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  • Tara Sonin 1:00 pm on 2017/11/10 Permalink
    Tags: all in his head, darker, , erotica, , ,   

    Seven Sexy Things We Can’t Wait to Read in E L James’ Darker 

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    Haven’t you always wondered what goes on in Christian Grey’s head? He’s gorgeous, he’s filthy rich, and he’s deeply troubled, but there’s nothing more enticing than that combo when it comes to romance heroes! And this time, in this new intallment in EL James’ 50 Shades series, Darker, you’ll get to relive all the steamy moments from his POV! Such as…

    His breakup with Ana
    How DID Christian cope during the (very brief) time that he and Ana were broken up? She meant what she said, but let’s admit it- we want to read about him pining for her!

    The reunion! (And an attempt at being “vanilla”)
    If you remember, Christian made a pretty big sacrifice (for him) to win Ana back: he committed to a “vanilla” relationship. Meaning no contracts, no punishments, and no Red Room. Why did he make that decision? We can’t wait to find out…

    A jealous mind, rife with passion
    One of the things Ana struggles with is Christian’s desire to control her…but it’s also what entices her about him. Part of her WANTS that…just like part of Christian wants to be rid of the traumas of his past. In the world of romance novels, jealousy can be kind of hot. We want to see Christian’s possessive side!

    A hero at the center of a mystery (or two)
    This book is where the suspense elements of the series pick up: ghosts (and ex girlfriends) from Christian’s past come back to haunt him. Was there anything he didn’t tell Ana, to protect her? How did he unravel the reason for Leila’s return? We can’t wait to see the billionaire play detective.


    Mrs. Robinson, causing drama as always
    A little drama never hurt anyone, and Christian’s ex-lover Elena provides a lot of entertainment. But the best entertainment of all? Seeing him pick Ana over her when it matters most!

    Life or death
    The plane crash was a plot twist we never saw coming in the first version, so even though we know it’s coming- we don’t know how Christian survived, or what he did after the crash.

    The proposal!
    Speaking of things we don’t know…when did Christian buy that ring!? Will we see the scene where he picks it out? And of course…what went through his mind when he proposed to the love of his life?

    Darker is on B&N bookshelves November 28.

    The post Seven Sexy Things We Can’t Wait to Read in E L James’ Darker appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Corrina Lawson 4:00 pm on 2016/09/16 Permalink
    Tags: erotica, , , , Kate Rothwell, Natasha Moore, ,   

    Why Do Romance Authors Write Under Multiple Pseudonyms? 

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    My introduction to the romance genre was via the In Death mystery series by J.D. Robb. My friends assured me that these books were a terrific showcase for the talents of the romance writer, Nora Roberts.

    I read the first one, Naked in Death, and was hooked.

    This exactly why authors use different names across different genres: to reach as many readers as possible.

    Not all readers want the same things from a book, and yet some authors are multitalented and versatile enough to write different types of romances or even to cross genres entirely. For those writers—and those readers—the pseudonym is a gift. For instance, I still love the J.D. Robb mysteries and read every single one, but remain picky about Nora Roberts-authored books. Some I love and others aren’t to my taste. But with the pen name, I know exactly what I’m getting before I buy a book.

    Authors too numerous to count write under multiple names across various genres for people like me. Perhaps the most famous is Nora Roberts, but there’s also the bestselling romantic suspense author Jayne Ann Krentz, who writes historical romance as Amanda Quick and paranormal romance as Jayne Castle. There’s paranormal romance author J.R. Ward, who writes contemporary romance as Jessica Bird. And then there’s urban fantasy author Sherrilyn Kenyon, who writes historical romance as Kinley MacGregor.

    Those particular pseudonyms are well known, which means that their different branding isn’t an attempt to deceive, but more an attempt to inform.

    Kate Rothwell, who also writes as Summer Devon, took the Summer Devon identity to signal a difference in heat levels for her romances. But she makes no secret of the two identities, as it’s even listed in her “meet the author” note on bn.com, under her latest Kate Rothwell historical release, Somebody Wonderful.

