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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Three Shades Of Red-The Revolutions Of E.L. James

There is no doubt about it, Erika Leonard, the real name of author E.L. James, is big business. 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' has sold an incredible 70 million copies world-wide, setting the record as the fastest selling paperback of all time, and surpassing the Harry Potter series. This is in spite of a mixed critical reception; with the quality of the prose rated as poor.

But what is this novel about consensual BDSM and romance, between two single people, doing under 'The Dark Side'? Well, at a glance, you'd say it was an over-reaction on my part. It's the palest shade of grey and these days labelled as "cool", under the banner of 'mommy porn'. However, I just read an article by an experienced BDSM practitioner, who warned that from the perspective of a masochist:- "sadism can be painful, quite dangerous and even criminal, in the wrong hands."

Anyway, we're not here to have a moral debate, we're here to look at a 'Life Cycles' analysis of Erika Leonard, with particular reference to her three adult 'Years of Revolution' at ages 24, 36 and most recently at 48. I can assure you that Erika agreed to this examination and that we signed a mutually agreeable contract, as to just how far I could go.....only joking Erika!

Let's start with age 48 first, since that's the big kahuna. Erika was born March 7th, 1963, so she was in her age 48 'Year of Revolution' in the period March 2011 to March 2012. Here's your quiz :- "When was 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' published?" Answer :- (without going to Google) June 20, 2011. So her landmark work appeared as her new age/direction in this 'Year of Revolution'. Now a second question :- "At the top of this blog is a logo/condensed cover of 'The Life Cycles Revolution'. In the top section is a segment representing the 'Year of Revolution' with the icon of 'The Flames' in it. What color is that segment?" Answer :- (OK, so you all flicked upwards, I know). Red. Naturally enough, as it's the color of revolution. So, for me, this is the first 'shade of red' for E.L. James.

It should be noted that what I sometimes refer to as 'the miracle of the Revolution' can seem overwhelming to people as they live through it. Leonard is a good high profile example of this. She had never written a book before and only did it for her personal satisfaction. In her own words its success has been :- "completely and utterly overwhelming." She continues to live a very modest suburban existence (albeit in a new upgraded home) and she was reported to have deliberated for weeks about spending 110 Pounds on a pair of Ugg Boots.

Next question folks. Which other world-wide, overnight, 48 year old UK phenomenon is she like? Yes, you can use Google for this. Answer :- Susan Boyle, who said she was "completely gobsmacked" by her success and continued to live in her remote Scottish village. She couldn't comprehend the fuss either.

But this post is called 'Three Shades Of Red' and I'm getting sidetracked; so let's see what events happened in the life of Erika Leonard at her next shade of red, at age 36 (March,1999 to March,2000). She wasn't always a writer you see, she had a lengthy career behind the cameras as a producer with the BBC. She always had this itch to escape with a good romance novel, but didn't do much more than read for quite a while. OK, I have the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) to thank for telling me her credits as a Production Executive began in 1999, with the first of 2 episodes of the series 'Funny Turns' featuring John Inman. This appears to confirm that her central age 36 'Year of Revolution' ushered in a promotion to her career as a Production Executive. So, this is her second shade of red. What is her third? Come on, don't wait for me to tell you, go and check it out.

The year is most of 1987. Who is the most central character in Erika's life? Her inspiration and her 'absolute touchstone'. The person she relied upon heavily in writing 'Fifty Shades' and who she :- "wouldn't publish anything without getting his input first." If you get this one wrong you're going to feel a bit of a goose.

Answer :- it 's her husband Niall, a successful screenwriter, who she married in 1987. Their bonds are both romantic and career oriented and they have spent very little time apart. By way of balance, Niall does concede that Erika listens to him, but goes off and does it her way, and that he is no Christian Grey. So, her last shade of red is her greatest in my book. At 24, she begins a lifelong successful marriage, at 36 she begins a mid-life career as a successful TV Production Executive and at 48 OMG!, it's bigger than Ben Hur, as the world falls in love with 'Fifty Shades'.

I congratulate Erika on her success and hope one day, that she may come to learn about the newest, most accurate, and in fact the only testable 'theory of life'. 'Life Cycles' alone presents you with 'The Truth And The Evidence'. If you want hearsay and quackery and 'trust me I'm a guru', then go listen to someone else. Otherwise, I hope you recognise the validity of what I freely present. Till next month :- "may the cycles always bring you good fortune."


  1. Hi Neil. Well, right away I was amazed to see that E.L James’ real surname is Leonard...that’s my maiden name! No connection I am sure (although my Leonard roots are English). I haven’t read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and really have no interest in reading it. I understand from women friends who have read it that it’s poorly written, and the record-breaking sales have only to do with the subject matter. However, Erika was able to turn this novel into a major commercial success, so congrats to her on that (and how can I not applaud a Leonard!).

    Very interesting to find this under “The Dark Side,” which is surely where it belongs LOL! Like your “shades of red” reference, very clever! I can see the comparison to Susan Boyle, another overnight success (fabulous singer!) who continues to live modestly. I can readily see how Erika is an excellent example of the Life Cycles theory, because she achieved success in her three landmark "Years of Revolution,” with the big success coming at age 48 with “Fifty Shades.” Good post and very informative!

    1. Thank you Madilyn. Wonderful appreciation and I had forgotten that, of course, it is your surname. Interestingly, some of my most clear cut evidence has been with authors. You'd think they'd not necessarily have such obvious career highlights at the 'significant years', but they do. And they think they can hide away behind their novels!