Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Breakfast menu at Sweet Revenge in Greenwich Village = amazing!

Sweet Revenge owner Marlo Scott had me at red velvet Belgian waffles:

But even those three words didn't prepare me for the wonder of just how they would taste: light, fluffy, and delicious, especially with whipped cream cheese, raspberry sauce and (!!) salted caramel sauce. Part of the reason I rarely order pancakes or waffles for breakfast, aside from being an egg lover, is that they seem so heavy. Even when they're good it's as if a bomb is going off in my stomach. They're heavy and too much. These are not that. These are light, and my fork sank right into them. We almost had to battle over them. Even with the sauces they weren't too much, but the perfect texture and fluffiness and taste. The red was, as you can see below, not the glowingly too-bright red of food dye, but a more natural red (I don't know exactly what's in them) and I think that affected the taste. I still would probably get something savory first, and then the waffles to share. They're amazing, and a perfect winter comfort food.

red velvet waffles

This morning, the first day of their new breakfast menu, Nichelle and I ate breakfast there today and sampled our way through the entire menu. Some photos below, and more on Flickr. If you're in Greenwich Village, I highly recommend checking them out. Their food options have expanded greatly, and there's now also lunch on the menu, but save room for dessert! I didn't try to fleur de sel salted caramel apples but how amazing do they look? Want!

They bill themselves as "NYC's only cupcake, beer and wine bar," but clearly they are so much more. I've also never been there when a regular customer didn't come in and chat, and get greeted by name. For more about their cupcakes, see Cupcakes Take the Cake's Sweet Revenge coverage, including an interview with Marlo from November 2008. (Meal was comped by Sweet Revenge, and was so good I just suggested it as a breakfast spot on Wednesday. I'd eat all of these every day if I could. Seriously delicious.) Breakfast is served from 7 am to 10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday.

breakfast menu (click here to see larger image)

pumpkin quiche

It was a tossup between the pumpkin quiche and the breakfast burrito with awesome salsa as to my favorites. I liked the pumpkin quiche because it was very fresh and pumpkin-y and savory and hearty. It was filling and warm and had an interesting taste as well as a creamy texture. It felt like the healthiest thing on the menu and just very comforting to eat. The burrito was very warm and I didn't eat it by holding it like a sandwich, but with a fork (it was a little messy). Hot in both senses of the word.

egg burrito

Egg sandwich da Sorrentine

outside and inside the Scotch egg

bread pudding! (OMG this was warm and rich and sweet and delicious - only sad thing was I was pretty full so could only manage a bite. Save room!)

Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 242-2240


@sweetrevengenyc on Twitter

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Free MILF professor student spanking erotica: "Hot for Teacher" from Women in Lust: Erotic Stories

For those who don't like the term MILF, I just used it to catch the eye of those who might want see it and have it catch their eye. This story is but one of several about "women of a certain age" in Women in Lust: Erotic Stories who find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to their sexuality. She might be a self-proclaimed cougar, she might be surprised or excited or what have you at what's happening. Meredith gets a very special spanking. I hope you like it, and if you do, please pass on this link to someone who might enjoy the story. Below are some links where you can buy the book! This is copyrighted material (©) to please don't steal but feel free to link back here.

Hot for Teacher
by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Meredith straightened her skirt, settled herself beneath her desk with her crisp new notebook and set of her favorite black pens before her, feeling, in many ways, like she was back in high school, with all her nervousness about her outfit, teachers and what her classmates would think of her. Whereas some of her peers could barely remember what they’d done last week, memory wasn’t a problem for Meredith; in fact, a surfeit of memory might have been her main problem. She couldn’t stop herself from replaying the same old daunting images, and when she should have been paying attention to the equations being written on the board, all should could think about was the fact that Professor Arthur reminded her, in style if not in looks, of her very first real boyfriend, Geoff, in college the first time around, the one she’d giving her virginity to, the one she’d thought would be forever. He’d also been adorably nerdy, jittery and hopped up on coffee and optimism. She shook her head to clear it of the memory of him sliding off her panties under their picnic blanket and getting her off while their friends sailed Frisbees and kicked soccer balls around them.

Meredith fiddled with the simple turquoise and silver ring she’d bought to cover the deep grooves on her fourth finger, the one she’d worn her wedding ring on since the that first time around in college, after Geoff, when she’d decided it was time to get serious—right after she’d found out she was pregnant. It was a groove she feared would be forever etched into her skin, the way those pesky memories seemed to play on permanent repeat in her mind. She looked around the room at the kids young enough to be her sons and daughters, some of them younger than her actual son and daughter, with only a handful in their later twenties and thirties. She was forty-two, solidly middle-aged, and determined to get her bachelor degree and reclaim some of the youth she’d lost when she stepped away from academia to go on the road with her sexy new band member boyfriend-turned-husband. Following Clay had seemed like the right thing to do; she didn’t want to be one of those women who sat around all day and complained about every pregnancy ache and pain. Instead, she’d watched show after show, then after party upon after party, where Clay had proceeded to flirt with every girl who walked by, as if she were nothing more than another groupie. Eventually, but only after giving birth twice, Meredith realized that’s exactly what she was. They’d tried to make it work, with Clay setting up an in-home studio, but the kids had been little when they’d finally called it quits.

She’d worked a series of office jobs, but after this latest round of layoffs, she knew something had to change. She’d never given herself permission to chase her dream, but with the severence, and both her kids out of the house, she knew she had to do something for herself or she’d go mad. Meredith soon realized that there were other dreams she’d neglected over the years too, other needs she’d figured were for younger, hotter women. Who had time to get her hair done, to dress up, when she was working sixty-hour weeks? Men had asked her out and she’d even taken one or two up on their offers of overnight visits, quick rolls in the hay that did little more than stoke her passion and make her wistful for what might have been.

