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Check out the
Gay Erotica JUST OUT
La Petit Mort - poem
The Clint Folsom erotic gay murder mystery series.
Habu reports that he enjoyed writing this series. His premise was a no-holds-barred treatment of an unabashedly promiscuous, laid-back, “good-guy” homicide cop with movie-star looks .
(Clint's) love of being ‘topped’ is so ingrained within his being that
each sex act is with an abandon and longing that makes men ‘feel like
kings’. If you weren’t a ‘sub’ before, you would wish to be one by the
end of the book. Once I finished reading it, I rushed to buy the rest of the
Clint Folsom series. Hot Stuff!
From a review by Kpasa
Dark Angel Reviews - January 09
Interview with habu and Sabb, who also write as Shabbu
Hi all and welcome to my interview with Shabbu—the writing duo of habu and Sabb from eXcessica Publishing. These two talented men have teamed up to bring readers erotic goodies such as: ROUGH ROAD TO HAPPINESS, THE TREE OF IDLENESS, ANGEL IN THE BARN and CIGARS! So please sit back and enjoy this peek into the minds behind these incredible tales.
Hi gentlemen and welcome to Dark Angel Reviews. I’m so glad you decided to hang out with me. I’ve never done a three-way(blushing) interview before so this should be fun.
HABU: Three-ways can be fun; I’m happy to let either of you lead, though, if you’d like.
SABB: It’s OK, I have never done a three way interview before either. I’m nervous. He’s the very experienced one.
For starters, can either of you tell us about any of your upcoming books for readers to look forward to? What is the story about? When is it going to be released?
HABU: Where do I begin? Start with my solo books, I guess. I, as usual, have several going at once: An anthology of GM stories set in China and Japan through the ages—exploring the gay underlife there that was referred to as either “bitten peach” or “slit-sleeve”; an expansion of my straight short story, “Blue Roses Tattoo,” of a young woman trapped in a nothing job in a nowhere town who is brought into erotic consciousness by a mysterious stranger; an expansion of my GM novella, “Dance of the Ravishers,” of archaeologists in Africa stumbling on a culture with, umm, quite “interesting” rituals; and on and on—at least two of these should publish in January. Two other GM anthologies, “Intensity” and “Rough Going”—which, I think are self-explanatory—are nearly filled out too.
As for Shabbu? What was it we were thinking of doing next, Sabb? An expansion of “Two Chances,” about two lovers who are more connected than they can accept, steeped in misunderstandings, and have trouble getting it together, perhaps? This is one that readers have asked to be continued.
Sabb: Yes, a lot of people liked our short story “Two Chances”, which appears in our book “Gayly Complicated”, and I did wonder about turning it into a longer piece. The setting is based around a dog grooming business and I have been involved with dogs for a long time and there is a lot more going on in those grooming parlors than just clipping hair you know. (joke) Anyway I can keep habu up to speed on the technicalities and he can think of clever twists. Sound like a good combination?
I am just finishing the third Barbarian Tale. This one is called “The Inheritance” and is about a handsome young man who is in danger of being murdered and whom Konan sets out to save.
How old were each of you when you first started writing as a serious career? What made you decide to choose the more erotic noir for your genre choice?
HABU: Let me turn that a bit. I was an international journalist (and spy) from my mid twenties, and I began writing straight fiction—mostly espionage novels—sixteen years ago. My erotica started three years ago when I was writing a scene for a straight detective novel and it slipped into a heated sex scene—and I discovered I enjoyed writing erotica.
Sabb: I don’t think I have a serious writing career. Do I? Can’t say I have thought of it like that. I just write. I am amazed I sell books that are full of stories I wrote because I was in the mood, or wanted to share the mood with him. If I didn’t really enjoy it I couldn’t do it. One reason I write erotica. When I am in the mood its easy. I need to be really inspired by some situation or event to write straight stuff and it takes me years to finish a book. And I have a drawer full of rejections to go with them. With erotica I have found there is an appreciative audience.
But all my books, erotic or otherwise, revolve around sex. To me sex is the one drive everyone has and it has the biggest impact on our lives. Not the actual sex perhaps, but all the things that surround it. That aspect fascinates me. How lust can change your life. Love? Hum, I think they go together usually.
With both of you writing the books, do you find any part of it extremely challenging? Maybe one of you has more difficulty with the dialogue while the other is really good at bringing the sex scenes to life? How do you work it out between the two of you?
