Fifty Shades of Grateful

Grateful for erotica? You bet! But not for the reason you’re thinking…

Whatever your opinions may be regarding the Fifty Shades trilogy, there’s one thing for certain ~ those books opened the door. Not just any door, but the door to mainstream, plain old vanilla, middle of the road bedrooms like yours and mine. They made it cool to know what BDSM means. {Bondage, Dominance, Sadomasochism, in case you weren’t sure.}

Erotica isn’t some new fangled genre in writing or art. It’s been around since we first figured out that a stick could be used to draw pictures in the sand. Grecian urns, anyone? Balzac? Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Does the Marquis de Sade ring a few bells? Even my beloved Shakespeare was quite the naughty man in his day. Don’t believe me? Go back and read the nurse’s speech to Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, or heck, just read all of The Taming of the Shrew. Wasps will never look the same to you, I promise.

Long before we had Fifty Shades of Grey, there was the mysterious Story of O. Published in France in 1954, the author remained anonymous for over forty years. After her came Anne Rice, writing as A. N. Roquelaure, with the Beauty trilogy followed by her stand alone novel Exit to Eden. Like O’s author, Rice kept her true identity a secret until the nineties. Why suddenly that decade became the time to fess up is a mystery to me. Maybe it had something to do with Grunge music.

Even with the popularity of those books, there was a hushed taboo about them. People were reading them, but it was kept quiet. How dare we let anyone know we’re reading those kinds of books. Oh how salacious!

With E. L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, women and men are finally willing to admit to reading erotica without any embarrassment or school girl giggles. It’s empowering. It’s liberating. We’re finally free to open our Kindles in public and declare to the world, ‘Yes! I read smut and I like it!’. Wait, was that only me doing that? Hey, where is everyone? You said you’d join me in the naughty revolution!

One of my favorite things I got from the RWA Conference is this sticker. It makes me smile every time I read it. Even if you do like to call it mommy porn, which I really have no issue with, it’s still sex. With a whip. Or handcuffs. Or handcuffed while being whipped. Or not since erotica doesn’t have to be about BDSM. By the by, if you’re looking for some saucy photos, check out Whoo! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Another cool thing I got at the RWA Conference? The chance to meet one of my favorite erotica writers, Sara Fawkes. She was standing behind me in line and when I saw her name tag, I went all fan girl on her. I think I might’ve squealed a little. Even though she writes hot sex scenes, we never talked about those. What I wanted to know was if her heroine Lucy would be okay. The last segment of her ongoing story left the reader with Lucy sipping champagne, then vomiting before passing out. How could she leave me hanging like that!

We also talked about Comic-Con and our mutual love of Nathan Fillion. Let’s pause a moment to reflect on the awesomeness that is my sweet Nathan.

Done? Good. Back to sex.

If you’re like my friend Kathy, you want less story, more sex. But if you’re like me, you want a great plot to keep you interested. Sara gives you both plot and sex. Sometimes more of one than the other, but her Anything He Wants series (available on Kindle at Amazon) has me hooked. I just have to be patient and wait for the next installment. Sara publishes them in short story format of 8,000 -10,000 words which drives me nuts because I want it, and I want it now!

Another sexy author is Red Phoenix. Her Brie books (again, shorter, novella-ish stories), are about a young woman taking submissive classes. That’s right folks, there are classrooms and everything! And sex. Lots of sex. Even Kathy would be satisfied with this series.

If you’re looking for some sizzling sex that’s lighter on the BDSM, Roni Loren’s Crash Into You and Melt Into You are well-written full length novels with captivating characters and plot twists that will keep you turning pages even after your bed time. I also got to meet Roni at RWA and she is one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do!

If you want to have some fun with your kink, you simply must check out the hilarious Fifty Shades of Alice in Wonderland. It’s exactly what you’re thinking it is. And more.

I wonder if they’re sexier in Spanish… Dios mío!

On a recent trip to Target I saw they had the Fifty Shades trilogy prominently displayed on an end cap. Equally interesting were the books just below Fifty Shades, yep, the Beauty trilogy with new covers. Why they switched to a black and white cover with splashes of red is puzzling. The old covers were gorgeous. I’m thinking they tried to make them more modern. Meh.

Still, seeing Anne Rice’s books with Fifty Shades delights me to no end. Erotica can come out of the darkness and sit proudly on the shelves next to Dean Koontz (he’s down there in the bottom right) and Nora Roberts. For that, we owe E. L. James our gratitude.

So tell us, do you have any recommendations for my friend Kathy? What’s the steamiest book you’ve ever read? Movie you watched? Do you write sex scenes into your novels or do you leave that to the rest of us?


