Upon first contracting with MLR Press for its publication of my “I” series of m/m books, it was always my intention that my I, DEBAUCHEE (just released) should be the first in the line-up, if just because of my long-time fascination with the subject matter: Extreme indulgence in sensual pleasures; dissipation.
My initial fascination revolved around my early penchant for all things “Roman Empire”; that time frame one of extreme indulgences wherein debauchery was, more often than not, synonymous with lust and gluttony that included banquets with courses of humming-bird tongues, dormice … of carp fattened on the human flesh of murdered slaves … of wild boars stuffed with live thrushes that took wing when the beast’s belly was sliced open … of rabbits with swan wings attached to resemble Pegasus … with special rooms (vomitoria) for periodic purging that allowed the feasting to continue, non-stop, for days on end … all accompanied by marathon fornication among the diners.
Later, of course, I learned of libertines, during all periods of history, who used food as if it somehow signified sexual prowess. The infamous Marquise de Sade, renowned for his debauchery, fed prostitutes chocolate laced with the dangerous aphrodisiac Spanish fly before masochistically and sexually making short use of them.
Excessive dining, of course, not always needed to definite the term that, likewise, can include … being led morally astray or into dishonesty and vicious practices; corruption leading to loss of chastity; excessive indulgences; licentiousness, drunkenness, bad habits; promiscuity…
My first inclination was to write I, DEBAUCHEE as a period piece, set in ancient Rome, or in some decadent royal court of pre-revolutionary France. And while hot and heavy sex in my novel occurs in such places as an Italian island grotto, the French Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, even in the dungeon of a Rumanian lodge, and in the inner-sanctum of the ruined Transylvanian castle of Count Dracula, I decided that there was already so much written about the debauchery of past times, but so little written about the ongoing debauchees of the present.
While true debauchery requires great deals of money to back it up, purchase its pleasures, grease the wheels to make it happen (who dares be a great debauchee if he or she needs always be fearful of being caught, reprimanded, even arrested, and jailed?) … and while the present world economy is presently flushed so far down the proverbial toilet bowl that it has many mistakenly believing that great wealth, and the excesses that go with it, are possibly things of the past … I know for a fact that there are people out there, still, with so much money, power, and influence, that they make the debauchees of earlier times, including mere emperors, kings, marquises, and counts, look mere novices in comparison.
However, with the inclination of today’s readers of m/m fiction to be so romantically inclined, and more likely to prefer their reading material, even of debauchees, not so far off the scale as to have stomachs turned by the kind of excesses that are not only still possible but can, and do, occur, daily, within a segment of today’s populations that can afford them, I’ve concentrated on contemporary characters who are a tad more sympathetic than many of their counterparts, and whose appetites are not so far different from yours and mine as to seem totally alien. I’ve even, hopefully, instilled within them a sensibility about love that has them yearn to experience it, even as they realize that their ability to indulge every conceivable sensation, can, and does, make true love for them far more difficult to achieve than pleasures more easily and quickly purchased by merely opening their pocketbooks.
Of course, by way of supplementing, this tale … of all that money can buy … I’ve once again called upon the creative genius of wax-artisan Jfay, to provide me with an “I, DEBAUCHEE CANDLE” to not only be included within the story-line but to personify, universally, the kind of money-is-no-object excesses that this story and its characters are all about. Once again, she has come through, this time with the visual epitome of an object one merely needs look at to conjure all sorts of candle-lit orgies of sheer debauchery in palaces, castles, mansions, and within island grottos, where food and wine flow in abundance, and where the naked and near naked super-wealthy cavort in sheer licentiousness and amusement, while the rest of the world, and its less fortunate, are pretty much ignored..
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