“He worked his way slowly down the center of Matt’s chest, pausing to take his silver filigreed nipple ring between his teeth and pull, eliciting a hissed oath from Matt. Grinning, F.B. continued on, licking every inch of Matt’s delectable skin all the way down to paradise.”
Bawdy gay fiction’s dirtiest secret just might be who is behind the sweaty encounters, romantic smut and hot man-on-man action. Straight women are finding success publishing erotica about men, for men. Not that straight women don’t appreciate the genre themselves.
“I read it for quite a while, really enjoyed it, and started writing it myself,” said Kieran Kelly, an author based out of Orlando. “I got some good feedback and got published by Torquere Press, and I’ve been writing [gay erotica] ever since.”
Kelly has six novels in print and e-book form, with more than 40 shorter works out there. She’s currently working on three more novels and several short stories.
Kelly said she’s “totally out” to both readers and publishers.
“I do not keep what I do a secret,” she said, “and I identify as a straight woman when I’m talking about it. I just don’t disclose my real name.”
Even her three adult children know what she does for a living.
“They tease me, but they’re cool with it,” she said.
The secret behind her most popular novels is making readers want to yell, “Yee-haw!”
“I’ve written several cowboy stories. Contemporary cowboys, historical cowboys, they sell really well,” Kelly said. “I do some paranormal stuff, and even contemporary romance sells really well.”
Her current title, Outland, is a departure, focusing on older men in a 25-years committed relationship.
“It’s not the type of book I normally write, but there is a market for it and it’s getting positive reviews,” she said. “People want to see more in the way of plot and character development, and not always ‘one-handed reading.’”
Kelly’s editor goes by Vincent Diamond, and also happens to be a straight women who writes gay erotic fiction.
Diamond lives in Inverness and frequently features animals in her stories.
“It’s not about bestiality, but I ride horses so I set a lot of the stories on horse farms, and a few are set on big cat refuges,” Diamond said. “Most of the stories in Rough Cut [a collection of sixteen stories] are set in Orlando, Ocala, Tampa.”
Diamond is a little more “in the closet” than Kelly. She said most of her friends know what she does and are okay with it, but she’s keeping it from her 13-year-old niece for the time being.
“When she’s 18, she’s welcome to it,” she said.
Diamond’s secret for success is an appreciation of the male form.
“There’s definitely an element of fantasy in whatever sex scene you’re writing,” she said. “A lot of times I’m thinking ‘Ooh, this is fun, I’d like to try this one time.’”
Kelly and Diamond had a table at the recent Gay Days Expo which they shared with another straight woman writing gay erotica: Kayelle Allen.
Allen recently spilled her “secret” to her sister, who came to pick up Allen at Kelly’s house at the end of Gay Days weekend. Allen’s sister asked Kelly what she writes about, and when Kelly told the truth, Allen decided to spill the beans about her own career.
“She was dumbfounded,” she said. “My sister was 16 when I was born, so by the time I was old enough to know her, she had married and moved out. I never knew her, but there’s a lot about me she doesn’t know, too!”
Allen said she also suspects she lost a job when her employer found out what kind of writing she does, so she plans to keep her erotica career a secret from any future employers.
Her genre focus is science fiction, and she invests in her fantasy world by creating longer series that follow characters through the galaxy, the future, and of course, their sex lives.
Erotic gay porn’s biggest secret is probably where it can be purchased. The only publishers of the genre are smaller independent houses, so if readers can find anything on the shelves, they’ll find anthologies, not novels, said Kelly.
“That’s the excuse Barnes & Noble and Borders use to keep the books out of stores,” she said. “And you won’t find it in the Romance section. You’ll find it in the back, on a tiny shelf with Gay Studies books.”
Stores that do stock gay erotic novels sell out almost immediately.
“They can’t keep them on the shelves. There’s definitely a market for it, and we have to get past the prejudices,” Kelly said. “The markets been growing by leaps in bounds, with hundreds of e-publishers popping up in the past few years. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but something has to change.”