Sunday Shorts – “Threesome” and “The Biggest Lover” Q&A with Dale Chase

If you haven’t discovered Dale Chase yet, allow me to be the one to introduce you to your next book crush. Dale did something I thought no one could do: made Westerns enthralling. I say that with no malice toward the Western, but that my encounters with the genre in my bookselling and my lit-degree days left me completely unmoved. Turned out all I needed was to find someone who could make me feel the grit and taste the sweat. Didn’t hurt that the men involved were as hot as the often-seen sunsets. All that said, Dale is no stranger to other genres, other periods, and the most recent Chase collection I read, Hot Copy, was scorching, and all the stories were more-or-less contemporary.

I was lucky enough to sit down for a virtual chat about Dale’s stories in both “Threesome” and “The Biggest Lover.”

ThreesomeFew sexual fantasies are as potent or lasting as “the threesome” – as an adolescent, the first time you saw a hot couple walking hand in hand and you wanted to follow them back home and into their bed, as an adult when you discover that your partner has been fantasizing also about the bartender at your favorite club.

1+1+1 = sensual delight!
 
Editor Matthew Bright, no stranger to threesomes himself, has invited twelve authors to write stories that range from the sweet and romantic to erotic and playful and even a bit depraved.


 

Biggest LoverWe have all heard the term Rubenesque as a compliment for plus-sized women. The baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens was fond of painting women of the day that were curvaceous and full-figured. The men in his art were not. What is the comparable term for men? Because not every gay man is obsessed with twinks who list the number of visible rib bones on their Grindr profile. Or men who can remember the number of reps at the gym but not their phone number. Some of us appreciate buying in bulk and that includes looking for love. Or just plain sex.  Thank goodness for Bear culture which embraces girth. During Bear Week in Provincetown the stores do not even bother to sell clothes smaller than an XL and a man’s virility is often like the potency of moonshine: the more Xs on the jug the better, so XXXL is a chub in high demand.

It has taken too long for an erotica anthology to feature such men. As Girth & Mirth founding father Reed Wilgoren stated, “Just as people are coming out every day—men and women realizing their sexuality—new Bears and new Chubbies and new chasers are also evolving in the world. There have to be people waiting to embrace them and show them the way, much as who helped me to become what I am and who I am today.” It is our hope that readers who felt denied of attention and affection will read these stories and realize that love has no weight limit, no threshold, and neither should self-esteem.


NB: You have stories in both Threesome and The Biggest Lover. You opened the door to enjoying gritty western tales for me, so I can’t help but wonder if we’re in store for some of your awesome western tales with either of these stories. What are we in for?

DCSurprise! Neither story is a western. When Bill Holden and I heard about The Biggest Lover while at Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, we immediately started talking on what kind of stories we’d do. Historical was kind of a given because we’re both comfortable in other eras, and at first I did consider a western. But the more talking we did, the more I started thinking otherwise. By the time we left our bench by the river, I knew I’d write a Victorian set in the theater in San Francisco. Turned out to be great fun. As for Threesome, the subject didn’t pull me toward historical so it’s a contemporary featuring a hot dentist.

NB: After years of dental reconstruction, I’ve got to say, I think you’re probably the only person I would trust to make me think of a dentist as sexy. I’ve lost track of how many of your short fiction pieces I’ve read and you have a way of drawing into the senses that I really find engrossing. Despite having written over 150 erotic shorts, your stories always strike me as unique and fresh, so you obviously don’t struggle with that, but does having more unique themed anthology calls help? The Biggest Lover has a theme we almost never see, and Threesomes might not be as uncommon, but did holding a threesome as the central theme spark a different idea?

DC: I too am a dental reconstruction veteran who once encountered a dentist of great appeal so it wasn’t a stretch to write a hot one. I do pride myself on originality in story writing. The first thing I think when looking to write for a new anthology call is what will others write. I then write something else. So I’m essentially trying to expand even the rather routine calls, most often by way of character development. Unique themed anthology calls are more fun because they give the writer a chance to stretch. Ninety-six of those 150 shorts I wrote were for men’s magazines and it was all contemporary, all young hot guys getting it on. Doing something different, whether historical or unique themed, is a refreshing change. Jerry L. Wheeler has done wonders in this with his Tented, Riding the Rails, and especially his Dirty Diner book of food themed erotica. I loved writing for that.