The sad truth was that she couldn’t remember being as raw, as wet, as wanton as when she’d been with Clay. Until now. Her professor was far from a Clay-like bad boy, but still, he did something to her that made her want to either be the best student he’d ever seen, or the worst, if it meant detention and the chance to get properly punished. She bit her lip as a highly irrelevant, not to mention irreverent, giggle threatened to burst from her lips as she pictured herself in a schoolgirl skirt, white cotton panties, white kneesocks and pigtails with red ribbons. It was not an outfit she’d ever come close to wearing, and that’s why it appealed to her. She’d never had a chance to play at being a bad girl, to try on that persona or any other besides young mom, really, followed by older and now middle-aged mom.

She was the oldest student in the class, and as such, was supposed to be some kind of role model. She could tell by the way the others gave her a wide berth, smiling politely at her but otherwise treating her as if age itself were contagious, or like she was going to tattle on them for misbehaving when the last thing she cared about was their grades or potential offenses. The others could spend all of class texting and flirting and passing notes, but Meredith, even if she didn’t understand every concept, wanted points for paying attention, for disrupting her previously boring but safe life to perk up her mind. She hadn’t known her pussy was going to follow along as easily.

Professor Arthur was writing on the board with his back turned to the class, so she could properly peruse him. He, too, was young enough to be her son, if she’d had kids even earlier than she had. From the back, he looked like an average white guy, sandy blond hair, blue and white button-down, jeans, brown loafers. He hadn’t said much more than hello and that he was about to teach them Economics 101. Meredith had her own kind of economic knowledge, gleaned from not only balancing the family budget and grocery shopping and watching her meager bank account and 401(k) grow at a snail’s pace, but from seeing her preteen daughter grasp on to fashion trends the moment she read about them in one her magazines. Meredith barely remembered what it had been like to be that young, though sitting in this seat brought memories rushing back, like passing notes with her best friend Jenny as they discussed whether Billy Tilson liked either of them and if Mrs. Singer’s glamorous hair was natural or dyed and if they’d be allowed to go to the Jewish youth group sleepover.

Later, they’d talked about how they hated their moms and wanted to run away and who’d buy them drinks. Now, she’d been through the cycle of being the mom her teens pretended to hate, then the one who missed them fiercely. She could feel everyone staring at her and didn’t know where to look, so she examined her French manicure, the same style she’d been getting every week for the last ten years. Maybe it was time for a change, she mused, as she looked at the girls with blue and magenta and multicolored nails.

There was only so much changing she could do, though, and right now she just wanted to make sure she passed all her classes. Getting A’s would be nice, but the degree was what she was after. She had worked too hard for too long, plus all those years where her mind had felt like it was going bad, like fruit left out for too long, softening into mush as she struggled to keep one foot in that world, picking up a weighty classic now and then, its tiny print and heady ideas making her struggle in the best kind of way. Finally, the bell rang and she stood up in a daze.

She found herself wandering up to the front of the classroom, her feet moving before her mind could fully process what she was doing. “Hi, Professor,” she started.

“Call me Ralph,” he said.

“Ralph,” she began again. “I just wanted to say that I like your teaching style. I still don’t totally understand everything we’re doing in here; I don’t have much of a business sense, but I am excited to be learning. In the back of my mind I have an idea for running my own bakery and…” She trailed off, not really sure what she wanted other than to bask in his nearness.

He turned and beamed his full attention, not to mention two rows of extremely even white teeth, right at her. “If you ever have any questions, Meredith, you are more than welcome to visit me in my office during office hours. It’s totally confidential,” he said, and she wondered if she was imagining that his voice got low and intimate somehow on that last word. Were they still talking about homework?

“I think that might be helpful,” she said, meaning, in fact, I’d love to dress up for you and bend over your desk. “Well, I’ll see you soon,” she said.

“I hope so,” he said quietly, unless she’d imagined that too.

She went home and for the first time in who knows how long, she stripped down to her birthday suit and simply walked around every room enjoying the feel of the air against her bare skin. She took baths, of course, and even got massages, but those were merely utilitarian reasons for nudity. This afternoon was about her picturing herself prancing around for Professor Arthur, showing him her pendulous, large breasts, her sizable ass, the curve of her belly, the dusting of red fuzz covering her pussy. She dyed her hair a very shiny brown, trying to fool the world into thinking her a brunette, but inside her lurked the soul of a redhead, one whose innate passion had been put on hold for far too long. Instead of taking a bath, Meredith stood in her bathroom and began touching herself the way she wanted Professor Arthur—”Ralph,” she said aloud to herself—to touch her. She began with her breasts, tweaking each one, holding up the nipples and tugging and twisting until the sight caused a corresponding tug in her pussy.

Then, staring at herself in the mirror, Meredith lifted her right breast and tucked her head down so she could suck on her own nipple. The flood of emotion and arousal was so intense she had to lean her left hand against the counter. She spread her legs, wondering if Professor Arthur was circumcised, picturing his cock as big and thick and aching just for her. She kept going, making sure to watch her every move, so that when she did go to her hot professor’s office hours, it wouldn’t be as a true schoolgirl, skittish and nervous, relying on her youthful charm and giggly giddiness, but as a mature woman who could tap into that spirit, but also had something more to offer. For all her pleated-skirt fantasies, what Meredith wanted was to be treated like a woman⎯a woman who knew exactly what she wanted, even if what she wanted was to be manhandled by a younger nerdy man who just so happened to hold her academic future in his hands.

She searched her closet, determined to find something there capable of seduction. She could afford to shop, at least a little, but Meredith wanted something familiar, a reminder that even in all these years when dating had taken a backseat to the mundane truths of Real Life and mothering, she’d remembered the girl who threw her bra onstage and got fingered backstage, who was wet and wild and carefree. She rummaged and rummaged and finally, in the back of the closet, found a red and purple dress she vaguely remembered buying, if not wearing. There were no tags on it, but the purple silk outlining the red shimmery fabric made her smile. She immediately shucked off her T-shirt and jeans and slipped it over her head, seeing that she’d need a new bra, one to be worn strategically peeking out from beneath this dress’s straps.

