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Fifty Shades of Black and White

Anatomy of the Lawsuit behind a Publishing Phenomenon

by Mike Farris and Jennifer Pedroza

When four women first banded together to form The Writer’s Coffee Shop publishing house, little did they know they would publish one of the most successful book series in history: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed. Although they never formalized a written partnership agreement, the four operated The Writer’s Coffee Shop as a partnership, but that lack of a written agreement was a portent of things to come. After selling publishing rights to the Fifty Shades trilogy to Random House, one of them claimed no partnership ever existed and made off with more than $40,000,000 in royalties from the sale.

It was against this backdrop that Jennifer Pedroza retained attorney Mike Farris to file a lawsuit in Fort Worth, Texas, to establish that The Writers Coffee Shop had been, and still was, a partnership; that she was a still-existing partner in that partnership; and that she was entitled to her share of partnership profits.

Fifty Shades of Black and White provides an insider’s look at the sordid story of the rise and fall of The Writer’s Coffee Shop, as well as a study of the litigation it spawned. Mike Farris explains how the case developed and proceeded in the courtroom while Jennifer Pedroza tells her personal story of how she was victimized by someone she thought was a friend. In the end, this is a cautionary tale of what happens when money comes between comrades and of the importance of “getting it in writing.” It is an illustration of why greed is one of the seven deadly sins.


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What people are saying about 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


“ 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


“ 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


“ 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 Adrif


“ Mike Farris has always been a great story-teller. Apparently he's a great lawyer too. This is a fantastic tale told by the people who lived it. Fifty Shades of Black and White has it all: sex, money, betrayal, intrigue and courtroom high drama. Farris and Jennifer Pedroza have crafted a terrific, readable and believable saga that shows how the good guys--against considerable odds--actually won. ”

Doug J. Swanson

author of Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker


“ Fifty Shades of Black and White is the remarkable true story of tens of millions of dollars, greed, and legal skullduggery of the highest order. It chronicles one woman’s and one lawyer’s high-stakes legal action to recover what was wrongfully stolen from her. A battle of good versus evil and David versus Goliath unlike any you’ve ever read, with the outcome uncertain until the very last page. ”

Robert Dugoni

Internationally best-selling Author of My Sister’s Grave and The Tracy Crosswhite series.


“ Lawyers will appreciate the insights into preparing and trying a huge case. All readers will love the classic story with heroes, victims, villains and a big finish. ”

Jay Brandon

author of Fade the Heat and Against the Law

About Mike and Jennifer:

Mike Farris is a retired Dallas attorney and past Chair of the State Bar of Texas Entertainment and Sports Law Section, whose practice focused on commercial litigation and entertainment law. In the world of non-fiction, in addition to Fifty Shades of Black and White, Mike is the co-author (with Robert Hinkle) of Call Me Lucky: A Texan in Hollywood and the Hawaiian true crime A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow. Film rights to A Death in the Islands have been optioned by a Honolulu-based production company. His next true crime book, Poor Innocent Lad: The Tragic Death of Gill Jamieson and the Execution of Myles Fukunaga, about the abduction and murder of the ten-year-old son of a Hawaiian Trust Company executive in 1928 Honolulu, is slated for publication in 2018.

In the world of fiction, Mike is the author of seven published novels: thrillers The Bequest, Manifest Intent, Rules of Privilege, Kanaka Blues, Wrongful Termination, and Every Pig Got a Saturday, as well as the Hawaiian historical fiction Isle of Broken Dreams. 

Mike lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas with his wife Susan.

Jennifer Pedroza lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband, Mickey, and her seventeen year old son, Nicholas. An educator for over 20 years, Jennifer loves teaching and mentoring students. In 2012, she stopped teaching in order to market books for the company she and three other partners created. The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House introduced the world to the globally successful, Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James and successfully launched many other novels from Indy authors all over the world. By 2014, Jennifer returned to the classroom and is currently getting her second Masters Degree from The University of Texas at Arlington. Even though teaching will always be where her heart is, she can also be found at any beach reading a good book and enjoying time with friends.