fifty shades of grey

Fifty Shades of None of Your Business

I keep seeing posts and articles about the movie Fifty Shades of Grey wherein commentators suggest that women are abused, the BDSM community is wrong, and consent isn’t enough. Forget about the characters for a moment. I want to talk about another side of it. I want to talk about judging the BDSM lifestyle based solely on a poorly written book and a movie.

Disclosure: I read the book but haven’t seen the movie.

Let’s make this clear: it sucks that Christian Grey and Ana Steele are the poster children for the BDSM community. They shouldn’t be, and EL James has done the community a great disservice by presenting this as a normal BDSM relationship. From what I understand from members of the community, it isn’t. But…it could be. No two relationships in the community are the same. But consent is key, and it’s a huge part of the “safe, sane and consensual” banner that is so proudly celebrated.

I know a couple who practice the Dominant/submissive lifestyle.  They are in their 50s and they have kids. They’re normal people. He’s so loving and protective of his wife; he even jokes that she bosses him around even though he’s the Dominant.  They are the most loving couple and most folks are shocked when they learn that they practice D/s. They’re totally open about their lifestyle and they enjoy educating people about it.

It’s not our place to judge what people do in their personal lives.  Newsflash, people: some people get off on being bossed around and tied up. 

Perhaps we should steal a page from the BDSM playbook and implement contracts in all of our personal relationships.  That way the boundaries are set and the rules are clear.  Break the rules and it’s game over. Many BDSM couples review and renew their contracts on a semi-annual basis. (For more information, see links below)

FSoG is not a great way to learn about the BDSM community; instead of judging the community based on the film’s depictions, do some research:
Submissive Guide:

Dominant Guide:

Sylvain Reynard and E.L. James Go To Florence

I love this:

Bestselling authors and good friends Sylvain Reynard (Gabriel Series, The Prince and soon to be released The Raven) and E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) teamed up for a fun blog post that celebrates Reynard’s newest venture: The Florentine Series.

The authors share a jaunt through the darker side of Florence, fully immersed in the world of Reynard’s characters.  They find themselves under the intense scrutiny of a mysterious figure in the shadows: The Prince of Florence.

I love this joint venture. It’s fun seeing the two authors “in” this environment. I love the collaboration between the two bestselling authors and the fact that it also gives fans a glimpse into their personalities.

(And imagining argyle-sock wearing, multilingual Sylvain Reynard defending Ms. James is hot…and I am not one to use that expression lightly…)

With the Release of Prince Lestat, I’m Falling In Love With New Orleans All Over Again

I have always been obsessed with New Orleans.  When I read Interview with the Vampire when I was 14, my love affair truly began.  With every Anne Rice book I read, the city came to life in my imagination.  I read everything I could about the city.

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to travel to New Orleans over Thanksgiving weekend.  It was a work trip, but it allowed me a chance to visit the city I already knew I loved.


New Orleans was everything I imagined it would be, and more.  I fell in love with the city in earnest.  The world of Anne Rice’s vampires came to life.  I could imagine Lestat and Louis walking down one of the narrow streets in the French Quarter.  I strolled along the streets of the Garden District and saw the house on First Street that had been Anne Rice’s home for so many years.

It’s rare these days to have a book series generate such a love affair with a particular location.  We saw it with Twilight and Forks, Washington, I suppose, and we’re seeing it now with Fifty Shades of Grey fans flocking to Seattle.

For me, though, the visit wasn’t important because I’m a fan of the books and the characters; rather it was that I wanted to see for myself that such a magical place could exist.  And it was true.  New Orleans has its own magic, its own charm, and no other city in the world can recreate that charm.  New Orleans was as central a character in Anne Rice’s books as Lestat himself.  The city was more than a setting.  It came to life in the books.  I saw the banana tress and the wrought-iron railings.  They appeared exactly as described.


With the release of Anne Rice’s new novel, Prince Lestat, I find  myself fondly reminiscing about my trip to New Orleans, even though New Orleans really isn’t featured in the book.

If you haven’t been there, you must visit.  You simply must.  I cannot wait to walk the cobbled streets and smell the beignets from the Cafe du Monde.

Ah, New Orleans.