Voudou Continues — Yes, I’m still writing (a play on sexuality)
As I play the“Gay Dance” playlist on Spotify to extract feelings and past memories that will assist me in writing this here piece, I must say I’m very contemplative.
In 2012, which you should all know by now, I began writing VOUDOU JUICE on the shores of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (hopefully where I’ll reside someday…). These memories are flooding back like heavy waves, and it’s because I’m about to embark on a summer tour of sorts, in South Jersey and then in Myrtle Beach, which is where this story all started.
Since its initial publication in 2017, I’ve had some excellent response to the book overall. At my first book signing, I acted more as host and less of author at Book Warehouse, but many people came up to me, asking me questions about the book itself — yes, including scared looking old women — and almost tested my own knowledge of the novella I had just conceived. It was the first time something like that had happened to me, where the general public, namely teenagers and young adults, had forced me to look inside myself, formulate how I was going to explain the saucy and salty characters I created, then regurgitate it back out in order to make a sale. Odd.
I wound up selling a copy to a forty-something teacher from Virginia; she read the book on the beach in less than a day, left a glowing review on my Facebook page, and I instantly made a connection with her. To know at that point my target audience had shifted was beyond compare. “Hmm,” I thought, “What if I start writing for THAT demographic, instead of members of the LGBT community (namely dirty gay men who I had hoped would get turned on by my prose)?” Things changed, and quickly.
Yeah, sure, I wrote the book I had wanted to read, and was urged by a York College professor in a workshop in the Catskills to not give a shit what people thought about my work once it was out in the open. I was scared while writing the book itself, and also, yes, that once it was published, people who were NOT LGBT or reserved family members/friends would critique its sexual intenseness (made that one up a la Shakespeare…too bad). I had birthed a creation I never knew was inside of me, and was beyond proud of my accomplishment, but, I was still scared.
VOUDOU JUICE is not for the faint of heart. No, really, it’s not. Very sexy, sweaty lifeguards and shirtless wonders I had seen, met, or interacted with over the years comprised the inspiration for many of my characters. Hell, even an unsuspecting southern boy who used to work at a haunted tours company was inspiration for the original version of Riley Clarke. I even found myself at times getting turned on by the fantastical scenes I wrote, and truthfully, it was magical.
Once I was ready to contract a book cover model (see Mikey above), I knew I was jumping down the rabbit hole. The requirements I had sent him included the words, “sexy” and “raw.” He did a fabulous job conveying that through the lens and, as they say, the rest is history. From that moment on, and to this day, I choose my book cover models, yes, based off of their fresh, good looks, and also their personalities.
“What is going to sell?” and “Who will I have the pleasure of interacting with and getting to know on a personal level so that we may be able to pull this off?” are questions that run through my mind each and every time I scout for the next gentleman I’d like to feature. I’m not ashamed of it and it’s part of the creative process. And I’d learned at a very young age, in a marketing class in middle school, that sex sells.
So, now I bet you’re wondering what some of my inspirations were for VOUDOU JUICE and whether or not there will be more books to come in the series. Great ideas, guys, truly…
Well, some of the inspirations I had while writing the manuscript included B-horror movies of the ’70s and ’80s, namely “Evil Dead.” Other inspirations were from the likes of Anne Rice, her beautiful son and author, Christopher Rice (his first novel, actually, A DENSITY OF SOULS), Stephen King, and believe it or not, a documentary on a local weather channel that was about an ancient Voodoo witch (NOT Marie Laveau).
And truthfully, I let my freak flag fly a bit, as far as sexuality was concerned, and I eventually came around regarding not being embarrassed of what I had written, or what kind of detrimental scenes I put my characters through. We’re all human, I’m human, we all have sex. So why shouldn’t it be written about?
As far as upcoming books, I’ve finally decided to evolve VOUDOU JUICE into a trilogy series. I couldn’t give my characters up to the mercy of the general public because I had missed them so. My plan is to release VOUDOU JUICE: ORIGINS (Cody’s Story) in 2020, as it’s set in 1920s New Orleans. I already have the perfect, most handsome and debonair gentleman picked out regarding the cover, too. And then I’m also going to begin writing a third book, set in 1960s New Orleans, as the last (?) and final chapter of the VOUDOU JUICE series.
If you’d be so kind as to reply to this story, I’d love to interact with readers and fans alike, to keep the legend of VOUDOU JUICE alive. And if you’re in the Myrtle Beach area on August 29, I’ll be selling and signing copies of VOUDOU JUICE at Book Warehouse from 11–1:30.