Frustration: noun, state of being frustrated; something that serves to frustrate, i.e. as in competing against erotica and trailing way behind.

The latest craze to hit the book world is 50 Shades of Grey, a poorly written novel of erotica. While professed as such in the reviews, it has captured the interest of the American reader. Purely for the purpose of research, I decided to read a few excerpts from 50 Shades of Grey in order to get a better idea of what I’m up against. Ha! And I thought my book was hot. It turns out, next to 50 Shades of Grey, my romance/adventure/suspense novel, The Gilboa Iris, is more like 50 shades of vanilla.

I don’t even like vanilla. I’m a chocolate all the way kind o’ gal. Give me some hot fudge and I’ll melt into a puddle at your feet.

Sour grapes? Yeah, okay. I’ll confess to that. But I’m the old-fashioned type (never thought I’d say that) where I prefer compelling characters to charm the reader, and for romance, drama, and the art of mystery to stimulate the mind into weaving its own way through deliciously absorbing details than to having the protagonist crawl on her knees, hoping for a combo of sex and punishment from her sometimes-sadistic dominator.

To be sure, I did not include any scenes of bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism in my story. Call me naïve, but I believed that quality prose, a good plot and strategically placed spicy rendezvous would suffice in drawing the reader in. And it actually has for all the readers that have thus far read my book since it hit the shelves two months ago. With a positive review from Publishers’ Weekly, I must have done something right. (Cut me some slack, a little indulgence in self-promotion is harmless in the absence of graphic sex). Yeah…I know…you’d prefer the graphics.

For my novel to have gone viral, I suppose I needed to insert some whips and chains into the picture. I got the gasps in but neglected the heavy-duty grunts. Admittedly, I would have to engage in much more…um, research to gain a better understanding of the subject. After all, we writers have been taught at one time or another to write about what we know. Something tells me that the realm of my neighborhood in Gush Etzion is not the dominant breeding ground for this type of research. Come to think of it, a trip to Tel-Aviv has been long overdue. Besides, I love the beach. I think I’ll skip the hands on approach, though.

Thank God for Google.

Or, even better – I’ll stick to what I know and hope for the best.