37 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grateful

  1. Seeing Anne Rice next to Fifty Shades is sacrilege. Anne Rice is a brilliant writer. EL James…eh. On the one hand I love that erotica is becoming more acceptable. Although, I would have to add ‘again’ to that. After sneaking reads of my mother’s copy of The Happy Hooker when I was in my teens, I have to wonder if we became more prudish after the seventies were over? That particular book was passed around my mother’s group of friends, so women weren’t that afraid to admit – at least to each other – that they liked to read stories about sex.

    My problem with the Fifty Shades books is that they promote abusive relationships. People who are into BDSM will tell you that it is not what is portrayed in those books. The heroine of Fifty Shades is a stereotypical weak female who thinks she can change her man by doing what he says. That’s an awful message to send to women.

    I do get that women enjoy reading erotica. I do too. And I’ve read some damned good erotica. I just don’t understand the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. Then again, I didn’t understand the Twilight phenomenon either. I like my heroines to be intelligent, witty and strong, even the ones who like being tied up for kinky fun. Sorry for the rant, but you did ask! 😀

    • Strong and intelligent heroines are my favorite, too. At its core, Fifty Shades is a typical romance with the virgin protagonist and the very alpha male. Whether we think the writing is crap or not, the books are selling, so there is obviously something there that makes some readers happy. Seeing Anne Rice’s books with Fifty Shades doesn’t bother me because now maybe someone looking for that kind of book will see Anne’s and pick it up whereas before they might not have heard of it. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  2. I really enjoyed reading Fifty Shades and am with you 100%. I think it’s fantastic that it’s made a very long-standing genre kind of come back into a place of glory, respect and fame. I know Fifty Shades gets a lot of flack for being so poorly written but I really enjoyed it and love what it’s done for the genre…and for book sales in general. It’s the one and only book I’ve ever heard my morning radio show talk about so I think it’s bringing new and old readers alike back into the fold and reminding us all that the joy of reading (whatever your favorite genre) is a gift we can all enjoy!
    GREAT post Tameri….love it!
    And now…I see I have a few new books to buy. SQUEEEE!!!

    • I am so with you on what Fifty Shades has done for the genre and book sales. If people are reading, that makes me happy. Enjoy your new books ~ the Alice book is a scream. Especially if you enjoyed Fifty Shades. 😉

  3. Hey Tameri, great post–and of course I had to chime in. The racy stuff I’ve written, which I call “Erotica with Soul,” is in the category of stuff you like (plot/character driven but still hot). A couple of my novellas in that category are offered free on my publisher site here: I’d recommend “Gift of Flesh” and “The Scarlet Shackle,” Both have been highly praised by reviewers and readers alike, and they are free to read online, or download in epub or Kindle format. The latter is a mild-ish BDSM story for those who like D/s stuff but not too rough–it’s been a real hit with those folks. (And for the record, I totally concur with your opinion on 50 Shades–my Julia is NOT a weak heroine!) And of course, I’ve written all the “Soulful Sex” anthologies, which are not free but they are well-loved! LOL Thanks for letting me share, my dear.

    • Yay! I’m so glad you mentioned your books, Diana. I get so used to your fun updates on Facebook that I forget you have some steamy stuff as well. The Gift of Flesh and Scarlet Shackle were goooooooood. Badass heroines for the win!

  4. Fantastic post, Tameri. And I love that sticker. 😉

    I can attest for the awesomeness of Roni’s work. I read “Crash Into You” and am eager to start her second soon. The characters, male and female, are sexual, intelligent, flawed and captivating. Unlike the bits of literary romance I’ve caught in the past, Crash felt empowering. Just be ready to get a little…um…heated up! LOL I read it at the gym and had some of my sweatiest workouts ever. (Um, TMI?)

    • Hahaha! I can imagine reading it at the gym and getting a little overheated. I tried reading it at my son’s archery class and had to put it away. It was a little disconcerting to have the gentleman next to me glancing over my shoulder. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your (non TMI) story with us!

  5. I haven’t read 50 shades, but I read Crash into You–it took me maybe 2 hrs to finish. I typically read Nora Roberts type romances, but Roni’s book was a very compelling read! 🙂

    • Roni’s book is great. I like a little more steam every now and then, not all the time or it becomes too commonplace. I haven’t read a straight romance in a long time, but since RWA gave me a dozen, I’m going to rectify that. If you ever do read Fifty, I’d love to know what you think of it.

    • You keep mentioning JR Ward. I must, simply must check her out! I love smut. Love, love, love reading and writing it. I even love that word. Smut. So fun! And you are so right ~ sex is a part of life, so why shouldn’t books have it? I can’t wait to read your books, my friend.

