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Lusty Lady

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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Former vegan craves Berkeley barbecue

When I moved to Berkeley in 1993, I was 17 and a vegan. When I left in 1996, I was 20 and no longer a vegan, for various reasons. I was different, but to be honest, so different from who I am now that 17 and 20 may as well have been the same, save for me starting to figure out I wasn't the activist type.

But at that point I probably wasn't ready to jump right into something like T-Rex BBQ, if it had existed then. Now I am, and am already preparing for the lunch I want to have there. Thanks, Vogue, for the tipoff. I think I want the Wings of Fire and "Pan Seared Dungeness Crab Cakes with jalapeno-fennel slaw and a spicy remoulade sauce." And mac and cheese and spinach. Will take some long winding walks to walk it off.

I wish my first trip of 2011 were not a work trip, but I will figure out a way to get a vacation in soon, and to pause before I rush off and use up all my days like I did the last two years. They are such a precious commodity, and I want to make the best use of them I can.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Year in Sex

My Year in Sex

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Free sex story: snow and ice in "Chilly Girl" from Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women

Another free erotica story for you, this one seasonally appropriate! From Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women, by me! You have until Friday for 20% off when buying books directly from Cleis Press.

Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women; is an erotic anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, was published by Cleis Press in September 2010.

The caress of skin against skin, the warmth of another’s touch, relishing the sight that few others get to see — these are the reasons that disrobing before sex can be so gratifying. The stories in Smooth, collected by award-winning erotic editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, capture the heat of being stripped bare, of flaunting your body, and of reveling in pure sensuality. Read along as women get tattooed, become “the sushi girl” at a restaurant, strip on the subway, go commando, host tea parties, enjoy sploshing, and much more. Featuring stories by Donna George Storey, Heidi Champa, Angela Caperton, Charlotte Stein, Louisa Harte, Jacqueline Applebee, Susan St. Aubin and other leading erotica writers, these adventurous characters have more to reveal than just being naked.

Order Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women from:

Kindle edition (Barnes & Noble)




IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Cleis Press

Chilly Girl
by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Chilly Girls: that was the name of the website I’d seen when I’d come into Alex’s office to see if he wanted any coffee before I settled in for the night, there in bright, bold, big, orange, graffiti-like writing atop white sloping hills. Chilly, in this case, meant naked girls plopped on top of piles of snow, hence the white. I didn’t see much more as his finger hovered on the cursor for just a moment before he clicked it back to his screenplay, turned to me and, with a totally straight face, said, “Can you make me a decaf?”

I’d called up to him a few moments earlier to see if he needed anything; I knew he was in the throes of it, and from earlier experience, I knew that my husband could become so stuck in his head he forgot basic life functions, like eating or sleeping. His first script had sold to an indie production company and was only now, six years later, actually finding its way to the big—or rather, medium-size—screen. His work on the second had meant that I’d slept alone many nights, only awakening when he crawled into bed at three or four or five and wrapped his tired body around me.
Now, as I went downstairs, I felt not only duped--here I’d been bringing Alex meal after meal, waiting on him basically hand and foot even though I was the one mainly responsible for bringing home the bacon--I also felt like the most boring woman alive. I wasn’t jealous, just annoyed; not only had I not known my husband had a snow fetish, I didn’t even know snow fetishes existed!

What did he need to look at those girls for? I hadn’t felt any competition with porn when I was dating guys, but this was my husband, the man whose ring I wore 24/7, who I thought I knew almost better than he knew himself, and here he was, not even letting me know that he liked to take breaks by looking at girls making naked snow angels and doing dirty things with icicles. I’d thought we were a modern couple, the type who watched porn together, like we did the one time we’d found an old theater that was harkening back to its roots by showing Deep Throat. We’d sat there, hands clutching each other, while men thirty years our senior shuffled around us, furtively trying to recreate their more youthful experiences. We’d been young then, in our twenties; now, we were in our forties. Did that mean we couldn’t take risks anymore? Or that if we did, we had to hide them from each other?

I looked down at my threadbare white T-shirt, the one that used to delight me because my nipples showed through, and my black and hot-pink gym shorts and immediately felt underdressed. Maybe he was looking at those girls because he wanted the kind of woman who’d do something like that, who’d throw caution to the wind, or, in this case, the snow, instead of one who brought him coffee and made him dinner. That was all well and good, but was snow really that sexy? Not when you lived in Minneapolis and the prospect of it could threaten to ruin any plans you may so foolishly have made.

I could still easily recall the last snowstorm in March that had left us housebound for two days. Even after the worst of it was over, the dregs of it had lingered. The only upside was that we were all more appreciative of the clear roads and the warm sun later. I was thrilled that it was finally summer and we had a while before we had to worry about any more storms. Who’d choose snow over sun? Yet if this was something Alex was really into, I wanted to know more. Maybe I was missing something, like the time he’d insisted I try just a dab of wasabi on my tongue, after my umpteenth order of chicken teriyaki. I’d been afraid it would sear my insides, but I’d found I liked the rush of fire to my tongue and now regularly cooked with wasabi paste.

I didn’t say anything to him at first. I didn’t know what to say as I absorbed this shock. I wanted to be angry, like I might be if he was cheating on me, but he wasn’t, not at all. I was more curious than upset, the feeling edged with a hint of arousal. I wanted to be the kind of girl who’d do something like that--who’d do it, and like it. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know exactly what it felt like: Would my skin recoil at the shock of the cold? Or would it be like those moments when I ran an ice cube along my bare neck on a hot day, or dared to pass my finger through a candle flame?

When I was alone with my trusty vibrator, the one I sometimes thought of as my diary, my therapist, my beloved, I talked to myself, playing out the scene. At first, all I could think was, Cold, cold, cold. Would I be facedown in the snow, my face caressing its tender blanket of whiteness, my nipples forming indentations, my backside on display? Or would he want me to make a naked snow angel, flapping my wings, snow inching its way between my legs, encasing my labia?

I kept on going, though, imagining the moment after my skin connected with the frosty flakes, when I’d settled into the snow, become one with it--and pictured Alex watching me. I imagined him holding his cock above me, jerking off, warming me with his come. That did itæI came, my body shaking even as I shivered at the phantom chill.
But how to go about telling him I wanted to do this without him thinking I’d spied on him? After all, it was sunny, the middle of August, not exactly prime snow season. So instead I waited. And practiced. Over the next month I took ice-cold showers, gradually getting used to the way the blast hit my skin. Instead of flinching away, I stood proudly, back arched, nipples bared to the blast. It was a form of masochism, to be sure, but though I’m stubborn as a mule, I also have a submissive streak. Whether in this case I was submitting to Alex or myself or nature, I wasn’t sure, I just knew I wanted to do it.

I made friends with ice cubes, making sure to fish them out of my water or soda and tuck one into my mouth. Alone, the nights Alex was working late or if he wasn’t around, I’d stare at myself in my full-length mirror, tracing a piece of ice that had been softened by the warmth of my hand along my neck and on down, watching the icy rivulets trail down my pale peach skin. My nipples perked up when the ice hit my areolas, and I found myself simultaneously craving the cube and fearing it. In some ways, the ice was probably more intense than the snow would be, but I felt like I was training for my own personal sexual marathon. And the more I did it, the more I liked itæplus I liked having a secret, an erotic thrill all my own.

The added bonus was that I got to know my body in a whole new way. I used to think that didn’t happen once you’re in your thirties, once you’re married, once you’ve crossed some line where you assume you’ve done all you can when it comes to sexual experimentation. But as I gasped in pleasure while tracing a cube of ice along my labia, then pressing it inside, I knew I’d never reach that point. I could be a chilly girl--or any kind of girl I wanted. And even though it was only September, I knew I had to tell Alex, to share this discovery with him. It was hot and sexy, but it would be more fun with him.

I decided to tell him in the kitchen, a somewhat neutral zone. It was a warm day and I kept flapping the freezer door open and sticking my head inside, then I took out an ice cube and tucked it inside my bra. I kept fidgeting and finding excuses to poke my head in the freezer until Alex finally asked me what was wrong. “Well, it’s hot out…and I wanted to see what it was like. You know,” I said, my voice softening in what I hoped was a seductive way. I hadn’t had to truly seduce anyone in so long, I didn’t know if that side of me still worked. Married sex was different; we didn’t need the social cues and niceties most of the time. We could go after what we wanted without (much) fear of rejection. I realized I was trembling from more than just the ice cube.

