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Fifty Shades #4...Discussion Continues
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Kristie(J)



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Southwestern Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
I much prefer 'down there' to the crude or flowery language used in the romance/erotica genre! I really do not need any more description than that to get the meaning.

Linda


Oh for Pete's sake. Now you are just stretching it. "Down there" is an expression I would have used when I was 12 or 13 and just getting my period for the first time.

"mom, somethings wrong, I'm bleeding down there"
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janet w



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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Agree: 50Shades' success has rocked romland to its core Reply with quote

It's so great to read everyone's points of view - from agree to disagree and all around the map, this is the most interesting place online to really get down and dirty with the Fifty phenomenon.

Now feel free to take me with a grain of salt because I've blogged both at Romance at Random and at Heroes and Heartbreakers ... but ... vis a vis what Diana said, I was most underwhelmed/disappointed with the long list at USA HEA of what to read after Fifty Shades. Not that there weren't a few good recommendations, because there were (further down) but a) more Bared to You, yep, get that and worst, imo, b) only ONE author, Bella Andre, said she enjoyed Fifty Shades. Come on ...

Barbara Delinsky's essay at Heroes and Heartbreakers about why Fifty Shades was such a fantastic hit was fascinating, beautifully written and she really got it. Little quibble -- Fifty has been at the top of the charts for how long, 3 months?, and other than Carly Phillips, I haven't read a single really big name author admit to liking it. IF there are others, please link me up, I'd love to read their thoughts.
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:
Diana wrote:
If the established romance novel publishers don't see this as time to wake up and smell the coffee then there's no hope for them. This week publishers Random House and Macmillan, and the insider-friendly USA Today blogs gave up trying to ignore the unheard of success of the Fifty books. So NOW they're using Fifty to promote their own books. This is a huge LOL! What they don't get is the canyon-like differences (really well-articulated by the posters on this thread) between what EL James wrote and the same-old-same-old they've been putting out there for decades. None of those books caught the fancy of women everywhere and I think publishers trying to horn in on the money train are in for a rude shock when their ("ours are so much better!") books fail to capture the new Fifty readers. Traditional romance publishers have painted themselves into a corner with their authors all trained and required to write the same thing over and over. All regency all the time from Avon will probably retain their loyal readers but times have changed for attracting new readers. Interesting times!


Ditto.

And I'm not ragging on the genre or its writers, or even its publishers, but I think the success of Fifty Shades has shaken romance to its core. It's still a top selling genre with millions of loyal readers, but when you look at the genre as a whole, it can seem so assembly line: jumping on trends and forcing writers to switch what they write to remain published, 95% of historical romance set in Regency England with generically sexy covers and titles and generic plots and characters, category romances with unique voices mostly ironed out to fit each line, small-town contemporaries based around gentle hobbies (knitting, cupcakes, etc), and copycat paranormals. Plus, the increase in sexual content for the sake of sexual content.

It's no wonder people are running to other genres for different types of books, or plots, or characters! When I see the excitement over FSoG/D/F, it reminds me of the thrill for romance by readers, and the boundary-pushing and innovation of writers, back in the 80s and early 90s. We could never see a Laura Kinsale or a Tom and Sharon Curtis or a LaVyrle Spencer in the 21st century because the genre has trained (your very apt word) itself to treat all authors as interchangeable with one another. There may be a few break-out authors here and there, but all within the proscribed mold.

There's much to be said when we see--and have seen--cogent and intelligent conversations throughout AAR's history as well as between authors and on great reader/review blogs about heroes and heroines, plots and settings, sexuality, language, and cover art, but things remain the relatively same. I was hoping self-publishing would batter at the hatches placed around traditionally-published romance, but with few exceptions, what's out there is merely imitation of what NY produces (probably because they were books written with NY publication in mind). Perhaps it will take romance writers not fully immersed within romance culture, or those who don't care about what we're told are "reader expectations", to carry us back to the "Golden Age".


It's time for a sea change! We're just starting to see publishers respond. There are literally millions of new readers available for the taking and publishers dying to tap into that market. But the same old isn't going to hold them any more than it attracted them in the first place. Sylvia Day's book is actually selling quite well but I suspect that is mainly due to those of us already in the romance club buying it. I admire Day's chutzpah and quick work in being the first to get out there with a reasonably readable copy of Fifty, but it's pretty limp compared to Fifty. And it wasn't until NY bought it that the cufflinks (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) cover appeared. As xina said, it's going to take more than a men's accessory set against a gray background to sell a book. There are only so many. Me, I'm waiting for the David Yurman silver money clip to show up.

