My guest on the blog today is erotic author J. Phillip Elwes — he’s here to talk about his new book, Pyewacket, Pyewacket!
Over the weekend, I had a chance to chat with J. Phillip — here’s our conversation:
Tell us about Pyewacket, Pyewacket.
This is the blurb:
Pyewacket, Pyewacket is a gay erotic, paranormal thriller about nineteen-year-old Grant Webb, who must leave his remote fishing town in northeastern Canada to search for his grandmother reported missing in Vallejo, California. On his first night in town, Grant questions his grip on reality, as he has an otherworldly encounter. When he inadvertently casts a spell to locate his grandmother, he realizes he’s a fledgling warlock. To save his grandmother, he joins other warlocks and witches in an epic battle against an ancient evil, that, at long last, has within its reach its most coveted prize, Grant himself.
I’d also add that it is certainly about magic and sexuality, but even more about the transformative power of love, as Grant discovers his true self on the battlefield.
Sounds super interesting! What was your inspiration for this book?
The story popped into my head in late December, 2015, when I was between gigs and thought I’d be spending the next two weeks working on an entirely different gay erotic story.
Earlier that summer in San Francisco’s Mission District, I’d almost daily walked past street art depicting a boy wearing a gas mask, around which were the words: “I am the beat of a thousand purple butterflies.” I’d slow down to read those words and, even after the art piece had been painted over, kept wondering what it was saying.
Around that same time, I saw photographs taken in the 1850’s of California’s old State Capitol building in Vallejo, a town about 30 miles north of San Francisco. I’ve been to the Vallejo Transit Center in downtown Vallejo, where the enormous building had once stood. A plaque embedded in the sidewalk there marks the building’s former location. I read online that the building burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances in the early morning hours of April 20, 1859.
I thought nothing else of this until the end of 2015, when I was on Tumblr and stumbled upon a fashion spread of male models nearly covered from head to toe in beautiful tattoos. I instantly recalled the mysterious fate of the old State Capitol building and wondered how men like these might be involved. All of my stories–gay erotica and otherwise–center on the pivotal transformation of the main character. I wanted my first novel-length, gay erotic story to be on a grand scale. And, suddenly, I knew how men like these were going to be a part of that story: immortal warlocks battling each other and magical creatures!
The inspiration for how the book itself is written comes from a dream I had years ago. In it, I was watching a crowd of people, then narrating aloud what each person was doing just before I saw my hand writing down on a page in a book what everyone was doing. That might sound like a typical dream for a writer, but that “transitional” imagery has stayed with me. And that is how Grant narrates Pyewacket, Pyewacket.
How does this differ from what you’ve written before?
It’s my first gay erotic story featuring magic, which is one of my great passions. My parents observed when I was quite young that I was obsessed with any movie or TV show featuring magic. I love that the addition of magical elements has the ability to elevate a story to a grand scale. Pyewacket, Pyewacket is certainly about a battle between good and evil magical forces, but it is even more about the search for love and the transformative power of love.
At thirteen chapters, it is my first novel. I enjoyed being with Grant for over half a year to write his story.
I know you have experience in other forms of writing, including screenplay writing–How has this other experience influenced writing gay erotic fiction?
Writing screenplays, which must be formatted in a very particular manner, helped me find my voice as a writer, frankly. Screenplays have a word limit around 10,000 words. They are very visual: you only see and hear what happens in a film. As a screenwriter, I learned to strip away any ornamental aspirations I had as a writer and to hone my style until I could precisely describe what was happening moment by moment, from start to end, to tell a story.
With screenplays, I regularly bumped against that word count of 10,000 words until it dawned on me one day to tell a story in as few words as possible.
I like to think that’s now my writing style with screenplays, my gay erotic stories and everything I write, actually.
Can you give us a glimpse of one of the sexiest scenes in this book?
There are quite a few sexy scenes in Pyewacket, Pyewacket.
You can read here (http://jpelwes.tumblr.com/post/149767992862/pyewacket-pyewacket) on my Tumblr the entire first chapter, in which Grant has his first sexual encounter, which happens to be with the greatest pitcher in the history of professional baseball. In the next chapter, Grant is rescued from an embarrassing situation by a nice fellow. They get to know one another and have a couple of sexy scenes throughout the day. Grant’s encounter with the baseball player has made him wonder if his trip to Vallejo is making him unstable. At the end of his first day in Vallejo, he falls asleep alone in bed at his grandmother’s house. And this happens next:
I awoke later that night to a motorcycle rumbling on York Street.