“What do you mean by that?” he asked, watching me closely. Had I let too much slip in my tone?

“I just meant…okay, look. I hate secrets and I have to tell you something. I walked into your office one day and you were looking at a site. Chilly Girls. Girls in the snow. Naked girls in the snow. It got me thinking about what that would be like. And I want to find out. With you. I want you to fuck me in the snow.” That last part hadn’t been part of the speech I’d rehearsed in my head, but there it was, not just the words, but the image in my head: me beneath him, my ass pressed deep into the snow while his hard, hot cock drilled into me in the way that always makes me warm all over.

Alex looked away, his face bright red. I couldn’t tell if he was mad; yes, even after all these years, he’s managed to maintain a poker face worthy of Lady Gaga. Then he started laughing, a little at first, then harder and harder. “April, are you serious? I just figured it was a porn thing.” He sighed. “You don’t have anything to be jealous about, baby. I don’t really want the girls in the snow, or even a girl in the snow. It’s just something fun to look at.”

I didn’t totally believe him. “But then how come you never said anything?”

“Well…it’s private. It’s what I jerk off to.”

“I guess I can understand that; I have fantasies too. I just feel like we’ve been growing apart, and I want us to be close again, as close as we can be. And I want it now for me, not just for you. I want to be a chilly girl. I want to see what it’s like.”

“You do? You aren’t nervous?”

“Of course I’m nervous! But remember when we used to do all kinds of wild and crazy things? Why can’t we be like that again?”

“Okay, but it’s September. Where are we going to find snow? Unless you know something I don’t?”

“We could take a trip. Or we could just…practice. With ice.”

His face lit up and he grabbed me. “I have an idea. You remember Ralph? He runs that butcher shop? I bet he’d let us in the freezer.”

Okay, so sex in a meat locker wasn’t exactly what I’d been after, but I liked his spirit. Just then, though, he told me to lie in the bathtub and put on my face mask…only now it would be a blindfold. I lay there in the claw-foot tub we’d spent a fortune on, one I regularly dropped paperback novels in as I luxuriated in the heat of a hot bath. Now, my nipples stiffened, prepared for the opposite. I sank back against the bath pillow, letting my fingers dawdle at my breasts, lightly stroking my sex.
And then the tumbling started--the tumbling of ice cubes. Alex poured all the ones we’d had in the freezer into the bath, then took one and traced it from the back of my neck on down. “I’m going to cover you in ice cubes. I’m going to fill this bath with them and fill your pussy with them and even shove one up your ass and let it leak out. I’m going to make you cold right down to your bones--and you’re going to like it.” His voice wasn’t sinister, exactly, but there was a hint of danger, a dark edge that made me shiver in a new way. He lifted the mask and I looked up at him and he leaned down and kissed me, his tongue reaching for mine. Just as I got lost in the kiss, I felt an ice cube press against the side of my neck, the equivalent of a snowball landed square on an unsuspecting bystander.

I pulled my tongue away, but I didn’t protest. I’d asked for this, and as the cubes settled around me, I realized I liked it. In some ways this was more intense than a snowy mountainside, but that had never been the real point anyway. I’d wanted him to see me as the girl who’d do anything--for him. I reached for a cube and ran it against my nipple, smiling when he helped.

Alex made me lie there and simply soak in the cold for half an hour; we didn’t get the tub all the way full, but it was enough. He climbed in with me, helping me warm up as the ice water lapped against my skin. He was hard, his cock wedging itself between my legs. For a second I wondered if he’d be able to keep his erection, but I soon learned that wasn’t a problem. I screamed as his cock sank into me, the heat emanating from him such a contrast to the rest of my surroundings. “Oh, god, you feel so good. I’m sorry I made you think I preferred anyone to you. You’re my favorite girl in hot and cold weather.” He laughed, then stopped as I shifted, hiking one foot up against the shower wall and throwing the other in the air. His hands cupped my bottom as he thrust hard into me. I focused entirely on Alex--on his gritted teeth, his light brown hair falling in his face, his firm chest and his cock, pushing into me, stretching me. I forgot for a few seconds about hot and cold, right and wrong and was simply lulled by the power of meeting him where my sex surrounded him. When I came, I clutched the edge of the tub hard, sinking back against the pillow. He pulled out and let me watch him come in the air, the liquid landing in our bath.

Alex wrapped me up in my fluffy purple robe, then made me hot chocolate with minimarshmallows and let me watch my favorite old sitcoms. He pampered me for the rest of the night, and continued to do so the rest of the week, like I’d accomplished some major feat. And maybe I had. I’d conquered my fears, my demons, my belief that those girls had something I didn’t. And I was never going back.

We’re planning a series of ski resort vacations, but the one I’m most looking forward to is at a resort that caters to nudists. Alex is taking his camera, and I’m continuing to practice.

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An anthology I didn't flake on: With This Ring, I Thee Bed edited by Alison Tyler

Because I don't flake on all anthologies, just the highest-paying! Ha ha ha...or not. I hope I will get more chances at nonfiction, because that's where my heart is, but I will continue to write erotica for as long as the ideas show up. I'm hoping 2011 is the year of making amends and getting second chances to redeem myself for my follies. If not, oh well. But I am determined to cut out all the messiness and focus on what matters. This year and last I lost my way bigtime, and whether it's toxic people or bad behaviors, I'm cutting out everything that's a problem and cutting way back on time wasting so I can work on myself. I fucking need it, clearly.

Proofread my story "Wedding Crasher" that will be in Alison Tyler's 2011 Harlequin Spice anthology With This Ring, I Thee Bed. It's about a bisexual girl who picks up people at weddings, in this case, a hot male/female couple. Look for it in April and see the lineup below.

Now or Forever by Nikki Magennis

Racing to the Altar by Sommer Marsden

Forever Hold Your Peace by I.K Velasco

A Lucky Wedding by Thomas S. Roche

Something Old, Something New by Sophia Valenti

Kiss the Bride by Lana Fox

One Last Time by Saskia Walker

Forsaking All Others by Janine Ashbless

Mother of the Bride by Cheyenne Blue

I Married a Gigolo by Jax Baynard

Strippers and Cigars by N.T. Morley

Something Blue by Shanna Germain

Speak Now by Heidi Champa

Wedding Crasher by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Blushing Bride by Bella Dean

Anniversary Waltz by Portia Da Costa

I Will by Erastes

A Vow for a Vow by P.S. Haven

Seven Year Itch by Kristina Lloyd

Rites of Passage by ADR Forte

Naked Nuptials by Alison Tyler

Love, Honor, and Obey by Rita Winchester

May the Best Man Win by Kate Pearce

Taking Vows by Kristina Wright

The Wedding Stoppers by Michael Hemmingson

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When "impossible" isn't just in quotes, but in your head

I blogged about my “Six Impossible Things Before 2012,” my version of New Year’s resolutions, but really ongoing, day-to-day life tasks that normal people seem to have accomplished, like not bouncing checks, that I haven’t mastered yet. I didn't title it that way, but in my head, "impossible" was in quotes, because if I truly believed those tasks were impossible, I wouldn't have set them for myself. They are fucking hard, is what they are, they often seem/feel impossible, but they are not truly impossible. I am so good at dooming myself to the worst case scenario that I forget that some people actually look to themselves to step up and create their own best case scenario, no matter how bad their present one is. I want to be like those people. This is a case where obviously actions speak louder than words; see the last paragraph of my essay, linked below. Do It Anyway indeed.

For my second piece at The Nervous Breakdown, "No Sugar in My Bowl, No $1,000 in My Pocket: The Art of Self-Sabotage," I wrote long (too long perhaps) about what happens when “impossible” is not in quotes, but when you self-sabotage yourself into impossibility. I tend to do it with the big pricey things—law school, big anthologies, while meanwhile, yes, writing for free or cheap, I’m totally there. I have many problems and I’m trying to own up to them and be a better person. Not there yet, but baby steps.

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Flowers in the snow on Nassau Street

I'm not sure if these were abandoned or what, but stumbled upon them in the Financial District, first from this direction:

Then I couldn't resist snapping the other side:


Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh that radical feminism

Just another example of "radical feminism" - you know, that whole having to be awake to give consent to sex radical feminism.

From The Australian:

She says they had consensual sex but she woke up the next morning to find him having intercourse with her to which she had not consented.

