Friday, April 27, 2012


Who is E.L. James? Why are readers gobbling Erika Leonard James' books?

I don't know.

Hey, I need to know ... got to look into this.

Why? Because I have six e-book novels that I'm hoping people will buy and read. I have to examine their "gobble" potential.

According to a lot of reviewers, E.L.'s books are erotic, hot, pornographic. "Her words are reducing the women of America to quivering masses of desire."

Time said, "Sex after marriage, the old saying goes, has three phases: kitchen, bedroom and hallway. Kitchen sex is the spontaneous type spouses have when they first get together. Bedroom sex is the more routine lovemaking that sets in after a few years. And hallway sex is when husband and wife pass each other in the hallway and say, 'Screw you.'"

E.L. James -- BOOM -- she's famous, making money, suddenly a name in the news. If she had best seller-be-rich-and-famous-dreams, they are coming true.

Until recently, E.L. was posting her stories online for free. Her trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker. Fifty Shades Freed" is going to be published by Random House. A seven figure deal has been made with Universal pictures for the movie rights to the trilogy.

How did this happen? Well ... she was working un-glamorously in TV production, organizing contracts and clearances.

The 48-year-old E.L., apparently happily married, mother of two teenage boys, found time to read the 700 romance novels that are stored in her attic. She says she's shy and prudish. She giggles, acts horrified, when asked to read aloud from one of the steamier passages in her book. She's told interviewers that she's unnerved when "People tell me the most intimate things. One woman told me she got an orgasm just from reading the book. Another recommend my book, saying, 'be sure to wear a panty liner.'"


Critics, in various ways, say E.L. James is not a very good writer. I read the opening chapters of the first two books of her trilogy, looking for steamy sex passages. (Didn't find them; the free download says that those pages are eliminated.)

What I read was mostly dialogue, not grabby, a bit boring, not inventive or real or ... well ... not very interesting. The characters are ... well ... paper-doll cut outs. They've got the basic attributes -- looks, charm. Passion is ... um ... described, implied ...

Have you ever read stage directions in a play? Passion is written in E.L's book like stage directions --"He sits.: "She stands." "She looks into his eyes." "He looks into her eyes."

I found it boring, but read on, and on, waiting for, hoping to read some panty liner sex. Even though there were additional free samples, more chapters of "Shades of Gray" that I could peruse, I didn't.

It just wasn't very interesting. Flat writing can be interesting, but this was childish, stiff, flat -- like a flat line on a heart monitor.

That pleased me, cheered me. Maybe it stifled the surge of jealousy, muted the suddenly-successful-big name E.L James BOOM.

Reality: My novels are not erotic. There's sex in all of them like spice -- enough to evoke a reader's interest -- not panty liner participation. I write from the spirit, soul, child dream that sent me into dancing. And I could really-really dance and express what I feel. And yes, I know that my words when I write truly express what I'm feeling.

It's a need to communicate. E.L. James is writing and playing out, as she writes, a fantasy that excites her sexually. I don't think that's the same thing.

So I've probably inspired you to visit Amazon. Peek at E.L. Peek at any of my novels. If you want a sex experience from reading a novel, have fun with E.L. James. If you want a trip into someone else's life. Try an Em book.

Click -- if you want to read a little of the trilogy right now.


MikesFilmTalk said...

Well, she cannot be any worse than Stephanie Meyer, surely. Sorry, but there does seem to be a lot of substandard writers suddenly appearing on the best seller list these days. I must admit to still being puzzled as to why the Twilight series does so well. It makes me weep at the apparent literacy drop in the world. With Ms James however, I have no such quandary.

Sex sells. That two word statement says it all. Advertisers have known this for years. Just the mention of steamy tawdry sex scenes in anything is enough to guarantee it's success. Mind you, it can also guarantee your: Book, film, or whatever being banned by the League of Decency (or it's equivalent).

I remember years ago stumbling across a book by the author Anonymous. It was a huge best seller. It's subject? Sex. Pure and simple. If I remember correctly the sequel did just as well. The title of the books were one word - Him, the sequel - Her. To the best of my knowledge Anonymous did not write any further books. I was of the opinion that he or she probably retired on the proceeds.

It is alarming to think that the publishing world is clamouring for works from people who are willing to put anything in their books to sell them. Anything that is but the requisite talent. Merely being able to put several words into a not very good sentence seems to be enough. Sad but true. Don't believe me? Just look at the Twilight series...I rest my case.

I cannot help but wonder if this is a direct result of ebooks. I know that ebook publishers are crying out for new works to be published in this medium. I will not denounce this. This search for new authors might just help the world discover the next Stephen King or Joseph Heller.

Another thoghtful bit of prose Ms Em!

Anonymous said...

Well Em, I think this is a fad right now. I would rather read your books! If this woman can do it, so can we. Kam

Jeffrey Willius said...

Hi Em -- I'm not going to read E.L.'s stuff; I might just look for yours. I identify with you on writing's coming from a need to communicate -- actually, for me, it has to do with both that and a need to compose.
Best of luck to you in all your considerable creative pursuits!!

Bob Sanchez said...

Hi Emily, I found you from Twitter. Yeah, sexy writing is fine, but give me great writing. I'll go check out The Readery.

Ameer S. Washington said...

Not inspired to grab any at all if the writing is drab. I'd rather watch porn. It too is free on the internet, it's visual, and the end result is the same. Panty liners or a trusty towel in my case; just the same.

Where did her success come from? How did she do it? Simple enough. Sex sells. Americans aren't the only ones gobbling it up. Everyone likes sex. Even Catholics priests. There's no surprise that there are 7 billion people on the planet.

I say congratulations to you E.L. James. Another self published author who didn't need the big leaugers. They came chaser after her, because they needed her before she realized how much money she could have made before having to give up a hefty percentage. She'll make millions, but so will about 30 other people. I'm next, you're next, some how, some way.

Carola said...

I hope you get a few more readers from this posting.

Linda Phillips said...

I am 90% through your wonderful book, "Somebody". I plan to read others. You are an amazingly gifted writer. I am loving every minute that I have spent reading "Somebody".

I am in awe of your talent and the amount of detail that had to have taken ages to research. It has taken me through my own life. I can identify with the times as you describe them. I lived through them from the 1940s on.

Unknown said...

I read for the story, the revealing plot, the characters. Be warned, be warned as far as books go, if I even sense sex was put in for the draw, and not because it is an integral part of the plot that is in context with the characters and story, I sniff in negative judgement. (And that goes double dang for sure as far as the movies, films, cinema.)
* * *
The thingy about EM 'spice' is I know it is an authentic aroma that belongs where she writes it. Sending y'all love. I'm @grammakaye on twitter.


Hi Emily ... The newest comer to your blog! Mine is at
I am an author too ... 13 down, the last one to go.. age oblige ..
My brother is the poet John Gallas
so we're a literary lot!
Cheers, Kurt