Thursday, 24 October 2013

Chat: with BDSM Consultant/Erotica Author: Dilo Keith

About Best Gay Erotica 2014
I get the typical vanilla reactions whenever I talk to this lady: awe, excitement, possibly followed by feeling more than a little daunted, especially when caught standing in the shadow of this lady and her BDSM boots. Why daunted by Ms. Keith and her BDSM boots? Well, not only is she a talented erotica author, with her latest work “A Port in the Storm” released December 10th in the Best Gay Erotica 2014 anthology, from Cleis Press – but she’s also my BDSM consultant.

Being one hell of a tough lady in general, she’s also a good friend (and one whose cane I try to avoid at all costs, knowing just how hard she can hit when I’m not paying attention! I get the toughest and best in go-to people lately).

Ms. Keith has worked with me on my debut Don’t… She is also my BDSM consultant in Antidote, providing conceptual and technical guidance into Jack and Gray’s world – basically she’s my go-to lady when I need BDSM advice. The whipping scene with Jack on the X bondage post? With Jan using a whip for the first time? By the time we’d finished finalising that scene, I remember feeling like Jack as he'd sat on the hospital bed: bruised, bloodied, and just needing a hug now it was all over! Even down to knowing the length and weight of the flogger, corrections over where to tie Jack’s shirt around his waist, to understanding the damage that might occur to the whip if it hit wood, Ms. Keith was there providing her C&TG (conceptual and technical guidance). And I’m eternally grateful for every input she has had.

So today, I’m really glad that I’ve pinned her down for a chat on where she is in her writing career, and also to possibly try and capture a few of her thoughts on BDSM in fiction.
Hi, Dilo, I’m really glad you could make it today.

Dilo: I’m excited to be here, with you pinning me down and taking my interview virginity. Seriously, I appreciate all the lovely things you always say about me and what I share with you. Your friendship means a lot to me and working with you is a great pleasure.

Any wonder I like this lady? Talking about losing virginity, you’re my first stop for BDSM advice when it comes to stepping into the BDSM lifestyle. One point that always comes up for debate is the portrayal of BDSM in fiction. How would you classify your depiction of BDSM?
Definitely on the side of realism, almost obsessively, I think. I like to get into the details of life rather than world-building. I focus on the dominance and submission more than the B&D or S&M, although I do tend to include physical punishment in most stories.

What kind of mistakes do you see new authors making who don’t live the lifestyle?
I’m hesitant to say “mistake” since that implies there is a “correct” way, but I see where you’re going with this, and sometimes it really is a mistake. I should mention that I rarely read BDSM stories that haven’t received excellent reviews, particularly with regard to the author’s understanding of BDSM, so I don’t have examples of “mistakes”. I also want to say actually living the lifestyle isn’t a requirement to good BDSM writing, but it certainly helps. I can think of at least one author *looks at interviewer* with a very creative mind who grasped many of the basic concepts of D/s and needed only some fine-tuning and technical consultation for some scenes.

Anyway, going to the question, there are at least two general aspects that come to mind. One is not appreciating the nuances of the relationship – things like submission and consent, the dynamics underlying the relationship. On the one hand, they’re difficult to research, especially the more subtle aspects, but since they involve emotions and concepts not unique to BDSM, people can write about them competently without actually living the lifestyle. The most disturbing BDSM I’ve read involved emotional abuse, a sub forced to make an unfair choice without the dom being portrayed as doing something very wrong. I won’t trash an author in public, so that’s all you get.

The other is technical – how things are done and how they are experienced, whether it be toys or an activity. It’s often minor, such as pairing impact toys with the sort of marks they leave. A third area that could be unrealistic, although not necessarily mistaken, is relationship structures. Because of the varied structures of BDSM relationships and the extent to which BDSM can be integrated into a relationship, I’m not especially concerned about those. Some arrangements might be awkward or improbable, but there’s a rather wide range of structures, from couples experimenting with occasional kinky sex to full-time polyamorous leather households, so almost anything is fair game in fiction. I’m more concerned about physical and emotional safety. I’ve posted links to several relevant posts by other authors: Dilo Keith Website

This leads on to my next question. How do you research BDSM?

