Guest Post – Ella Drake on Power and Vulnerability

EllaDrakeI’m more likely to read (and write!) spicy novels when it is part of a fantasy or science fiction story. That way, I know there’s going to be something besides the sex scenes. For that reason, I asked Ella Drake to be my guest today. Here’s her bio:

Ella Drake (http://www.elladrake.com) is a dark paranormal and science fiction romance author. You can find her on Twitter (http://twitter.com/lori_ella),  Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ella.drake), & Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/elladrake) where she revels in to her love of romance with a flare of fantasy or the unusual.

And since she’ll be talking about her novel today, it will make more sense if you have the cover copy as well:

Sheriff Guy Trident doesn’t have much to do with off-worlders; he has his hands full keeping his own planet safe. But he’ll do anything, go anywhere to save Jewel Quinn. She broke his heart years ago when she left to marry a Terraloft aristocrat. Now she’s run away from her husband, only to fall into the clutches of slavers.

Posing as a wealthy playboy, Guy arrives at Zuthuru Station to learn he’s too late: Jewel’s memories have been erased. She’s been tipped in silver, a process that leaves nothing behind except her body, sexually bound to pleasuring her master. Unwilling to give up hope, Guy buys her.

Jewel fights to reclaim herself, recalling a different connection to the handsome sheriff, remembering the frightened eyes of a young boy and the events that made her run. Together she and Guy search for her cure, plan her son’s rescue from her ruthless ex, and test if they have any kind of future…before the past catches up to them.

Power and Vulnerability

I love to read erotic science fiction romance and futuristics. I eat it up! In that genre, I’ve come across and enjoyed reading stories centered on the concept of a love slave. The story can be set up in any number of ways. The hero buys the heroine (or finds her in her master’s harem), has sex, falls in love. The heroine can pretend to be a slave, have sex, fall in love. The heroine could be captured, threatened into slavery, and the hero saves her just in time, have sex, fall in love (not necessarily in that order). The roles could reverse, of course, and other twists of the setups mentioned above. Maybe they’re both slaves and cling to each other.

Frequently I read this lightly, other than the intended tension the plot brings. I enjoy the interaction of the characters and overlook the insinuations of power and loss of power the plot invokes. These are fantasies (as in escape-from-reality, not the genre Ms Nevitt so eloquently pens). I can enjoy those fantasies and go back for more of the same. Thank you, please.

But when I got a germ of an idea for a story, the issues of power and vulnerability were things I wanted to explore within the safety of that fantasy.SilverBound

So at the heart of my science fiction romance, Silver Bound are these questions:

If the woman you love is suddenly your sex slave, with no will of her own, do you take her? Do you take advantage of her situation to do the thing you’ve longed to do for years, to touch her? Do you want to OWN her? What does a good man do?

I found my answer to be that in the real world, a good man would do anything to help her out of the situation. A good man would want her on her own terms. But of course, if he knows he can touch her, it’s hard to resist. Throw in the fantasy, and we, the readers, want him to touch and claim her. The story becomes an interesting balance of guilt and desire.

That’s where I put my poor hero, battling desires, love, and his sense of what’s right. And in doing so, I set up the relationship and overarching plot to be based in realism despite the futuristic world. Guy, the hero, is basically a cowboy who also happens to be the sheriff. He’s not an alpha male. Not a beta male, or if you think wolf-shifter story, not omega. He’s a regular guy, in a big, wide universe, battling an impossible situation.

So tell me, what are your guilty pleasure reads? Do you love to read fantasies like a love-slave trope even though you know that in real life, it’s oh-so-wrong?

22 thoughts on “Guest Post – Ella Drake on Power and Vulnerability

  1. The last novel I recall with this sort of situation was one that I read in the 80s (yes, as a teenager) and began with a 40 something sultan taking a young girl of 14 or 15 as his concubine. The author most certainly did not make this part sexy, although the scenes between the sultan’s son and the girl were.