    “The Summer Devon identity produces hotter books (Summer, after all). I adopted it for books that weren’t standard male/female historicals,” said Rothwell.

    However, sometimes these identities take on a life of their own.

    “Now I think it’s associated with my male/male romances, no matter what their heat level,” Rothwell added.

    Author Natasha Moore writes contemporary romances. Her latest release is Chemistry, a comedic take on love potions, but she has an alter ego, Anna Lund. Says Moore, “The second pen name is strictly for one type of book with another publisher”—a type of book that may contain heat levels that may not appeal to the same readers who read Natasha Moore.

    In fact, it has become common in the romance genre to take a different pen name for erotic work.

    Besides Rothwell and Moore, there’s Kit Rocha, who writes hotter books, such as Beyond Shame, while her alter ego Moira Rogers, writes paranormal romance such as Crux. Kate Watterson writes suspense such as Frozen, the first book in her Detective Ellie MacIntosh series, while her alter ego Emma Wildes writes the Sinful Gentlemen series. Readers may enjoy reading both Watterson and Wildes, but if a reader looking for a mystery stumbles across sexy romance instead, that might be frustrating or confusing.

    Of course, sometimes authors in other genres take pen names to avoid being seen as too prolific. (Hello, Stephen King‘s Richard Bachman!) Or authors start out writing under a pen name early on in their careers (such as Michael Crichton, whose novel A Case of Need, written under the name Jeffrey Hudson, won an Edgar Award), only to later republish them under their real names, once those real names have become household names.

    There are outliers, of course, who want to hide their identities so that readers won’t come into new work with preconceptions, (Robert Galbraith, ahem, J. K. Rowling, I’m talking to you!) though Rowling’s deception was more to make certain that her Cormoran Strike mystery series would be received based on its own merits, rather than being touted as the “new J. K. Rowling book!”

    In that, Rowling was like most of the other authors using pseudonyms: she didn’t want to give potential readers the wrong idea about any particular book. No sense angering the reader on the front page and plenty of sense in letting them know when their favorite author may be veering into paths where they may not want to follow.

    Plus, there’s the bonus of finding new readers, like me.

    The post Why Do Romance Authors Write Under Multiple Pseudonyms? appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 8:00 pm on 2015/07/23 Permalink
    Tags: , erotica, , , , sensational, , the fountainhead   

    Look on My Works Ye Mighty: Once and Future Novel Phenomenons 

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    As we we recover from the release of E.L. James’ Grey, which tells the story of Christian and Anastasia’s kinky love affair from Christian’s point of view, it will be interesting to see if Fifty Shades of Grey retains its grip on pop culture. A few years ago, everyone was talking about Fifty Shades of Grey—its sexual politics, the quality of the writing, its fan-fiction origins, women’s rights, and issues of domestic abuse. In fact, many people who haven’t even read a line of the books, or only the ones quoted in six billion think pieces written about them, have extremely passionate opinions about the trilogy.

    James said she wrote Grey to please her fans, and there’s no reason to doubt it. Fans are passionate, and when you’re passionate about a work of fiction it’s not at all unusual to have a drive to know every single facet about the universe you enjoy. This is why companion novels, guidebooks, and character encyclopedias do so well, and why an author can return to a successful universe decades later and still sell oodles of books.

    Judging from history, the chances are good that while Grey may sell a lot of copies, it won’t capture the zeitgeist the way the first three novels did. History has seen a lot of books that hit the shelves like a train on fire, capturing not only readers’ eyeballs but the general attention of every single person in the universe, becoming grist for late night jokes and endless discussions, as bloviators bloviate about why this year’s cult novel doesn’t deserve all the attention. These books burn bright, burn fast, and then settle into a comfortable cultural obfuscation—not precisely obscurity, because they often have incredibly long tails, but certainly a much lower profile than in their initial phenomenon phase. In fact, the history of this sort of phenomenon novel can be traced back to the mid-19th century, and what’s known as the Sensation Novel. And if you’ve never heard the term sensation novel, that’s your first clue as to their eventual fate.

