I tried not to do it but...
I feel compelled to do my own Fifty Shades of Grey post. *sigh*. I apologize. I haven't read the book and I don't think I will. I have read the sample on Amazon and found the writing style to be a bit of a slog for me, but that's just me. Mostly it is the treatment of BDSM in the book(s) that bothers me, based on what I have read about it—the idea that the wounded hero who is into BDSM needs to be "cured" of that.
It also bothers me that this book has gotten so much attention for being edgy and original and ground-breaking, when the truth is, there are many, many books out there that deal with similar themes and are probably much better, which is really what prompted me to do this post.
I've read and enjoyed other authors' treatment of BDSM - my favourites: Joey Hill, Emma Holly, Shayla Black and Tiffany Reisz (although the book of hers I read is NOT a romance with a HEA). But I write BDSM stories too, so here, I'm going to say it— if you read Fifty Shades of Grey and liked it and are looking for something along those lines to read, here are my suggestions from my own backlist (apologies for the shameless self promo on the wave of FSOG popularity)
Power Shift - features a deeply wounded hero who has used BDSM to get past his history, to make him a better man - he doesn't need to be "cured" of it, he needs to be loved for it. The heroine of this story is not innocent and virginal, she is a mature woman who once was sheltered and innocent but had to start a new life for herself and has become strong and independent. Yes a submissive can be a strong, independent woman and in my stories, the dominant hero usually prefers someone like that to someone who is a "doormat" or just wants everything done for her. Because submission actually takes a lot of strength and courage, this heroine has to be a partner for him.
Taming Tara - this is a retold Taming of the Shrew (not Twilight!) story, again with a strong, determined heroine who wants to be successful in a man's world. At first she confuses being strong and in control with being dominant, but when she meets the hero, who is most definitely dominant, she quickly learns that there is great pleasure in submitting to the one you love.
Power Struggle - of all my books, this would be the least similar to FSOG as it features an experienced "older woman" (she's not that old, but older than the hero) submissive who teaches a younger man about BDSM - a journey of self-discovery more so for the hero in this story who has to look deep inside himself and see himself as he really is, not what he thought he was.
Rigger - a friend- to-lovers story with an experienced Dom hero who's proficient in Shabari rope bondage. He teaches his best friend, who is somewhat innocent and disapproving of his lifestyle what BDSM is really about and she learns much about herself through this journey.
Sexpresso Night - a short novella about a woman who was burned by a Dom who wasn't a true Dom. In my books, my heroes are "caring Doms" who enjoy looking after their sub in many ways , including sexually. They aren't assholes who get off on power and control to the point of abuse. The heroine of this story turns to vanilla relationships but ends up unsatisfied until she meets the hero, a caring Dom who teaches her again that submission is strength and Domination is caring.
I've written a number of blog posts about BDSM and why I enjoy writing these stories. For those of you reading this who don’t read BDSM stories, let me assure you that all my books are very romantic, very emotional and very sensual stories even if there are scenes involving light bondage, domination, submission and yes, some ventures into mild sadism and masochism. When my characters have sadistic tendencies (and so far those have all been my main male characters, but stay tuned for an upcoming release that switches things up a bit!) they’re not sadistic just because it gives them pleasure to hurt someone. They’re definitely not cruel. Their pleasure comes from knowing that their partner needs, wants, even craves sensation, and that in giving it to her, they’re giving her pleasure, too.
The thing that all my Dom heroes have in common is that they are caring Doms. Because the Dominant in a relationship has power, he (and I only say “he” because my stories feature males Doms—certainly the Dom in a relationship can be a woman) he also has great responsibility. Just like Spiderman says.