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Fifty Shades of Black and White: Anatomy of the Lawsuit behind a Publishing Phenomenon

You’ve seen the stories in the news. You’ve read about it in blogs and chat rooms. Now, read the truth as it played out in a Texas courtroom. As Mike Farris, a seasoned trial attorney known for his grit, determination, and integrity, explained to the twelve jurors who would decide the case: “I say there’s…two kinds of people. There are the naïve and the trusting; and there are the scheming and the manipulative. And when you get them together, this is what happens.”


The true story behind the publishing of the international bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey is more sordid and twisted than any story contained in the originator of “mommy porn.” It is a maze of international partnership agreements, shady and possibly unenforceable global non-competes bound up with suspicious, constrictive service agreements, confidentiality clauses, non-disclosure agreements, and hidden, secretive contracts that would be worth millions of dollars.


Four women partnered together to publish one of the most successful book series of all time, but one of the partners, Australian Amanda Hayward, absconded with the profits. Left holding the empty bag was bubbly Texas school teacher Jennifer Pedroza. Amanda’s acts shattered Jennifer’s dream of a bright, well-off future. When the puzzle pieces all came back together, an entirely new image had been created: one that cut Jennifer entirely out of the picture. A flurry of cease-and-desist letters, threats of criminal charges and prison, and underhanded scare tactics not only lead Jennifer to discover her own strength and courage, but to discover the attorney willing to stand beside her and fight for justice.


Mike Farris, trial lawyer and superb writer and storyteller, teams up with Jennifer Pedroza to tell their remarkable story. This tale of betrayal, breach of trust, and high-stakes litigation will keep you glued to the edge of your seat as it takes you on a roller-coaster journey that one journalist called “Fifty Shades of Greed.”

Praise for Fifty Shades of Black and White:

"This is one of the most fascinating legal battles of our time—and there's no one better suited to tell Jennifer Pedroza’s story than Mike Farris and Jennifer herself. In this book, they lift the lid on all the insider strategies and skullduggery involved in the high-stakes litigation concerning what may be the most profitable book series of all time. I read the whole thing in a single sitting. Fifty shades of fun! "—William Bernhardt, author of Justice Returns


"This is what happened next for the Australian mum and her Texan friends who published [Fifty Shades of Grey] in the first place… Interested to know who came out on top? Well, the trial took place in Texas, so strap yourself down for a wild ride."  Caroline Overington, The Australian Women’s Weekly 


No whips or chains were involved but an independent Texas publisher of ... Fifty Shades of Grey slapped around a former colleague in court for duping her out of royalties. —Darby Kendall, Eye on Texas


"Take a trial lawyer who is a great storyteller, give him a shocking true story about a steamy fictional story, add big publishing houses and big film companies, and then  turn him loose in a Texas courtroom to get justice. What you end up with is a huge jury verdict and a book about it that you can't put down.  Mike Farris, seasoned trial lawyer and superb writer, teams up with Jennifer Pedroza to tell an incredible but true story—Fifty Shades of Black and White."
—Gerald R. Powell, Practice Court Professor, Baylor Law School

Fifty Shades of Black and White features more compelling twists, turns, and climaxes than a night with Christian Grey. Jeff Prince, Fort Worth Weekly

“If the scandalous nature of Fifty Shades of Grey excites you, wait until you read about the true life scandal behind the publication of the breakout book trilogy. Told with cinematic flair, Mike Farris and Jennifer Pedroza take the handcuffs and blindfolds off, to prove in the end… Lady Justice is not blind after all.” —Aaron & Jordan Kandell, screenwriters of Moana and Adrift.

"Lawyers will appreciate the insights into preparing and trying a huge case.  All readers will love the classic story, with heroes, victims, and a big finish." —Jay Brandon, author Fade the Heat and Against the Law