Who’d have thought Shakespeare would spark an alien-human D/s story?
As many writers do, I hoard phrases, words, and snippets that strike my fancy. I use them as story catalysts, although, by the time I’m finished, the original words have usually disappeared. But, in this case, the lines turned into the title of the story. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Helena says:
I am your spaniel; and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me, I will fawn on you:
Use me but as your spaniel, spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worse place can I beg in your love,--
And yet a place of high respect with me,--
Than to be used as you use your dog?
Wow! Strong stuff, and poor Helena, eh? I cringed reading it. I’d be appalled in a non-consensual or domestic violence context, but since I write D/s fiction, I tucked the lines away. I take consent very seriously -- many of my stories show irresponsible Doms and subs learning a lesson in ethics -- but I also wanted to explore some limits.
Several years ago, I saw a call for a man meets alien m/m sex anthology. I often rely on submission calls to spark something in my word-hoard. At that time I’d mostly written ‘realistic’ fiction -- a vampire short had been the extent of my non-real world work. Since I’m always up for a challenge, I started looking through my idea files. I thought it’d be interesting for the human to not be the superior being and to not be the aggressor. I wanted to see what would happen if certain D/s conventions were followed to logical conclusions without ethical boundaries being trampled on. Taking the story out of human civilization let me play with that more. If this story were between two humans, I’d have real issues with it, but as it is I think it’s a story about love. In fact, I think it’s a romance with an HEA, but others beg to differ. What Worse Place... is the story of a captured xeno-cartographer who finds his submissive nature tested when his alien master realizes his exotic pet is both sentient and horny. The main character (we never learn his name) always consents, but he is truly owned.
When I was accepted for the anthology, the editor let me know mine was the only submission that didn’t have the human as pursuer/“active” partner. I was rather surprised by that. Alas, the publisher was based in New Orleans and Katrina took out their operations. The story is now happily with Lyrical Press. Many thanks to them for taking on a dark, sci-fi, d/s, alien-human, m-m, human pet story with some borderline consent issues!