Monday, April 29, 2013

The Monster Speaks

By Lisabet Sarai

I'd like to strangle her with that oh so tasteful silk tie on the cover. Armani goes well with murder.

Or perhaps I could stage an “accident” at one of her signings. What if a huge pile of her five hundred page tomes were to topple down and crush her? Wouldn't that be poetic justice, for her to be suffocated by the weight of prose she has inflicted on the world?

Ah, but her sudden demise, especially under dramatic circumstances, would only make the problem worse. A dead controversial celebrity would be even more marketable than a live one. Posthumous mommy porn would rise up to smother us all.

Anyway, I'm not the violent sort, no matter how sorely provoked. That recent incident at the Bolshoi was so very tacky. And really, her ignorance is no more her fault than her fame. Jealous as I am, much as I'd like to erase her and her books from the universe, I can't hate her personally.

Sigh. Another approach perhaps. I could teach her a bit about the realities of dominance and submission. Perhaps I'll rope her to the bedposts, blindfold and gag her, then bring out the cane. Let's see how many orgasms she'll have then. Or maybe branding would be appropriate – I gather her steely-eyed hero is cruel enough to consider such extreme measures. I might tattoo “Virgin Slave” across her chest, or “Christian's Slut” on her arse. These visions offer me a few minutes of relief, before the torment of envy returns.

Better still, I'll kidnap her and lock her away in my basement, forcing her to read The Story of O, The Marketplace series, Nine and a Half Weeks, and Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns, until she has some idea what she's talking about. I'll make her watch videos from and chuckle as she blushes and squirms. Lady, you have no idea what we pervs really do ...

It could have been me. That's what kills me. I've written a score of tales about a natural submissive's initiation into the dark delights of BDSM, some of them as romantic as her opus. A woman finding her Master and making him love her – I get the appeal, I really do. I've been through that experience personally, which is more, I suspect, than she can say. That's the basic premise of Raw Silk, after all, as personal a fantasy for me as her opus was for her. My heroine's no virgin, though, and no wimp. She has a mind of her own and a rich sexual history - not to mention a Masters degree in computer engineering. I guess the masses couldn't identify. I'm not a mommy and never have been. The demographics just don't work in my favor.

One's first novel is rarely one's best. I read Raw Silk now and cringe at some of my sentences , especially the stiff and unrealistic dialogue. Nevertheless, Raw Silk is far better written than the novel that shall not be named, at least based on the excerpts of the latter which I've read. No, I haven't bought my own copy of the infamous trilogy. I refuse to add to her wealth, as much out of petty jealousy as out of disinterest in reading books as empty and warped as hers are purported to be.

Do I really want her fate, her fortune? Of course not, my rational self replies. I couldn't handle the constant glare of publicity. For one thing, it would quickly unravel the life I've built for myself overseas. I wouldn't want the pressure either. What will she do for an encore?

But she doesn't need to do anything, the monster counters. She can, if she chooses, live off the proceeds of her revamped fan fiction for the rest of her life.

A virid mist rises up to obscure my vision.

It's not really the money. It's not the fame. It's the unfairness of it all, the fact that recognition has nothing to do with artistic quality or truth. I toil away at my work, trying to honestly recreate the thrills and confusion of a D/s relationship. I remain obscure and receive minimal remuneration. She writes nonsense, shallow fantasies without any grounding in reality, and wins worldwide recognition.

I'll suppress the monster – I always do. Jealousy is pernicious and unhealthy. Like acid, it corrodes your peace of mind. Still, these days, the green-eyed demon whispers poison in my ear, whenever I pass a bookstore or kiosk and see those books – and the many knock offs – staring back at me. That's when I start to fantasize about whips and chains, handcuffs and riding crops, and how I might teach my nemesis a well-deserved lesson about the dynamics of power.


  1. would make her pee herself, I think. ;)

    This is a fabulous post and I love that you just came out and said what most of us are feeling.

    You called it like it is on all counts.

  2. I also remain obscure and receive minimal remuneration. Twinsies!

    When I considered the current OGG topic of jealousy, the FIRST thought that sprang to mind was 50 Shades of Gaaaaah. I knew someone else would get there first. Although, I'm not sure if I'm jealous... more perplexed and discomfited by the whole phenomenon.

    Pervs unite!

  3. Hi, Saranna,

    Yes, well I feel a little bit guilty about this post, but it's the first thing I thought of when I began working on the topic (which I didn't choose). I've got to be honest. Okay, I don't have to be snarky, but it offers some slight, temporary relief!

  4. Hi, Giselle,

    I can only hope to aspire to your level of perviness!

  5. I think that's all of us. It's perfectly natural.

    I find it hard to hate her for having what I want and maybe not for the right reasons, because she was just doing what we all do.

    But it's very easy to be jealous, jealous of our genre and envious that she made it when we didn't, although there's so many arguments for why someone else might have been better suited for the attention.

