I’m really pleased to welcome to Kim Dare to ukgayromance. She has offered a giveaway of her new book Worth Waiting For. How did you discover the MM genre? Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. The giveaway will close at 10am on Monday 11th November.
How did you discover the MM/gay romance genre? What was the first book you read?
Strange as it sounds, I didn’t really discover the genre as a reader. I had all these stories in my head, but I didn’t know there was a genre that they fitted into. I had no idea that there were other people out there who were writing the same kind of stories as me, or that there were people who would want to read them. To be honest, at that point, I didn’t know that there was such a thing as an e-book either!
I’d given up on ever writing something publishable by traditional publishers, and was just writing to get the stories out of my head.
I think I’d been writing MM BDSM Erotic Romance for about two years before I realised what it should be labelled as, and that there were people out there who might be interested in reading it.
I still don’t really read that much in the genre—mostly because there are so many stories in my head, I’m wary of adding any more to the mix and confusing myself. I am however gradually working my way through John Preston’s books—my favourite so far is In Search of a Master.
You’re firmly established in the MM/gay romance genre now. How do you think it’s changed since you were first published? Has your readership changed?
I think the e-book market in general has grown— both in terms of the number of readers and writers involved.
In some ways, the market may be becoming more conservative as e-books become more mainstream— in that there seem to be an increasing number of books considered unacceptable by a larger number of e-book retailers. I haven’t been affected by this so far, but I do wonder sometimes where the line will eventually be drawn.
I don’t think my readership has changed significantly. I can only really go by emails received etc and I’ve found about a third of the readership is male, and two thirds female. I get the impression that about a half of my readers are seriously interested / involved with BDSM in real life.
Where do you base your books? Does where you live influence your stories?
All my stories so far are set in the UK and populated with characters that were born and brought up here. I’m not sure I could carry off the different speech patterns and idiosyncrasies of a character from elsewhere. Some writers seem to have a chameleon-like knack for it, but I don’t think I’m one of them.
I shy away from using real locations in my stories. I much prefer having the freedom to make it all up as I go along. A lot of the stories therefore end up being set in un-named fictional cities in Wales (usually with a far higher concentration of clubs catering to kinky men than any real city would have, lol).
Did you/do you feel there is an obstacle being a UK author as opposed to an American author, especially when you were first published?
I don’t think there are obstacles, but perhaps there are a few quirks that you become aware of as you go along.
Time zones can make promotional work a bit of a bugger. Chats tend to take place at about 2am. Tweets posted at a sane time in the UK will be missed by a lot of readers because they’re asleep or in work at that time.
There are a lot of publishers who will, to a greater or lesser extent, wish to Americanise your work to (in theory) make it more appealing to an American audience. If you don’t want to go down that route, you do need to be careful who you submit your work to. Even with publishers who are happy to publish stories with British characters and set in the UK, I’ve noticed there’s a strange tendency for publishers to not want to include phrases and terms which might “confuse Americans” (which always seemed to me to be very insulting to American readers!).
In general, I think most actual readers are happy to read stories set outside the US, and by authors from outside the US, but you do sometimes have to accept the fact that reviewers will occasionally point out your “mistakes”. (How come a 19 year old gets served in a pub in this story? Because the drinking age in the UK is 18… Why didn’t one of the Rawlings Men draw his gun? Because most cops in the UK don’t carry guns…)
Every now and again you might also get a review saying— I wish the author had stated that the story was set in the UK from the start. I’m never quite sure if that means the reviewer expected a warning about non-American characters at the bottom of the blurb. (Please note: this story features spanking, bondage and British accents…)
Tell me about your current/forthcoming novel.
My latest release was my first venture into self publishing. It’s called Worth Waiting For and is the first in a series called FIT Guys—set in the Falconer Institute of Training.
This one was a long time in the works. I wrote the original first draft way back in 2008. I did pitch it to two of my publishers at different times, but they both had concerns (mostly to do with the fact Colby is under 18 the first time he meets Noah, even though nothing sexual happens between them until he is over 18).
Reviews seem to agree it’s a bit different to most of the other stories I’ve published, although I wasn’t aware of doing anything different with it!
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a couple of different projects.
