FSoG

2012 Favorite Book Review for "Fifty Shades of Grey"

When I say this is my favorite book review of 2012 for “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I should probably add it might be my favorite book review of all time. I joke not about this. I’ve mentioned this review before but never actually linked to it until now. If you do a blog search above, you’ll find a few posts.

Brief back story: At first I didn’t like the review. I posted about all that here.

But all that changed fast.

I now I love this book review because it is such a cutting, scathing, head-bashing book review…not to mention looooonnnngggg…it helped me find FSoG before it actually went mainstream, before millions of people started reading FS and talking about it, and before FS turned into one of the biggest books of 2012…if not this decade.

This review not only turned me on to FSoG, it helped me fall in love with it.

It’s also extremely entertaining, as far as reviews go in a general sense.

And that deserves a huge round of applause, a big old gold dart trophy, and all the recognition we can give it.

So let’s hear it for:

REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Photo of dart trophy from morguefile.com

Robert Pattinson Wants to Write His Own 50 Shades Erotica

Either Robert Pattinson has a great sense of humor and he’s sending E.L. James a message in code, or he’s about to embark on a new career as erotic author. And while I would definitely buy one of his books if he did write an erotic romance, I have a feeling he’s more interested in letting E.L. James know how he feels about “Fifty Shades of Grey” as a fanfic novel based on “Twilight.”

While the talented inner goddess author EL James has made it clear that while the bestselling erotic novel trilogy of “50 Shades” was initially based off “Twilight,” the writer is not considering to have Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in key roles Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. However, Pattinson is not after a starring part in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” film, but rather writing his own erotic novel for fans around the world.

Don’t ask me WTF a “talented inner goddess author” is, because I couldn’t tell you if my life depended on it. How these hack writers get paid to put things like that in print passes me by. But I have to wonder if the reason why “inner goddess author” James doesn’t want Pattinson to play Christian Grey is because FSoG is based on “Twilight” and she’d rather not be that closely associated to “Twilight” anymore. Let’s face it, I liked FSoG, but most people don’t even know it’s based on “Twilight.” Not a clue. And when you think of “Twilight” Pattinson is one of the first people who come to mind.

In a recent interview, Robert Pattinson was asked if he had any interest in eventually writing a book, and if so, what books he might want to author with his experience. The Edward Cullen actor quickly replied:

“Surely something along the lines of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ I would really like to do that and put a spin on it by inverting the casting roles: making the woman the one who is punishing the man. It would be so much fun. Something like ‘Misery’ … but really he loves to be in that situation, you know?”

Now that sounds interesting to me. He’s going to parody FSoG. I’ve always been open about the parodies I’ve written, and I’ve always written them with an intention I may or may not have talked about much. It’s not always because I’m a fan of the movie or the story…most of the time just the opposite. But there’s always been that underlying reason behind what I’ve done. And I have a feeling Pattinson has his own reasons for wanting to parody FSoG. And wouldn’t that be fun to see.

You can read more of the article here.

New Book I’m In: "Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey" Edited by Lori Perkins…

When I was asked to participate in the book “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey” edited by Lori Perkins, I jumped at the opportunity to do it. I had just finished releasing “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street,” and I’d done a great deal of research about BDSM erotic romance.

The Fifty Shades erotic romance series by E.L. James inspired me in more ways than one. First, because I’d never done a full length novel that included BDSM until I read FSoG, and second, because I’ve been stunned by the reactions to FSoG since I discovered it last winter through a scathing book review. I posted about this last winter, and the scathing review is what actually promoted me to buy the book.

And I liked it. I posted about that here before “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey,” was even a concept.

But after doing my research for my own book with BDSM, I grew to understand why there were so many scathing reviews and why so many who know the BDSM market so well didn’t like FSoG. It took me a while, but I “got” it. I still love the book, but now I understand why some didn’t. And I believe the reasons why I loved FSoG are the same reasons why the mainstream fell in love with it and turned it into such a huge book. I tried to make this my main point in the essay I wrote for FWoFSoG.

I think “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey” is going to be a fascinating book where we get opinions from all sides about FSoG. Here’s a link to an Amazon page where it can be pre-ordered, and below is the product information taken from that page. I will post a cover image and more when I get more details.

Can’t get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey?

Fifty Shades of Grey has gone from underground e-book sensation to runaway mainstream bestseller—it’s the book everyone is talking about.

Now, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey extends the conversation women (and men!) are having across the country. The perfect panel of insiders—from the editor who first “discovered” Fifty Shades of Grey, to BDSM experts, to erotic fiction authors, romance authors, and a whole lot more—takes you deeper into the trilogy that has captured the imaginations of so many.