  6. Great post, Tameri,

    Fifty Shades was recommended to me last year by another author. It took me a while to get into it but EL James wrote Christian Grey very well indeed. And I include intimate scenes in my romances too. They seem to hit the spot! That’s what I’m being told!

    Thank you for the links to new authors, shall have my twitchy finger ready on Kindle!

    • Thanks! I adored Christian and hated him. When she had the last chapter in his POV I wished more of the book was written from his point of view. He was much more fun/compelling than Ana. I love that your readers think your steamy scenes hit the spot, that’s a great compliment! If you want to put a link up to your books, please do. I love to promote all my writer friends.

  7. I love everything from sweet romance to serious erotica! When I was in my 20s I read The Happy Hooker, Coffee, Tea or Me, and the Story of O. My girlfriend has passed her serial erotica stories she gets by subscription. I’ve written but not published some myself. I love a good plot and not just all sex…for me there has to be a story. I haven’t read Roni’s books yet, but plan to. Loved 50 Shades!

    • I keep trying to figure out how they’re going to make a movie out of the books. I mean, it’s got to have a NC-17 rating at least (please yes, please yes, please yes!). What’s a serial erotica series by subscription? Is it like a newsletter thing? How cool.

  8. Great post, Tameri! I haven’t read any of the 50 Shades trilogy, but I will… AFTER I read my good friend, Roni Loren’s Crash Into You. She writes steamy romance too. But before I go, I want to add that my grandmother would have LOVED the 50 Shades series. I’m not kidding.

    • Your grandmother totally rocks! I love it when women, no matter their age, embrace their femininity and claim responsibility to their desires. You’ll enjoy Roni’s books, they aren’t just sex, but the sex is good.

      I can’t wait to read YOUR book ~ Football Sweetheart. Even though it’s YA and not erotica, it sounds like an awesome read.

  9. Long live mommy porn! Great post, Tameri. Was that your Starbuck’s cup on the top shelf?

    Erotic romance authors are having a field day right now with all of the hype around the 50 Shades. I guess like everything else (Vampires & Weres), it’s ride the wave til it crashes then grab on to the next one. Just write a good story and people will read it.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Hahaha Patricia! I was hoping no one would notice the Starbucks cup. It wasn’t mine, but the 15 year-old girl’s who lives next door. She went with me to Target and I was so nervous to be taking a picture of the books I didn’t notice it there ~ or the fact that she picked up the first book and was skimming through it while I snapped the pic. I had to explain that if her mom wants her to read the books, she could come buy them, but if she was with me, there would be no reading of porn on my watch. 🙂

      Yep, I totally agree about the hype thing. Well done for E.L. James to be the first, may many more now write great stories for us to enjoy. Who knows? Maybe next we’ll have smutty werewolves mating with fae while struggling to survive in a dystopian society.

      I like your idea. Just write a good story and people will read it.

  10. I read the happy Hooker, way back when. I bought penthouse and playboy for my hubby. I have a large collection of Black Lace. but in truth.i don’t like BDSM – not my thing (and that’s just me) and I’m tired of sex. it feels like every book has to have more and more sex and often that is at the cost of a good story. sighhh I am getting old when I don’t want as much sex. sheesh

    • You are so freaking adorable, Louise. I feel the sex has to move the plot along or it’s just a prop. You are not getting too old to want sex, you’re just a woman who knows what she wants. Nothing wrong with that!

  11. Of course you would find pink handcuffs. LOL. Did they come in sparkly? Oh, I haven’t checked the Cupofporn site yet. I’m going to head there now. I love my pen and magnet. Yummy! And Yay! for your friend Kathy. I really want to read Roni’s book. I have her second one here, but need to get the first one so that I read them in order. Goodness. What was I thinking?

      • I know, right? 😉

        If I do find sparkly pink handcuffs you know I’m buying them! And a matching whip. OooooOOooooo, how fun. Or painful.

        We came home with so much reading goodness from RWA it’s hard to know where to start. I hope you enjoy Roni’s books.

        I’ve got my magnet right next to my desk… Yummy is right!

  12. Awesome post, loved it! While I’m probably one of the few who haven’t read Fifty Shades of Gray (and am not likely to), and BDSM doesn’t appeal to me – one of the two novels I’m working on is a contemporary romance, and will have some … tastefully steamy moments. I, too, believe that where there is sex, there has to be a story; and my heroine is vulnerable, strong, feminine – and comfortable with her sexuality. That book is still a few years away because I need to get my YA adventure/mystery novel finished first …. Loved your post! Have an awesome weekend! ~ Julie 🙂

  13. I couldn’t get into 50 Shades of Gray, but I adored the A.N. Roquelaire books and Roni Loren’s series is just AWESOME. Another fantastic sexy read is Lisa Valdez’ “Passion.” *fans self*

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