I suppose there is a certain amount of hubris that accompanies a website without a published manuscript. Bitter Sugar is finished, of course, including the many versions that only come with revisions ad nauseum. Every writers conference comes with the directive, “Platform, platform, platform.” So, here it is. I appreciate your indulgence.
“No great story ever started over a glass of orange juice.” This is the saying on a cocktail napkin my sister-in-law, Karen Perry, gave me. Bitter Sugar may have incubated over a shot glass of “pink milk” at a St. John’s Eve voodoo celebration in the French Quarter years ago. That scene is in the book, so please don’t ask me what the pink milk is.
I am including a picture of John T. Martin, a voodoo priest, a dear friend for over twenty years, who is recently deceased. I met him when he was employed with Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta and dabbling in the realms of voodoo. He was in my home several times and we always enjoyed telling stories. Of course, his were way more interesting than mine.
There was a memorial service for John the end of May and I was honored to be included in “The Second Line,” the celebrants who march through the French Quarter behind a brass band and an honorary Grand Marshall. It felt like being in a movie, about 100 of us waving white handkerchiefs and fans with John’s picture. I have included those pix for you. The albino python is named Jolie Blanc. I know her personally – honest. She’s in the book too. Don’t ask… There is also a photo of Ashland Belle Helene, John’s family’s home on River Road that was once a sugar plantation. John took me there and I started penning the story in the car. It has nothing to do with John’s family, but walking the grand staircases, being on the gallery, in the slave quarters, the barn, the meadow, and the curing house, prompted the writing of this story.
Please check back from time to time for more about Bitter Sugar. I am considering sharing some of the manuscript with you, until it is formally published. I welcome your thoughts.