Worth a Shot is the second story in the FIT Guys series. It features Colby’s older brother, Tony, who’s a sprinter in the athletics programme at Falconer, and Elijah, who’s in the archery programme there. I’m hoping the story will be ready for release early in 2014.
Alongside that, I’m working on a full length paranormal novel. It’s MM, vampire meets werewolf. I’m really excited about this one. It should be ready for release in the first half of 2014.
And, in between those, I’m working on revising some of the stories that I’ve previously released through publishers. As the contracts come up for renewal, I’m hoping to regain the rights to a lot of my books, so I can re-release them as self published books. Some will only be tweaked, others are going to be significantly altered and extended.
And because this is ukgayromance… do you have a favourite part of the UK?
I’m from South Wales (the old one in the UK, not the new one in Australia, lol). I love my part of the world. I live in the same town where I was born— the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and the church spire is still the tallest thing bar the mountains. It’s on the edge of the Brecon Beacons national park and within easy distance of the coast. I can’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else.
When Colby earned a swimming scholarship to the Falconer Institute of Training, he expected to spend all his time either training or studying, but that was before he looked out of his living room window and straight into the dance studio opposite.
It’s taken Noah years, but he’s finally got his life in order. He teaches dance classes all day, hits the clubs every night and he’s not looking for complications—especially not in the form of overly-innocent swimmers who like to spy on him from across the street.
The first time Colby approaches him, Noah has no trouble turning him away. It’s only when Colby returns years later, to collect on a casually delivered promise, that Noah finds himself incapable of keeping Colby locked out of his carefully re-constructed life.
Their kinks may match up perfectly, but their lives and their pasts couldn’t be more different. Years have passed, but will what they have together turn out to be worth waiting for?
Author note: This story contains ***strictly non-sexual*** flashbacks to when one character was under 18.
Three years ago
Colby Landon stared intently through the window, but he didn’t see anything that happened in the street below him. The living room of the fourth floor flat had a perfect view into the dance studio on the third floor of the building opposite, and his gaze never wavered from it.
Behind him, Colby heard his older brother, Tony, wandering around the room, collecting all the things he’d want ready for training the following morning. Colby’s attention remained fixed on the view through the window.
“What time are you heading out tomorrow?” Tony asked.
Colby still didn’t glance in his brother’s direction. “Coach Walters wants us in the pool by five-thirty, so I guess I’ll be out of here at about five.”
“So, shouldn’t you be in bed by now?”
“Yeah, but so should you,” Colby said, vaguely. There was no sign of movement in the dance studio, but Colby had no doubt the dance instructor was still there, tucked away in one of the more private rooms at the back of the studio. Colby had been watching the building for hours; the guy couldn’t have left without him noticing. And, since the dancer never went to sleep without switching off the lights in the studio, that meant—
“You know you’re turning into a stalker, right?” Tony asked.
“Yeah, okay. Goodnight. I’ll see you tomorrow evening,” Colby said, automatically. “I think I should be home at about six.”
Tony laughed and ruffled Colby’s hair on his way past. “Don’t stay up all night watching your crush, kiddo. And don’t blame me when your coach busts your balls for falling asleep in the pool tomorrow morning.”
Colby heard Tony’s bedroom door click shut. A few minutes later, a complete hush settled over their flat.
His crush, as Tony had been so nice to label him, was bound to come back into the studio’s main room soon—even if it was just to switch off the lights. There was still a good chance Colby would be able to get a final glimpse of him before he went to bed.
Half an hour later, one of the doors on the back wall of the studio space finally swung open. The bright lights above the dance floor made it easy to see every detail of the dancer’s appearance as he strode through the room. Colby leaned closer to the window. Damn, but the guy was stunning. Dark brown hair that begged to be touched and a body that would make any gay man whimper.
Tonight, the dancer was obviously going out, because no one would wear leather trousers that tight if he was planning to stay in. Colby watched the dancer leave the studio. He’d seen him through the window more than often enough to know what would happen next. In an hour or two’s time, the guy would return wrapped around some apparently random stranger, and they’d both disappear through the door leading into a private space at the rear of the studio.