When I realized it was idling outside the house, I slipped out of bed to peek past the gauzy curtain covering the wide bay window.
My heart skipped a beat, when I spotted directly across the street a man seated on a bike parked in the white circle of a street lamp. I watched him pull off his helmet and look up and down the street, like he was trying to remember something. He had cropped, blond hair, a high forehead, straight nose, and bushy beard. His mustache hid his lips. He strongly resembled the rugged fishermen I enjoyed watching come ashore in Cow Head.
The man turned his head to peer up at me in the window.
Surprised, I took a step back, though I was certain he couldn’t see me.
He again looked up and down the street, switched off his bike, then rose off his seat long enough to dip his hand down the front of his blue jeans to adjust himself.
At that, my cock instantly erected, popping out of the fly of my boxers.
Is everyone horny as fuck in California? I wondered, my heart pounding wildly in my chest. Or is it just Vallejo?
When he looked back up at my window, I giddily pushed aside the curtain before I knew what I was doing. I bent over to slip off my boxers, then straightened up, naked and hard for his viewing pleasure, somehow certain he was as aroused as me.
He squared his shoulders and put his helmet down on the bike’s fuel tank, his eyes never leaving me.
When he gave me an encouraging nod, I lost my mind. I furiously jacked off. I closed my eyes and imagined him sliding off his motorcycle to march across the street and run up the stairs to my bedroom.
His blue eyes never left mine, as he wordlessly stripped out of his clothes to stand naked and rock hard with me. He was a head taller and very muscular. He looked more than twice my age and was hands down the most handsome man I’d stood in the same room with.
He noisily tried to catch his breath, while I ran my hands over his hairy abdomen and chest. His red nipples fully erected under my swirling fingertips. He obligingly flexed his biceps, while I ran my hands over them. I was delighted by his hairy forearms and the coarse thicket of hair in his armpits.
He turned his head to watch over his shoulder, as I walked around him to draw my fingers over the rippling muscles of his back, over the twin globes of his pale ass. I traced my finger along his hairy ass crack to touch his anus a moment before he turned around to face me.
He kneaded my shoulders in his fists and stared into my eyes.
I took him by the testicles, exploring his heavy scrotum with relish, and watched his rigid, uncircumcised cock jounce this way and that. Now most certainly a connoisseur of cock, I had no trouble appreciating the veins crisscrossing his thick shaft, the shapeliness of his very red, very shiny crown. I found his surprisingly large piss slit so appealing, I wanted to lick it to coax out his pre-cum.
I tightened my grip around his testicles at the same time I ran my other hand through his dense, unkempt triangle of pubic hair.
He lowered his hand to make a fist around my throbbing erection at the same time I closed my hand around his member.
We furiously jerked each other off.
As he leaned forward to kiss my lips, I felt the powerful contractions of his orgasm, felt his semen spurt in rapid fire against my belly and chest.
I let out a moan, feeling my load rising fast.
I opened my eyes wide to watch him hunch convulsively over his motorcycle, his chin straining toward his chest, as he pounded his fist against the bike’s handlebar.
“He’s really coming!” I nearly shouted at the bay window, ejaculating while doing my best to catch my load in the palm of my other hand.
I was rocked by one of the most intense orgasms of my life.
Some time later, when the euphoria swirling around my brain had ebbed away, I looked at the pool of semen in my hand, then down at the man now sitting calmly on his motorcycle.
He was staring up at me in the window.
As if reading his mind, I somehow knew he wanted me to come downstairs and open the door. He wanted to march into the foyer and lick my hand clean. He wanted to shuck his jeans and boxers to his knees, so I could lick his load off his genitals. As profoundly as I wanted to taste his sperm, his cock, his scrotum, his butthole, he was ten times more undone by his desire to kiss me, taste my lips, roll his tongue over mine. He wanted to be naked with me in my bed. He wanted to hold me in his arms. He wanted to whisper in my ear about the coven.
Coven? I thought, suddenly reaching for the gauzy curtain, as I shook my head at him. Vallejo is turning out to be crazier than me!
