Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In The Flesh video of me reading "Like This"

The rest of Best Of night from last month's In The Flesh is coming tomorrow, and soon I'll also have some previous months' videos up too. Here's me reading my story "Like This" from the anthology Hide and Seek and Samara O'Shea reading from her book For the Love of Letters and one of James Joyce's erotic letters which she couldn't reprint in her book (see her site Letter Lover for details). And if you like them, please rate/favorite them.

Also, check out the NYT on the play "The Beebo Brinker Chronicles," including all those pretty pulpy covers from my very same publisher, Cleis Press.

Oh? And my "Where Sluts Fear to Tread" essay from the anthology Desire: Women Write About Wanting? It's an "embarrassing musing about blow-jobs" according to PW. But judge for yourself when the book comes out in November and for now, check out editor Lisa Solod Warren's site and blog. I don't mind that categorization and could see how it could be perceived that way BUT I stand by my belief that that essay is about a hell of a lot more than blowjobs (I don't hyphenate that word, btw).

Brooke Warner has been rocking the Seal Press blog with travel tales from Greece and Turkey; check it out.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

My Amelia G interview in Variations

If you like Amelia G of Blue Blood fame, pick up the October issue of Penthouse Variations for my exclusive interview with her. It's also available on our pay site for members of (obviously NSFW) and has some very hot photos (in print and online) accompanying it. We talk about the Goth/fetish/punk scene, gender and fetishes, sluts, and alt porn.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting excited about Best Sex Writing 2008

Um...can I just say I'm SO excited about this table of contents? I'm so proud of this book and can't wait for people to read it. I love that I get to reprint something from Babble, of all places, in my sex writing book. The tough thing, though, was that I could've published five volumes...there's so much great sex writing going on that if I get a chance, when it comes out I will also post some "honorable mentions" on my blog. I also want to remind people that obviously "Best" is subjective, though in this case, I can say the standard is pretty damn high. And, fingers crossed, there will be a reading at a local (NYC) B&N. I've never read there before and would be thrilled if that comes through. This book is finally finalized and I am eagerly awaiting its release in September. Cover, publisher blurb, and TOC below. And yes, some of these stories are online, you can look them up. I'm thrilled to finally be doing a non-fiction book, hopefully not the last one, either.

Do Jewish girls give better blowjobs? What does it mean to be a modern-day eunuch? Would you want to work in the pink ghetto or live in the glass closet? How “hung” are African-American men? What happens to a celebrity sex tape star in Iran? Best Sex Writing 2008 answers these questions (and raises many more) as it probes the inner lives of those on the front lines — political, personal, and cultural — of lust. From dangerous dildos to professional submissives, the erotic appeal of twins, sex work, pornography and much more, these authors delve into the underbelly of eroticism. Probing stereotypes, truths, and the tricky areas in between, Best Sex Writing 2008 opens the bedroom door and explores the complexity of modern sexuality with thought-provoking, cutting-edge essays and articles.

Big Mouth Strikes Again: An Oral Report by Rachel Shukert from Heeb
Double Your Panic by Kevin Keck from
Battle of the Sexless by Ashlea Halpern from Philadelphia City Paper and Porn Hysteria: The Lie of Unbiased Reporting by Violet Blue from San Francisco Chronicle
The Prince of Porn and the Junk-Food Queen from Insatiable by Gael Greene
Tough Love by Kelly Rouba from Playgirl
Dirty Old Women by Ariel Levy from New York
Stalking the Stalkers by Kelly Kyrik from Penthouse Forum
Sex in Iran by Pari Esfandiari and Richard Buskin from Playboy
Surface Tensions by Jen Cross from the anthology Nobody Passes
Sex and the Single Septuagenarian by Liz Langley from
The Pink Ghetto (A Four-Part Series) by Lux Nightmare and Melissa Gira from
To Have or Have Not: Sex on the Wedding Night by Jill Eisenstadt from the anthology Altared
How Insensitive by Paul Festa from
The Study of Sex by Amy Andre from
Dangerous Dildos by Tristan Taormino from The Village Voice
Absolut Nude by Miriam Datskovsky from The Columbia Spectator
Excerpt from Hung: A Meditation on the Measure of Black Men in Americaa by Scott Pulson-Bryant
The Glass Closet by Michael Musto from Out
Menstruation: Porn’s Last Taboo by Trixie Fontaine from $pread
Buying Obedience: My Visit to a Pro Submissive by Greta Christina from Other


SXSW "Do You Blog on The First Date?" panel podcast online

And clearly, yes, I blog on the first date. Even before that. Though there are fewer first dates of late, and I don't actually always blog them. I just would hate someone I'm dating to try to dictate what I write about me. As for what I write about them, I'm open to adjustment. Click the orange icon below to hear the audio.

You've just had a great night out with a hot prospect. Should you post about it? The answer, for many, is yes and they then ask their friends to weigh in. One recent blog features a woman who is inviting readers to vote on which guy she should lose her virginity to! Why are they doing this and why are we reading it? Is this Dating 2.0? Or Exhibitionism 101?

Moderator: Mikki Halpin
Writer, Freelance Writer

Mikki Halpin  
Freelance Writer

Melanie Boyer  
Dating Blogger,  
Washington City Paper/About Last Night

Rachel Bussel 

Emily Listfield  
Redbook Magazine

Alyssa Shelasky 


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Two words: Cupcake Bingo

Atlanta's Sweet Pockets has game days with board games, speed Scrabble, trivia and bingo! Oh, to be in Atlanta for that...

Here's the details for the September 30th one:

Host: Sweet Pockets cupcakes
Location: Irwin Street Market
660 Irwin Street, Atlanta, GA 30312 US

When: Sunday, September 30, 4:00PM
Phone: 404-668-1022

Sweet Pockets cupcakes is having its first monthly Cupcake Bingo!

Here's how it works: $6 gets you 6 mini cupcakes [these are your game pieces], extra 'non-edible' game pieces, a bingo game card, and hours of bingo fun! Fun prizes will also be given out!


Want a free book? Come to Virgin Night on October 18th

I'll remind you again, but mark your calendars...If you come to Virgin Night (details below), not only will you get the usual hot stories read to you, candy and cupcakes, but you'll also get a FREE copy of Colette Gale's debut novel Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of the Phantom of the Opera. Colette got her publisher to send us 50 copies of the book! So, okay, if there are more than 50 of you, some of you may have to share, but I'll have other free books for you. Yet another incentive to come out and celebrate 2 years (we started in October 2005), plus you'll be supporting first-time readers and authors who definitely need an appreciative crowd.

(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

First-timer readers and first-timer authors lose their literary virginity at this very special evening of erotica. Featuring six writers you’ve probably never heard before as they dare to go where they’ve never gone before! Jasmine Clemente (, Colette Gale (Unmasqued), Jane Lockwood (Forbidden Shores), Sean Manseau (Lapdance), Robert W. Cabell (The Hair-Raising Adventures of Jayms Blonde), and Steven Padnick (Roar of Comics blog). Hosted by erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel (He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Crossdressing, Hide and Seek). Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. It is now being held every 3rd Thursday of the month. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye newsletter, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Philadelphia City Paper, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, conducts interviews for and, and wrote the popular Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice. Her erotic stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she’s edited numerous erotica anthologies, most recently He’s on Top: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance and Female Submission, She’s on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission, Crossdressing: Erotic Stories and Hide and Seek.Rachel has also written for AVN, Bust, Cosmo UK, Gothamist, Huffington Post, Mediabistro, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York and Velvetpark.

Robert W. Cabell is the author of The Hair-Raising Adventures of Jayms Blonde: Project Popcorn. Mr. Cabell has spent two decades working in the entertainment industry with giants like Time Warner, HBO, Spelling International, Columbia Pictures, and the New York Post. He has written a book on humor with the legendary Joey Adams, musical comedies like Z-The Masked Musical of Zorro, Pretty Faces, numerous plays, and served as entertainment editor for Shout Magazine.

