Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hurt/Comfort, Big Announcements and Best Sellers

A few weeks ago I wrote a not so popular diatribe about why I didn't think most of the Shizuo x Izaya pairings I've read worked. Now, I'd like to talk about the ways they could without coercion of either character or substantially changing who they are. In fact, these methods involve using their most famous traits to bring them together. After all, it's not like Izaya doesn't stand a hope in hell in getting Shizuo. Despite the many friendships the bartender has with women, he's never been known to be interested in a woman beyond protecting one that may be in distress. He's a very healthy guy. If he was interested in a woman, he'd find a way to be with one no matter what was going on in his crazy life. Also, despite many protestations to the contrary, there are times when he goes after an otherwise pre-occupied Izaya to chase him around. The interest is not one sided.

Shizuo's Personal Honor

Despite the violence that surrounds Shizuo, there are some things that he has managed to hold onto in his life. Shizuo has a strong personal code of honor. He won't stand for an unfair fight, and he always protects women and children. Also, once he has given his word to someone, he will keep it no matter the cost. I think under the right circumstances that kind of pledge could even apply to an enemy like Izaya. Meanwhile, Izaya courts many kinds of battles, but given the kind of life he leads, it is easy to believe that a battle could come to him that he isn't anticipating or can't handle on his own. There are certainly many who might be willing to betray him. Without changing a thing about Izaya or how Durarara is set up, it is easy to see him running into a rival that could overwhelm him and leave him completely vulnerable. The problem is getting past Shizuo's fury at Izaya on any given day long enough to make him realize or care that he is in an unfair fight not of his own making. Shizuo's justified fury will be the biggest obstacle in any pairing of these characters. But there is a way around it, and it is one of the oldest tropes in fanfiction.


And when I say hurt, I don't mean the rape/torture scenarios common in yaoi. In this tried and true fanfiction trope, the usually strong willed hero or seme gets injured in accordance to what may happen to their character in an actual story. If that character is in the military or law enforcement, it's a bullet or knife wound that takes them down. If they are the outdoor type, it could be a fall off a cliff or a snakebite that does the trick. All others may come down with pneumonia. The object is that this typically nearly unapproachable character is rendered helpless in a believable way for a while giving the uke a chance to get to know him in a way that wouldn't normally happen. Meanwhile, the Seme gets to see the uke in a whole new light as he is being cared for. I used this device in A Soldier's Choice to give my younger character, Vincent, a chance to take care of the man who had been his military trainer and then commanding officer in an intimate way. He had to depend on his uke in a way he'd never imagined while Vincent got to play the role of protector for the first time in their personal history. This leveled the playing field between the two characters and deepened their relationship.

Shizuo is supernaturally strong, but he also spends a lot of time injured. The challenge becomes making him
completely vulnerable to Izaya physically in a scenario that would not only keep him from permanently harming Shizuo but actually force him to tend to his needs. Despite his sadistic tendencies, I think that Izaya has a strong enough survival instinct that he could set aside his pathological desire to hurt Shizuo if he needed the man to keep him alive. Then, the comedy can begin! Imagine Shizuo's reaction to having to allow Izaya touch him. Of course, they would have to be holed up somewhere alone with one bed (Izaya would never sleep on the floor). It's all very sexy having to bandage (needs to put arms around him to wrap the torso). There might even be a sponge bath! The hurt/comfort scenario is a great device for building trust and sexual tension between the characters while not changing who they are. It gives these enemies a chance to trust each other when they are most vulnerable. Trust leads to intimacy and that leads to sexy time!

Of course, this does not magically change them into calm individuals around each other. Even if they discover they like being in bed together, Izaya and Shizuo would still find ways to make each other crazy. And then there are the people of Ikebukuro that inhabit their world. How will Celty or Shinra or Kyohei or Tom react to this new intimacy between those two? Often, I use the reaction of those outside of the pair as the main source of tension for the new lovers. This is how I operate. Once my pairs are together, that's it. They stay together. The danger comes from outside of the pairing where the world is trying tear them apart.

Thus, Hurt/Comfort gets a difficult couple together long enough to build trust and allow that sexual tension to build to the point where it must be acted upon. Best of all, this can happen while keeping the pair in character. I hope more Yaoi fanfiction writers will give that device a try with this pair. I'm about to put my money where my mouth is and post such a story myself!

Big Book Announcements and Bestsellers

I've been tooting my own horn all over the net, but I have neglected to share this with my official yaoi blog! I'm shameful. I am extremely pleased and proud to announce that Digital Manga's eManga division will be distributing all four of my Yaoi titles: A Soldier's Choice, A Soldier's Fate and Ensnared Volumes 1 &2! I was thrilled to open the company's newsletter to find this image:

I'm sure you will recognize one of those pairs from the banner above. This is a dream come true for me to be a part of such a company! I hope my lovely readers here will spread the word and get others to try my work. Here is the link for the eManga page: . From this page, you can find the rest of the books.

Meanwhile, the manga titles my team and I have localized are doing very well. Our fist book, Again
Tomorrow, is in the top 20 on the Amazon Bestseller list for Manga Erotica . Meanwhile, Get! Volumes 1& 2 are in the top 50! I'm so stoked!

This would not have happened without your support. Thank you! Some really hot smut is in the works to tide you all over between novels!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Otome's Way - Yaoi Manga with Interactive Audio!

There has been a great deal of curiosity about Yaoi Publisher Otome's Way and the purported game changing difference it will bring to ebooks. Recently, the people behind the company kindly agreed to an interview on how it will all work.

1. How is Otome's Way different from companies like Digital Manga and SuBLime?

Otome's Way is similar to other BL/Yaoi online publishers with a few key differences. Instead of translating already published manga and marketing it overseas like the previously mentioned companies, we're starting fresh with new faces, new talent, and new stories. Rather than trying to get our hands on what's already popular, we're helping unpublished artists get their creations out to the whole BL-loving world with bilingual, online releases.
In addition, we've got some fundamental differences in the digital releases themselves. Instead of just offering simple images and stories, we've also got interactive animation, audio, and color embedded in some of our manga files to make reading itself an all-encompassing experience. We figure that if we've got all this great technology at our fingertips, why not use it to make digital manga live up to its cutting-edge name?

2. How many titles per year will you be offering?

We have plans to release at least one new title every month, with potential for a greater amount as we gain more popularity and resources. To start with, we're featuring some works from each of our new artists every month. Our goal is between 12-15 titles per year at least.

3. Will readers be able to download these titles or will they be able to read them only from the website?

Both! Using our partner site, Tigris+Reader, users can access and read our titles online from their PC or smartphone. Some titles are also available for download, depending on the wishes of the artist and whether they want to allow downloads. Those are coded as EPUB files and can be read with iBooks or other comic reader apps.

4. How did you get the idea to have audio and visual elements to your manga?

We saw how so few online manga sites took advantage of the whole fact that their manga isn't printed on paper. It seemed a shame that such interactive potential was going to waste with simple digital copies of manga, so we decided to make some of the manga titles that we had to offer extra special. Not all of our titles include these special effects, but we intend to continue to release more of these truly digital creations in the future. We hope that the readers will enjoy a chance to have a unique manga-reading experience, too.

5. Will you make appearances in North America or Europe at conventions?

Plans are in the works! As of right now, we don't have any concrete schedule, but we definitely intend to visit both North American and European conventions in the future.

6. Can you tell us about the first title Otome's Way will be releasing?

Our first releases at Otome's Way are going to be these 3 titles:
A Fujoshi's Guide to Japanese: An interactive Japanese study guide.
Rensou: A love story set within the traditional Japanese performing art, kabuki.
Yusura Ai Anthology 1: Short stories by our featured artist, Yusura Ai.

Otome's Way looks forward to hearing readers' reactions to this interview and to