Colby sighed. If he was the one who was lucky enough to go home with the dancer, it would be different. If he was there, they’d fall asleep curled up together in the same bed—Colby wouldn’t walk out the moment he zipped up, the way every other man seemed to. And Colby wouldn’t just visit the studio once, either, he’d go back every chance he got. Hell, if he ever managed to get into the dance studio, he’d never want to leave at all…
One moment Colby was staring out of the window, the same way he had dozens of times before, the next moment he’d made his decision and was already halfway across the living room. He probably had an extra two flights of stairs to catch up by now, but the dancer hadn’t been walking that fast. It might be possible.
He raced to the flat’s front door, only to stop short with his fingers wrapped around the handle.
“Damn!” Rushing into the kitchen he scrawled gone out on the note pad hanging on the fridge. It wasn’t that much of a heads up for his brother if Tony went looking for him, but there was no time to worry about that now. Tony’s wallet lay on the kitchen counter, along with his keys, his i-pod, and everything else he intended to take to training the following morning.
Colby patted his pockets and tried to remember where he’d put his own wallet. No time for that either. He slipped Tony’s wallet into his pocket and headed for the door once more.
Colby threw himself down the stairs three at a time. He reached the door out of his building just in time to see the guy from the dance studio turn the corner at the end of the street. Tucking his hands into his pockets and striding out, doing his best not to look like he was stalking anyone, Colby headed after him.
Three corners later, he’d caught up enough to be less than ten yards behind the dancer. Then, for the first time since he left the flat, Colby hesitated. He watched the dancer stride confidently past the line of men outside a nightclub. A quick smile and the bouncer waved him inside.
The queue stretched halfway along the building and didn’t seem to be moving at all. Colby looked along the row of men, sighed, and joined the end of the line.
A few minutes passed, and he spotted one of the club’s bouncers walking down the row of men waiting to get in. Every so often the bouncer stopped to speak to someone. Some guys were sent to the front of the queue and invited to go straight in. Others were sent out of the line altogether.
Stepping closer to the wall, Colby did his best to look inconspicuous—it wasn’t easy. Everyone around him was dressed for clubbing. He was still in worn-out jeans and a long sleeve T-shirt advertising his attendance at the Falconer Institute of Training. He stared down at his trainers, pushed his hands deeper into his pockets, and tried not to look nervous.
Colby blinked up at the bouncer.
“ID?” the man repeated.
They weren’t that close to a streetlight. People always said he looked a lot like his brother. Colby took Tony’s wallet out of his pocket and handed over his brother’s driving licence.
The bouncer looked from him, to the ID and back again. “You’re nineteen?”
Colby nodded. He was six foot three compared to Tony’s six foot four. They had the same blond hair and blue eyes. Hours of swimming every day had given him more muscle than most guys his age. He could pull this off if he didn’t say something stupid.
The bouncer handed Tony’s ID back to Colby and motioned him out of the line. Colby felt his cheeks turn red. He was just about to head home with his tail tucked between his legs when the bouncer pointed him toward the front of the queue.
Was he supposed to tip him? Before he had a chance to work out the right answer, the bouncer had moved on to those who’d joined the queue after Colby. Trying not to feel too guilty about all the people who should be going in ahead of him, Colby walked to the front of the line. A second bouncer looked him up and down.
Colby smiled hopefully. The bouncer smiled back and waved him in.
The instant Colby stepped into the club, music surrounded him. It pounded through the whole building, seeming to pump up between the floor boards and seep straight into his feet.
Nudging people out of the way as politely as possible, he worked his way deeper inside. His height advantage over most of the men there didn’t help much in the gloom.
Half an hour later, he was in the thickest part of the crowd and—
There! The man from the dance studio! Relief rushed through Colby.
The guy was on the dance floor, moving to the beat as if the music was part of his soul, but he didn’t seem to be dancing with a specific partner. The men around him seemed more of an annoyance than an attraction.
As Colby watched from the edge of the dance floor, a whole succession of men approached the dancer, rubbing themselves up against him in what Colby considered to be a quite unnecessarily intimate way, but the dancer never allowed one man to keep his attention for too long. He soon moved away, letting the music reclaim him.
Colby stared, completely enchanted. It was so different from watching him at the studio. The simple fact that Colby could hear what the guy was dancing to made it a hundred times more intense. Several yards still separated them, but there were no window panes or streets to keep them apart. He’d never been closer to everything he’d ever wanted in his life.
