got here? And why were they looking? Was someone’s birthday coming up, and they wanted to cook up a special surprise?

But here’s the real surprise: that first search term showed up almost exactly the same time I was deciding to make a change in my writing career, and yes, it involves me becoming female, or at least writing under a woman’s pen name. So was this in the ether and being picked up subconsciously?

If the success of an author can be measured in sales, and therefore royalties, then it’s eluded me as an m/m writer. I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m not making any money writing what I love, and I’ve had to do some hard thinking about it.

The money’s in het, no doubt about it. Think about it. If LGBT makes up ten percent of the population, that means the straights outnumber us nine to one. That’s a far larger market of readers than those who buy m/m, and I want a bigger slice of that pie. I have needs, as the saying goes, and what I’m earning in m/m only pays a couple of utility bills a month.

So after the wolf book–which still needs a name, damn it–I’m going to write something for the het market. I’ve already started plotting it out, and guess what? The MC is female, but her trusted companion is gay. πŸ˜‰ It seems I can’t go far from what I love, but as someone recently told me, “It’s okay to have a gay best friend in het books. They just can’t be the main character.”

After writingΒ Transgression, which made me unbelievably nervous, I figure I’m ready to tackle a straight female in a book. Just don’t expect on-page het sex. I don’t think I’m up to to tackling that yet.


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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46 Responses to Theo Fenraven admits he’s a woman

  1. Love the cake. And as for writing to the hets, if the story is there, let it out. More power to you!

  2. That cake is hillarious and revolting at the same time… I always love looking at the search terms… until I see something like “torrent”…

    Good luck with the new direction.

  3. Allison says:

    Wow…well I wasn’t expecting any of that.

    Will you still be writing under this pen name? Will you be sharing your other pen name for those of us that would like to follow that writing as well? Although I don’t read much het anymore I do read some and since I love your writing I, of course, want to read whatever you write.

    I wish you all the best with this, I hope you find the success you’re hoping for whatever the genre you’re writing in.

    • I really, really want to do both m/m and het for two reasons.

      1: I love m/m. I can’t see giving it up forever.
      2: By writing for both markets, I double my chances of breaking out into some solid sales one way or another.

      I realize this will take years, but I have the time so why not use it?

      • Allison says:

        It’s a solid plan, definitely, it just really surprised me.

        As long as the stories are there you should write whatever makes you happy and the sales/profits are definitely part of that, how can they not be?

        Best of luck!

  4. A.M.B. says:

    Ha! Someone got to my blog once by searching “theo fenraven outed as female.” You might not feel like you’ve “made it” as an author, but there are certainly people out there who have taken quite a bit of interest in your personal life. That must feel weird. As for whether a writer is male or female, who cares? I spend a good portion of my day making sure the law doesn’t recognize sex differences unless based on *unique* physical differences (there isn’t a lot that falls into that category). Writing skills and the imagination to fuel it aren’t based on differences unique to a sex. So, it doesn’t matter.

    • Well said, and I’ve been saying it for years. It always annoys me when someone is outed, usually with great glee, and the trolls pounce.

      And yes, it does feel weird seeing people discuss me as if I’m not there. A very nice review was posted for one of my books on a very popular site last year, and instead of discussing the merits of the book, several people wondered what sex I was. Really? This is what matters? Not how well the book is written or how good the story is?

      If we put ourselves out there at all, we live in a fishbowl.

  5. Lindsaysf says:


  6. suze294 says:

    I enjoy reading a great story, so who (M or F) writes it and who the MC’s are is not the main perogative really. So, go for it. I will need to know what name you choose so I can go buy, as a fan of your work!
    It is a big downside (as well as upside) that we can search for anything these days!

  7. Shelley says:

    Good luck! You know I love your writing. Transgression in particular. I’ve discussed with several people to be successful right now in the m/m market, you need to be writing erotica/romance. I think that will eventually change, but it makes sense if you look at the target audience.

    Also, having gay characters in het novels is another way to help break down stereotypes and spread awareness to a group of people who wouldn’t see it otherwise. One of my friends was raised by homophobic parents and has struggled to see my views. Broken down logically, he agrees with me but it was hard for him to break free of what had been shoved down his throat for 25 years, especially when he’d had no exposure to anyone in the lgbt community. We were talking about the show Modern Family the other day and he mentioned how seeing the gay couple on that show, how they lived and interacted, was like a lightbulb for him.

    Anyway, my long winded point… You can still do so many great things with your words even if you’re writing het.

