So my history with romance novels is long, complicated and surprisingly personal — but it began at summer camp. The year I was 12 or 13, one of the girls in my cabin at camp received a care package from a friend containing a half-dozen paperback romances, and they were passed around during hushed nights outside or in, the books falling open easily to the naughtiest bits.
It was exciting and fun — I found sex on the page to be far less scary than the prospect of real sex with a human being — and even when I stopped reading them, I never lost a residual fondness for the genre.
Since those smoky camp days, the romance novel industry has undergone some major shifts, but none so big as the advent of self-publishing, which has allowed writers with followings to make more money from their books than they might with a traditional publisher — it’s such a huge shift in the business that it’s led me to explore self-publishing myself (I make significantly less from sales than most romance novelists, alas).
But one of the things self-publishing rewards is specification — which is why, when I heard about author Virginia Wade, who makes $30,000 a month from her self-published Bigfoot erotica on Amazon, I wasn’t terribly shocked. Amused, sure, but not shocked. Especially when I saw that she employs one of the self-published ebook author’s most common strategies — make the first taste free, have them coming back for more.
This strategy also made it possible for me to read Moan for Bigfoot, the story that kicks off Wade’s epic Sasquatch romance series, for absolutely no money. Given that “absolutely no money” was the price I was willing to spend on it, Frank, it worked out really well!
So, how does Bigfoot erotica actually play out? I sat down to find out! Bigfoot erotica! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG. Read the rest of this entry
John and Jesse took us to some dark places, and I think today, on CCH Pounder’s birthday, we should try to remember the real meaning of the season. Or at least, try to remember stuff that happened in It’s A Wonderful Life. Because what a weird movie this is!
Of course, I have, like, Christmas to celebrate, so let’s not get too bogged down in details. You know what happens in It’s A Wonderful Life, Frank! We all do! But there are some key details that might have slipped under the radar for you over the years… Read the rest of this entry
For a while now, I’ve been hearing that I should check out Lost Girl, a Canadian fantasy import featuring sexy people, makeouts and magic. I normally am not a straight-up fantasy fan (due to the lack of space battles) but the voices called out, Frank. They demanded that you know about Lost Girl. And who am I to deny them?
Thus, fade in on a girl– Ugh, Frank, I’ve been watching too much Smash. Point is, meet Bo! She is a bartender, and she is hot, and while working she manages to dodge a creep who tries to force a roofied drink on her.
However, said creep then targets a sassy pickpocketing teen at the bar, cornering her in an elevator just as the roofie kicks in. Uh oh! Things do not look good for our sassy pickpocketing teen!
Until, of course, Bo shows up! Read the rest of this entry
I think a lot about Hunter S. Thompson — admiring, as you do, his insane approach to the art of writing, and also the conceit of “gonzo journalism,” of throwing yourself into a situation with no idea what might result, except (hopefully) an article recounting what happened. Or, at the very least, the author’s memory of what happened.
It’s this fondness for Thompson that makes me do silly things like volunteer to watch Netflix’s House of Cards in one giant binge on opening day. I might not have taken on the assignment for GigaOM if I had steady work at the moment, but in this time of employment-seeking, it’s nice to prove that one of my job skills is being able to watch an entire season of television in one day.
I wrote about the feel of the binge-viewing experience already, but what actually happens in the David Fincher produced/occasionally-directed political thriller that might just change television as we know it forever? Frank, I’m glad you asked. Read the rest of this entry
As you’re a man who enjoys cross-platform approaches to narrative, I think you’ll appreciate this. Buffy Season 8 is different from other Buffy comics that have been released by Dark Horse over the years because of the words “Season 8″ — unlike other comics, this is no stand-alone side adventure. This is what Joss Whedon and his team genuinely consider to be the continuation of the Buffy story, following that whole Buffy-shared-the-slayer-power-with-everyone-and-oh-yeah-Sunnydale-collapsed-into-the-earth thing you might remember from the TV show’s series finale.
And freed from budget constraints by the magic of sequential art, let’s just say that some imaginations get a massive fucking workout. Frank, every once in a while I am genuinely concerned that I will not be able to capture the batshit insanity of something I am telling you about. Today is one of those days.
By the way, when I say batshit insanity, I do mean that in a good way. Mostly.
What happens in it, Frank? Oh, my god, so much stuff. But I’ll try and keep things simple. Read the rest of this entry
When last we met, our friend, writer and filmmaker John Ross, was telling me what happened in the best-selling erotic not-technically-”Twilight”-fan-fiction-except-basically-still-”Twilight”-fan-fiction novel “50 Shades of Grey,” leaving us with this breathless cliffhanger:
Ana wakes up the next morning to find herself in Grey’s hotel suite in Portland where they did the photo shoot. Don’t worry, they didn’t do anything. As he explains over breakfast, he won’t touch her unless he has her “written consent to do so.” What does he mean by that?! Refrain. He assures her that all will be revealed later that night, at which point, I guess, he will finally touch her. But in the elevator, he can’t seem to contain himself and—pinning her arms above her with one hand and grabbing her hair with the other—proceeds to try to fit her whole head in his mouth. Afterwards, he promises to never do that again until the paperwork is signed. What paperwork?! What is this mysterious man’s mysterious secret?!
Now, we go further down the rabbit hole, as things intensify for not-Bella-and-Edward’s relationship, as does John Ross’s use of “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier” as a coping mechanism…
I wish I could say that a lot of what you’re about to read was made up by me or embellished for comic effect. Such is the sadness of the Fifty Shades of Grey experience: reading it, knowing it is not a joke. Until the ending, that is, when another writer seems to suddenly take over, but we’ll get to that.
That night, Christian picks Ana up and flies her via helicopter to his penthouse apartment complex. After Ana signs a non-disclosure agreement (kinky!), she’s all ready for him to make love to her. But Christian needs to explain something to her first: he never makes love, he fucks…hard. Record scratch! Big reveal: Christian Grey is a dominant, and the only relationships he’s ever had were with women who agreed to be his submissives. This is the only kind of relationship he’s ever had, ever will have, and ever wants to have. And if Ana signs a contract, she can be his submissive too! Read the rest of this entry