Jasmine Clemente was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and for a brief moment, lived on her native island of Puerto Rico for 6 months when she was 16 years old. Due to her amazing experience, her writing has become seasoned with a light amount of Latin flavor, which means that she often enjoys writing in “Spanglish.” She began her writing career at 9 years old, when she wrote letters to her family complaining about her parents’ divorce, and eventually she began writing seriously when she entered her early twenties. She realized that writing was both therapeutic and nonetheless, she had a natural talent for communication. Now, she writes various profiles and reviews for authors, singers and DJ’s on an urban website titled, Furthermore, she worked as a bookseller for Barnes and Noble Bookstores in 2006 and has attended writing courses at Gotham Writer’s Workshop, and The New School.

Colette Gale is the pseudonym of a historical novelist. She is the author of Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of the Phantom of the Opera. She lives in the midwest United States with her family and has seen Webber's Phantom of the Opera too many times to count. Colette was always horribly disappointed when Christine ended up choosing Raoul over the Phantom, every single time. She wished just once that Christine would have stayed with Erik! Finally, she became convinced someone had to write about the real reason Christine left the man she loved. And what happened afterward. And so she did.

Jane Lockwood is the pen name of a multi-pubbed, award-winning historical romance author who's always been told "you can't do that in a romance" but does it anyway. Originally from England, she's worked as an archaeologist, classical music radio announcer, arts publicist, and editor/bookseller for a small press. She lives near Washington, DC. Forbidden Shores (Signet Eclipse, October 2007) is her first full-length erotic historical romance. She blogs at The Spiced Tea Party.

Sean Manseau's stories have appeared in the Scrivener Creative Review, Killing the Buddha, and, in January 2008, the Mirrorstone Books YA anthology Magic in the Mirrorstone. His novel Lapdance will be released in April 2008 by Cyan Books.

Steven Padnick is a writer and editor working in New York City, currently working on his first novel. This is his first work of erotic fiction and his first time reading his work in front of strangers.


Fashion, Fucking, Feminism, Felines, Freestyling, and Felonies

I'm so excited about my upcoming trip to San Francisco, which is quickly filling up with naughty plans, cupcakes, baby visits, publisher meetings, hotel pools, and friends. But filling up in a good way; my main goal is to NOT run around or stress about anything while I'm there (October 11-16, fyi).

The catalyst for the trip was an invitation from Lisa Solod Warren, editor of Desire: Women Write About Wanting, to read at San Francisco's famed literary festival Litquake, run by Jane Ganahl. My reading is part of their three-hour, 200-author Lit Crawl. I had just been admiring their website and thinking "Someday..." when the invite arrived, so I jumped on it. I'll be reading my essay "Where Sluts Fear to Tread" from the book, which you can also hear me read part of on YouTube. I'm also gonna attend this reading at 6 (with lots of folks I know and a few I've published in my books, all highly recommended):

Good Vibrations (18 and over), 603 Valencia Street
Under the Sheets: Erotica Writers Heat Things Up
Charlie Anders, Jen Cross, Gina de Vries, Marlo Gayle, Carol Queen, Lori Selke, Simon Sheppard

Oh, to be almost a year older and hopefully somewhat wiser. Or not. Of late I am just trying to live in the moment and really dig into the work I need to do. This week's been a lesson that in doing so, I am setting things in motion and connecting with people in ways I couldn't have predicted at all.


Here's the details on my reading on October 13th from 7-7:45 pm:

Modern Times Bookstore, 888 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Seal Press Explores the F Stop
Female authors take on Fashion, Fucking, Feminism, Felines, Freestyling, and Felonies

Rachel Kramer Bussel, Jenesha “Jinky” De Rivera, Daphne Gottlieb, Samara Halperin, Julia Serano, Victoria Zackheim


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Get out your credit card...

And pre-order my friend Jon Friedman's book Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled. You're gonna love it. Promise. I say this not even knowing what's in the book, but knowing that Jon hosts one of the best comedy shows in the city and not only has forged something hilarious and wonderful out of his own rejections, but he values jokes and stories and people who have been rejected in some way. I'm mentally (and soon, actually, like on Amazon) making a list of "2008 Books I'm Excited About" and this one's at the top. Yay!

A little over four years ago, at a reading series that no longer exists, I almost hurt myself laughing as Jon read this (okay, and this, and I'm still not sure which is funnier). In the intervening years I have laughed quite a bit more, and also learned a lot too. Jon's not only one of the hardest-working comedians/show hosts I know (and to be fair, I know a lot of crazy hard-working comedians), but one of the genuinely nicest people I know. That's not why you should pre-order his book, but I just wanted to say that. I'm honored to have been on his show (and only for Jon would I let my 9-year-old tribute to "Like a Virgin" be aired in public) and to be his friend!!!!

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The ultimate honor

Sometimes I try and try and try to find the "right" words and never quite do. So in the interest of expressing something rather than nothing, I'll just say that in the advance copy of the very last Best American Erotica that will be published, Best American Erotica 2008, Susie Bright includes a list of the last 15 years' most influential erotica editors and publishers. I'm so honored to be on it amongst so many names, some who are my peers, some pioneers like Susie. I saw that and just marveled because the girl I was, and though an adult, I really was a girl, reading Susie's work in college in 1997 and 1998 could never have envisioned herself here. Ever. I was too shy/awkward/geeky/angry. Too immersed in other people's politics to figure out my own viewpoints. Too isolated and uncertain and scared. I continue to think it was moving to New York, to the vicious brutality of my own lacking that was NYU Law School juxtaposed with the beauty and glamour of just walking around New York City and discovering new things every day, that brought me out of my shell. Albeit, brought me out of law school too, but as sucky as it is to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for nothing, it's so worth it. I say that both as a statement, and to remind myself not to berate my silly 20-year-old naive self.

I'm so thrilled to be part of this world that is so much larger than me, that dates back way farther than Best American Erotica, and most especially, that is about getting off, but about so much more than that. It's that same sense of community I feel about my reading series. It's been a very "pinch me" surreal day, and this was just part of it. Feels like the tide is finally turning and the end, but also, the beginning are in sight.

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Spanked anthology deadline this Sunday 9/30

And that's firm cause my goal is to turn it in before I head to SF on October 11th. I'm in crazy write-write-write mode now and I like it. It's spurring me on to write even more. And I have some brilliant stories for this book already, but I need more! So read and follow the guidelines and send them in. I expected to get deluged, because I have published 56 spanking stories already in the Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z books, but it hasn't been the avalanche I was expecting, which is good, cause I'm crazy busy, and then it's onto new things.

The smut I've been writing lately is dark, deep, spiritual almost, but also totally dirty. Perhaps from all the late nights alone with just my thoughts, or perhaps I'm just outgrowing the simplistic. Who knows...anyway, here's the call, feel free to forward as long as you pass along the entire thing. I know I write crazy long calls for submission, but I do so for a reason. It's gonna be an amazing lineup, it makes me tingly already.

Call for Submissions

Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press in 2008

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for erotica stories on her favorite topic: spanking! I want creative, original spanking stories in a variety of settings using all sorts of implements. Spanking as part of roleplay, discipline, adventure, foreplay, etc. are fair game. The book will be primarily heterosexual, with a mix of male and female spankers and spankees, though there will be some lesbian/gay/bisexual content included. I’d especially like stories that aren’t run-of-the-mill but that are believable/realistic.

Unusual settings/scenarios, a variety of spanking implements, use of sex toys/bondage, group scenarios, and public spanking scenes are all encouraged. Most of all, I want stories that truly eroticize spanking in every way possible. Stories can include sex as well as spanking but don’t have to if the plotline and spanking are done right. All characters should be over 18, and no incest or bestiality. To get a taste of what I like, please consult Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2 (Pretty Things Press). Original stories only; no reprints.

