Yeah, it’s hard to say goodbye to the gents, but it’s time to accept that this series is a wrap. Of course, as we all know, nothing is forever in selfpub – someone famous might declare these stories The Greatest Thing in the History of Everything Ever, in which case of course my ass will be right back on the keyboard, spinnin’ gold. I didn’t run out of ideas by any means (I could have gone on through Byzantium, Arabia, and back to Rus, where one of Viggo’s descendants could have been the first Czar of the Russians), but the economic realities of pubbing 15-20k of well researched erotica are, well, not what they were when the series started.
I knocked out the first three in short order back in the spring of 2013, when we all wrote to keywords and “barbarian” and “Viking” were the hot ones. Of course, most people were just saying, “he’s a Viking, here’s some sex,” with not a Wikithimble’s worth of research. And you know me, I was going to go whole hog on that shit! Which I think is why they’re still read three years later, when the hit and run keyword titles are now digital dust.
Ah, those Halcyon Days before the Smutpocalypse, when Amazon started cracking down on anything “erotica” related, hiding search results behind an invisible and Orwellian “adult filter” that customers couldn’t turn off, because they didn’t even know it was there. You’d search for “gay Viking erotica” and you’d get “no results”; you’d have to search for Brad Vance or Colum’s Viking Captivity by name/title to get a result. So that was the living end for many erotica writers.
On the bright side, that was the first time in my life, creatively, personally, professionally, that I learned to pivot and not puddle – to accept that Shit Was Fucked Up and move on, turn with the storm instead of sailing against it and shouting at the injustice of it all as I sank below the waves. I tied up the Sam and Derek series, and I turned right around and wrote Given the Circumstances that summer, reinventing myself as a romance novel writer.
I still couldn’t let go of Colum and Viggo – I love writing historical fiction, which is a nearly dead letter in gayrom unless you’re doing Regency or the like, never mind the fact that gayrotica itself is nothing like it was in 2013. I put out #4 in the series in November 2014, for my own entertainment as much as anything else.
I loved the relationship between these two, and my research let me develop it as it might have, could have been between a Viking and a male slave, given Viking attitudes towards gay sex (okay if you’re the top, basically). Learning how a slave could become a freeman, I set up the elaborate ceremony for Colum’s liberation, and knowing how a freeman was still bonded to his former owner gave me that kinky edge, in which Colum was able to develop as a person, and in the power dynamic, but still be Viggo’s more than willing buttboy.
I had tentative plans for #5, which would have taken place in Byzantium, admittedly a few years before the actual Vikings arrived as mercenaries. But again, I ran into the fact that the amount of work in researching and writing it just wasn’t worth the economics anymore. If I was a wealthy man right now? I’d totally say Fuck It and write it, but, that ruthless financial triage I’m in now won’t allow it.
So, we bid farewell to the boys, but without a Viking Funeral – their adventures may return, who knows in this business…