Two days ago I hit "send" for the final time on the single biggest project I've ever completed or even worked on. My first novel. A novel of erotic fantasy. I finished the manuscript close to a year ago and since then I've been working on FORTY THREE illustrations to accompany the text.. 43!
I've never done that much art for any single project in my life. Ever.
And to this degree as well. It's not just the fact that I've completed it, it's the level to which I went IN. I poured sooooo much into this project. I calculated and I've put in over 2,000 hours all told.
The reason I'm writing is because I want this documented. I want people when they are looking back on this moment, to know that I KNEW before anything blew up, that it WOULD blow up. I can't shake the feeling that I just did something momentous, that it's so much bigger than even I can fathom right now. I am dropping a boulder into the waters of our society, and preparing for the so much more than ripples that will inevitably follow. This is avalanche in the making, tsunami in the offing and when we're looking back, I want there to be a testament to the fact that I saw it coming.
This country has what I consider to be one of the weirdest, most convoluted relationships with sexuality, sensuality and anything erotic. Sex is all over the place, on every billboard, all over commercials, magazines, every kind of media and YET- it's never entirely acknowledged. It's rarely portrayed in ways that leave the viewer feeling good about sexuality. Billboards with three-quarter naked teens advertise everything from underwear to perfume to luggage, but billboards portraying a mother breast feeding are literally protested until they are taken down; portrayed by religious groups and zealous, over-protective mother's groups as obscene. Obscene! Simply because there's a breast, and more importantly, a nipple involved.
Almost every disney movie has at LEAST one of the characters straight up and down murdered; like full-on killed in cold blood. And that's fine for children to see but sex? Oh heaven forbid. Video games have THE most violent, blood filled everythings in so many of them buuuuuut-...
I could go on FOREVER with this but it's only obliquely the point. My point is that as a result of a large number of factors including religious suppression and outright hypocrisy, if you mention erotica to the average american, (and quite possibly to a lot of people outside of America) the vast majority of them will draw a blank. They'll have virtually no idea what you're talking about. If you say mystery, or horror, or fantasy, they'll all at the very least know what genre of books or movies you're talking about even if they don't read or watch it themselves.. But you say erotica and normally the most you might get is "you mean porn?"
Enter my novel. Cult of the Serpentari is going to be the first of its kind. It is the beginning of an entirely new genre; a genre called "Fantasensua". The working definition for Fantasensua is as follows: Explicit, graphically illustrated character and plot-driven erotic fantasy.
Partially because at present there is basically nothing that matches that definition, and partially just because I believe it is TIME, this book, and the ones succeeding it, is going to SMASH EVERYTHING. [can you see me smile when I say those words? can you feeeel my grin?] For so so very long, i have been looking for good fantasy, or sci-fi, or cyberpunk or any of it, that combines really good storytelling and plot, with good SEX! And it's like, nooooowhere to be found except in the tiniest of bits and I think this is primarily because the authors know that if they go all the way there, they lose half their audience damn near automatically. So instead of continually looking for it, I have created it.
In so doing, I am going to touch off a movement.
I am absolutely CLEAR, that I am not the only one looking for this kind of fiction. I am also clear that a bunch of the people who are looking, aren't even aware of the fact. They won't know it until I put it in front of them and they're hit with the ah HA!! moment and that will be the beginning of the end. For me, the Fifty Shades series was perfectly timed because it paved the way for what will follow it.
I am following it.
But I am building an entirely new highway over the road it paved. I am taking this container, this sensual, titillating erotica container, and using it to smuggle in all kinds of concepts that might otherwise not be received with the same openness if not encased in such a sexy package. Alternative relationship dynamics, gender roles, male/female power dynamics, sexual taboos, ethnicity of characters, and so many more I get to play with and introduce in a manner that speaks to ME. And after me will come others who see how successfully and enthusiastically this work was received and proceed to make of the erotic genre something substantive and full of rich and empowering content; a genre to be lauded and reveled in instead of relegated to the backs of tiny stores in grubby rooms behind dirty curtains.
I am INCREDIBLY excited. I am exalted. I am poised. And I know that this
M A S S I V E
Listening to: Stromae, Martin Luther, K'naan
Reading: Clive Barker, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jacqueline Carey
Playing: with ideas about the impact this is going to have
Drinking: Water..always lots and lots of water