I was going to post the newest CookLike a Uke video and blog, but I am still having trouble with our PC. Meanwhile, I have something stuck in my crawl that I had to address. The video will be up this week.
I don't mind people reading my work and not liking it as much as I believe they should. That is the nature of the beast when a writer publishes. What I don't like is when a reader makes snap judgments or serious allegations based on the cover of Ensnared Volume One (see the banner image above) or the synopsis. And I do know for certain that the most vitriolic of these reviews were written by people who had not purchased nor read the book. The first one appeared on Amazon within an hour of the book going live. I had issued no advanced copies. None. There were no sales reported within that hour. I happened to be online when the review went up. Even if there were sales, Volume One of Ensnared is nearly 250 pages. No one could read it well enough to write a credible review in less than an hour. This is infuriating after all the time and effort I put into that book to have it dismissed as plagiarism without being read. Sure, I should let it go. Why open the kettle of fish and risk further ridicule? Because it's unfair and just plain wrong and I'm tired of acquiescing to trolls. So, belly up and read on. I challenge readers here to read both volumes of Ensnared after reading this blog and see for yourselves that I am no plagiarist If you don't like the books, so be it. But I want it known that those works sprung from my own twisted brain.
Ai No Kusabi
Like most yaoi fans, I have read Ai NoKusabi (ANK) and I've seen the first OVA. Unlike most yaoi fans, I came away very disturbed by both versions of the title. Because of that, I did not watch the re-do of the OVA. I found the books to be unrelenting in brutality and horrors of all kinds. I kept reading hoping that the payoff would be worth the pain and degradation that Riki endured at the hands of his Master, Iason. There was none. By the time Iasons acts in a way that is completely unselfish, it is far too late. I can't even call what happened at the end an act of love on Riki's part. He had been so thoroughly conditioned through constant physical and emotional torture to remain at Iason's side, I can't really say he had a free will. The only good that came out of that end is that Riki couldn't be hurt anymore by his Master or his so-called friend, Guy. I know I'll get hate mail, but I was terribly sad and quite angry after my ANK experience. This reaction is very consistent if you have read the other blogs here about Non-consensual relationships and correct portrayals of D/s couples. I am saying nothing new here.
The Forever War
But what to do about this ill feeling? How do I shake the images of that horrific relationship from my mind? I could write fanfiction and revise the relationship and the ending. I read quite a bit of ANK fic that did just that. I also read a lot that went a lot farther than the author with the torture and torment. No comment. I certainly am not adverse to writing fanfiction (see http://novad.org). I have won awards and been in a documentary (Trekkies) because of my fanfiction. I've even published my fanfiction (This was legal, because the books are considered parody and thus do not infringe on copyright. See, I do know about these laws). But a fanfiction arc would take up a lot of time and effort for a work that would only be read by ANK fans. And it would cause a flame war that wouldn't get anyone anywhere in the end. I wanted to reach a wider audience and I wanted to spread my gospel of consensual D/s. There is a tradition in literature of one author writing a literary answer to another author's book. Technically, Earnest Hemingway's first novel was The Torrents ofSpring. It was a literary answer to Sherwood Anderson's Dark Laughter. I highly recommend The Torrents of Spring. It's a hoot. In scifi, the most famous literary answer to an author's book was Joe Haldeman's The Forever War. This was a response to Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.
I decided to write a book that was an critical response to ANK. Beyond a similarity in appearance in some cases (Andreas is taller and more beautiful than Riki with green-gold eyes), the characters from Ensnared are not the same. Darius does look at Andreas in terms of owning him body, mind and will, but he wants Andreas to willingly submit to that ownership. He is also confident that he can persuade without force of any kind. Andreas is, in fact, the one who first approaches Darius and provokes him publicly because of a strong attraction. Andreas is also not at all what he appears to be (I don't want to spoil twists for new readers). Beyond this couple, I built a mythos for a society based on a cast system that makes more sense to me. I have a history for that planetary system that reaches back thousands of years and is not controlled by a petulant computer. There were societies before the one that Darius and Andreas exist in. Each one was destroyed because of hedonistic excesses that suppressed and brutalized most of its population. The current society is about to make a similar mistake to those past. Darius is just beginning to understand where the fatal errors were made by those doomed societies at the end of Volume Two. Whether or not he can prevent another apocalypse is the question for the next books (some of my readers want more of Darius and Andreas). Ensnared Volumes One and Two is about a D/s relationship that evolves into an intense love that puts both men at risk. There is D/s, but there is not multiple rapes, forced oral copulation, whippings or castrations. There is intrigue and suspense and a lot of humor. It is a completely different reading experience to ANK.
Readers interested in reading the material can find a long chapters from each volume Hot Links in the menu on the right. Beyond that, readers can read 20% of each title for free at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DLWarner. The titles are toward the bottom of the page.
If you've read this far, thank you for indulging this little fit. I really appreciate your patience and indulgence. Now, back to talking about smut!