Fulani’s next big thing

I’m honoured to have been tagged by Vanessa Wu as one of the authors she’s passed the ‘next big thing’ torch to. If you haven’t come across it, it’s a Twitter-based chain on the #WW hashtag (Writer Wednesday, or Worth Watching) that involves answering 10 questions about what you’re writing. The answers are below.

1) What is the working title of your current/next book? Vodou Intent.  It’s the second of a three-part novella series. The first part, Ridden, is already out in Kindle edition with Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

2) Where did you get the idea for that book? Vodou as a religion came onto my radar over a decade ago when I visited New Orleans. I read more about it, on and off, because in other connections I’ve been involved in studying the ‘desecuralisation thesis’, a sociological argument that one aspect of the postmodern world is a return to religion but at the same time a preference for, if I can put it this way, non-traditional religions. And I’ve also become more aware of the vodou diaspora, with at least some followers now in almost every major city in the world.

Vodou is a syncretic religion, created from elements of Catholicism and older, mainly West African, religions. This book, though, has a kind of vodou-meets-paganism theme, and rests on the view of many pagans that ritual is only important insofar as it enacts and amplifies intent. If you want to do something, any ritual is no more than – but also no less than – a way of focusing on that aim.

The book came about because Xcite wanted me to write a trilogy of novellas on a paranormal theme. As I’ve mentioned, the first one, Ridden, is already out. The last one, Vodou Fetish, will be published sometime next year.

3) What’s the genre of the book? Erotica, with a strong BDSM theme and a lot of paranormal. I like it that my key character isn’t wholly comfortable with the idea of the paranormal, though.

4) If you could pick actors to play the lead characters in your story, who would you pick? I’m crap at this, I probably don’t watch enough films. And it would almost certainly be low-budget anyway! I’d recommend giving the opportunity to relative unknowns who could start their career with it…

5) How would you describe your book in one sentence (10 words or less)? Sex and BDSM can make a ritual for higher goals.

6)(a) How will your book be published, submitted through the traditional route to a traditional publisher or will you be handling it yourself through Indie Publishing methods? (b) If you’re an Indie Author, will you be publishing through your own Indie Publishing company or in a collective with other Indie Authors? It will be with Xcite, as an ebook. They’ve already commissioned the cover. I just have to finish writing it…

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of this book? Compared with many writers, I’m slow – probably around 1,000 words a day. And I’ve had a bunch of other stuff to deal with that’s meant time away from it. On the plus side, I usually ignore the advice to get a first draft finished and then go back to revise. I do a lot of editing as I go, so often my writing day starts with rewriting the previous day’s work before writing the 1,000 words I know I’m likely to revise tomorrow. So there’s no distinct ‘first draft’ and by the time I write the last word, all the previous words have usually been edited several times over.

8) What other books within your genre are similar to yours? To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve read a bunch of vodou-inspired fiction but it wasn’t erotic fiction. I’ve read a lot of erotica but nothing quite like this. Probably the nearest in terms of the overall ethos and feel, but with a pagan rather than a vodou element, is by my partner Velvet Tripp. Check out her novella A Woman Possessed.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? There are so many answers to that. But I liked the idea of exploring how someone who’s an atheist understands and copes with the experience of the paranormal. Because, frankly, I count myself as atheist, but many of my friends are pagan and I’ve seen and experienced some pretty weird and inexplicable stuff over the years. That’s more or less the position my protagonist is in.

10) What about your book will pique the reader’s interest? The scene with the anvwar mo – essentially the vodou version of an exorcism.

There’s a final question:

11) Do you know any other fab authors who might like to tell the world about about their next big thing? A few, all excellent for different reasons:


Ridden – for free, 14-18 November 2012

Ridden coverIt’s true, you can get Ridden for free, for a limited time. Xcite have it on free promo on Amazon for four days. Erotic novella, bondage and BDSM, voodoo and paranormal, more details in previous blog posts.

Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. And please leave a review on Amazon when you’ve read it!

Bearing in mind it’s Part 1 of a trilogy (though each volume is self-standing and complete in itself) and Part 2 is mostly written while Part 3 is already plotted, I’m still open to suggestions about particular scenes you might like to see in the later volumes…

Ridden – now out

Ridden coverOkay, I’ve been slow to promote this novella, especially since my novel came out a week or so ago (see the posts about Corporate Slave, below). It’s been out since Monday but I’ve been writing other stuff, nonfiction, about topics such as cultural imperialism.

And that’s relevant, actually. Because the novella is based in a culture that isn’t mine. But then again, for various random reasons, it’s a part of a diaspora of beliefs I happen to know at least a little about, and that you can now find embedded in almost any world city.

Currently Ridden is available as an ebook only on Amazon in the US and Amazon in the UK, and it will be a while before it’s available elsewhere. But I’ll have another announcement to make about it next week…

The core of the plot is based on voodoo, if you like the ordinary Westernised spelling; or vodou, which is how its practitioners and followers usually refer to it (there are other spellings as well but they mostly relate to its practice in West Africa, and other names used within the range of vodou beliefs). The title of the story comes from the common description of someone who is possessed by a lwa, or spirit, as being ‘ridden’. And of course, in more everyday English, someone who is completely obsessed with some idea or emotion is sometimes said to be ridden by it.

I’d like to think, though I may be deluding myself, that alongside the erotic content readers may pick up something more ‘educational’ about the nature of vodou in reading the novella. I haven’t tried to be absolutely faithful to its practices and beliefs, but I have tried to convey something about its worldview.

So: rather than try to offer a short description (which is on Amazon anyway) or an extract (which is on our Tumblr, and you can use the Amazon ‘look inside’ function to read the beginning as well) I’ve come up with something that I hope is a more evocative summary:

The hospital doctors said Eloise had concussion. It wasn’t concussion.
Tom nodded slowly. “I know what you’re thinking,” Eloise whispered. She felt a myriad of sensations. Later, she felt herself accelerating, plunging towards sweaty carnal seizure.
Confused and dream-filled sleep.
Huge, rusted cemetery gates. Nakedness, erection, the smell of sex.
There had been a travail, a working.
Tom. Romero. Philippe. The sudden flare of the candle. Romero’s old bullet wound. Instinct. Possibilities multiplied. Complicated palette of emotions. Ropes, hanging from the rafters. Fuck.
Healing people, through sex. Sex as a moral and sacred act.

This is Part 1 of a 3-part trilogy. It’s a complete story in itself but there will, in a couple of months or so, be more to read about Eloise and her developing relationship with vodou.

I hope you like it. If you like paranormal, I hope you find it to your taste. If you don’t normally like paranormal, I hope you find the slightly out-of-the-ordinary paranormality of the novella intriguing. If you don’t normally read bdsm erotica, I hope it helps you understand why people might become motivated to try bdsm, and leaves you hot and sweaty. If you do normally read bdsm erotica I hope it leaves you hot and sweaty anyway. If you don’t know much about vodou I hope it gives you at least a sense of how and why others are attracted to it – though if you are, in fact, a vodouist you’ll probably think it’s overly simplistic, not to say overly imaginative. But whoever you are, I hope it makes you rampantly excited.