She turned sideways, admiring the way the dress clung to her breasts, proud of them, proud of herself for not having even considered having them lifted or added to, the way so many of the women she knew had done. Meredith cupped her hands over her breasts, letting her nipples peek out, hoping Professor Arthur would like her in this dress, like her as more than a student. She decided maybe she didn’t need a bra, after all⎯or panties. If she was going to go for it, she was going to go for it.

She hadn’t really caught all of what he’d been talking about, but the basic lesson of supply and demand was one Meredith understood. The question was, were there other suppliers of the kind of quick, hot, dirty sex she was offering? Of course, there was only one of her, but would he be able to see exactly what she wanted, what she was demanding as well as supplying? Meredith lifted her dress and examined her pussy, the boldness of the act making her blush. Maybe there was a bit of a schoolgirl in her.

She dusted powder and blush onto her cheeks, borrowed a leftover black glittery eyeliner her daughter had left lying around the bathroom to widen her brown eyes, tossed her hair and added a soft pink hue to her lips, followed by gloss. She didn’t know what the look she was going for said, but she definitely looked a far cry from her classroom persona. There, she was all about learning, absorbing, letting him run the show. By now, she was so needy, she was ready to take what she was looking for. Not without his consent, of course, that was never her plan, but if he wanted her to make the first move, she would. She could play the older woman, even if she wasn’t sure that’s what this was all about. Maybe she was just horny. Maybe she was just tired of the guys whose entire effort consisted of a grunt, thinking they were doing her some big favor by daring to offer their cocks not for her pleasure, but their own amusement.

She knew it was a cliché, having a crush on your college professor, but she didn’t care. She liked the way his voice lilted, how he made sure to turn around and truly talk to, not just at, the class. She liked how he remembered everyone’s names. She liked how he used examples of real companies, straight from the newspaper, to explain things. She liked the way he looked at her, lingering on her for a few seconds longer than everyone else⎯even if that part was just in her imagination.

She drove the short distance to the school, forgoing coffee and her usual cigarette, wanting to enter as much on her own steam as she could. She didn’t want to later be able to blame her “bad behavior” on anyone but herself. She wondered if it was her professor she was so hot for, or this new version of Meredith—Meredith 2.0, as her kids would say—who was shucking off her baggage and tapping into the lusty thoughts she usually kept buried under her pillow.

When she reached Professor Arthur’s office, she knocked on the closed door, while looking around the quiet hallway. The school took on a different tone in the early evening, without the rush of students to and fro, their newly freed hormones practically bouncing off the walls. She could pause and look at the actual building, appreciate its history and her place in it. Meredith rounded her shoulders, feeling, for just a moment, like she was heading to the principal’s office. Just then the door opened and a tall, slim blonde girl walked out, giving her a shy smile. Professor Arthur looked up at her and smiled. For a second, her mind went to the two of them; had they been in there enacting the scenarios she’d conjured in her head?

“Meredith, welcome.”

“Hi, Professor,” she said.

“Ralph, please,” he corrected her, and before she could say anything, he added, “I just want you to know I’m glad you’re in my class. I think it’s wonderful that you’re coming back to school. Too many people think that once they’ve hit a certain age there’s no point, or that it’s too hard.”

She was tempted to ask what age, exactly, that would be, but she didn’t. Instead she smiled, trying to beat back the nerves, aware that her outfit was a far cry from her classmate’s casual pink T-shirt and jeans. “It’s definitely challenging. I’m finding that some of the concepts are over my head. Supply and demand I get…” She trailed off, her throat caught as she watched him watching her, watched his eyes behind his glasses, watched him fidgeting with the pencil in his hand. Who used pencils, anyway?

She waited for him to say something, but he just walked closer to her until he was right in front of her. “You get supply and demand, Meredith?” he asked, looking down at her. She stood, and they were right in front of each other. “Like you’re here to supply something to me, like your pussy, and I’m here to demand that you give me more?”

Oh, god. The words were crazy, over-the-top⎯and they made her instantly, achingly wet. She suddenly didn’t care that he was younger, that she was his student, that she wasn’t in some preppy uniform or casual chic, but instead, basically naked, save for a dress that did little to hide the nipples pressing against its red fabric, threatening to spill over the purple edges.

“Yes, like that. I want to give you…whatever you want.” As she said it, she realized it was true, because in giving to him, she was gaining so much. She’d been giving and giving and giving ever since she gave birth and now, finally, it was her time to take. Taking orders, taking spankings, taking cock⎯that’s what she wanted.

“I’ve had my eye on you, Meredith. The way you sit there in class, so attentive when almost everyone else has their heads in their phones or computers. The way you look at me. I want to give you everything you deserve. But first I think you need a spanking. Put your hands on the desk,” he said, sounding far older than whatever his actual age was. When he lifted the dress and saw her she wasn’t wearing panties, he whistled.

“Spread your legs for me, Meredith, so I can look at your pussy.” She heard the door’s lock click, and then he was kneeling in front of her, breathing on her. “When was the last time someone other than you touched you here?” he asked, running a fingertip along her sex. She shuddered, and he did it again. She pressed back against him but he grabbed one of her asscheeks and pinched it. “Answer me, Meredith. Don’t make your teacher angry.”

“Two years,” she squeaked out, and received a smack on her right cheek, whether as reward or punishment she wasn’t sure. She was sure that she was drooling, but there was nothing she could do, not with her head resting on his desk, her arms splayed at her side. She was drooling between her legs, too, especially when he spanked her again. And again.

“When was the last time your ass got spanked, Meredith?”

She was quiet, and now tears rose to her eyes. “Never,” she whispered, and felt him again grab her ass, this time with both hands, holding her open. Then he did the same with her pussy lips, gripping them and splaying her wide. She’d wanted to be treated like this, she thought, like a real slut, the kind whose body is up for grabs. “You like that, don’t you, Meredith?” he asked, letting go and then giving her a light tap against her pussy lips.

