My first fiction site debuted on Leap Day, February 29, 2000. It was originally hosted by Homepage.com through a free account. Then Homepage.com was purchased by Frontera, Corp., who decided to discontinue the free Web hosting service without notice. I tried to post an update on December 14, 2000 and that's when I found out my site no longer existed. I realized "free" wasn't all it was cracked up to be and decided to buy my domain name through Yahoo! that same day.
At first, I had Yahoo! host my domain for free on Geocities.com (if you typed in kodiwolf.com, it would redirect you to my site on Geocities), but again "free" came with a price and I hated the ads they tacked on to my pages. So, I eventually migrated to a paid hosting provider (AssortedInternet.com) on July 11, 2001. For my needs at the time, they were great (and really cheap), but once I started working on the PHP/MySQL stuff for the W.O.L.F. Sector version of the site, I ran into issues with them randomly turning certain features off and on that completely broke my site or left it vulnerable to attack. So I decided to switch hosts and moved from a shared hosting environment to my own Virtual Private Server on HostGator.com, which costs way more but also gives me a lot more control. So far, they've been pretty good and I've been learning the ins and outs of running a server. In 2010, I renewed my domain name up through 2019 and expect to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Though the site started out as a fan fiction site that also hosted some of my original fiction (categorized as 'Xena ubers'), I've since separated the two realms, so now all my original stories are here on W.O.L.F. Sector, while my fan fiction is on Kodi Wolf's Lesbian Fan Fiction. Both sites have gone through several redesigns, but the focus has always been to showcase my lesbian fiction.
When I first put my stories online, I never imagined how much it would change my life. Within a few months, one reader offered me a job as a Web consultant (after looking at my source code and seeing how clean it was), and another reader captured my heart and I moved 700 miles to be with her (she's now my wife).
Then in December of 2005, I found out my work had been stolen a few months earlier in August, so I looked into my rights and found them seriously lacking because I didn't charge for my stories. I had the right to demand my work be removed from where it had been posted without my authorization (or credit), but it required that I send certified mail (to protect my rights in case of further legal action) to each of the sites concerned (there were several involved), which cost me quite a bit in postage, not to mention the time it took me to write the letters claiming copyright infringement.
The real kicker was that I couldn't demand compensation from the one who had stolen my work in the first place. All the time, effort, and costs of getting my stories taken down from those unauthorized sites was on me. And if they did it again, I'd have to go through the whole process (and expense) all over again. Then there was the emotional cost of having my work stolen. It was right up there with how I imagine I'd feel if I came home and found my house had been broken into; like I'd been gut-punched. I didn't want it to be quite so easy for the next person.
So, I started looking into ways to protect my work. The obvious choice was to remove my stories from the Internet entirely, but I didn't like that option. It felt like giving up and I'm not a quitter. I considered some kind of exclusive mailing list or a free membership site, but those didn't offer me any more protection under the law than what I already had.
The main sticking point was that my stories were available for free, and according to the law, that meant if they were stolen, I couldn't claim any loss of revenue, regardless of any costs incurred in the process of reclaiming my stolen property. I talked it over with my wife and one of my sisters and eventually came to the conclusion that I needed to charge for my stories if I wanted to keep offering them online. I decided a paid membership site was the best route and purchased some membership software that would let me charge a fee and only allow access to paid members.
While trying to figure out a reasonable membership fee, I decided to calculate how much it cost for me to offer my stories online each year. Seeing that number made me realize I needed some compensation to offset those costs, regardless of the legal protection it would afford me. Then I decided, just for the hell of it, to calculate how much I'd spent since first putting my stories online in 2000. After seeing that number, I no longer felt bad about my decision to charge for my work, despite some of the nasty e-mails I received from a few readers after making the initial announcement on my site on January 13, 2006.
I also drew all of the site's graphics myself using my extremely old installation of Jasc Paint Shop Pro v.6.02, except for the red planet background, which I found on NASA.gov in the public domain (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech)). The open viewport design was inspired by the style on the DVD menu for one of my favorite movies, Resident Evil: Apocalypse (I've also seen similar looks on Stargate: Atlantis and other sci-fi shows/movies). I just thought the lines and angles looked really cool, so I spent a few days drawing them until I came up with a multi-level version using 45-degree angles and a fill/fade gradient for the menus and backgrounds of the headers. The red-orange color was chosen using the color-picker tool on the red planet image in Paint Shop Pro.
