Tag Archives: short story

Details, details: a guest post from Dilo Keith

Make_Mine_to_Go_400x600 After hearing about my struggles with beta-reading in a genre I don’t entirely understand, I thought you might like to hear from the other side. Please welcome Dilo Keith, who is a writer after my own heart in this very important way.


Like the talented woman who generously invited me to post here, I’m a big believer in research. Carefully chosen details can improve the reading experience on many levels, from a general impression of authenticity to the pleasure of finding familiar objects and places. A minor detail can set the tone for pages beyond the one on which it appears. This, however, has a downside for me: I often remember errors more clearly than other elements of the scenes in which they occur. After finishing an excellent book last month, I couldn’t shake the incongruous mental image of a nail polish bottle shattering and leaving bits of glass in a painted canvas. Plotwise, neither the nail polish nor canvas was trivial, so I can understand the author’s motivation. However, those little bottles are tough. I haven’t researched the matter, directly or indirectly, but I’d guess you’d have to hurl one into a stone wall to get so much as a crack. The nail polish incident was one of several, fortunately not all in one book, in which that author had various objects break with suspicious ease.

I’m left wondering if authors realize how many readers notice what they’d consider trivial details; perhaps the durability of a bottle seemed too insignificant to investigate. Admittedly, little things like that can be set aside, but it bothered me much more when a gay author old enough to know better wrote about a test for HIV existing two years earlier than it did. I didn’t have to look up the date — I was there, as I suspect were many other readers of gay fiction.

Another detail I pay special attention to is character names, which most authors choose with great care. I routinely check on the popularity of names around the year when a character would have been born, and their distribution by gender. After a beta reader for my upcoming release said she initially thought my narrator was female — understandable since I met her on a BDSM, not M/M site, and I had not introduced the name early in the story — I browsed name databases for one that was never used for females. All of the other characters in that story, by the way, are named after friends, with their permission and my acceptance of the condition that any character called Justin must be a top.

The re-release with a new publisher, JMS Books, is scheduled for September 13 and is 20% off the first week. It’s about a kinky, married male couple confronting a sex-related problem that could threaten their relationship. I think the story falls somewhere between erotica and erotic romance; while there’s a lot more erotic activity than romantic plot, it’s still about the love between Toby (Tobias) and Justin.  I’ve posted reviews of the first edition here.

I met most of the friends I wove into that story on the forum of a gay porn site, Just Us Boys, which I discovered during a search on the name of a porn star. I had enjoyed a funny story called “Dear Drew Peters” in The Mammoth Book of New Gay Erotica, edited by Lawrence Schimel, and I wanted to check out a reviewer’s statement that the author, Harry Thomas, had fabricated Drew Peters. He hadn’t. At the time of the story’s publication, it would have been relatively easy to find online descriptions of Drew’s predilections. While the story —  a letter to Drew explaining that he didn’t need to perform all those increasingly outrageous sex acts in order to be loved — stood on its own, it was a bit funnier once I learned more about Drew.

In addition to general discussions about accuracy of details, which most authors seem to think is a good idea, genre permitting, I’ve followed some narrower exchanges about author responsibility in portraying potentially risky activities such as BDSM. There appears to be little consensus on how much, if at all, authors should aspire to educate rather than merely entertain their readers. Some solve the problem with a warning statement, while others, including the writer who serves me as a long-distance submissive, think simply labeling a work as fiction ought to be sufficient. Unlike him, I’m firmly on the side of educating readers, or at least not misleading them. It’s not just for my own work; I consult for authors who want to write BDSM believably and/or with safety in mind. While I’m somewhat motivated by a sense of responsibility for both ethics and facts, I simply enjoy a story more if I can relate to the content. Of course there are plenty of worthwhile stories that have little to do with reality, but, with the exception of sci-fi, I’m not as strongly drawn to them.

Regardless of genre, careful attention to detail isn’t simply a matter of meeting some arbitrary standard of accuracy; among other things, it can make a significant impact on the pleasure of readers like me.


Thank you, Dilo.

To see what she’s done with attention to detail in Make Mine To Go,  swing by JMS Books or Amazon.











Otterly relaxed


Him, not me. (And that definitely is a him.) I have to edit files one last time before Tail Slide is ready to show you.