Payment: Contributors will receive $50/story and 2 copies of the anthology on publication.

How to submit: Send double spaced Times New Roman 12 point font Word document OR RTF of 2,000-4,000 word story along with your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), mailing address, and 50-75 word bio to spankingantho at - make sure you indent at the start of each paragraph and do not add extra lines between paragraphs. Those who do not submit in this format and include this information will not be considered. Authors may submit ONE story only; do not send more than one! If you want to make sure I’ve received your submission, please state that in your cover letter. Send only the final version of your story; do NOT submit a draft or unfinished version only to later submit an updated version. If for some reason it is impossible to send your story as a Word document or RTF attachment, please paste it into the body of your email.

You can expect to hear from me by January 2008 at the latest. Any questions about this anthology should be sent to spankingantho at

Deadline: September 30, 2007

About the Editor:

Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is an author, editor, blogger, and reading series host. Her books include Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2, He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Caught Looking, Hide and Seek, Crossdressing, First-Timers, Up All Night, Glamour Girls, Sexiest Soles, Ultimate Undies, Secret Slaves; Erotic Stories of Bondage, Dirty Girls, and the non-fiction anthology Best Sex Writing 2008. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, Single State of the Union, Desire: Women Write About Wanting and Everything You Know About Sex is Wrong. She’s contributed to AVN, Bust, Cosmo UK, Fresh Yarn, Gothamist, Huffington Post, Mediabistro, New York Post, Penthouse, Playgirl, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, and other publications. She serves as Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, hosts and curates In The Flesh Erotic Reading Series and wrote the popular Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice. Her first novel, Everything But…, will be published by Bantam in 2008.

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my Veronica Vera high heels class article in Time Out New York

It's funny because while I didn't write anything for Time Out New York's upcoming sex issue, not only do I know a bunch of people who did, I feel like I did cause I fielded umpteen emails about that issue. I'm kinda glad this piece ran this week cause it's actually not so much about the sex, as the shoes. And for that, I'm grateful. I'm loving the chance to explore other topics (like cupcakes, which are just ubiquitous) and think of myself less as an "erotic writer" and more just as a "writer."

"Pump it up"
The doyenne of cross-dressing shows NYC women how to put their best foot forward

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Latest Mediabistro Pitching an Agent profiles

Two Pitching an Agent profiles on Mediabistro, which I haven't done in a while - Lisa Hagan of Paraview and Kate Epstein of Epstein Literary Agency.


Epstein Literary Agency


Monday, September 24, 2007

Why We Need Betty Dodson More Than Ever

I found these two YouTube videos below via Babeland. Seems tehy're being put out by (related to the back in the dot com day Cherrybomb?) And for a few seconds, I'm thinking, wow, we've come a long way, baby. I love that they are about the roots of a certain branch of feminism, that Dodson sees the big picture but doesn't ever forsake the role of sexuality within that. Alas, I didn't realize that current Harvard studnets actually think masturbation is antithetical to sex:

Thus we see efforts to implement “trans-fat” bans, repressive drinking-age laws, and masturbation advocacy programs such as the Masturbate-a-thon in Clerkenwell, London in 2006 or books such as Walter O Bocking’s “Masturbation As a Means of Achieving Sexual Health” and Betty Dodson’s “Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving,” all of which seek to do away with the physical and emotional risks of sex.

That makes me sad. And kindof like anything that any of us are doing in this sex-positive community, which really is a large hodgepodge and doesn't really at all imply agreement, but I don't have a better word, but still, I'd like to think that since the 70's we've made a wee bit of progress. Right?

Even though in my personal life, I'm pretty far from where I was way back as a neophyte sex columnist, I'm still in awe of Betty and my conversation with her. It's funny because to me, the Crimson author is equating someone advocating masturbation with someone advocating only masturbation...just like people do with polyamory. And I realize that I don't have to be polyamorous myself to appreciate both the ways monogamy is held up as a one-size-fits-all standard (NOT) and how polyamory can and does work for plenty of people. I think it's many people's very first instinct, especially when the topic is sex, to relate it back to themselves and their own lives/desires. There's nothing wrong with that as a first instinct, but the problem is when people cannot, ever, look past their own circumstances to realize that people's sexual desires are so varied, so intimate, so personal, so much more than p-i-v, so much more than hetero/homo/bisexual/whatever. It's like we're so conditioned to put sex in some safe little box that anytime someone dares to remove it from that box, we freak out completely. I'm so glad we live in a world with brave women like Betty Dodson who never stopped demanding a place for sex, who never stopped exploring themselves and the people around them. It's not about preaching, to my mind, or even teaching, but encouraging people to think for themselves, and where/when better to do that than while masturbating?


Funny reporters, October 3rd

Via The Observer

I'd go, but I'll be attending a "how to walk in high heels class." More on that in the Time Out New York that hits newsstands tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Quoted in the New York Times and my Newsday Op-Ed

Yes, it's been a big week for me and cupcake punditry...USA Today and the UK's Independent, and this weekend, I'm quoted in The New York Times and have an Op-Ed piece in Newsday, the second time I've been paid to write about cupcakes. Crazy, in its way, but also, I hope, kindof a sign that if you follow your interests, they'll reward you. A lot of the books I'm reading of late are about people, fictional and real, who chose a path far removed from the beaten one, and while I certainly wonder how I'd have fared if I were a lawyer now, as hard as writing can be sometimes, I'm so happy to have the opportunities I do and am more determined than ever to make the most of them. As a first draft of the Newsday piece went, "Cupcakes Make People Happy." I truly believe that, and bringing a little more happiness into the world, especially my own world, is a good thing.

More thoughts later on atonement and other tidbits, but for now:

Newsday commissioned an Op-Ed from me about cupcakes

"Don't Even Think About Touching That Cupcake," by Sarah Kershaw, New York Times Week in Review

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Sex (Writing) and Stage Fright

I wrote an essay called "Sex (Writing) and Stage Fright" at

You might think that after giving and organizing readings since 2001, I’d have the hang of it by now. While I can, indeed, get up before people and read my work, usually of the X-rated variety, I’ll never be a natural performer like some of my comedian friends, able to command any stage I stand on before I’ve even opened my mouth. If anything, my stage presence says, “Nervous girl. Let’s get this over with as quickly as possible.” I run a monthly erotic reading series, In The Flesh, in a cozy downtown New York bar where I bring people in to tell dirty stories, the kind that use words like “cock,” “cunt,” and “pussy.”

As much as I may advise them to be fearless and speak loud and proud, when I start to read one of my smutty tales, I often revert to my most petrified state. The setting for my series, a former massage parlor turned bar called Happy Ending, features plush red velvet banquets and very supportive crowd, but even there, I sometimes find myself faltering. It’s a challenge to really own the words on the page, to enunciate them as proudly and powerfully as when I write them. There’s a line I’ll read from my story “Like This” in my latest book Hide and Seek: 21 Tales of Exhibitionism & Voyeurism, that goes, “I know exactly how powerful my pussy is to him, and how hungry he is for it, and I will gladly open wide to offer myself as his own private sexual all-you-can-eat buffet.” I like how the words work in the story, but am sure my cheeks will turn bright red when I utter them aloud...

Keep reading (and if you're on Booktour and liked it, please click as much at the bottom, thanks!)

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Cupcakes in The Independent

More on last night's incredible In The Flesh (where I also somehow booked most of December and January with some awesome readers), but for now, more cupcake media (and more on the way).

I'm quoted in this article "A sprinkling of hysteria as Americans go crazy for cupcakes" in The Independent. What's funny is that London actually is doing plenty of cupcake business of its own. There's Crumbs and Doilies and a couple of other bakeries. They also quote this 300 gourmet cupcake bakery figure that USA Today did and I'm curious where it came from.