Thank you for some intelligence The The Daily Telegraph:

Assange - supported by everyone from Geoffrey Robertson to John Pilger - is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden with a twofold strategy.

First, they claim this is not really about Swedish sex, but an evil conspiracy (led by well-known tyrant Barack Obama).

Second, they fling muck at the alleged victims.

They must be "confused", Assange himself says.

The women are "victims of the police", who have "bamboozled" them.

They got jealous when they realised Assange had seduced both of them. They are lying.

Oh, and Swedish law is much too harsh on men who fail to use a condom when explicitly asked to do so by their female sex partners. That's what Assange and his supporters say.

So how did we come to a point where the left-leaning intelligentsia - which now apparently includes Jemima Khan - is instantly dismissive of women who claim to be victims of sexual violence?

Why shouldn't Assange face the charges, like anyone else accused of a sexual crime?

Via Jezebel re: Assange's "Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of Feminism," where the commenters like Jennifer17 are whipsmart:

By the way, actual consciousness is the Wikileaks of sex. Get a clue.

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Hello Kitty Adhesive Roller - oh, okay

I'm not quite sure how I found this at and I definitely know I'd never need one (I'm catsitting at the moment, but won't be tomorrow). At first I thought it was a paint roller and got very excited; shame of 2010 is that I did not get a chance to paint anyone's apartment. Must fix in the new year; dear world, I am available for my stellar apartment painting skills (and enthusiasm!), and I have references. I will do it for free, and if you're one of my very close friends, in my underwear even. Because I'm pretty easy to please; just stick a paint roller in my hand, put the tape on the walls (yes, you do the hard/boring parts), and I'm happy.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pretty lights

Via Sarah MacLean, who I owe a guest blog post to (coming up soon!).


"My Love/Hate Relationship With Thinspiration Blogs" at The Frisky

I wrote about "My Love/Hate Relationship With Thinspiration Blogs" for The Frisky. Funnily enough, I thought earlier this week, bingeing on Pretzel Crisps and potato chips was the worst of my eating habits this week, but it wasn't. Let's just say, yesterday was a bad day, but today I sought refuge from the storm at the gym and gave my legs and arms a pretty solid workout. I need to work on eating for health and hunger, not emotional eating, and on carving out time for the gym like I did today. One day at a time, eh?

And yeah, lately I'm realizing that it's in the middle of or immediately after my rock bottom moments that I get to that state of writing the most truthfully, because you have nothing left to lose at that point. For me, it kindof releases something in me that maybe I need to access in the worst possible ways, to figure out what sets me off. I don't want to create a pattern of low, low moments, followed by writing that somehow puts a salve on them, but that is often how it works for me. I'm tapping into a lot of my jealousy and hatred around a certain past relationship and unpacking it, and realizing that it's okay to have those emotions; they are mine, I own them, right or wrong, and that not looking at them, not exploring them, just accepting the way I've treated people or the way people have treated me, is the path to disaster. It's a very slippery slope for me from feeling like "This shitty thing happened" to "If someone treats me in a shitty way, I deserve it." That is what I'm unpacking in some of my writing, and it feels like some Muriel Rukeyser awakening.

Which brings me to that famous quote of hers: "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open." Trust me, I read about a lot of women's lives, and I do believe in the transformative power of truthtelling. But I think one giant lesson for me this year is that there is something a little suspicious, often, about those who set out to "change the world." I've dated and hooked up with people like that, ones who travel to farflung countries, who are "out there" in the world, far, far from home, and I'm not saying they are not doing good, positive work out there, and being amply rewarded for it. They are. But for me, I never want to be that person who thinks they are "saving" the world but treating the people in their personal worlds like shit. To me, that hypocrisy is sad, and so far from who I want to be that I'm glad I've distanced myself from the people who practice it. I don't admire it and don't want to add to the fawning around it.

I'm not claiming that I act perfectly towards the people in my life; I don't. I fuck up, I hurt people, I am selfish and self-centered. But I try hard to look at those actions, to learn from them, to find ways to satisfy myself first and to still be as good a friend I can be. It took me a long time to learn how to separate those things, to realize that that "good work" might be meaningful, but it doesn't make someone a good person. Ultimately, I think that is something everyone has to judge for themselves, and I used to think it was my job to be judged by everyone around me, to care about what other people thought, and yet there came a point where I realized I'm not in anyone else's head, and I can't live up to their standard or version of who I should be. I can only live up to my version, and that is what I'm trying to do. 2010, in particular the part from 35 on, have been, in a word, bad, so I am eagerly counting the days til 2011.

There is a lot inside myself, and outside, that I don't like, and often my solution to that has been to lie in bed and mope, but I'm trying to fight that part of me, to make concrete changes in how I live and how I take care of myself; obviously, there are blips along the way. I was a wreck yesterday, and realized that there are some toxic people in my life who I need to reconsider spending time with. That is not to blame anyone else for my actions, but again, to go back to self-care, which I think makes me a better person to be around, hopefully, anyway. I know when I am not taking care of myself in the ways I haven't been lately, when I go along with things just for the sake of the experience or to please someone else or because it's the "right" thing to do, I am doing myself a disservice. So, yeah, that was my longwinded way of saying that maybe as I get older my world becomes a bit more myopic, and "the world," in the Rukeyser sense, sounds all too much like hubris. I'm looking forward to going more inward, and there's no way to write that or think that without sounding, to my own ears, utterly selfish, and so be it. I'm ready to relinquish any claims to being not-selfish, and embrace that for what it is--not a path to anything other than learning about myself and going deeper with my writing and whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing with my life.

The other night, I was wading through all the junk scattered around my apartment, starting to panic because I couldn’t find a book I needed to review. I threw out bag after bag of garbage and finally decided to get some dinner, my version of which was a prepackaged frozen entree of organic tofu, vegetables and brown rice, plus a bottle of soy sauce.

No sooner had I popped it in the microwave than I discovered a brown paper bag from Trader Joe’s filled with one giant bag of tortilla chips and one bag of potato chips. I was still lamenting the previous night’s binge on everything Pretzel Crisps (yes, the same ones that pulled their “You can never be too thin” ads earlier this year), but that didn’t stop me from opening the potato chips. I thought I could just eat a few, savor that greasy, so-salty-it-hurts-the-corners-of-my-mouth taste, then throw the rest away. I wouldn’t have gone out and bought them, but there they were, right in front of me. But in the four minutes it took to heat my healthy meal, almost the entire bag was gone, and instead of that pleasant salty taste on my tongue, I felt like a bomb had gone off in my stomach.

Read the whole essay (and, as always, I'd love your comments, there not here) at The Frisky, one of my favorite sites.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

This photo makes me happy

This was from the first set of GiGi La Femme's performance at the last In The Flesh. And in a few months I hope to do a cool multimedia event. I don't know what yet because I'm getting through some other events first, but I loved hosting burlesque so much I want to do it again! Photo by Anya Garrett.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Next on my reading list: Cami Ostman's marathon memoir Second Wind

I like working with publishers, such as Harlequin, Cleis Press and Seal Press, to name three, that publish books I like to read. They all do, and while I don't have time to read everything they publish, I try to keep up and have discovered some amazing authors that way. While Seal always has lots of titles I'm interested in (I'm basically the target audience for Pretty Neat, you know?), what I love about discovering books the most is just that: the discovery. The act of hearing about a book in some fashion, usually through a friend, review, via social media or, in this case, via the publisher, and thinking, Wow, that sounds amazing. Also in this case, thinking, And that is the perfect gift for my marathon-running stepfather.

So I haven't read it yet, but I look forward to the memoir Second Wind: One Woman's Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents. Her official site is and you can also keep track of her goal to run a marathon in each of the 50 United States by 2017!

Publisher's description:

Second Wind is the story of an unlikely athlete and an unlikely heroine: Cami Ostman, a woman edging toward midlife who decides to take on a challenge that stretches her way outside of her comfort zone. That challenge presents itself when an old friend suggests she go for a run to distract her from the grief of her recent divorce. Excited by the clarity of mind and breathing space running offers her, she keeps it up—albeit slowly. Soon the old friend, Bill, now a romantic interest, invites her to Prague to run a marathon. Little does either of them know that this race will be the first of many international marathons, and that it will ignite a quest to run seven marathons on seven continents.