So far, I’ve been writing what I know -- I’ve been in the lifestyle since 1986 -- but I’ve looked up technical details on occasion. At parties, I’ve been known to check the feasibility of positions or movements on certain equipment. Once, I had a question I couldn’t easily answer with my regular resources, so I tried asking questions on a kinky forum (not FetLife) and I received more than one “do your own darned research” sort of answer. I thought I was. There’s an understandable reluctance among those in the lifestyle to be viewed as creatures to be studied, especially now that so many inexperienced – with BDSM – authors are writing about BDSM.

What’s the most annoying thing people say when you tell them you’re a BDSM writer?
I can’t think of anything annoying. Sadly, there’s no one to tell other than a few kinky friends, who are of course positive. I’ll answer a different question – my favorite response about my writing. I told a relative I wrote erotica about gay men – I’m don’t know if I mentioned the kinky part -- and he said something along the lines of “the research must have been very interesting”. That was very cool, especially considering he probably thinks I’m straight.

Which authors have influenced your writing the most?

For writing erotica overall, the Best Gay Erotica series has been a major influence. No specific authors come to mind.

Who are your favourite authors?

That’s difficult. I know I’ve left out some, but as a start for fiction authors, in no particular order: Gillibran Brown, Simon Sheppard, Carol Queen, Claire Thompson, Greg Herren, Lois McMaster Bujold, Laura Antoniou, James Lear, P.A. Brown, Laurie R. King, Michael Thomas Ford, William J. Mann, John Preston, Lawrence Schimel. If I haven’t read more than two of their books, I didn’t list an author here.

What are you reading now?

I recently finished all of Larry Duplechan’s books, at first because he’s an editor I’m working with (Best Gay Erotica 2014), but mainly because I enjoy his writing and his books form a series. I’ve also gone on a mystery binge. Among others, I’m working my way through books by Greg Herren, R. D. Zimmerman, and Richard Stevenson. The last BDSM I read was Jane Davitt’s Room at the Top series, the first two of Lynn Kelling’s Deliver Us series, and Alison Tyler’s Dark Secret Love. On October 25, my blog will be part of Tyler’s promotional blog tour for the book. I know you’re working with Lynn Kelling and I’m looking forward to reading those stories.

Thank you! It’s a fun time for Lynn and me. And I’m looking forward to your blog hop on the 25th. Now, I know you’re a BDSM author and consultant, but which do you prefer to write: erotica or erotic romance?

At the risk of us not sharing a definition of “erotica”, that’s what I like to write. I think my writing falls between the two. I explore the dynamics of BDSM relationships from a more intellectual perspective, not as emotionally as you might expect in erotic romance -- things like how the characters work out matters of monogamy, role choices, discrepancies in definitions, and so on. The plots tend to be about those aspects. I’m fascinated by sexuality and how it’s worked into our lives. Because I explore relationships rather than focusing on the sex – although there’s no shortage of that – my work still appeals to readers of erotic romance. Most of my early writing influences involved romance of some sort, so my work reflects those connections.

May I ask, how flexible are you as an author? Do you write purely for readers who prefer m/m, or can you switch pairings?

Flexible, but with preferences. I prefer to write M/M and so far, all of my writing has LGBT characters. I don’t especially like writing or reading about women having sex. I enjoy having sex with women and generally like stories with lesbian main characters, but I don’t like reading and writing about the sex itself. In one case, I changed the sex of two characters in order to submit a story to a lesbian collection. That was an interesting and fun challenge. Because it doesn’t have to involve gender-specific activities, it’s much easier to do that sort of thing with BDSM. I didn’t have to write much about the workings of the lady bits in that story. The real-life event that inspired the story involved three women (including me), but I had originally written it as M/m/f. I saved all the pieces that I had to, um, cut out and might work them into another short.

