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Tag: Romance Novels (1-10 of 12)

'Fifty Shades' Watch: Erotic book trilogy sells for seven figures

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Just as Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James kicks off her US book tour, a new competitor has emerged on the erotica marketplace.

On Monday, Berkley Books announced that it has acquired a Fifty Shades-esque trilogy from Maya Banks in a seven-figure deal. The New York Times bestselling author is perhaps most famous for her Scottish Medievals, which include Never Love a HighlanderSeduction of a Highland Lass and In Bed with a Highlander, but in 2013, she will leave Scotland behind for a new BDSM trilogy.

“Maya Banks was at the forefront of the erotic romance trend and has been a star on Berkley’s list for several years,” Executive Editor Cindy Hwang said in a press release.

“Her new trilogy will thrill returning fans and is the perfect introduction for readers who fell in love with the intensely provocative storyline in Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The trilogy tells the story of three billionaires who “dominate in the boardroom and the bedroom.” Each book will follow one of the billionaires as he finds true love. The first book, Rush, will be released in February 2013, while the second, Fever, will follow in April and the third, Burn, in August.

Banks is, of course, not the first to capitalize on Fifty Shades‘ success. In August, the erotic novel Gabriel’s Inferno nabbed a seven-figure book deal as well, while Warner Bros. scooped up the rights to Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. Indeed, these books are becoming so commonplace that “cliterature” will no longer be a derogatory term for women’s literature, but a display at your local Barnes & Noble.

Will you be reading Banks’ new book series?

Read more:
On the scene: E L James talks ‘Fifty Shades’ with Katie Couric
‘No Easy Day’ dislodges ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ from bestseller list
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ heats up: Charity orders public burning of the erotic novel

The latest in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' imitators

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Every day brings news of more and more projects hanging onto Fifty Shades of Grey‘s coattails (or cat o’nine tails).

You can’t blame any of the bandwagon-jumpers, though. E L James’ S&M trilogy is quickly joining the likes of Twilight and The Hunger Games in terms of sales, and Amazon UK has reported that the books have become the best-selling books in the website’s 14-year history, overtaking the Harry Potter series in just four months.

So here’s what’s going on in the world of Fifty Shades. READ FULL STORY

'Fifty Shades of Grey' author netting $1.34 million a week?

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As Anastasia Steele would say, “Holy crap!” E L James, the doyenne of erotic Twilight fan-fiction, reportedly earns $1.34 million per week, which breaks down to around $191,000 per day. That’s not quite Christian Grey money, but James is getting close. Gawker crunched the numbers here:

++ E.L. James earns 7% royalty on every $14 paperback and 25% royalty on every $10 ebook sold.

++ Last month 4 million paperbacks and 1 million ebooks were sold.

Who knows if the numbers are exactly right, but it’s been obvious for a while that the enormous success of Fifty Shades of Grey is not a flash in the pan but an ongoing phenomenon that won’t go away any time soon — even if you’re one of the people who wish it would. READ FULL STORY

'Fifty Shades' author E L James has finished two new novels

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The erotic Fifty Shades trilogy may be reviled and banned by some, but with all three books topping the best-sellers list, the phenomenon is far from fading any time soon. E L James, the raunchy mind behind the bondage saga, has added fuel to the fire by telling USA Today that she has two more novels hidden away. She says one is another erotic novel — no mention whether it revisits kink master Christian Grey and dewy college student Anastasia Steele — and the other is a paranormal young adult novel. James considers Fifty Shades a hard act to follow. “I’ve got several more good ideas but how do you follow this?” she says. “I’ve set the bar quite high in terms of storytelling.” READ FULL STORY

What explicit books did you read in secret when you were a kid?

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As long as adults have been reading scandalous books, kids have been stealing them away to read under the covers. Now with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey among moms, you can bet the next generation of curious book pilferers are stealthily poring over the racier passages between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. We know from Harry Potter that nothing gives a book more allure for a kid than labeling it “forbidden,” so we asked EW staffers what “naughty” books they couldn’t stay away from when they were teens. Some popular responses were Forever by Judy Blume, Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow, and Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel (“prehistoric porn!”). Click through to see some of the other books that traumatized, amused, and enlightened our writers in their more impressionable years — and tell us your own in the comments!