I jerked the curtain across the window, then held my breath, until he slipped on his helmet and started his motorcycle.
I didn’t leave the window until he had turned onto Montgomery Street and disappeared toward Georgia.
I walked down the hallway. I didn’t turn on the bathroom light while I washed my hands.
I then returned to my room, slipped into bed and stared at the decorative medallion where the overhead light dropped from the ceiling. I wondered what connection, if any, the motorcycle rider had in Grandmother’s disappearance. Why had he been idling his bike outside her house? Had a Tarot-card reading gone horribly wrong? Was he her stalker? Her kidnapper? Nothing was making sense, especially my having an intense sexual encounter with him via a crazy-as-hell mind meld. The more I doubted any of it had actually happened, though, the more vividly I recalled every detail of my bizarre psychic connection with him.
I’m losing my mind, I thought, squeezing my member now throbbing in my fist. I again felt the surprising intensity with which he had wanted to be naked with me in my bed, holding me in his arms, as he told me about the coven.
I fell asleep while playing over and over in my mind how earnestly he’d stared into my eyes while kneading my shoulders.
Very sexy! I see you’ve written a few gay erotica books now; how has the process of writing and publishing changed for you over the years?
I wrote by hand my first gay erotic story, then made front and back covers for it and carefully bound it all together with red yarn. I later wrote stories with a word processor that had a tiny viewing screen. Then, at long last, I bought a laptop in the 1990’s, which made writing a snap. I used to write in Word. Now, I prefer writing in a Text file, which is easy to edit, then transfer into whatever formats are required.
I wrote my first gay erotic short stories in the 1980’s and 90’s, when the only outlets for such stories were gay skin magazines and a handful of book publishers. It took time to research how to properly submit stories to each one, then several stamps to mail them off. Weeks and months would pass before I knew if any had been accepted. The payments were typically just okay. And in the decades before the internet, my stories in magazines and books were almost immediately destined for oblivion if I didn’t promote them while submitting new stories to publishers.
The internet has changed everything, of course. My Tumblr and Twitter accounts promote my stories and make me personally available to fans and potential publishers. Sites like Goodreads introduce even more readers to my work. Over the last two years, I’ve self-published four books on Amazon, which is so easy to use, I wish I had started self-publishing ten years ago. I like that I can track in real time how each book is selling, which promotions had an impact, etc. And I enjoy being paid at the end of every month.
I’m curious about the cover for Pyewacket, Pyewacket – can you tell us why you chose a photo of butterfly wings?
For that cover, I chased butterflies around my backyard for several weeks, taking 101 photographs before I had enough images I liked in order to assemble the cover image. Grant is baffled for much of the story by the clouds of orange butterflies that assemble around him. The reader will have to follow Grant’s adventure to discover alongside him, at his darkest hour, why the butterflies appear.
What have you found to be some of the upsides and downsides of self-publishing?
Upsides: I approve the final version of the book; and all of the royalties come to me.
Downsides: I must do all of the promotion, which includes Twitter, Tumblr and reaching out to reviewers on their blogs and at sites like Goodreads; and I approve the final version of the book (which means all the typos are my fault–and which furthermore means I generally revisit a published book at least once for another round of edits). I like that publishers have their own promotional operations set up and their own editors. I dislike that my royalties are much less with publishers than if I self-publish on Amazon.
What’s next for J. Phillip Elwes?
I have in mind an idea that could be the sequel to Pyewacket, Pyewacket, but it’s not yet fully formed.
In the near future, I intend to return to the gay erotic novel I was working on before Pyewacket, Pyewacket suddenly took center stage. That story will bring back many of the characters from my gay erotic stories prior to Pyewacket, Pyewacket, and is told over twenty years from the point of Liam, who is the photographer’s assistant in my gay erotic short story, “Anything But Everything.”
I also plan to write a gay erotic detective series set in Vallejo, California. The main character is Jason Morgan, who is the love interest in my gay erotic short story, “The First of the Month.” More than twenty years have passed since we last saw Jason. He’s now recently widowed and becomes a reluctant detective in the first book as he comes to the aid of friend accused of murder.
These projects are definitely on the burner, though I am finding myself increasingly distracted by photographs of a professional athlete covered in tattoos. I wonder if another novella or novel is about to announce itself.
It was fun talking with you, Cameron. Take care and happy reading!
And thank you for stopping by!