From the books’ sexual politics and its fanfiction origins to what sets it apart from other erotic fiction and romance (and what doesn’t), everything you ever wanted to know about Fifty Shades of Grey is right here.

Whether you loved Fifty Shades of Grey, or just want to know why everyone else does, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey is the book for you!

Contributors:

Heather Graham
Sylvia Day
Andrew Shaffer
M.J. Rose
Sinnamon Love
Judith Regan
Stacy Agdern
Laura Antoniou
Jennifer Armintrout
Tish Beaty
Mala Bhattacharjee
Rachel Kramer Bussel
M. Christian
Suzan Colón
Joy Daniels
Sherri Donovan
Angela Edwards
Melissa Febos
Lucy Felthouse
Ryan Field
Selina Fire
Megan Frampton
Sarah Frantz
Louise Fury
Lois Gresh
Catherine Hiller
Marci Hirsch
Dr. Hilda Hutcherson
Debra Hyde
Anne Jamison
D.L. King
Dr. Logan Levkoff
Arielle Loren
Sassafras Lowry
Rachel Kenley
Pamela Madsen
ChrisMarks and Lia Leto
Midori
Master R
Dr. Katherine Ramsland
Tiffany Reisz
Katharine Sands
Jennifer Sanzo
Rakesh Satyal
Marc Shapiro
Lyss Stern
Cecilia Tan
Hope Tarr
Susan Wright
Editor X

"Fifty Shades of Grey" Reviews…E.L. James

I hate to keep posting about FSoG, but love it or hate it, it’s fascinating to watch how popular it has become. I’ve done a lot of posts and I liked it, but I’m not going to link right now. This post is more about books in general.

I saw an article about FSoG just a few minutes ago that wasn’t extremely significant, but I was curious about the kinds or reviews it’s been getting on Amazon since I went there last. At the time, in early March, there were something like 250 reviews. Most of them were positive and the one star reviews were scathing. Also at the time, most people liked it. Those who hated it didn’t hold back.

Since that time, there are now over 5,000 reviews. About 2,300 are five star and about 1,500 are one star. So there are still more people that love/like FSoG than hate it.

The most interesting thing is to see the dynamics, in the sense that readers either seem to love it or hate it. And that alone, to me, is the sign of a book that resonates with people. It’s important to get a strong reaction, one way or the other. And to be able to take it when it comes. I think E.L. James has earned her, so they say, big girl pants.

There’s Only One "Fifty Shades of Grey," One "Peyton Place," And One "Brokeback Mountain," Folks


First, this isn’t about my personal feelings for FSoG…or any of the books mentioned in the title. It isn’t even really about FSoG in a general sense. I’ve already posted that I liked the book…and I read it before it went mainstream. You can do a search if you don’t trust me because I’m too lazy right now to link to those posts.

What I’m talking about in this post is oriented more toward facts about big books than my own personal feelings. I have seen more than a few articles and posts within the publishing community about FSoG. I’ve seen blog posts, I’ve seen calls for authors asking them to write books like FSoG, I’ve seen workshops for FSoG advertised on social media, and I’ve seen a slew of comments about how much FSoG is going to do for the erotic BDSM market. It’s been a while since I’ve seen so many jump onto that proverbial bandwagon, all hoping they have the next FSoG.

What I haven’t seen is a look back at other big books like FSoG. First, FSoG was tame by my standards, so it makes perfect sense to me that a book like this would crossover to the mainstream. The fact that they called it “Mommy Porn,” speaks loudly enough. It’s not what I would consider strong erotica, or any kind of porn. So the “Mommy Porn” angle is merely a tongue-in-cheek play on words not meant to be taken seriously. The one thing I could be wrong about is the level of erotic heat necessary to be considered porn…in the mainstream. Maybe my standards of erotica are too strong? As I’ve stated, I haven’t read many BDSM books like FSoG, and the only reason I did read it was because I saw a review for it that sparked my interest weeks before it went mainstream.

After reading so many opinions about FSoG, I can’t help thinking about books from the past that have jumped unexpectedly into the mainstream, with all the hype and promise that FSoG has had so far. If you go way back, way before my time, “Peyton Place,” was one of those books. For its time period, PP had all the elements that FSoG has today. And yet as far as I know there was only one book like PP ever published with that kind of phenomenal success. I’m sure there were other books published like PP after it became so popular, but none ever reached the pinnacle of PP. Even the author of PP, Grace Metalious, never reached that level of success again.

A more recent example could be “Brokeback Mountain.” When BM became a huge mainstream hit, everyone and his/her brother/sister started writing books/stories that would compete with it, hoping they would become just as big. Don’t quote me on this, but I’ve heard that BM, through fanfic, led into the m/m romance genre. And BM didn’t even have a happy ending, which is interesting in itself with respect to m/m romance. I wasn’t paying much attention to BM at the time. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as fanfic. I was writing gay fiction as I had been doing for years, while interviewing gay bloggers as a staff member for bestgayblogs.com, never even realizing that BM would inspire so many.

