by Kate Pearce
At the end of 2005, I had written a couple of books, (four no-hopers), and one erotic historical, Eden's Pleasure, which was published by Ellora's Cave. It featured a set of identical twins, Gervase and Gideon Harcourt. Gervase was the hero of Eden's Pleasure but everyone was fascinated by his darker twin, Gideon, a man for whom sex had a whole different meaning and usually centered around men.
But how the hell was I supposed to write a book about a guy like that? Me? boring mother of four, suburban housewife, aspiring author etc etc, you know me, right? But I wanted to write about him-I love dark tortured heroes, especially ones with complex sexual hangups. And then there was the other thing-was it even okay to write about two men getting it on in a romance novel?
At that point, fate helped me out and I came across a copy of Emma Holly's 'Cheek' book Menage This book came out in 2004. As usual, Black Lace were 'way ahead' of the curve!
Not my favorite cover, but the book? It was as if a light bulb went off in my head and said this is the way to do it, this is how you make two men having sex romantic The book inspired me to try and write something myself so I wrote Antonia's Bargain And, for me, that book was a turning point in the evolution of my voice and my style.
Here's a little excerpt, which I think explains the sexual complexity of my characters quite nicely.:
“The interesting thing is, I think I have found what I want.”
Peter cupped Gideon’s balls. “A man or a woman?”
Gideon reached across to slide his fingers beneath the open neck of Peter’s shirt. He tugged gently on his nipple ring. “A woman who only chooses to acknowledge me when she is dressed as a man. Take off your shirt.”
“I can’t say I’m surprised. A woman masquerading as a man would suit you perfectly. “
Gideon raised an eyebrow as Peter continued. “I know you’ve chosen to bed mostly men in the last few years, but I’ve never believed your heart was in it.”
“Just because you’ve tried to convince yourself that you prefer men, doesn’t mean that it is the truth.”
“And how would you know this?”
Peter locked gazes with him as he removed his shirt to display his lean muscular chest and scarred skin. “Because I spent ten years of my life in a Turkish brothel and I’ve been in every sexual situation imaginable. You use men because you believe they can’t hurt you like Caroline did. If you truly preferred men, you’d let them fuck you as well and you don’t.”
“Perhaps I’m one of those men who believe that if they don’t allow themselves to be fucked, it means they aren’t a sodomite.”
“You’re not like that. “
Gideon let out his breath. How was it that Peter thought he could see things so much more clearly than he could? “Does that offend you?”
“Me?” Peter grinned. “No, because I have no preference either way. I’m happy to fuck or be fucked by either sex.”
Peter was tanned darker than Gideon, a legacy of his years in captivity. He knelt between Gideon’s outstretched legs, the crown of his long cock already showing through his unfastened breeches. He tugged at the fastenings of Gideon’s breeches. Gideon stayed his hand.
“Wait. Why are you so certain that you are right?”
“Why are you even asking me that? It’s very simple. Despite all your lovers, how many men have you fallen in love with?”
Gideon stared at him, his thoughts in turmoil. “None.”
“How many women?”
He shrugged. “Only my wife and look what came of that.”
“And now you are obsessed by another woman. I rest my case.”
Peter removed his hand from Gideon’s breeches and knelt up. “Are you worried that this woman truly prefers to be a man?”
“In the sense that she prefers her own sex? No. I think this is more of a way for her to explore her own sexuality and avoid the things that frighten her.” Gideon frowned. If Peter was right, she sounded just like him. “But that is certainly something I should investigate.”
Peter groaned as Gideon leaned forward, sucked hard on his nipple and slid one hand down the back of his breeches. “God, I’ve missed being touched.” He shuddered as Gideon gently squeezed his balls. “If she trusts you, surely you can persuade her to want you as a woman wants a man?”
Gideon’s cock swelled at Peter’s obvious pleasure. “She wants me, but I have already promised her I will not take her virginity.” He took Peter’s hand, placed it over his covered cock and waited until he began to move his fingers. “Hoist by my own petard.”
Peter grinned. “Your petard feels remarkably fine to me. Let me attend to you.”
“Let’s see who gets attended to first.”
Gideon shoved Peter onto his back and straddled him. He pressed his satin covered cock against Peter’s half-uncovered erection and enjoyed the pressure and roughness of the rocking motion. Satin against skin, smoothness against hot hard flesh. For him, touching a man could be so much simpler than touching a woman. There was no fear of being too rough or too demanding. No fear of becoming emotionally involved. A man simply used his own strength to control his lover. With a hoarse shout, Peter grabbed Gideon’s arm and rolled him onto his front. Gideon’s shirt ripped as it was pulled over his head.
Face down on the carpet, Gideon shuddered as Peter dripped warm oil on his naked back. He tried to roll over. Peter held his arm clamped to his side and brought his knee up and planted it on Gideon’s back. Gideon grunted as his hips and swollen cock were ground into the carpet.
Back then, I thought I was ahead of the curve, not as far ahead as Emma Holly, but still keeping up- but now male/male subplots are becoming commonplace in erotic romance books. Note, I say sub-plots. I'm not talking about m/m love stories, I'll let Erastes cover those.
The main surge for the inclusion of m/m subplots came from the online publishers such as Ellora's Cave, Amber Quill, Loose-Id, Phaze and Samhain to name a few. And I think the initial interest flowed across from slash fan fiction, which often starts trends which gradually bleed into the general reading public's tastes. Online publishers are also more likely to take a risk and try something new, more established publishers have been slower on the uptake.
Here's what Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher from Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc, had this to say when I asked her about the rising interest in m/m:
Stories with M/M and especially M/M/F are still hot sellers for us. The ménage that includes both explicit M/M and M/F sex is the more popular of the two. From what we can tell, most purchasers are heterosexual women. What little we’ve heard from gay men is that the stories are not particularly realistic in their portrayal of the emotional aspect of a M/M relationship. The stories more reflect a woman’s fantasies about two men together.
And she makes an interesting point. This is fiction written for women, not gay men. and why are women so fascinated by what two men get up these days? I've often heard the comment that one hunky hero is good, two is better-and I can see that, I really can.
It's also interesting that the more traditional New York publishers are also expanding into this area. I also write for Kensington's ultra hot and erotic Aphrodisia line, and not one author I talked to who writes for the line has ever had an editor tell her to take out any subplot or scene including m/m, m/f/m or m/m/f. But read the back cover of any Aphrodisia and note that those subplots are generally not mentioned upfront. Getting these books into big stores still requires a certain amount of finesse and careful packaging.
Emma Holly has continued writing for Berkley Sensation. Fairyville features fairies, vortexes and lots and lots of sex, particularly m/m sex wrapped up in a unique and fascinating story. Bantam have added erotica titles such as Eden Bradley's Dark Garden Even Harlequin have got into the act with their Spice line, where upcoming author Victoria Janssen told me her eunuch on eunuch action went through without a word. (Can't wait to read that one!)
So why do we like it so much, all these men, when in real life, would we really put up with two of them?
How did a trend which started only a few years ago end up taking over the erotic romance industry and becoming almost mainstream?
And what on earth will happen next?
Kate wants to know...
Tell me and because this is the 500th post, you might win a copy of a book of mine of your choice.
Friday, September 19, 2008
by Kate Pearce
Posted by Kate Pearce at 3:35 AM