She trembled, then answered in an overloud voice, “Yes.”

“That’s good. Because I’m going to make you sore today. I’m going to make you so sore that in two days when you sit in my classroom your ass is still going to sting, and I’m going to call on you to make sure you’re paying attention, not daydreaming about when I’m next going to take this sweet ass for a ride. Do you understand?”

As he spoke, Ralph had been smacking her all over⎯her pussy, her upper thigh, her butt. “Yes, I do. I understand.”

“Sir,” he said. “Call me ‘Sir.’ We’re done with Ralph and Professor. That’s not who I am right now. I’m your owner.”

He plunged his fingers inside her, and she pressed her fist to her mouth, afraid of what might come out. She wanted him to own her, like this, to take over for her in a way nobody had in she couldn’t remember how long. And her body wanted it too; she was so hot between her legs, so tight, so desperate, suddenly, to be filled. He moved, and she kept her eyes closed, not wanting to know what was coming. She found out soon enough. It was a ruler, a metal one, striking hard against both asscheeks. She’d have laughed if the pain hadn’t seared its way through her entire body.

“This is what happens when you distract me in class, when you try to make my cock hard.” The ruler’s edges dug into her skin, stronger and meaner than his hand, but she soon got acclimated to it. She’d never gotten more than a light swat before, but she liked it. She liked being at his mercy, not having to think beyond the initial decision to walk in. The pain was like a door opening to something better, a room to a house she’d never seen before. The blows came down harder and harder and soon the tears were indeed coming down her cheeks, but they weren’t from the pain. That part she could handle, though she knew she’d probably have to sit on a cushion. The tears were for all the other emotions his spanking stirred up.

“How does your ass feel, Meredith?”

“Very good, Sir,” she said.

“Louder,” he said in a deep voice, grabbing her by the hair and pressing her tightly to the desk, the threat of what he could do to her more than enough to make her repeat herself more forcefully.

“How good?” he asked.

She didn’t know how to answer. The heat and pain were intense, but not too much. Just enough, but…something was missing. She tingled there, all over. “Good enough that it makes me want something in my ass.”

She wasn’t sure where the words had come from. She hadn’t been thinking about that hole, had never really thought about it, though she knew her peers did, heard their whispers on Monday mornings, practically saw their asses peeking out over their tight, low-rise jeans. But now, suddenly, she was, as if he’d conjured the words out of her mouth, except he hadn’t. He’d just spanked her and now she realized it was true, she wanted his cock, sight unseen, in her ass.

She felt his thumb pressing against her there and she moaned, thrashing just enough to get him to press a little deeper. “I see how much your ass needs to be fucked, Meredith.” Every time he said her name, her cheeks got a little hotter. It was the way he said it, like he knew everything about her, when he barely knew a thing. But he did know some things, like how to work his thumb right there, halfway in, until she clenched around it tightly. “Hold your cheeks open for me,” he said.

She reached behind her to do just that, shocked at how easily she obeyed such a command, and how much she liked it. “That’s good,” he said. “Now stay like that, because if you don’t, I’m going to stop fucking you.” Then his fingers were inside her pussy, strong and assured, and she didn’t care that it wasn’t her ass, as long as he was touching her, getting closer to her, giving her some part of him. “Good girl,” he said, and the two words, so basic, so simple, made her melt. She wanted to be a girl, sometimes, not a woman, a schoolgirl whose only assignment was sex, and here she was, taking more fingers⎯she didn’t know how many, but she knew he’d added some.

“Are you ready for my cock, Meredith?” She nodded, though she liked his fingers just fine, actually. “Yes, Sir,” she amended, when his fingers stilled inside her.

“You may put your hands down,” he said, and she did, resting her head against the desk for a moment, savoring her ass being in the air, being open and wet and wanton like this.

Soon he was back, and she heard him rolling a condom onto his cock. Then he dragged her down from the desk and put her hands on the floor in front of her, so her body made a V. Then, without another word, he was inside her. Meredith gasped; either he was huge, or she was so starved for sex that she felt like she might break in two, in a good way. She wanted to touch her clit, but didn’t dare, as he drilled into her. This was about her getting fucked, not doing the fucking, and she wanted to keep it that way. She didn’t want to work right now, didn’t want to supply anything but her body, like this, splayed open wide for her very hot teacher. She felt like a girl in a porn video, and for a second wondered if he had a camera on somewhere taping them. What a horror that would be…but it would also be kind of hot. She smiled as he pulled out, then slammed back in, and she shifted so her V was slightly less wide, making his cock stroke her at a different angle.

She kept picturing some innocent student walking in, even though the door was locked, and realized as she started to come that she wouldn’t really have minded, at least not this Meredith: slutty Meredith. She wanted someone to know that this was part of who she was too. Ralph knew, and he used that knowledge expertly. She focused on the sensation, familiar but also totally knew. She’d never gotten fucked in this position and it felt incredible; when he played with her clit, it felt all the more so. When he slapped her clit, Meredith lost it, trembling and letting herself give over to the climax, tightening around his cock and grunting hard. “That’s it,” he said, urging her on. “You feel so good around my cock.”

She looked back at him and saw him watching them, watching himself going inside her, and that made her do it again, a ripple effect that left her wondering just what exactly he was doing to her. They’d gone far beyond supply and demand now; he was showing, telling, giving, taking—all at once. Then he started fucking her faster, and she braced herself. He didn’t need long before he said, “I’m coming,” and she felt him cream into the condom, then gently slide out. She stood up and her dress fell down over her waist. She was grateful for it, grateful not to be totally nude after what they’d just done.

“Sit,” he said, and once she’d settled herself, he brought her a bottle of water.

“Wow,” she said, and laughed, because what else could she do? She wanted to ask if he did this all the time, but there was a knock at the door. He quickly threw the condom in the trash, followed by some tissues, zipped up, wiped his hands with another tissue and then opened the door. She heard him tell the next student to give him a few minutes.
Then there was an awkward silence. She wished momentarily for it to have been a dream. How old was he anyway? “Maybe we could go out on a proper date,” he said, lifting her chin to force her to look at him, her face flaming.