Also, my quotes are lifted from a piece I wrote for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which is fine, but a little out of context and, well, I'm pretty easy to get in touch with, so getting a new quote from me wouldn't have been that hard. And I don't think I ever said I "don't for one minute buy the return-to-childhood theory." I just think nostalgia alone can't explain the popularity of the cupcake, but it is a factor.

"I consider a hand-delivered cupcake the perfect way to seduce someone," she says. "Since there are so many ways to eat a cupcake, watching a lover delicately lick the frosting or savour both layers can be an intimate act, especially under direct, voyeuristic supervision. The very word 'cupcake' has become a double entendre of the sexual variety. I have been on the receiving end of raised eyebrows when offering someone a cupcake."


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stephanie Sellars fired from New York Press column

I got an email this morning from New York Press columnist Stephanie Sellars saying that her column "Lust Life" is ending:

David Blum just did to me what he did to you. He informed me this morning that my column will be discontinued. He gave me his reasons, but underneath the explanation that it's "a matter of taste" and "my flowery language obfuscates the clarity" so that the stories don't seem true, he seems to be on a crusade against enlightened sex columnists.

Also, says Stephanie:

Lust Life will continue in some format... I'm working on a book, an autobiography of my sexual journey. Lust Life: Diary of a Sex Columnist chronicles my journey from small-town prude to big-city libertine, an evolution fueled by curiosity, openness, honesty, and the quest for freedom. It is the story of one woman’s sensual evolution from shame to pleasure and everything in between.

Her last column, entitled "Outside the Box," will be published next Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In The Flesh tonight, or "New Jersey isn't wearing any underwear"

I'm so excited about this Best Of In The Flesh lineup, not just because each reader is a friend and the overall lineup is so diverse and fun, but because they're each other there doing interesting things. Scroll down to Marie Lyn Bernard for the meaning behind my New Jersey-themed subject line. Here's what my readers are up to, followed by the official listing. Also, I've got a LOT of candy (Snickers, Kit Kat, Nestle Crunch, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 100 Grand), cupcakes, porn DVDs, books and the game Sex Smarts to give away. A lot. See you there! And if you can't make it, we're taping it all and putting it on YouTube, so you'll have a chance to relive the magic.

Jessica Cutler gets interviewed by the incomparable Susie Bright, in a fascinating discussion at 10 Zen Monkeys (bolding mine):

SB: I want to know what your own response is to that, Jessica. Because I've also been characterized as a full-time pro. And I have not run my life as a prostitution business. Not because I think it's wrong, but it's just not my life story.

So I find when I get that sort of attitude from someone, I get kind of
feisty. In many respects, I identify with whores. If I'm around other whores, I feel like part of the crew. Because we'd have some things in common, in terms of our life experience, in the way people perceive us. And I can identify with a lot of their values – their sense of the reality of what really goes on with sex that people don't like to talk about. I wonder if you feel the same way, or if you just want to be as far as possible from anyone thinking you have anything to do with it.

JC: The latter is totally not the case. When I start to feel defensive, my attitude is sort of like, if people are calling me a whore, "Well, what's wrong with being a whore?" You know? I mean, I think girls who are sex workers — and men, all sex workers — they see another side of humanity and sexuality. People who've never worked in the sex industry — people who've never done it — don't know the half of it.

I've heard girls I know who escort say, "I think every woman should do this, because you find out a lot. You learn a lot about men." They tell me, "You don't even know. You wrote a book and even you don't know the half of it." And I'm like... "Yes, I want to know all about it..."

I really don't know what the hang-up is about that. I don't know why people really seem to dislike prostitutes. I don't understand that attitude at all.

Todd Levin's tattoos - read more about them

Andrew Boyd has a great piece in the latest issue of Marie Claire (October, with Jennifer Garner on the cover) on the paying for dates conundrum:

March <i>Marie Claire</i>

In the old days, paying on that firs date was a simple, nonverbal way to say, “I am interested in you. I am solvent. Tonight you are worth $58.45 plus tax and tip.” Then the feminist revolution arrived, then the left-hand turn of postfeminism, followed by something about spelling “girl” with three R’s⎯and now nobody knows what rules anybody else is playing by. If you pay, will she think you are a romantic or a chauvinist? If you let her pay, are you a deadbeat or a man at ease with powerful women? If you split, are you only half interested in her, or the kind of guy who’ll do half the dishes and go down on her half the time?

Samara O'Shea looks at recent news about a letter from Mother Teresa

This week’s Time magazine offers a comprehensive look into her secret life as one who often felt denied of the presence of God. In a September 1979 letter Teresa wrote to the Rev. Michael Van Deer Peet, “Jesus has a very special love for you. [But] as for me—the silence and the emptiness is so great—that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear.”

It was Mother Teresa’s wish that these letters be destroyed. In a move that some might consider disrespectful, the church overruled that wish—the letters now appear in a book entitled
Mother Teresa: Come By My Light (Doubleday). Yet in the same way that a funeral is for the living, so these letters are now for the living. When I hear of the doubts and uncertainties of a soldier and sage like Mother Teresa I don’t hold her in a lower regard, but it grants me solace to know that she, too, was human and had doubts as everyone does. The article purports that Teresa came to accept the doubt within her as part of Christ’s suffering. Meaning she shared in his desolate hour of, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” I find it beyond admirable that her work never ceased in light of her private torment. She moved forward and continued to give all of her time to those who needed it the most.

Polly Frost asks, "Why can't Atlanta get it up for erotica?"

The ad copy I wrote for radio spots went in part like this:
Deep Inside — Dangerously oversexed fiction by Polly Frost. Ron Jeremy says of Deep Inside, ‘If I directed some of these fantasies, I’d either be the world’s greatest adult film director … or I’d be in jail. Enjoy this. I certainly did.’”

The ad played in Cleveland and in Washington, D.C., on alternative rock radio stations. Print ads ran all over the country. The only place I encountered a problem was the notoriously conservative
San Diego Reader, which seemed upset by everything about my book.

So I decided to place the ad on a popular alt-rock station in Atlanta. The ad rep at the station was helpful and enthusiastic.
I was excited about getting the word out about
Deep Inside to Atlanta!

Then … my ad rep e-mailed me that his station had vetoed the ad. They told him they found it unacceptable. He’d fought for it, he said, but he just couldn’t get it past the station manager.

So I’m asking: What is it with Atlanta?

Aren’t Southerners famous for — among other things, of course — their enjoyment of life and their sensual pleasure in houses, food, and drink? Then what’s their problem with erotic entertainment?
In any case, I’m not stopping my efforts to bring my erotic fiction to Atlanta. I know Atlanta audiences will get a big kick out of my work, and that I’ll enjoy meeting them, too.

And last but not least, what Marie Lyn Bernard plans to read on September 20th:

Riese's Notes for "Fucking Around Part Two," as transcribed from her notebook,
where they were written in what appears to be an incredibly drunken scrawl:

-New Jersey isn't wearing underwear. I laugh: "You're not wearing underwear," and she doesn't laugh back, she just takes mine off, and we're close but not so close that I can't look down at her fingers -- chipped black nailpolish. Then I notice she's got each middle finger painted a smooth glossy un-chipped bright purple that reminds me of Bubble Tape, and I imagine her in traffic, flicking off drivers, I imagine her in photos, flicking off the camera, I imagine her inside me, flicking off. I want to laugh at this, too, but I learned my lesson about that already. New Jersey doesn't understand irony, which is why I'm confessing she's the best I've ever had outside of you, and outside of Chelsea.

She scratched me with those nails, but when you asked me about it the next day, I don't remember what I said, all I know is what I didn't say: I didn't say it was from New Jersey.

-I can't remember if I slept with Red Hook.

-Upper East Side didn't come. He left $100 cash on the nightstand. I don't know if he did that on purpose or not, maybe he was just emptying his pockets. Maybe he didn't know the difference between hookers and pretty girls.

