Fifty Shades of Grateful

Image Credit: vasilyr / 123RF Stock Photo

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. CherylCheryl

    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! 😀

  2. susielindaususielindau

    This is so great! I have some reading to do!
    By the way, where did you get those pink handcuffs… Hahaha!

  3. Natalie HartfordNatalie Hartford

    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!!!

  4. Diana LaurenceDiana Laurence

    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.

  5. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    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?)

  6. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    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! 🙂

  7. Melinda VanLoneMelinda VanLone

    Sex is a part of life, so yes I include them in my stories :-). At least, so far. But nowhere near the erotica level. I tend to read JR Ward for my smut 😀

  8. EmmaEmma

    Great post. I’ve just read that Fifty Shades is the bestselling British book ever. I enjoyed it. Have lots of Anne Rice’s stuff too.

  9. CC MacKenzieCC MacKenzie

    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!

  10. MarciaMarcia

    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!

  11. Tiffany A WhiteTiffany A White

    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.

  12. jansenschmidtjansenschmidt

    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

  13. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    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

  14. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    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?

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Nope. You need to change the wording on that warning. LOL!

  15. mj monaghanmj monaghan

    You are certainly entertaining, my friend. I’ve got nothing else to say that could possibly lead to embarrassment. 🙂

    Yes, I’m a chicken.

  16. Julie CatherineJulie Catherine

    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 🙂

  17. Jenny HansenJenny Hansen

    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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