Posts Tagged ‘eroticnovel’

50 Shades of Nothing New

Monday, May 14th, 2012

bow tie

I figured that since so many journalists and broadcasters keep interviewing me and asking me for quotes about the recent publishing phenomenon of 50 Shades of Grey, I thought it was time I put in my two pence’ worth right here at my blog.

Now I’m the last person to rain on anyone’s parade, especially another author’s. Those of us who toil in this usually thankless and poverty-stricken profession know all too well how difficult it is to make a living, let alone garner the kind of phenomenal success now being enjoyed by 50 Shades author E. L. James, who, up until this time, wasn’t even a professional author (and there are many who would argue that she still isn’t). However, as a writer and editor who does quite a bit of work in the area known as “erotic literature” or “erotic fiction” or “erotica,” I’m truly in the dark as to what all the fuss is about.

James’s novel (and their many continuations) focus on a BDSM relationship between a “submissive” young woman and a “dominant” man. The book evolved from her fan fiction site for Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel Twilight. Though unlike Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey has lots of sex in it.

Explicit sex. And some of it is considered kinky depending on what church you go to.

Err… okay. So what? Is this anything new? Has no one ever written these kinds of novels before? Has no one heard of the similarly themed classic The Story of O? Has no one seen the gazillion erotic novels that have been published over the last few decades detailing precisely the same plotline, replete with salacious details? Has no one noticed the amount of explicit sex to be found on the pages of what are considered to be “mainstream” as well as “literary” novels, not to mention “women’s fiction”?

The fact that 50 Shades appears to be geared toward women readers also seems to have raised eyebrows. I guess all those Black Lace erotic novels written by women for women never existed, not to mention the many similar publishing imprints that have been doing the exact same thing for years, all vying for the exact same audience – an audience which appears to be reading content that has now become commonly known as (*gags*) “Mommy Porn.”

What I’d like to know is, where have all these goggle-eyed readers and journalists been living – in a cave? Even if you’re sweet sixteen and have no literary history under your belt, a visit to the local bookshop or a perusal of the steamy books on offer at Amazon will be sufficient to educate you that these kinds of novels have been around for eons. Some are well written, some poorly written. But this phenomenon is nothing new. For the media and reading public to suddenly make out as if Ms James has invented the erotic novel is a slap in the face for the multitudinous authors both past and present who have been doing the same thing – and quite possibly doing it better!

Of course many of these authors are hoping that the huge success of 50 Shades will translate into greater success for their own books. And perhaps it will. Whether it does anything to improve the actual quality of material being written remains to be seen.

Frankly, I have my doubts.

Adventures in America (Vapour Man Attacks Rhode Island)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
Mitzi Szereto in Rhode Island

Mitzi Szereto in Rhode Island

My bear (the famous Teddy Tedaloo) has recently decided that he wants to move to Vermont. Why Vermont? Well, we hear there are plenty of bears there and, being the single mother of a young bear, this sounds like just the place (providing we can afford American health insurance, which looks increasingly doubtful).

Indeed, I can envision us living in a cosy little upmarket log cabin-style house with high-beamed ceilings and wood-burning fireplace, located on a nice parcel of gently rolling land, and not a neighbour within sight or hearing distance. Apparently the price of real estate isn’t too bad there either and as long as I have high-speed broadband, who cares how far away things are? Now if there are any cute quirky little lads who happen to be single and within driving distance (bonus points to those who own a nice motorbike), we might be in business! (Note: I’m willing to put up with an American accent if said lads tick the right boxes. Hey, what can I say? I’ll make sacrifices for love. Besides, Ted needs a positive male role model who’ll take him to ballgames and such. Okay, nix the ballgame shtick, we can’t stand that crap.)

As for why we’d settle on New England, well, why not? It’s somewhere neither I nor Ted have ever lived. In fact, I recently returned from a visit there, though I didn’t make it over to Vermont, but spent my time in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Rhode Island is nice, but it’s in the hurricane zone. Connecticut is nice, but it’s too expensive and too full of New Yawkers. As for Massachusetts, forget it – that caw-caw accent would make me suicidal (please, no hate mail from you Bostonians, okay?). So it looks like Vermont is top of the list for now. I’m sure I can root out enough quirky content and characters to keep Mitzi TV going. And there’s bound to be a novel in it somewhere, too (perhaps even an erotic one, if things go well). If it’s anything like Rhode Island where I walked into a random Barnes & Noble and found a copy of my new book In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, then it must be a good place.

Mitzi Szereto in Mystic, Connecticut

Mitzi Szereto in Mystic, Connecticut

Would I be willing to leave behind the bright lights of Londontown for the peace and quiet of New England? You betcha! Would I be bored silly? Heck no! I tell you, it’s all happening in New England. Take Providence, for example. Providence has the best falafel I ever ate – and I don’t even like falafel! And there are adventures galore to be had at Providence Airport – or, should I say – Theodore Francis Green International Airport or whatever in heck they’re calling it this week. When it comes to ferreting out potential terrorists, they make the Heathrow security team look like a bunch of squealing girlies.

Last week I was minding my own business waiting to board my flight for Fort Lauderdale when along came this security dude armed with a really butch-looking test tube and some kind of pH stick he was waving about in a threatening manner. Oh, man, he was tuff stuff. All I know is, the bloke sitting next to me in the departure lounge must’ve been on some no-fly list, because that bottle of water he was hanging onto was confiscated and given a right going over by Mr Security Dude. Apparently, this test tube paraphernalia wasn’t intended to get people high (as we’d hoped), but was there to test if any suspicious vapours were emanating from our bottled beverages. It appeared that my fellow passenger Mr Vapour Man had set off some alarm bells, because that pH stick became intimately acquainted with the contents of his plastic water bottle. Talk about rude!

The point is, excitement can be found most anywhere. Or maybe not…

Right, well, I guess I need to start contacting some real estate companies in Vermont (and setting that plan in motion to rob a bank to fund this venture). As for the other part of my master plan, interested parties – that means you cute quirky little single lads in New England (or elsewhere, if you can convince me that you’re what I want/need/desire) – may apply for the position of being Teddy’s positive male role model by sending a CV to me care of my website. Photos and gainful employment required.

Mitzi Szereto on Watchaug Pond, Rhode Island

Mitzi Szereto on a frozen Watchaug Pond, Rhode Island