Up hills and through flash floods, more often alone than with company, Cami forges a path through some of the most exotic places in the world—and into some of the most enlightened, and darkest, places in the psyche. Insightful and uplifting, Second Wind carries the reader along for the ride as Cami runs her way out of compliance with the patriarchal rules about “being a woman” that long held her captive and into authenticity and self-love. Her adventures—and the personal revelations that accompany them—will inspire readers to take chances, find truth in their lives, and learn to listen to the voice inside them that’s been there all along.

I liked the book trailer because she said some things like "You need to find your own authentic pace in life" that transcend running, even though her book is about running. Of course it's about more than that (okay, maybe not "of course," but as an avid memoir reader, there is almost always something more going on that the surface topic).

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The NYU security guard turned playwright

I'm a sucker for a reinvention story, in part because I feel like the older I get, the easier it is to think that my life is set in stone, that the path I started out on and failed at (law school) turned into this seemingly cobbled-together one and that I cannot escape it. Not that I necessarily want to, but I'm enamored of people who do see new possibilities, especially at older ages.

From The New York Times:

While N.Y.U. forbids guards from personal writing while on duty, Mr. Nohilly said, he would hear a word, or come up with a bit of dialogue or an image, and jot it down on scrap paper to save for short stories, his passion after the poems of his youth. He especially liked sideways dialogue: the way characters could confront one another indirectly, or through pauses. He would have loved Pinter if he had known Pinter, but Mr. Nohilly rarely went to the theater.

And then he did, in 2002, at the age of 34, to see Simon McBurney’s downtown production of Brecht’s “Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.” Here was an instance where star casting clearly paid off. Mr. Nohilly, who occasionally works as an actor in crime dramas, wanted to see the big names in the show — Al Pacino, Steve Buscemi, Chazz Palminteri (Mr. Bronx himself) — and, in turn, their work made him determined to write for the stage.

“I came away thinking I better get my act together because I wanted my life to have that in it,” Mr. Nohilly, now 42, said of “the ferociously honest work of live theater” that he had seen in the Brecht.

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How Linkin Park and Digg and The Four-Hour Workweek got named, video interview with Kevin Rose and Tim Ferriss

Really interesting stuff, via TentBlogger post on how to choose the best domain name for your blog. Yes, Ferriss wanted to name his book Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit.

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My January and February 2011 events

I'm still working on descriptions and jpegs and all that, but a heads up about my January and February events:

January 19, 8 pm - panelist at Gameshow Speakeasy at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC

January 27, time TBA - reading with Donna George Storey and others, Good Vibrations, Berkeley, CA

January 28, 7:30 pm - reading with free cupcakes at Booksmith, San Francisco, CA

Award-winning local writer and sexpert Violet Blue (Best Women’s Erotica 2011, Seal It With a Kiss) and New York-based erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel (Orgasmic, Fast Girls) join forces to bring you an evening of sexy smut! Featuring local Orgasmic contributors Susie Hara, Dusty Horn, and Donna George Storey, plus free cupcakes, this promises to be a steamy night of sensuous stories.

February 1, time TBA - Reading at Coco de Mer with Eden Bradley, Pamela Madsen and Oriana Small (aka Ashley Blue), Los Angeles, CA. Free cupcakes and champagne!

February 14, 7 pm - Hosting and curating erotica reading, Bluestockings, NYC

February 17, time TBA - discussion at McNally Jackson, NYC

After that, working on events in UK, Minneapolis, possibly LA again, Seattle in June and hopefully Denver, Madison, Milwaukee, down the road. Cities I'd love to visit and do events in (if you're the type who can make that happen, email me at rachelkramerbussel at : Santa Fe, Chicago, Washington, DC, Boston. And Russo's Books in Bakersfield, California is on my list.

I'm torn about events, because they are fun to do and organize, but extremely stressful. Even with In The Flesh, which had a steady audience, you are competing with all the other events in town, rushing to get press, to draw people in, to spread the word, and I'm talking here about free events. Readings are a hard sell, especially, imo, in bookstores, and I think draw a certain type of audience member. They can be a publicity boon and it's a wonderful chance to meet people you wouldn't otherwise meet, but the question I keep coming back to, as someone who pays for all my own travel, therefore not actually making money off these trips is, at what cost? It's something I have been doing despite the cost for the last few years, but as I'm getting older and also just don't have that disposable income, I have to truly consider. So in my ideal world, I'd love to hit all those places. In real life, with the constraint of money and limited time off, I am not sure how many I'll get a chance to visit. I'm already having qualms about taking 4 days at the start of the year, but will have to budget my time much better than I have in the past few years. So maybe the cities I don't get to, I go to in 2012. Because no way am I giving up on my dream of a real vacation, at the beach, by myself. That's what gets me through the tough days.

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Shouldn't consent be at the center of rape laws?

There are tons of sites better suited to in-depth coverage of the Assange case, so I'm not going to talk about that case per se in this post, but I was re-reading the infamous AOL News "sex by surprise" piece that Jessica Valenti so brilliantly wrote a takedown of (sadly, not after it basically became the go-to article on the topic) and saw this, bolding mine:

But others say Assange, who denies any wrongdoing and says the sex was consensual, may have just run afoul of Sweden's unusual rape laws, which are considered pro-feminist because of the consideration given issues of consent when it comes to sexual activity -- including even the issue of whether a condom was used.

Now, I have not personally read the Swedish laws, but just the phrasing there should give us pause. Isn't consent at the heart of the issue of rape? Or shouldn't it be?

Even though I don't agree with Naomi Wolf (because being pithy, snarky and overly brief about a major topic works so well; do also see Yes Means Yes editor Jaclyn Friedman talking with her on Democracy Now) or former sex crimes prosecutor Wendy Murphy, who I quote from The Daily Beast below, that this case somehow hurts other cases simply by the timing and fame of it, I think this is a sad but interesting commentary:

In another context, I'd argue vigorously for wider understanding of the multitude of ways that the American justice system routinely fails to protect women's personal autonomy and bodily integrity by enacting inadequate laws, and failing to enforce the ones we have. For example, in almost every state in this country, rape requires proof not only of nonconsent but also "force." If you take my stuff without my consent, it's called larceny. If you also use force, it's called robbery. But if you take my bodily integrity without my consent, it's not a crime at all, unless you also use force. Non-consent should be enough.

I do think we're seeing a lot of great stories that point out the complexities of the issue of "how a rape victim should act," meaning, there is no "one right way." Amanda Marcotte at Slate wrote a great piece, The Perils of Charging Rape.

There's a 1994 book I read that I still think is extremely powerful, I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape by Robin Warshaw. This recommendation is not about the law per se but about some of the ways we talk about rape and sexual assault and the reality of the ways women talk and feel about their experiences; as the title shows, they do not all speak of it using the word "rape" or the same language at all.

I also just read a blog post by Teri Buhl stating that in London there is a belief that one of the accusers "is a honey fly, positioned to sit front row and braless during his college talk in Sweeden and entrap him in a sexually devious event." I have no idea what actually happened between Assange and these women but find the idea that a woman is even being discussed in this way offensive, but even more, what is a "sexually devious event" and what does that even mean? And, playing devil's advocate, this were remotely true, wouldn't you think Assange would have, I don't know, stayed away? I think that idea is as insulting to men as it is to women; that women don't think/act for themselves as well as that men think only with their dicks. Again, I'm leaving the Assange coverage to others but this has certainly brought the topic of what rape looks like in real people's lives (aside from the two accusers) and what our assumptions about what those who bring rape charges should look and act and sound like to the fore.

Though after Michael Moore's recent appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, the #mooreandme hashtag on Twitter, at least as it relates to Michael Moore, is basically over (though still generating fascinating discussions), I wanted to share this post, "An Open Letter to Michael Moore", from The SAFER Blog, that I found extremely moving.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

How your bondage erotica gets made: Megan Butcher on "The Apiary" from Best Bondage Erotica 2011

I taught a few classes at Shag in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this year. I always hope my students will submit work to my anthologies, but sadly, it rarely happens. Megan Butcher was an exception, and I'm proud to include her story "The Apiary" in Best Bondage Erotica 2011 and to have had her read at In The Flesh. Because it wasn't financially feasible for me, right now I don't have any erotic writing classes planned, but if you'd like to host one, feel free to contact me at rachelkramerbussel at - I am open to arranging these with my 2011 travel plans as well, which include London, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison (Wisconsin), Los Angeles and possibly other cities.

