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Linda Howard Urbach Headshot

What's Hot and What's Not? A Quick Survey of Sexy Books

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First off, let me make an obvious disclosure: I'm needy, I'm greedy and I'm intent on making a million on my next novel. (Or, at least, the one after that.) With this in mind I have embarked on a serious study of the sexy book phenomenon. Further encouraged by the big news this week, that 50 Shades of Grey is the best-selling book of all times in Great Britain, I began my research.

My first step was to find out what else is selling in the littérature sexy catégorie. I entered "best selling sex books" on the Amazon books site and here's what I got -- pretty much in this exact order.

HeartsBlood "A love taken to its dangerous conclusion." by Carolyn McCray. (These people aren't kidding around.) My eyes were peeled for the first lusty scene. I was quickly rewarded (Chapter 1, page one) with the following: "They'd had over four inches and the forecast called for another three." (Oh, my.) When I read on I realized the narrator was just talking about rain. Discouraged, I moved on to the second book on Amazon's sexy list.

Hellraiser by Kelly Wallace. Chapter 1: "Trust me bud, you won't regret this." I expected a nice juicy scene to follow but none did.

I decided to skip the next selection on the list: Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot by Bernard Selling (good choice of names) and Annie Sprinkle and scrolled down to

Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney. (Not me. Not my daughter.)

Next was The Origin. A Romantic Urban Fantasy Novel by Wilette Youkey. Chapter One. "A Man and His Past." (Promising. Another Mr. Grey, perhaps?) On the first page: "He avoided looking at the unconscious woman as he ran, afraid that he wouldn't be fast enough to reach the hospital in time." Rushing a woman to the hospital? This was definitely not a Christian Grey kind of guy.

Finally, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Bingo!) Published by Philomel Books a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. (What?!) I accepted Amazon's invitation to LOOK INSIDE! Expecting to be shocked (and thrilled) I was surprised to discover two pages of hand-drawn maps of Europe, Russia and a bit of Asia. Then I read the first line: "They took me in my nightgown." (OK, so far, so good.) Maybe Amazon's list of the best-selling sexiest books wasn't so weird, after all. But then as I read further it turns out that this was the story of a 15-year-old girl taken by the Soviet Police in 1941 to somewhere. I confess I never found out where. A compelling read certainly but not one that fulfilled my requirements for un-livre sexy.

Clearly, there is something amiss in Amazon's cataloging of the sexiest books of all times. However, I am intent on cracking the code of how to write the world's next best sexy book and will continue with my research without the aid of Amazon and their website.

I am more than willing to share all my knowledge with my fellow writers. We, who wield the pen should profit by the word. I just came up with that and think it has the makings of a famous saying. After I make my million or millions on my sexy novel, I'm going to retire and spend all my time creating famous sayings. I believe you should always give back. Whether it's sex or famous sayings, it really doesn't matter. It's the thought that counts.