Fifty Shades – My Fifty Cents

Posted by at Mar 15, 2012 5:40 am

Warning – LONGEST Blog EVER ahead!

Intro – Why I am doing this blog – For the last couple of months in my “real” life – the life where people call me Karen not Carly – where they know I write romance and some read my books, others don’t – everywhere I go, people ask if I’ve read THAT book and what did I think (usually they ask in a sort of scandalized way, as if they can’t believe they’ve read it themselves). That books is Fifty Shades of Grey.

About a month ago, I did a blog post (or should I say rant) about my feelings on the Fifty Shades of Grey series’ hoopla. (Click Here to read). That day I focused on my frustrations – nonromance readers oohing and aahing over this “erotica” book when they normally wouldn’t read “those” books (meaning Romance – what I write). A lot of people on the blog misunderstood my post and most of the ensuing discussion was about whether or not they’d read the Fifty Shades series of books. Not surprising since I was fairly unclear in what I thought. But in my “real” life, when people asked, what I replied was – if you want good erotic romance, I can recommend books but it drives me crazy people are talking about this one book, which I’d heard wasn’t all that good. And no, I hadn’t read the series.

After a Twitter discussion regarding Dr. Drew’s show (which I didn’t see/couldn’t find here), and the continuing buzz now on national media, I decided I needed to know what the fuss was all about – if nothing else so I could have an intelligent conversation about the books when people asked me my opinion. I should add, I’m not exactly proud of my earlier replies to people about the books – I know better – I should at least read something before I have something not so nice to say – and usually if that’s the case, I wouldn’t post it in public. That’s not who I am. So last weekend, I read all three books in two days.

MY MEA CULPA – I’m here to say, in my humble opinion, from someone who HAS read erotic romance and books that are hotter and go further than Fifty Shades, I WAS WRONG. I ENJOYED The FIFTY SHADES BOOKS VERY VERY MUCH. Not everyone in the Romance community agrees and that’s fine. We can agree to disagree. What I think we all know is that this series has sparked renewed discussion about Romance and hot books in general. People are READING Romance and that’s a good good thing.

Before get into my thoughts on Fifty Shades, I just want to let you know and to encourage you to read through to the end and discuss – There will be a giveaway at the end – Fabulous author friends – Lauren Dane, Maya Banks, Shayla Black, and Roni Loren- have agreed to give away a SIGNED copy/copies of their fantastic erotic romances – And I’m in as well, doing a signed giveaway of my books (none classified as erotic romance but hot in their own way). Right now that’s 6 giveaways/winners! So if you liked Fifty Shades and are wondering what else is out there for you to read, I’m giving you a chance to find out. Read on to the end to discover out how to be eligible.

To people who have never read BDSM style books before or Erotic Romance – you probably find the concept hard to understand or comprehend beyond the sizzle factor. The truth is, there are wonderful books in this genre, authors who write and understand the lifestyle of Dominant/Submissive and truly do both it and Romance justice (OK I’m assuming they do since I don’t know of the lifestyle except for these books/authors but I’ve read enough to understand). If you haven’t, I’m thinking you’re judging Fifty Shades on the “sex” factor and I have issues with that. But that’s my problem. Let’s remember – by it’s definition – BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance and Submission) is an erotic preference and a form of personal relationship involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role play. CONSENSUAL. Let’s remember that. More importantly – it’s SAFE, SANE and CONSENSUAL.

There are a number of things floating out in the ether about the Fifty Shades series and I’d like to hit on them and tell you my feelings –

1. I’ve heard the books were poorly edited – I didn’t find any more errors than my own books have by big publishers. Yes, I make mistakes, editors don’t pick them up, and I’m called on them all the time in emails from readers. I’m human I do the best I can. So do the publishers/copy editors. I will give E.L. James the same benefit of the doubt.

2. I’ve heard the books are too much money 9.99 per book. Yes, for what we can pay these days for books, this is a lot of money. That said, I pay that much for say, a Berkley Heat Trade book. So to me, if I love an author or story, I don’t want to do it often, but I will pay that price in the right circumstance. In this case I did it for each of the 3 books in the series.

3. I’ve heard the books are too long – YES. And this goes to editing as well. Honestly this could have been written and told in one longer book or two books max. Book 3 went on way too long. That said, book 3 wraps up so much emotionally, it’s not worth skipping it. If you are going to invest, know you are investing in all 3 for a full read/flavor. Then again, you’re paying 9.99 so at least you know you are getting length for your money.

4. I’ve heard it said that Ana is a weak heroine who let the hero walk all over her – To me, Ana was NOT a weak heroine. She wasn’t some naive virgin seduced into a lifestyle by a megalomaniac Dominant. Although she was a virgin and ignorant of the lifestyle until she met Christian Grey, by definition she had to be a strong heroine to put up with the Fifty shades of dysfunction and issues a man like Christian brings with him. And if you look at the changes in both the hero and the heroine by the end of the books, you KNOW there is growth on both sides, a must in any good Romance novel.

5. The book started as Fan Fiction – Bella and Edward from Twilight – My understanding is that yes this is true – does that somehow diminish what it is now? I’m unfamiliar with Fan Fiction, so I’ll abstain from judgment there.

6. The books presume that Dominance and the need for certain Kinky WTFuckery (can I tell you how much I love this expression?) – can be explained by an abusive past and can be cured – I tend to take books one at a time. I certainly don’t agree that everyone into the lifestyle has issues that drove them there nor do I agree that you can “cure” someone of a certain deep set need to control. That said, I’ll take these books and say there was enough explanation and depth to THIS HERO for me to accept it. Was he wrapped up too neatly in a red bow at the end? Probably. Hey it’s a ROMANTIC FANTASY. And I LIKED Christian’s kinky WTFuckery and thought the heroine was well in control of her life and her decisions and when it went too far, SHE WALKED.

7. Fantasy – This “Mommy Porn” description, this “Oooh we can read these books on Kindles and hide the covers and nobody will know what we’re reading, the giggling on the news by respected newscasters – this is insulting to those of us who write Romance and work damned hard at it. Women have fantasies. Men have fantasies. Men are more visual creatures. Women turn to fantasy wrapped up in a happy ending and no matter how we reach that ending – even if it includes the need to be dominated, it shouldn’t be shameful or embarrassing and the media certainly shouldn’t be telling us it is. Oh and while we’re at it, I don’t want to know my books (or these books) are spicing up someone’s marriage. Yes, I’ve gotten mail to that effect. TMI, people. TMI.

An Aside – added this past Tuesday morning – Just watched Good Morning America cover the book. I’m offended on behalf of all Romance writers at the whole giggling mommy porn thing. This probably sounds odd from someone whose book, The Bachelor, was unveiled with smoke and innuendo and beach trash comments on LIVE! With Regis and Kelly in 2002 – BUT – it’s not odd. 1. Kelly is not a news show, she’s a talk show. 2. Kelly said she wanted anti-Oprah books – though she called them beach trash, she meant it in a fun way – she reads them – she likes them. 3. I KNEW what was coming. Sort of. But GMA, a news show, covering a book that went viral – went too far and was insulting, not unbiased. Hey – going viral – word of mouth alone selling these books and bringing them national attention is a GOOD THING and I hope the author is laughing all the way to the bank – I resent the mainstream media giggling over the titillation value of these books. This isn’t the Victorian Era.

My Opinion of the series in a Nutshell – Stripped of the hype, and the fact that yes, the books went on too long, at heart I found a beautiful love story. The story of an extremely wounded hero – and the special woman who invests in his life, his love, and understands what she has to accept in order to be with him.

Like every other woman who loved these books, I fell in love with Christian Grey. Unlike the women who came to these books ignorant of the Romance genre, I’ve seen elements of this story before – I wasn’t shocked by the sex or the Dominance or the Erotic turns or the darkness of the hero’s past. In fact these books are TAME in comparison to many I’ve read. As a writer, I found Christian Grey compelling, wounded, and flawed – and yet because he knows this about himself, because he gets help throughout the story, there was a realness to it all that I just adored. The emails between the hero and heroine? SHIVER. Fantastic!

Were there fantasy elements? Yes. What Romance novel doesn’t have fantasy elements – in this case the self made, sexy as sin, millionaire sweeping a young woman off her feet and giving her a wealthy lifestyle most people can only dream of. But just like in real life, there are drawbacks to every situation and Ana, the heroine here, truly has to decide if she can live with him and his demons. She can because she loves him. Not because he comes with all the wealth. I think at heart, that’s what I loved most about her. Even though she could be frustrating – sometimes too independent – sometimes too compliant – there were more times that I understood WHY she gave in – because he needed her – and she wasn’t losing herself in the process. I saw that. I believed that. And putting aside some of the vast repetition of scenarios necessary to allow the books to be in 3 parts and go on as long as they did, it was the hero and the heroine and their love and understanding of each other that kept me coming back for more.

The Kinky WTFuckery? Well, that’s SAFE, SANE, and consensual between them and thousands of people are reading these books – that ought to tell you something – and it’s not that all women want to be dominated or abused in their real life. They may dream of giving up control, it’s a fantasy, a relinquishing of power and letting someone else know what’s best for you because you TRUST THEM. That’s what I found between these characters. Consent. Trust. And Love.

My Rant – Aimed at people who don’t read or claim not to like Romance, or “those books” – Fifty Shades of Grey, like the authors I’ll recommend below, are NOT erotica for the sake of erotica – not as I’ve been led to believe by many of the articles in the papers discussing that “dirty little secret book” women and housewives are reading. Fifty Shades was a thoughtful look into how someone ended up relying on this type of lifestyle for his very salvation and how he over came a painful past to become the person he is today – and like in every Romance novel – how real, enduring love can change and help you out of the dark and into the light. If you are reading it for titillation value, you’re missing the point. And if you are reading it for that, I guarantee you are NOT a Romance fan, you don’t understand why Romance novels sell the way they do, why they appeal to women and even some men, and why they are not churned out books but carefully crafted, well thought out books with depth, emotion and occasionally humor and/or suspense. And if you don’t read THOSE books – that’s fine, you’re entitled – but don’t claim to fall in love with Christian Grey (hero in Fifty) and then turn your nose up at the genre because you read only high brow Oprah books. If you’ve read and liked or loved Fifty and you still won’t try a Romance … your loss. Rant Over.

Another Aside -written this past Wednesday night – and the blog is going live tomorrow. I’m sorry for the length. It wasn’t planned. But every day something new blows up about this series and so kept adding into what was already written above. But don’t worry, I’ll be rewarding your patience with me at the end!


As I mentioned, I thought Fifty Shades was TAME compared to many books I’ve read – Christian’s past that we don’t see held the heavier elements of the BDSM lifestyle, than you read between the pages here. Some are in these books. If you liked Fifty, I encourage you to give these authors a try – and if you haven’t read me, though I don’t write Erotic Romance, just hot (some say sizzling), contemporary Romance, I suggest you start there. (Shameless self promotion over now!)
If you’re interested in an author who delves into BDSM well with great Romance – Cherise Sinclair comes to mind. I appreciate the Dear Reader she puts at the beginning of every book, the warning so people don’t think it’s so easy to find love in a few days in this kind of environment, and she cautions care. I like that. Master of the Mountain, and the Shadowlands series are very good books of hers. Love them.
A HUGE favorite of mine – Huge – Shayla Black’s Wicked Lovers series – starts with Wicked Ties and keep going!
A very good friend of mine who I recommend all the time – Lauren Dane – wrote a series of books beginning with my favorite, LAID BARE, which stayed with me for a long, long, time in part because she deals with such tragedy along with hope, and a family’s adjustment to a committed menage situation.
Another great Erotic Romance author is is Maya Banks and her Sweet Series starting with Sweet Surrender and Sweet Persuasion, which contains a total power exchange with a contract like 50 Shades, and Sweet Temptation.
A new to me author who blew my mind with her sensual, hot hot hot books – Eve Berlin – Desire’s Edge.

I also found good books suggested at author Roni Loren’s blog – HERE – Roni wrote a Berkley Heat set at a BDSM Resort. I enjoyed Roni’s book, Crash Into You – classified as a Contemporary Erotic Romance and in her Blog, What to Read if You’ve Read #50 Shades of Grey And Want More BDSM Romance, she gives you a similar list to what I’ve put here.

This is by no means a comprehensive list but it gives you a place to start!

Whew. The longest blog ever has finally come to an end. So now your reward. I’ve enlisted a few of my author friends to do signed book giveaways – 6 winners total!

1. Lauren Dane is generously giving away LAID BARE (one of my all time favorite books / characters),
2. Maya Banks is offering up Sweet Persuasion;
3. as well as Sweet Addiction (brand spanking new so it may take longer to send),
4. Roni Loren is giving Crash into You
5. Carly Phillips _ that’s me! is offering a reader’s choice backlist book (subject to availability);
6. And Carly Phillips’ Serendipity – the first book in my current small town Romance series about the hot, sexy, and estranged Barron Brothers.

TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN – just comment below – participate in the discussion. All those who post something are eligible! Winners chosen at random and announced on Sunday.

So let’s start the discussion about Fifty Shades of Grey and all Erotic Romance – some jumping points in no particular order – or talk about whatever moves you –
1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books?
2. If so, did you enjoy them? Why or why not?
3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it?
4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more?
5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?)

Thanks for visiting and putting up with me through this!
FYI – adding this early Thurs AM – I’m can tell already not going to be able to reply to each and every post but I AM reading them and THANK YOU for visiting and posting!


330 thoughts on “Fifty Shades – My Fifty Cents

  1. 1
    Betty Hamilton says:

    I have not read them …yet… buit would like too. I do love erotic romance and am an avid reader. Thanks for the opportunity to win books. I have many favored authors and love to read new-to-me authors.

  2. 2
    Kimberly Mayberry says:

    Even though I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey, I have read most of your books. I have read some of the other author’s books that you have mentioned above, too, and with pleasure, I might add. I read, and have read, every form of romance book possible. I enjoy them all. The “heat” factor I read all depends on my “state of mind” or my mood at the given time. There are times when I want sweet romance, others when I want something to make me wiggle a bit, sometimes I desire lots of passion in the book I am reading, and then…then there are the times when I want down-right erotica–as hot as it can get!

    There are romance books out there to fit my every want and need–it just takes my time and effort to find the authors who have the writing style that suits my mental state at the time. I definitely have my reliable favorites, but I am always up for the challenge of finding a new author that makes me smile, blush, and want to melt into my bed, if that is how I am feeling. Am I even a little bit embarrassed by the books I read? Hell no! I talk about what I am reading with anyone who will listen to me and try to get others interested in the story and the authors. I am a proud and brazen (yes, I just said “brazen”) romance/erotica reader and will defend my beloved books until death do us part. It is my own little love affair, even if told by another writer, I still get to make it my own in my mind as I read the story, let it become apart of me, and most importantly, let me FEEL the way I wanted and needed to feel when I pick that particular book out to read.

    • 2.1
      Carly says:

      Kimberly, I am like you. I read a wide variety of flavors in my romances. I have my staple, go-to authors, and I have new to me authors, hotter authors I’ve found via reliable Twitter recommendations, etc. and on Saturday read suggestion day here at Plotmonkeys. I’m not embarrassed by what I read, would read them in paperback w/the cover showing except I’ve become Kindle addicted because I can take everything with me at once and read whatever I’m in the mood for! :applause:

  3. 3
    Laurie G says:

    I am totally oblivious to this whole debate. I haven’t read or heard about this series. I’ve been working and entertaining guests for Spring Break.

    Carly I enjoyed your discussion. It sounded level-headed and fair. I do what to read the series to make my own decision. Thanks for the heads up.

    I haven’t read very much erotica. I’m always openminded when it comes to romance.

    johns lake at usa dot com

  4. 4
    Lori Mosel says:

    Just got into romance a couple of years ago. Have not read the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I do read Erotic romance thou and enjoy it. I also have my staple authors and am always seeking new authors also.
    Keep writing! Love your writing. Now with my new kindle Fire I will just be reading even more!

  5. 5
    Renee Mulholland says:

    :yourock I have to admit, I bought into the hype and bought the book, I wasn’t going to and not for the resasons you touched on (even though I have the same feelings on the media/public perceptions). I was not a fan of the Twighlight series (its the YA genre I have a hard time with, but thats just me). I have read ‘THAT’ kind of book for only a couple years now and enjoy ALL types of romance. I will admit to being quite ignorant of BDSM but a few friends gave such great accolades to THE RELUCTANT DOM that I had to read it. I have a better understanding and respect for the lifestyle and found that now I have a whole new list of authors to add to my to-be-read pile.

    • 5.1
      Carly says:

      OMG Renee, I just read the description of The Reluctant Dom and I don’t think I could take it! I read Romance because I CAN’T handle those kinds of sad books – wowowowow. It’s not on Kindle. Well, regardless I don’t think I could read it but sounds phenomenal.

      • Renee Mulholland says:

        It was really hard knowing how it was going to end but I truly could not put it down. It was so well written that it sucks you in even as you’re telling yourself ‘I am not gonna cry, I am NOT gonna cry’ at the same time reaching for the tissues.

      • trish dechant says:

        Carly-The Reluctant Dom is one of those books that stays with you-long after you finish it. It was soooooo good. I cried several times throughtout the book and LURVED it. It was such a great story about the strength of friendship–
        It’s on my all time fave books ever.
        Thanks for such a great article. I read Fifty Shades as a fan fic and thought it was too long drawn out. I agree with you about editing it down. Although I am not a fan of the books, I think that any controversy that gets people to read is a good thing.


  6. 6
    Melody Sanders says:

    I have not read it but have added it to my wish list. I have been reading romance since eighth grade. I always have a book in my hand. I have quite afew of the erotic short stories on my kindle as well as many many romance novels including yours Carly. I loved your discussion. I have read E.L. James and

    • 6.1
      Carly says:

      Thanks! I hope everyone sees this – I’m not going to be able to reply to each and every post but I AM reading them!

  7. 7
    Liz Matis says:

    Thanks Carly for the post. I’ve been curious about all the hype. I won’t be ready it though. I dislike the BSDM stories. I understand the concept on one level but on another I don’t get it. I just want to take a baseball bat to the ‘hero’s’ head. No pain with my pleasure please. But I do love the hot, spicy books, but I also like sweet ones with lots of sexual tension.

    • 7.1
      Liz Matis says:

      I meant reading – talk about editing!!!!

    • 7.2
      Carly says:

      Totally get it, Liz. It’s not for everyone. Just like I don’t want people discounting Romance for the wrong reasons, I felt the same about this. But when something’s not for you, that’s THE END.

    • 7.3
      Linda D says:

      These books aren’t for me. I love sexy books and some erotic romance but I have to care about the characters enough to care about their sexuality, and most of the erotica I’ve read doesn’t spend time on characters because they spend so much time in the bedroom. (And there’s not much chance to let sexual tension build when they’re going at it by page 20.) I’ve read books by many of the authors Carly cites (Banks, Loren, and others) but I don’t agree that they’re well written. It bugs me when an author’s main goal in a book is to pander to what she thinks every woman’s fantasy is or to push an envelope instead of staying true to interesting well-drawn characters.
      For me personally, I find most of the BDSM stuff somewhat degrading to the woman, even though she is an active participant, and rape fantasies absolutely drive me bonkers. I can’t help thinking of sexual assault victims and how they must feel if they come across one of these scenes.
      To be clear, just because I don’t like the kinkier erotica doesn’t mean I think no one else should read it. I have no problem with what other people want to read, but I go to a lot of romance blogs, follow many writers on twitter, and am a published romance writer, and I have felt very “judged” in the last few weeks with all of the discussion about 50 Shades. I’ve seen a certain “if you don’t like these books, you’re close-minded and not in touch with your own sexuality” vibe that REALLY rubs me the wrong way (snicker, no pun intended).
      And to close off this diatribe, the bandwagon mentality of the publishing industry concerns me. Whatever the latest flavor of the month is, whether it’s vampires, shapeshifters, or hard-edged erotica, the market will soon be flooded with bad books trying to imitate whatever has been successful. I worry that there won’t be a place for the more subtle, character-driven sexy romance that I love to read and try to write. It’s hard to do that when you’re focused on writing the most over-the-top gang-bang scene possible.
      Sorry for the rant–just have a lot to get off my chest on this topic.

      • Carly says:

        Linda, everyone has their own taste! And this is bound to generate controversy and I get that – we do try and steer clear of real negativity though -I’d rather not say books by authors who visit here and are generous enough to donate aren’t well written – not liking them is just fine though. To each his own! :)

        • Linda D says:

          Huh, I guess I didn’t feel that I was being overly negative or flaming anyone. Because the subject matters of BDSM or menage don’t appeal to me but I’m always open to a good book about almost any topic, I feel like I have to explain why these books haven’t worked for me. I have read several precisely because I was trying to give them a chance based on all the praise I hear, but I’ve always been disappointed. I’m obviously in the minority of commenters because many others love these books, but I always value a dissenting opinion. (Maybe I’m just contrary that way.) I can only speak for myself, and I didn’t mean to offend.

          • Carly says:

            I know you didn’t and I didn’t mean to call you out. I just wanted to make sure everyone was OK, you know? Sorry here too! We’re all good.