Wanting Cari Z’s Wanting More

WM200x300Cari Z and I spent some quality time on a project that you’re going to want to read!  Wanting More is the latest from Rocky Ridge Books.


After a late-night rendezvous is interrupted by the partner of the man who hired him, stripper and high-end escort Alex Kidman can’t get James Fitzgerald out of his head. So when James comes to watch him dance a few weeks later, Alex knows it’s time to make his move–but James isn’t comfortable with him if he isn’t paying for his time.

With a Bonus Story: Favorite Dish

With his lover James away on business for three weeks, Alex does his best to distract himself by keeping busy with his work as a chef, but not even the most elaborate meals can keep him occupied when all he wants to do is cook for two. Fortunately James has the same problem, and can’t resist coming home early to satisfy his hunger for Alex.


Cari whips up plenty of heat between a rentboy with serious talent in the kitchen, not to mention the sack, and his lawyer lover. I got to help a little around the edges with the cover and some HTML, but the goodies are all Cari’s and now they can be yours.

Wanting More is now available at All Romance eBooks, Rocky Ridge Books,  Amazon, and Kobo, and coming soon at Barnes and Noble and  Apple. You’ll want some too!

Why am I snoggable?

Carole Cummings snogged me yesterday, right there in Goodreads! And why?  It might be because I really am cuter than any two buttons, (the speckled pup still has me beat) which those of you planning to be in New Orleans a little later this month can check for yourself. Or it might be because I amused the daylights out of her.

A month or two back I mentioned Carole and I had a silly old time with a picture, a story she started, and a challenge she left behind. You just HAVE to do something with this:

So I did. And Carole liked where I went with the story. It stands alone, but it’s cuter with hers first.  Crepuscule Monstrum and Crepuscule Monstrum II,  heheheh.  And you, lucky readers, can have both as Halloween treats, just by going over to Dreamspinner and checking our author profiles. Click on the gargoyles, and any others you might find (there are 29 more). There’s even a coupon for a discount attached to the stories, and you’ve been meaning to read Prep Work, Impromptu, and Highway Man, haven’t you?

Dang, there’s a hint for where to look.

Torquere Charity Sips, including Training Cats, are out!

In 2008, Torquere Press’ fantastic authors decided to support a charity with an annual short story collection called our Charity Sip blitz. In the past three years, we’ve donated more than $13,000.00 to charitable organizations that support GLBT causes.

For 2011, Torquere’s authors have chosen the theme “Getting Better” in honor of the It Gets Better project, which helps LGBT youth understand that life as an openly queer adult is not only possible, but happening for millions of people, worldwide. More than thirty authors have written short fiction pieces and have agreed to donate all proceeds of the sales of these stories to this year’s charitable organization. Torquere Press Inc. will match the authors’ donations completely.

This year, we’re also pleased to announce that our distribution partner, Rainbow eBooks, has agreed to be the title sponsor of our Sip collection, and will be our sole distributor outside of the Torquere Books website. Please support our sponsor by visiting them at www.rainbowebooks.com

Special thanks to J. Rocci for all of the enthusiasm and hard work on the Getting Better project.

Torquere Press and our authors truly believe we can make a difference by donating to organizations that promote awareness and equality. If you’d like to help, please support the Charity Sip Blitz and enjoy some great romance today!



The gloss is off Brent’s relationship with Tyler; the real man is showing through and his inside does not match the outside.  Brent’s got a better chance of teaching a cat to sit and stay than of convincing handsome, glamorous Tyler to be thoughtful, and it’s time to stop trying.

No longer distracted by appearances, a newly single Brent is finally ready to notice the considerate, steadfast man who’s been part of the background too long.


Training Cats is part of the On Call world: Keith and Dante turn up to offer opinions and a little help.

Part of the Torquere Charity Sips line, all author’s proceeds from this story go to benefit the “It Gets Better” Project, designed to help teens see that life does improve for GLBT persons who may be experiencing a very rocky youth.

All the stories, from thirty-plus great authors, including Eden Winters, Syd McGinley, Sean Michael, and J. Rocci, can be had in a package through Torquere or through Rainbow eBooks, or can be purchased individually.