Here she is at Venus Envy:

The story had its genesis in a writing class I took with Rachel in Brooklyn last February. I walked in thinking that the class would be huge and I'd be able to lose myself a bit if I didn't want to stick out. It was in a nice little shop called SHAG. I walked down the steep and narrow stairs into a white-washed, low-ceilinged basement and saw 5 chairs ranged behind two perpendicular tables. Oh boy.

It was great, though it passed in a bit of a blur. Mostly I remember what I saw in my mind during the 5 minute writing exercises. It was during the first one, I believe, that we were to write something about a chair, and
The Apiary was born.

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Kerry Cohen on her autistic son Ezra

Kerry Cohen in "Sustenance" at Literary Mama - she has a memoir, Seeing Ezra, forthcoming in 2011 on the topic from Seal Press:

Ezra has pica, which is a childhood disorder characterized by compulsive and persistent cravings for nonfood items, such as mud, paper, and dirt. The word "pica" comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird known for its indiscriminate appetite. Twenty-five to 30 percent of children have pica, and it is most common among those with developmental disabilities like autism, which Ezra has. Ezra expresses his autism in two primary ways: he struggles with language, especially conversation, and he doesn't eat.

There are all sorts of theories as to why children might crave things that are not food. One is that the craving grows from nutritional deficiency. Another is that it comes as a distorted response to neglect or abuse. When the child has autism, though, there is no obvious reason for the behavior. It is a neurological hiccup, a disturbance in the brain's reward circuitry. Our drive to eat is generated through the hypothalamus, which contains the pituitary gland and is located in the middle of the base of the brain. But if there is confusion among the neural pathways, or damage near the lateral hypothalamus, the organism will experience aversion to sources of sustenance.

All these words are so inadequate. Sometimes words seem utterly foreign to me, as I imagine they do for Ezra. These terms and concepts - pica, hypothalamus, autism - don't explain to me why my child won't engage in this basic survival instinct of eating food.

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Seth Kushner interview awesomeness

Do check out this great interview with Seth Kushner at Talking With Tim. Here's part of his answer about working with me:

I’ve very much wanted to explore fictional photocomix narratives. CulturePOP has been profiles of real people, and as much fun and as challenging as it’s been creating these, I want to begin creating photocomix using actors and sets and shooting them like movies. I was looking for a subject who would allow me to experiment within the confines of this series and I knew a writer would be perfect. So I approached Rachel Kramer Bussel about allowing me to illustrate one of her shorts stories from her new collection. Rachel writes very visually, so it was perfect.

Rachel gave me ‘Bound,’ an edgy bondage story. I read it and knew immediately I would be able to do an adaptation. I started by breaking her story down into a proper comics script. Taking the narrator/main character’s internal monologue and breaking them into the beats which would go into the text boxes, and removing all description from the text and turning it into direction for me to cull the visuals.

In adapting the story to a comics script, I created my own edit, different from Rachel’s story, but hopefully keeping the spirit of it. Also, this was an edgy, sexual story and while her descriptions of the situations worked in prose form, I knew a straight visual retelling would come across as pornography. So I quickly decided to be somewhat obscure in what I would show. I would keep it to close-ups, reflections and angles that would all allow for the viewer to use his imagination.

Also, on his blog you can see some photos from the event at Joe's Pub.

I loved this panel via the interview linked above of the CulturePOP profile of Jennie Fiske, "Ukelele Dreams" - I'm also including the first page of it cause it's gorgeous too:

Bonus! nother interview with Seth I found

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6 impossible things before 2012

I tend to think making resolutions is both arbitrary, when it comes to a new year, and means setting myself up for failure. But, well, it's been a year of some successes and lots of failures, so I have nothing to lose heading into 2011. And really, I think if this year taught me anything it's that I have to just keep moving forward. I never in a million years would've thought I'd get a tattoo, or do a lot of the things I did this year. I traveled probably too much and yet got to do some amazing things, like visit a sunny Minneapolis in March and doing something for the teevee that I hope I can tell you more about soon.

Anyway, I watched a few minutes of the movie version of Alice in Wonderland and it reminded of the "six impossible things before breakfast" line. I usually cut myself off before the thought has even been completed, especially when I have tried and failed and tried and failed, as is the case with several of the things on my list. And maybe there'll be more, but if I get through these before 2012, I have a feeling I'll be a lot more at peace.

1. Finish my novel. That's all I say for the moment, save for that impossible has started to seem like an understatement. Demoralizing, depressing, makes me feel like I have nothing to say and no organizational ability. It's stressful and scary and I need to just get over myself and finish it. Will keep you posted; in the meantime, trust me, don't ask.

2. Make my apartment livable. Or at least, visitable. This means turning an old bedroom into a storage room or office, getting rid of mountains of clothes that were never sorted through during the big personal organizer week in January, and just general culling and tossing and sorting. And probably lots more, but I'll start with that.

3. Lose 25-30 pounds/drop a clothing size. I hate weighing myself and hate the idea of having to resort to that as a measurement, but that and/or being a size six, and keeping at that weight, I'll take. I made a lot of progress earlier this year when I was working out with a trainer, but that's become financially implausible, not to mention I don't feel like walking in the cold during the day, so I need to keep up with the training on my own. Much easier said than done. The number on the scale does matter, but it's also an "I'll know it when I see myself in the mirror" type of thing. All I know is right now? Is not where I want my body to be and is not making me happy and doesn't make me feel sexy. Or rather, I'd feel happier and sexier if I were at my goal weight/size, and I also feel better generally when I'm eating healthier and exercising rather than eating crap, not sleeping (yes, it is 4:47 am as I type, hi insomnia) and being lazy about hitting the gym.

4. Start carrying just one purse out and about on a daily basis, unless there is a special reason I need more shoes/clothes/laptop.

5. Not bounce any checks/have any overdraft fees. I don't even know how many overdraft fees I incurred this year, but at $34 a pop, they are inexcusable, except sometimes, well, my cash flow is not the best. Part of the problem is that when I get a big check, I send a lot to pay off my student loans and the rest goes to, well, life, travel, clothes, expenses. I'm bad at the part where you store X amount away for a rainy day or an emergency, especially when I know more checks are on the way. So I would love 2011 to be the year I start over.

6. Fall in requited, drama-free love. Have, like, a normal relationship that has a future. Perhaps the hardest one of all, at least, the requited part. This is not the time or place to rehash my dating ups and downs of 2010, but there were lots of both and I'm ready to close the door on all of them and start afresh in 2011. Not afresh like finding a whole new cast of characters, but afresh like taking time to focus on the things that are really important, like the above items, and not be quite so hasty in my choices in this area. I don't want to be cynical, but I do want to take a few steps way back because whatever I've been doing? It's not working. And that's okay, it really, really is, as long as I learn from it. I make lots of "resolutions" to myself in this area but they are very easy to break, because the goal seems, ahem, impossible, so why bother with principles? But yes, there actually is a reason: because I care about myself and my goals and values. It's very very easy for me to forget about those when faced with other people's goals/values/ideas but I'd rather find someone who actually shares mine. And if not, well, that'll have to wait til 2012.

I have other goals like, um, be on time about 90% of the time (gotta give myself some leeway here) and certain publications I'd like to write for. And something that I have no control over but will send out into the universe anyway: I would really, really, really like one (or more!) of my books to be picked up for translation. Spanish is the only language I can even approach reading but I'm not picky. It's not even a money thing so much as I think it would be very cool and I've had a few short stories get translated into German and Italian and Japanese and I think especially my latest round of anthologies would work very well in some other countries. So, yes, I hope that happens, universe.

There was a time if you'd told me I wouldn't drink any Diet Coke for 3 years I'd have thought for sure that was impossible. I had some earlier this year and found it totally vile; I couldn't even finish a can. Of course, I've now replaced that with my Starbucks hazelnut coffee habit, but that I justify because I think it makes my brain run faster and it calms me down (even if it's not actually calming my body down, it soothes me, which to me equals "calms me down").

So, well, that's it. These are pretty much either day-to-day tasks and/or long-term goals that I can't exactly monitor by hovering over them, but just have to live them.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Erotica by the numbers

I get about 10:1 ratio of stories involving blowjobs over cunnilingus (I did not actually count, but that's what it seems like); even higher percentage about female subs than male subs. Just observations as I cull from hundreds of erotica stories to get through latest round of anthologies. These are from female authors, and it helps me figure out what’s popular, but also always makes me wonder why topics skew that way, if certain acts or mindsets are easier to write about, or just more popular in general.