      • Julie Leto says:

        Linda, I haven’t read many BDSM books, but judging by the ones I have…I could have written a lot of your post word for word. Carly and I have had this discussion MANY times…it’s a taste thing. I know what I like and what I don’t like and that doesn’t make either one of us less “open-minded.” People who know me KNOW that I’m one of the most open-minded people in the world, especially when it comes to sex! But the DOM/sub scenario has never worked for me for the same reasons it has not worked for you…there’s an element of degradation that I can’t get past–even if the heroine isn’t feeling it, I AM. And I don’t enjoy it. So I tend to not seek out books with that theme. THAT’S FAIR. We don’t have to read certain books just to prove anything to anyone else. Maybe someday, I’ll find a book that changes my mind about my own tastes. Or maybe I won’t! :-) There are so many books in the world, there is something for everyone.

      • Heather says:

        I can see your point Linda and Julie. My big complaint with the whole mess is people judging the Romance Genre on ONE set of books. Not every genre is for everyone. I have friends who ONLY read FF&P and other who ONLY read historicals.

        • Linda D says:

          Thanks Julie and Heather. I really welcome diversity in the genre, but I want there to be real diversity, something for everyone, not just a race by authors to top each other in pushing the envelope. I deeply suspect that there is a backlash coming, but probably not for a while. My hubby is a horror writer and the whole thing reminds him of what horror went through in the 90s–the splatterpunk trend with its ever-increasing levels of gore. It was huge for a while, pretty much took over the genre, and then people tired of it. It faded away, but did lasting damage to the horror genre. I just don’t want to see the same thing happen to romance–I love it too much!

          • Carly says:

            Linda, I agree – backlash always comes – whether it was Chick Lit – Vampires – we will get it. For now, people are reading. FWIW.

          • Jaymy M says:

            I agree, a book, like a person should be judged on its merit, not by its cover or trend. I generally try to steer clear of especially hyped books and look for lesser known ones for that reason. Everyone deserves their moment if they’ve put forth the effort.

            That said, there are too many “overproduced” books, shows, movies, etc…. out there. People show an interest and they go crazy demanding most got that direction. While there are certain types of books and stories I like better than others, I don’t want one just be cause it’s the popular thing. I’m just not that girl. I want the story to be fresh, not what the same thing every time. Enjoy vamps and wares/shifters, but honestly, aside from a few that have been at it since way before everyone jumped on the bandwagon they all sound the same. Mix it up people! And for the love of a good book, if it can be said in 12 pages instead of 200, do it. I don’t need a book shelf full of the same series if they’re all the same story, with the name and location changes. And that’s what I’m seeing.

            I’ve read various genres including BDSM. I’ve found some I like. There’s a story, not just sex, to the ones I’ve enjoyed. Although some of the HOT scene were fun too. They tell of trust and respect. Gotta have both. I’m finding many that, unfortunately, don’t and that also aren’t the best written.

            In general, I tend to prefer HOT romance, and to me funny is a lot sexier than cuffs, as well as thrillers. But, that’s me. My best friend and I bonded the summer before college over McD’s fries and romance books. (She had to put cut covers over hers because they were frowned on.)

            I have not read the Grey books, and likely won’t. Have seen them rec’ed on FF and several other blogs, review sites. Unless they happened to be gifted to me, don’t think I’ll be reading ’em. Too many other fun reads in my “to do” pile as it is. :D

  8. 8
    kris says:

    I haven’t read the 50 trilogy yet. I’ve contemplated it because I kind of want to know what has everyone talking, but have refrained from making the leap; partly because of the price, partly because of the mixed reviews, and partly because I have well over 300 books in my TBR that I need to read.

    Romance is all I read and I’ve read just about every sub-genre (except Steampunk). I don’t have a problem with BDSM, some of the books I’ve read have been very good. But mostly I stick to Contemp or RS because that is what I like best.

  9. 9
    Melody Sanders says:

    I loved your discussion. I haven’t read this yet but they are on my wish list on kindle. I have been reading romance books since maybe eighth grade. I always have a book in hand. I love your books and have read almost alll and a couple twice. I have read Erotic short stories on my kindle including Maya and E.L.James. I still love my regular romance books too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I will be checking out your other suggestions.

  10. 10
    Liza says:

    I haven’t read the 50 Shades books yet, but did buy the first book over the weekend based on your tweets. I read pretty much every genre of romance, and that includes erotica. I pick and choose what to read based on my mood, so I know when I pick one of Maya’s Sweet series books, I know I’m ready to read an erotic story. I’ll admit I didn’t know anything about the BDSM until I started reading erotic books, so I’m still learning to understand some of the finer relationship points. The ones I’ve read have been like any other romance to me…with a heat factor that is off the charts.

    I generally pick books with more of a HOT label than erotic, but do enjoy erotic stories. I’ve read both Maya and Lauren and love them both.

    I have to say the whole “Mommy Porn” thing is crazy. I read lots of books on my kindle, nook, and iPad. I also proudly read my romance books in public no matter what the cover looks like. If someone had a problem with the cover, they can look away or stop trying to read over my shoulder. I’ve often complained about not getting the beautiful covers when I buy in eBook rather than print.

    • 10.1
      Carly says:

      Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    • 10.2
      Julie Leto says:

      Liza, I hate this MOMMY PORN thing SO MUCH. Women should be able to read whatever the hell they want to read without other people judging!!! I have yet to EVER hear a man have to justify why he enjoyed something. If you read something you like, yea!!!

      • JacquiC says:

        The double standard is what burns me most about all the Fifty Shades media hype. I keep hearing about how all men view porn and that men who say they don’t are lying. But is this a news story?? Of course not. Instead, the news story is about a book that contains much more tame sex scenes than the sex scenes that men seem to view all the time. And the news story is about the fascination that this book has for women, as if this is somehow worth mainstream media attention. It would be one thing if the tone of the stories related to celebrating the fact that women are exploring sexual fantasies and successfully publishing books that tap into female sexuality. Instead, it seems to be demeaning, as demonstrated by the “mommy porn” label that makes so many of us angry, and by the general shaming tone that seems to be adopted in relation to romance or erotica readers generally (the female variety). Ugh. I find there is a huge hypocrisy in all this — men seem to want the women they are married to/involved with to be sex goddesses but not to have the freedom to pursue the sexual fantasies that might actually help achieve this goal… but maybe I’m just reading way too much into all of this. It’s definitely pushing buttons for me!

  11. 11
    Karen says:

    I haven’t read the 50 Shades books. I do read erotic romance though I haven’t read many BDSM books.

    I read any romance (sweet, warm, hot, erotic, whatever) as long as the story is well-written!

  12. 12
    Sue says:

    Well, needless to say, I just downloaded several new books to my nook. I had heard of Fifty Shades but, hadn’t read them. I now have the first one on my Nook waiting for me to read. Also downloaded a couple by Cherise Sinclair. I’ve already read the Sweet Series, Brown Sibling Series & Wicked Lovers Series and absolutely love them all. Can’t wait to get started on what I downloaded this morning!

  13. 13
    Tiffany says:

    I went and got 50 Shades on my kindle after your last post about it. I hadn’t heard anything about it before that. I did read all 3 books in a weekend ( sure the kids can cook their own dinner!!) I totally agree with you. Loved the story. I have read other erotic authors ( actually all you listed) but I thought it was a good story and couldn’t understand all the hoopla about this book.

    • 13.1
      Carly says:

      OMG I read them in a weekend too – and my daughter who is 15 felt TOTALLY NEGLECTED. But how worth it in the short run. I’m making it up to her now!

  14. 14
    aida alberto says:

    I read erotica along with a lot of other different books including romance and I’m not ashamed to admit it. What does bother me is the look I get sometimes when I’m in the bookstore buying erotica. It’s like this sly giggly look as if I’m doing something naughty. Shame on them for not understanding that erotica is a beautiful type of love story with the sex ramped up. That’s all there is. Megan Hart is a favorite of mine because yes, there is a love story and it is really well written. I read other erotica writers too. No, I’m not gonna have my books delivered to me in the mail in a box.

  15. 15
    Patty says:

    I haven’t read them yet. Was recommended to me a few months ago by a co-worker. I like a wide variety of books and have read some erotica. I have read Lora Leigh, Jaci Burton…. Mari Carr-Compass Brother’s series….. recently read Sarah Mccarty….erotic Historical…. and I don’t usually read historical ..

    I love your books…which are sexy and hot by the way… Diana Palmer,Lori Foster,Erin Mccarthy, Victoria Dahlia, Julie James,Susan Mallery, ect. Way too many to list

  16. 16

    Great, great, thoughtful post. Must say I’ve missed most of the hype about this book (books), but haven’t yet heard anything that leads me to believe I’d love it (them)! But still… I thought that about the Hunger Games trilogy and the Millenium trilogy and I ended up devouring those…
    To me, there’s just so many, many great romance books out there that sound ever so much more enticing! So many books, so little time! And so many that, although considered mainstream romance are so much HOTTER than these books sound.
    Remember when you wrote your first Blaze — well, of course you do — and how HOT and risque we all thought that was? LOL! Flash forward to 2012!!

    • 16.1
      Carly says:

      My first Blaze – I thought that shower scene was the end all be all. :hide: LOL!

    • 16.2
      Liza says:

      What’s the Millenium trilogy? I’ve heard of Hunger Games (have 1st book on kindle) but not heard of the Millenium trilogy.

      • Anne Morgan says:

        I haven’t read the 50 Shades series yet, but I expect I will when I get the chance (finishing grad school doesn’t always leave lots of time for reading fun stuff!) so I can make my own decision about them. I love all kinds of Romance, like many of the rest of you, it just depends on my mood. I have to say thank you Carly for your rant against the people who judge Romance and look down on it, without having actually read anything in the genre, whether it’s “50 Shades” or something else. I don’t understand how you can claim to have an opinion on something when you haven’t even bothered to read a book to form an opinion. There’s no reason for Romance as a genre to be looked down on. I’m in Library Science school and while working on my resume I was describing to my resume counselor the work I’d done in a bookstore improving the selections in several genre sections, including Romance. She said I shouldn’t put that in because people wouldn’t take me seriously. Really? Even librarians have this complex? Very disturbing. I’m proud to read and enjoy romance and not ashamed to let anyone see me reading it!

        • Cheryl Lucas says:

          Anne, I’m I librarian and romances are one of our heaviest circulated genres. It pays to know all genres but don’t let anyone dismiss romance because if you go into public library work you’re going to need to know the top authors and sub-genres.

      • Cheryl Lucas says:

        The Millennium Trilogy is the Stieg Larsson books “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.

        I read lots or erotica or romantica if you want to tame it down. I definitely like my characters to be developed enough the I know more than their physical attributes but I also love those burning hot scenes.

        Haven’t read “50 Shades of Grey” but I did look at it and consider it before all the hype started happening. I’m just not one for long books or trilogies that are about the same characters. Give me a new love story in each book and connect them through family or place & I’ll usually read them all.

        Carly, keep writing what you write best and I’ll read them without shame. I even recommend them to other readers. As some famous person probably once said, “Every book has its readers and every reader has their books”

      • Oh, it’s the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the two books that came after, Liza — The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

        It’s called the Millenium Trilogy because that was the name of the crusading magazine the male protagonist published and wrote for.

  17. 17
    Jaclyn says:

    Thanks for the blog. I have all three books, read the first two in two days, and am 2/3rds of the way through the last. I really enjoy the story, love Christian, but as you mentioned, it has gone on too long. I will finish today, and really don’t understand why the media has their panties in a twist over this book. I read all types of romance, most of your books, some of the authors that you listed, but I always like to try new ones. I got the books before I heard all the hoopla, and I am glad. I am very happily married and a mother of two children, and I will admit to reading and enjoying the twilight series. :) Again, I love this post, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I could not agree with you more! Thank-you also for the chance to win a book!! Make it a great day!

  18. 18
    Amy says:

    I loved the Fifty Shades series. I thought the analysis of what makes Christian Grey tick was very interesting. Fundamentally, I liked him a lot, warts and all. For readers to call this a BDSM book, though, is a bit naive. Yes, the whole D/s dynamic is prominent, but I don’t think it is the point of the book. (If you want a primer in BDSM in a very well-written manner, Cherise Sinclair is the shizz – I totally agree with you on that one. Michele Zurlo is also worth a read if you like the Kinky Fuckery, BDSM, and D/s.)

    My biggest beef with it were E L James’ lack of knowledge/appreciation for her location. In terms of editing concerns…meh. For me, this was one of those books that insipires almost instantaneous love and the need to read compulsively to the end. If you were not inspired in that way, I can see where it would get long.

    I think the hype around Fifty Shades is terribly overblown. It’s a series like many within the big romance umbrella. It’s a good series. But so are many within the big romance tent.

    • 18.1
      Carly says:

      I’m truly not a settings person, so I could let that go, though I’ve heard it before too. I agree, nobody does it quite like Cherise – lol. Love her.

  19. 19
    julie says:

    I have not read 50 Shades but I have read other erotic/romance books. There are so many great books in these/this genre.

  20. 20
    Lynn P says:

    Have not read Fifty Shades, I think I will eventually. Most of the authors you listed are my “must reads”. You included!!!

  21. 21
    ElaineSay says:

    I have read the books. I really liked them. I also have read quite a few of Lauren Danes Maya Banks and Cherise as well. I enjoyed your blog! I agree on all of your points! I love when women at my work giggle about the book and I am reading an even naughtier book on my reader!!

  22. 22
    Marcie R says:

    When I heard the books were going into Print, I wondered what your take would be.
    I doubt I will read them. They aren’t my ‘type’ of romance.

  23. 23
    Dottie says:

    I too, have not read Fifty Shades of Grey. I think I will buy it and read it. I also love all kinds of Romance except Historical. It is not my favorite. I just love the the happt endings in a true love story! Thanks for the oppurtunity to win!

  24. 24
    Jennifer R. says:

    I have been a romance reader since I was in my teens, which sadly, was several several years
    ago! Lol I took to liking erotic romance about 10 years ago and have never looked back!
    I still read a little of every genre too! I have been very curious about these books and now you have gone and made me want to read them even more! Lol Thanks for a great blog! And for the opportunity to win some great books!

  25. 25

    An absolutely fabulous, in-depth, and entertaining post! You listed some incredible authors and I have read them ALL. I, too, really liked this series but took offense to the giggling Mommy porn comment. I write erotic romance – under my OWN name – and am proud of it. I write other stuff too, but for me, it’s wrapped up in a happy ending with some great sex. I also love reading the BDSM books and am happy this discussion at least gives readers an opportunity to explore more authors who are masters in this genre. Thank you so much for a thoughtful discussion on a hot topic!

    • 25.1
      Carly says:

      Jen, thanks for the post. I just downloaded your book and CONGRATULATIONS, YOU GO GIRL! Tell us about it here – or email me and we’ll get you on here to do a guest blog!

  26. 26
    Paula R. says:

    Hi Carly, what a well thought out and informative blog you’ve written. To be honest, I am out if the loop on this one. I don’t know what all the hype is about. When I look back, I do recall seeing this book at the store, but I skipped over it, not because I didn’t like ut, but rather, because the title didn’t grab me. I don’t read many books that deal with BDSM; it just brings back a lot of bad memories of my abuse. So I stay away. I have readone or two though, from Kate Douglas’ Wolf Tales series. I think those were easier for me to read because the characters shifted, which made it less “real” for me. I have read some of Maya Banks’ stuff on her website, but although it was good, it was too much for me. Maybe one day I will get to the point when I could read books like these without being launched into the past. But, as you stated, the romance is the most important factor. The love the H and h share with each other should be the focus. That’s what I look for in any romance I read. I want to see them grow and change as they overcome all the obstacles in their way. Once again, great job on the response to the negative hype out there about this book. Kudos to the author for putting it out there. Carly, don’t enter me in the contest okay.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

    • 26.1
      Carly says:

      Paula, :hugging: there are definitely people for whom these books are not made, romances or not. No reason to go there or even think about it. As they say in the old cliche, there’s a cover for every pot. Sorry if this post brought up bad memories. I totally respect your feelings! Onward to happier things! :grouphug:

      • Paula R. says:

        Hey Carly, the post didn’t bring up any bad feelings for me. So don’t worry there. Those come up when I read books that have a bit “too much” for me. I make it through The WARDen’s BDB series, and I find ways to get myself out of it. I just focus on the romance between the hero and heroine. There are just some elements I can’t handle. Once again, great post today. I’ll be hanging out here so I can learn some things. The length of the post didn’t matter either. It was worth reading it.

        Peace and love,
        Paula R.

  27. 27
    Trish says:

    I love both erotic and contemporary romances Maya banks and lauren dane are two of my favorites when I want something steamy and your books are for when I want something inbetween…love all of it!

  28. 28
    Olivia says:

    Hi Carly!
    I have not yet read Fifty Shades, but I was starting to consider it. I’ve been watching all these discussions, but not having read the book, I couldn’t venture to say which side I come down on. I have read some erotica, but it’s not my usual read. It may be that I just haven’t found a book/series where I love the characters, so thanks for the recommendations.
    I do enjoy books with a high heat factor, and I was just discussing this on Twitter yesterday, I refuse to hide my covers anymore. Really, if someone stares because the cover of the book I’m reading is HOT, then look away. Don’t worry, I’m not going to come over and force you to read it. I like it, so leave me alone! It makes me crazy when people get all superior about their book taste. :wallbanger:
    Personally, there are many, many high lit/Oprah books that I find boring as hell. But, I don’t sneer at the people who read them. If that’s their thing, that’s fine. Just know that I’m getting a lot more enjoyment out of mine. :bananaangel:

  29. 29
    Tricia says:

    Carly, I loved the Blog….. I know we chatted on FB regarding today’s blog. and I haven’t read the book YET, but have addeed them to my B&N wishlist so i can but them for my NOOK. I do read Erotic Romance and the author’s you listed. I have also discovered several others included Lacey Alexander and Lorelei James.

    ElaineSAY- I have the same thing happen at work. The women I work with usually ask me if i’m reading my “SMUT”. sad these are intelligent women who feel the need to try and make my book choices seem silly. I have no problem telling someone what i’m reading on my ereader. I enjoy reading all types of books.

    Jennifer Probst – I just bought The Marriage Bargain. Thanks for posting I love reading new authors.

  30. 30
    Maria Geraci says:


    I read the books (all 3 of them) because, like you, as an author, I’d heard a ton of hype and was curious. I’ve not a huge fan of erotica, although I have read it and enjoy it when it’s well done. Megan Hart’s “Broken” is absolutely beautiful and one of my favorite books. I also love anything written by Kate Pearce.

    That said, I thought the Fifty Shades books were okay. I didn’t love Christian like a lot of women did, but I did like him and feel sorry for him and will admit to be turned on by some of his behavior (because lets face it, who doesn’t fantasize about a hot Alpha male?) Anna, on the other hand, did get on my nerves. Hated her whole Inner Goddess dialogue. I thought it was cute at first, but then was overused. The best parts of the books were the emails to each other, which were fun and romantic. I did feel the book was not edited well (if you do a search for how many times people “roll their eyes” I’m sure it will come up in 3 figures.) As far as copy-editing went, I didn’t find any glaring errors.

    I read the books very quickly but will admit to skimming because I did feel there were sections that were over long (and that includes a lot of the sex scenes). I agree, this could have easily been 2 books. Overall, not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon, but not keepers or books I will read again.

  31. 31
    Martha mckenna says:

    I have not read the fifty shades books but you peaked my interest. But I can buy lots of other books for $ 30. I read romance, contemporary, historical, and erotica. I call my books smut when very steamy. I read real books and kindle. I am not afraid of what people think. Hubby took my kindle fire with him to watch movies, I told him if he read my smut, I would know. I had a paperback, with a very naked chest man with abs, my 2 year old saw it and said, that daddy? I laughed and said I wish. Lol I read all your books, and shared them with others, even my grandmother. Who doesn’t like romance and a happy ending? I like romances. I could care less what anyone else thinks. Oh, I have also read some christian romance, throw in a bible verse and prayer, it is still a romance. I have also read the Dan Brown books, Wicked series, and Nicholas Sparks. It all comes down to good w :irish2: riting and a good plot. I refuse to read books that don’t have happy ending, I have enough of that in reality. Thanks for the blog and opportunity to win books.

  32. 32
    Heather F. says:

    What a great and thought provoking post, Carly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

    I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey YET. It is on my NOOK and ready to be read, but I’m in the middle of another trilogy and want to finish that one first. I have to say that I was happy I got to read your blog first before I started the books. I follow you on Twitter and here on Plotmonkeys and you always have great things to say, so I was glad to get your perspective. I have several friends who have read them and really, really enjoyed them. I’m looking forward to reading all three.

    I read all types of books and all types of Romance books. I haven’t delved deeply into erotica, but not because I haven’t wanted to, I just have so many other things I’ve wanted to read. I enjoy all kinds of romance and I’m not ashamed to be reading HOT romance or erotica. To me, its all good!

  33. 33

    Wonderful, thoughtful, and informative post, Carly! I haven’t read 50 Shades yet. Not sure if I will actually. But I enjoyed your post about it. I think women who roll their eyes at romance without even trying a few are missing out. Sure, romance isn’t for everyone, but how do you know if you’ll like them or not if you don’t read one before you decide?