You handle quite a lot of gay ménage. What is the draw to this over m/m? 
It’s a reflection of my real life and the appeal of complexity. Most of my own relationships have involved a third person, as both three women or two women with a man.

And out of everything that you have written, which is your favourite?

Because of the story behind the story, I’d say “Coming of Age,” the third part of a trilogy I wrote for a friend, inspired by a real event. That’s in Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, from Cleis Press. The story combines her life and mine, and has representations of me, her, my first dom, and my first dom’s slave. The first story forms part of “Consequences,” another favorite, one I like more for the story, but less for the origin. The second story wasn’t much more than PWP fanfiction, so I’m unlikely to revise that one for publication.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they from your imagination?

Real people, as a package or selected traits. I think my talents lie in areas other than my imagination.

What is the sexiest scene you’ve ever written?

Can’t pick one. What I like best is punishment scenarios, so to me, that’s the sexiest sort of scene. While the complexities of threesomes and switching excite me between the ears, punishment is more between my legs. My first M/M publication had a spanking scene with some Daddy/boy role play elements. It’s no longer available, but I’m in the process of submitting it elsewhere because it’s one of my favorites. There are a few other hot punishment scenes in my novel-length manuscript.
We know you’re an author; what’s your day job?
Let’s just say research, science stuff.
Lol, research it is. What is your latest release? And where can we find it?
My only stand-alone release is “Make Mine to Go”, which came out about a year ago. Since then, I’ve submitted a few short stories to anthologies that aren’t out yet.

It’s also on Amazon and other re-sellers, but it’s cheaper from the publisher and there are sometimes sale prices. I don’t write to earn a living, but some authors do, so I want to mention that with most of the e-publishers, authors get paid much more from direct sales.

Anyway, public service announcement aside, my newest release will appear in an anthology due out December 10th from Cleis Press, Best Gay Erotica 2014. My story is “A Port in the Storm.” It involves the male threesome I usually write about, punishment, and role switching. The book is available for pre-order from Amazon and probably others, although not from the publisher. 

I expect my story “Consequences” to appear in Alison Tyler’s collection called Blush, but it’s not yet definite. I’ll have release info on my web site. That one will have a mixture of erotica themes and orientation. I submitted two short stories for another collection, but I haven’t heard from the editor. They’re all with Cleis Press, and as far as I know, they will all be in print as well as digital format.

And what are you working on now?

After I put the finishing touches on the M/M/M story with the Daddy scene, I’ll probably go back to working on my novel-length collection of stories about the same threesome. They loosely fit together to form a single story, but I’ve been creating stand-alone shorts instead, at least lately. If an appealing anthology call comes up, I might try another short story.

Where can readers find you?

They can reach me directly by email or through sites with PMs. I haven’t been especially active online lately, so here’s a guide to where I might be lurking:

My website is more of a resource collection now, but I make an appearance occasionally and the Contact Me page works.

BDSM group at Goodreads (Dilo Keith) and also Absolute Write Water Cooler (DiloKeith) – I’ll make a post when there’s a topic of interest. PM works.

Facebook and Twitter @dilokeith – I don’t post much, but I’ll get messages.

FetLife (Dilo_Keith) – I’m even less active there unless I get in the mood, but that could change. It’s easy to get lost on that site, so I rarely tempt myself.

Direct contact: email dilokeith at gmail.

And finally, what are your daily must-stop blogs and websites?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for all the outstanding blogs I’ve found, so I usually limit myself to sites where I’ve made friends. I prefer to interact on a forum rather than commenting on blogs or social networks. The few I check every day are Absolute Write, particularly the erotica sub-forum, the forum portion of JustUsBoys, a gay porn site that has a wide variety of non-porn discussions, Empty Closets, a site created for LGBT youth, primarily for support, and the BDSM group on Goodreads (there are some other GR groups I don’t visit as often). Others I check regularly are Erotica Readers and Writers Association, and Gillibran Brown’s diary. I get email notices for about 20 blogs, some of which I’ve listed on my web site.