    Causing a Sensation

    The “Sensation Novel” was a phenomenon of the 1860s and 1870s, marked by the publication of novels that were melodramatic, romantic, and written with a modern thrust and sensibility that had never existed before. Largely thought to begin with the publication of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White (also considered one of the first mystery novels),they were hugely successful commercially (and published in the first blush of the industrial revolution that made their widespread availability possible), but generally poorly regarded by critics, setting the pattern for the rest of eternity: exciting books that reflected the passions of the times sell like hotcakes, and are universally reviled by the supposed defenders of taste and literary quality. Sensation Novels traded in “shocking” plots that included crime, adultery, sex, and, of course, murder, but were considered sensational more for the fact that they used these plot elements in a realistic way, setting them in the recognizable world instead of a fantastic setting where the reader remained insulated.

    Of the Sensation Novels from the time, the most famous remains Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. In fact, that novel and Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood, along with The Woman in White, are likely the only examples of the Sensation Novel that are still discussed widely and remain part of the popular culture to any extent. The rest have faded away more or less completely. Of course you can still discover these books and read them, and very likely enjoy them, but they’re not exactly household names, despite once dominating the pop culture conversation.

    That’s the pattern that remains in force: novels that come out and cause a sensation, whether it’s a mania of people buying and discussing them, outrage over their content, or simply catching a wave in the zeitgeist, the fact is, it has happened before, and will happen again. The books that everyone is buzzing about today will soon be yesterday’s news.

    Which doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading. You can learn a lot from the “It Books” of the past, partially from what they can show us about what was considered sensational at the time, and partially from the objectivity that time grants us, allowing us to view them as novels—which can be impossible when we’re in the midst of the phenomenon.

    The Modern Sensation Novel

    Every generation likes to think it’s the most debauched and worldly ever produced, that the things that shock us are orders of magnitude more shocking than the things that shocked our parents. This is largely because our collective memory is feeble, and we forget things so quickly. The Fifty Shades books, with their focus on bondage, submission, and non-traditional romance, got a lot of attention because of their shocking nature. But there’s actually a lot more romance in them than explicit sex, and anyone who bought and read the trilogy for the smut was very likely disappointed.

    The fact is, anyone who thought Fifty Shades shocking likely hasn’t read the liver scene in Portnoy’s Complaint, any random page from Tropic of Cancer, or Venus in Furs, whose author, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, actually inspired the term masochism (look to the works of de Sade for the other side of that particular coin). The list of novels that pre-date (and very likely out-raunch) E.L. James is long, which just goes to show that it isn’t necessarily shocking subject matter that makes a book a sensation—it requires the perception of a new low (or high, depending on your point of view). Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t become a sensation simply because it explored a BDSM lifestyle and relationship many people were unfamiliar with, or included some explicit details you don’t encounter in most love scenes. It became a sensation because it framed these shocking moments inside a more traditional romance: a young, inexperienced woman meets a powerful, experienced man, pierces his outer shell of defenses, has the best sex of anyone’s life, and then finds her own power by the end. It’s a pretty classic, just with a more honest look at how people process unconventional desire.

    Peyton Place remains one of the most successful “sensational” novels of the modern age. Published in 1956, it sold in incredible numbers, was on the New York Times Bestseller List for 59 weeks, and was made into a film, and then a TV series. More a sprawling soap opera than an examination of a single sexual relationship, Peyton Place hit all the shock points for 1950s America (many of which remain shocking today), including sex, incest, abortion, adultery, and, just to round it off, murder.

    It’s not wrong to characterize Peyton Place as the Fifty Shades of its time—a book that people read not for the writing, but for the supposedly shocking moments within it, a book that didn’t get much love from critics, which seemed to sell mainly due to its “forbidden” nature. The sort of book that, as the famous line in A Chorus Line goes, people locked themselves in the bathroom to read. Yet 60 years on, Peyton Place is hardly part of the buzzing of pop culture. It’s not exactly forgotten, and remains in print, but no one is writing think pieces about it any more. As Shelley wrote, “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.” No matter how sensational a novel is, the time comes when it’s no longer considered sensational.