“Maybe,” she said, suddenly anxious to leave. “But maybe we should wait until the semester ends.” Did she mean that? She wasn’t sure, but this was so awkward she couldn’t tell if what she’d just experienced was worth it.

“So, see you in class on Friday?” he asked.

“See you,” she said.

She stood, gathering her things, sure that her escapade was written all over her face. His hand cupped her ass on her way past him, a gentle reminder that she didn’t in any way need. She smiled at him, with her mouth, not yet ready to bring her eyes into it. She walked out the door and kept her head high as she heard her shoes clicking on the floor. She thought of stopping at a lingerie store, but realized she wasn’t in the mood for something so intimate. Instead, she went to the mall, bought a soda and wandered the stores, sipping loudly, observing her own version of Economics 101. She finished the soda and got lured into a store promising 50 percent off on dresses she didn’t need but she walked in anyway, still in a sex stupor. Without buying a bra or panties, she tried on a slinky black dress that was in no way appropriate for school or work. She bought it, and promised herself she’d wear it to class, and then to dinner with Ralph.

Maybe they shouldn’t wait until the semester ended, after all.

Order Women in Lust from:


Kindle edition (ebook)

Barnes & Noble

Nook (ebook)



IndieBound (search for your local indie bookstore)

Cleis Press

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Sex diary!

This week's sex diary: "The 26-Year-Old Woman Screwing Her Ex in a Public Bathroom.

We've all screwed an ex, right? Well, I have, that's for sure. I've never screwed an ex in a public bathroom. A, possibly (not recently though, but 2003? yes indeed).

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

I ate a real grasshopper today

Read all about it at Cupcakes Take the Cake!

Random Scottsdale photos - last two days of sun and relaxation were exactly what I needed. My life is turning around, so fast I sometimes don't know where one part of it stops and another starts. Which is mostly good, but it's nice to have a little time to just decompress.

(click above for more on my cupcake adventures)

And one from the Museum of Sex in NYC:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm teaching Erotica 101 at MOMENTUMCON

In addition to my SXSW Interactive panel in March 2012, at the end of the month I'm doing something I rarely do these days: teaching Erotica 101, at MOMENTUMCON, the conference that last year featured Susie Bright, Tristan Taormino, Jenny Block, Twanna A. Hines (who's back this year) and tons of other amazing people working in various arenas of the world of sexuality, and this year has an amazing, amazing lineup. I'm extremely impressed and honored to be part of it. I always tailor my erotic writing workshops to my environment, so expect a few feminist erotica exercises in the mix, and I especially enjoy getting anthology submissions from people who've taken my classes (that's where Megan Butcher's story in Best Bondage Erotica 2011 had its genesis).

I'm interested in everything being offered, but especially this, because I need to learn more:

Blogging 202: Take Your Site to the Next Level
Dangerous Lilly & AAG

Are you working with a small, free blog on Blogger or WordPress and are ready to take your site to the next level? Attend this hands-on training to learn how to use your site to make a bigger statement with a focus on better accessibility for readers and greater appeal to potential advertisers. Topics covered include:

* Do’s and don’ts of design, layout and content
* Dealing with paid advertising
* Making the switch to a self-hosted platform
* What to expect in terms of effort and cost
* Maintaining professional and engaging interactions with peers, readers and advertisers

Join long-time veteran bloggers Lilly ( and AAG ( for a session that will give your site a boost.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Adele, Joni Mitchell and Me" - putting the personal in personal essays

I've been writing lots of personal essays lately, more on the way, including one next week I sold to a website I've been a fan of since it launched. Promise more cheerful ones soon, maybe even one about judging cupcake contests. I also booked my trip to Portland, Maine for next month, my birthday present to myself. And I'm doing National Novel Writing Month. I'm not gonna "make a lot of money and quit this crazy scene." I'm here, now, as tough as these last few weeks have been in their way and as challenging as the next few months/years will be. I'm figuring it all out as I go. One day at a time. Indeed.

"Adele, Joni and Me: Or My Two-Song Broken Heart Playlist

I can't seem to go a day without hearing "Someone Like You" by Adele. At a deli, a café, in a store or on my very own iTunes. I've been listening to it for months now as an anthem of a relationship that needed to end but that I didn't want to end. It was at once hazy and undefined, punctuated by periods of intense attention and interaction followed by fallow periods of silence, extreme highs and lows interspersed in ways that fed off each other in what I'll delicately call not the healthiest way.

The Adele song is not an exact transliteration of that relationship, but the spirit behind it is one I've tried to feel all the way through me. She says in the link above that she was miserable and lonely when she wrote it, that it came at a moment when she was "on her knees" and that this song summarizes her entire relationship, and that it's made her who she is at the moment, and that is the part I deeply, deeply relate to. Wherever I am, when it comes on, I have to pause and listen to the whole thing, truly listening in a way I rarely do to even my favorite songs. You think you know what they say, you sing or hum along even if you don't know all the words, or maybe you just listen to the throatiness of Adele's voice, the power and beauty and sadness and love wrapped around every note.

Read the whole thing (and if you like it, please like it on Facebook and/or pass it on - I want to make an impression over at Open Salon, which I also encourage you to check out, SO many amazing essays). And yeah, I'm striving for new topics, not old ones, but sometimes words just want to come out.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My great-aunt in Occupy Wall Street video

I haven't said much about Occupy Wall Street, because I am still processing my own job search, my own not having to go to Wall Street every day, and trying to figure out my career and my own steps, positive and negative, that have brought me to being 35 with what feels like no concrete education in how I currently make money or discernible job skills, only a passion that waxes and wanes. I know that's not true from having written down what I think my skills are on my resume, but still, at times when I look at that document it seems fraudulent, foolish, like I only got wherever I am, this crumbling, slippery non-place, by luck. I do work hard, I know that better than anyone, but I know my job right now is to work harder, think more sharply, look anywhere and everywhere, figure out exactly who I want to be and how to get to become that person. The first part of that equation is, I suspect, going to be the far greater challenge.