I moved away from NY books when they rammed agency pricing through. Haven't really missed them because I feel that after reading in the genre since 1997 I've read it all. Nothing blazing or *can't miss* since I stopped reading NY pubbed books. I've gone the audiobook route for new books and been pretty picky about it. And I have found some delightful indie writers.
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 3:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree: 50Shades' success has rocked romland to its core Reply with quote

janet w wrote:
only ONE author, Bella Andre, said she enjoyed Fifty Shades. Come on ...

Barbara Delinsky's essay at Heroes and Heartbreakers about why Fifty Shades was such a fantastic hit was fascinating, beautifully written and she really got it. Little quibble -- Fifty has been at the top of the charts for how long, 3 months?, and other than Carly Phillips, I haven't read a single really big name author admit to liking it. IF there are others, please link me up, I'd love to read their thoughts.


It's ironic to see so much vitriol poured on Fifty Shades (outside of the debate over its origin as Twilight fanfic) and its readership by major romance authors and reader/reviewers. Don't they realize how similar they sound to mainstream reaction to romance novels and romance readers?
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kristie(J) wrote:


Oh for Pete's sake. Now you are just stretching it. "Down there" is an expression I would have used when I was 12 or 13 and just getting my period for the first time

"mom, somethings wrong, I'm bleeding down there"


If you had to describe a sex scene as you were having it, which is what the first person POV has to do, what terms would you use? I would be far more likely to say as he placed his lips or mouth 'down there' than I would most of the crude terms used in romantica or technical terms. Let's be realistic here. It's more of a stretch to think a college kid would phrase a sexual encounter in her mind in more flowery terms as are so common in the romance genre. Heck even as a 43 year old woman I can't imagine using the terms so common in the genre when describing a sexual encounter, most of it is a ridiculous turn-off.

Feel free to share an example of what you would find more realistic or age representative.

Linda
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Last edited by Linda in sw va on Sun May 27, 2012 4:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Linda in sw va



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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diana wrote:
If the established romance novel publishers don't see this as time to wake up and smell the coffee then there's no hope for them. This week publishers Random House and Macmillan, and the insider-friendly USA Today blogs gave up trying to ignore the unheard of success of the Fifty books. So NOW they're using Fifty to promote their own books. This is a huge LOL! What they don't get is the canyon-like differences (really well-articulated by the posters on this thread) between what EL James wrote and the same-old-same-old they've been putting out there for decades. None of those books caught the fancy of women everywhere and I think publishers trying to horn in on the money train are in for a rude shock when their ("ours are so much better!") books fail to capture the new Fifty readers. Traditional romance publishers have painted themselves into a corner with their authors all trained and required to write the same thing over and over. All regency all the time from Avon will probably retain their loyal readers but times have changed for attracting new readers. Interesting times!


Spot on Diana!!

Linda
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:




If you had to describe a sex scene as you were having it, which is what the first person POV has to do, what terms would you use? I would be far more likely to say as he placed his lips or mouth 'down there' than I would most of the crude terms used in romantica or technical terms. Let's be realistic here. It's more of a stretch to think a college kid would phrase a sexual encounter in her mind in more flowery terms as are so common in the romance genre. Heck even as a 43 year old woman I can't imagine using the terms so common in the genre when describing a sexual encounter, most of it is a ridiculous turn-off.

Feel free to share an example of what you would find more realistic or age representative.

Linda



Totally agree Linda. Hey, I'm not a prude, but the words commonly used in a romance novel to titillate the reader wouldn't have worked in FSoG. And you know...the readers who scooped this book up probably would have been turned off by them.I don't know, I think that is sometimes the reason mainstream readers don't read romance novels. It worked with the heroine in this book.
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Linda in sw va



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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree: 50Shades' success has rocked romland to its core Reply with quote

janet w wrote:


Now feel free to take me with a grain of salt because I've blogged both at Romance at Random and at Heroes and Heartbreakers ... but ... vis a vis what

Barbara Delinsky's essay at Heroes and Heartbreakers about why Fifty Shades was such a fantastic hit was fascinating, beautifully written and she got it.


Can you link to this?

Linda
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree: 50Shades' success has rocked romland to its core Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:




It's ironic to see so much vitriol poured on Fifty Shades (outside of the debate over its origin as Twilight fanfic) and its readership by major romance authors and reader/reviewers. Don't they realize how similar they sound to mainstream reaction to romance novels and romance readers?