  34. 34
    Bridgett says:

    This is what I love about twitter. Everyone…especially Lauren Dane (love her)…has been talking about how the media/politicians are trying to put women back in the dark ages. From dictating about birth control to being embarrassed about what we read. Ahhh…no!! So I love this post for today.

    I stumbled upon the Fifty Shades Trilogy by accident one weekend about a month ago before all the hoopla started. I was instantly hooked. I loved this trilogy. I read it in less than 2 days. It is different than a lot of books I read and I do read a variety of them. This is a love story full of emotion. Yes their is sex. I am not sure that people can have sex that many times in one day but there is lots of it. Yes there is spanking, control, hair pulling, and he does tie her up (literally with his tie). LOL!! Christian Grey has a tragic past, a loving adoptive family but when Ana steps into the picture his whole world changes. She is NOT weak. Yes I would have kicked his butt several times but she approaches things in a different way. I loved the books and my heart broke for both of them. I cried…I got mad..I cried again. But in the end…Love conquered all.

    I started reading erotic romance about a year ago. Again, I stumbled upon a book in Books A Million by Lora Leigh and I bought it. I was hooked. I have read Maya Banks, Lauren Dane, Lorelei James, and many others. My nook is overflowing.

    I just love romance books. I started with Harlequin romance in my early 20’s and now I buy whatever I want. I love looking at the hot guys on the covers, they feed my imagination. LOL!! I love the emotion that is conveyed through the couples.

    My daughter calls my closet a library because I have so many books on the bookshelves. They range from paranormal to erotic romance. I am not embarrassed by reading HOT, erotic, BDSM or menage books. It is what I like to read. If someone does not like it, they do not have to read it. This is my choice. I am an independent, divorced woman who knows what she wants and I am not concerned if someone finds it offensive. If they do…Oh well!! Get a life!!

    I really enjoy your books and your tweets. Keep up the good work :)

    • 34.1
      Carly says:

      Thank you Bridgett – I felt the same way about them – laughed, cried, just enjoyed. I read a variety all romance as well.

    • 34.2

      And this is precisely one of the problems I have with certain types of BDSM romance. When politicians think it’s A-ok to tell women to put aspirin between their knees as a contraceptive device, and that if they want their health insurance to actually cover their doctor-prescribed health care needs they must send a video of their sexual encounters to Rush Limbauhg for his prurient titillation, and when there is no parity or equal pay for equal work (and women, a majority of the population) are still only earning 75 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, the idea of a woman calling the “hero” “Master” or “Sir” (unless she’s in the armed forces or he’s been knighted by the Queen) absolutely sets my teeth on edge. Consensual or not. We have not come far enough, baby.

  35. 35
    Gianna Simone says:

    I’ll be honest the more buzz I hear about this book, the more torn I am about wanting to read it. I hated the GMA coverage and their behavior, I hate the idiotic “professionals” making absurdly false statements about the type of people who like BDSM and reading about it, and I hate that this may just perpetuate all those stupid and condescending perceptions about romance fiction in general. Then again, the buzz can be good for romance fiction in general, and you do have to take the good and the bad together.

    Your take on the characters has intrigued me however. All of the other factors – length, cost, tamer-than-expected sex – leave me indifferent, to be honest. And I’ve read things about the characters that have put me off. It’s nice to have the perspective of a fellow author who has similar tastes, and the reasons why they work the way they do. I realize now I was sort of looking for that in-depth analysis, and hadn’t found enough of it so far.

    I can sort of talk about the fan fiction issue a little, too – I am familiar with it, having read it for years, and written it myself. It serves a purpose in many ways – lots of writers have honed their craft on it. I’ve used plot elements from the ones I’ve written in my original work. Fan fiction serves more than one purpose – the fans love it, because they get to keep reading about their favorite characters, and many authors don’t mind it since it keeps the fandom alive and active. But it is a fine line to walk when converting fics to original works. It’s extremely difficult and very time consuming to do. I understand the heated debate over it, and can see both sides of the issue.

    I like the list of rec’s. I’ve actually already read most of them! :D But I haven’t read Maya Banks’ series yet, so guess what I’ll be adding to my reader in the next couple of days! lol

    Thanks for this – this was a great post, and hit a lot of points I think had been missing in prior discussions. Lots to think about, that’s for sure.

    • 35.1
      Carly says:

      Thanks for the Fan Fic take. I’m so ignorant on that – I’m not sure you’ll love them – you specifically – but maybe I’m wrong! ;)

      • Gianna Simone says:

        Well, my tastes do run a little more extreme than a lot of folks. :D But I’m thinking for the characterization, I’ll have to check out at least the first one.

  36. 36

    :yourock YOU get it. This is fantasy, NOT abuse against women…FANTASY!

    As an editor…I thank you…lol

    I have read all three books…btw, I’m Fifty’s piano teacher…yes, tickled me!

    I will be checking out YOUR works, too!

    Thank you for your SANE comments, you are a blessing!

    • 36.1
      Carly says:

      You’re welcome! Listen, some women may find it abusive, like Julie even if the heroine is open to it, she’s feeling it as abuse. That’s FINE. But like you, I really loved the books and many others like it.

  37. 37
    katie says:

    I hadn’t heard of the book before your blogged a month or so ago. I have been intrigued, but also concerned. I don’t typically go for the “fan fiction’ books. However, I’ll have to check it out. For me, the price has been a hinderance. Now that’s it out in paperback, I’ll have to check it out.

  38. 38

    THANK YOU for putting into words all the things I feel about Fifty Shades. I have a real problem with being told what is and is not appropriate to enjoy in my fantasy reading material. The Today Show segment made me spit nails.

    I’m also a BDSM romance author and I often write similarly tortured heroes like Christian Grey, and heroines like Ana who don’t feel the need to be ball busters. I think there is a real danger in society or even romance readers prescribing what type of heroes and heroines should be doing BDSM and also what kind of BDSM they should be doing! When it comes to women and fantasy there’s a whole universe of desires that can (and should) be explored without any shaming to go along with it, thank you very much.

    I’m a little glad of the controversy though. I’m hoping, since my books are so similar in flavor, it will bring a new audience to my work.

  39. 39
    Jenni says:

    I haven’t read the 50 Shades series for the same reasons as you had, at first. But, after reading this post, I daresay I am tempted to just so I can be delighted by my own mea culpa moment.

    Thank you for your honest post…..and FAB giveaway. I hope all the hoopla over 50 Shades brings more readers to fabulous authors whose books deserve more attention.

  40. 40
    Diane says:

    A very well thought out and informative blog! I have read all 3 of the Fifty books and truly felt as you did about Christain and Ana. I did feel that the series was a little long but I always love when a story is told and they give me a great ending with the characters involved (the ending doesn’t always have to be happy but I do prefer them that way LOL).
    I have read and loved most of your books. I appreciate a good soapy romance with humor.
    I do read erotica also. I’ve read most of the authors you mentioned and enjoy them all.

  41. 41
    Jeannie Lin says:

    It’s great to see a balanced post from a romance author about 50 Shades.

    I read the first book and really did enjoy it. I agree that it could have used more polish in terms of tightening and repetition — I don’t know if that’s a function of a professional editor, if a copyeditor or line editor fixes a writer’s quirks like that. My copyeditor doesn’t.

    I’m part way through the second book, but am disappointed so far in how the beginning also shows a lot of repetition of similar phrases and themes — I wanted to see how the second story moves on from where the first left off and these characters evolve from the first book.

    That being said, I too found Christian Grey to be a compelling character. And Ana, though young and naive, has her own journey as she questions her own limits and what she’ll do for love. I found that authentic for a young college girl experiencing her first sexual and romantic relationship.

    Christian reminded me of another favorite character of mine, Brenda Joyce’s Calder Hart from the Deadly Series. Though Calder isn’t into BDSM, he similarly has a tortured past, is at times emotional distant, very controlling and powerful — and only reveals his character in small moments to the heroine who he refuses to admit he loves even though it’s obvious he’s laid his heart at her feet…in his own way.

    I was also reminded of Eden Bradley’s wonderful book Dark Garden which is a wonderful peek into the world of BDSM. Like Dark Garden, 50 Shades tries to go into the psychology of the BDSM relationship. Dark Garden has more mature characters who are in the lifestyle, but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes beautifully written erotic romance.

    At first I thought 50 shades would be a book about a powerful dom bringing a naive young girl deeper into the world of a BDSM relationship as she explores her sexuality and submissive side. This wasn’t it at all. It was about two people with very different experiences sexually trying to find a way to make it work. They don’t even speak the same “language” when it comes to sex so they have to work their way through compromises and defining their own ways of communicating. Both have to try to be patient to understand the other.

    I think this is why 50 Shades is more accessible to a wider audience. Whereas in books like Anne Rice’s Beauty series or movies like 9 1/2 weeks, the female faces humiliation and loss of control, in 50 Shades Christian tends to bend and make concessions more often. He is genuinely trying to make this work for Ana, but he feels it’s the only way he can “love”.

    Anyway, a long post deserves a long comment, right?

    P.S. Eden Bradley is also known as Eve Berlin, whose book was recommended above.

  42. 42
    Joanna Shupe says:

    YES! I agree with every word you wrote. Very well said, in fact. Let’s hope these first-time “erotica” readers pick up other books as well!

  43. 43
    Heather says:

    YOUR KILLING ME!!!! As you know I haven’t read these books YET, but will be doing so soon.

    For me the level of HEAT isn’t important, it’s the characters and the story that pull me in. I’ve read some ER where I was annoyed when they were having sex because I’ve wanted to get back to the main story. And I’ve read other ER where it didn’t bother me and enhanced the story.

    I agree with your list of ER authors to try out and want to add one more Melissa Schroeder. Her Harmless series is a BDSM story line and really good.

    Don’t enter me for Lauren’s book because I just ordered it (Yes Finally I’m getting it so we can talk about it :) ) But I would LOVE one of the other books.

  44. 44
    Jeannie and zoey says:

    Oh my word. I just wrote the best post and rant I have ever posted here and poor it was gone.
    I’m sure I couldn’t do it justice second time around. I like most but not all hot and steamy books. Erotic or not, not sure where that line is drawn,but the story an sharply ending are always important. Love love love Janelle’s books and you too Carly. I do read some erotica and don’t flaunt or hide the fact. To those who say,”I’d never” I say,”You don’t know what your missing.” Thanks for suggesting these authors and books I will give them a try.

  45. 45
    Heather says:


    I haven’t read the Fifty Shades series yet, I told my husband I was going to because I want to know what all the hype is about.

    I personally enjoy any book and will give kudos to any writer that can draw you in to their characters lives to where you don’t want to leave or tears fall because you ‘feel’ what they are truly going through. That requires immense talent!

    I started my romance reading at age 13 when my mom would take us to the store and I bought my first Harlequin Teen romance. Crazy since she was an avid Stephen King fan. I’ve always been told that i’m not reading anything of value, but my response is at least i’m reading!!!

  46. 46
    Andr3ea says:

    Excellent commentary on 50 Fifty Shades. I read all three books (in a weekend) after a friend told me they were a must read. As a former book store owner, I’d sampled quite a bit of erotica and usually found it lacking in heart and content. I’m happier reading straight sexy romance and action/adventure/sexy romance….Carly Phillips, Toni Blake, Lori Foster, Suzanne Brockmann, Nina Bruhns Maya Banks (Kelly Group series) and most recently, Lisa Marie Rice’s Protector series (which is listed as “erotica” but has great heart & plot).

    I expected to skim through Fifty Shades and be done with it. What actually happened was that I was immediately engaged and read it through in one sitting. Then, ordered the second & third book on my Kindle immediately. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to Ana & Christian. The BDSM theme was handled beautifully with excellent pacing, humor and (my favorite) “heart”. I found very few editiing mistakes and didn’t think any of the books were over-long.

    The Fifty Shades books are not for everyone, but I am so glad I kept an open mind and read them. Ana and Christian will stay with me for a long time.

    • 46.1
      Carly says:

      AGREE!!!!!!! Well said :)

    • 46.2
      Laurie says:

      I read all 3 of the 50 books, before the hoopla started on the internet. Can you believe those were the first erotica books I’d ever read? I’ve read some regular romances, but nothing like that. WOW! very eye-opening! I didn’t think I’d like reading about BDSM, but I found it very sexy. I liked the love they had between them, and there were some funny lines. and then I read Roni Loren’s Crash Into You and loved it! very hot!! It’s opened up a whole new reading world to me! I want to read more. I have sooOOO much on my reading list (erotica and otherwise), it’s so hard to choose what to read next!! But I want to look into the authors you’ve listed here. Great article.

  47. 47

    Thanks for the great post Carly! As an author of several BDSM romances, I had decided not to read FSOG because of the treatment of BDSM and the notion that someone had to be “cured” of it. Your take on it is that it works in this story, so that’s interesting.

  48. 48
    Anna Dase says:

    No I have not read this series yet, but I plan to. I have heard so many different reactions and responses about the 50 Shades trilogy and I want to form my own opinion. Do happen to enjoy romance I like Kitty Thomas. And I do not agree with the term mommy porn I agree with you it is very insulating.

  49. 49
    Monique says:

    I have not read 50 Shades because I didn’t want to pay $9.99 for the Kindle version. I’ve been reading erotic romance for a long time and I especially love erotica. My favorite authors are Annabel Joseph, Claudia D. Christian, Kitty Thomas, and Eliza Gayle. My BF has read and loves Eliza Gayle’s BDSM themed novels.
    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  50. 50

    It really bothers me when people say Fifty Shades (and its other bestselling fanfic relations) is a good thing for the romance/erotica market. No, it isn’t. It’s bad news for authors in every genre, and here’s why:

    1) Now a writer can take your story, and use your characters in their own story. Flattering, right?

    2) They take it and write their story, and the people who loved YOUR story think it’s awesome. Again, a compliment, and cool for the fanfic author who’s evidently written something people connect to.

    3) SO many people like this story, they think fanfic author should publish. Fanfic author wants to make some cash. So fanfic author changes names, does a few line edits, and the people who loved the story all buy it, thus propelling it into charts and giving it greater visibility to the buying public, where it continues to do well for whatever reason.

    4) It does so well, major publishers buy it and re-release it. Yay! Money for fanfic author!

    But what about the original author, who did all the work to build those characters and that fandom? Where’s the credit to them? Regardless of how the story now looks, it always sought to trade off the original author’s work.

    So yeah, authors: now somebody can basically rip off your stuff, and because a lot of people like what they do with it, they can use it to make oodles of cash. And big publishers are now saying this is okay.

    This is not good for authors. Not at all.

    • 50.1
      Julie Leto says:

      Lucy, you bring up a VERY interesting point.

    • 50.2
      Cindy G says:

      Thank you for the interesting and fair assessment of Fifty Shades. I have read all three books and loved them! I am an avid reader of both erotic and HAWT romance. Frankly, I have become a little bored after reading too many similar plots. Fifty Shades was ENTIRELY different from anything I have ever read (including BDSM and erotica). I think I loved it so much because the characters were so compelling and complex and flawed and redeemed. I would highly recommend this series. Mommy porn or not…I loved it. I hope EL James comes out with something new very soon!

    • 50.3
      Carly says:

      Thank you for the opposing view. I hadn’t thought of it like that b/c as I said, I’m not into Fan Fic nor do I know much about it. I can see those dangers.

    • 50.4

      This is another reason I have not read it. I do not think I have seen a good discussion on this yet. Whenever an author brings it up, people seem to melt down and call the author jealous of James’ success.

    • 50.5
      Roni Loren says:

      I agree about the fan fiction aspect. Here’s one of the best overviews of the ethical issues involved with this book. Be sure to read in the comments where someone calls out all the similarities between 50 and Twilight.

    • 50.6

      The ethics involve disappoint me greatly.

      I think if it’s done anything for the genre, it’s possibly to show that some readers want more than the tension-conflict-happy ending structure of romance. The other novel doing similarly well–Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Maguire–shares its sprawling length and structure with Fifty Shades. Interestingly, it’s not how most would set about structuring a piece at all, so that’s food for thought…but this is nothing we couldn’t have learned from studying any piece of uccessful online serial fic. Charles Dickens wrote many of his works in serial form too.

    • 50.7
      Gianna Simone says:

      Just to play a little devil’s advocate here, there are some very positive factors to fan fiction, and many authors don’t mind (JK Rowling comes to mind). It does keep the fandom active for years after books/movies/etc. are over. That ultimately benefits the author.

      I’ve written fan fiction in several genres (HP, Charmed, Highlander) and in most cases the characters I wrote were very different from the original characters. I have also used several plot elements from my fics in my original work – but with completely new characters, new settings, new backstory, etc. A world of my own making. Nothing from the original author’s world exists in my published work, only the plot that I created.

      The only reason I ever considered writing it to begin with was as a sort of test for myself, to see if I actually could write more erotic works. I wanted to write what I liked to read, but didn’t have enough confidence in myself to attempt it until I decided to play in the fan fiction pool. Of course, anything I did write has long since been removed, and I don’t publicize the fact that the plot originated from there. But aside from the plot, no one who ever read the fics would recognize the world I created in my published books as the same.

      I think the biggest issue with 50 Shades is that the book very very closely resembles the original fan fic, and the publisher hasn’t helped matters with their odd, sort of conflicting statements.

      So that’s another take. I do get both sides of the argument having been on both sides of the fence.

      • I’m not against fan fiction at all–I think it’s a good thing. I’m against profiting from it.

        • Gianna Simone says:

          And I do agree with that. I think because the marketing behind this book seems to be very proud and vocal about the fact it’s a fan fiction, that’s why it’s hitting so many nerves. That is crossing the lines in many opinions. It’s rather ballsy of them to do so. Until now, no one had ever known I had elements in my books from a fan fiction, I’d never shared the fact, and probably wouldn’t have if this book hadn’t started the discussion.

          But there are other authors I know, having met them through the fan fiction world, as well as other places, who did similar things. Hey, a great plot is a great plot, and if you can create a whole new world around that plot, I say go for it. I’ve seen it done before. What’s worrisome about this one is that it may give others the idea that they don’t have to do anything but change the names and they’ll have something they can sell. It’ll be interesting to see if this spurs people to do exactly that.

  51. 51
    Sherie says:

    I have not read Fifty Shades, but I am defintely going to try them now. I have read a few BDSM books and I enjoyed them. I have read some very HOT scenes when the Hero chokes the Herione or even covers her mouth in the heat of passion. I wasn’t sure I would like these scenes at first, but boy was I wrong!!
    I do not read them often, because of the price. I do find Erotic books are higher in price than Contemporary or Historical Romances. But I can find some at my local library, or Amazon and B&N always has sales! 40% off coupons totally rock!!
    I am always open to trying new genres and styles of Romance, and I have never had a problem with them. It might be my mommy porn, but I read them for the love and compassion, the sex is just a bonus!

  52. 52
    Kelli B. says:

    Thank you for this post. I have been on the fence about reading this book, not really sure why. I’m always looking for recommendations and am forever grateful that you recommended Lauren Dane to me. Laid Bare is a book that I absolutely loved. It opened up a whole new genre of romance books to me that I was in the past hesitant to try. I just ordered 50 shades for my Kindle and look forward to reading it.

  53. 53

    This was such a thoughtful blog post, Carly. Thank you for writing it! :yourock

    I’ve read the trilogy, and while it was hot, I didn’t find it to be erotica. Christian was a great tortured hero and Ana was pretty stubborn about what she wanted. I didn’t find their relationship abusive. I found it to be a compromise.

    And I agree with another poster on here, a woman *doesn’t* have to be a ball buster to be strong, or get her way. Being a “in-charge” woman doesn’t mean you bash men or show them how stupid they are. We didn’t like it when it was done to us, so why perpetuate that?

    Another aspect of 50 Shades that made the book cracktastic for me: the email exchanges between Ana and Christian. Loved them.

    What I didn’t like: All the britishisms for a modern west coast setting with American Characters. Sorry, but this lady is a former? TV writer or something–shouldn’t she know American slang from movies& TV shows??? :scratch:

    Also, b/c I knew it was formerly a twilight fanfic ( which Dear Author has a good post about) I couldn’t help but picture the actress that played Bella with all her twitches. Didn’t have this problem w/Christian for some reason.

    I didn’t watch the NBC or GMA, mostly b/c we got rid of television last year. ;) But from the articles I’ve read, it makes me angry that a group of “experts” want to make romance dirty while chastising women for reading mommy porn. Seriously?!? God forbid women be sexual and try to do something to enhance their sex life WITH THEIR HUSBANDS! :biteme: Women have enough guilt as it is.

  54. 54
    Tanya says:

    I have not read them yet, but would like to in the future (don’t really have the extra cash to purchase them right now) and I have like 800, seriously!! between my kindle and whats on my bookshelves at home LOL, on my TBR list. I have not read many BDSM books but I am not opposed to reading them or any other Erotica books. I love reading and I like trying new authors. I didn’t see Shannon McKenna listed anywhere but I think her books are Erotica with some suspense to them?? I enjoy all romance genres except paranormal and recently read my first YA book that I absolutely loved so with that being said I am game especially if there is a great story with all the hotness!!

