I thought this blog would be about the next Cook Like a Uke Video. The last few days have been spent doing strange research like finding lingerie – specifically teddys – that fit muscular guys. My Hubs looked over my shoulder, exclaimed 'whatever you're planning, count me out!' Then, he fled to the study. Silly Billy! It's nearly time for a new video shoot on Cook Like a Uke. Meanwhile, the latest edited video will go up by Friday. It's a real like Misaki from Junjou Romantica. However, I didn't get as far in my planning as I had hope. Instead, I'll talk about something that keeps coming up in reader e-mails.
Despite previous blogs like the one on Power Exchange, I've had some emails from those kind souls who've taken the time to read the sample chapters of Ensnared and some of my blogs. They raise some interesting points – even the ones that kind of called me a hypocrite. I have blogged against and have often spoken out against the continuing use of non-consensual relationships in yaoi (I hope to have an even bigger panel on this subject at upcoming conventions this year). It paints a picture to the outside world that all yaoi is about rape and torture. These opinions have become really important of late as companies like Amazon and Apple have banned yaoi. And, for a short time, Smashwords was going to ban erotica with such themes. It could be argued that it wasn't non-con that got those books banned, but why give anyone that ammunition when it isn't necessary? These perceptions can impact where we can buy yaoi or even if we can buy yaoi. I am a publisher as well as a writer who doesn't want a tired trope impacting my bottom line. I'm not trying to be provocative in saying it's a tired trope. I think times have changed in the decades since Yaoi was young. The general public know a lot more about gay men and their relationships. It isn't looked upon as something to be ashamed of. Thus, there is no need to have these pairings begin with an act of force or blackmail or any kind of coercion.
And as I mentioned in the Power Exchange blog, I think there is often a fundamental misunderstanding of how dominant/submissive relationships work. I plan on revamping my Primer on Writing BDSM and offering it for free as an e-book later this summer. I love D/s fiction! I adore strong, even overbearing Semes. Who doesn't love Usagi-san in Junjou Romantica or Al from Ikoku Irokoi Romantan? They are a tad pushier than I like, but overall, they are loving and protective and devoted to their exasperated ukes. They are irresistible in their arrogance. I'm with you all with regard to this type of Seme. I want yaoi to remain as sizzling hot and sexy as always!
The gentle readers who wrote were asking how the scenario I set up between Lord Darius Galatea and underworld gang leader, Andreas Hesper was not a non-con relationship. I admit that it looks like a duck and even quacks like a duck. But it isn't a duck. It's more like a platypus. Part of my point in creating that couple was that I wanted to prove that there could be all the tension and drama between the Seme and Uke that there is in a non-consensual pair while being a consensual relationship.
But readers of the excerpts point out that it seems that Andreas is being pressured to stop hanging out with his childhood friend and second in command, Viktor. This situation is not at all what it seems. I'm glad that the sample chapters intrigued readers enough to write me with these observations. I will respond to them as best I can; however, the best way to see that this story is not the usual trope but one that turns that trope on its ear is to read the entire story over the two volumes. I will answer what I can without revealing too much if only for the sake of not having readers think I am being a hypocrite. I must first give a little background.
Early in the existence of Zed Crew, a couple of members who held powerful positions were either booted from the Crew or, in one case, killed over love affairs that went very badly (in that, a jealous lover killed the Crew Member). These unfortunate events caused Andreas to issue a decree that none of Zed Crew was to be involved in high drama relationships. Further, there were restrictions on how much drinking and partying was allowed. The new rule suited Viktor as he was secretly in love with Andreas and didn't want anyone else closer to him than he was. This rule also coincided with the opening of Club Zero, a nightspot popular with almost all strata of that society and their Crew's base of operation. Thus, no one who frequented that club, including those who lusted after Andreas, ever saw him party hard or show a romantic interest in anyone. Viktor had spent years at Andreas' side and never saw him show an interest in another man or woman.
To Viktor and the others who wanted Andreas, Darius seemed to be able to waltz into the building and take what they all wanted. Despite everything they witnessed with their own eyes to the contrary, they couldn't accept that Andreas was the one who initiated the first encounter between him and Darius. So there is jealousy from those who want Andreas. Coupled with those intense and dangerous feelings, there is a plot to remove Darius from power by forcing him to take an outrageous action against those who want to trespass into his relationship with Andreas. This is the backdrop to what appears to be irrational possessiveness on the part of Darius. The only danger for Andreas and his freedom is the very real possibility that Darius will deem it unsafe for Andreas to live his life as he has. There are real physical dangers to this uke as those who lust after him grow more and more frustrated that their feelings are not returned. It is Darius' prerogative to determine how best to keep Andreas safe. Under the terms of their contract, Andreas must obey – even if that means being locked away or chained to Darius' bed. This is not a non-con relationship, because Andreas agreed to accept the terms of their contract without hesitation and without coercion. The fun of reading the book is finding out whether or not Andreas can find a way to stand up to such a powerful being and keep his freedom while keeping his Owner happy. And, if this is possible, how he manages to pull it off without triggering Darius' world famous temper.
To get the answers, you will have to start reading!