Absolute Write

Erotica readers

Gillibran Brown

JustUsBoys Naughty images appear in the header if you’re an unpaid member; the site is funded with porn and ads appear on the forum pages.

Dilo, as ever, it’s really good to have this time out to catch up and hear about what’s going on with you and your writing. I’m going to take this opportunity to say a huge, huge, thanks for working with me on my projects. You’ve helped me in huge – huge – ways, and I’ll always be grateful for the time you always seem to have for me, no matter how green and new my questions must sometimes seem. Thank you.
Dilo: You’re very welcome, and thank you for taking such an interest in me, having me here, and asking terrific questions both in and out of this chat. I love your creativity and the way you stimulate my thinking.
If you are an author wishing to look at researching the BDSM lifestyle, I would highly recommend Ms. Keith. Her knowledge and patience is a credit to her and all that she does. For further information, please contact her via her web site.

Author Bio

Other than what I did for work (science and academic articles) I didn’t think much about writing most of my adult life. I came out as gay in 1978 and acknowledged my semi-suppressed interest in BDSM in 1985. As part of discovering BDSM, I started dating men and discovered that gender wasn’t especially relevant. My contacts with the gay and kink communities are largely online these days, especially since I moved to a relatively rural area outside of a major US East coast city. I live a low-key D/s lifestyle punctuated by attending an occasional party and teaching caning. I started writing fiction in 2009. A relatively recent addition to my kinky life is an online submissive. When he’s not performing as the willing victim of my sadism, he serves me as an excellent editor. “Dilo” is an acronym of Different Loving, the title of a nonfiction book about BDSM.
And be sure to stop by Dilo Keith's blog for the blog hop tomorrow! (25th)  Dilo Keith's Website

Catch Dilo's next work, 10th December, in:

Link to Best Gay Erotica 2014

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

It'll be all right on the Night.

I swear, sometimes I need banning from the computer. As far as screw-ups and and bad ideas go, I should come with a warning, or maybe a bag over my head. Yeah, definitely a bag, mostly to try and hide the chuckles and groans. 

My latest glitches? Oh man... they're beauties.

On trying to decide titles, I'll always bounce a few ideas back and forth with hubby. For example, Antidote went through many, including Anti-Don't (which hubby still thinks sounds better, being his idea, lol). So trying to settle on a title for a novella, one that really sums up the dark fallout of vicious psychological mind games, we started doing the usual, just brainstorming and throwing out ideas, when bright sprak, me, chirps in with, "Ah -- Between the Cracks."

Hubby went very quiet, very quickly, then failed to keep the growing grin off his face. "Between the Cracks? Seriously?" he said. "Erotica, and you're going... Between the Cracks? Jack... for godssake, take a break."

Took me a while to catch on, then, yeah, I knew I needed a break. Didn't help later when hubby, one of my beta's, sat back and chuckled after reading a very serious scene of mine.

"Around the clock surveillance, hmmm?" he said, peering over at me.

"Yeah? I know it seems extreme, but it needs that there." I said.

"Hmmmm? Better read it again, Jack, and just make you sure you want that particlular line in there."

I did: 
"You're on lockdown until I can arrange around the cock surveillance."

"Cock surveillance? Really?" Hubby tried so hard not to laugh. "You need another break, don't you, Jack?"

"Yeah," I mumbled, sinking into my coat and hiding. "Maybe just a little one."  

Sometimes I really need to step back and take one hell of a serious break.

This posts images:

Ashamed Girl with bag on Her Head. Image courtesy of Stuary Miles/

Gathering Of 3d Characters Shows Community Or Together. Image courtesy of Stuary Miles/