  55. 55
    Brimag says:

    Thank you for the post. It was about time for someone who actually read the books to lay it all out like that. I think you said it very well.
    I have read the 50 Shades books. I actually read it when it was fan fiction. Most Twilight fan fiction really has nothing to do with Twilight except for the names. I just like the variety of stories. Anyway, the fact that I read it before was the reason I plunked down the money for them. I thought they were that good.
    I am not generally an Erotic romance reader, though I may check out some of your suggestions. I just like a good love story.

  56. 56
    Sarah E. says:

    I was curious, so I read the books a few weeks ago. Heard some hype, but more from the romance community than from the wider reading audience. I work at a library and make suggestions to readers, so it’s important (work-wise) for me to stay up-to-date on “controversial” books. Since I like romance and have been reading it (read: devouring it) for a few years now, it’s not a hardship.

    I loved the books, but they really aren’t for everyone. I was disappointed in the coverage of the book nationally because I felt they tip-toed around the topic and genre, instead calling it “mommy porn.” A Denver Fox station has Sarah from Smart Bitches on and couldn’t even give the name of her blog in the graphic telling the audience who she was. That’s lame.

    On the one hand, it’s good that Romance might get more readers, but I (like Carly posted earlier) wonder if they are coming to the genre for the right reasons. Romance is also such a wide genre that there really is something for everyone (as many earlier posts can attest). My concern with all the coverage is that non-Romance readers will think that this series is representative of all Romance, or that it’s just like Twilight, and both of these assumptions are wrong.

    If you haven’t read them yet, and you like erotica or steamier romance, this is a good series to sink your teeth into. It’s long, and I agree with Carly that it easily could have been shorter, but it was fun, too. The emails were definitely the best part of the book. Christian was a great hero and Ana didn’t bug me as much as Bella did in Twilight.

  57. 57
    ev says:

    First, I really think you need to find somewhere to repost this blog- where it might actually hit some of those readers who have no clue what a romance novel really is. Very nicely said.

    Secondly, I haven’t read the books and don’t plan on it. I am not that much into erotica, although I like Hot Romance. I’m esp not into the BDSM. I have my reasons and that’s that. At 52, I know what I like, I know what I’ve tried and don’t like. Just like I don’t read books or watch tv shows about Zombies. The don’t do it for me.

    However, if someone has read the books and then actually reads a real romance after (someone who hasn’t, not one of us regulars here) and can see why we read romance on a everyday basis, and still live in the real world, then I will be very happy to have another convert to our “secret shame” of reading romances because they are, plain and simple, usually just damn good stories with an HEA. And too much of the real world doesn’t have an HEA, so why shouldn’t we look for them in our methods we use to escape it.

    And I will forever love Kelly for bringing us Non-Oprah, beach trash books. I wish she would do it again!

  58. 58
    Mrs. Missive says:

    I haven’t read the books yet. The first is sitting on my kindle just waiting to read. I know myself and I will get lost in it and my family will eat take out for two days while I sit on the couch and read if it’s that good.

    I have been reading erotica and erotic romance for a few years now. I couldn’t believe how much there was and my TBR pile is in epic proportions. For me I love when the lights don’t go out during a love scene. The connection a couple feels when they interact sexually is so vital to the relationship that when we get that in a book I feel like I am even more engaged in their story, because I haven’t been pushed away when they walked into the bedroom. Or the hallway, or the storage closet, or wherever the feeling strikes. Sure there is a libido boost that comes with these stories, but that is not the reason I go back for more.

    On one hand I am glad it got people reading, on the other hand, if I have to hear Dr. Drew be an idiot on TV anymore I may scream.

  59. 59
    Alison Kent says:


    Just watched Good Morning America cover the book. I’m offended on behalf of all Romance writers at the whole giggling mommy porn thing.

  60. 60
    Sue G. says:

    I haven’t read the Fifty Shades of Gray and am torn.

    I love romance (Carly you are by far my favorite), erotica (currently reading Lora Leigh’s Nauti series) and the Twilight books, which as a 47 yr old I LOVED!

    I think the reason I don’t want to read Fifty Shades of Gray is because it was fan fic off of Twilight. Twilight was innocence and pure, first time love. I don’t want it altered by a more erotic take. Call me old-fashion!

    But I love reading Romance because I enjoy a happy ending! :cloud9:

    • 60.1
      Carly says:

      Thank you Sue G. ( and EVERYONE) – I’m glad you love my books – I don’t like being left outside the bedroom in a book either – and it was how these two characters just GOT each other that did it for me in every way.

  61. 61
    Kerry says:

    I have not read 50 Shades. This if my first time hearing about the book (shows how in the loop I am.) I am an avid romance/erotica reader. My husband calls them my smut books, but I don’t care. In these books I fantasize and escape reality, if only for a little while. In the real world I work a 45 hour week, have two active kids, a dog, a husband, and about a million to-do items every day. Reality is laundry and dishes and homework and baths and dinners. These books take you into other peoples lives where you can live vicariously through there love stories (and maybe replay your own in your mind). It doesn’t matter whether the genre is romance or erotica, for me the basis of the truly wonderful stories is the love story. Do I like hot love scenes in my books, hell yes. But all the hot love scenes in the world really aren’t that hot (I don’t think) if there is no emotion behind them. I read any kind of romance/erotica I can get my hands on in both print and Kindle editions from Regency to Paranormal to BDSM and Menage. I don’t think people should be ashamed of what they read. Not every book is for every person just like not every movie is for every person, or every dish is for every person. It’s the differences that make us who we are and make us interesting. I think we should embrace each others differences and maybe find something new that might interest you too.

  62. 62
    DiDi says:

    Love your post! I have not read them yet, I’ve heard they are written in first persona and my lil ole brain rebels at reading 1st person. I did recommend them to my SIL who is an avid Twilight fan, she has never read erotic romance or BDSM, she LOVED them, said she really doesn’t see a blatant Twilight connection.

  63. 63

    Thanks for the insightful discussion. I have not read them because I tend not to read books that so many people are talking about. I am the same way about movies, lol. I know, idiotic. I have yet to see any of the on air discussions either. I do agree with you about the fact that GMA is a news show and from the excerpts I have read of the discussion, it was irresponsible at best. They are a NEWS program. It would be nice if they, you know, reported the news. It would also be nice if they check their sources. I know the people they had on the show had not even read the book.
    I wish more was talked about the difference between erotica and erotic romance. As an erotic romance author, I always have to make that distinction. I don’t think I am any better than an erotica author, but it is a different genre. I think because both have explicit sex, people put us into one category and that irritates me. Horror authors and thriller authors wouldn’t like being lumped together either. I hope that it does open more discussion romance though. It is still the top seller of books overall and the news acts like it is some freaky little cult of readers. It isn’t. There are tons of romance readers out there who love the genre.
    And now I am done ranting lol. Thanks again for the great blog!

    • 63.1
      Carly says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Melissa! hey everyone Melissa writes FANTASTIC erotic romance too! Love her books. I agree and I tried in this blog to keep saying EROTIC ROMANCE though maybe I should have defined it too. Would you do thet for us?

  64. 64
    Holly says:

    Hi Carly,

    I’ve read the books and I agree, the story is compelling, the characters could use a little more depth, and it was overly long, but I liked it. I didn’t love it.

    I wanted to weigh in on the fanfiction/publishing thing. It seems to me that most of those “judging” the fanfic authors who decide that they want to publish have little or no knowledge of the subject. Yes, SOME fanfiction authors take exact replicas of characters in their stories, and some even rewrite the original story from another POV or change the ending. That to me is fanfiction in it’s truest form and should not be published. Ever.

    On the other hand, there are many, many authors who write original plots, their characterizations are completely different and it’s only fanfiction because names from the original story are used. In these cases, the author worked as hard as any other writer who is crafting a story. They do the research, they write for months, they labor over their plots and making the emotional connections strong enough to hook. They’re trying to touch their readers, just as you and other romance/erotica authors are doing. They work just as hard. Some are bad or just okay, some are good, but some of them are really incredible. Isn’t that true of all authors in all genres?

    I think it’s unfair to say (in response to one of the comments, not your post), that a fanfiction author has no right to publish a story they crafted if the names are changed and it bears no resemblance to another author’s story. If a story submitted to a publisher or agent can’t be recognized, in that it has no connection what-so-ever to another authors piece, then I wish them success.

    They worked their asses off…just like mainstream authors. There is no shame in publishing. They shouldn’t be criticized or judged because they were intelligent enough to listen to readers who told them they should publish.

    Do I think that Christian and Ana are similar characterizations to Edward and Bella? Yes, I do. Christian is a self-deprecating bad boy and Ana is a somewhat clumsy, put-herself-in-danger heroine. Would I have liked to see a little more separation in the characterizations? Sure, but the plot was on the other end of the spectrum from Twilight.

    The bad boy/clumsy thing is an idea and many authors use that theme. And you can’t copyright and idea, even if you’re Stephenie Meyer.

    As far as stealing the fan base and “making of cash for the fanfic author”. I’m giggling a little. The people that read romance in any genre read more than one book or one author and that doesn’t mean one author is stealing a fan base from anyone else. (In response to Lucy’s post); Can’t I, as a reader, like more than one author? If I read SM and then read EL James, does it mean I’ve abandoned SM? Hardly. See where I’m going with this?

    Now to address the cash issue. Fanfic authors do nothing to hurt the cash flow or the original author. In fact, I’d wager that SM sold more books and more movie tickets because fanfiction perpetuated rather than detracted. I’m part of that community and these women (and yes, men) love the Twilight Saga and spend and spend and SPEND for it. We have parties and conventions and travel to meet each other across the globe to attend movie premiers and Comic Con. How much publicity is Twilight garnering from the hoopla surrounding the Grey trilogy? A LOT. Even your post regarding the controversy will help you add readers. I never knew about you, but now I’ll go check out your books. :-) So can’t we all just help each other be successful?

    Reading or writing fanfiction is no disrespect to or debasing of the original work. Nor is a fanfiction author publishing an unrecognizable piece wrong. There is no shame in it. None at all.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    • 64.1

      If you’re using character names from somebody else’s work, and thus drawing on somebody else’s fanbase (people who otherwise would not be aware of your work), THAT is the problem. It’s all cool until you start making money from somebody else’s stuff, basically.

      It’s not stealing someone’s fanbase–it’s trading on it. Nobody’s saying anyone abandons one author for another.

      • Holly says:

        I respect your opinion, but it’s not an informed one. Fanfiction authors garner readers because they write a piece that is exciting to read and for no other reason. We don’t hang on every word because it’s Edward/Bella…if the writing or the plot isn’t good, we flounce. These readers are doctors, lawyers, educators, scholars, students, mothers, artists and so much more…from every country around the world. My point is, that we are not zombified airheads that read a story just because the names Edward and Bella put us in a trance… How insulting to even consider the possibility.

        I agree that IF the piece has the same plot, the same names, the same characterizations, then no it shouldn’t be published. BUt…some of the stories have no resemblance to the original work at all. If you plop the names Edward Cullen in the place of Mr. Darcy and Bella Swan in the place of Elizabeth Bennet, does Pride & Prejudice suddenly morph into Twilight?

        I understand where you’re coming from about “trading” on the fan base, but seriously, fanfiction readers WANT to read more about these characters. They search for it and find it, they ASK for it. Fanfiction authors don’t solicit these readers, these readers solicit authors to WRITE fanfiction. So how is that the writer’s fault?

        There are more than 100,000 stories of Twilight fanfiction on alone, not to mention all of the other genres the site caters to. Why isn’t anyone up in arms that these web sites are profiting? Oh…is it because someone with a face and name has actually been successful transitioning from fanfiction to publishing? Many of these authors never intended to publish when they started writing it, but the readers encouraged them to do so, and why shouldn’t they? If SM doesn’t care, why do you?

        You ignored my comment on how much the Twilight “fandom” perpetuates and contributes to the franchise’s success. It’s 100 fold to what you think is being gained from “trading” on the fan base. But even if you refuse to acknowledge it, it’s a fact, and equates to billions of dollars.

        • Nobody is insinuating anything about fan fiction itself or indeed its readers; the problem is when others start to profit from it. That is ethically unsound, and unsettling to many of us who work hard on completely original fiction in order to make a living.

          It doesn’t matter how good it is or whether people want more. If the names “Edward” and “Bella” weren’t used, the story would not have gained its platform because it wouldn’t have been on the site. Fifty Shades is not original fiction; that is illogical. It would not have existed were it not for its fan fiction basis and it still blatantly carries the marks of that fact. That’s a little different to an author merely being “influenced” by other works.

          People are absolutely free to write, read and enjoy fan fiction. I’ve enjoyed reading some myself, and people have fanfic’d my work too. Nobody appears to be disputing the fact that it’s a good thing (look back at my original post; see, I have no issues until money comes into play). The issue lies in people gaining financially from something when not all of the work is theirs. It’s a little different to a derivative work (Bridget Jone’s Diary, for example) because they use public domain works and credit their influences clearly (though I suspect a young adult author probably doesn’t want her name on an erotic work, just as anyone writing in both genres would probably use a pen name).

          I think in this case, perhaps what is not an issue for many readers is an issue for some authors. This happens a lot in publishing. It doesn’t serve to make assumptions about the intelligence of either party.

          • ETA: gaining money from hosting a fanfiction site is a little different to attempting to claim credit for “originality” for a very derivative work.

          • Holly says:


            Like I said, I respect your opinion, and I agree with you on some points.

            However, what I don’t agree on is that a piece of fiction that bears no resemblance to another’s story, and in fact unrecognizable….should not be published in it’s own right. It’s not hurting anyone or stealing readers or revenue away from anyone.

            I’m not taking anything away from mainstream authors, but they don’t work any harder on a piece than many of the FF writers. (The ones coming up with original plots and original characterizations.) In both cases the plots are original, the characterizations, the settings, all original. Once the names E/B removed, they have zero connection with Twilight.

            I said in my first post that the Grey series, could have been more original on the characterizations…I wish it was more separated. I agree on that point.

            While hile I don’t believe that E/B should be used on published pieces, SM will not be the last author to publish work using the names Edward or Bella. Edward Cullen & Bella Swan, yes are her domain. But, authors in the past have and in the future will assign the given names of Edward and Bella, and the surnames of Cullen or Swan for their characters…just not together.

            With that, I’ll just agree to disagree.

            Peace out.

    • 64.2
      Heather says:

      You will LOVE Carly’s books. My favorites are her Hot Zone series and her Serendipity Series books.

    • 64.3
      Gianna Simone says:

      You hit the nail on the head with a lot of your points about fan fiction. The authors do work hard, for a very long time.

      Then there are those that are just a rewrite of the original work. Those need to stay in the realm where they were created, no matter how well written they are.

      I know of several authors who wrote very popular fan fiction pieces in very large fandoms and have moved on to publishing original work and using a plot of their own creation that they may or may not have originally used in their fan fiction. I think writers are inspired by other writers, and playing in their world can helps some writers hone their craft. Then there are those that just write it for the sheer pleasure of being able to keep favorite characters close and enjoy the writing just to write.

      But I’ll admit to being uneasy with the way this particular story has been so public about its origins. Especially since I’ve heard the two works are very very similar.

  65. 65

    Best article written about this series, hands down. You rock, Carly! :)

  66. 66
    Jackie says:

    Yes I’ve read all 3 books and loved them. I read quite a lot of erotica and yes, some very much darker than Fifty, however that wasn’t detrimental to how much I enjoyed these books.

    I loved the characters and their belief in each other. Their ability to understand each others needs. The sex content was exciting (if only) and believable and each book had it’s own story to pull you along.

    Loved all the secondary characters, would love to see books with Kate/Elliot and Mia/Ethan, also Taylor/Gwen. Loved the little cute words/phrases (I just know I’m going to be using them myself, frequently ‘grin)

    I steamed through these books because I couldn’t put them down and felt pretty bereft when they were done – loved the wee extras at the end though, helped get over the loss :o)

    All in all a must read.

    Laters, people lol

  67. 67

    BTW, I want to add one thing that you didn’t touch upon.


    The covers were alluring, attractive, and compelling — without being in-your-face sexual. I’ve long been frustrated by the traditional romance publishing need to put SEX on the cover — what happened to subtly? One of my favorite erotic romance authors is Shannon McKenna and I’ve always found her covers particularly attractive–seductive in a subtle way (at least her older covers–I haven’t seen new ones.) The Grey covers didn’t scream SEX and they sold amazingly well at a mainstream price. I haven’t read them, so I’m not commenting about content, but I think the correlation between the cover art (which I really loved) and the sales (extremely good) and the content (erotic romance) needs to be seriously looked at.

    I know many, many authors who sell extremely well with naked guys on the cover or clinch covers. But I think the Grey series shows that subtly also works.

    But I’ve always been partial to cover art that didn’t have people on it, or the person was subtly blended in.

  68. 68

    OMG – laters!!!!! Love it!

  69. 69
    Sara G says:

    I have not read Fifty Shades yet but I have read Maya Banks and Shayla Black, both of whom I absolutely love!

  70. 70
    Jennifer S says:

    Great read Carly! I read the books late last year and anxiously awaited the arrival of the third when it came out. I love Fifty, the emails between Ana/Christian, the growth and how Christian evolves. I’m not one to re-read books often but I will miss these characters so will no doubt read them again. I find myself also saying “Laters, Baby” at home now too (heart skip)


  71. 71
    sami says:

    Okay so I’ve not read Fifty shades of grey clearly i need too :)
    I’ve read numerous books by the lovely authors mentioned and have no problems with them :) i also think that peoples perceptions are ridiculous about Erotica and so called naughty books we all read them!! some people just dont like to acknowledge it, they give people that escape to read fantasy if even they don’t want to try anything mentioned in the books,
    I know that it helps me relax and escape after a hectic day at work :)
    so after Shayla black posting your blog i’ve had a read and will be reading fifty shades of grey as soon as pay day comes around :)
    I shall also be looking into some of your books Carly :D xxx Sam

  72. 72
    Lynne says:

    Good vent! These folks need to get a life and I personally love many of the writers participating in this giveaway -Mommy porn – Really?????? I love all types of romance – historical, modern, paranormal and erotica. They all have a special place in my heart – Oh and I don’t see my husband complaining about any of it either. You never know what you can learn.

    Keep writing!

  73. 73
    Kim SImpson says:

    I have read all the fifty shades books and waited on the each being printed with bated breath, I started reading them on fan fiction and fell in love with both of them. I was over the moon when I heard they were being published and I could have my own copies for ever and reread when ever I wanted, I truly do believe i fell in love with christian and his kinky fuckery. This was the first BDSM books I started reading and they wont be my last ;) Thank you E L James

  74. 74
    Debbie says:

    I just finished the series last night and I LOVE this kind of a story. I will probably be thinking about it all damn day! I live in Seattle so it was fun to here those tid bits and imagine the houses etc…

  75. 75
    Jen says:

    I have to say that I was SO SO SO glad to read your blog post. You put into words a few feelings that I’ve had since this whole ‘mommy porn’ thing popped up as the next ‘big thing’ thanks to the news and what not. The biggest point being – it is insulting to all those romance/erotica writers out there. I can’t tell you the number of people I know who have texted or messaged me over the last two weeks to see if I had read the book!!! Several of them – NOT EVEN ROMANCE READERS – ran out to get it!!
    I have been reading erotica and romance (from contemporary to paranormal) for a couple of years and love them…but the term ‘mommy porn’ just ticks me off for some reason!
    I feel that it’s my duty to all my ill-informed friends to read this damn book just so I can compare it to my favorites in this genre.
    Additionally – I feel like this whole thing may be offensive to those that life the lifestyle….I feel like people are going to treat it like a novelty, when the reality is that there are MANY MANY people who live this lifestyle on a daily basis….
    I don’t know….but all this talk about this ONE BOOK is annoying me! You’ve got AMAZING authors like Shayla Black, Cherise Sinclair and many more…why waste my time on ‘fan fiction’??? I’m pretty sure that compared to these other amazing authors Fifty Shades will not do much for me…..

  76. 76
    Shannon says:

    I am new to erotic romance books and have not read Fifty Shades as of yet. I only know about the book from all of the publicity it has been receiving – which I think it kind of funny. I don’t get why there is such outrage except that we apparently still have that Puritanical ideal ingrained… I hope to check out the book at some point just to see for myself.

  77. 77

    Thank you so much for this discussion! (And not only because you recommended one of my books).

    I haven’t read 50 Shades because A) I’m coming out of a series of back-to-back deadlines, and B) Due to deadlines I don’t have much time to read, and other than those erotic romance authors I critique for, I don’t read much ER, and C) I’ve admittedly given in to all the negative buzz among the romance community and figured these books weren’t worth a read. I have to say, you’ve swayed me. I love a tortured hero-a complicated past makes for engaging conflict-and for that alone I’m tempted to pick up these books.

    As someone who has been quite public about my own experiences in the realm of BDSM (and I’m not ‘outing’ myself here-I give workshops and have spoken about it on national radio), I’m extremely picky about my BDSM fiction. I know it’s fantasy, but unless it’s a true fantasy setting, like Anne Rice’s Beauty series, or paranormal creatures whose bodies can endure things human’s can’t, I can’t bear to read a story with characters who don’t play by the Safe, Sane and Consensual credo. Not that it has to be stated that specifically, especially when it’s characters who are engaging in ‘bedroom’ play, but the idea has to be there.