    Best of luck! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us.

  8. ameliabishop says:

    Why would you write het??? I agree you should get away from m/m, but why would you write more romance? I don’t even think you like romance! Why not try LGBT fiction, instead of m/m? You baffle me, Fen.

    • Because there’s money in it?

      I thought I made that clear. And I am going to try my utmost to break out of the romance genre, which I stated elsewhere. I know it’s big, but I’m bored with it. I want to try different things. That’s my plan anyway; let’s see if I pull it off.

      • ameliabishop says:

        *sigh* Another of my heroes laid low by commercialism.
        You may be overestimating the money in het romance. It’s a much bigger pond, first of all. And second: the most money is in erotica, which I know you don’t like.
        I think you would make a good mystery writer. Don’t “try to break out”. Just go.

        There are too few offerings in LGBT non-romantic fiction. In that little pond, you would be a big fish πŸ™‚

        • Yeah, let’s ask the authors who write gay non-romance literature how much money they make.

          It would be great if I didn’t need money to live, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Financial considerations definitely played a part in my decision. If that makes me a sell-out, I’ll wear the label.

  9. Karen H. says:

    Write what your muse tells you too. I know I’ll be looking for it. A good story is a good story. It’s not right when people get labelled, so why should we label what they do? But like suze294 said just make sure we know the pen name being used so we can find you. Good luck, I already know you have the talent.

  10. Carole says:

    It is sad to hear that the $ isn’t pouring in. It is frustrating that some people make so much & others with true talent & who share that talent don’t.
    I can’t wait to read het from you. Awhile back I switched to strictly m/m for the love of it but will without a doubt make an exception for you & what straight girl doesn’t want a gay best friend?!? Not sure how we will know it’s you but maybe you can post “I highly recommend this book by ?” wink wink & we will pick up the hint.

    • I’ll let you know the name and book title when it’s released.

      There are a LOT of authors publishing today; it’s hard to find the good stuff and bad stuff often sells a lot more. *smh* I’m sure the same is true in mainstream, but it is a bigger market. Maybe I’ll make more, maybe I’ll bomb just as badly as in m/m. At this point, it’s all a crap shoot.

  11. kmac64 says:

    When I first started reading, I didn’t really even know Facebook existed and I never ever looked at the author’s name and wondered was this person male or female. Maybe it was naive on my part, but that was not what was important to me. If I liked said authors work, then I read and bought everything they had. Gender did not even enter my mind. When I moved strictly into m/m genre, I was so taken with a couple authors, that I wanted to tell them how much I loved their work. That’s really when I discovered FB and all of the readers and authors on there discussing their stuff. I knew about it to a certain extent, bk honestly, what household has kids and have not heard of FB. It was also, at this time, I started picking up signals that male names sometimes meant it was really a woman and vise versa. For the longest time, and it’s funny as hell now, but I thought AJ was a woman, lol. IDK why, I just did. It was actually him or his name rather that made me start being a little more investigative for lack of a better word to be more clear on who I was reading. Not because it mattered if they were male or female, but I was so afraid I would embarass myself when giveing a review and referring to this person by the wrong gender. The bottom line for me is, I could care less if you are male or female, If you write and it’s something I find of interest, I’m going to read it, end of story. I know that you have your doubts, as a writer, based on sales of previous work, but I think, and I know I’m not alone, that you are an exceptional author. You take great pains to make sure your work is of the utmost best quality it can be. Your detail to your subject is outstanding. I personally think your books don’t sell as much as others, because as the others have stated before me, erotic sells. Sometimes, it’s almost seems, the dirtier the better. Doesn’t necessarily mean they are better, cause usually they aren’t even comparable to your quality, but they are telling a story with raw dirty sex and that seems to be what people want to read. Not everyone of course and because of this, I honestly feel that your books will sell when you find that audience that is interested in your subject matter. I believe there is a larger market for the het book, because there are so many more het people out there, so naturally, more people to interest with your work. Don’t ever under estimate your gift as a writer, you have what it takes, you just need the right audience to hone in on. Good luck with whatever you choose, you have loyal followers, who will go with you where no man has gone before, lol. Seriously though, you lead, we’ll follow.

    • Thanks for a very nice comment. πŸ™‚

      A couple years ago, when I realized how much erotica was available out there and how well it was selling, I told AJ I was gonna name a book “Cult of Cock” and it would be nothing but sex sex sex.

