I need to stop moving to new apartments. Every time I move all the juicy stuff happens in Romancelandia. I admit I was late in opining on the Paypal kerfuffle, and I didn't do as good a job as other authors have. Right now, the tide has turned toward the news of a former fan fiction writer who signed a 7-figure deal to have a recycled Twilight fan fiction trilogy re-published for mass audiences.
I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey. I have not read Twilight. Truthfully, the latter series never interested me, and I doubt I'll commit any time to read those books, but I will say that this whole Fifty Shades phenomena leaves me amused and curious. Global media covers these books and stories of readers catching on to the series as though the author invented erotic romance. Not true. This is also not the first time a work of fanfiction has been reworked into a novel. Somewhere out there is a novel that was once a Xena fic. For the life of me, I can't recall who published it.
(UPDATE: Found it. The book is Lucifer Rising by Sharon Bowers. More on that book here.)
There's also a debate over whether these books are erotic and if they accurately portray the BDSM lifestyle. I also hear that the books are really "light BDSM," so conventional rules don't necessarily apply - I imagine those in the lifestyle would argue differently.
If you are interested in BDSM romance, though, I heartily recommend Bridget Midway's work. Especially Love My Way. Phaze Books also published The ABCs of BDSM by an actual Domme. I know the woman, and she knows her stuff.
I sit here now and wonder if I should read at least one Grey book to better understand the hoopla, but I feel odd paying ten dollars for recycled fan fiction. Part of me wonders, too, if I should recycle the stuff I've written over the years, but I never wrote erotic stuff. Being the oddball that I am, I chose out of the way fandoms, too. M*A*S*H, Quantum Leap...I once wrote a Harry Potter/Frasier crossover for crying out loud. I wish I could find that one - I rather liked it.
Anyway, if you're interested in my bizarre fan fiction past, you're welcome to browse what I left behind at FanFiction.net. My pen name was "majhoulihan," after Margaret Houlihan from M*A*S*H. Just a word of warning - don't be surprised if my next book is about the erotic BDSM adventures of a futuristic space crew on a "trek through the stars" that gets sucked into a time warp and lands at a Mobile Army Hospital in 1950s Korea.