    I enjoy very explicit erotic romance, erotica without romance, hot contemporaries, stories with no sex at all. For me it’s not about the sex or how hot a book is, but rather well-developed characters, whether I’m reading ER, speculative fiction, women’s fiction or YA.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful and honest blog post!

    Eve Berlin aka Eden Bradley

  78. 78
    Alison Phillips says:

    Read the series this past week and loved them. Don’t know how anybody can say that Ana was a weak heroine either. She was always pushing Christian and standing up to him. I loved how she knew just when to get him to talk and when to let it go. Loved the emails back and forth between the two of them. Re-reading the series again as I can’t get enough of Christian. Loved your insight as well Carly.

  79. 79
    Glittergirl says:

    Wow what a hot button post!
    I have not read these books, mostly because of all the hype. I don’t get into it and for the most part TRY to ignore it. I have so MANY TBR piles my husband wants to reclaim our bedroom :hairpull: I don’t need to be adding any books, lol.
    I read ALL types of romance and pretty much ONLY romance. I’m a HEA kind of gal. I like the struggles of getting to the HEA and seeing people grow and heal with love. I have read erotic romance and enjoy it, especially menage, for the fantasy factor, not in real life. Sorry couldn’t happen for me. I’m not a big fan of BDSM. I’ve read a few, liked a few but I’m not seeking the sub-genre. I pretty much follow authors that I have enjoyed and collect their books of whatever sub-genre they write. Angela Knight is an example, she’s written all kinds of stuff and I’ve read most of it and enjoyed it.
    I really get tired of the media’s sound bites these days. They talk endlessly about stuff they know NOTHING about with authority and judgement. I get tired of yelling at my TV, radio and internet. Oh and speaking of internet it is a “cesspool of misinformation” to quote an article in our local paper recently. It is true so be careful out there what you read!

  80. 80
    Christelle L. says:

    I had never heard about this series but I am now definitely intrigued. I agree that a lot of people get offended for no reason. If you don’t like or are offended by that kind of thing, why not just move on? I don’t like brussel sprouts but I don’t get offended when other people have them. I know it’s not the exact same thing, but to me it kind of feels like that. I have a live and let live philosophy so to me it seems normal to let people make their own decisions.
    Thanks for giving us your point of view and for the book and author recommendations, I will check them out!

  81. 81
    MeganJ says:

    The whole discussion makes me smile. I’m new to this scene of romance books but I think it’s great that people are reading new things, and I’ll definitely be adding this to my “must read” pile. I think it’s funny that people are going :ohno: over it though; A book is an outlet, a way for everyone to get that secret spot in their minds a time out of its corner. I love that so many people talk about new books, in my opinion, all it does it help spread the love and help the authors.

  82. 82

    Carly, thank you for the thoughtful post. I haven’t read the books yet, just watched the twitter commentary (shame face). Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin is my CP and fellow Smutketeer blog member, and imo, is one of The best sensual BDSM authors out there-so I’m thrilled you put her on your list! Thanks again for the fantastic insight! :)

  83. 83
    Jennie says:

    I like the fact that you can go back and basically say ‘hey I may have been wrong’. That is so cool.
    I haven’t read the books, but have seen the hype. (guys on GMA REALLY liked it)
    I have read erotica before, and I think what’s so big about this one is that so many people are talking about it. I don’t know what it is, perhaps I’ll need to read them, but people are really grabbing onto this series.
    Maybe its shock, the forbidden, etc.
    My feeling is, if you’re embarrassed by what you read, you shouldn’t be reading it. LOL

  84. 84
    Philomena D says:

    I read romance books for many years from Harlequin to Historical Romance to Erotica but I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey but will. For Erotica, I have read Cherise Sinclair’s books and you should try Kallypso Masters and Liliana Hart also.

    No matter the type of book, I enjoy a good story. It is always about a good story whether it is a sweet romance or a hot sizzle romance. A good story is where the plot develops and the characters grow. I think more people s/b reading romance books.

  85. 85
    CARRIE CLARK says:

    I love Erotic Romance. I have not ever read the Fifty Shades of Grey books but now my interest is peaked and that will be the next book I order on my Nook. I love authors like Shayla Black, Lora Leigh, and Maya Banks.

  86. 86
    Shan says:

    I haven’t read them yet. I hadn’t heard of them until I read this blog. I am a huge fan of erotic romance, my fag being Shayla Black. I also like just really hot romances, because sometimes less is more. In the end I just want a satisfying story and for the sex to seem real and not just added to the story when it is not needed.

  87. 87
    Gail Nichols says:

    I am currently reading “50 Shades of Grey” and I love it:) The hero Christian Grey has such a strong presence,I feel such a strong “pull” with his story it seems like when I get stated reading it I can’t put it down. I have been asking everyone what to read next-I definitely would like to read more.

  88. 88
    Donna A says:

    I just finished Fifty Shades of Grey and am starting the second book. I am a big fan of Cherise Sinclair and Shayla Black. I read all kinds of romance and its the story that does it for me. If the characters speak to me the rest is just gravy

  89. 89

    Carly, I haven’t read them – they weren’t even on my radar until my favorite radio program featured the books. The funny thing about it though was they NEVER mentioned the author’s name!

    I’m like you – I read widely across the romance spectrum – all flavors and all heat levels. Thanks for commenting on Lauren Dane’s book – I’ll have to grab it. And I’ve ALWAYS liked Eve Berlin’s books (also writes as Eden Bradley).

    Awesome blog post. Thank you!

  90. 90
    Sue Sattler says:

    It’s funny, since I love all romance and erotica books, but I have no interest in reading Fifty Shades. When all the hoopla started about it, I checked it out on Amazon and it just didn’t appeal to me. I love Shayla Black, Sophie Oak, Leah Brooke and I guess I look for writers that write with the same passion and heart that they do. Of course I do need to put Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin on my list, her books look delicious. I do gravitate towards paranormal romance as that is my favorite. But I buy my books in the bookstore, proudly display them on my bookshelf and read them out in the open with pride. The book covers are beautiful so you bet I’m going to show them off!!! :applause:

  91. 91
    Bridget says:

    I am a avid reader of both romance and erotica. I read a lot. My husband jokes that my book addiction will bankrupt us. When I first heard about these books it was very vague. I put them on my maybe list. Then, all of a sudden I was seeing it bashed everywhere. I had just about decided to skip them. I think your rant was perfect! I feel like I can sit down and read them now the way I would have in the beginning, without all the hype and expectations. Thank you for the honest review.

  92. 92
    Amanda Cantu says:

    I read em and love em! I really don’t catagorize these books as BDSM. That’s Chrisitians lifestyle and yes it’s a factor in the books but what got me hooked was the chemistry between them. They fit together perfectly. What I love about them was their emails. They got me all giddy and couldn’t wait to see what was said next and of cours the kinkery fuckery wasn’t too shabby. Another author I’m throwing in here is Kristen Ashley. Her Dream Man and Colorado Mountan series are fantastic and somewhat erotic. If ya haven’t read em, I highly suggest you get to it ASAP!!

    P.S. PICK ME!

  93. 93

    Kristen Ashley- yes! I love her books!

  94. 94
    Leslie Kelly says:

    I haven’t read Fifty Shades but I did read Master of the Universe, the original “fanfic” version of this series.

    I liked a few things about it. Didn’t find the sex all that exciting, and did like some of the dialogue, email conversations, and the heroine’s spunkier moments. But unlike Carly I did not fall in love with Christian (Edward.) I pretty much considered him an asshat all the way through. Kinda the same reason I just don’t like Harlequin Presents novels, which, to be honest, this felt like, albeit with 500 more pages and more graphic sex.

  95. 95
    Kim M says:

    I agree with alot of what Carly says. I don’t understand the hype. I am in the middle of the 2nd book and am finding it more interesting than the first book because you understand more of why Christian is the way he is. There is more of a story. I agree the books could have been one longer book. I found (especially in the first book) every chapter was redundant. They flirt, have sex, fight, he buys her something, they have sex, they fight, he buys her something etc. I was actually bored by the sex after a while. I wanted more of a story which the 2nd book had. The first book was not a page turner, it did not leave me wanting more. I do not believe Ana was taken advantage of by Christian and I don’t think she was motivated at all by the money. I read all genres of books, I don’t have a favorite. Recently I read the Outlander series and found that more passionate and more of a turn on than Fifty. I also read Blush, which was much more erotic than Fifty, without the S&M. But then again Blush was not a page turner, there was no story other than sex, sex and more sex. Give me a romance that has passion, intrigue, mystery, danger and yes, sex and I am happy.

  96. 96
    Erin G. says:

    I’ll start by saying that I have not yet read Fifty Shades. In a nutshell, it’s the price. $30 is a lot for three books that apparently need to be read together to finish the story. That said, I will buy them as soon as I have $30 that one of the money-suckers, a.k.a. kids, doesn’t need!

    I’m not new to Erotica, and I resent the insinuation that I hide behind my Kindle! I love Cherise Sinclair, Lorelei James, and Maya Banks. Their books are thoughtful AND hot. To say some are descriptive doesn’t do them justice (I had no idea their were so many creative adjectives for certain body parts!). Before reading Master of the Mountain, I had no idea what BDSM entailed. At first I was surprised, then it was one of those, “oh, okay” realizations where I figure as long as there are consenting adults involved, it’s all good! That said, I like regular romances, as well. I know how “the act” goes, and I don’t necessarily need it spelled out for me in every possible turn-of-phrase! Sometimes I’m in the mood for a scorcher, and sometimes I’m not.

    I have favorite authors in most genres (Carly Phillips, Lauren Dane, Suzanne Brockmann, Lori Foster, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips for most romance), and I tend to find new authors based on their recommendations, not the recommendations of the GMA news crew, or anyone else who would like to paint me into the tidy box of the bored housewife!

    Thanks for writing this blog, Carly. My thoughts exactly!

  97. 97
    Dahnya Och says:

    I’ve been reading Roni’s blog for quite some time now (yes, I’m a dreaded lurker) and just decided to join Twitter, etc. to keep up with some things. I don’t read e-rom, but I’ve thought of reading CRASH INTO YOU just because of how much I like Roni and her awesome blog!

    This giveaway would be perfect for me. To answer the questions…

    1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books? I have not. Mostly because I didn’t know they were such a “hot” topic until recently. I’m looking to spread my wings a little and I’m always willing to branch out into new genres.

    4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more? I’m new to e-rom, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about the genre in general. I read (and write) a lot of paranormal and thriller romances.

    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?) I’ve only read HOT Romances recently, but I’m hoping that e-rom is as interesting to me!

  98. 98
    Shelly says:

    I have read the series… And loved it. I love that the emotions are so real. I love that Christian even after all that has happened doesn’t make excuses for himself. That he is willing to open up and let Ana see the real him. Ana as “new” as she is to the lifestyle isn’t afraid to try new things with him because she truely wants to make him happy. I have read ALOT of books some “steamy” and some not so “steamy” for me this book even though based mostly around sex, wasn’t what drew me to it. It’s so emotional you get rapped up in it. You actually are pulling for Christian to breakthrough and let her fully in and for Ava you are pulling for her to push him and be strong for him and for herself. I’ve read thT people are comparing this to Twilight. While I love Twilight, it no where near compares to the emotional level Fifty Shades hit for me. The inner dialoge is amazing the emotions the author puts the reader through. There is very few authors that can achieve this in my opinion. James achieves this. As well as J.R Ward, Shayla Black. Lori Foster, Jill Shalvis,and a few others. There are books that are straight up girl porn, while steamy.. There like a one night stand.. Good while doing it but left empty after its all said and done. Then there are the emotional girl porn ;) novels. It a long time lover always will ;) So thumbs up to all the authors out there who arnt afraid to get to the nitty gritty of emotions.. Strip the readers bare and dig deep into our subconscious.. Our husbands thank you ;).

  99. 99
    Carrie Ann says:

    GREAT blog! Yes, I’ve read the series and loved it. Thank you for so eloquently expressing what was so enjoyable about this series. This is why you are a writer and I am not. ;) I read romance almost entirely – with lots of different sub-genres, depending on my mood. I really enjoyed your Hot Zone series – good steamy scenes. :) As for reading a book or not reading it because of how much hype it’s getting, sometimes there’s a reason for all that hype. It’s because it’s a good book. (But not necessarily for everyone.) I finally caved in and tried The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because of all the hype/it’s popularity, and what do you know – I really liked it, and read and liked the rest of the series. Same thing with The Hunger Games. Not really into the YA stuff, but couldn’t stop reading those books. That would be my advice to folks that haven’t read it yet. Try it, you might like it. :)

  100. 100
    Kim M says:

    I have read 50 Shades and am a huge BDSM D/s genre reader BUT, I will not read the last two books of this series.

    My problem with the books do not fall with the content. I read many erotic novels. I’m a big fan of Black, Dane and Banks. I not only read such but I write it as well. So i’m well informed on the “topic”. My problem falls with how Christian makes it appear that all his lifestyle choices stem from abuse or having a messed up past. I wanted to slap Ana myself more times than not for being so judgemental one minute but then giving him the go ahead the next.

    In the last scene of the book before she walks she BEGS him to show him what it would be like. He asked several times if she was sure. Not only in this situation but many others and she AGREED to do the things they did together. Only to turn around later and throw it in his face like he was mental. Sadly, TO ME, this book paints the lifestyle in a negative way and not all relationships within the lifestyle are this way. I am bothered by how this one book seems to be the be all for Erotic especially BDSM/Ds story lines.

    I also didn’t care for the continued repeated use of “mean machine” when refering to the laptop and a few other ad nausem uses of the same term to describe different things.

    In my opinion there are MANY other books out there than are more indepth within the lifestyle, more informative and does not paint it as if all of us in the lifestyle are “messed in the head”.

    Being in the lifestyle myself and a submissive I really enjoy this type of erotic writing and reading. I really hope those that have not read it keep an open mind and learn about the lifestyle before making judgement all everyone within it based on a book that barely touches the surface and only paints ONE aspect of those within it.

    • 100.1
      Kim M says:

      It appears part of my entry didn’t post :oops: So I will add it now.

      Beyond my personal views on the book I am sad to see that the media has caused such a negative response. It appears a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon without their own thoughts and research. This just leads to more ignorance. Ignorance/lack of knowledge leads to fear which leads to “hoopla” that spreads worse than a wild fire.

      Shows like Dr. Drew, GMA and a few others read the book but seem more intersted in “book burning” and labeling those that read the books and or the genre than truly finding the knowledge behind the content.

      One good thing though, their rucus has created an interest in the books, the genre and the authors that write Erotic Romance. Hopfully the voices of those that support Erotic Romance will become louder than that of one book series.

      Thank you for starting this insightful blog that has lead to a delightful and heartful discussion. :yourock

  101. 101
    ChrisS says:

    Thank you for your very thoughtful and insightful blog post into the Shades Of Grey and your beyond Shades of Grey reading suggestions. Although I love to read romance, I usually don’t read erotica. That is until now. When I was first given the opportunity to read Shades of Grey, all I knew about it was that it got it’s start on a Twilight fan fiction website and it was getting great reviews. I have since read all 3 books and am so glad I did. While the BDSM left me blushing many shades of red, I loved the story and romance and found myself smiling throughout. Next time the Shades Of Grey series comes up in conversation, I can’t wait to refer my friends/family to your blog post as you explain it so perfectly. Thank you!!! :yourock .

  102. 102
    Karen Lawson says:

    Believe it or not, I heard about these books from one of the husbands of a member in our book group. I watched the clip from the Today Show and then took the information to our group to see if they would like to read them. I was hesitant to recommend them as I hadn’t read any, so I downloaded the first and promised the group I would read it before the next meeting (we meet every other week). Well, I am now on the third book and LOVING them! I’m not sure what all the hype is – any romance/erotica reader has read much more explicit scenes much more often. This story is a great love story between two consenting adults. I love both Christian and Ana and can barely sleep at night, waiting to awake to finish the book. I am determined to finish the third one today. There has been talk about her not having “an American voice”, but I think it is rather cute to say “behind” instead of a more vulgar term. The emails are so clever and endearing – who could not love them! And Christian – who wouldn’t want to help save him?? I will be highly recommending them next week to our reading group.

    • 102.1

      Karen, I hope your book club enjoys reading 50 Shades! Does your book club usually read romance? The one in my neighborhood doesn’t. They read only women’s fiction and it’s one of the reasons I quit going.

      I just wanted to point out that the word ‘behind’ is used all over the US in that context. So that wasn’t one of the Britishisms (tho not sure why anyone would think that’s one, lol) that jarred me.

      It was stuff like” What time shall I collect you?” Not what time should I pick you up. And people dressed “smart” or Ana didn’t throw toys out of her pram, instead of stroller. And “Is that what it said on the tin?” WTH is a tin?? Finally figured out that meant advertisement. There were more but that’s what stuck out.

      These two are American twenty-somethings, and IMHO should sound like it. And that doesn’t mean they should be all like That’s totes cute or what’s up, yo, but like educated adults who are aware of pop culture, since it’s so ingrained in us from a young age.

      Still I found their story compelling and the book cracktastic. Or to borrow from Meyers like the author of 50 Shades did: It was like my personal drug. ;)

    • 102.2

      I heard about the Today Show discussion when my hubby woke me up and said, “Hurry! The Today Show is talking about the kind of books you write!” (He doesn’t read them, so I thought, “Good. If the Today Show tells them they’re okay, he might be a little more interested.” LOL (He has let me read portions of my books to him now. We’re making progress!)

      As for language, it’s interesting how the language can affect the read. One of my readers posted on my Facebook wall that my books were the reason she started reading her erotic romance novels in English, rather than her native German. She said something to the effect that it’s so “adorable” how the subs say “Sir” and “Master,” rather than “Herr” and “Meister.” And I thought–ugh! I don’t know that I could get into Herr and Meister either! LOL

      Kallypso Masters

  103. 103
    Maria E says:

    Wow, What a topic today! I like a different variety of books to read. If I like the books I keep reading them. but everyone cant handle to be able to read certain books. because of Plotmonkeys I have met new range of authors including Maya Banks, Vivian Arend, Jaci Burton.

  104. 104
    Kelly V. says:

    I have read the Fifty Shades Trilogy and LOVE THEM! I really apprecited your words regarding the characters. I felt the story was well written and I loved the struggle they each had trying to find a way to love eachother the way each wanted to be loved. I agree with you that Ana is a strong Herion. While she may have been lacking in her sexual experiences, she was an intelligent woman and truly wanted to understand Christian and love him they way he needed to be loved, but in the same way not comprimise on her own morals. I am new to Romance Novels, especially Erotic ones. I have a new respect for this genre and am looking forward to reading more romance novels in the future. Thanks for your insights into this fascinating series. I look forward to reading one of yours in the near future!! Laters Kelly

  105. 105
    Christi says:

    I have read many of the authors you list. Maya banks was one one of the first erotica authors, with her Sweet series, I ever read. Now I am reading one all the time. Like any genre, it is a place to escape to. Well written books are fun.

    The grey series; I read some as fanfic and just got the books this week to read. I was excited for the author. Even bad publicity will get people talking and buying. I think it means a lot to get the public to recognize the genre at all. Romantic fiction is often thought of as the classic Fabio covered Harrlequins, but there is so much more and a ton of depth.
    I hope the books do very well and the author enjoys the success!

  106. 106
    Alina D says:

    I have not read the series, but it is on my books to read list. I love any kind of romance, erotic or not. Give me fun characters, a good story line, throw in some laughs, maybe some tears and a lot of hot sex and I’m a happy girl! The way I see it if the characters are likeable and the story is good I’m gonna enjoy reading it.

  107. 107
    Bethie says:

    Thanks for the great post. I read the Fifty Triliogy and really enjoyed it. A group of us have been passing the books around. We are actually going out to dinner in few weeks to discuss them. We are having a lot of fun talking about them.

  108. 108
    Cerstin Wagner says:

    Hi, I’m from Germany and I really love to read English books.
    Of course I’ve read the Fifty Shades trilogy (I’m reading them for the 2nd time at present). And – I’m totally in love with Christian Grey.
    I have a lot of HOT books, erotic romances (for example Shayla Black, Lainey Rees, Megan Hart) but I like contemporary as well.
    I would be very happy if I would win one of the books.
    Greetings from Germany

  109. 109
    Jacquelyn Andula says:

    I have not yet read these books but I do have them and am now getting more anxious to read them. I prefer hot romance but some of those books have had some BDSM peppered in. I am sure it was more on the mild side but I recall one specific book by Shelli Stevens that worked along a similar line. Damaged hero and a heroine trying to get him through it by giving him control. I also have read some by Anne Rainey which definitely had some BDSM in them but I didn’t necessarily find this offensive in an exclusive somehat committed relationship. As for those who put down romance books and writers, who cares about them! They are missing out on what I consider some of the best stories and literature around. Not to mention, it regularly is the topselling genre…which should say something!

