"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pat Brown & Kenn Dahll

Although both stories we are reviewing ("Surfing Boneyard" by Pat Brown and my "Getting Wet in the Mall") reference surfing, my story uses the indoor mall 'wave' as a jumping off point whereas Pat's integrates surfing throughout the story. She does it very effectively using surfing terms in fun ways, even to describe sex acts. The last line of the story ties everything up with a neat play on the name of both the story and the surfing locale - Boneyard - "the failed boneyard of past relationships" also cleverly suggests erections in the past.

The intent of this pairing of authors is to show the different perspectives of male and female gay erotic fiction writers. In that vein, to me the biggest difference between the two stories is the relative lack of specifics in Pat's work. I didn't feel that I had quite enough information to build a mental image of the two characters. How old, tall, thin is Jason, the narrator? What color is his hair, eyes, skin (the story says brown but is he tanned or Latino)? Ruslan - the visiting surfer Jason meets - is more defined.more fleshed out so to speak, yet his age is left vague. Has he been out of school weeks. months, years?

This lack of detail extends to the character's sex organs. I think a gay male writer would have elaborated more on cock length and thickness as well as whether they were cut or uncut. Did they have big balls? These details again allow the reader to form a more concrete mental image of what is happening.

All that said, the sex is hot and very credible. The absence of detail creates a more romantic tone for the story than my more clinical approach to the multiple sex acts in "Getting Wet...'. I want the reader to visualize my fantasy and associate the sex acts with his/her experiences. And maybe that's the key difference, having experienced male on male sex versus extrapolating from female/male experiences. Kenn


  1. Interesting take on the differences. I've never been one to describe my characters, in any type of fiction. Part of that has always been to let the reader put the face and body they want on the character. I also stopped describing cock lengths and details partly for the same reason, but also because whenever I did it was always making them huge and almost unnaturally large. Face it there are very few 10" dicks out there. But you're right, I aim for more romantic tone in all my stories and novels. Even if they're only happy for now instead of happily ever after. In Getting Wet I definitely read it as a male fantasy gone wild. Almost like a classic porn -- strangers meet, fuck and add more strangers to the mix, including the pizza delivery guy. Raunchy, ribald fun, pure and simple. I found the sheer athletics of the sex to be breathtaking. It was a fun read.

  2. I never though about the descriptions in a story as taking away from a reader's own imagining, but I have often wondered about the effect of a cover image on such things. I guess I was thinking along the same lines.

    "And maybe that's the key difference, having experienced male on male sex versus extrapolating from female/male experiences." When you agreed to post as a pair, I was very excited about the possibilities. This final sentence is something I would love to see explored more. As a writer, I can struggle to describe sex from the male point of view, having never had the organs myself. We can as of men who are willing to talk to us, but where does the knowledge end? Don't get me wrong - I have no answer here, it is just something I have thought upon myself with some frequency. Pat, I view you as a courageous author for tackling M/M.
    I hope you both take this comment as the compliment it was supposed to be!

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I quess I didn't do things quite right as maybe both my thoughts and Pat's should have been part of the original blog. Oh well, live & learn. Pat, next time you can go first.

    A few specific reactions to your excellent comments: 1) I want the reader to see my characters not envision their own. I suppose it's egotistical! 2) I agree that describing cock sizes usually leads to un-naturally large ones; but that part of the gay "male fantasy gone wild' attribute of most of my stories as you will be able to see in my collection
    "Subtropics: Hustlers, Students and Juicy Fruits Heat Up" coming August 25. My second story, due out in June, "Soaring with a Hawk" is my attempt at less raunchy (the word 'cock' is never used) and romantic with a 'happy ever after' even into eternity denouement. 3) Yes, Kiki, the cover image can be important. Selena was very helpful in getting teh right touch for me. As a guide, I sent her an explicit photo of the gay porn star, "Sammy", referred to in the text as I wanted my characher on the cover - more ego mania! Is that a male (gay or straight) trait?

    This is fun. Thanks for the comments, kenn

  4. I was going to post some questions for Kenn to answer if he wanted to -- maybe get a conversation going. Or they could be questions we both answer, that way we can maybe get a glimpse of how we both think about story writing.

    I know one way I try to get the sex right is watch gay porn. When I wanted to research the BDSM lifestyle I got in touch with a few people, men and women who practice it and they were all pretty forthright about what they like and how subs and doms feel and what they are looking for in a relationship. I think the book turned out well, and MLR is publishing it later this year.

    Let me know if you want me to post the questions and whether you want me to answer them too.

  5. I'd like to see the questions. Why don't we take turns being first to answer them. To start, I'd request that you answer your first question. Let's see where it leads. Hopefully others will join in... Kenn

  6. I used to write more male fantasy erotica, then I started going the more realistic path. I figure there's room for both. Some people choose to throw labels around our stories -- this one's erotica, this one's porn, then you get the whole gamut of labels like bi, menage, bondage, which I realized I've always done a bit of -- at least I've had some short stories where bondage played a role, I just never used the term until I wrote Geography of Murder. I guess all my life I always resisted labels. I never did the girlie things my parents wanted me to, so many of my jobs over the years have been traditional 'male' jobs and I got into writing gay sex stories long before it became fashionable. I've always elected to live outside the mainstream.

  7. My life has been a lot more mainstream, at least on the surface. Think "The Best Little Boy in the World." Married to my college sweetheart, kids, house in the suburbs, government job. Then, due to a number of circumstances, came the divorce and I decided to deal with what I had been suppressing for almost twenty years - I came out, big time. Many of he group scenes I conjure up are based on experiences in the mid-seventies (pre-epidemic). In those days gay sex was very available and few commitments were expected. Although I'm now in a LTR I think my stories reflect nostalgia for the "good old days." Although it's one area where I have little experience, I too like a little bondage in my stories and sex toys as was evident in "Getting Wet in the Mall."

  8. Actually "Getting Wet in the Mall" only contains bondage. A couple of my stories in "Subtropics: Hustlers, Students and Juicy Fruits Heat Up" coming in August have bondage and sex toys - "Playing with Hustlers" and "Juicy Fruits." In neither case does the bondage go beyond enhancing the sex act to gratuitous torture. I am writing a Dickensian love story where outright cruelty is central to the plot. I hope to make it Novella length as I envision ten chapters in my outline. I'd be interested to hear how readers feel about the entire BDSM spectrum.

  9. I now have my own blog also: http://kdahll69.blogspot.com/



In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.