My full name is Kodi Kai Wolf, though it isn't my birth name (I had it legally changed on December 4, 2000). My birth name never fit me, so I started looking for a new name when I was about 18. One of my sisters picked my first name from a movie called Bad Girls. Madeleine Stowe's character's name was Cody Zamora and my sister decided it fit me, so she started calling me Kodi. I looked it up in my name books and found out that it was Irish/Gaelic/English and meant "helpful/helper," and I decided that was a good goal for me to live up to. I chose the spelling.
Then I started looking for a middle name. I'd been studying a language called Esperanto, which is a made-up language created from a combination of many different languages. The word for 'and' is kai and I just always liked the sound of it. Then I looked it up in my name books and found out that it had many other meanings. From Hawaiian lineage, it means "water from the seas," "deep blue seas," or simply "the sea." From the Welsh/English/Scandinavian realms, it means "keeper of the keys." And as a variant spelling of Kaj (pronounced just like Kai) from the Greek, it means "earth."
My zodiac sign is Aquarius, the Water Bearer, so I thought the ocean connotations were especially appropriate, plus I believe all life evolved from the seas, so that fit, too. And I do follow a Goddess oriented spirituality, so the reference to the earth made sense as well. And quite frankly, "keeper of the keys" just sounds cool. :) So Kai became my middle name.
Wolf came from the animal, which is my spirit guide and totem animal. Taking Wolf as my surname is my way of declaring my kinship to the tribe.
According to my parents (and some pictures I no longer have), I was standing at 6 months, walking at 8 months, and reading by myself at 2 1/2 years old. I have a very clear memory from when I was 4 years old of having half a dozen books scattered across my bedroom floor, each one open, and I would lean down on my knees and elbows and read a couple pages from one and then move over to another. I would do this for hours because reading was pretty much my favorite thing to do (other than climbing trees, something else I would do for hours). I think I had nearly all of the Disney Golden books and I also had this Disney animal encyclopedia. At least, that's what I remember about it. It was this big, white hardback book with cartoon images from The Jungle Book next to still photographs of the animals the cartoons were based on (Baghira, the black panther, was always my favorite).
By the time I was supposed to enter 1st grade, the school wanted to skip me to the 3rd grade, which my father bragged about to everyone he knew, especially one friend whose son was only being skipped to the 2nd grade, but my mother was adamant that I remain with my age group, so instead I was tested on my reading and whenever that subject time came up, I went to one of the 2nd grade classes to learn with their reading group.
In 2nd grade, I was given the CTBS test (Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills) along with everyone else in the district. I can still remember what the score sheet looked like. It had columns with grade levels listed from 1st through 12th along the top, and on the left was a list of each subject with asterisks going across the page and stopping in the grade level column that I had tested at for that subject. The asterisks were basically a low-tech bar graph. The shortest 'bar' was for math, which stopped in the 8th grade column. I was told later that I received that level because I understood an algebra question, which I still remember to this day. The question was: "8 + y = 12 What is y?" I'm pretty sure I also remember being told I was the only kid in the elementary school who answered the question correctly, which I still find hard to believe. I mean what else besides 4 could possibly be added to 8 to equal 12? I guess nobody else intuited that 'y' was a placeholder for a number. For spelling and reading, the asterisks went all the way to the 12th grade level column and at least one of them went off the page, half of the last asterisk literally being cut off by the edge of the paper.
By 3rd grade, the school finally participated in the GATE program (Gifted and Talented Education), which they'd been promising me since 1st grade would be a great experience and would help with my boredom with my regular curriculum, but all they decided to do was put out a school newspaper, which did nothing to cure my boredom. I had zero interest in taking pictures of the kids in the sports programs, or developing the photos in the darkroom, or writing articles about school events (though I did every single one of those things).