HABU: I have trouble finding the time to write. I have absolutely no trouble just sitting down and starting to bang away on the computer whenever I have the time, though—and I compose very quickly and with practically no revision. I think Sabb is a little put off sometimes when we are bouncing an idea back and forth and suddenly three hours later, I drop a 3,000-word version of my part in his lap that may limit what he can write. I thus usually try to get him to write first and then I play off that. I’m also now a mainstream publishing book editor, so I probably bring more of the technical polish to the combined Shabbu writing. (And since I’m an American and Sabb is an Aussie, of course there is the problem of coordinating spellings and idioms—we compromise and go with American. *grin*.) I think Sabb is the romantic, and he likes happy endings; I write more about the underbelly of GM, and I go for the twist (and often the more realistic, I think) endings. We tend to work this out between us by Sabb letting me think I’m dominant, I think. But I’m just as interested in hearing what Sabb thinks are our separate strengths and weakness in partner writing.
Sabb: habu is so fast. Sob. I drive him mad because I day-dream about what I might write for ages before I get around to writing it. But when we write together I have to produce “this week” not next month. And surprisingly I do. So for me, writing together is also a great motivator as well as inspiring. And I have no grammar and not much punctuation, so he is an editing gem for sorting all that out. I don’t know that either of us is particularly worse or better as far as dialogue or scene setting goes, but he does move action on quicker where I can get bogged down on “the why” at times. And he can throw up really clever, unexpected endings. The challenge of writing together is not forcing the ideas you have for where a book is going on the other person. That is easy to say but when you create characters you always have ideas about where they are going. And that is a thrill I get from writing with someone else – having the character do the “unexpected” and throw you in a different direction.
Who or what do you see as the influences on your writing? Do you feel that any certain author you read or a specific life experience swayed you towards writing the stories you write?
HABU: The clear influence on my writing is Lawrence Durrell, the author of the Alexandria Quartet. I even had the privilege of living in the house where he wrote this work—and writing my first seven straight novels in the same house. (This is the inspiration for our Tree of Idleness novel, by the way.) Durrell closely spun subplots so that they shown forth—and surprisingly—from time to time and layered his novels so that they read as standalone works, but when you read several of them, you find they interconnect and that twists of plot and character are illuminated that you would never have seen if you didn’t read more than the one work. Many of my short stories do that (or try to). And then there’s Graham Greene. I’ve read all of his work, and I’m sure his style has rubbed off on me. As far as life experiences, I was a male model and a bit player in movies and went into the CIA and saw the world—so my writings tend to be international—and quite varied—in scope. And sometimes a bit more exotic on the sexual experience side than most.
Sabb: My writing is more introspective. And more about the chances life throws up rather than exploring situations. Habu is a much more conscious writer. I really can start with a scene and write a whole story flowing from it, as I just have with the latest barbarian book I have just finished. It begins with the Great Barbarian, Konan, walking into a courtyard where a young man is washing himself down with water from a well, “The Gods Intervene”. Habu though seems to always have a story outline or direction in mind – a twist he calls it– before he starts writing, and I admire that ability and clarity of thinking immensely. I have read Durrell too and also like the way he shows people and situations from different sides as a story moves on. I don’t know that there is any specific influence though. There is no one whose books I would have liked to write, if that makes sense.
What was the deciding factor in the two of you teaming up to write together? Were you fans of each others work previously?
HABU: Sabb contacted me on the basis on my writings on one story site and suggested I should be writing on another. In our messages back and forth, one of us would spin a scenario that inspired the other one to write—and these have led to “playing off against each other” stories under the Shabbu name as well as stories we’ve written under our own names.
Sabb: Yep, I was just blown away by what I read of his. By the variety, and the heat, but also the under current of the writers personality. And the back and forth is hugely creative. I have in my head now still a conversation we had yesterday about an unfinished film in a camera since 1957. I can see so many stories that could come from finishing that film and getting it developed. And I will eventually write something based on that.
Is there a certain message either of you is trying to get readers to grasp in your writing?
HABU: I’m interested in what Sabb will say about this, but as I think he will know, my own message is that erotica can be good literature too—it can have a storyline and well-, but concisely defined characters and focused, coherent plot threads and still have hot sex in it.
Sabb: Hum. That sex is at the center of it all? That including sex in a story doesn’t make it less of a story? For me in fact it can mean filling it out. So, as habu says, to me erotica is literature too. I also like writing a man’s world of emotions and needs, and habu does that very well too. I get tired of always reading straight books. An M/M emotional world is not the same as an M/F emotional world or an F/F one, though people are all very similar in ways.
What books have influenced your lives the most? Why and/or how so?
HABU: As I’ve noted already, the Alexandria Quartet and the books by such as Graham Greene and John Le Carre have influenced my writing most. I also worked with James Michener for a while, so I have grounding in the sweeping historical epic writing (see my Raven’s Possession) and I knew Ernest Hemingway as a child (although at the time, I just thought he was a hunter with a loud mouth and a fuzzy beard), and, from his writing, I’ve tried to latch into the “keep it concise, but coherent and comprehensive, stupid,” school of writing.