    Just looked it up–the author, Bertrice Small, had it reissued through Cerridwen Press in ’07:

    http://www.amazon.com/Adora-Bertrice-Small/dp/1419956795/

    Great cover. Much better than the original, which you can see if you click the MM Paperback edition.

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  2. In historicals, even if there isn’t a master/slave premise going, the position of women in history was so different from now, it often amounted to the same thing. The concept of shifting power in a relationship is always fascinating to explore in any romance subgenre. It’s a universal theme.

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  3. Tia,
    I haven’t read Adora and sometimes I stay away from the more realistic historical romances. (see my next response).

    Mia,
    Exactly so. The position of women in history was so different. If I’d written this same story set one hundred years ago, the hero would not have come to the same point. He’d have taken her without guilt.

    And the shifting of power within a relationship is definitely fascinating. A universal theme that makes the Romance genre so rich.

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    • If I’d written this same story set one hundred years ago, the hero would not have come to the same point. He’d have taken her without guilt.

      Maybe, maybe not. As you said, it depends on the time and the place. {Smile}

      A hundred years ago was a time of transition as far as slavery is concerned. Slavery had fallen out of favor thru much of the western world, especially white slavery. So in some places men would feel against slavery strongly enough to resist on those grounds. Other men might not, especially if they lived in other places, where slavery was still an unquestioned part of life. {lop-sided smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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      • You are quite right.
        I think in my statement above, I was stuck in the mode of history viewed from the lens of a Romance novel. Still, in many Romance novels, the hero is that exceptional guy, who’ll do what’s right even if it’s against the social norm. In a case of when slavery was still in favor, he would’ve been the kind master.

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  4. oops. Forgot to make my point about realistic historical romances.

    The realism in those, of a woman having more than one owner, or a much older or uncaring husband/owner, can sometimes be too realistic and I have trouble reading those without a bit of a gut-wrenching reaction when the sexual relationship is described on the page rather than off-stage.

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  7. Hi 🙂
    This was a very interesting post.
    I’m partial to the fantastical elemental as well.
    As a man my “guilty pleasure” was romance books of any kind. Only in the last decade has it lost some of the stigma for a guy to read. I remember reading historical romance when I was grade school – but only at home in my room. (Dorothy Dunnett!)
    🙂
    All the best,
    RKCharron

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    • Me too. I’m a woman, but science fiction and fantasy romances are close to guilty pleasures for me, too. I don’t quite feel guilty about reading any book, but I feel a need to explain if someone gives the cover a long sideways glance. I tend to get those from the clerk and owner at my favorite bookstore when the cover has a passionate embrace. I also got it when there was a bleeding rose on the cover. Inside in both cases it was science fiction and/or fantasy romance. {Chuckle, Smile, wink}

      Books with similar content go unremarked if they have a ray gun stand-off or knight-in-armor on the cover. Those gals at that bookstore know my tastes VERY well! {AMUSED SMILE}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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      • I remember reading a Terry Brooks novel called Running with the Demon (or some such) specifically because it had an off-putting cover. I read it on an airplane and got the desired effect–no one talked to me!

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  8. I definitely relate to Ellen’s point about having trouble with overly realistic historic situations.

    My `guilty pleasure’ isn’t so much a book, it’s a cliche situation. I love in old cartoons and tv shows when the girl gets tied to the saw mill or railroad tracks by a guy in a cheesy mustache and has to be saved by the hero.

    I guess it’s my sense of drama. I love anything over-the-top, and the fact that such stories generally are cheesy means you don’t have to be scared that things will end badly. I’ve played with the `marry me or else’ trope strait and parodied it. I even gave one of my villains a mustache as a sort of inside joke.

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      • The best part is the bit where the hero gets caught, and the villain threatens to run him through if the heroine doesn’t give in, and the hero shouts something along the line of `don’t do it! I’d rather die than see you married to him!’

        Come to that, Raoul did a terrific job singing what was more or less that line in `Phantom of the Opera’….

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        • I mean the best part of pulp fiction type stories. Sorry. I’m a little tired. (Seems like I always write over-long, slightly incoherent posts when I’ve been up too late.)

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