Today K.A. Mitchell's my guest here at Muse Unplugged. K.A. is the author of Samhain's steamy erotic m/m novella: Custom Ride.
She's going to let us all in on how to find your niche, by way of how she found hers.
Please give her a warm welcome, enjoy the post and excerpt, and check out Custom Ride.
*clears throat* I’ve never done this before. I’m sure you’ve heard that one a million times. It’s got to be part of that triumvirate of all-time lies: “The check’s in the mail,” “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” and “I’ve never done this before.” But really, I haven’t. Be gentle, okay?
While we’re on the subject of true confessions, hi, I’m K.A. Mitchell and I write male/male erotica. Ursula thinks telling you how I found my niche will be interesting enough to keep you from clicking away, and she ought to know since she’s an important part of how I got here.
So, how does a girl like me come to try to make a living writing about two hot men getting it on and falling in love? The easy answer is I don’t know, but if you ask Peggy’s mom why I couldn’t come over and play Barbies again in second grade, she might tell you that I kept insisting that Ken and Chip looked way cuter in bed together than Ken and Barbie. I guess you could say I’ve always had a thing for boykissing. (If you want to see how my “thing” has evolved, check out this excerpt.)
Long before Brokeback Mountain and Queer as Folk, I nurtured this passion in secret, quite certain that I was the only girl in the world who considered two guys together the hottest love story possible. I grabbed anything I could find at the gay bookstores, anything with a plot, hoping for the happily ever after I craved. I used my imaginary mind control on the bored male clerks, trying to psychically convince them I was buying it as a present for my gay male cousin lest I be exposed as a freak--until I got old enough to stop caring what other people thought as long as it made me happy.
And it does make me happy. What could be more powerful than the explosion of passion and love when you have strength against strength, locked down emotions against locked down emotions? When something finally gives, the heat meter goes all the way to the red zone—if the needle doesn’t snap right the hell off.
When I sold “Custom Ride” to Samhain, I called my sister to tell her the news. She was thrilled. Then she cleared her throat. (It runs in the family.) “Uh—you do know you don’t—uh—have much experience with—uh—those.” What my sister was politely reminding me of is that I live in a fairly cloistered world. I have no male siblings, even 90% of my cousins are girls, and while I’m married, there’s no man in my house. (I’ll let you work that out.) Even at my day job, the only time I see a male face is if my sole male coworker sticks his head of his room to look for help.
After I announced my childhood intention to be an author (it sounded much more important to my child self than being a writer), legions of English teachers counseled me with the old chestnut: “Write what you know.” That never appealed to me. I already lived what I knew. I wanted to write what I didn’t know. I wanted to go to the very different worlds that books took me to, not to stay in my boring old life. I wanted to use my imagination.
I don’t suppose I could have gone farther away from writing what I know than writing male/male erotica. And I found my niche. Reading the first draft of “Custom Ride,” my critique group was kind enough to point out that for a lesbian, I know a lot about dick. Aside from having two awesome brothers-in-law who are always able to remind how men talk, how on earth did I manage to write convincing male characters? No, I don’t have one of “those,” as my sister mentioned, but I do have an imagination. I’ve never been a man falling in love with another man, but I do know how amazing sex can give you an unexpected connection, body and soul, with the one you share it with. I do know what it’s liked to be judged for who you sleep with. I do know what it’s like to fall, to be in love and how hard that can sometimes be. I know what it’s like to be the only girl in second grade who thinks Ken and Chip ought to get married.
Now I’m thrilled to be able to share my imagination with readers. I hope people find Jeff and Ryan, the characters in “Custom Ride,” a lot less plastic than Ken and Chip (they certainly have better working parts), but they’re no less deserving of a happily ever after.
If you’re interested in part two, I’ll tell you how I found out that I wasn’t alone.
Thanks to Ursula for hosting me, and thanks to you for taking it easy on me my first time,
*****Custom Ride: excerpt*****
When he got to the garage, the Camaro was parked in front, and Ryan couldn’t resist getting out to check the edge of the hood for his handprint.
“Might need a touch up.” There was amusement in the smoky voice that spoke behind him.
Ryan turned and leaned back against the hood. “Think the owner will mind?”
“Don’t know. Doesn’t have one yet.”
Ryan looked back over his shoulder at the glow of wax, the shine on the windows.
“It’s a junker I fixed up to sell. I saw you looking at it before, thought you might want to try it out.”
The activity Ryan had had in mind involving the Camaro wasn’t anything that could be done in the front of the lot, but before he could explain, Jeff tossed him a key.
“Want to drive it? I’ll be right back.”
Ryan transferred the cooler to the backseat of the Camaro, and Jeff came back out with a pizza box and a wide smile. Jeff had changed into a plain blue T-shirt, one Ryan was sure he knew set off his eyes and hugged the definition of his biceps and pecs and—Ryan bit his tongue back into his mouth—lickable abs.
Ryan wanted to tell him he really didn’t have to try this hard considering Ryan could already taste that thick head sliding over his lips, but it was kind of sweet that Jeff was making the effort.
“You can drive, really. We’ve got insurance that covers cars taken off the lot.”
Ryan eased into the leather seat, the trapped heat warming his ass and thighs through his worn-thin jeans like skin-to-skin contact. “If you’re that worried about my driving…”
Jeff swung in and leaned over to murmur in his ear. “I thought you might like the chance to drive—at least for now.”
Ryan’s dick seemed to catch Jeff’s double meaning before his brain did, a quick kick of warmth spreading out from his balls. He turned the ignition and was startled by the deep rumble of the engine. “Where are we heading?”
Jeff’s directions took them out to the state park, the car responding so smoothly and powerfully beneath him that Ryan could finally understand why people viewed cars as something besides a way to get from one point to another. Power vibrated up his spine, tingled in his fingers.
They didn’t talk on the way, just let the force of wind through the open windows and the purr of the engine fill the car. Ryan was almost disappointed when he pulled off in an out-of-the way picnic area after more than an hour.
Three slices of pizza and two beers later the sun had faded leaving behind a comfortable heat to match the growing one in his stomach. Jeff was good company even without their dicks involved. Ryan was kind of surprised to find Jeff cared little about any of the popular sports—even racing—but that they shared a passion for martial arts movies, the good, the bad and the idiotic.
“If I ever have time to get back into a dojo, I’m going to see if I can finally finish my brown levels.” Jeff set his empty down on the picnic table and tapped his foot where it rested on the bench.
“I still say Pai Mei in Kill Bill could handle Tony Jaa.” Ryan reached back into the cooler for a third beer.
“Because you’re an old man yourself.”
“Do not insult the master. I’d hate to think of you losing one of those beautiful eyes.”
“Beautiful?” Jeff’s lips twitched.
“Uh—” He shouldn’t have been so stupid on just two beers in a little less than two hours.
“You think I’m pretty, is that it?” Jeff leaned in, brows raised over the eyes in question. In the dark those eyes shone like a lake in starlight.
“Can I change my answer?”
“On what?” Ryan forgot about the beer in his hands until the cold wet shock hit his stomach, and he shoved the bottle to the other side of the table.
“Which one gets me laid?”
Ryan licked his lips. “Pretty.” He caught Jeff’s head in his hands. “Beautiful.” He leaned in until his lips were resting against Jeff’s. “And hot.”
Jeff laughed against his mouth. “Guy’s gotta have all three, huh? And here I was hoping you were easy.”