  110. 110
    Julie B. says:

    Carly, thanks for a great blog post, and thanks to all the authors participating in the giveaway. I haven’t read FIFTY SHADES yet. I know I will soon. Everyone who’s a romance writer as well as a reader has been faced with the “all romance is porn” meme. Imagine the look on our aunt’s face when I coolly informed her that porn has no emotional element. It’s just body parts. Romance chronicles the growth of a relationship, and sex is typically part of that relationship. Above all, if FIFTY SHADES helps one woman ask for what she’d like from her partner, or gets one more woman to pick up a book that typically wouldn’t read at all, the author won.

  111. 111
    Lindsay Wolford says:

    I enjoy both Erotic Romance as well as HOT Romance. It just depends on the story and if it appeals to me. I have not read the Fifty Shades books. Mostly because I just can’t afford them right now. I’m definitely interested in reading them though.

    Thanks for the contest!


  112. 112
    Colleen says:

    I have not read Fifty Shades, but I have read a bunch of Erotic… I have added Fifty Shades to my list of books that I want to read…

  113. 113
    StacieD says:

    I find it hilarious that all of these talking heads on TV are shocked about a BDSM themed book for women. Where have these people been? I’ve been reading BDSM themed erotic romance for years. LOL

  114. 114
    Wyndy Dee says:


    I am proud of EL James and her publishing company. They took a risk and it paid off! This series is about trust and understanding, and CONSENSUAL sex in ways that maybe the average person is ignorant of, therefore, scared of. It is easier to bash something you have no idea about. Just read the books and make your own conclusion. It may not be for everybody, so if isn’t your cup of tea, don’t read it. But don’t bash it easier.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and formulate an opinion that was honest. Dr. Drew and others who are publicly complaining…go ahead…negative publicity still is publicity. ;)

  115. 115
    Jenn says:

    I recently started and am really liking ’50 Shades of Grey.’ I had planned on reading them all along, but truthfully, it took the recent hype to get me started, though I had already known what they were about. I was more insulted by the Today Show’s take on it, that it is just plain naughty, taboo, and then for them to have that moron Dr. Drew on there claiming that the books promote violence toward women and children… really??? And no, he hasn’t read them. I was mildly amused at the GMA piece, especially the men’s reaction.

    But yes, I am overall annoyed with the mainstream media’s reaction. We get to deal with all the sexually-charged stuff coming at us from all directions, trying to shield our kids from the worst of it, and these reporters are blushing and tittering like schoolgirls over these books??? One of the most laughable parts of NBC’s segment was this ‘book club’ they interviewed… the women didn’t read books before these, and now they are a book club??? Yeah, OK. Oh, and the ‘Mommy Porn’ descriptor irks me as well.

    I usually prefer regular romance, but will read erotica if there is a decent plot, well-developed characters, and some emotion, not just sex. If I find that the characters just aren’t likable, I have to stop reading. The Grey books have the criteria mentioned above, which is why I am enjoying them.

  116. 116
    Rosie says:

    I read a variety of books, depends on the kind of mood I’m in. Honestly, BDSM isn’t high on my list of books that I purchase, but I’ve read some. I heard about this book from your (Carly’s) facebook post. All of a sudden everyone at work was talking about it. One co-worker said she doesn’t consider “these types of books” (including romance) “Reading”. How insulting is that?! I’ve been reading romances since my early 20’s – over 25 years now. I love the escapism and happy endings. I choose not to read books with bloody gore and violence – just my own personal preference – I have a very vivid imagination and can’t handle the visuals.

    With all the hype about this series, I was on the fence about buying them. The Amazon reviews seem to be either “love it or hate it”. With the way I read, $9.99 is a bit steep for a book I’m not sure of. I splurged and got it for my birthday and I’m glad I did. I’m only halfway through the first book, but I am liking the story, and am planning on buying the other two in the series.

    Thank you for talking about this, and other books / authors. I’m always looking for good reads!

  117. 117
    Tanya C says:

    Excellent post. I heard about these books back in December and everyone loved them and my friends on Goodreads said I should read them. I just started the 1st book and while its ok, I don’t think its the most amazing book I have ever read. I read many different genres, depends on my mood. I recently, within last 2 years started reading some erotic/sexier romances, Lora Leigh, Jaci Burton, Maya Banks getting some BDSM and Menage and I think they write it very well. I am puzzled at why this particular series has blown up like it has. Maybe as I read on I will become more in love with the series. I am a rare person as I do not have an e-reader I love the covers of books and enjoy hunting throught my local used bookstores for new authors and titles. I realize I am going to have to break down and buy an e-reader as a lot of books, new authors now are only e-books. I think any book that can get people reading is great adn I hope this opens some peoples eyes to all the other authors out there.

  118. 118
    Dolores Fuentes says:

    This is the first I’ve heard of this series. I have read Maya Banks, her KGI series and Highland serie which I loved. I love romance, contemparay, erotic, get the picture. :batteeyes:

  119. 119
    catslady says:

    I’m afraid I haven’t read the above mentioned book but I can’t stand that people are so intolerant about things they usually know nothing about. I just started Laura Adrian’s Midnight Breed’s Series and was totally and pleasantly suprised at how much I am enjoying it. There are stories out there for everyone. People, quit trying to tell others what they should and shouldn’t read/do!!!

  120. 120
    Laney4 says:

    Wow. Quite the blog post. I hope your fingers recover from all the typing!
    1. No, I haven’t read them.
    2. Never heard of them before.
    3. Yes, I’m new to erotic romance.
    4. I’m not sure about reading more. How’s that for being honest? I am sitting on the fence on that one, as there are parts of some of the books that I have whipped over, while I’ve read all the words in other books. I think it depends on the author’s words. I get tired of F this and F that all the time (yet it is part of my own vernacular).
    5. I don’t prefer erotic romances YET, but I definitely enjoy HOT romances in contemporaries (and have done so since 1974). To me, less is more in many cases….

  121. 121
    Ellen says:

    Interesting topic today. I haven’t read the books, but working in a library, am very interested in everyone’s opinions. Will definitely be sharing this with my co-workers.

  122. 122

    1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books? I’ve only read excerpts so far that haven’t impressed me much. In fact, my daughter & I had a good laugh at one part that shouldn’t have brought about such a reaction. It was when Ana lost her virginity and it read, “Aargh,” I cried…” My daughter wondered if Ana was wearing an eyepatch & waving a pirate’s sword. I must admit, though, that I will probably buy the books and read them, hoping they can redeem themselves. Aargh? Really?

    2. If so, did you enjoy them? Why or why not? I wasn’t blown away by those excerpts, no.

    3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it? No, I’ve read Erotic Romance before, some of it much, MUCH worse than those excerpts of 50 Shades.

    4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more? Not new to it.

    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance ? Actually, it doesn’t matter to me. I love Romance novels, all of them, if they’re well-written.

  123. 123
    monica t. says:

    Hello Carly, and thank you for this post and subject matter. I freaking love Erotic Romance stories and I have for quite a while now. The read for me in this by an author that lead me to reading more was Robin Schone’s book THE LOVER. I have not looked back in any form of regret since. These to me are wonderful stories on another aspect of a person’s sexual life, and if a good read can come from it all the better. You have listed some of my very favs starting with Lauren Dane. She and Maya Banks really got the whole BDSM thing started for me. I was always interested in the mental aspect of this lifestyle and Maya pretty well answered my questions in one of the “Sweet” books. Lauren Dane’s book “Undercover” I read often. Just so damn :hothot: ! I love her whole catalogue to be honest. Shayla is good too. I am now reading your book the Playboy and will be picking up The Heartbreaker right after. Erotic romance books are not for everybody, but for me I love the point of the book that I will most definitely get once I invest my time in reading it,people really need to stop thinking its smut because it is NOT. I have read that too but totally just for the sex and as I read it I damn well know as an adult what I am getting out of that as well. This post is as it should be informative and gets people to know more authors that they can hopefully get into. So by all means Carly, if some other subject matter is on your mind, please let us know because I for one would just love to HEAR IT! :devilbanana: :devilbanana: :devilbanana: :devilbanana: :readbook2:

  124. 124
    Carrie says:

    I’m new to erotic romance and hadn’t even heard of 50 Shades until I read about it on a blog post…Roni’s perhaps. Her book, Crash into You is the first I’ve read of the erotic genre but I’m not new to romance. I read tons when I was younger and I actually wrote my own during NaNo 2011 :)

    While I try to avoid books that are hyped I’m thinking I might need to check out 50 Shades, especially if I plan on reading more romance and possibly erotic romance in the future.

  125. 125
    Deniz says:

    I haven’t read much erotic romance actually – a few here and there, and most were, ahem, not so great – too much Tab A into Slot B stuff. But the ones that were good, whoo-ee! Great stuff :-)

  126. 126
    Patti Fleming says:

    I have not read 50 Shades yet. Not sure if I will. Hear good and bad reviews. I love all kinds of books. Maya Banks and Lauren Dane are just two of my favorites.
    Thanks for the great post! Love finding out about new books to read! :)

  127. 127
    Carol says:

    I haven’t read 50 Shades but I do love to read erotica. All kinds. Ellora’s Cave is one of my favorite sites to find some really great reads and I visit there frequently. These books are labeled erotica just as Patricia Cornwell’s books are labeled mystery or Barbara Cartland’s books are labeled romance and so on. What you chose to read is a personal decision and as long as you are enjoying what you are reading then just go with it. After all, isn’t that what reading is all about?

  128. 128
    Linda says:

    Love Lauren Dane books…and I do read erotic books.

  129. 129
    Bev says:

    I’ve been an avid reader most of my life – discounting the first few years when I was learning to read ;) and I’ve moved from Enid Blyton to Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs to Romance. I don’t even recall how I made the jump but I like all flavors; historical, sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, military, hot, extra hot, sweet, I’ve read some of the authors mentioned and I’ll read almost anything once (or at least start reading, sometimes I can’t promise I’ll finish the book!) I was amazed at that contest where they decided to ban books with same sex relationships and I’m pretty amazed at all the hoopla about Fifty Shades. I haven’t read them yet but I probably will read them so I make an informed comment – unlike Dr Drew!!! Actually, that’s what really gets me – people who comment about a particular book or genre when they haven’t read it. What part of ‘know what you are talking about’ do these people not get?

  130. 130
    Elaine says:

    Have not read the 50 Shades books but do read some of any genre. Have read Lauren Dane, Maya Banks and most of the others listed in this blog. Everyone should be able to read what they want without being embaressed about it. I am not a huge BDSM fan but that is a personal preference and I do not object to others reading these books.

    Media does not know how to respect the hard work that goes into writing a book and enjoy making fun of anyone who reads them as long as they are listed as romances. Did not see the GMA spot but am not suprised that the mainstream media would do this.

  131. 131
    Karla says:

    I read romance most of the time, but I haven’t read this series – yet. I work at a bookstore and it cracks me up when people (mostly women) whisper to me about where to find them. People who have read it tell me the editing is awful, but I’m with you, Carly. I find errors all the time when I’m reading, but we’re all human and things will get by even after several proofing. It doesn’t bother me.

  132. 132
    MinnChica says:

    I absolutely ADORED the first two books in the series, but I started having problems with the third book.

    After the first two, Christian seemed to accept a lot of his past, and seemed really ready to move forward with a healthy relationship. Instead, in the third book, it seemed as if every step forward he took, it was followed by three giant steps backward. He came across (to me) as verbally abusive and controlling. I had such high expectations for the third book, and I felt really let down.

    The other thing that concerns me about this is that the BDSM lifestyle is VERY poorly displayed in this book. There are so many other books that explain the lifestyle in a better light. Instead, we have this as the “mainstream” view of what the lifestyle is like, and that is very disappointing to me. Especially when people like Dr. Drew come forward and call women in the life style “damaged” and other horrible things. :|

    I am really glad that it worked for you though Carly! :D

  133. 133
    Amber says:

    I really hope i don’t make anyone mad with this that is not my intention at all!! I believe that the controversy surrounding E.L James is the fact that with this being a twilight fan-fiction that a lot of her fan base in the fandom felt betrayed that she chose to pull her story and then make minimal changes to it and call it all her own. Now you might be thinking so what it was fan fiction get over it! The real “controversy” if one can call it that is the comments she made in a private conversation with another fan fic other in the twilight fandom that, while yes the other author maliciously published them it showed a whole new side to snowqueens icedragon E.L James fanfiction pen name. While i am paraphrasing here it E.L said she was tired of writing for free she wanted her nice big fat paycheck for her story. It made a lot of people mad. I’m not saying I agree with either author of what they did but it makes you wonder things, or maybe that is just me! and again sorry if i offended anyone that was honestly not my intent.

  134. 134
    Carly says:

    As much as I want to and wish I could, there is no way I can respond to every post. You are all amazing. I have LOVED reading each and every one of your comments, pro and con, and I’m SO glad you came by to share your thoughts. It’s rare that something hits and unites a reader fan base in such a big way – and no matter your thoughts on this trilogy or on erotic romance – we’re all talking about reading romance in general AND I LOVE THAT! And I love all of you! :cheer:

    • 134.1

      It’s been a great discussion, Carly. One of my readers posted your blog on my Facebook wall and told me to come check it out. (There has been some discussion about the series and the hoopla there in the past few weeks. ) Now, back to reading all the comments (when I should be in bed, or reading “The Reluctant Dom,” by Tymber Dalton).

      Kallypso Masters

  135. 135
    Tina S says:

    Always in the mood for a steamy book!

  136. 136
    Kris A. says:

    I have not read erotic fiction in a very long time. Thank you for the suggestions!

  137. 137
    Fran says:

    I started reading and couldn’t put them down. I kept waiting for something terrible to happen to Ana and realized that it didn’t and that she was truly loved (sort of learning it as she did). Christian had a lot of pluses and some negatives…don’t we all. In the end, it seemed Ana was intrigued and into it just as much as he. I loved the whole series.

  138. 138
    Alison says:

    I loved your post and am loving the stories (currently about a third of the way into book 2). I sometimes work with people in the kink community in my psychotherapy practice and I believe that it is a realistic look at what can be a complicated dynamic. I also agree with you that Ana is very strong and had definitely NOT relinquished all her power to Christian. I think she has as much control as he does. I can’t wait to see how the character development progresses and how his trauma is processed as I continue to read!

  139. 139
    Eileen A-W says:

    I like all kinds of books; romance, erotica, mystery, fiction,…. I have not heard of this book. My intro to erotica was sort of thru the “Bad Boys” analogies usually coordinated by Lori Foster. It’s where I discovered Janelle Dennison and a bunch of other authors. As long as one reads what one enjoys, what does it matter how romantic or how erotic it is. I do think that people who will read erotica but dismiss mainstream romance are hypocrites. In fact, there are a number of mainstream romance books that I would consider under the erotica genre with the amount of sex descriptions in them.

  140. 140
    Trisha says:

    Well, I haven’t read a huge amount of romance, but not because I think they’re beneath me, not at all – I guess I’ve just been busy with other genres. But I do ADORE a good love story and these books sound intriguing!

  141. 141
    JoAnna B says:

    Ok, I guess I must be living in a cave. I have seen several blog posts about 50 Shades of Grey but I figured it was just a new release. I haven’t heard any of the media hype about the books. I think I’m kind of glad I haven’t seen or heard any of it. I read romance and I’m not ashamed of it.
    I have not read 50 Shades of Grey. I probably would. I like erotic and hot romance. Many of the authors on your list on great authors. Thanks for you take on the books.

  142. 142
    jessica says:

    Enjoyed the blog! I have read all 3 ‘Grey’ books. I really enjoyed them and look forward to checking out some of your suggestions. It’s not a lifestyle I think I could do, but do enjoy the ‘fantasy’ aspect. I do think my favorite scenes though were the email exchanges!

  143. 143
    Pamiam says:

    I have not read 50 shades but since I am going to be having knee surgery next month and stuck in my recliner, I will be doing some heavy reading so I might just have to get them. I love all romance novels from simmer to scorcher. I might jump from contemporary to historical to suspence but i like them all. I loved Lauren Danes Chase brothers and will eventually get to the Brown siblings. Once I start a series it can hit the wallet when you realize you have a whole lotta books to buy cuz I gotta have em all. I also love Maya Banks. The last highlander book I had to quit reading at work because I

    • 143.1
      Pamiam says:

      sorry…fat fingers on the laptop.
      I had to quit reading because I was crying :boohoo: Loved the book!! I enjoy getting lost in the emotions and feeling the story
      I really don’t care what people think of my reading choices. I read for my own entertainment and I will read what I like.

  144. 144
    Lauren says:

    I have not read yet, but I’ve read (and really enjoyed) Lauren Dane, Shayla Black, and Maya Banks so I’ll likely read this too

  145. 145
    lena says:

    I read regular romance and erotic romance quite a bit, but I haven’t read 50 Shades. I think a lot of that does have to do with the crazy viral nature of it and the weird backlash – I mean, I only heard about it last week and that was because of the jokey nature of most of the coverage of it. I might read it in the future when the price goes down. But I just saw a buzzfeed article that had the “15 most hilarious lines” from it, and they were … meh.
    As far as the “omg it started as fanfiction!” that doesn’t bother me. Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Jaida Jones/Dani Bennett are all successful authors who started out doing Harry Potter fanfiction, and their work is very good. I would say that their work is almost better because of how they got their start – they basically were able to workshop their stuff to a huge online audience, plus they came in with a fanbase when their own original work started getting published.

  146. 146
    LindaH says:

    1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books? No I have not but I would love to :)

    3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it? No I love Erotica Romance. Also depends on the writing. I have read some where the author doesn’t introduce us to the characters but right away to the sex scenes. I prefer to learn more about the characters first :)

    4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more? I am not new to it but I am always looking forward to reading more of it.

    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?) Honestly I have no preference I love all types of books I am willing to try to read any thing once if I haven’t read that genre.

    Great blog post :yourock


  147. 147
    MaryC says:

    I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, not because of the subject matter but because there are so many other books I’d rather read. As to the level of heat in the books I read, it depends on my mood. Genres also change – I go through periods where I’m reading nonfiction, poetry, classics, mysteries,
    fiction or romance.

    People can be really funny about what they read – the Harry Potter books in England were released with a children’s cover and an adult cover because some adults didn’t want to be seen reading a children’s book.

  148. 148
    Theresa Michel says:

    I have not read these books. I do read erotica, but also read a variety of romance and LOVE your books Carly! I tend to read books for a variety of reasons, so I like to have books that are a variety of types.

  149. 149
    MamaKitty says:

    I have not read the Fifty Shades books yet… technically. I read most of Masters of the Universe while it was still up on still in it’s fanfiction form, but I do have FSoG queued up on my iPad right now to read. I want to see how much she changed, and honestly, I want to revisit the story. I liked it as MotU, I think I’d like it as an original story as well.
    I’m not new to erotic romance. It’s one of my favorite genres to read, but sometimes I’m more in the mood for the HOT (usually contemp/PNR/UF erotic romance) stuff instead. I read a lot of different genres, but those are my favorites.
    I’ve read Laid Bare by Lauren Dane as well as the entire Sweet Series (including Sweet Addiction – I won an ARC in a Twitter contest) and I have to say, those are some absolutely amazing books. Seriously. Some of my favorites. In fact, I’m getting ready to re-read the Sweet series again just because I love it THAT MUCH… after I finish FSoG. :)

  150. 150
    Misty H says:

    I read romance, it doesn’t matter from which sub genre….I read it. I have not read the 50 Shades books but you have peeked my curiosity. If Good Morning America wants to bash romance for its subject matter or mommy porn, they need to go back and read the A N Roquelaure (Anne Rice) and her Beauty Series which were BDSM themed books. While they are not romances in the truest sense there is romance running among the pages. I also have friends who are in the BDSM scene and they are normal every day people, what they chose to do is their choice. I’ve read historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances that have been much hotter than some of the “erotica” out there. I don’t care how much sex is in a book as long as it has a good plot.

  151. 151
    Kim h says:

    Have not read, but read eroctic books, iread what I like, I do love the erotic writers here whoo, great giveaways thanks :thumbsup: :cooldance:

  152. 152
    Kathleen O says:

    I have not read 50 Shades of Gray books …Yet, but you can bet I will. I do read Erotic Romance, because I can. I am free spirited independent woman who is not afraid to read what she wants and enjoy it.. I like to read a mixture of both in my books.. Sometimes you need that not holds bared kind of romance that nearly strips the paint of the wall it’s so hot like Maya Banks “Sweet” series and then you need to find that romance that contemporary romance such as yourself and Janelle and others write..
    Like most readers I have different genres that I read and so I don’t like all of them, like paranormals.. I only like a certain type. To be honest I don’t like werewolves and shapeshifters, but if I don’t count them out either..
    I like what I like and I defend it..

  153. 153
    anne harris says:

    I hadn’t planned to read 50 shades of grey because of the hoopla, and giggles. I was however, impressed with your thoughtful evaluation of it. Having read very erotic books/stories, it sounds as if this will be tame, in comparison. As for reading romance, I make no apologies. I read what I want to read. Not to please or placate anyone ‘out there.’

  154. 154

    (don’t enter me)

    As a romance writer, as a mom, as a romance reader, I’m irritated by the mommy porn crap, but it’s nothing new and I’m just going to ignore it, because that’s what I do with idiots. They aren’t worth my time.

    I couldn’t care less about the subject matter. ;) I read Lauren Dane and Joey Hill and I set the bar verra high when I am in the mood for BDSM romance.