Sabb: Our first school reader was called “John and Betty”, I though it was astonishing, fantastic, wonderful. When I looked at it some years later with that memory of what a revelation it had been for me, I was stunned to discover it had about ten pages and twenty words in the whole book. Reading opened up a world for me and I read everything, including some erotica when I was only about 12. The Golden Ass by Apeleius, an Ancient Roman, it’s a classic. My parents bought one of those sets of classic literature and thought it was all uplifting and never actually read it themselves. But I did. I had no idea what it was about till years later. But it fascinated me.
Has either of your environments led to censor with your writing or has your family and everyone you meet embraced the fact that both of you are men, writing what was once perceived as a woman’s genre?
HABU: No censure because the erotica side of my writing is in a wall safe environment. I write mainstream novels as well, and my publisher would slit my wrists if it had any inkling I was also writing erotica (or for anyone but them, no matter what the genre). And my family doesn’t have a clue either. I keep two, strictly divorced lives in this.
Sabb: I live alone so I can do what I like, including swearing at dogs. I do mention to a few people that I write raunchy romances, I avoid saying erotica, and a couple of friends have read a couple of my stories. But I find almost no one wants to know about it, and they generally look stunned. It’s a bit of a “shock, horror” thing.
The duo of Sabb has written quite an assortment of different stories. Anything new the two of you would like to delve into?
HABU: Sure. I’d like to write the romance element and let Sabb get rough in one. A reviewer recently noted that difference between us (in reviewing our Angel in the Barn)—as if it was always that way—and I took a little umbrage because I have a whole line of sappy short stories—doubters can read my “La Lectura” in Shabbu’s Cigars (and I somewhat specialize in that in the mainstream—in fact I recently posted a 15,000-word nonerotic Christmas story series to a story site that has gotten a very good reception, and Sabb said was a little saccharine for his tastes). In the case of Angel in the Barn, the contrast was a major point of the work, and Sabb wrote his romantic one first—so I had little choice in what I wrote. So, yes, a flip flop on that for reviewers to see, I guess. Although I’m not sure about the required happy ending thing. Hmmmm.
Sabb: I can write rough. But there is enough bad stuff in the world without me adding to it and I am not into pain or suffering. I am not a fan of happy endings really either. But you have to finish a story. Life is about constant interaction and change but a story has to finish in a way that pleases the reader. I am happy to leave an ending hanging but most people aren’t, so I prefer to have a happy one if I have to choose. And I’ve known habu to write a few romantically happy endings. I’d say the difference between our characters is more naiveté versus sophisticated cynicism, rather than rough versus romantic.
Okay let’s have some fun!
HABU: Yes, let’s. Is this where the threesome starts in earnest?
Amanda (grins and blushes)-I couldn't keep up with both of you. Too much maleness for me. <Fanning herself>
If someone wrote a biography about each of you, what would the title be?
HABU: I’ve already written an erotica memoir (by why of chronologically arranged anthology). Its title is Flying High. (How’s that for a plug?) I don’t think any biographer can do better by me.
Sabb: I laughed – I can’t see anyone wanting to write one of me.
If you could be superheros, what would your powers be and what would you accomplish with them?
HABU: I’d be forever young and handsome—and that should get for me exactly what that got for me when I was young and handsome. Sorry, I was a male model. The narcissism never goes away.
Sabb: Can I do world peace and a return to a simpler more ecofriendly world? Or is that asking too much? I think we can all be super heroes in small ways, by installing rainwater tanks and reducing our use of electricity and oil, and eating less processed food. Oh, and I’d like to be young and handsome too. (That is definitely asking too much.)
If both of you won $20 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
HABU: Expand the land around my Mediterranean-shore villa in Cyprus. (I certainly wouldn’t invest it in the United States anytime soon).
Sabb: I’m with him. In the Mediterranean villa that is. Otherwise – no idea.
If you could go back in time and be anyone, fictional or real, dead or alive, who would you be and why?
HABU: Maybe a less-frumpy-looking Benjamin Franklin. He had a lot more fun than most people realize.
Sabb: Konan, the Great Barbarian. He’s my alter ego. I think he’s immortal too. Or Doctor Spock. I love the eyebrow lift, and going where no man has gone before.
If you were a model of car, what type would you be and why?
HABU: A steel-blue 1973 Bentley Corniche. It’s just “me.” I used to think I’d be a Mercedes 300 sedan—but now I have one of those and I wouldn’t want to be that expensive to maintain. (Who am I kidding about maintenance costs on a Bentley?) I think Sabb and I’ve had this discussion before. I’ll pick for him and see if he agrees: A Toyota Celica convertible.
Sabb: I got the Celica recently. I am having a mid life crisis. Actually I want a Lamborghini but my bank wont agree.
Thanks again to both habu and Sabb for joining us today at Dark Angel Reviews. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next from the two of you!
HABU: And I can’t wait to have you review it. *smile*
Sabb: I’ll just thank you for having us.
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