I stumbled upon Occupy Wall Street after buying office supplies at Staples the other day, hooks to hang up my coats that litter my floor, cork boards for stories and plots, a notepad because I like the feel of my pen on paper. That is where my focus is these days, if I'm lucky and not sleeping and moping. I'm not saying I don't care, I just am focused on resurrecting the mess I've made of my life. That is what unemployment (or self-employment) feels like for me: failure, even though I know it's not all personal failure.

I don't share the anger of the people I felt and saw at Occupy Wall Street, and truly am not educated enough to know about all the demands being made. Banks seem like a foreign institution, as someone who's declared bankruptcy and wasted three years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on law school, who's used to live paycheck to paycheck and now is trying to figure out where to go from here, whether NYC is a feasible or even desirable city to live in, whether I have the means to actually move should I find a new opportunity. I feel ancient as I face 36 in two very short weeks and, perhaps it's selfish, but so is writing, always. I never said I'm not selfish, and since all of my own financial quagmire is self-created, that is where my anger lies, and I'm using it to try to pursue and create new income-generating opportunities and, barring that, simply getting words down, rather than assuming, as I usually do, that they are pointless. That is my hurdle and, right now, the only one I can handle. That doesn't mean I'm not paying attention, only that that struggle feels removed from me trying to get and complete assignments, to make sure my books sell out their advances, to make sure I am a better person today than I was yesterday.

But that doesn't mean I'm not super proud of my great-aunt, the third person featured in this Occupy Wall Street video!


Halloween ghost cupcake fun

Just some of the fun we're having over at Cupcakes Take the Cake this Halloween season. I got to try BlakeyCakes last year in Los Angeles and they were amazing! Truly. I hope I get to again this year. Visit BlakeyCakes on Facebook for more information.

(this is the cute one; click through for the spooky ghost)

The Guardian UK piece on sexual fantasies and interveiw at OPEN

I wrote "Our fantasies say less about us than we think" (their title) for The Guardian's Comment is Free. I hope that title doesn't imply that I think fantasies aren't important, because the point of my piece is that I do. Hoping to have more pieces to share with you soon.

The problem with assuming that a given sexual fantasy (or appreciation of erotic books or films about a given subject) means anything more than being aroused by your own imagination or a form of entertainment is that it inhibits people from getting in touch with their real sexual feelings, even in their own minds. "Will this mean I'm gay? Perverted? Into group sex?" We become our own personal thought police in this way, which doesn't serve anyone's best interests. And it's not just self-policing; the idea that some kinds of fantasies are "wrong" is what leads to attempts to censor certain kinds of material, such as proposed Japanese legislation, which would have censored anime and manga art if characters looked under 18.

I was also interviewed at OPEN, a great new site. We discuss my Open tattoo, erotic writing inspiration, the strangest submission I've ever received, and other erotica concerns. You can read "The End" in the writing samples section of my website (which I also want to revamp and add to soon).

MAG: What other art forms inspire you?

RKB: All sorts of art inspires me. Music inspires me, sometimes a specific lyric, like the Sleater-Kinney quote from the song “Jenny” at the start of “The End,” a breakup erotica story that was in Best Lesbian Erotica and Best American Erotica (Susie Bright told me it made her cry), or a title. I wrote a story called “Bed-In” for a book whose theme was “Between the Sheets” and used John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in as a frame of reference, but went in a whole other direction. Recently, I watched the documentary My Kid Could Paint That and it somehow led to me writing a story set in an art gallery called “The Heart of Chaos” for Shanna Germain’s upcoming romantic BDSM anthology Bound by Lust. The connection is extremely tenuous, but it makes sense to me.

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Sex Diary: "The Bisexual LA Woman Getting off on Game of Thrones and Suicide Girls"

Proud editing moment with this week's sex diary: Even though I've never seen Game of Thrones, I knew how it was spelled (not "The" Game of Thrones). It's the little things, right? I hope you like this sex diary and if you have an exciting sex life or know someone who does who might want to write about it anonymously, email me at sexdiaries at with a little more about your situation and I'll be in touch.

"The Bisexual LA Woman Getting off on Game of Thrones and Suicide Girls"

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm a blogging fool

And if there's any month to go all out with cupcake blogging, this is it! Halloween, baby. Please check out (and pass on if you're so inclined) what I've done with my afternoon:

10 candy corn cupcakes for Halloween and bonus candy corn cake pops!


How How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr sucked me in

I have what I guess could be called a bad habit of skipping from one book to another. It's not necessarily because I don't like the one(s) I'm reading, but more that my curiosity about whatever's new compels me to start reading whatever catches my eye, to see if I must read it right away. And in the case of the new YA novel How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr (who's on a book tour), the answer is yes, I need to devour it ASAP. I got it for free from Amazon Vine in the mail today and am already totally engrossed. The story is told from alternating viewpoints, that of Jill, whose father has died ten months previously and her mother decides she wants to adopt a baby, and Mandy, who is pregnant and looking to give her child up for adoption. One of my favorite novels tackling pregnancy and motherhood (and, in that case, OCD) is Little Beauties by Kim Addonizio, which I'd like to reread. The way the three narrators in that story, including a fetus-turned-baby, collide and contradict and interact, is marvelous, but that's another post (been thinking about it, and mentally ill, possibly unreliable narrators and how fascinating they are after finishing excellent OCD young adult novel A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone).