Fourth grade wasn't any better and I was extremely disappointed with school. That feeling wasn't helped when my teacher, during the advanced reading group, tried to tell me the word "shinnied" was actually "shinied," as in the past tense of "shiny," as opposed to how the word was actually used in the story the vocabulary list was culled from, which was to describe a boy as he "shinnied" down a rope ladder hanging from a helicopter. I called him out in front of the group (I was completely incensed that he was giving wrong information to the impressionable minds of the other kids in the group) and threatened him with a dictionary, explaining that no where in the book would he find the word "shinied" with a line over the "i" to indicate it was a long vowel. He pulled me aside after the group to tell me not to do that in front of the other kids like that again and I told him don't tell them the wrong thing then. To be fair though, other than that incident, I remember him as a pretty good guy and I don't think he was ever vindictive towards me about it. I also think I'd probably been having a bad day and that little error on his part was a means for me to vent my frustration and anger regarding my sucky home life.
About the only thing I liked about school during that time was participating in the March of Dimes reading program, in which I got to read as many books as I could during March and actually win an award for it (I had no idea what the March of Dimes was, I just loved reading). I remember going through the entire children's section of the library, grade by grade (I had to get permission/authorization from the librarian to confirm I was capable of reading above my grade level), and I'm pretty sure I won first place at least once, if not several times. I never raised much money though because I usually only had my mom sponsoring me and she'd only do something like $.05 a book, but I do seem to remember her having to fork over something like $20 one time, and I always had to request more sheets of paper to write down the book titles, so I'm pretty sure I read several hundred books during those reading marathons. (Though really, it's not like it was that big of an accomplishment, considering how thin children's books are. I could read one in less than ten minutes, sometimes less than five, especially when they only had a couple lines per page and only 20-30 pages.)
I also won a $50 gift certificate to my school's bookstore one time for creating the best "reading" poster (it was a blue robot with a bunch of shelves of books behind him, which I stayed after school to individually color in order to make the deadline).
Considering all the other crap going on in my life with the abuse from my parents and other adults, I can't say I was seriously interested in anything that had to do with school until 5th grade, when my teacher bought everyone these little white blank hardback books and told us to write a story. I remember nearly filling the book, but still not finishing the story (yes, that little problem started way back when I was 12). It was a sci-fi story about a couple of time-traveling twins. I don't remember much about it, except mentioning that in the far future, the Grand Canyon had become a landfill because the Earth had run out of room. I wrote a few other stories (all sci-fi) and drew pictures of the people and places I wrote about, but the stories were mostly just me wishing for a better future, one in which people didn't hurt each other the way I was being hurt all the time.
The next time I felt really enthusiastic about school was during the 7th grade. My social studies teacher would bring in replicas of ancient artifacts and it was probably the first time I got a feeling for the reality of time and the past. That year we also studied ancient Egypt for the first time and one of our assignments was to build a model of a pyramid and booby-trap it, but the story was that we had been sent back in time and the Pharaoh had made us his architect.
So, while everyone else used sugar cubes or popsicle sticks, I built my pyramid with poster-board that I cut into equal triangles and spray painted mustard yellow to match the look of the stone I'd seen in pictures. I then went back over it with pencil and drew the brick pattern of the stones on the outside. I also went to the library and used their copy machine to print out pictures of walls filled with hieroglyphs and then cut them out and glued them to the insides of the pyramid walls. I only put together three sides of the pyramid and left the fourth open so you could see inside. For the booby-trap, I molded gray clay into the shape of rocks and placed them on a cardboard shelf, which was held up by a little strip of cardboard attached to a string stretched down one side of the opening and across the bottom of the entranceway, which actually worked to pull the stick holding the shelf up so the rocks would fall on any intruders. I also molded a clay sarcophagus, but it was empty and in English I wrote on the wall next to the sarcophagus, "The mummy is behind this wall," for future English-speaking archeologists to find.
The class was also supposed to write an essay, which they were supposed to read in front of the class to explain their model and booby-trap, but I was a month late getting the model done and never wrote the essay (too much shit going on at home), so I just winged it when I told the class about it. Luckily, my teacher understood about my home life and still gave me an A-.
After that, school pretty much went downhill, and then my life went a little more nuts when I was placed into foster care on my 15th birthday. I was moved from one temporary foster care placement to another, and then a safe house so my parents couldn't find me, so I pretty much stopped going to school until I was finally put into a permanent placement in a group home in the next county over when I was about 15 1/2. The school I went to was an alternative one and let me work at my own pace, so I did. I hated schoolwork, so I just did it as fast as I could. I remember for one of my electives, I took a course on psychology. I brought the book and the assignment list home on a Friday afternoon and turned in the entire completed coursework on Monday morning, since I'd only taken food and smoke breaks (and a few naps) during the whole weekend. I was basically done with high school at 17, having taken the GED to make up for the credits I couldn't earn because the school I was at didn't offer most of the electives, like woodshop, or classes like PE or some of the science courses that required real specimens. My GED scores combined with my regular credits let me graduate as valedictorian (I got a medal and a check for $100).