I so rarely see female dominant erotica, or male submissive erotica, unless the call specifically asks for that. It's forced me to expand my writing horizons at times to balance things, and push myself. I'm writing a story named after a Beatles song, and it's fiction, but does focus on a body part I'm a big fan of, which I'm trying to present in a kindof sweet way, as befitting a book of erotic romance, and to prove to myself that I can write cute too. I was excited to come up with the idea after months of flailing about for this particular book. Now I'll have to see if it pans out.

Will be interesting as I work on my oral sex erotica book to balance everything. I’ve got some new calls I’ll be announcing in the new year too, so stay tuned. As maddening as the process can be, I love editing and bringing stories and authors together. I’m hoping to go to the UK for some Gotta Have It events in the spring, which would be very cool if it works out. I forget sometimes that I haven’t actually met some of the authors I love to publish.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Look like a book cover model - buy the magenta corset on the cover of Please, Sir!

Check it out! Corset makers Exquisite Restraint, who made the corset Mischa is wearing in the Christine Kessler photo that graces the cover of my book Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission is now selling that corset on Etsy!

From the listing - direct all questions to them, I'm just passing this along!

This corset is appropriate as formal wear with a full skirt, as club-wear to your favorite club, or as part of your BURLESQUE COSTUME !!!
This corset was worn by Mischa in a luscious photo by Christine Kessler on the cover of "Please, Sir," edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, from Cleis Press.

This is my basic Overbust Corset with a magenta silk dupioni exterior.
~beaded fringe trim in warm orange and purple beads
~organza ruffle across the top
~durable top-stitching plus GOLD METALLIC top-stitching
~The corset is self-bound with hand-made bias binding, not storebought binding.

The silk dupioni is excellent for more hand-stitching, embroidery, beading, or any embellishments you may apply, like blinging it out with Swarzovski crystals for your burlesque costume. The silk is durable enough for home steam, steam ironing, and spot stain removal.

I have been making corsets for 10 years. All of my corsets are made with real corset materials and hardware: All steel boning, a busc at center front, cotton coutil as the interior fabric and proper 2- piece grommets up the back for lacing.

The front is 14 inches long, so it ends in a devilish point in the front, yet it's cut higher over the hips so it blends smoothly with your skirts. This Overbust corset does wonders for your waist and you can treat it as a true foundation garment.

Please see more of my work at

YOU CAN PICK YOUR SIZE from my Size Charts!!!
This item requires 4 WEEKS to complete and ship after payment is received.

I’ve included Women’s Size Chart… please go here for Plus Size Women’s and Mens TG/cd. This corset for this price can be created in Plus Size up to 1X:
Copy and Paste this url:

I recommend you take your measurements. I have great directions here:

I will make your corset when you order and payment is received.

Subtract 2 inches from your UNDERBUST
4 inches from your WAIST
2 inches from your UPPER HIP (not full butt)
Tell me your BRA SIZE and HEIGHT

Use these new numbers to pick your size AND write to me so I can advise and help you pick the best size. Corsets are meant to fit close to the body, and like bras and jeans, sometimes you just don’t fit into the cookie cutter sizing. I will advise you honestly and not sell you a corset that doesn’t fit. I can discuss a custom fitting a different price and we’ll use the Request Custom Work setting here on Etsy.

Plus Sizes will require double boning, more fabric and a different price quote. Your humble corsetmaker is a size 1X and understands the vagaries of shopping for plus size clothing... please write to me with your plus size questions.

CHOOSE your SIZE… please tell me your measurements when your order. Send a message ahead of time if you have questions
Your corset will be completed and shipped in 4 weeks after payment is received.

Please measure carefully.
Write to me with any sizing questions you have.
No refunds, no exchanges.

I can quote SHIPPING to countries other than those I listed below.
Just write and ask.
I'm available to answer any questions about this item.

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Kindle edition of Best Bondage Erotica 2011 now for sale

Finally! The Kindle edition of Best Bondage Erotica 2011 is out!

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I'm at Joe's Pub tonight for Heeb Storytelling: Live Comics Edition!

See you at Joe's Pub tonight! I've been there many times over the years for performances so it's a bit surreal to be gracing their stage. Giant thanks to Jeff Newelt and Seth Kushner for including me in this fabulous event. And I will not be racing through it like I was at In The Flesh. Life is SOOOO much easier when it's not your event, and also this event was a pick by Flavorpill and Time Out New York so I'm sure will be crowded. My last event of 2011, featuring me reading the part of, um, me, from my CulturePOP profile by Seth Kushner.

And if you haven't seen it yet, do check out the CulturePOP profile of Reggie Watts. Rakesh Satyal called me a "character" at In The Flesh (as a compliment), and I was very flattered. I'm writing a column about sex and social media and assumptions, being guilty of making the same ones I abhor when people make about me, so it's an interesting word. Not sure what it means, and lately, I've been feeling, well, like a sad character. But tonight will be fun and sparkly!

The profile features part of my story "Vegas Treat" from Best Bondage Erotica 2011 which I treated (I had to do it) you all to last week.

Heeb Storytelling: Live Comics Edition a night of irreverent entertainment—graphic novel-style—curated by Heeb’s comics editor Jeff Newelt.
get tix:

Eight extraordinary comics creators project their smart, funny and sexy comics on a big screen, accompanied by a soundtrack and shenanigans. Featuring legendary MAD artist Al Jaffee + Paul Pope, Molly Crabapple, Dean Haspiel, Sarah Glidden, Josh Neufeld, Cynthia Von Buhler, Jeff Newelt, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Seth Kushner.

Early bird prize! First 10 people in the door get free copies of the rare Heeb "Love" issue with cover by Robert & Aline Crumb!

**FREE** raffle tickets! 5 winners get *supersets* of graphic novels (each set includes Sarah Glidden's How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less; Bill Ayers "To Teach"; Josh Neufeld's A.D. New Orleans After The Deluge; Royal Flush Magazine 7; AL JAFFEE's MAD LIFE, and TRIBES: The Dog Years ( **

“Comics aren’t just for schmendricks anymore,” said Jeff Newelt

Tuesday, December 21, 7p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Doors 6pm)
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC
$15 (reservations required for table seating)
Call theater: (212) 539-8778 or buy tickets at (Telecharge: 212-239-6200)

Storytellers include:
MOLLY CRABAPPLE international artstress / impressaria (Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School, Puppet Makers)

AL JAFFEE - legendary creator of the MAD Magazine “Fold-in” and “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions;”

PAUL POPE comics destroyer, designer for DKNY, Diesel screenprints (Batman Year100, THB)

DEAN HASPIEL (artist, American Splendor; Emmy Award-winning cartoonist on HBO’s BORED TO DEATH)

SARAH GLIDDEN (How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less)

CYNTHIA VON BUHLER award-winning artist / children's book illustrator (EVELYN EVELYN),

JOSH NEUFELD (artist, American Splendor; creator of “Best American Comics”-winning graphic novel documentary A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge (


RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL erotic book editor/cupcake connoisseur

SETH KUSHNER creator of CulturePOP photocomix


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Monday, December 20, 2010

Couples erotica anthology extended

FYI, I'm extending this deadline, the sooner, the better, as I'm anxious to turn it in but just need a few more stories. To anyone waiting to hear on this, Women in Lust or Obsessed, you will soon, give me til the end of January. I can't wait to turn these in!

I don't need any more stories about threesomes, group sex, female bisexuality, female submissive/male dominant or outdoor sex, but anything else is welcome.

Couples erotica anthology (title TBA)
To be published by Cleis Press in 2011

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for hot, sexy stories of couples engaging in sexual exploration. . I’m looking for stories featuring many long-term, committed couples (monogamous or not) but newer couples can work too. This book will include primarily heterosexual couples, but adventures can include all sorts of experimentation, including bisexuality, group sex, etc. Sex toys, public sex, vacation sex, dirty talk, BDSM, etc. are welcome. The stories will range from romantic to intensely kinky, with everything in between. I’m looking to capture various stages of couples’ lives and how they broach and explore fantasies together and continue to learn about each other via sex. I'm looking for diverse stories that cover a variety of ages, races, and backgrounds as well as various forms of coupling (marriage, cohabitation, long distance, etc.). Another option for storytelling could be an individual who encounters a couple, but stories told from part of a couple’s POV are preferred. Male or female POVs welcome. Authors of all genders are welcome to submit to this anthology.