Someday maybe someone can teach me how to properly use Blogger and indent and make things look pretty like I can on Tumblr. Until then, my ham-handed clumsyblogging, alas. Speaking of this blog, I'm looking into revamping it (I know, it's forever overdue, but rent paying takes priority). Stay tuned! From How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, from Mandy's POV, as she's riding on a train to meet Jill and her mom for the first time:

"Um, hey." He shifts his body so that he's sitting on his side, facing me and leaning close. "It's Peña, by the way. My last name. And I'm..." He laughs. Lines appear around the corners of his eyes, and there's tea on his breath and stubble on his chin. "This is stupid. I'm not really married. I just said that because I thought you were trying to hit on me or something, and it seemed kind of weird, because...well, then I thought obviously picking up some stranger is the last thing on your mind right now. And you're probably half my age, and most likely you have someone, anyway, given..." He gestures to my belly. "That."

This rolls inside me, stretches a limb. I touch where it moved and wonder if it can feel my hand there.

"I'm nineteen." Almost.

"There you go. That's exactly half. I'm thirty-eight." He sips form his cup. "So, how long before you're a mother?"

I smile. I'll never be a mother. "About a month, I think."

Alex scratches his stubble. "Most women I know can tell you to the minute."

"I'm different." Being so specific with dates is silly. No one measures a life in weeks and days. You measure it in years and by the things that happen to you, and when this life is a whole year, I won't be in it."

That passages was so bold to me; I'm fascinated by Mandy and what she's going through to deal with her pregnancy, how tough she sounds, even though I'm sure as the novel progresses (I'm on page 22), that toughness will have to crack a little. And the "This rolls inside me" line also was so powerful, and taught me more than that umpteen writing books strewn around my bags and my floor about what I want to learn how to do with my fiction.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why The Office's Mindy Kaling no longer eats cupcakes

Find out at Cupcakes Take the Cake in a hilarious excerpt from her chapter "The Day I Stopped Eating Cupcakes" (and, favor, if you like it, please pass it on). I'll have a proper review of her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) soon; it's funny and definitely worth checking out and, for me, the Matt & Ben part took me on a major nostalgia trip back to one of my most important relationships. I'll have to check but I'm pretty sure we saw Matt & Ben at PS 122. I have a horrible memory so I don't actually remember. To refresh (much more background in the book), but here's the New York Times review:

Finally it's both refreshing and absolutely delightful to hear insults delivered to real people -- especially those people who have been wildly overpraised and overpaid -- without apology. ''Matt & Ben'' names names, and we can be grateful to Ms. Kaling and Ms. Withers for undermining their own careers in Hollywood for our benefit.

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Macaroni and Cheese Off tonight is another reason I love NY

I haven't been so great about keeping up with what's going on in my city. I want to be on top of things, but I'm much more up on what's going on in bookstores, as that's my main beat, aside from sex, and the side of my writing I'm looking to expand on. That being said, I do want to start going to more fun events, like Monday night bingo at The West Cafe (I did try to go to The Moth on Thursday at Housing Works but the line was long and I was cold, not having quite mastered how to work my winter coat in to warm days/cool nights, so I've been leaving it at home). When I want to know about fun cheap places to go in New York, I always look at The Skint and it never disappoints! That's how I found out about today's The Mac-Off, which is both in Williamsburg and involves one of my favorite foods, macaroni and cheese!

The Mac-Off: 2nd Annual Mac and Cheese Fundraiser
Sunday, October 23
5pm to 8pm
Huckleberry Bar
588 Grand Street
$10 to judge, eat and booze

Probably not going to get to check it out, but I also found out via The Skint about a corn maze in Queens. I don't think I even knew they existed until I read the murder mystery (is "murder mystery" redundant or does "mystery" pretty much cover it? I feel like as a mystery reader I've never read a mystery that didn't involve a murder, yet I felt compelled to add "murder" to be sure you knew which kind of book I meant. Hmm...) Corpse on the Cob by Sue Ann Jaffarian, one of her excellent Odelia Gray series.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Read this: Fathermucker by Greg Olear

I love that this trailer for a book full of snark and sex and suburbia has children's drawings in it. So fitting for a fun read for parents, suburbia dwellers past, future and present, and those who like humor, and dads, and wackiness. I reviewed Fathermucker in Penthouse and definitely encourage you to check it out. Oh, and especially if you're not like me and don't drool over small children and parenting blogs, you'll still like it.

From the official site:

You will like this book if you a) have young children, b) enjoy laughter, and c) can’t get the theme songs to various Nick Jr. television programs out of your head. If you are a subscriber to US Weekly, a resident of New Paltz, N.Y, or a stay-at-home dad, that’s icing on the cake.

Greg, who's also an editor at The Nervous Breakdown, has a great site,, where you can read all sorts of posts by him and others on parenting. Here's Some Girls and Pretty author Jillian Lauren on "The Art of Bad Parenting":

But the thing about my relationship with my son is that I’m not fake with him. I let him know when I’m frustrated or when I’m ecstatic or when I’m having a hard time paying attention. I tell him when I had a lousy writing day and how that makes me feel sad or angry. I let him know me — his mom. Bad parent. Selfish artist. Who loves him like mad.

Do I think that honesty is better than being patient and empathetic and present at every moment? No, I don’t. But it’s the best I can do while I work on the other stuff.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

November 28th, Marianne Williamson, LA

I had no idea Marianne Williamson did weekly lectures. I'm hoping to go to Maine for a few days in November to celebrate my birthday and get away (yes, it's travel, but about the cheapest travel I can do, and if I do travel, I'd like to mainly visit places I've never been), and then go to LA to visit my family and get some sun and soak away my mind for a while in the hot tub and visit these adorable twin babies and sortof figure out what I'm doing with my life. And this seems like as good a way to spend the first night after Thanksgiving as any. See you there, LA.

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Open Salon Editor's Pick: "I Don't Always Use Birth Control"

I decided to start adding some selected essays, a few I'd already posted here and hopefully one-two new ones a week, at Open Salon. Here's the first original one, a commentary on birth control, judgment, xoJane and Cat Marnell and more, and I'd love it if you'd check it out (also anyone can blog/write at Open Salon, and Salon often picks up pieces from there for big Salon and does Open Calls, and there are some fascinating essays there, like "Sunday Night Games: Erotic Scrabble" and "Google-Stalking At Its Best"). I have lots of other pieces, short and long, fiction and non-fiction, in the works too! Think good thoughts, both that I get them done and that editors like them. In the meantime, I'm trying to push myself to actually finish writing, as opposed to having it sit half-done, waiting for me to deem it "perfect."