    Re: The series…I haven’t read it, nor do I intend it.

    I’ve seen several excerpts and the writing style isn’t to my taste. But even aside from that, I have…matters of principal, we’ll say.

    I have issues with the way the author has achieved her success. She basically built her readership via fanfiction and that, as an author, bothers me.

    It’s not that she was a popular fanfiction writer and then she created her own world. Meljean Brook did that-she started in fanfiction and then she started creating her OWN worlds. This is cool. This is awesome. I love her writing and I greatly admire her.

    This isn’t what EL James did. She took somebody else’s characters, put them in a story and it was wickedly popularly. Then she changed the names and profited.

    The excerpts that I saw of the original book-Master of the Universe, where the characters were still Edward and Bella and it was Twilight fanfic, and then the excerpts compared to excerpts in 50 Shades? Not different. She didn’t take an idea and develop her own characters from it and it doesn’t appear that she reworked it and ‘made it her own’. The original fanfic and this book are 89% the same according to a post I saw on Dear Author.

    So she’s selling fanfiction-she’s selling a book that she originally wrote as homage to the characters from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Now I haven’t even read Twilight but I have issue with this…a lot of issues.

    A lot of people have said, “but it’s nothing like Twilight…” If that’s the case, then why did she use the ‘twilight’ fanfiction build such a reading base? If it was just to build that reading base, I have issues with the dishonesty.

    So for me, it’s a matter of principal and I have no interest in reading it.

  155. 155
    books4me says:

    I haven’t read this book but I have read many BDSM books. I was surprised when I read about the hype with married women reading the book and it was helping them in the bedroom. It sounded like women had never heard of erotic/BDSM books and it surprised me as there are many, many good BDSM books written by great authors!

    I like HAWT romance and erotic romance. As long as the book is well written and I get lost in the book, I don’t care which I read!

    Great post, Carly!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

  156. 156
    Pam Headrick says:

    Well, I’ve read Erotica which had no plot, just lots of sex…and I’ve read Erotica which had great plot and characters. I haven’t read this series, but hopefully free speech still reigns supreme, and if I wasn’t completely inundated with books to read, I’d probably give the books a try!

  157. 157
    Laurie P says:

    I have not read these books yet, hadn’t even heard of the before this week and all of the hoopla going on about them. Don’t know if I plan to read them. I have read some excerpts and a few lines and didn’t find it the most compelling of reads. Also if the story line is a BDSM one I’m not the biggest fan of BDMS stories. I have read some and light BDSM is okay but heavy, it’s just not my cup of tea. That’s just me. But I don’t think anyone should disrespect me for not liking them, just as I would never disrespect someone for liking and reading them. What you read is and always should be a matter of individual choice. What types of romance do I read? Just about everything else, MM, menage, etc.

    Someone else brought up the cover and boy….there are some very beautiful cover and there are some really cheesy ones on romance books!

  158. 158
    jolina pardo says:

    I haven’t read 50 shades of grey, yet. I’ve been reading reviews andi am definitly picking up the series. I’ve read erotic romance but I do prefer readinwg romance. Thanks for the review and giveaway :flowers4you:

  159. 159
    Hilary W. says:

    1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books?
    I have not read this, but it’s on my to-reads on goodreads!

    3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it?
    I started reading some erotic romance novels in the last two years. I think my first author was Maya Banks, Colters Woman! I’ve been hooked every since. I love the alpha males, and the way they take care of their women. I also like all the different secnerios of sex scenes; talk about hot hot! Some of the erotica romances are too short for me. I read about 400pages or more 4-5days a week. I can read 3 eroticas when I normally only read 1 romance novel in a day like a hannah howell or J.R. Ward.

    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?) I mix up; I buy whatever I find interesting. I’ve been finding new authors via goodreads, bloggers, and twitter. I guess most of the books I have are considered Hot romance; but I have been finding more and more Erotic Romance’s as I find authors I like!!!

  160. 160
    robin says:

    I have not read fifty shades yet. i have just start reading Erotic Romance. started with maya banks and jaid black. Am now reading Lora Leigh’s bound hearts series. :hothot:

  161. 161
    Kathleen says:

    I have read some erotica that I truly enjoyed and I have read some that I would not finish the book it was not my thing at all. there are so many different genre’s of erotic. I found the ones I like and those are the ones I stick with now

  162. 162
    Carrie E. says:

    I haven’t read the 50 Shades books. I’m not sure if I will, but I quite enjoyed the discussion. I have been chastised about my reading material (usually hot romance, some erotic) often as others seem to think I need to broaden my mind. I try to explain that it’s an escape for me, but that seems difficult for many to understand. Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

  163. 163
    Keisha says:

    I have not read FSOG, just recently I heard about it and the various opinions surrounding the book and the inception etc, one thing I learned is that nothing is really original writers are inspired by so many things, and I think it was smart of the author to utilize the sexual tension in TWILIGHT and turned it into what people wanted which was the characters Bella and Edward to get it on without a fade to black scene that the author of TWILIGHT did. In addition, at the end of the day readers is what makes authors successful so if plenty of people like her style of writing I don’t think it had anything to do with the original fan fiction.

  164. 164
    Dawn says:

    I enjoyed your breakdown thoroughly! I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey yet it has been on my maybe list for some time now and I think I will be picking it up for sure now. As for new to romance or erotica – I’m fairyly new only been reading 3 years or so but dove into the deep in quickly with Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin and Cherise Sinclair. I have since read everything I could get my hands on – Maya Banks, Lauren Dane, Carly Phillips are terrific.
    I came to the Romance genre from reading Twilight for my nieces and stayed I read across genres and love it all from YA to extreme adult. I do have a preference for BDSM but love it all and am very happy I found it and it’s community of authors and readers.

  165. 165
    Emily Tardy says:

    I love reading romance novels, it’s my thing lol. I read everything from contemporary to historical, suspense to comedy, and of course paranormals. The first time I read an erotic novel actually came from my grandma, she reads books then gives them to me. I don’t remember what book it was, but I really liked it, then I found the Wolf Tales series by Kate Douglas… needless to say I couldn’t put ’em down ;) Now I have a lot of erotic romance books. I would like to see what everyone is talking about when it comes to this book, so I am going to add it to my TBR pile

  166. 166
    mikki says:

    Living in Malaysia, I think maybe the hype for 50 shades didn’t quite reach here? Having read your evaluation, I plan to go out and buy all three! I can’t wait to read them. :reading: I am a huge fan of Romance. Hot, Hotter, BDSM, Erotic, Regency….pretty much anything! :inlove: I have my favourite authors, of course and when I find a new one to love, I buy everything they write.
    There will always be ‘haters’, mostly people that haven’t read the books they are talking about or who feel uncomfortable with the response the book creates in them. It’s ok. We all have our preferences… I am so glad I read your blog and have bookmarked it… to go and find the ones on your list and the 50 shades series… :cheer:

  167. 167

    Warning–longest blog comment in the world. Okay, maybe not. I’ve had longer.

    As someone who loves the BDSM genre (Cherise Sinclair being my first and all-time favorite author in the genre), I just wanted to add a couple of things to the great info in this blog. First, my disclaimer–I haven’t read Fifty Shades and probably won’t. Mainly it’s about price. (Sorry, e-books should not be priced over $4.99, IMHO–so $30 to get to a single HEA is just not going to satisfy me. I’ll pay $7.99 for Cherise, but she’s an exception.) I also just haven’t read anything that compels me to want to read it, including the blurb. (I read a blog from a Dom the other day about the series and the way he described Christian as becoming submissive–or did he say “whipped”? –at the point the guy gave up reading, I thought “I do not want my alpha men going all submissive and wussy.” Even my alpha malesub isn’t going to be a wuss. So, that’s where I decided it probably wasn’t the series for me. (I have a TBR full of books, including Shayla’s Wicked Ties, Lorelei James, Joey W. Hill, and so many others that I am very selective about what I take the time to read. I read too slowly, too!)

    Now to my comments. Let’s not forget what put the original SM in BDSM–sadomasochism! Okay, my current book has an SM couple, so maybe that’s just on my mind lately. I should add that some say SM also stands for slave/Master. It’s amazing all the things those four innocent-looking letters can stand for when pertaining to BDSM!

    Then to the whole abuse thing. I don’t always have abused heroines in my stories, but do have two very broken heroines (Savi and Cassie, one an incest survivor and the other a gang-rape survivor) who are shut down sexually, until introduced to BDSM. With the help of many subs and several Doms in the lifestyle (as well as a licensed mental-health worker who explains to me why BDSM–and sometimes sadism and masochism–works for them), I am going to write Savi and Cassie’s stories in a way to show how BDSM actually can help heal past abuse AND help the survivor find ways to enjoy sex. I can speak from experience as an incest survivor and child sexual-abuse survivor, as well–there is something very freeing about being in bondage. Of course, safe, sane, and consensual is the name of the game–as well as indepth communication and negotiation (I love writing those scenes!), and building a deep level of trust in each other BEFORE the ropes come out is also very important. Damn, but I love this lifestyle, community, and genre! Harkens back to the days of the bodice rippers (even though they didn’t quite follow the consensual rule of thumb often used today).

    Lastly, thank God for Fifty Shades and all the publicity it has elicited. Erotic romance with BDSM themes is my genre of choice and anything that gets this much attention focused on our taboo genre is fine by me. There are a lot of curious women out there who tell me they’ve never read anything in the genre before, but now are hooked. Next thing I know, they’re telling me they are off to Atlantic City with hubby for a kinky weekend. Or they’re talking to their husband for the first time about these fantasies they’d like to act out. (Some husbands run kicking and screaming, but the majority I hear about tend to be enjoying this new side of their wives very much–dare I say, the back side! )

    My books may never climb as high as hers on the Amazon bestseller list (not that they are doing too badly), but the publicity is good for all of us writing in the genre, because Fifty Shades comes to an end and, I would think, leaves readers wanting to know more about this genre and lifestyle. So, it’s all good from a writing/reading perspective. As long as people don’t read Fifty Shades expecting anything close to real-life BDSM (or even the good fantasy BDSM), enjoy the reads, then go find other books in the genre! Maybe the weatherman on GMA will be acting like a junior-high-school boy in the locker room when he flips through the pages of our books on the show some day looking for something salacious to titter about, too!

    Kally Masters

  168. 168
    Fedora says:

    Very interesting, Karen/Carly :) I haven’t read 50 Shades yet but have been hearing a lot more buzz recently, in light of all the recent publicity. I still haven’t decided whether or not I will, but am annoyed that some people seem to be taking this as another opportunity to slam romance, which is utter stupidity, AGAIN. So many of those on their high horses haven’t read any and pooh-pooh it to distance themselves and show their intellectual superiority over those of us who do. I happily read romance and erotic romance knowing it is not real life, but they are a joyful part of celebrating the good things in real life.

  169. 169
    Lyn says:

    Have you read the Fifty Shades books?
    2. If so, did you enjoy them? Why or why not?
    3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it?
    4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more?
    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?)

    I have not ready the Fifty Shades books, but I’m beginning to think I should so that I can see what the fuss is about. I’m not new to Erotic Romance, and dependant on authors will read more. I like to read both erotic romance and HOT romance (like yourself and Janelle’s titles) but as to what is my preference, it depends on my mood – I guess you could say that both are.

  170. 170
    TRACIE says:

    I have heard a lot of buzz about the Fifty Shades but have not read it. I am interested but still able to resist at this time. It’s a little pricey and I have a towering TBR pile that I’m just not there yet. I have been reading Erotic Romance for quite awhile and it is probably my favorite and I rapidly devour everything I can get my hands on. Some favorite authors are Lora Leigh, Jaci Burton, Lorelei James, Maya Banks, and just thinking about them makes me want to pick something up and escape…
    I guess I was into erotic before it was “cool”.

  171. 171
    Na S. says:

    I’ve been hearing lots about the Fifty Shades books lately and I do plan on reading them. I actually heard about them before they really gain popularity and since then have heard both bad and good reviews. I’m not swayed – I still want to read them going by my initial reaction. I can say this, my curiousity has nothing to do with the fact it is (or isn’t) Twlight fanfiction as I’ve never read the Twilight series.

    You could say I’m new to the Erotic Romance genre in the sense I’ve never picked up a story specified as erotic but I woudl say I have encountered many stories with strong erotic elements in them. I don’t mind if it suits the story. I think of erotic as a more intimate way of showing love.

  172. 172

    I have read many types of books & I have read Maya Banks & thought her erotic books were really good. I don’t read any book for the sex, I read it for the whole relationship & how they manage to overcome many obstacles. Like your books the way you are drawn into the characters lives & how sometimes you feel like you are there.
    I have read really good books that did not get good reviews & I found them quite good!
    I have read all of your books so far & love them all, I especially have great respect for you to stand up for your fellow friends/authors. Thanks Carly, keep writing & love you letting us know what book you are reading. I have been reading alot of them & you are right they are always a good book to read.

  173. 173
    ceil says:

    I have just started fifty shades and i guess its fine (I’m not up to any good parts yet).
    I’m really looking forward to starting Serendipity. I’ve been reading D.Steel & the Twilight series and need something different.
    I hope everyone has a great St. Patty’s day and enjoys the weekend!

  174. 174
    Anne says:

    I haven’t read this series…yet. At $10 a book it was too much based on the reviews I read. Half excellent, half in the dumpster. If the first book comes down in price to $2.99 or less I will definitely read it and I will also see if my library gets it. My library system has a surprising quantity or erotica books, which is where I get most of the ones I read.

    I would say 5-10% of the books I read are in the hot to erotica range and my definition of hot is now probably what I would have considered erotica 10-15 years ago.

    I’ve read several of the authors you mentioned and would consider Lauren Dane’s series hot more than erotica, even the book with the menage relationship (liked the whole series so far) . Maya Bank’s always a good read. I had issues with one of her BDSM books because I couldn’t understand why the female lead wanted the lifestyle and what I consider debasement made me uncomfortable. I put it down, but I believe I later finished it.

  175. 175
    Candy says:

    Hey Carly – Just an FYI – I love the daily emails from PlotMonkeys. I have gotten lots of new books to try based upon your alls recommendations. I have not read 50 Shades. As I am recently retired, my book budget is more limited than when I was working so my favorite authors get my money first, so unfortunately I may not read these unless the price is lowered. Since I got my Kindle, I have expanded my romance categories to include erotica because I have downloaded free books and loved the story so I would then purchase more books by that author. My very favorite genre’s are romantic suspense and contemporary romance and I do like my stories sizzling with a happy endings!! It does irk me how people who do not read romance put the genre down (even my husband teases me about the book titles :-)), but I just “consider the source” and not worry about it, cause it takes away from my reading time and family time. I read romance strictly for pleasure (it is like Calgon and it takes me away!) so I listen for recommendations and not negative comments. Plus I am always excited about the opportunity to win a gift card or books!!

  176. 176
    Brenda E Holmes says:

    Carly/ Karen, you just shot way up on my list of all time favorite writers(of any genre!) and I will try and get these books as soon as possible. You ,my dear, are simply brilliant! Have a great day!!!

  177. 177
    Taryn Lisa says:

    What an amazing post, Karen! I’m going to share this with everyone I know. I’ve been following all the hoopla the last few weeks. It’s not as if I have a choice, it’s everywhere! I’m a huge romance reader-it’s all I read, so I was so upset and hurt by comments being made about erotic romance books. The people making these comments are completely clueless, I think. Mommy porn? Hide my books on my kindle because I’m ashamed of what I read? Abuse? All I have to say is that those people should speak for themselves. I read erotic books, and I’m proud of it!

  178. 178
    Tif says:

    I LOVE these books. I had to see what all the hype was about, and I think they’re WONDERFUL!!!

    BTW, I love your books too! Boo to those who look down on romance novels!

  179. 179
    Lynne says:

    I have not read this series of books but I am a romance reader and I also read some Erotica. I like my romance hot and sometimes I just want it hotter. I want my stories to have a story and not just be about the sex. Most of my friends think I read fluff because I don’t read Oprah’s reading list but that is okay to me. I read like others watch television. I read for entertainment and I often learn things from my romance novels. I have read most of the authors you have mentioned and they are on my must read list. Keep writing the way you write because I will keep reading them.

  180. 180
    Melissa S says:

    Long time reader of All types of romance. I love most of them does not matter the heat level. I have not the 50 shades series but I have read most of the authors you mentioned. I have my go to authors that I return to over and over depending on my mood. I lied your post it is crazy how women have to defend themselves just to read a story. Some of us (esp those of us who are stay at home moms) need an escape from realty & we shoud be able to escape anyway we want to without feeling bad. It is a. Lot healthier than other vices. Love love your books Carly! Thank you such a thought provoking post

  181. 181
    Laura Tavares says:

    This is the first I have heard about these books. May check them out. My issue is that I read romance books for the relationship between the characters and not for the sex. Usually will skip through those scenes.

    So I would have to agree with you that if someone is reading them for that reason alone they just don’t get why we read romance. It is just another entrainment venue such as an action movie that men go to. It is whatever makes you happy and entertains any particular person.

    Thank you Carly for always entertaining us with your wonderful stories. People you wish we’re real and we could meet and love and have as a part of our lives.

  182. 182
    Thea says:

    Thank you for the wonderful blog post! A friend recommended I read the first book & ended up reading the whole series in two days. I admit I blanched at the whole dominant-submissive issue when I saw Christian’s contract, but I am glad I pushed past through it. This book is more than that. And I agree with you, on the whole, the BDSM scenarios are pretty tame and I like that the author threw in some “vanilla” as well. I think what really drew me to the book is that it was more than just the sex. Is it hot? Hell yeah. But it’s also about the complex relationship that Ana & Christian have and the three books chronicled the romance of two flawed people wonderfully.

  183. 183
    Suzy R. says:

    Great blog, definately had to get a cup of coffee to finish it. Haven’ read 50 Shades yet, but will. Have to find out what everyone is talking about…I enjoy
    the erotic genre, there so many to choose from these days…Happy St. Patricks Day everyone! :irish2:

  184. 184
    Anita L says:

    :domainatrix: Carly, loved the blog, and no it was not to long. I have been hearing all the hype and wondered if I wanted to read Fifty Shades of Grey. I probably will. Thanks for your honest opinion. I read the books by the authors on Plot monkeys and love the romance novels you and the other authors write. Thanks again for the blog.

  185. 185
    Michelle W says:

    Well, I am new to the BDSM books. With all of the discussions surrounding this book- know wonder it is doing so well. I love romance- all kinds. That being said- I would give any book a chance if it looked interesting. I want to feel what the characters feel- see them grow. If a book does that for me…it hits the mark. I can’t wait to try this one now. Thanks for the review!

  186. 186
    Donna says:

    I have read erotic fiction and love it…I love Shayla Black that series you mentioned kept me reading all night.
    You are an avid reader reading all 3 books in 2 days! I heard about the 50 shades Trilogy from a friend and looked it up on both Amazon and BN and the paper copies won’t be out until sometime in April so I was still deciding on trying it but reading your comments, I will buy the 1st one this weekend and start the journey….
    I know people that read erotic and cover the book with a book cover I dotn’ know why if people dont’ like what you are reading tell them not to look and mind your own business….I guess there are a lot of us erotic book lovers out here you sure got a lot of comments!!!


    PS thanks for recommending more authors going to look them up….you are getting me into trouble Carly…LOL

  187. 187
    May says:

    No, I haven’t read Fifty shades of grey but I have heard tons of good things about it………..

  188. 188
    Courtney Groves says:

    I first heard about this book from my mom, who heard it about it on the TODAY show. She told me that I needed to check it out because it sounded like a book I would read! So I got on Amazon and read the first three chapters. I purchased it right after I finished the preview. After that I didn’t do much else but read! I read it twice. I LOVED this series, It was an AMAZING Love story!

  189. 189
    Kelly V. says:

    Just an FYI, to all you “Shades” readers out there. There are actually 3 soundtracks, one for each book, on a website. Since music plays such a big part in the books, it was really interesting to hear what they said was playing! I really enjoyed this series and hope that the EL James writes more! I am going to read your books Carley and the other authers you recomend. Thanks for the blog! I really enjoy reading other’s views on these books. Laters! :-)

  190. 190
    Jen Hall says:

    I haven’t read 50 shades yet. I admit to being on the fence about it since I have heard so many opposing views. I think that I will add it onto the list. I read almost anything other than non-fiction.

  191. 191
    Jolene A says:

    I actually haven’t even heard of these books until a blogger was discussing them and the rant that Dr. Drew did on the Today show. I went forth and watched the clip and was intrigued with these books. I have yet to read them but am planning on picking them up. I read in every genre and I do read erotic romance and erotica. I enjoy them, and am anxious to read these and see how they compare to some of my other reads

  192. 192
    Elf Ahearn says:

    I haven’t read 50 Shades yet, but I think these books are going to be a huge boon to the romance business. Many of my friends say they don’t read romance. If they pick up 50 Shades and love it, chances are they’ll buy an e-reader and enjoy more guilty pleasures.

    GMA may be offensive as heck to people who understand the work, effort and art that goes into a romance novel. However, that naughty GMA wink, wink could garner us all a lot of sales. Forgive them their tresspasses and make the most of it.