NEXT: The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer

'Fifty Shades of Grey': A winning romance novel goes from fan fiction to viral hit

By now you’ve probably heard the tale of the little erotic novel that could, Fifty Shades of Grey. Originally released last year, first-time fiction author E.L. James’s surprise bestseller has been quietly heating things up for months as word of mouth spread. The romance novel, which prominently features bondage, S&M, and assorted other deliciously debaucherous acts, has been gaining traction recently and headlines about the “cult hit” helped catapult it to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List this past weekend.

The Today Show even aired a segment wondering what it said about women and feminism today that we were devouring this bondage fantasy. But it is all about the fantasy. James originally wrote it as Twilight fan fiction, submitting it chapter-by-chapter online. Then Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House out of Australia snapped it up, breaking it into three books (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed).

If you don’t recognize that jacket, it’s no surprise. A majority of the more than 250,000 copies sold have been through eBooks, surreptitiously consumed by women everywhere (myself included). But now that Vintage Books (Random House) has signed Grey and the rest of the books in the trilogy, more hard copies will be readily available.

The cover they’ve chosen is pretty nondescript, but don’t let that stop you. I’m pretty glad I got to read all about recent college grad Anastasia and Christian, the insanely hot CEO who wants to make her his submissive via my Kindle app. The vivid descriptions of both the “vanilla sex” and the kind that includes things like whips and floggers was utterly engrossing and I didn’t need anyone on my train home to know what I was reading.

And yet still I bristle at the term “mommy porn” that’s being bandied about in reference to the Grey series. It conjures up too many images of bored, frustrated housewives. And I can tell you from my seriously unscientific sampling that the book has appeal across socioeconomic and racial barriers. For all that you could nitpick about the book –repetitious phrases, enough references to Anastasia’s Inner Goddess and her Subconcious to make them extra characters or the Twilight comparisons (insecure and innocent beauty who doesn’t know she’s attractive meets controlling older man with a magnetic personality) — the story is just plain fun. In the realm of guilty pleasures, it’s far from the worst thing you could read – and it doesn’t deserve all the condescension I’m seeing in the coverage of James’ rise to the top.  Okay, now back to my Kindle.

The sales alone say I can’t be the only one who got sucked in! But what about you, Shelf Lifers? Have things gone all Grey for you?

What are your favorite summer beach reads?

handler-larsson-millerWhat makes a book a good beach read? Should it be short or long? Fiction or nonfiction? Frivolous or intellectual? Common logic seems to suggest that the best kind of book to read during your summer vacation is one with as much complexity as a bucket of sand–you know, chick-lit, celebrity memoirs, James Patterson novels. Why think when you can tan? These sorts of books have never really worked for me, though. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the turn-off-your-brain appeal of such titles, but I think I’m just a different breed of vacationer. When I’m sitting on the beach, looking out at the ocean, I don’t feel dumb and lazy—I feel profound!

Thoughtful, meandering memoirs like Donald Miller’s religious Blue Like Jazz appeal more to me when I’m beach-bound. The breeze along the shore, the sand in my toes, and the sound of constantly crashing waves somehow heighten my senses and enhance the reading experience. I feel more. I absorb more. Maybe it’s because I’m finally not distracted by the tempting black hole that is YouTube, but books just seem better to me when I’m on vacation–so why waste my time with inane trivialities? This year, I’m hoping to tear through Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card’s philosophical follow-up to his sci-fi classic Ender’s Game.

Of course, I’m not completely against all popular books—you are reading this on EW.com, after all! This year’s trip to the beach could be the perfect time to finally join the masses and read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What do you think Shelf Lifers? What books do you like to read at the beach? Got any recommendations for me?

Romance novels and what it means to be transported

I like soap operas and I like romance novels. There, I’ve said it. Throughout the years, both those pastimes have been guilty pleasures that have gotten me teased an awful lot by my high-brow peers (and even some of my low-brow ones). But I no longer care; they have both given me hours of enjoyment and escapism and I accept your derision with a shrug. They are their own art forms, coming in varying degrees of quality and engagement. For the longest time I’d devour my books like candy, barely paying attention to authors, picking them by the cover art (no bodice rippers), settings/time periods (preferably English Regency or frontier American West), and of course the well-written jacket copy — sure, there’s a formula to them all but I just can’t have it be too obvious. Lately I’ve become more discerning, appreciating authors’ styles. Yet even though I’ve branched out to other subgenres, like paranormal books such as Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, I was still certain I wouldn’t like time-travel books. They just seemed too out there for me. But when I’d gotten to the bottom of my latest romance novel care package (thank you, Tina Jordan), I found Flirting With Forever by Gwyn Cready, and I expanded my horizons again.

