Tag Archives: 50 Shades of Grey

Billionaire Romance Will Never Die

24 Mar

by Elizabeth SaFleur

Let me be Captain Obvious. The rich aren’t like us. So it tracks that we’d be fascinated by these super rich creatures, right? Who wouldn’t want to live in that world, albeit virtually and vicariously, through romance stories? The “economic one percent” make problems disappear with the swipe of a credit card. They board private jets when the mood strikes for sushi but only from that little place they discovered in Japan. They buy all the shoes, books and enemy’s businesses they want, whenever they want.

Who wouldn’t want to read about these people?

A bunch of hands just went up in the room, as in “Me! Me! Stop with the billionaire romance already!” Apparently, a tribe of billionaire-hating readers who have a strong disdain for such reads exists! I discovered this on Facebook — the authority on all things true and accurate, right? written with extreme sarcasm. Direct quotes include:

“If I never read another billionaire romance life would be so grand.”

“Can we just have the billionaire thing over already?”

“Oh, yay. Another billionaire romance. Retch.”

I’m shocked, I tell you. SHOCKED.

Then I remembered hearing a panel at last year’s RT Booklovers Convention (forgive me for not remembering the details) where someone said Millennial’s reading tastes are vastly different from older generation’s. The younger generation wants–shudder–reality, as in romance books set in the real-world with characters who were authentic, i.e. not rich, not glamorous, not billionaires. In short, they wanted to read about people like them.

The same RT panelist said the older generations were more apt to want escapism romance. And, sorry to break it to the world, but at some point in the not too distant future the younger generation will become the older generation. So we authors need to care what these youngin’s think–today.

(Side note: Have you heard about the rich kids of Instagram? Well, lest you think everyone young is rolling pennies at night, take a gander at THIS.)

Back to our blog post at hand. Do these predictions mean tales of the wealthy whisking away the innocent virgin to unimaginable pleasures and private islands will go away? Is the billionaire erotic romance market, gulp, fading?

Nope. Not. Even. Close. So say, I, and not because I publish a billionaire erotic romance series. Scout’s honor.

Google images return results when you ask for “billionaire romance.” Thousands! Millions!

 

The Guardian recently published an article on this very topic, triggered by the recent Fifty Shades movie. (Read about my and Madeline Iva’s opinion on the movie here). How could anyone NOT click on an article with the headline, Filthy rich: our tortured love affair with wealth porn.

Wealth porn means accepting that someone is more interesting after seeing their stock portfolio. Kind of like being a virtual gold digger (guilty!). After all, many have said if Christian Grey lived in a trailer, he’d be considered an abuser. The fact he has a penthouse in Seattle’s most expensive building makes his, ahem, viewpoints and behavior around kink okay.

Back to the topic at hand. Forget that in real life millionaires and billionaires rarely have time for Saturday strolls with the family in the park, let alone time to jet off to Japan for sushi. Unless one has inherited a fortune, it takes an obscene amount of office face time to purchase luxury living. But in books, they have oodles of time to lavish attention and resources on their heroines. Thank goodness. I get enough reality in, well, real life.

Below are my super-non-scientific reasons why the super rich will grace our book’s pages for years to come and readers will love it–even the Millennials.

Billionaire romance can be aspirational. A girl’s gotta have a dream, so why not fill your head with visions of full-time maid service and a full-time cook (my ultimate dream)? But more than that, if you believe in the power of manifestation, what you imagine becomes closer to reality. Deep down, I wonder if this is what makes billionaire romance reading so appealing. I read at night and know my dream state is affected by this activity. I have to believe others feel the same.

Reality fatigue is real.  If you seek a break from the negative news filling our airwaves and headlines these days (who isn’t?), romance is perfect for such an escape. Reading about the super-rich takes this diversion to a new level. As for that RT panel that said Millennials don’t want reality? Remember that was before the recent U.S. presidential election, although we were deep in it. Just not as profoundly as we are now. Now we’re so entrenched in absurdity and negativity, we’re like pigs in slop (except pigs like slop).

