06/25/2012 07:01 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2012

Erotic Novel Author Tapes Her Own Audiobook

So, I always tell people this novel of mine is sub-titled "50 Shades of Shocking Magenta."

Grey, it is not. Hot, it is.

One reviewer, Poor Man, sent in a blurb that read: "The novel came. So did I."

Novelist Mike Keeley was more, um, respectable? "The Visitors' Book moves the philhellenism of Henry Miller and the eroticism of Anaïs Nin into the 21st century, and it does so in a voice and a mode that are distinctly, provocatively, its own."

That blurb, we could actually print on the back cover.

At age 59, when I wrote the book, My Dears, I never imagined that I would actually, one day, have to read it. Aloud. In a studio the size of a coat closet. Into a $3,000 voice mike. With a small group of complete strangers, men, all under 40, and some waaay under 40, sitting in full view, just beyond a glass sliding door in the room containing the rest of the studio's equipment... and my husband. Each holding a copy of my XXX-rated novel. And following along with me. Over two, long, five-hour days of recording.

In fact, reading the book -- to them -- wasn't really the hard part. Walking out of the booth (on bathroom and tea breaks) and facing them? That was the hard part.

(Through my head-phones, before I emerged after one particularly steamy chapter, my husband intoned: "Uh, Elizabeth. You might want to give us a minute out here to correct wardrobe malfunctions.")


I've always wondered why there isn't more erotica written by women. God knows, many men could use the instruction (among other things), delivered by a knowledgeable woman-of-a-certain-age.

I've decided, though, that women writers, just like closeted gay souls of both sexes, have not really "come out" in significant numbers due to... latent, 21st-century shame. "What would my children think?" some wonder. "What would my significant other say?" "What would my Yoga classmates, my Yoga students, say?" "HOW could I face my Bible study group again!?"

Ah, America the Puritanical.

However, for some reason, or many (being the daughter of a psychoanalyst, being childless, having a jazz-musician-husband, having grown up in Europe, having had Anaïs Nin as a friend/not just mentor -- really), when my novel demanded to be written, it wasn't the subject matter but, rather, not being able to write fast enough that became my primary challenge.

If I could have given up sleep for the 2.5 months it took to commit the book to the virtual page, it would have been nice. The whole book was in my head (and elsewhere in my body: insert smiley face here), but I had to attend to eating, sleeping, laundry, and other necessities before I could get the thing on the page.

Writing the novel (and the one that came right after it): no biggie.

Reading it aloud? Aaaaaiiiiiiiiii!!!!!

I should tell you that, for half my life, I was an academic, a teacher of college English, Journalism, Creative non-Fiction, and World Lit. I have a mid-Atlantic "accent," am highly literate (though my spoken French and German do suck), and I enunciate like The Queen.

To hear me, then, read this book -- think Lauren Bacall with a couple of PhDs -- is a bit freaky, I'd imagine. I mean, all those lovely, Anglo-Saxon, four-letter-words. All that graphic sex. And delivered with the precision of, oh, I don't know, Meryl Streep on Viagra?

I did not know I had that in me. But, it seems, I did.

My 20-something-year-old engineer said, levelly, "Elizabeth, you did a, um, beautiful job. Perfect. Really. All I may have to take out is some of the, um, breathing. The intakes. Well, you know."

I do, indeed, Jeffrey. I do indeed.

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