    Not Always Sex

    It’s a mistake to imagine that the sensational novel is always about sex. Phenomenons are built on other things, but that doesn’t mean they have any more staying power as cocktail-chatter grist.

    Consider the now-inexplicable cultural fury of The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown. It’s hard to believe that just over a decade ago, the world was buzzing constantly about this book. People took it seriously as history, actually believing famous works of art contained hidden codes, or that the Catholic Church has a secret organization dedicated to suppressing the truth (well, they certainly did—but at least in the 21st century, those hidden secrets were far less fantastical, and far more troubling). It sold close to 100 million copies, spawned sequels and two film adaptations and a lengthy list of imitators, and turned Brown, whose first three novels had sold poorly, into a superstar. For a while, every conversation that touched on reading had to cover your opinion of, reaction to, and analysis of The Da Vinci Code.

    Today, of course, not so much. Brown continues to sell hella books, and people continue to read The Da Vinci Code and find it to be either a mediocrity, or a fascinating alternate take on history, and a thrilling story. It doesn’t matter where you fall on that spectrum: the fact is, no one is talking about the book any more, and that’s the point—all sensations fade. While they may remain in print, they stop being cultural touchstones, and eventually, they stop making sense as pop culture references.

    Another example of a sensational book—one that has perhaps been most successful at maintaining its place as a topic of furious discussion—is Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, perhaps the least sexy book to have achieved sensation status (perhaps the least sexy book ever written, in fact). Deplored by critics, it gained a rising buzz of word of mouth after its publication, hit the bestseller lists, and was a required topic of conversation for years, whether you wanted to discuss the politics Rand barely hid in her story (now considered the first seeds of the modern Libertarian movement), or that rape scene (which Rand energetically denied was rape at all).

    Six decades later, college kids continue to discover The Fountainhead and go through an annoying phase of pressing the book on everyone they meet, insisting it will change the way they see the world. It continues to be an unofficial bible for a certain type of businessperson who conflates their monetary success with some sort of superior intellectual quality they have discovered within. Still, despite its continuing sales, The Fountainhead hasn’t really been part of the pop culture conversation for decades. No novel can remain a sensation forever, no matter how much sex, profanity, or oddball political and cultural theory it contains.

    Does this mean the Fifty Shades Era will pass? Definitely. The books may continue to sell, they might become the foundation of “dirty bookshelves” in houses across the country in the same way The Tropic of Cancer once did in our parents’ or grandparents’ houses. But there will come a time when no one writes about them any longer. A new shocking novel will come out, and even if it isn’t all that shocking, and we’ll spend an inordinate amount of time discussing it, until we’re all hardily sick of it. And so we beat on.

    Shop all fiction >
  • Jen Harper 3:00 pm on 2015/06/24 Permalink
    Tags: , erotica, , , ,   

    Haven’t read Fifty Shades? 4 Reasons to Start with Grey 

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    You don’t have to fake it with us: We know there are those of you out there who haven’t read the Fifty Shades trilogy yet. And with all the hype surrounding bestselling author EL James’s newest book, Grey, perhaps you’re thinking it’s too late for you to jump on the Fifty Shades of Grey bondage bandwagon. Never fear—there’s plenty of room in Christian Grey’s playroom for everyone (just don’t touch anything). We’ve got four good reasons you might want to read the dark and brooding Christian’s side of the story before getting Anastasia Steele’s perspective in the Fifty Shades trilogy.   

    You want the male perspective right up front.
    With a large female audience, many romance and erotica novels tend to stick with the woman’s point of view. But maybe you’re ready to mix it up and hear about sex, love, and flogging from the man’s perspective. And quite unlike the naive, virginal Anastasia Steele’s insights, Christian Grey’s brooding, domineering, S&M–loving mind is both dark and enlightening all at once, as you learn how tortured and insecure he really is.