Stories should grab me with the first sentence and not let go. Looking for characters with a range of voices, storytelling tones, diversity of age, race, sexual experience. All characters must be over 18; no nonconsensual scenes, incest, scat or bestiality. No poetry. See Fast Girls: Erotica for Women, Orgasmic, Smooth and Passion: Erotic Romance for Women for an idea of the types of stories I prefer.

Payment: $50 and 2 copies of the book on publication.
Deadline: December 15, 2010 (earlier submissions preferred)

How to submit: Send double spaced Times or Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document with pages numbered (only .doc, NOT.docx) OR RTF of 1,500 to 5,000 words. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch and double space (regular double spacing, do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). US grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), mailing address, and 50 word or less bio in the third person to If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you'd like to be credited as. Authors may submit up to 2 stories. I will get back to you by July 2011. Publisher has final approval over manuscript. Please DO NOT submit stories to both Women in Lust and this anthology; pick the one that best suits your story.

About the editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is the editor of over 30 anthologies, including Orgasmic, Fast Girls, Smooth, Please, Sir, Please Ma’am, Bottoms Up, Spanked, The Mile High Club, Do Not Disturb, He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Crossdressing, Dirty Girls, and is Best Sex Writing Series Editor. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, a sex columnist for and has hosted and curated In The Flesh Reading Series in New York since October 2005. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Susie Bright’s X: The Erotic Treasury, Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and Zane’s Purple Pantiesv and the New York Times bestseller Succulent: Chocolate Flava II. She has written for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, Fresh Yarn, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Time Out New York, Zink and other publications.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

"When I’m editing a piece, I think how can this be more true?"

I just finished reading Teresa Strasser's excellent memoir Exploiting My Baby: A Memoir of Pregnancy & Childbirth and will be posting a proper review soon, but I thought it was far and away one of the best parenting memoirs. I was going to say "right up there with Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions" and then almost didn't, because no, it's not like Operating Instructions in tone, but in gut honesty, in saying things that most other mommy memoirs aren't, Teresa is doing it. Like this part that I tabbed:

Breast-feeding easily is the equivalent of having a big dick--no one will admit how good it feels, because it's really arbitrary and in now way means one is more of a man--but when that baby just takes to the boob, no pain, no trouble, I feel like I have a huge, swinging dick. I may have ben so-so on nursing, and put off by all the wacky zealots who promote it, but I must admit, it fives me confidence.

I loved that analogy, and it also reminded me that I can't remember the last time I read a man writing honestly about penis size.

I loved what she told LAist:

I think writing is the only one of those three where I have a knack. I’m not the fanciest writer, but I think I’m able to be honest. When I’m editing a piece, I think how can this be more true? There’s something to be said for that even though my prose is pretty mediocre.

I'm very stuck with my writing lately - fiction, nonfiction. I have all these ideas but none of them seem to come to fruition and then I think, "That idea sucks." And I know part of it is just fear, cold, heart-clenching fear. There are so many things you're not supposed to say, and all those could've-should've essays I didn't write for the VIP anthologies, and now there' Just hours for me and my computer and if I can motivate, the gym, because I'm also trying to lose 30 pounds, but that is another story. For now, I too want to know how to be more honest, in my fiction and my nonfiction. I'm so tired of my constantly questioning myself brain, my ways of talking myself out of everything until I'm left with nothing, no words, just blankness.

I'm also reading Dinty W. Moore's Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction and I like his approach, like that he takes even a phrase like "write what you know" and turns it on its head.

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Last In The Flesh photos and new blog: Books Food Fashion

Here's one photo of 151 from the last In The Flesh; see the entire set by Anya Garrett, who I hope to keep on working with in some capacity, because she's wonderful. I have to set some of them to moderate (you'll just have to click to see them) since Flickr doesn't love boobs as much as I do!

yay us! And my lovely new one-shoudler Yumi Kim dress. This was during the break, right after Stormy Leather's performance.

I am on a ton of book and article deadlines, and after the last few years of sheer flakiness, trying to actually prioritize writing. I know, ME! It's a shocker, or it will be, if I get them turned in. But I am abandoning my Tumblr blog and trying to mentally kick myself when I go into blogging about my personal life mode (I should get paid for that, right?) so in lieu of my blathering about dumb stuff, I am trying to actually talk about things I like in three main areas on my new Posterous blog: Books Food Fashion. I suck at commitment, but I do find I like the structure of a blog with a topic, and those are things I have a lot to say about, especially as I set about getting rid of so many clothes and books at home. So we'll see. Gotta get back to the words, which are coming about as slowly as one can possibly write, but they are coming.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

GiGi La Femme and me, post-performance

The beautiful and talented GiGi La Femme and me, photo by Shell Sheddy. I highly encourage you to check out GiGi's monthly show Revealed, and Wassabassco Burlesque. You won't be disappointed.

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Joyful girls

I still have chills from GiGi La Femme's closing burlesque act, to Ani DiFranco's "Joyful Girl." In part because on my way home from a very bizarre trip to LA, which gave me a lot to think about and soul search over, I was thinking about that song, about "everything i do is judged/and they mostly get it wrong," about what I'm supposed to be doing. Usually when I see burlesque, there's nonstop cheering, the audience is part of the act. But last night, during that song, GiGi captured our attention. It was hauntingly beautiful and she said so much with her body, and it made me think about what gives me joy, what gives me pride, what I built over five years at In The Flesh, but too, what I've built out of this fallen law school ashes life.

There was something about the way GiGi danced, the smile on her face, the hint of mystery as she moved, taking off some clothes, being, for a few seconds, topless, yet as if she was holding onto a secret as she slipped on a gorgeous white gown. It made me think the song was about masturbation, or a girl with a secret that she is so proud of but doesn't want to totally share. She was inviting us to peek, but not get too close, and that air of mystery stayed through the end.

From Righteous Babe:

Recorded in December 1995 and January 1996, you almost want to wipe the snow off the CD before placing it in the player and grabbing a beer or seven. But when you are laid out, Ani has pre-meditated the final chapter “I ended the album with ‘Joyful Girl’ because I see it as a song of redemption; you travel down this really steep slope until you hit bottom, then you’re in the valley where it’s green and you can rest”.

I spend so much time lamenting what I haven't done, the mistakes, the problems, and I forget, sometimes, that it can be simpler, purer, less fraught, it being life. I'm so honored and awed by the entire night last night, but especially that. So thank you. I needed to be reminded of that song, of what I felt like coming home from LA and trying to shake off other people's expectations and hype, good and bad. November was a very rough month for me, and the last week I've been pretty listless, depressed, melancholy, like life is literally passing me by and I am just watching and not participating, save for a few brief blips. Seeing GiGi dance, and hearing everyone last night, helped bring me back a little bit.

i do it for the joy it brings
because i'm a joyful girl
because the world owes me nothing
and we owe each other the world
i do it because it's the least i can do
i do it because i learned it from you
and i do it just because i want to
because i want to

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Because I was too lazy to write an essay about ending In The Flesh

From an email I just sent:

"It's been a good lesson, in the things I'm good at, like curating, and things I'm bad at, like business."

Or, in the immortal words of Liz Phair, "It's nice to be liked/but it's better by far to get paid."

Please come out tonight for 500 free cupcakes, pop song cabaret, bondage burlesque, sexy readings and so much more. If you'd told me when I started writing erotica that Laura Antoniou would ask me if she could read, or a million other things that've happened in the last five years, I never would've believed it. I'm the type of person who so easily sees all the things I did wrong, the places I didn't send the press release, the things I didn't do to get the word out, the errors, the excesses, but today and tonight and maybe, OMG, even into the future, I'm trying to see the bright side, the positive, to look forward, not back. In The Flesh has taught me so much about writing and hosting and what I enjoy about my work, and the difference between being a writer and a performer (I will always be the former, the latter I will leave to the folks who are much better at it).

And thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who graced the In The Flesh stage since October 2005. I really am incredibly honored.