(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

You’ve heard them read at In The Flesh before, now come back for round two! Audience favorites are welcomed back to the stage to read new material, so whether you caught them the first time around or not, you won’t want to miss this spectacular lineup of people sure to make you laugh, squirm, and get turned on (perhaps all at once!). With Marie Lyn Bernard (This Girl Called Automatic Win), Andrew Boyd (Daily Afflictions), Jessica Cutler (The Washingtonienne), Polly Frost (Deep Inside), Todd Levin (Mo Pitkin’s, The Morning News), Samara O’Shea (For the Love of Letters), hosted by Rachel Kramer Bussel (He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Hide & Seek). Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times's UrbanEye, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, Time Out New York, The L Magazine, New York magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth. This is not Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending Reading Series.

photo by Anya Garrett

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, conducts interviews for and, and wrote the popular Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice. Her erotic stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she’s edited numerous erotica anthologies, most recently He’s on Top: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance and Female Submission, She’s on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission, Crossdressing: Erotic Stories, Hide & Seek: 21 Tales of Exhibitionism and Voyeurism and Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 2. Rachel has also written for AVN, Bust, Cosmo UK, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York and Velvetpark.

Marie "Riese" Lyn Bernard is a half-Jewish, half-Midwestern Farmer's-Daughter freelance aspirant. She blogs at "The L Word Online" and is a Guestbian columnist on Her work has appeared in The Bigger the Better, the Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women On Beauty, Body Image, and Other Hazards of Being Female, Best Women's Erotica 2005, Best American Erotica 2007, the Lambda Literary Award-winning Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments, Marie Claire magazine, Suspect Thoughts,, Clean Sheets, Fresh Off the Vine, Conversely,, and The Sarah Lawrence Review. She's currently looking to change the world with a gay television show called Living it Out. She's at her best on her blog, This Girl Called Automatic Win, at

Andrew Boyd is the co-founder of the satirical political campaign Billionaires for Bush and author of several ironically serious (or is it seriously ironic?) books: Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe and Life's Little Deconstruction Book: Self-Help for the Post-Hip, both from W.W.Norton. He's at work on two others, from which he will read tonight.

photo by Bill Wadman

Jessica Cutler is best-known as the author of The Washingtonienne, both the blog and novel of the same name, which was published by Hyperion in 2005 and optioned by Sarah Jessica Parker for a television series for HBO.

Polly Frost's book Deep Inside: Extreme Erotic Fantasies, was published by Tor in June. She just completely a tour of 10 cities across the country with "Sex Scenes: Erotic and Comic Tales of Hollywood," casting local actors in each city. "Sex Scenes" was co-written with her husband, Ray Sawhill. Together they also co-wrote and produced the erotic sci fi comedy The Fold this year, with director, Matt Lambert.

The following actors will perform from Polly's erotic soap opera "Sex Scenes:" Karen Grenke, Jake Thomas, Jerry Marsini and Francesco Paladino.

Todd Levin is a stand-up comedian, a writer, and a severe disappointment to his parents. He performs all over NYC, at venues including The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Rififi, Mo Pitkin's, KGB, and Joe's Pub, and has appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend and at the 2006 US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. His writing has been published in Salon, Time Out, Esquire, McSweeney's, The Morning News, RADAR, and The Onion, and he is one of the contributing writers for the upcoming book, Gawker's Guide to Conquering All Media. He is also the proud father of a nine year-old personal web site,

Samara O'Shea has been writing letters since the restless age of seven. She launched in April 2005 to save the art from extinction. The website led to her first book For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing from the Elegant to the Erotic (HarperCollins, May 2007). Her work has also appeared in Woman's Day, Country Living, All You, and Pittsburgh magazine as well as the online magazines and She has appeared on Today in New York and on National Public Radio's the Kojo Nnambi Show.


Britney vs. Bin Laden

Sexy San Franciscan Steve Robles explores:

Britney vs. Bin Laden: A Celebrity Comeback Battle


Quote in USA Today cover story on cupcakes!

More Cupcakes Take the Cake-related news...USA Today reporter Marco R. della Cava has delved into the cupcake craze and come up with a great cover story, "Cupcake bakeries cater to the kid in us," including a quote from yours truly. I love his description of Kara's Cupcakes as "$3 frosted hand grenades capable of detonating any diet."

Here's what I had to say:

I have as much fun thinking about cupcakes as I do eating them," says Rachel Kramer Bussel, a New York-based writer and creator of a blog called Cupcakes Take the Cake. "Nostalgia alone cannot explain the success of the cupcake. It's much more about a dessert that reflects your own personality, whether you're getting a peanut-butter-and-jelly-flavored cupcake or one that tastes like a mojito."

Kramer Bussel says she receives an e-mail a week from someone opening a new cupcake-only store and estimates about 75 such shops nationwide. "I keep waiting for this to die down, and instead it keeps mushrooming."

Miette, Kara's, and Citizen Cupcake are all on my to taste list for my San Francisco trip next month.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"We Fight for Cock" indeed: Pink Steel's Out at the Devil

Whatever you think of when you hear "gay heavy metal at its hardest!" think again. Pink Steel really need to be seen and heard to be believed. Or to be rocked out with. Or to have good times with. They are amazing and sexy and very, very gay in the best possible way. Do check out their debut album Out at the Devil at CD Baby, where you can listen to tracks like "I'm Coming Out (All Over You)," "Frodonator" and "Johnny, Are You Queer?" Good times, fuck shit up...forever!

My new celebrity crush: Evan Handler

Anyone who knows my dating history or my fondness for bald men won't be all that surprised by this post.

Evan Handler didn't really do much for me when he played Charlotte's husband Harry on Sex and the City but OMFG, on Californication, I am so in total lust with him. I am not a TV watcher. There are major, long-running shows I have never seen. I read, I surf the internet incessantly, I write, I go out, I rent movies. And I don't really have good/any TV reception so that takes care of that. But I've been having a friend tape Weeds and Californication and while I didn't really expect much from the latter, I'm now a total fan. Both for Handler, and cause watching fucked up dads who still love their kids even as they make a mess of their lives is fascinating to me. I count Ari on Entourage in this category even though it's not exactly the same, but close. I have also rented all the DVDs I could find of My Name is Earl and am totally hooked on it.

He's going to be in the Sex and the City movie, which will start shooting this week "in and around Manhattan." Maybe I'll encounter him in the flesh, as it were. Though knowing me and my utter lack of celebrity-dar, that's unlikely. My only SATC encounter happened when K. and I were still together. We were on the Upper West Side visiting my mom, who was in town, and found out they were taping at a synagogue, I believe, and we hung out there for a while and by now, i don't even remember if we actually saw anyone or not. There was a lot of waiting and speculating.

my crush go so bad that I was disappointed that Evan Handler is married. The spanking plotline really helped fan the flames. It's kinda freaky how much he reminds me of someone (no, not my ex, someone else who looks like that) and it was a bit unnerving because I have moved on and don't even think of this person like that anymore, but watching this show brings it back in an almost eerie way. I will also say that once you start looking for bald men in this city, they are everywhere, and also fairly easy to spot. I can sense a story in the works, which is about as far as I get nowadays in terms of my sexual fantasies. That's not a complaint, either. I think I'm finally settling into the idea that I'm pretty good at being single, perhaps better than I am at being coupled. I keep erratic hours and like to be able to take off and do my own thing or shift gears at the last minute. I like having time to see my friends individually and just not feel beholden to anyone. On the other hand, I know that were I paired with the right person, they could reign me in a little, counterbalance me, enliven me. What Joni Mitchell wrote.