    It's not fun riding on someone's coattails. You'd rather be going that direction on your own merits than someone else's luck.

  6. I think I'm more jealous of the whole vast fanfic network that made her success possible. She had built-in recognition from writing Twilight fanfic. Huge numbers of people write only fanfic, and even more read only fanfic, so that doesn't leave much readership for us.

  7. Lisabet, I love your honesty. I can only echo what everyone else has said.

  8. I wish I had said every bit of this myself. OH, and whatever you say about it, RAW SILK is still one of my fave reads.

  9. I've read things for years that surpass what she has done. The thing is, she's pulled in the masses who are ignorant of what has been going on in small presses. I do think there is hope that she's helping to create awareness and people looking for this kind of thing.

    Kind of like J.R. Ward (who I really like as a writer) has m/m stories in her mainstream romances.


  10. this had me in stitches, Lisabet. i've added Raw Silk to my wish list ;)

  11. Oh lisabet - isn't that book FSOG a bell ringer for us? An outsider! Readers devour it. Writer's bang their heads against the wall, especially erotica writers. It can't be helped.

    Do you know who discovered the evidence that an asteroid strike had killed the dinosaurs? A geologist. Can you guess who hated him and initially opposed his theory the most passionately? Paleontogists.

    Pity the outsider.


  12. Hi, Aurelia,

    You're right, it's so easy to be jealous. But not at all productive. I try to remind myself of that fact.

  13. Hi, Sacchi,

    Well - quite a few of us (though not I) got started writing fan fic. Actually, now that I think of it, I DID write fan fic... When I was in elementary school I wrote a play about meeting the Beatles, which I think certainly qualifies...

    I don't think they are necessarily different worlds. You're right, though, that FSOG's success is mostly due to the author's on-line connections and community.

    Sort of a new take on "It's not what you know, it's who you know."

  14. Thanks, Jean!

    Nice to be told that I'm not completely evil!

  15. Hello, Jan,

    One hopes there will be positive impacts for the entire genre. Only time will tell.

  16. Hey Desiree,

    I never said I wasn't proud of Raw Silk. It's just that I can see its flaws so much more clearly now.

  17. Hi, Amanda,

    Glad that I could wring a chuckle or two from you!

  18. Hey, Garce,

    An interesting observation, about outsiders. I think you're right. If the book had been written by someone who was part of the erotica community, someone who had some realistic knowledge about BDSM, I would feel better.

  19. Seems as though the latest erotica phenomenon was written for the two digit IQ crowd. Same as in the antique business. Cheap junk sells but sophisticated stuff not so much. The mindset of our educational systems will ensure the decrease of the intelligent buyer in all areas.

  20. It's always been my guiding principle to never begrudge anyone for what they have, either earned or just out of sheer dumb luck, because there but for the grace ... etc. It annoys me that this woman is a horse thief; she's piggybacked on someone else's imagination and gotten riches and fame in the bargain when others are more deserving, but it seems, to quote the grizzled old gunfighter William Munny, "Deserves got nothing to do with it."

    By right, Lisabet Sarai should be sorting through multiple movie offers while building her Pleasure Dome in the jungles of Southeast Asia financed with the profits of any number of books spawned from HER imagination. Darlin', it ain't fair, and sometimes you just gotta say so.

  21. Seems as though the latest erotica phenomenon was written for the two digit IQ crowd. Same as in the antique business. Cheap junk sells but sophisticated stuff not so much. The mindset of our educational systems will ensure the decrease of the intelligent buyer in all areas.

  22. Amen, sister! Everything you said and then some!

    While raising my kids I got tired of their constant whining about fairness, so I garnisheed their allowances one month and bought a plaque that I made them wrap and give me for Mother's Day. It hangs in my kitchen and says: "Life's Not Fair...Get Used to it." When the whining started, I'd silently point to it. They all grew to hate that thing!

    I wish I was as good at remembering that as I try to be. All we can do is continue to write what our muses give to us, and hope someone, somewhere, is reading it. I joke that each time I have a new book out, the "20 world-wide readers I have, most of whom are either related to me or friends of mine, are thrilled!"

  23. Daddy, I don't want to denigrate the people who love FSOG. I honestly don't think it has much to do with intelligence. Something about the trilogy strikes a chord with a large number of modern women. One could write a dissertation about it (I think that's just what Remittance Girl is doing...!) but ultimately the appeal is emotional, not intellectual.

  24. Hey, Bob!

    So great to see you here. And thanks for the pep talk.

    There but for the grace is exactly right. I know there are plenty of authors who envy me.

  25. Hello, Fiona,

    Sometimes I think life really is fair. Maybe we get what we need. I'll bet Ms. James has days when she really wishes she'd never set pen to paper.

    In any case, all we can do is live our lives to the best of our ability. Complaining just wastes energy.


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