Good point. I would say, they probably don't see it that way. It's almost like a show of loyalty to author and reviewer. Odd. I'm glad we've been able to continue our many threads here. In much of romance land the subject is taboo. *don't talk about THAT book* Strange
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Agree: 50Shades' success has rocked romland to its core Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:




Barbara Delinsky's essay at Heroes and Heartbreakers about why Fifty Shades was such a fantastic hit was fascinating, beautifully written and she got it.


Can you link to this?

Linda[/quote]


Really nice review that is honest. Nice to see a big name author step up to the plate and admit she read it. Great review too.


www.heroesandheartbreakers.com

Linda...the review is about 3 down from the top.
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NoirFemme



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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Delinsky's assessment of the trilogy, because it matches my own. It was just so, so refreshing to see that Ana was always in charge of her sexuality. Even though she started off a virgin, and Christian introduced her to everything, it was never patronizing or intent upon displaying his prowess, nor was his experience used to equal his "masculinity" (the opposite in fact). I've grown to hate that all romance genre heroes must be rakes or womanizers in order to be "true men" because it's so insulting to males, it decreases the heroine's sexual agency, and it reinforces disturbing sexual double standards (and it was super refreshing that none of Christian's ex-subs were EEVIL jellus whores!). But I digress, lol. IMO, this trilogy is more than ~scandalous~ BDSM erotica or the "naive innocent who tames a billionaire rake" trope: it's the story of a woman's shedding of shame over her sexuality and her femininity--and even secondary female characters like Kate and Mia share in this--as opposed to her virginity or lack of experience only serving the hero's story.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am on my 2nd reading of FSoG and am completely enjoying it. So, I'm taking note of Christian's music choices, and he does have eclectic taste in music. James stated that she did too and just passed it on to her hero. I share that eclectic taste because I was brought up on classical music, opera and music from 60's musicals. heh. I downloaded The Flower Duet. (in the car after the elevator scene in the book)oh, so lovely...and Thomas Tallis..Spem in Alium...lovely, gorgeous Renaissance choral group music.(Red Room stuff....you know) And I even found a techno version of The Third Mode Melody by Tallis...1505, or thereabouts. I'm sure Christian would not approve. Hopefully that won't be pulsing through the theatre during the movie. Smile
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:
I love Delinsky's assessment of the trilogy, because it matches my own. It was just so, so refreshing to see that Ana was always in charge of her sexuality. Even though she started off a virgin, and Christian introduced her to everything, it was never patronizing or intent upon displaying his prowess, nor was his experience used to equal his "masculinity" (the opposite in fact). I've grown to hate that all romance genre heroes must be rakes or womanizers in order to be "true men" because it's so insulting to males, it decreases the heroine's sexual agency, and it reinforces disturbing sexual double standards (and it was super refreshing that none of Christian's ex-subs were EEVIL jellus whores!). But I digress, lol. IMO, this trilogy is more than ~scandalous~ BDSM erotica or the "naive innocent who tames a billionaire rake" trope: it's the story of a woman's shedding of shame over her sexuality and her femininity--and even secondary female characters like Kate and Mia share in this--as opposed to her virginity or lack of experience only serving the hero's story.



Agree with you! I took the same away from the Delinsky review. And so wonderful that she put her name, and opinion on the line. Bravo!
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Linda in sw va



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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: Agree: 50Shades' success has rocked romland to its core Reply with quote

xina wrote:
Really nice review that is honest. Nice to see a big name author step up to the plate and admit she read it. Great review too.


www.heroesandheartbreakers.com

Linda...the review is about 3 down from the top.



That was a fantastic review and good for her for having the courage to put it out there! My favorite quote is about the sex in the books, she is spot on -

**I love the sex. It is kinky but consensual, erotic but intriguing, dangerous but gently so, with inherent safeguards and care. I love that it has none of the violence of, say, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I donít do violence; it upsets me too much. And Christianís Red Room of Pain, as Ana dubs it? Yes, it was intimidating, but Christian made it clear to her, and hence to me, that he would never hurt her.**

I would add to that - detailed but not overly so.

Awesome!

Linda
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Lea AAR



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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - 4th Fifty thread going strong!

I must ask that no one link to their own review elsewhere. If you are linking to another site where you have found a review that interests you, that's great. Just not your own.

Thanks.
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