I think the more I try to make myself into a grownup, not the sortof lackadaisical slacker I've been in a lot of ways extending past my twenties, the more that vision of what I want from a relationship, or even friendships, becomes clear and right now I just feel like I am waiting for the universe to lead me, not just in terms of dating, but everything. I still have that corazon grande and sometimes I don't know what to do with it, wishing I could propel myself far into the future rather than just existing in the not always happy cheery now. It's not nostalgia so much as this sense of sadness, I guess, that something I once believed in wasn't really anything. Last week, for only like the gazillionth time, I was in one of those spaces where it just made me a little wistful. Thankfully, uh, there was some major eye candy adorableness to distract me. And not even distract, but just make me grateful for new friends who I want to get to know more. I hope there'll come a day when I can be in that scene and not feel any of that weird nostalgia, but I also know that the reason I do is because when I fall for someone, I fall pretty fucking hard. I want to immerse myself in their world, so if they go on and on about a certain writer or artist or website or whatever, I pay attention, and I seek those people and things out for myself. And that didn't stop, in fact has only intensified in the last year.

The idea of October is a little bit freaking me out, I must admit. I'll be exploring new/old relationships and revisiting a city that was a huge part of my 2001 social life, yet I'll be reading about that past life. The more distance I get, the more I feel like that essay's about a character of mine, like a little sister, someone you look at a little pityingly, like, "don't I know better?" But I also know there's no way to totally leave your old life behind. It's not just some one-time hookup friending me on Facebook or the itchy smallness that sometimes is nyc. It's that who I am today, good and bad, is made up of who I've been these past almost-32 years. I may feel completely different, and completely ready for a new life, but I have to remind myself that there's good and bad in everything, past relationships and even mistakes included, and just try to make the best choices for myself in the day to day. Today I got a big sign that I'm on the right path, that doing what you love and pursuing your passions is indeed worth it. It certainly doesn't always feel like it, so that was a much-needed reminder. More on that if/when it comes to fruition.

And these are the very deep thoughts you get from me when I can't sleep. Maybe I should be watching TV instead...


Site of the day: The Candy Pitch

I always say (to myself) I'm gonna post a link of the day and clearly that hasn't happened. Well, here's a link for today (NSFW, sorry, but then neither is this blog):

The Candy Pitch, blog of Kelly DiNardo, author of the fortchoming book Gilded Lili: Lili St. Cyr and the Striptease Mystique. I've had a galley of this book begging to be read for a while, and am looking forward to reading it. She's also having a book trailer contest. Plus I found this hot nude photo of Dita Von Teese and an interview with her in the San Francisco Chronicle:

I found her via this Feministing thread about Jessica Valenti's next book, 50 Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.

Personally, I'm really looking forward to Jessica's third Seal Press book. As reported in Publishers Marketplace:

FULL FRONTAL FEMINISM author and founder of Jessica Valenti's LOSING IT: HOW THE MYTH OF SEXUAL PURITY IS DESTROYING YOUNG WOMEN, arguing that a sexual double standard is contributing to a social and political climate that is increasingly antagonistic to young women and their rights, again to Brooke Warner at Seal Press, in a nice deal, by Tracy Brown at Tracy Brown Literary Agency (NA)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mike Daisey's monologue Tongues Will Wag this Wednesday

Mike Daisey's Tongues Will Wag

Mike Daisey is simply phenomenal. A lot of people were introduced to his work by the people who vandalized and disrupted it this summer. But in a way, that's totally old news, as it should be; there was a good bit of press about it but I think the sign of a real artist is someone who can move on from that. I'm going to quote the New York Times because they hit the nail on the head:

“What distinguishes him from most solo performers is how elegantly he blends personal stories, historical digressions and philosophical ruminations. He has the curiosity of a highly literate dilettante and a preoccupation with alternative histories, secrets large and small, and the fuzzy line where truth and fiction blur. Mr. Daisey’s greatest subject is himself.”

For instance, I know from previous shows that Mike had a girlfriend, I think in college, who got pregnant and wound up keeping the baby, and he's told this story in two shows I've seen, in different ways, with different details. But this one sounds really special, and I shall indeed be there to behold the magic. Any writer looking for examples of someone who talks a lot, and fast, for a long time, in a row, but never once wastes his words, should go see Mike's monologues (and since I'm a promo freak lately, check out his promotional artwork and flyers. I remember after TRUTH we heard about the details of getting that photo exactly right.

What's really amazing is that you know it's rehearsed, you know it's a work, a monologue, but it also just feels like a conversation he's having, with you personally, you're just waiting your turn to talk, and don't mind because what he's saying is so fascinating.

Created and Performed by Mike Daisey
Directed by Jean-Michele Gregory

Wedesday, September 19th at 8pm
Ars Nova
511 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
(between 10th and 11th Avenues)


Mike Daisey’s latest monologue, Tongues Will Wag is a two-headed tale of love and loss within the intense love affair between Man’s Best Friend and the humans who love them. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Daisey illuminates the difficult decisions we all face when bringing new life into the world through the unlikely story of two would-be parents raising a puppy to adulthood. From housebreaking to obedience classes to family planning, Tongues Will Wag confronts the difficult questions all new parents face with honesty, humor and delightful candor.

MIKE DAISEY has been called “the master storyteller” and “one of the finest solo performers of his generation” by the New York Times for his monologues, which take on matters personal and historic, small and large, to illuminate an individual, a culture, and a world that is as heartbreaking as it is hilarious. His monologues include Monopoly!, TRUTH, Invincible Summer, Tongues Will Wag, The Ugly American, I Miss the Cold War, and 21 Dog Years, and over the past decade he has performed his unique brand of extemporaneous storytelling at venues such as the Public Theater, American Repertory Theatre, the Spoleto Festival, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Cherry Lane, Yale Rep, Portland Stage Company, Intiman, Performance Space 122, and many more. He’s been a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman, his work has been heard on the BBC and NPR, and his groundbreaking series All Stories Are Fiction is available through His first book, 21 Dog Years: A Cubedweller’s Tale, was published by the Free Press and he is working on a second book, Great Men of Genius, adapted from his monologues about the lives of Bertolt Brecht, P.T. Barnum, Nikola Tesla, and L. Ron Hubbard. He lives with his director and collaborator, Jean-Michele Gregory, in Brooklyn.

And this is not about Mike, but is about Monopoly, the game, inspired by a passage in Frances Moore Lappeé's Getting a Grip (still reading, highly recommended though) - here's a history of the game from

That's another thing - the ideas and stories Mike delivers onstage are ones that stay with you, because it's too much to absorb all at once in your seat. They kindof seep into your ears and brain and stay there, simmering, waiting to be explored further.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Comedy Addiction Tour

I think the idea for the Comedy Addiction Tour is really awesome, but when is it coming to NYC?? The only comic I know of on the lineup is Jesse Joyce, but I'll definitely be paying attention. The following is from their MySpace page:

"The Comedy Addiction Tour" employs very funny, hard working, road seasoned comedians who have unique stories to tell of their lives of excess and addiction. But, this groundbreaking 100 plus minute comedy show is different from other themed comedy tours. The humor is carefully written to appeal to those in recovery, those that know someone who is, and those that just want a great evening of universally appealing comedy. Over the course of the performance, each comedian will expose the wild and funny reflections and inherent terror of living an addicted lifestyle.

Also thought this was interesting:

The Comedy Addiction Tour or individual members are available to perform at prisons, jails, rehab and treatment facilities,
halfway houses or AA and NA meetings. Anonymity of our audience members is guaranteed.


Molly Crabapple's bust


Not her actual breasts, sorry, but this fabulous bust she painted (click there for more photos) as a benefit for Keep-a-Breast. (via Boinkology)

In other Molly Crabapple news, look for her burlesque webcomic coming up on ACT-I-VATE and in February, an art show of her work at Arena Studios, curated by Audacia Ray!

At Baked in Red Hook


Photo from yesterday's Cupcakes Take the Cake Meetup at Baked in Red Hook by NYU blogger Erin Phraner


Friday, September 14, 2007

In case you missed it..."Like a Virgin" on Rosh Hashanah

This photo of Madonna is being used on Jewcy for their Rosh Hashanah Handbook section on "Like a Virgin." I contributed
to the Love, Sex and Dating section with: Unleash Your Inner Pervert Persona, Spendmoney on sex, Get tested now and Say "Yep, I'm Kinky." Read them all right here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 for the high holy days

To do tomorrow: web comics and Latina erotica

A reminder...