Billionaire romance features the good guys. Lordy knows, we need some honest-to-God heroes right now, and will for decades to come to get over what’s happening in real life. In reality, the mega rich don’t have the best reputation, especially in today’s times. In romance novels, these wealthy heroes may be flawed, but they sure are heroic and deep down good. Heck, in books even the villains are usually redeemed. Or, if an unethical rich person is cast in a romance novel, they “get theirs” or at least are so obviously bad we know what we’re dealing with. That’s not always the case in real-life. That makes romance novels appeal to the better angels of our nature.

Note: In real life you’d be hard-pressed to find a billionaire who looks like Jamie Dornan. Just sayin’. 

No office pallor here!

Oddly, rich heroes and heroines make me feel normal. When reading, provided it’s not dark erotica or romance, my problems fade for a little bit. In fact, my problems don’t even show up in billionaire romance, even though the characters may be going through the same jealousy, insecurity, emotional vulnerability thing that I might be going through. But it always works out in romance, so I know it will be all right in the end. And if someone with a bank account the size of Fort Knox is worried about being loved, well, dammit, I’m not so strange after all.

In the end, romance has a time-tested appeal that taps into our human nature of wanting love to conquer all. In billionaire romance, we get to tap into that AND our desire for freedom and achievement — ultimately to not be at the behest of others.

Why do YOU love the billionaire romance? Or not?

