Martin, Martin, Martin

art of being a slave diogenes
It’s fitting, but somehow I don’t think Diogenes had a Martin situation in mind when he said this.

Awhile back, I posted a poll that a few people were kind enough to respond to (feel free to click a button there if you haven’t done so yet), and I am not at all surprised to discover that Martin is generally the favorite between the main characters. Many people did not wish to be forced to choose between Henry and Martin, which is understandable. Poor Henry alone is much less popular than his beloved. Which is also understandable ;)

Anyway, I’m in the midst of working on the Martin story that will accompany Book 3/A Willful Romantic, so my brain is full of Martin and Ganymede and slaves.  I know there are a number of people interested in Martin’s back story and training, and some particularly significant parts of that will be covered in this piece. As I’ve said before, I really like doing the Martin stories. I can’t promise I’ll write it, but if there are any specific aspects of the GQ world readers might like to know about from Martin’s point of view, please do feel free to tell me what you’re interested in.

As for the poll, Henry and Martin are both my babies, so I guess I’d have to be in the “don’t make me choose” camp. I think they’re both ridiculous, really, but  I have an affinity for Martin, although Henry certainly endears himself to me through his foolishness. I have things in common with both of them (Henry’s social anxieties, Martin’s work ethic), but I actually think Henry’s cousin Jesse is most like me, albeit a better version, friendlier and less cynical.

So: Be on the lookout for books in the near-ish future. I’m still aiming for mid-March.

scratch and sniff

vetiverroseI’ve always been interested in scent, but I’ve been pretty obsessive about how things smell over the course of working on the GQ series. It is mentioned many times in the GQ books that Martin smells of vetiver. I have a bottle of it on my desk and I periodically dump some out onto a cotton ball so I can write while smelling what Henry loves to smell. Arid, woody, sensual rustling grasses. I go through phases of being obsessed with the need to smell it and then being content to smell other things. Right now I’m into frankincense and  champaca flower.

I don’t ever say what Henry smells like, but he’s definitely not odorless. I became obsessed with rose scents about a year ago and auditioned dozens of fragrances. Yay for decant shops! I thought I was trying them for myself, but over time it became apparent that these were something Henry wanted–along with all the bouquets I bought (there is a very dead one in a vase on my desk as I type). Like many flower perfumes, rose was definitely a men’s scent in 1900. You may have noticed that flowers have been returning to contemporary men’s fragrances over the last few years, as well.

I read a description of a Penhaligon men’s fragrance from the era (Hammam Bouquet) that read exactly how I wanted Henry’s Uncle Reggie to smell. I ordered a sample of it and was practically vibrating with excitement waiting for it to arrive. Of course, nothing could have been as good as I anticipated, but it was very disappointing to have it end up smelling like especially soapy soap. Whatever. I have the correct smell in my head, and eventually I’ll find the cologne that goes with it.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I’m writing a modern story with H&M, and in fact I do  have their colognes picked out, though I’m not sure I’ll ever refer to them by name in the book. But for the record, modern Martin wears Chanel Sycomore and modern Henry probably wears L’Artisan Voleur de Roses. Vetiver-heavy Sycomore is supposedly a women’s fragrance, but I’ve tried my sample on both the Mr. and myself and I prefer it on him. Voleur de Roses is unisex, heavy on the patchouli and faint on the rose, and I liked it enough to buy a big bottle. The Mr. and I take turns wearing it when we go out, though I usually augment mine with an additional blast of Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose.

If you’re not familiar with decants, they’re samples decanted from full bottles of perfume, as opposed to the limited range of available manufacturers’ samples. Additionally, decant shops often sell samples of vintage perfumes that are no longer available otherwise. I’ve bought samples from the following:

The Perfumed Court
Decant Shop
Surrender to Chance

With decants, it’s sometimes a lot to pay for a little sample vial of cologne, but since some of the things I’ve bought decants of cost ~$300 a bottle, it’s definitely worth spending $5 to see if I like them at all.

I wish there was some way to share scent electronically. I would LOVE to offer an olfactory extra for the series.