Via and others:

More details at The Beat and MoCCA

I'll just say you had me at Diesel Sweeties. And Nikki Cook.

The 13th is also the launch party for Michelle Herrera Mulligan's excellent anthology Juicy Mangos:

Watch professional actors perform a scene from Juicy Mangos at our book party! Co-sponsored by Sister Outsider Entertainment. 7 - 10 pm.

At Lava Gina, 16 Avenue C (bet 7th and 8th streets), NYC

Book trailer for Frances Moore Lappé's Getting a Grip

Yesterday I quoted from Frances Moore Lappé's new book Getting a Grip, (just out from Chelsea Green, which also published Naomi Wolf's The End of America) but I didn't realize there's a book trailer for it (below) and a website,

I want to write a piece about book trailers soon, and am thinking of making a little sexy, sugary one myself (G-rated, but super fun). But for now, check out the video and the site.


Cupcakes are the new apples and honey

Kidding! But just a reminder to go check out Cupcakes Take the Cake, where we've been really bringing the food porn lusciousness. And join us this Saturday at 2 pm at Baked in Brooklyn for our monthly Meetup (click through for details and join the group to get notified of future events).

Photo via Baked:

Also, we have 348 members of our Meetup group! Love it. Big ups to Nichelle for all her hard work organizing our gatherings.



Jewcy's Rosh Hashanah Handbook - Love, Sex and Dating

Jewcy has put up their Rosh Hashanah Handbook "to meet all your designer Jewish needs." With Pickled blog editor Amy Odell's Decoded Dinner, The Renewal Reader, Custom-Made Rosh Hashanah Events for Every Personality, and the Like a Virgin section which has my tips on renewal around Love, Sex and Dating (more from me later on rapid HIV testing), it's worth reading. And L'Shanah Tovah to anyone else celebrating.

And just for you, one of my blurbs that got cut (also, an idea that I pitched: Forgive an ex):

Practice the Art of Non-Alcoholic Flirtation

The first date or two sans booze probably won’t be all that fun. Expect nail biting, fidgeting, and longing glances at the bar. But go with it, because figuring out how to talk through the discomfort is a healthy challenge. You’ll get to know the person with an open mind, and present your real self, not your happy-happy half-drunk self (there’s plenty of time for that later.) Plus, you’ll probably make a better impression than if you allow yourself the chance of getting sloshed (it’s all too easy to go from one drink to four). You probably don’t realize just how much you rely on that glass of liquid bliss until it’s not there. Even asking for a nonalcoholic drink is a good test of your date’s worthiness; if they try to upsell you to the top shelf, maybe they have a problem. If you do decide to go home with your date, you’ll know that it was your decision, not your drink’s.

Also, I've got a profile on Jewcy. Feel free to add me. And one on Facebook but a) I'm only adding people I actually know (crazy, right?) and b) I don't know the exact URL, just look me up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still single because you peed your pants laughing

I'm not gonna lie - I don't read Todd Levin's blog Tremble every day. Or every post. I feel like these days you need to preface any speech to a blogger or about them if that's the case, just so they don't get offended if you're not up on their latest postings. But what I lack in regular reading, I think I more than make up for in LOLing. Literally, Todd's blog never fails to make me laugh out loud, and this post with his extended list of reasons "Why You're Still Single" really got me. Thursday September 20th you can catch Todd at my reading series In The Flesh at 8 pm at Happy Ending, 302 Broome Street. And/or here:

TV Comedy Writers, Reading Comedy Writing Live. A perfect show for
people who like to sit still and laugh, but hate commercials.

Featuring writers from SNL, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and more.
And hosted by How to Kick People's own, Todd Levin.

Monday, September 17th, at 8:30pm
Mo Pitkin's House of Sassifaction
34 Avenue A, b/w 2nd and 3rd Streets
Tickets: $6
to reserve tickets, go here:

The beauty of the offbeat blurb

I’ve been hitting people up for blurbs for my February 2008 Seal Press anthology Dirty Girls: Erotica for Women, and have written a few myself, and, most of all, I actually read and pay attention to blurbs. They fascinate me, and when I read a book, I read everything⎯copyright page, acknowledgements, quotes from reviews, front and back copy. I just feel like it gives me a bigger and better sense of the book and the author.

There's debate as to whether blurbs actually sell books, but the fact of the matter is, almost all books have some sort of blurb. For some readers, it makes no difference, for others, it very well might. I know if I see, say, Anne Lamott's name on a blurb, I'll certainly pick it up and look more closely (and have in fact done so).

So anyway, just to say I’m no authority, just a girl who reads a lot, studies blurbs, and occasionally writes them. My friend Rebecca Woolf asked me for some ideas on who to send her sure-to-be-amazing memoir (or “momoir") Rockabye: A Young Mom’s Journey from Wild to Child to. I gave her a few ideas, and then started a Google news alert myself on “momoir,” which I’m going to suggest to her she do too. I start them on any topic that interests me thtat I think will be talked/written bout. It's free and all it costs me is a few more seconds each time I check my email, but it's well worth it.

Rockabye CoverArt Final

I would also suggest to anyone with a book coming out or interested in a subject, to Google news alert and Google the hell out of all possible related topics, and related authors. I pay attention to what my peers are doing both because I’m interested and to see what media is covering them, and how they’re being covered. For me, up until now I’ve mostly published erotica, but I don’t want to stay trapped in the pink ghetto. I love that Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z has gotten mentions in The Morning News, The Greenwich Village Gazette, and in my college paper, The Daily Cal. The more you can think outside the box and spread the word about your book to people who might not otherwise hear about it, the better.

So for Rebecca, I suggested she follow the lead of Ariel Gore, who got a blurb from former Sleater-Kinney member Corin Tucker for her memoir Atlas of the Human Heart (which read: "A terrific and important book. Ariel Gore rips through the cultural wasteland of the 1980s with fierce desire and female angst, taking us on a wild ride. Impossible to put down.”). Gore also got blurbs from Gayle Brandeis, Michelle Tea, and Joanna Rose.

I’m waiting to hear back from my editor; so far I have a novelist and an erotic writer, and am working on a few other ideas, but I had a brainstorm today that I will share once I get the okay, but it was someone who’s not known as a writer, but is in the sex positive world and is someone who I think would a) get people talking and b) might draw in readers who might not otherwise pick up the book. (And if you have any suggestions, even if they’re out of left field, for who to hit up for blurbs, feel free to email me at rachelkramerbussel at with “Blurb” in the subject line.) I know you only need a few for a book but I can always use them for the website. I’m really excited because Dirty Girls is as hot on the inside as the outside. As soon as final proofing is done, I’ll be sharing a sneak preview of my boiling hot summer stranger sex story, “Icy Hot.”

Because to me, while it’s all well and good to, say, if you’re a novelist, get other novelists who write about the same things you do, I’d also recommend going a little outside the norm, so if readers of blurber A and blurber B are likely to overlap, make blurber C someone whose readers wouldn’t overlap, so you cast your net widely.

A final lesson on tone, content, knowing your audience and, uh, cocaine in relation to blurbing. Note that authors aren’t the only ones in need of blurbs. In its online media kit, Gawker Media blog Jezebel lists a blurb from the blog Sex and the Ivy which states:

"Damn Gawker Media for their pioneering of all that is fresh, witty, and smart in the blogosphere. Their newest venture, Jezebel, is a women's magazine done right...on crack...Jezebel looks like the cocaine to Gawker's marijuana."