    You’re more black and white—you don’t deal well with shades of gray.
    Christian is almost a total mystery in Fifty Shades of Grey. Why exactly is he so taken with this Anastasia girl? What does he even do to have made all this money? How did he know where Ana worked and when to find her there? And what’s with the no-touching-his-chest deal? Imagine all these questions and a million more, and you’re beginning to see what it’s like to 1) read Fifty Shades as told by Anastasia and 2) possibly be Anastasia herself. Seriously, how does she deal with all the not-knowing?

    You’re a bit of a contrarian.
    You like to eat your dessert first, drink coffee before bed, and wear your sunglasses at night. So why wouldn’t you start with the last-released book in a series? The good news about Grey is that you really don’t have to have read any of the Fifty Shades books to understand the story and its characters.

    You’re still mourning the loss of Midnight Sun, Stephanie Meyer’s never-completed version of Twilight from Edward Cullen’s point of view. It’s no secret the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey started out as Twilight fan fiction with Christian as a take on vampire Edward Cullen and Anastasia as a version of Bella Swan. And, as any good Twilight fan knows, Meyer had plans to release a Twilight companion novel—the first book in the series as told from Edward’s perspective. However, in 2008 a partial draft of the book, entitled Midnight Sun, was illegally leaked on the Internet. As a result, Meyer didn’t feel she could continue with the book, breaking Twi-hearts around the world. So while we may never get more insight into the mind of Edward, we can at least get to know his fanfic alter ego a bit better in Grey.

  • Jen Harper 4:00 pm on 2015/06/23 Permalink
    Tags: , erotica, , , ,   

    4 Reasons You Can’t Miss Grey 

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    It’s been days since EL James’s latest novel, Grey, hit shelves on June 18, and you haven’t devoured it yet??? Perhaps you just enjoy the anticipation of making yourself wait to read it, or maybe you need a little push in the right direction (with a flogger, perchance?).

    Fans have been begging James for this book—a retelling of Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian Grey’s point of view—ever since the release of the first volume in the bestselling Fifty Shades trilogy, which was told from Anastasia Steele’s perspective. And James has definitely delivered. Check out our list of reasons why you can’t miss Christian’s side of the story.

    It’s the ultimate summer indulgence.
    Summer is a time for relaxing in the sun, feeling the sand between your toes, watching blockbuster popcorn flicks at the theater, and reading crowd-pleasing books for pleasure. Books like James’ are called popular fiction for a reason, and she’s giving the people exactly what they want. Have you ever tried to read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment while lounging next to a pool? It’s a stellar piece of literature, but difficult to absorb when the temps are up and the winter clothes are packed away. Now, throw Grey into your beach bag, and follow Christian into the Red Room of Pain. We promise it won’t hurt a bit.

    Everyone else is doing it.
    Yes, we know what your mother always said: “If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you?” No, Mom. And we don’t think reading Grey is gateway behavior to bridge jumping. But can millions of people be wrong? The first three books in the series—Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed—have sold 125 million copies, the movie adaptation made $94.4 million in its first weekend alone, and Grey has shot quickly to the top spot on Barnes & Noble’s bestsellers list. So whether you’re reading it because you think it’s fun, sexy, silly, intriguing, or outstanding, you’re in good company while quickly turning its pages.

    EL James wrote this book for you, the fans.
    Grey’s dedication page reads, “This book is dedicated to those readers who asked…and asked…and asked for this. Thank you for all you’ve done for me. You rock my world every day.” This book was a labor of love for the millions of readers who’ve become immersed in Christian and Anastasia’s world and wanted more. So graciously accept your gift and get to reading already.

    Finally, some answers about Christian.
    Dark, moody, alluring, domineering, intimidating—all of these words can be used to describe Christian, but above all else, he’s mysterious. What is he thinking when Miss Anastasia Steele stumbles into his office for the first time? What is it about her that draws him in? What makes him tick? How exactly has Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. made Christian a billionaire? How does he always know where to find Ana? What’s the deal with his dark past? Why is it that his interests are so singular? We can’t promise you’ll get all the dirt on Christian in Grey, but you will at least start to understand the inner workings of this complicated man, and what makes Anastasia so appealing to him.

    Have you read Grey yet?

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