Then, suddenly, the dancer was moving away. Colby instinctively stepped forward, desperately trying to keep him in sight. Past the other side of the dance floor, Colby saw the dancer join a group at the bar. From the way he spoke to them, the other men were all friends of his, but there was still no one man he focused on.
Colby took a deep breath and walked up to the group. He stopped a foot or two behind the dancer.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
The guy turned toward him, so did everyone else in the group, but Colby kept all his attention on the dancer.
“He’s pretty,” one of the other men observed. “Why don’t you let me buy you a drink instead, honey?” He stepped up alongside the dancer, reached out and put a friendly hand on Colby’s arm.
“No, thank you.” Colby never looked away from the dancer. This close he could make out the colour of his eyes for the first time. They were deep blue and damn near hypnotic.
“Oh, come on,” the dancer’s friend began.
The dancer frowned. “Leave him be, Kevin.”
“Why?” Kevin asked.
“Because he needed a fake ID to get in here,” the dancer said, with complete conviction.
“What?” Kevin said.
Even while he spoke to his friend, the dancer kept his attention on Colby. “He’s underage. Let him be.”
Colby felt the heat race to his cheeks and prayed that the lighting was low enough that no one would spot his blush.
“He looks like he’s old enough to know what he wants to me, Noah,” Kevin said. He slid his hand higher up Colby’s arm.
Noah—at least Colby knew the dancer’s name, now. It wasn’t much, but he was willing to be thankful for it. “I am old enough to know what I want, and I don’t want your hand on my arm, thank you.” He looked pointedly at the way Kevin’s fingertips caressed his upper arm.
Kevin chuckled, seeming completely unrepentant, but he also let go of Colby’s arm.
Colby turned his attention back to Noah.
Noah looked him up and down, still frowning slightly. “You don’t belong here, kid. Go home.”
The dismissal cut deep, but Colby held back a flinch through sheer force of will. “I’m not a child.”
Noah‘s eyes turned slightly sad. “Yeah, right, and I bet you believe you actually know what you’re doing, too. Don’t you?”
Colby didn’t know what to say to that. All he knew was that he could feel the dancer slipping away from him even while they stood there. “I’m nineteen,” he rushed out.
Noah held out his hand. “I can spot a fake ID from the other side of the room.”
“No problem.” Colby fished out Tony’s wallet and handed over his ID. “It’s genuine.”
Noah studied it for what felt like hours, tilting it toward what little light there was. “You’re right,” he finally admitted. “It’s genuine.”
Noah didn’t. “There’s a good family resemblance, too. I’m guessing Anthony Landon is your brother, or maybe a cousin?”
Colby automatically took the ID back when Noah offered it to him. “Brother,” he muttered.
“And how old are you really…?” He left a gap inviting Colby to fill it with a name.
Colby considered lying, but a quick glance at Noah’s expression and he thought better of it. “Colby. Fifteen,” he admitted.
“And what the hell are you doing in a club like this?”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
For the first time, Noah looked confused. “Why?”
Colby’s blush deepened. He hadn’t actually thought about how to explain himself past that point.
Noah grabbed his arm. His grip couldn’t have felt more different than Kevin’s. When Noah walked away from the bar, Colby willingly went with him. Hell, it wasn’t much, but the hand on his arm was at least physical contact of a sort.
He didn’t pay too much attention to where they were going until Noah led him out through a side door. The alley was quiet compared to the club. A nearby security light meant it was actually brighter out there than it had been inside.
“I don’t know you,” Noah said. “I’m good with faces. I’d remember it if we’d met before.”
“I live in the building opposite you.”
Noah just stared at him for a few seconds. “You followed me here?”
Colby nodded. “I’m not stalking you, I swear, I just… You’re a really amazing dancer.”
Noah half smiled at that. “You’re some sort of unlikely fan of modern dance?”
“Our flat looks down into the dance studio.”
That earned him a full smile. “So you’re spying on me as well as stalking me?”
“No! I mean—”
“Don’t worry about it, kid. Come on.” Noah turned on his heel and strode toward the end of the alley.
Colby hurried to catch up. “Where are we going?”
“I’m taking you home.”
Colby stopped walking. “To your place?” It couldn’t be that easy, could it?
“No, to your place.” Noah retraced his steps and took hold of Colby’s arm again. He led him out of the alley, into the street. “Come on. You’re way too young for this sort of club.”