I didn't really start writing fiction again until I was about 23. I had just started watching a TV show called Xena: Warrior Princess. It was right when the "Rift" started and I was basically glued to the screen. Therapeutically, that arc hit at a great time for me, when I was trying to learn how to forgive myself for mistakes I'd made and trying to move on from all the pain of my childhood (and I'm still working on that one). One night, I went online looking for pictures from the show and found some site that offered something called "fan fiction." I clicked on it and read a few stories. They were neat, but then I found a link called "alt fiction" and basically found my home.
Before then, I had read a few so-called "lesbian" novels: Fried Green Tomatoes, Rubyfruit Jungle, Six of One, etc. They were okay, but I really only read them because the adults around me were telling me they were "great lesbian literature" (I was 15 or 16 at the time, living in a gay/lesbian group home). Well, that type of "literary" novel just isn't my cup of tea and never has been. I like science fiction, action, and romance... you know, a good plot with interesting characters who fall in love. Not to mention I never really had any problems with being a lesbian, so I wasn't interested in reading about people who were struggling with it internally or being outcast by society externally. I mean can you imagine a whole novel about a straight person struggling with why they're attracted to the opposite sex instead of the same sex? If it didn't bore you to death it would be treated as a joke. (But don't get me wrong, I do understand why many people in our current society need to read those kinds of books; I'm not trying to put them down. I'm just trying to explain why they didn't hold any interest for me and why I definitely never wanted to write that kind of story.) But those books left me with the idea that they were the only type of novel being published in the lesbian fiction category. No one ever showed me a published lesbian sci-fi romance novel. So I assumed if I ever wanted to be published, or even just write cool sci-fi stories, I would have to use male protagonists or at the very least make my characters straight. So that's what I'd tried to write and usually lost interest within a few pages.
But after reading the "alt" stories, as well as some "uber" Xena stories, my eyes were opened to the possibilities. I still didn't write much though. Other things were happening in my life and I just wasn't committed to writing. But then I kept coming across stories that could've been great, but were written horribly. The editor in me kept finding typos, grammatical errors, plot problems, and on and on, so one night, that part of my brain finally threw up its hands and said, "Fine. You think you can do better? Prove it. Put up or shut up."
It was around the same time that a woman I'd become close to online ditched me after I told her I loved her (yes, she was a lesbian, but she had a few intimacy issues; the "L" word was apparently one of them) and all that emotional upheaval seemed to need an outlet. And suddenly I was writing. The stories I'd just been pecking at for the past few months were getting entire chapters added to them. All these ideas kept popping into my head.
But I also realized my stories probably weren't that much better than anyone else's, but the one thing I wanted to do differently than everyone else was improve. Of course, the only way to improve was to get feedback and the only way to get feedback would be to put my stories out there for others to read. And that meant getting a Web site. I'd already studied HTML and had created several sites, both for others and myself, so I started designing a Xena fan fiction site to host my stories. Since I was also into "uber" Xena stories, I figured they'd fit right in, as well. So, I spent a month working on my stories and designing the site and finally unleashed it on the Net.
I figured I'd get a few dozen hits and maybe three e-mails telling me what was wrong with my stories. Instead, I received an instant fan base and it wasn't until I created my BetaWolf group that I finally started getting in-depth critiques that have seriously improved my writing over the years. I've also spent a lot of time reading "How to Write" books, and doing research for my stories has become second nature. I rarely do anything without relating it to my writing in some way, whether it's trying to figure out how I would narrate an action scene I'm watching on TV or reading an article about quantum theory and having it spark an idea for one of my stories.
Writing has become part of my daily living, and after looking over the events of my life, I can see that it has always been a part of me. I've always loved science fiction, I love being a lesbian, I love being in love with another woman, and I love fantasizing about the future and technology and heroines who save the day and fall in love while they're at it. There simply couldn't be a more perfect vocation for me.