But since then there has been only one BM, even though millions have tried to duplicate its success with other original books…just like PP. The good thing is that indirectly BM did open up avenues for authors of m/m romance. I was thrilled to see it did that. It opened up avenues for all writers of gay fiction. I do think that FSoG will also open up doors for authors who write light BDSM books as well. But I’m not banking on another FSoG breaking into the mainstream any time soon, at least not with the same kind of success FSoG has seen. And when I see things that imply there will be more big books like FSoG, I hesitate to take them seriously.

If there is another big book like FSoG I’ll be shocked. I could list other books that have become popular like FSoG, PP, and BM (Twilight?), but the main point is that some things just can’t be duplicated no matter how hard we try. Sometimes there is no explanation no matter how deeply we analyze it. History does repeat itself. And there will be another big book that has the success of FSoG, just like there was PP and BM. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict what type of book that big book will be. Everyone seemed to think it might be zombies for a while. I haven’t seen that happen yet.

FSoG, Release Date for "Chase of a Lifetime," and What’s Considerred "Vanilla"

This is going to be my last post…I think….on “Fifty Shades of Grey” for a while. I’ll have a release date for “Chase of a Lifetime” very soon…it will be released this week. And even though the self-publishing experience on Amazon has been much harder than what I normally do with publishers, I’m going to begin a novella as soon as COAL is up on Amazon. I’ve enjoyed the experience and there’s a project I’ve always wanted to tackle. So I figured I might as well give it a shot on Amazon. I’m also in the process of submitting a short e-book to Loveyoudivine.com titled, “Cowboy and Sparky.”

Back to FSoG. Last night I read an interesting blog post over at Pub Rants. PR is an agent blog written by Kristen Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency which is based in Denver. I’ve been following it for a long time. I don’t always agree with everything on the blog, but I do admire the fact that Ms. Nelson is what I consider a pioneer in publishing in the sense that she saw opportunities on the Internet and built a successful literary agency in Denver instead of New York. She’s proven that not everyone has to be in New York in order to have a New York Times bestseller or a successful publishing career. I think that’s groundbreaking in itself.

This week she posted about FSoG, asking her blog readers to offer comments as to why they think the book is so popular. She was honest. She couldn’t figure out why a book like that would not only cross into the mainstream but also become such a big hit. It’s an interesting post, and more than a few people commented. Some of the comments weren’t very important. But one blog reader seemed to nail it. Ms. Nelson then wrote a second post, here, and printed the comment.

I’ve already posted about FSoG, and just this past weekend I went into detail about how friends of mine have been talking about the book. It’s interesting to see how different people have such varied views all the way around.

This line from the PR post resonated with me:

The sex is vanilla.

I thought the same thing. But then I think most erotic romance these days is too safe and too vanilla. I kept quiet about this when I heard friends discussing it because they were all talking about how “filthy,” and “dirty” it is. I just figured that because I write erotic romance I’ve become immune to what is considered “vanilla.” I should also add that the friends I was with were all gay men who thought FSoG was so filthy and dirty. And when I read the PR post, I was glad to see someone else agreed with me that it wasn’t at all like that. At least not in my opinion and I’m not even into BDSM. I’ve never written it and doubt I ever will.

I also agreed with every other reason why this person who commented on the PR blog liked FSoG. I know it’s not great literature, and yet I couldn’t put it down. And I haven’t even read the other volumes because I haven’t had time. I will read them, as soon as I finish the new Anne Tyler novel I just started, “The Beginner’s Goodbye” (all reading of any kind stops short for me when Anne Tyler publishes a new book). And in a way, I’m kind of saving the other FSoG books on purpose as something to look forward to as the weather gets warmer. I like knowing that I can plan my reading list way in advance. And because I only get a few hours very late at night to read fiction for pleasure, I’m not as selective about what I read as I probably should be. My only interest at that hour is to be entertained. And I think FSoG will be a great follow up to Anne Tyler, because there isn’t a fiction writer out there, in my opinion, who can compare to her. If anyone is interested in seeing how fiction should be written from a technical POV, read any of her books. Just the way Tyler writes dialogue and dialogue tags alone is something all fiction writers should see in order to learn how to craft a novel and stay away from too many of those hideous said bookisms and dialogue tags with adverbs like lovingly and longingly. This alone is a good example of why she’s a classic. I might even write a post about this after I’m finished reading the book just to show what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, I see far too many mistakes these days, and they are simple mistakes to fix.