      But a funny thing happened on the way to that one. I got bored with sex scenes, especially the poorly written ones. While I see there is still a market for sex (erotica, my ass. let’s call a spade a spade) and probably always will be, I can’t write it anymore. I think you reach a certain intellectual age and move on. I’m far more interested in well-told stories and interesting characters these days.

      • Kmac64 says:

        I agree, and even though I love a really good sex scene, sometimes more than one, it has to be relevant to the storyline. They have a proper place and only then and at that place do I want to read it. I find myself, when I have a book that the plot has been overtaken with sex, I flip past all of it. It almost turns into a gross moment instead of sexy. Somethings are better left to the imagination lol πŸ™‚

        • I always thought sex should be part of every book IF it belongs there, i.e., it reveals something about the characters or it moves the story forward. Sex is part of life. Include it. I wanted to see graphic sex, but I didn’t envision it would turn into the crap I read in most m/m these days: every single movement, every kiss, every cock thrust, every trailing finger is detailed over and over until I want to scream in annoyance.

          Everyone of age knows how fucking happens. Skip that boring shit and just hit the highlights. Please stop telling me you stuck first one finger in his ass, then two, then three. GODDAMN IT.

  12. kmac64 says:

    Yes, I also see my misspellings, but nothing to be done about it now, lol. Overlook the best you can, Hehe πŸ™‚

  13. Jaycee Edward says:

    Take hubby to doc and see what I miss? I’ll be the first to tell you that everyone is not what they seem on the internet! I’ve gotten some major surprises in that regard.

    I don’t care if you’re male or female as long as I get to keep reading what you write. I personally think it’s a great idea to switch genres. You are an awesome writer and the parts of your books I enjoy the most actually have nothing to do with sex, but with the interactions of your characters. Just tell your stories and if the characters happen to be gay or straight, it won’t matter. If they happen to fall in love, great, but they don’t HAVE to for me to read it.

  14. Carole says:

    Ugh! I could have just kept my mouth shut but you had to go & put that sentence in there that “maybe I’ll bomb just as badly as in m/m”. Huh? Do you think that’s what you’ve done? Am I reading that right? If so you are so wrong! You have such avid fans & maybe they’re not huge in number but they are there. I would say yeah, you could say that if what you’ve written sucked & your reviews said as such but that’s not the case. So don’t ever say that & we love you & have a good weekend!
    If I misunderstood, disregard & carry on. πŸ™‚

    • I know I have devoted fans, and I love them all. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of you. I make almost nothing with the writing. I wish that weren’t so, but it’s true.

      When you spend as much time as I do writing and publishing, you want to see something concrete for your efforts. Just isn’t happening. 😦

  15. Carole says:

    I want to end on a good note just because I hate bringing people down so here it goes. One year from now you’re heading to the beach in your old beat up but still very cool looking jeep you picked up for a steal right after you moved. Suki is sitting next to you because this beach is dog friendly. You have a small cooler in the back cause you plan on staying just past sunset so that will put you out there for at least 3 plus hours. You already have a pretty good base tan going for only just settling in 2 months prior. You can’t wait to get there cause you’ve been swamped with all the new material going through your head & you just need to chill. Also there is this guy that you met a few nights ago. There was some talk of a mutual love of the water & this particular spot so he just might be there which would be an added bonus.
    Anyway, I’m weird. Again, have a great weekend!

  16. Mika says:

    The cake cracks me up.

    Good luck on your het work. I can see how it would be difficult I can’t say I’m sad to hear there won’t be any on page het sex since most that I’ve read made me laugh because it sounded ridiculous. Maybe I use to read the wrong kind. πŸ™‚ Needless to say, I love a good story more than reading about sex.

  17. B. Snow says:

    Never say never, right? I never thought I’d write het — I had only one het romance idea and ho idea where it would go — but then as I was thinking out the backstory of one of my characters, I realized that his parents’ story would make a great (albeit het) romance novel. It would be way down the line, too many WIPs to finish first, and the pen name I would use to write het is taken 😦 but it might be fun to try someday.

    • When you get down to it, orientation is only another characteristic. I don’t mean that in a belittling way, but male, female… whatever your gender, everyone wants to love and be loved.

      I hope you get a chance to write that story one day.

  18. diannegray says:

    That cake is amazing (no wonder you get searches for it!) I like looking through the search terms and have found some crackers. I’m sure some of my followers put things in there to give me a giggle. I once had a search term that said – Hello Dianne Gray I hope you’re having a good day! LOL πŸ˜‰

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