50 Shades of Tortilla Bowl Makers

What the heck is up with these ads for tortilla bowl makers?  Technically I suppose they aren’t makers so much as tortilla bowl shapers but whatever.  It seems that in the last month, month and a half while I’m guffawing at Colbert or Stewart on the Comedy Channel or watching one of those American Greed docs on CNBC narrated by Stacey Keach recounting the escapades of this or that big time grafter, a dang commercial will come on about a tortilla bowl maker.  About how you struggled before with hot oil and fumbling fingers to shape flat tortillas into that groovy, wavy bowl shape, but no more, your prayers have been answered in just minutes.

Of course you still have to spend time cooking and preparing the ingredients like say fajitas (though I believe there are frozen packets of such) that go in that edible bowl, but you know, the hard part is over. 

I wonder about these miracle makers because like my fellow TPACers, I’m always trying to figure out how to better market my books, what makes one book catch on and another one suffer the midlist blues.  Is the tortilla bowl maker fulfilling a desire or creating the desire?  Why, then, for instance, did the 50 Shades of Gray by Erika Leonard, aka E.L. James trilogy kick mucho ass in book sales?  How did what started as raunchy Twilight fan fiction, where she had the vampires doing all sorts of sexual antics I can’t mention on a family site, morph into a master and slave S&M romp, if that’s the right word, that roped in millions of readers?

Cupcake, a top 1000 reviImageewer on Amazon – and what does it say about the era we’re in when a noted reviewer is named Cupcake —  wrote this about one of the books:  “Is 50 Shades Darker good? Hell to the no, it is not good. But is it entertaining? Yes. Is it hot? Yes. Is it worth reading? Yes….. Do not, however, mistake an enjoyable read for something well written, because this is NOT well written. It’s like literary crack. You know it’s bad for you, and you feel dirty and low for enjoying it, but you can’t stop.”

And there’s nothing wrong with that to paraphrase Seinfeld.  But it’s not like Ms. James is the first writer to write explicit sex scenes.  In fact on some of the blogs that review black-oriented books, it’s been observed that Zane, Kristina Lafern Roberts, a middle-aged former insurance saleswoman who began by sending her erotica tales to friends in e-mails, has sold quite well with titles such as The Heat Seekers, Nervous, and edited the lesbian-themed anthology, Purple Panties.  Is the reason, even though she’s been around for a decade or so, she’s not as well-known as James because her characters are black and other women of color?  Too out there, not submissive enough?

I wonder too if it were a man that wrote this tale of a woman being submissive to her male master on a journey of sexual awakening, would sales have soared as they did?   

Well, I don’t have answers to these question but I am inspired.  I’m going to recast meself as, er, more metrosexual.  That will be the persona I project once I’ve settled on my pseudonym – suggestions welcomed.  Then to draft my story.  Something to do with a guy, a murky past like Jay Gatsby (to bring in a crime element), who travels to various cooking fairs and what have you  making a living demonstrating items like the newest juicer and tortilla bowl maker.  There’s just something about his confidence and the way he uses his hands that gets women of a certain age all ga-ga.  Fun and hi-jinks ensue.

Gonna call it, The Pleasure Bowl.  It’s gonna be big.



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