NB: Ohmigosh yes. “Cookie” was a great story.

DC: When Jerry L. Wheeler first mentioned a possible erotic food anthology, we were in New Orleans at Saints & Sinners (so many ideas are hatched there!) and he said to me, “I know you’ll write a western” to which I replied “Of course, a chuck wagon story.” I then had to read up on chuck wagon fare, finding it fascinating at how much can be done with a Dutch oven. The Biggest Lover was most welcome in its originality. Threesomes, on the other hand, was just the opposite. A fine theme and I enjoyed writing my story, but it had the familiar feel of simply putting some guys together to get it on.

NB: I’ve barely dipped my toes into novellas and novels (and find them very daunting) but you move between formats with apparent ease. Do you have a favourite format, or does one speak to you easier than another?

DC: I consider myself a novelist who also writes shorter works. Short story characters are like weekend guests while novel characters move in with you. You face them across the breakfast table and they climb into bed with you, nudging as you try to sleep. If you’ve created a lead character you really like, the novel can be great fun, despite the challenges of managing a large work. In writing my first novel, Wyatt: Doc Holliday’s Account of an Intimate Friendship, I lived with Doc Holliday which was the most fun I’ve ever had writing anything. I like the room of a novel, time and space to thoroughly develop characters while creating a multi-layered story. Writing short stories is an entertaining diversion from the longer work so I welcome new and different calls for submissions. I’m always writing something because I enjoy the process. If I’m between novels or need a break when in the middle of one, I write a short story. I’m always checking for new story calls and if one pops up that has appeal, I stop the novel and write that story. I’m two-thirds through my current novel about a pair of cowboy detectives but have stopped to write a couple western novellas as well as answer several calls. I like that the novel waits for me, characters standing in the wings, waiting for me to bring them onstage. I also think diverting myself allows me to return to the novel with a fresh eye. Sometimes a writer needs a vacation from his characters. It’s like leaving them the house while I take an excursion. As for one being easier than another, the short story will always be easiest, simply because it’s short and therefore quite manageable. Almost sad that this gets it relegated to second chair because it can be great fun.

NB: Absolutely, and I love the image of characters moving in. Thank you for taking the time for this!

For those of you looking for a copy of The Biggest Lover of your own, you can buy it direct from Bear Bones Books (an imprint of Lethe Press) at the website, here. Or, check Indiebound for your local brick-and-mortar. Or, as always, ask wherever quality LGBT books are sold. For a copy of Threesome, look no further than Lethe Press here, or Indiebound, or, again, shop local.


 

Dale ChaseDale Chase has written gay men’s erotica for eighteen years and is having a grand time. Retired from the business world, she’s free to fully indulge her creativity and when she’s not writing the westerns she’s come to favor, she’s pursuing her art, whether drawing, painting, papier mache, or her latest passion, magazine paper collage. Dale has two erotic western novels in print: TAKEDOWN: Taming John Wesley Hardin from Lethe Press, and WYATT: Doc Holiday’s Account of an Intimate Friendship from Bold Strokes Books. Her Victorian erotica collection The Company He Keeps from Bold Strokes Books won a silver medal from the Independent Publisher’s Association in 2012. Her first erotic story collection If The Spirit Moves You: Ghostly Gay Erotica was published by Lethe Press. Dale has story collections from Bold Strokes Books and Wilde City Press, all westerns, currently available as e-books. Her short stories have appeared in over sixty anthologies with more on the way. Dale’s earliest work was more than ninety stories published in magazines such as Men, Freshmen, In Touch, and Indulge, two of which were also translated into Italian and German. Prior to erotica, Dale wrote short stories for motorcycle magazines such as Cycle, Cycle World, and Motorcyclist. A California native, Dale lives near San Francisco where she’s at work on various stories, novellas, and her next novel Hot Pursuit which features a pair of cowboy detectives working out of a San Francisco agency in 1876.

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