“Yeah, and I spent enough time in these clubs when I was your age to know that you shouldn’t be within five miles of them.”
As they passed under a street lamp, Colby brought them to a halt. He looked down into Noah’s eyes and saw the regret in his expression. Suddenly, everything he’d been about to say seemed stupid.
“If you want to get laid you should find someone your own age,” Noah informed him. “Or even better—wait until you can get into the club with your own ID.”
Colby reached out and stroked his fingers down Noah’s cheek, hating the sadness in his eyes.
Noah turned his head away sharply and strode off toward their street. “Do your parents know you sneaked out?”
“I don’t live with them. I’m staying with my brother.”
Noah slowed his pace slightly, making it easier for Colby to catch up. “My parents weren’t thrilled when they found out I was gay either.”
Colby shook his head. “It’s not like that.”
Noah cast him a glance out of the corner of his eye but he kept walking.
“I got a swimming scholarship to the Falconer Institute of Training. My folks didn’t want to drag my younger brothers and sisters down here. Tony was already here on an athletics scholarship. It was easier for me to just move in with him.”
Colby chewed on his bottom lip as he waited for Noah to say something, but it seemed like Noah was more than happy to walk in silence.
“Your parents freaked out when you told them you’re gay?” Colby finally asked.
“Yeah, something like that,” Noah muttered. His pace sped up again.
Colby easily matched his stride. “I’m sorry.”
Noah shrugged. “Shit happens. No big deal.”
Colby couldn’t let silence descend again. They were already less than two street lengths away from his building. He couldn’t let his chance to talk to Noah just slip away. “How old were you when you came out?”
“Your age,” Noah said. “Do you always ask this many questions?”
“Only when I’m trying to get to know someone.”
Noah stopped. He looked Colby up and down. “You’re actually like this, aren’t you? You know you’ve got no chance of getting laid, but you’re still this genuinely bloody nice.”
“What else would I be?”
Noah shook his head. “Well, you’re too damn innocent to have a crush on someone like me, that’s for sure.”
They turned onto their street. “What do you mean ‘someone like you’?”
“I mean you should be chasing after boys who are more like you—nice—all clean cut and white picket fences, not someone who left nice behind when you were still in primary school.”
Colby stopped. Noah kept walking for a few paces, then he turned back to face him. “Try to keep up, kid.”
“I don’t like the way you talk about yourself.”
“So don’t listen.” Noah shrugged and started walking again.
Colby stood his ground.
Noah looked over his shoulder, sighed and walked back to him. “How did you think tonight was going to turn out?”
Colby shrugged. “I thought I’d buy you a drink. We’d talk. Maybe we’d get to know each other a bit better.”
Noah shook his head, but he smiled too. “You’re cute, and you’re obviously incredibly sweet, but…” He considered him for a few moments. “I’ll tell you what—come back when you’re eighteen, and I’ll take you up on that.”
“That’s three years!”
Noah chuckled. “Eighteen minus fifteen is three? Well, I was never that good at maths, but I’ll take your word for it.”
Their slow stroll brought them to the door leading into Colby’s building all too soon. Colby hesitated. “You’re going back to the club now, aren’t you?”
Noah shook his head. “No, I’m calling it a night.”
Colby rocked back and forth on his heels.
Noah touched his cheek very lightly with the tips of his fingers. Going up onto his toes to bridge their height difference, Noah pressed a chaste kiss against Colby’s other cheek. Turning away, he headed for the building opposite.
“Did you mean it?” Colby called after him.
Halfway across the deserted street, Noah turned back to him. “Mean what?”
“About when I’m eighteen?”
Noah laughed. “Of course I did. Let me know when you turn eighteen, and we’ll have some fun.”
Kim is a thirty year old bisexual submissive from Wales (UK). First published in 2008, she has since released almost 100 BDSM erotic romance titles ranging from short stories to full length novels. Having worked with a host of fantastic e-publishers, she has just moved into self publishing.
While she has occasionally ventured towards other pairings, Kim’s first love is still, and probably always will be, Male/Male stories. But, no matter what the pairing, from paranormal to contemporary, and from the sweet to the intense, everything she writes will always feature three things – Kink, Love and a Happy Ending.
You can find out more about Kim’s books on her website, follow her on twitter, catch up with her blog, and email her directly using the links below.