  193. 193
    Susan T. says:

    Thank you for your review on this book. After reading your thoughts, I think I will read the book. I do love a hot and sizzling romance book. I read to escape and to ride along the journey that a couple takes to get their HEA.

  194. 194
    Pamela Mason says:

    What a genius marketing plan.

    ‘Sall I have to say….

  195. 195

    I’m chiming in to this conversation very late but I am so so glad that this book was addressed in an adult and intelligent manner because I am so very sick of all the hype surrounding this series. Why? The snickering, the giggling, and general misinformation. It bothers me that the genre is presented as something we should hide from others, or that readers of romance, erotic romance, or BDSM must be bored housewives that have nothing better to do. Or worse yet, that readers must not have anything going on upstairs, that we are all empty headed porn fanatics or something. Worse still, that anyone who enjoys this type of behavior must be abused, flawed and in need of therapy.

    What is a good thing is that more people are coming to the romance section of the bookstore and buying books. The phenomena is similar to the Twilight thing that attracted a whole slew of new paranormal readers and helped spawn the YA genre. The attention is good for authors, and good for the genre.

    I tried to read 50 Shades but the story was too slow and drawn out for me, and I couldn’t connect with the characters very well. Hey, I tried.

    Not sure if this was mentioned in the zillions of earlier comments but another excellent erotic author is Emma Holly. Love her!

  196. 196
    laurel n says:

    Wow! You certainly stirred up the conversation about 50 Shades! :applause:

    I must admit, I have not yet read them but for different reasons than the rest. I would love to put them on my Kindle but wont because I share the account with my daughters and I want to read them before offering the opportunity to my 17 y/o. I am on the lookout for a copy that I can enjoy privately and then share at my discretion.
    I hadn’t prioritized getting it because I’m not sure I’ll appreciate the BDSM elements as I’m more of a “close the door and let me imagine the details” sort of reader. Not to say I don’t enjoy a well written Hot scene, I do, but, I really don’t want or need a schematic drawing. I want a good story with a good reason for taking the closeup lens into the bedroom.
    As for the fanfic conversation – I am fascinated with the depth of discussion this has engendered. I talked with a local writer who told me this:
    “I don’t care that people write it, I’m actually flattered that they are so moved by my characters that they want to play around with them. BUT, and this is important – keep in mind that the original author creates their characters and sets them in directions, story arcs, growth arcs, etc, so the story can continue in a somewhat predictable manner. The fanfic authors often pick up on these threads and may well lead into the same story the author is about to tell, or has already written. The worry is that the fanfic community may come to believe that their stories have been stolen by the author when the next books come to some of the the same conclusions.”

    Thanks, Carly. I love that so many are able to express their opinions eloquently and openly, without getting into a battle over the differences. :grouphug:

  197. 197
    Joanne B says:

    I have not read the book yet and haven’t paid attention to all the hulaballu. I have been reading romance books for thirty years. I have read the Twilight series along with my niece and nephew so we could discuss it. I didn’t think it was that bad. My favorite romance books to read are the erotic romance books.


  198. 198
    Jen B. says:

    I read my first erotic novel about 3 years ago. I bought it from Amazon by accident (gracious, that sounds so lame but it’s so true).

    LAID BARE is on my keep shelf and one of the books I recommend. The relationship(s) is(are) so amazing. Sweet Persuasion is also on my keeper shelf but not one I recommend to everyone. I prefer Sweet Surrender. I am so excited about Sweet Addiction. I LOVE Cole! LOVE, LOVE!!!! I have never read any of Roni Loren’s books (forgive me!!). Now, to Carly Phillips….I loved Serendipity. It is such a fun book. I haven’t been able to read Destiny yet. I assume that’s a backlist book now?!!!

    1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books? No. It’s on the wish list.
    2. If so, did you enjoy them? Why or why not? N/A
    3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it? I’m not new to Erotic Romance. I actually added it to my wish list after all of the crazy press it has received.
    4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more? N/A
    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?) I don’t prefer one over the other. For me, if the character development and world building aren’t strong, I won’t like the book regardless of content.

  199. 199
    mikki says:

    I have just found out that “50 shades” is not in paper format yet! What a pity. I’ll have to wait a bit to check it out, but I certainly will!
    I agree with many that the sex is only a part of the genre, but it’s a great part when well written. Someone said earlier that they often skip that part! Ummm. Why? :scratch:
    This is a great blog and thanks to Shayla Black on facebook for directing me (and tons of others) here!! :cheer:
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! :irish2:

  200. 200
    mikki says:

    I love the comments this debate is bringing forward. Is there going to be a vote or a tallying of ‘for’ and against”? Just wondering. It’s a curiosity thing. :winner:

  201. 201
    Tamm says:

    The more I read this thread the more I think I may read this series when I get the chance. And probably will buy the physical copies so that when I’m with my nieces and nephews, they won’t accidentally stumble upon it on my Nook.

    Thank you to everyone for your thoughts on Carly’s post. You’ve piqued my interest indeed

  202. 202
    Marlene Howard says:

    :irish2: I have just gotten this series on my kindle but haven’t read them yet. I kept reading the reviews but I will admit to being put off because of the BDSM but I finally decided to buy them. I haven’t read any BDSM books so I’m not sure if I am going to like that or not. But I guess will see now I just have to convince myself to read them lol. I love to read all kinds of romance books but my favorite is paranormal.

  203. 203
    Mary Preston says:

    I have not read FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, but I have read some great things about it over the Internet.


  204. 204
    Tara Stearns says:

    Hi Carly! Loved reading your take on this series. I’ve been living in a whole apparently and only started hearing about them recently. But it was, as you said, referred to as “Mommy porn”.

    I’m relatvely new to reading erotic romance, but like all heat levels. Different books appeal to me for different reasons. I will say that my curiosity is peaked now about Fifty Shades now.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day! :irish2:

  205. 205
    Erin T says:

    I have heard others rave about the 50 Shades books and others totally hate them. I am on the fence about buying them. I do not like BDSM in my romances. I don’t mind some light spanking, some tying up or that. But I heard this book was hardcore. I may give it a try or download the sample on my kindle. Thanks for your opinion Carly.

  206. 206
    Cindy C. says:

    I usually read contemporary or historical romance. I’ve ordered Shades of Gray (doesn’t come out in paprback till April) on the recommendation of a friend. She says I’ll fall in love with Christian. I read a lot, so I might have read a BDSM book before and not realized it was classified as such. I like all different levels of heat in a story, but only if the story and characters are well written. I don’t usually like books where characters are just falling into bed with no story, or an attempted plot that seems like it’s there just to get the characters to sleep together. That just annoys me.
    I love your books, especially the Lucky series.

  207. 207

    I have not read them, and have no immediate plans to do so. That doesn’t mean at some point I won’t. I have a lot of other romances and erotic romances I want to read first. Jo Davis’ I Spy a Naughty Game introduced me to the world of BDSM in a way I understood. These kinds of books don’t appeal to me as a whole just because while others live the lifestyle, it’s not for me. Therefore, I prefer hot/erotic romances without that element. It’s also why I write erotic romance but without the BDSM element. I always say to each his own.
    I write the gamut when it comes to erotic and contemporary romance. I also read that way. To me, a well-written story with characters I can relate to is more important than the sex involved. Although, I do like reading sex scenes! (And writing them, LOL) The whole ‘Mommy porn” thing bugs me because my idea of porn would be a man taking care of the house and doing the dishes. Then maybe we’d hit the bedroom ;)

  208. 208
    Limecello says:

    I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey. I do own a copy… but I don’t know if I’ll read it/when.

    I’m not big on books that have crazy buzz – like I started to dislike Da Vinci Code … :X
    But – I’m glad at least people are talking about a book and considering it?

    Hopefully there are more people than not looking into romances and erotic romances, and not just listening to the crap labels being slapped on like “mommy porn” and those other ridiculous things.

  209. 209
    Danielle W says:

    I haven’t read the Fifty Shades books, yet. They are on my wishlist and I plan to buy them but not when I have so many new releases coming out every month. $9.99 is a little high for me, especially for a trilogy during the busy times of the year for books. I love the BDSM authors you listed, they are fantastic story tellers and do that lifestyle really well. I also like more casual BDSM stories, I read erotic romances as well as just hot ones. I read pretty much every subgenre in romance and enjoy them all. I get teased by my family for the books I read, and coincidentally, got some of them hooked on the same books! I do not judge people for reading about reading the stuff in horrors and other types of genres so I let them know when it is time to stop :) And as for erotic romance being porn, just please with the nonsense. If I wanted porn, I would watch porn. It is free and much faster to get through. I want to read a great story and if it is also erotic, then so be it. I like what I like and it has nothing to do with my libido and my hubby would back me up on that- relationships are 50/50 and the only way my romance reading would effect that is that it makes me happy, not horny.

  210. 210
    Jennifer C says:

    I totally agree with everything you said about the Fifty Shades series. I thought Ana was an incredibly strong woman to be able to walk away when it was necessary. Loved, loved this series! It was thought-provoking, disturbing, steamy, romantic, and suspenseful. These books will stay with me for a long time.

  211. 211
    Chris Bails says:

    I have not read the Fifty Shades series yet. I have heard great things about these books. I love the erotic romance books. I have read some good ones. Laurell K Hamiton and Jeaniene Frost have some good sexy ones. But have read some really dirty, sexy ones by Lauren Dane, Jodi Redford, and Natasha Blackthorne. I love to read just about anything, I don’t prefer one over the other. I just like good books and reading.

  212. 212
    Kendra says:

    Have you read the Fifty Shades books? Yes. I read it as a fanfiction and again when it was published. Loved it both times.
    Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it? I am NOT new to erotic romance. The biggest sections of my bookshelf and ereader are erotic romance. This may have been a factor in my love for these books, but I try to judge each book I read based on the story elements of the book and not on how they compare to other books. I have elements I look for in stories that I’m sure help me like the story more, but I like to give books a try even if they don’t necessarily seem like something I would like. You never know what you might like. I’m not usually a BDSM fan but if the rest of the story has a compelling and connectable storyline I usually love it anyway.

  213. 213
    Froggy says:

    No, I haven’t read 50 shades of grey..didn’t really sound interesting to me. I don’t mind sex in a book but I want a plot, not just a book that is pure sex.

    • 213.1
      Peggy K says:

      Froggy….these books do have a plot. Its a beautiful love story :) Let us know if you try it!

  214. 214
    Claudia says:

    I don’t know how I missed hearing about the shades of grey series but I’m adding them to my TBR list. (This list is so long now that I have a Kindle!) Shayla Black and Maya Banks are two of my fave erotic romance authors.

  215. 215
    MelissaSei says:

    Nice post even if it is soooo long. Definitely worth reading!! I lurvvve me some Christian!!

    My first romance read was an erotica novel by Lorelei James and well it definitely made my eyes pop open! I’ve never turned back…:)

  216. 216
    Diana says:

    I’m curious about Fifty Shades of Grey because of all the hype surrounding it. I’ve read both erotic romance and hot romances, and I prefer the latter. Contemporary romances are my favorite.

  217. 217
    Susan schwiebert says:

    In the middle of book 2 have enjoyed series so far… Have read”erotica” before and was joking with a friend how AMA ing it is that our guilty pleasure has suddenly become the norm. … Looking forward to checking out your author recommendations. Thanx for a very insightful blig

  218. 218
    Amanda says:

    I just got back into reading this past summer when I saw a Marie Force book as a freebie. Since reading that I haven’t been able to stop reading. I read a book every 2-3 days and have just recently found your books thanks to a friends suggestion. I am very anxious to buy and read everything you have written. I love contemporary romance best! Thanks for an awesome giveaway.

  219. 219
    donnas says:

    I have not read the 50 Shades books. But I have read a lot about this the past week. I am not big into that type. I like Hot but not full on Erotic. I dont have a problem with the genre and I know there are some great books and writers in it. Its just not for me.

  220. 220
    Lori T says:

    No, I have not read Fifty Shades. I have read erotic romance and I do enjoy it. I think that if the story is well written and you connect with the characters that makes the story enjoyable.

    Thanks for contest.

  221. 221
    Bella says:

    Hi Carly!
    very interesting post, I really enjoyed this one and didnt mind the length at all mainly because you brought up a lot of points that I think about often in my reading life. From a library standpoint, I work hard to always be open and objective in my assessment of books because I know that there’s something for everyone but of course not everyone is going to like everything. But that doesnt mean that there arent librarians out there that do make snide remarks on romance books and the genre as a whole, and that offends me because I love the genre! That being said, I was wary of the bdsm subgenre and thought it was something I’d never like or would scare me. But then I read one of Cherise Sinclair’s books and found myself not only finishing it but wanting the next book! And the next, and the next, and the next lol. So I’m an adventurous reader and though I haven’t read Fifty Shades yet I plan to eventually do so. I’m so glad you brought up all these different issues with regard to how the popularity of this book is being portrayed and how romance, erotic romance, etc is treated in general by people in conversation. I personally find it amazing how so many people can claim to dislike certain books or even feel above certain “types” of books and yet those books are the ones selling like hotcakes!

    • 221.1
      mikki says:

      Many people diss the genre without having read any of it! They have a prejudice which they don’t hesitate to show. Pity, but there you are. :readbook2:

      I am waiting for 50 shades to come into paper format. I look forward to seeing what the controversy is all about.

      Meanwhile, I have some great new books to read, thanks to the list of recommended authors in this blog. Thanks, Carly!!!! :bananaangel:
      I won one, so that’s a great start!!! :party:

  222. 222
    Kris H. says:

    I did read the books (in a weekend!) and I loved them, more the story than the long, drawn out “red room” scenes. What I wanted to recommend is re-reading them after you finish. Very fun to see “what you missed” as the story progresses. I have never wanted to re-read a book series before and found this a real treat.

  223. 223
    Peggy K says:

    I have read 50 Shades and LOVE it! I recommend it to everyone that will listen :) I am on book 3 now and made myself slow down because I dont want it to end! This is not my normal genre of books, but I’m betting that I will try some of the authors you suggested :) I fell for Christian Grey and I think Ana was the perfect match for him. I love a book that stays with you after you’ve read it. This book is a wonderful read, and its one that I will revisit again. There are not many books that I will reread, but I really love this one. If you havent read it, give it a try… wont be disappointed! And btw, I am also a huge fan of yours! Looking forward to Karma! :partygroup:

  224. 224
    mikki says:

    wow! This blog is a loooong one! Great! The interest here is awesome!! I really must get these books when they’re out in solid format. For the record, I always re-read books I have enjoyed. That’s why I buy them rather than borrow. :onfire1:

  225. 225
    Tanya says:

    I started Fifty Shades of Grey two nights ago and I absolutely love it. It is very intriguing and has kept my attention from page 1. I have read to chapter nine and find myself not wanting to put it down. I am thoroughly enjoying it and I will be getting the other two. It is AMAZING and I find myself thinking and dreaming about it. I literally have not been able to sleep the last two nights but I have to force myself because I work during the day lol..Thanks again to Carly, her blog and all of the wonderful people here:)

  226. 226

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  229. 229
    Eric says:

    I found the books to be frustrating, mostly because of the tired repetitive dialogue between Ana and Christian that was seemingly hashed and rehashed every time they were together.

    “Are you sleeping with her?”
    “No, we’re just business partners.”

    Next scene…

    “Are you sleeping with her?!”
    “NO, we’re just business partners.”

    Two paragraphs later…

    “Are you sleeping with her?”
    “NO, we’re just business partners!”
    “Alright, but I think you’re sleeping with her!”
    “I’m not!”

    Not to mention the whole, “I want to touch you.” – “No, you can’t.” – “Why?” – “I’m not telling.” broken record.

    (Also, sorry to be “that guy” or to be a total pilkunnussija, but as an author, shouldn’t you know that by saying, “MY MEA CULPA”, you just said “My my fault”?)

  230. 230

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  231. 231
    Rachel says:


    (longest comment ever and my first here)

    1. Have you read the Fifty Shades books?

    Yes and it only took me 5 day because I have a 4 year old that needs my full attention for long periods of time, otherwise I think I would have finished in 2 day without any sleep.

    2. If so, did you enjoy them? Why or why not?

    I read a lot, on any free time that I have and my kindle is always on my bag when I go out. I read mostly romance and all its sub categories, I got no prejudice, if it is good I read it. That said, these books are definitely on my top 10 books ever be it romance or not. What I loved so much about it? Its smart, funny, has its own soundtrack and with a lot of kinky fuckery (whats not to love) but in the end it is simply a very beautiful love story and that is what keeps us sighing for long after the book is over.

    3. Are you new to Erotic Romance and if not, did that influence whether or not you liked it?

    Nope not new to me, and I read a lot of it and no, again if its good I read it doesn’t matter how erotic it is, that is just a bonus sometimes.

    4. If you are new to Erotic Romance, are you looking to read more?


    5. Do you prefer Erotic Romance? Or just more HOT Romance (similar to myself and Janelle’s contemporaries?)

    I love you too Carly, got karma on pre order and in my humble opinion you are one of the best out there. So keep them coming and I will keep reading them!!!

    Now for my little rant:

    It makes me very sad to see Romance authors (and ones that I like at that) trashing these books. You might not like it and that is fine, but to say something without even reading it is just petty and claiming that you don’t even have the intention of reading it is even more scary. Everyone will sell more books because of E L James! Romance will finally get some of the recognition it deserves from the literary community and the people who did not read romance will get curious and will want to read more romance. So do not judge these books because they are a huge success and most romance books are not selling millions in a week, everyone will benefit from this. I wish the Twilight saga was this good, and in my opinion it is not and it might have served as an inspiration but there is very little of it on these books in my opinion. It has elements of it yes, but like Carly said, very few romance novels are completely original the difference lies on how the story is developed. I love Rachel Gibson and it made me really sad to read what she posted on her blog, all about the mistakes, number of sex scenes etc and not a single line stating that the story is indeed good, so let us not be bitter and just see the good that has the potential to come out of all this.

    My other big problem is with all the “mommy porn”. Yes I am a mom and yes I read steamy books all the time. I am also a very happilly married woman with a beautiful love story of my own, the kinds of which I only read in books and sometimes I cannot believe it actually happend to me, so no I dont read it cause my life is sad or whatever, I am just a romantic healthy female who loves to read and I have seen far to many tragedies in my line of work, so yes I prefer HEAs because that is not the case in real life most of the time. Romance just makes me a better person and a more cheerful one at that.

    Now to the editing, As far as I understand these book were published in installments over a long period of time. Now imagine if you were reading a couple of chapters say every week and they were always good and got you hooked for the next installment? Yes the books could be shorter but I understand why they are not, and I would rather have them as they are than miss on half of what was said. I have a photographic memory and could only find one gross mistake of a repeated small dialogue but I have seen far worst out there. All books have mistakes on them and some just really annoy me, like when there is a Brazilian character on a book (yes I am Brazilian). We DO NOT speak Spanish down there and it shocks me to see best selling authors from big publishers that did not bother to use google translate or research for 5 minutes and that is just one of the million examples I could give, so authors out there, look at your own mistakes before pointing fingers.

    Loved your mea culpa Carly and thanks for going out there and saying it as it is. Fair point well made Mrs. Phillips.

    P.S.: Sorry for any grammar and or style mistake as English is not my native language.

  232. 232

    […] – this blog is nearly as long as the first Fifty Blog! Two months ago, I wrote a blog called Fifty Shades, My Fifty Cents – which I’ve linked to for those who missed it. This was the most popular blog […]

  233. 233
    Jenn says:

    I had not read this before and I find all your points excellent and I had not heard of some of these authors before … adding to my ever growing list.

    I have read fan fiction (and dare I say quietly … have actually written some) and let me say there are some great undiscovered writers out there and there are some that you ask why why why?! My 2 cents.

  234. 234
    Mary Balogh says:

    Bravo, Carly. Yes, you do agree with my Facebook comments–at much greater length and in far greater depth. This is excellent!

  235. 235
    Tamm says:

    Okay, so I broke down and purchased the first book… read it in three days, purchased the second book, read it in a day (couldn’t sleep so I read instead) and have started book 3.

    I’m enjoying the books, but I don’t consider them erotica, maybe one’s wet dream SAFE version of erotica, but I read a book many years ago (ha, it was my mom’s) that had alot of whips and chains and more *ahem* detailed sex scenes and actions than this series.

    With that said, I don’t get all the hype. Would I have read these books without the influence of my girlfriends and the media? Probably not… I’m too busy trying to catch up on the 60+ books I have waiting to read (hardcopy and on my nook). Wait, let me take that back – I would read these books eventually, but it wouldn’t have been this soon.

    I find myself enjoying the change of Dominant to Lover in Christian and even though I agreed with Ana when she left… those four days were really not that long of a break and the first two books take place over what… a few weeks? I know people believe in love at first sight, but I’m sorry, I don’t buy that with this story. I just don’t.

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  238. 238
    Mara says:

    I am not much of a reader and I really dislike getting on the band wagon so I had decided I would not read these books. However, I was given a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey so I did struggle through it. My chief issue is the obvious lack of understanding of American culture. If the story had been set in the south of England, it might have been understandable. I’ve never heard one American use “cheeky” other than myself. But as a resident of the UK for nearly ten year, I think I’m allowed. I spent my reading time annoyed at the culture clash.

  239. 239

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