I hope to see you tonight, and, yes, broke ass as I am, I'm taping it for those who can't be there. I'm very proud of myself for pulling the plug, because I'm such a people pleaser I could've easily gotten caught up in what I "should" do, according to people who know nothing about me, rather than the actual right decision. I have no regrets, but am excited to try to live differently, and hopefully better, in 2011, to not say yes so much, to focus on my strengths, beyond just shoving food at people.

In The Flesh logo by Molly Crabapple

There is no RSVP requirement, but if you'd like to RSVP and/or spread the word on Facebook, click here for the Last In The Flesh event listing. Note early start time of 7:30. See also the In The Flesh Reading Series fan page on Facebook.

December 16, 2010, 7:30 pm - 10 pm
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue,
Between Forsyth & Eldridge. Look for the hot pink awning that says "XIE HE Health Club."
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

Both floors of Happy Ending Lounge will be open for this event. We recommend arriving when the doors open at 7 for a good seat.

After 5+ years, over 200 readers, countless cupcakes and sexy moments, In The Flesh Reading Series is ending. Join us for a free, festive, sexy, cupcake-filled last hurrah, with erotica, memoir, burlesque and 500 free cupcakes to celebrate! Featuring erotic writer Laura Antoniou (The Marketplace series), memoirists Nancy Balbirer (Take Your Shirt Off and Cry), and Michele Carlo (Fish Out of Agua), burlesque performers GiGi La Femme (Revealed, Wassabasco) and Stormy Leather (Webster Hall, The Box), photographer and photocomic CulutrePOP creator Seth Kushner, memoirist Stephen Markley (Publish This Book), In The Flesh alum and famed letter writer Samara O'Shea (Note to Self, For the Love of Letters), Lambda Literary Award winner Rakesh Satyal (Blue Boy) and romance novelist Kama Spice (Sehra's Honor). Hosted and curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Passion, Orgasmic, Fast Girls). Prizes include sex toys from EdenFantasys, vibrator We-Vibe, porn DVDs from director Tristan Taormino Rough Sex 2 and Expert Guide to Advanced Fellatio, books Oysters & Chocolate: Erotic Stories of Every Flavor, Mastering Your Man from Head to Head and Sexy Slang's Bedroom Challenges: 69 Ways to Spice up Your Sex Life and free Sliquid lube giveaways, including Sliquid Swirl in Green Apple and Pink Lemonade, 120 pillow packs of Sliquids Organics Natural, plus sex toys the Sqweel and the Pin-Up. Hosted and curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Passion, Orgasmic, Fast Girls). Giveaways include copies of SexIs Magazine and 500 cupcakes by Baked by Melissa.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named
Happy Ending Lounge, and features the country's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. The series was named Best Reading Series by New York Press in 2009. 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 Mike Albo, Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Susie Bright, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Mike Daisey, 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, Julie Powell, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, Zane and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye, Daily Candy, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, NBC New York, New York Post, New York Observer, Philadelphia City Paper, Time Out New York, Flavorwire, Fork in the Road, Gawker, Gothamist,,, Serious Eats, Tasting Table and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth.

Laura Antoniou is the author of the best selling Marketplace series of erotic novels, now published by Circlet Press and coming out in exciting e-book formats. A long time member of the smut world, she has edited over a dozen anthologies and an assortment of magazines, written far too many short stories under far too many pseudonyms to remember. In 2010, she even started re-releasing her gay male porn, written originally under the name Christopher Morgan. A popular sexuality educator, she has traveled the world teaching a variety of relationship workshops and delivering keynote speeches to generally horrified (yet amused!) audiences. Her website is; she is on Facebook ad Fetlife as well and invites new friends.

Nancy Balbirer's memoir, Take Your Shirt Off and Cry, was published by Bloomsbury in April. She is the author and star of the critically acclaimed solo show I Slept With Jack Kerouac and Other Stories, the co-creator of the cult reading series, Cause Celeb!, and has co-starred on Seinfeld and MTV’s Remote Control. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is the co-owner, designer and doyenne of the West Village boite, Pasita. She lives with remarkably few regrets in Manhattan with her husband and daughter.

photo by Rob d'Entremont

Rachel Kramer Bussel is an author, editor, blogger and reading series host. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations and a former sex columnist for The Village Voice. She’s edited over 30 anthologies, including the kink-themed Spanked, Bottoms Up, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma'am, He's on Top, She's on Top, Rubber Sex as well as Fast Girls, Orgasmic, Peep Show, The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories, Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, and the non-fiction Best Sex Writing series. Her books won 3 2009 Independent Publisher Awards. Her writing been published in publications such as Clean Sheets, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, Fresh Yarn, Huffington Post, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Tango, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York, and in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006. Rachel conducts nationwide readings and erotic writing workshops. She has hosted In The Flesh since October 2005.

photo by Anya Garrett

Michele Carlo is a writer/performer and comedic storyteller who has lived in four of the five boroughs of New York City and remembers when a slice of pizza cost fifty cents. Her stories have been published in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood’s Lost & Found: Stories From New York, Chicken Soup For The Latino Soul and SMITH Magazine. Her memoir, Fish Out of Agua: My life on neither side of the (subway) tracks, was published this summer by Citadel Press.

Since 2005, GiGi La Femme has been named one of New York City’s sultriest striptease stars and is also the co-producer of the monthly show Revealed Burlesque at the Under St. Mark’s Theater. A Golden Pastie Award winner for Best Booty Shaker 2009 and Miss Coney Island 2010, the multi-talented bump ‘n’ grinder, go-go girl, chanteuse and pin-up model has traveled the nation performing signature acts such as "Spanking", "Princess Leia" and "Sweet Leaf". She is also the host of Wasabassco Burlesque at venues around New York, New England and Washington, DC.

photo by Greg Brophy

Seth Kushner shoots portraits of celebrity-types for such publications The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Businessweek, L'Uomo Vogue and others. Seth's first book, The Brooklynites, was published by powerHouse Books in 2007. His next book, Leaping Tall Buildings, will be released in 2101.
Currently, he co-edits GRAPHIC NYC ( and is working on CulturePOP, his photocomix series on
Seth resides in Brooklyn with his wife, baby boy, and too many comics.

Stephen Markley is an Ohio transplant, who graduated from Miami University in 2006. After an eight month, 12,000 mile cross-country road trip that left him completely broke, he made the daring decision to move to Chicago. As far as he knows, he is the only person from that school in this city. He writes for's blog KickingTires and his freelance work has appeared in the Chicago Reader, RadarOnline, the Populist Progressive, 10,000 Tons of Black Ink, Private Investigator's Magazine, Midnight Times, and the Weber Studies Journal. Most importantly, he is an author. His first book, Publish This Book, can be found on and bookstores everywhere.

Samara O’Shea has written two narrative non-fiction books—one on the art of letter writing and the other on the importance of keeping a journal. On her website,, she offers to write letters and wedding vows for those struggling to find the right words. This is Samara’s fourth time reading at In the Flesh. She is honored to have been a part of this wonderful reading series. Samara will be reading from her unpublished book, Don’t Make Me Defriend You, about losing her cyber virginity.

Rakesh Satyal is the author of the novel Blue Boy, a gender-bending comedy about a young Indian American boy's fascination with the Hindu god Krishna. He is an editor at HarperCollins, where he works with such authors as Paulo Coelho, Clive Barker, Armistead Maupin, and Paul Rudnick. A member of the planning committee for the annual PEN World Voices Festival, he sings a popular cabaret show in the city. He lives in Brooklyn.

Kama Spice has lived in the East and the West and merges both in her stories. She considers herself a pro-sex feminist who likes to explore the point where spirit and eros converge to create power. Kama is published in various genres and has two erotic romance novels with Ellora's Cave, with a third forthcoming.

Sweeping in from the the plains of Oklahoma, Stormy Leather has breezed through the ranks of the New York City burlesque scene to find herself both in demand and in the spotlight. A regular by request at top clubs, including The Slipper Room, Webster Hall, and The Box, Stormy has been blowing away audiences with a whirlwind of elegance, ingenuity, and seduction. Her repertoire of original material is a cyclone of genres: fan dancing, tassel twirling, sexually ambiguous drag, rock n' roll, and even rope bondage and hot wax fetishism. A Stormy Leather strip tease showers you with sex and talent, leaving you breathless, winded, and wet. Playing in a storm has never been so much fun...

You will hear from the following books:

Best Bondage Erotica 2011

Fish Out of Agua

Publish This Book

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