In it, modern-day art historian Campbell Stratford is accidentally transported back to 17th-century England, where she encounters playboy artist-to-the-king Peter Lely. Without spoiling too much, it turns out that Peter’s not all that he seems and he ends up following her back to present-day Pittsburgh. Roll your eyes if you must (I know I did), but between the chemistry Cready gives to Campbell and Peter and the witty lines, Flirting pulled me in. I save my guilty-pleasure reading for my train commute and one sure sign of a good read is that after my train has pulled into Grand Central, the last stop, I sit there trying to finish that paragraph, page, or chapter instead of popping up and marching off with the other determined New Yorkers. And Flirting passed the test. There are definitely some sluggish parts but Cready’s understanding of and flourish in writing about an artists’s aesthetic and mindset helps make up for that.

Follow me on Twitter @EWAbbyWest

Look out, Stephenie Meyer! A debut author nabs seven figures for her YA trilogy

It’s no news that, in young adult literature, a high concept can often equal a high paycheck, especially in this post-Harry Potter world. According to Publishers Weekly, HarperTeen has just shelled out seven figures for a debut series about high school kids who discover that their lives are mirroring a Greek tragedy. The first book, Starcrossed, has a young Helen of Troy figure having to deal with the fact that being with the boy she loves might lead to a new Trojan War. The following entries, Persephone’s Garden and Ilium, detail Helen’s katabasis to the underworld and an end-of-times battle between gods and humans respectively.

First-time author Josephine Angelini dubs it “a Percy Jackson for teenage girls,” but it’s hard not to think that the publisher might have seen it a bit more as “Twilight of the gods.” With its high school setting, forbidden love, foggy locale, and young female target audience, the series looks like a possible pretender to the throne currently occupied by Stephenie Meyer’s behemoth saga about face-sucking bloodsuckers.

What do you think, Shelf Lifers? Excited for this series? Or are you too busy writing your own attempt to get a piece of that sweet YA fiction pie? I know I am. Publishers, look out for my upcoming Invisible Box trilogy, about a teenage girl’s love for a quiet young boy who she discovers comes from a family of mimes.  You can send the checks courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

Who's the most romantic character in literature?

So, in a recent British poll on the most romantic literary character of all time (men, that is; they dealt with women in an earlier poll), top honors went to Rochester, the brooding hunk at the heart of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Though I’m a huge fan of Jane Eyre — I reread my well-thumbed copy at least once a year — I’m not enamored of Rochester, who, let’s face it, wasn’t very nice to poor Jane. (For those who you who haven’t read the book, or who read it so long ago it’s a distant blur, let’s just say Rochester was alternately cold, imperious, and withholding, and he proposed to Jane —  and was going through with the wedding — without  disclosing that he was already married to a madwoman he kept imprisoned in the attic). But am I possibility in the minority here? British best-selling novelist Penny Vincenzi wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “From that very first meeting [age 13, when she read the book for the first time], when Rochester’s horse slipped on the ice, and he was unseated, and I was confronted by his dark, unsmiling presence, his ‘stern features, and heavy brow… his considerable breadth of chest,’ I was completely in his thrall.”

So here’s the British poll in full:

1. Edward Rochester of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
2. Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series.
3. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
4. Heathcliff of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
5. Rhett Butler of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind
6. Mark Darcy, of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary
7. Captain Corelli of Louis de Berniere’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
8. Henry DeTamble of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife
9. Gabriel Oak of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd
10. Rupert Campbell Black of Jilly Cooper’s The Rutshire Chronicles

Several thoughts here. Maybe it’s because I’m a Southern, but Rhett Butler — the dashing Charleston-born blockade runner who lusted after Scarlett O’Hara — is tops with me. READ FULL STORY

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