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My friend/possible future baby daddy in San Francisco sometimes sends me links to The Superficial, usually about celebrity moms or celeb baby bumps. Not to sound like I’m Miss 24/7 Walking Self Help Book, but that’s about as close as I want to come to superficial in real life. I love gossip and celebrity news as much as the next person, but I am trying to excise the superficial relationships I have, nip them in the bud if they are going in that direction, because I just am not interested.

The people I surround myself with, or want to surround myself with, are ones who are both transparent and deep. I don’t need to sit there and philosophize every second but I like to know that if I wanted to, I could. That they’ve taken stock of their lives and haven’t just gone shambling along doing whatever’s expected. That when they smile at me or hug me or ask or answer a question, they mean it. It's the going through the motions for politeness's sake that kills me.

I saw my awesome friend Felicia Sullivan last night at a book party, and the instant I walked in, she was waving and smiling and I felt her warmth radiate across the room. A lot of people do that fake wave, or say hello and ask how you are, and you know they don’t really care what you say. It’s a polite surface phrase with no real meaning. Which is fine when your answer is fine, but what about when it’s not?

Felicia has this glow about her, something that can’t be faked or forced, a spirit that is infectious. Like my friend Melody, she’s small but has this big personality, yet she’s also unassuming, observant. I love Felicia and I also value her opinion because I don't think she's afraid to say things that need to be said or express herself, yet it's not arbitrary or snarky or mean, just honest. She also runs the kickass show Writers Revealed which I recommend to all readers and writers (and I truly hope that encompasses everyone reading this site, that you read something that you enjoy).

I wasn’t even going to post this cause I fear I sound too sappy. I do, actually, worry about what I write, how I come across, which holds me back. Lately I’ve been so nervous, so overly cautious, not just here, but everywhere. I burrow into other people’s books and immerse myself in them, which isn’t a bad thing, but it has the potential to be when it's because I'm so afraid of my words, of fucking them up, of doing it wrong.

Though she’s talking about fear in the context of democracy and social activism, in Frances Moore Lappé’s excellent new book Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, she writes:

Humans are hardwired through eons of evolutionary experience to sense that our survival depends on staying on the “inside”⎯with the tribe. It shouldn’t surprise us that scientists now report that we experience physiologically the pain of being rejected as we do actual physical pain. We thrive on the approval of others; we dread humiliation above all else. So it’s hard for human beings to say, “No, the whole pack is heading toward catastrophe!” We fear being cast out. So we hold back.

I’m not afraid of fear, and in fact, some of my fears, like of cars, I cling to pretty tightly. I go in them, and I deal with it, but I’m not giving up my idea that cars are dangerous. But so many of my other fears, if left to their own devices, would grow to gargantuan proportions, surely dwarfing me, literally belittling me.

Last night I went to Big Quiz Thing, and was surrounded by awesome trivia nerds. I had a host of scattered friends there, as well as random people I’ve met over the years of trivia playing, and it made me realize that the people I gravitate towards are smart, but that’s not why I’m drawn to them. Just like I think people who wear their careers and awards on their sleeves just might have nothing else going on, I have no patience for book smart, the kind where someone skipped five grades and was a prodigy and all that. I met enough of those kids playing chess growing up, ones pushed into it by their parents, warping their natural talent into something overdone, overhyped. But the quirky smartness, the kind where people get excited just to know some obscure fact, not because it’ll help them win, but just for the sake of knowing it, that’s what I’m talking about.

I told someone recently that I have no use for recreational sex, and that might change, but I doubt it. I have had too many experiences where I realized only afterward that having a conversation, a real one, about something beyond things you could find out on someone’s Facebook profile, is in some ways a lot more challenging than having sex, even good sex, and to me one without the other is just sortof empty and meaningless.

I’m emotionally high maintenance, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing, or if it is, well, those who want to be part of my life will just have to deal. I feel like with TwitterMySpaceFacebooketc it’s easy to dwell in the realm of the entirely superficial, twittering our lives away and assuming we can sum people up in some limited amount of characters or a cursory glance at a webpage. And I’m not anti-social networking; believe me, I’m all over those sites. But I think there’s a difference between using them and having real human contact with people, the kind where you get to know things about them you never would otherwise. That’s the kind of contact I want, where I get the chance to be nosy, to pry. Maybe I’m so drawn to writers and memoirists because I get to be that nosy and it’s okay. I get to find out what they think about things like family, love, sex, religion, politics, souls, and I learn from them even when I don’t share their views.

But it’s not just writers. I learn things every time I go to Crossfit, about myself and the people who are part of that community. As immensely welcomed as they’ve all made me feel, I am constantly surprised on some level, like they shouldn’t let me into their club. I know it’s totally irrational and stupid to think that and my reasoning even moreso: I am still very much in the beginner mode there. I do push myself and I am getting literally stronger with every workout, but I feel like these people could lift me in the air and toss me across the room and not break a sweat. And it’s illogical because I know it’s not a competition, but my point is, like in a lot of social situations, I have to mentally pinch myself when I realize, “Hey, these people like me.” I’m sure I sound like a total freak, because why wouldn’t they? But, well, that’s a question perhaps I need to get my ass in therapy about. Why wouldn’t they, indeed? I don’t know, but I am working on that.

So back to fear. I started rereading this book Twenty-five words by Barb Rogers that I got last year and pick up intermittently. The subtitle is “How the Serenity Prayer Can Save Your Life.” I bought it intending it for someone else but realized that I needed it much more than they did. I pick it up and put it down because I don’t really know what a G-d of my understanding is or looks like, or if one even exists. But what I like about the book is that while on one level, it’s probably just self help 101, it’s not about drinking or not drinking per se, which is good, because I’m not an alcoholic, I just have this addictive personality, and whether it’s inherited or not, it’s there. Those same patterns pop up for me and getting rid of one way of displaying that behavior doesn’t get rid of the others. Anna David wrote this line in Party Girl that resonated with me, that “an alcoholic personality” is “massively self-involved and always wants to be the center of attention but still has low self-esteem⎯’the piece of shit in the center of the universe.’” So whether it’s an alcoholic personality or whatever you call it, it’s there. It’s that emptiness that no matter how much food or friends or clothes or money or bylines I try to fill it with, it’s still there, waiting to capture me, and I can say not drinking is easy, but what about the rest of it? You know, like, life. Not so much, and I think if you’re used to having alcohol at least on hand as a possibility to clear out some of those deep dark bad thoughts and then you take it away, you’re just stuck with them. You’re stuck with yourself and while I think writing’s an invaluable tool for both experimenting with other characters and purging some of that, the idea of being stuck with myself for…the rest of my life, does not always make me happy.

I think there should be some kind of Fucked Up People Anonymous for those of us like that, though then maybe everyone would want to join? Anyway, Rogers writes:

The only way to fail in this life is not to be willing to try something different, to open our minds to change. We are in a lifelong school, where opportunity after opportunity is placed in front of us. I believe that what we do here, the choices we make, will affect what happens when we leave here. And it’s not necessarily the big, life-changing choices, but those seemingly little ones, made on a daily basis, that are so terribly important. Imagine if you knew, from the beginning, that there was nothing insignificant. What would you do differently?

When we fear good things in our lives, it’s because we don’t feel worthy, but if we were not worthy, we wouldn’t be here. To be a success, we need to take part in our lives, to understand we have a choice in all things. The successful person lives with that knowing feeling⎯that no matter what life throws at them, it will be okay. The serenity that lives within cannot be touched by the outside world.

She goes on to talk about fear and courage and such, and if you’re interested, I recommend you check the book out. Rosh Hashanah seems like an appropriate time to clear house in that regard and do my best to not start over in some grand way, but to make it a daily practice of questioning and assessing and struggling and growing.

So to sum up this almost interminably long post, I want people in my life who also grapple with these questions. Not seemingly perfect people who have it all figured out, or overly bland washed-out ones who have never even pondered these possibilities. But those who are somewhere in the middle, works in perpetual progress, figuring it out one day at a time, just like me.