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Andrew Shaffer
Critic-turned-author Andrew Shaffer
TODAY contributor
updated 4/6/2012 11:27:39 AM ET 2012-04-06T15:27:39

“Earl Grey is tall, dressed impeccably in a tailored gray suit, a black tie with smiley faces on it, tousled brown hair, and is staring me down with brilliant gray orbs. He’s the kind of guy you want to write fanfic about.”

That’s just a delicious teaser from Andrew Shaffer’s forthcoming “Fifty Shames of Earl Grey,” a playful response to the runaway success of erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Triple-X trilogy of novels has women talking (quietly)

The deal was inked this past weekend, with Da Capo Press winning the auction, and Shaffer is working on polishing the manuscript, which he originally wrote in 10 days. “It was like writing Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’,” Shaffer says. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had writing something. The first three chapters follow what happens in ‘Fifty Shades,’ and then it goes off the rails.” He’s not kidding, divulging that the lovers get busy on a dinosaur. And why not?

NYT: steamy ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy gets a wider re-release

The idea originated after Shaffer, who reviews romance novels and erotica and tweets publishing news @evilwylie, read E L James’ trilogy and was surprised by the books’ success. “The books have an old-school Harlequin feel, with a rich guy sweeping a virgin off her feet,” Shaffer says. “The hero buys her a $14,000 first edition of a book before their first date! But it also combines this old-school romance with a newer style that includes more graphic depictions of sex.”

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“I started posting excerpts of my own version and planned to put them all up on line for free. Within one day, a publisher offered me money for it on Twitter,” Shaffer says. And while he won’t give up the particulars of the final book deal, Shaffer says that he might be able to buy a double-wide trailer with a moat, if not the McMansion he was gunning for.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” started out as “Twilight” alternate universe fan fiction, meaning that the characters were originally named Edward and Bella. Instead of a vampire, Edward was a dashing CEO and Bella was a college senior pure as the driven snow. “One of my characters is a fanfic writer so I could talk about the hoopla around ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ in a more interesting way,” Shaffer says. “I tried to write my book in a way that it’s not mean-spirited toward E L James, but more broadly poking fun at romantic conventions. E L James took vampires out of the story. I’m putting vampires back in. I even put a werepony in there.” Again, why not?

The paperback edition of “Fifty Shames of Earl Grey” will be out in June or July. Meanwhile, you can enjoy some early excerpts at Shaffer’s blog, evilreads.com.

Jennifer Worick is the author of more than 25 books (including Beyond the Family Tree: A 21st Century Guide to Exploring Your Roots and Creating Connections) and a publishing consultant; she can be found at The Business of Books.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Racy novel has women reading again

  1. Closed captioning of: Racy novel has women reading again

    >>> what started as a whisper among friends haas turned into a loud roar. we're talking about a racy new novel called "50 shades of gray ." be warned. it contains graphic subject and language. it's appealing to more women than you might imagine, and it may answer that age-old question, what do women really want? there's a dirty little secret in the suburbs.

    >> i guess it's kind of like, ooh. i was just breathless.

    >> and it's not the change of a diaper.

    >> it was very captivating, i have to say. things were going around and i could not stop.

    >> the truth may shock you. but the fantasy isn't in a tropical paradise. it's in a book club .

    >> fastest read ever. nine years haven't read a book .

    >> shaun said what are you doing? is it the computer or the ipad. i said nothing.

    >> and what's going on between those covers has to do with a story between the sheets . it's called "fifty shades of grey ," and if you're thinging fab yeo, forget about it. this is by a 40-something british woman. it's not a romance. it's a submission sex fantasy .

    >> the most common women fantasy is a domination fantasy or submission where she's swept off her feet, it's out of her control.

    >> sex therapist laura berman said she's not surprised the bodici ripper is back.

    >> if you look back it's about empowering women not to be submissive to men. now we move onto to a new generation where women are more empowered than ever before, the glass ceiling is broken and we have as much control as we want. what are we longing for? a little bodi bodice ripping.

    >> these women agree. although they like control in the boardroom, they would look more in the bedroom.

    >> it's nice to have a man take over than you having to please hem after you made dinner and did everything.

    >> but the word of caution about taking the fantasy into reality.

    >> it's one thing to fantasize about your neighbor when they're mowing the lawn, it's another thing to really want to act on that fantasy.

    >> although these 50 shades fans say their husbands are not complaining.

    >> my husband and i shared some very good times together because of this book.

    >> and maybe the book should land on the other side of the nightstand that every man should read the book.

    >> if men only read it maybe there wouldn't have be such fantasy.

    >> you might imagine we have been getting a huge viewer response about "50 shades of grey " on the website. one accuses the writer of plaj your rising. we can confirm james was the author of that story.


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