And while you’re here, sign up for the LadySmut newsletter. We bring you all the smexy things to ponder.

~~~~~

Coming to the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta this May? Join the Ladysmut.com bloggers for a very special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever — and win crowns, toys, books and more. (Ooo, and we’ll have brownies….) Goodybags (with fun stuff!) to first 100 people in line! Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Add this event to your RT Personal Agenda here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Sexy Saturday Round Up

8 Dec
Photo by Dollen

Photo by Dollen

Ho-ho-ho Christmas revelers.  Here is a bit of holiday cheer, just for you.

Smutketeers is rockin’ around the Christmas tree with a 12 day massive book give away, including a 200.00 gift card.

50 Shades of Grey is the Gift that Doesn’t Stop Giving—to this publishing house at least.

We think eggnog is an aphrodisiac–so we’ve included this interview with foodie romance novelist Kimberly Kincaid.

Once you’ve made peace with your relationship to eggnog, here’s a dose of sanity about how to think of your thighs

Will you be home for Christmas? Amber Adams thinks whoever said you can never go home was an idiot. 

What’s Santa got in his sack just for you?  Let’s see…

Carina Press is putting out a call for holiday novellas in four flavors.

Oliver Rhodes wants you to take control of your brand.

Nara Malone offers a simple way to double your daily word count: http://passionatereads.com/2012/11/08/nanowrimo-tip-simple-way-to-double-daily-word-count/

Finally, for all you history geeks out there doing research, know when to say when.

Now go stand under some mistletoe. 🙂

Peace & Nutmeg,

The Lady Smut Elf

Reawakening Sleeping Beauty

12 Oct

Several years ago I attended a romance conference in which Anne Rice made a guest appearance in order to help promote the new release Beguiled, written by her sister, the late Alice Borchardt. After a brief discussion about Alice’s book, the conversation quickly turned to Anne’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy. One intrepid but shy audience member raised her hand to ask about Anne’s “erotic series” when Anne interrupted her and said, “You mean my porn?”

The release of those books caused a feminist outcry that they were examples of female degradation. Anne Rice has countered that her trilogy is “elegantly sensual” and harmless to readers. I’ve also read that she considers the series her political statement about women’s right to read and write whatever they pleased. The books were major bestsellers for her, out-earning what she made from Interview With The Vampire.

If this all sounds rather familiar, it should. We’ve had a resurrection of the discussion in the popular media on erotica and erotic romance with the 50 Shades releases. They’ve been pulled off library shelves (just as the Sleeping Beauty trilogy was), been celebrated for reigniting tired married couples’ intimacy, and been decried by writers aplenty as poorly written schlock. When Sleeping Beauty was released it caused outrage among conservatives and feminists and is included in the American Library Association’s list of the “100 most frequently challenged books” of the 1990’s. On the flip side, it’s also developed a cult following, particularly among the BDSM community.

I read the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, and I read all three 50 Shades as well. As an avid consumer of books in general and romance in particular, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Moreover, I’m interested in whether it’s erotic, erotic romance, or just plain ‘ol porn. And I guess this is where it gets tricky for me. According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, pornography is defined as “obscene writings, drawings, photographs or the like, having little or no artistic merit.” Whoa. If that’s not a can of worms I don’t know what is. I’m backing away with my hands held high.

Next March will be the 30 year anniversary since the first of the Beauty releases. How far have we as readers of erotic romance come since that day? In my opinion, quite far. There’s been an explosion of electronic romance publishers who allow us writers to push the boundaries of eroticism while staying within the confines of romance. There’s a very large dedicated romance audience, with new readers coming on board every day. Yes, there are still groups of people who shun the genre, and that’s OK, too, as long as they don’t try to force others to do the same. For those of you who haven’t read the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, I urge you to give it a look. For those who have, it might be fun to dust off your copy and enjoy it a second time and, as Anne Rice said, celebrate the fact that we can read it – or not – as we please.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Elizabeth

Spanking the Princess, Pt. 2

22 Aug

Welcome to Lady Smut.  I’m Madeline Iva, and starting in September, I’ll be blogging about all topics smart and sexy on Mondays and Thursdays.  ‘Spanking the Princess‘, btw, refers to female masturbation.

This is part two, you may have noticed.  Where is part one? It’s back on my web page blog.  You can find it here.

Part one was inspired by wondering what I would find trolling the Amazon cheap reads section if I tried looking for spanking romances a la Fifty Shades of Grey.

For Part Two, I’d like to explore the Taboo Wishes series, published by Resplendence Publishing (what a name, eh? I feel like a princess just saying it–or like a tinkle of fairy bells should chime when I say the name).

The first book in the Taboo Wishes series is called Punished by Brynn Paulin.  It came out a while ago, and was high on the Amazon charts — perhaps because it was .99 cents.  Perhaps because of the cover.

I liked the cover.  Usually, I’m drawn to covers that are soft and tastefully provocative.  I don’t really care for covers with bare bottoms full on–to me they may be arousing, but they look too much like porn.  This cover, however, is pretty explicit.  Yet it has a retro pulp fiction look to it that I really like.  Also the woman is shown with full agency–I mean, she looks like she’s a full partner in what’s going on.  They’re being naughty together–I like that.  The blurb also makes it clear that these folks are sophisticated adults, bravely trying out something when they are instantly drawn to each other.

This is really important to me.  While erotica sounds fine to me (the more campy the set-up the better) I find as a reader that nothing makes me drop a book faster than reading a scene about  two folks knocking boots who are utterly indifferent to each other.

So what I like about this entire series–and this book in particular–is that while each plot flirts with the forbidden fruit of taboo fantasies, the situations remain highly consensual, well written, and you know even from the sample that a deeper romantic interest is going to quickly emerge.

Punished starts in a club.  Sex club stuff is too ish for my finicky tastes.  Yet the club scene here is merely used as a set-up.  (I think.) Happily, in the beginning of the story, you’re not even seeing the club.  So much of the first scene is about the two protagonists that I get the feeling that the story isn’t going to remain in the club sphere much longer.

You can check out a sample of the book before you buy it.  If you do end up reading Punished, please tell us in the comments section below what you thought of it.

XO,

Madeline

Next week: I’ll review a very sweet erotic romance, SHELTERED by CHARLOTTE STEIN

%d bloggers like this: