Even people who know Jon and I well believe that we are complete opposites. I am much more gregarious than my husband. And our difference in the way we work creatively has caused problems between us as they are so pronounced at times. However, we are also very similar in nature on some matters which is why we understand each other.
One of our strong similarities is the occasional obsessive interest in a given subject. For instance, when I discovered Wonder Woman comics in the late sixties when the book was restarted, I had to read all the books that came before it. That happened over a very short period of time as I had to know the history now, now, now. Much the same happened with my interest in Nancy Drew mysteries. I read almost all of them over one summer. Jon's current obsession is an online comic called Girl Genius. After discovering it about a month ago, he spent days reading the entire series from start to its current edition. It pressed all of his buttons, particularly an interest in all things steampunk. Such onset obsessions can occupy the afflicted for many hours to the near abandonment of all else.
While I was posting older blogs on a Yaoi fanfiction site, when I ran across fiction about a very recent limited run anime series called Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler. It was originally and still is a manga series about the scion of a wealthy and powerful Victorian era family who makes a deal with a demon to save his life and avenge the murders of his parents. The beautiful, powerful Sebastian becomes the young man's completely obedient servant for the time it takes to find the culprits and dispatch them. The story I read was the most compelling of D/s fiction thus pushed my fun buttons. I would have liked the series even better if the young man, Ciel Phantomhive had not been quite so young, but that's the way some Japanese anime and manga are. Finding the fiction was bad enough. Then, I found the entire series dubbed in English online for free. By Sunday morning, I'd seen ten episodes. Last night, I found that the translates manga was also on line up to the current issue. Bad all bad as I am now fully distracted from almost all of my creative pursuits. Fortunately, I have no pressing deadlines as there is often no help for these things. I have to complete the series for the obsession to subside.
Sebastian will be with me for a while. He is that kind of cool, enigmatic, powerful and beautiful male character that I like to write. Rik Heron of the Solders novels and Simon Molinar of Demon Under Glass are characters of that type. It something about the aloof restrained male beauty of power that makes me want to see that type come undone, unleashing either passion or anger, or both. Sebastian is fascinating because he has become willingly subservient to a demanding mortal whom he must obey without question any order or whim his Master might have. That sort of fiction is just up my alley, and not just because I'm kinky. The willingness for a powerful character to put themselves in that kind of a position to a subordinate tells me there is something intriguing about the character. To quote a most skilled writer, Jane Espenson, Find your characters' vulnerable spots and poke them and you'll find a story. In the case of Sebastian and Simon there is the willingness for an immortal, powerful being to submit to a fragile human indicates some sort of need in a character that says their power is not all that it seems. That begs the questions of why this need exists and how strong that need is. And then the story begins. For me, it writes itself as those questions lead to others like: how does this need manifest itself and how does the focus of that need respond? The cliched thing to do with a character like Sebastian is to make that need and connection so overwhelming that he can subvert his basic nature and become less of a Demon (as is oft suggested with Simon Molinar). Black Butler's writers are too clever for that. If Sebastian were not the cold calculating demon, he wouldn't be Sebastian nor would be be as fascinating to watch. Yet there is an impact on this character as he subverts his will for the wishes of the one he serves or has tied himself to. He is a force of change on those around him, especially his young Master.
That is more of a challenge for the writer, and it is one I prefer. That is why Simon is still the aloof hunter of humans in my stories from beginning to end despite this need to tie himself to a human. While he finds himself doing things for Joe that he had never considered during his very long life and is enjoying the journey, in the end, Joe will be the one that will have to bend or break. The same is true of Sebastian and Ciel. In the end, the Demon will have his due for neither will ever let go of their fragile charges. Rik and Vincent are different in that they are fully human. On a side note, I find soldiers particularly sexy due to the fact that they subvert their will in order to serve in the military. Their training – especially any sort of advance training – is always described in terms of breaking wills to assure obedience. That said, Rik is made stronger through his willing submission to Vincent's will. However ill advised their relationship seemed to be at first, it has given him something to live for while all he had before was a reason to fight or die. For those truly interested in what all the hub bub is, I give you a link for the Manga and for the subtitled series. I give them with the strongest of warnings. I do not have a feint heart, and much of this series disturbed me even as it fascinating. However, one can get a good sense of Sebastian as both dangerous and subservient through this fan made Youtube compilation.
A Nod to the Heteros
Now, while I absolutely prefer to have the strong male characters on their knees, they don't always have to be enthralled to male characters. The Surrender novels are very much about male submission to a female. In the case of both titles, the male protagonists – Prince Nikulainen in The Gift of Surrender and Prince Armas in The Price of Surrender – realized that to achieve their goals in life they had to surrender control of their destinies to females who seems fragile. To have a really powerful warrior that happens to be majorly hot kneeling before a gal is compelling. Why these men chose that path and what they endure to fully subvert their will to remain on that path is where the story is. In each book, the female protagonist is also the sexual aggressor. In the case of The Gift of Surrender, Princess Sarinanna is very aggressive throughout the courtship. She takes to the idea of tying her intended down rather easily. For those inclined, you may read an excerpt. Though Nikulainen does some heroic things throughout the book, he really enjoys surrendering his physical control to his bride. The courtship of Prince Armas and Princess Laurilla in the Price of Surrender is much more gentle. That's mainly because Armas spends that time recovering from an assassination attempt that very nearly succeeds. His submission is of political as well as personal. By the time he is wed, Armas has relinquished stewardship of one powerful kingdom, the heir to the throne of another to accept Laurilla's hand with the humble title of Prince Consort. His ultimate surrender as a man known for his lovemaking skills is to allow his virgin bride to be the aggressor on their wedding night. Alas, there is no excerpt to post, but the e-book is very inexpensive.
My little obsessions does have it's benefits. It's enabled me to focus on what the third book for both the Surrender and the Soldier series will be by identifying what aspect of the existing characters is left to explore and who the new characters will be and what about their needs and desires will compel the plots. See, it isn't just a self indulgence. Honestly...
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out what's going on with the film stuff and how to explain it.