And if you want to comment, please do so at Open Salon! Thank you.

"My Tiny Hypocrisy: I Don't Always Use Birth Control"

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November = my birthday, 2 readings and Best Bondage Erotica 2012 release!

November 10th is my birthday; I'll be celebrating at Baked in Red Hook by eating treats by my friend Jessie Oleson of Cakespy fame, author of the new, must-drool-over cookbook Cakespy Presents Sweet Treats or a Sugar-Filled Life (S'moreos!!).

And Best Bondage Erotica 2012 will be out soon! Read the introduction and table of contents at You can pre-order it from Amazon and (more links TK).

I'm doing 2 November readings, something I'm easing off of these days.

November 3, 6:30-10 pm
Titillating Tongues: NYC Erotica in Poetry & Prose + Open Mic

The Inspired Word presents a hot night of sexy fun, lip-licking words, and utter debauchery – Titillating Tongues: NYC Erotica in Poetry & Prose, featuring some of New York City's best erotic writers: Rachel Kramer Bussel, Janice Erlbaum, Uche Nduka, Jennifer Blowdryer, Aimee Herman, Kathleen Warnock, Puma Perl, Elizabeth Rivera De Garcia, Jane LeCroy, and Sam J. Miller.

There will also be a 12-slot open mic open to all types of artists, where you can bring your own heat to the party.

Hosted by HBO Def Poetry star Gemineye.


When: Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Where: One and One Bar & Restaurant (downstairs Nexus Lounge)
76 East 1st Street (corner of 1st Avenue)
Manhattan, NYC
Phone: (917) 703-1512

Doors open for open mic sign-up @ 6:30pm

Show starts @ 7pm

Cover Charge: $10

Must be 21 years old or older.

"The Inspired Word isn't just a series, it's a movement."


For more info on The Inspired Word series, please check out:

And please join us for our Tuesday Night Open Mic Joint - same time, same place.


November 17, 7 pm
Drunken! Careening! Writers!
Free, hosted by Kathleen Warnock
It's held at KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., NYC, the third Thursday of every month (since 2004).

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In the course of less than ten minutes, I have piked up and looked at and read a little bit of three books (Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster by Ursula Vernon, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman and With a Little Luck by Caprice Crane, if you want to get a taste of my ADD style of reading totally disparate books), as well as flipped open the US Weekly I've mostly read, save for the cover story, an interview with Sara Leal. As I was reading an interview with Seth Godin in Brand Thinking, I paused to tuck my bookmark into the start of the interview with Virgnia Postrel, but it was only when I paused from reading the Seth Godin interview again to look through the book to see which interview I wanted to read next that I realized I had a problem. It's 5:05 am and I should actually be reading a book I'm planning to write about.

Maybe part of why I've just read four things that aren't that book is that I'm nervous about the piece. I'm nervous about pitching new venues, already foreseeing my eventual rejection, along with every major failure I've had over the course of my career, every opportunity I was given that I managed to fumble. Those ideas were lurking in my head when I fell asleep, but as I awoke to people yelling in the street and cold air blowing through my window that I'm never sure if I should close to stay warm or keep open for the benefits of fresh air, they resurfaced with a vengeance.

One bonus to not having a full-time job, aside from not battling the crowds in the morning and evening, is being able to "make my own hours." That would be wonderful, except that what it's meant is that even more so than before, I wind up feeling that every hour should be my own hour. If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night, I should be grateful that rather than spending my time doing something pitiful, like sleeping, I should be awake, either reading, with the intention of writing about what I read, returning a book to the library, or purging a book from my overly full apartment.

For me, often the result of feeling that I must do-do-do things at every moment is that I wind up paralyzed by inertia, by the knowledge that any one thing I choose to do will, invariably, mean that at that moment I'm not doing anything else. For a brief wonderful four days, I was enjoying Vyvanse, and it helped me get over all those humps and set in motion some events that, while extremely difficult, have helped me face some of those self-created problems in ways that feel positive. I should have pushed harder to get more of it, but instead after spending a lot of money on sessions with a psychiatrist who I found via Google and very much liked but was not in my health insurance's network, I started using Ritalin, which may or may not have helped. The benefits were not as clear and crisp as Vyvanse. I didn't feel quite as invincible, quite as sure that everything would be okay. I certainly don't feel like anything is guaranteed to be okay these days, and I think that's in part why I prefer the relative quiet of the dark early hours, or late ones, if you prefer.

I know I need to both figure out how to get done whatever is in front of me, rather than lamenting things I will never have the chance to do, or ponder what I could be doing instead or will be doing five minutes or five hours from now. But longtime mental habits are hard to break. It's more comforting to think I can somehow control everything that might happen to me if only I stay on top of it all 24/7. I am grateful that my new working situation has forced me to carve out more time for myself, though, more guilt: I've spent too many daytime hours not working this week that I'm calling a halt after today to all non-work meetings during the day unless I'm out of town. I am hoping I get in to a coworking space I applied to because that, ideally, would give me the structure and, because I'd be paying for it, motivation to park myself there and spend solid time writing, rather than assuming I'll never get caught up, or that everything I write will be stupid so why bother anyway.

As Hendrik Edberg writes in "How to Get All The Way to Done" at Positivity Blog:

It is also very important to be aware that nothing will ever be perfect. Striving for perfection can be pretty dangerous. Because you will never feel like you are good enough.

You have set the bar at an inhuman level. And so your self esteem stays low even though your results may be very good.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

5 All For One Festival shows I want to see

I know I said I'm giving up theater until I find a new job, but for $20 as a birthday treat (days free=getting to do stuff I wouldn't normally be able to) I'm planning to check out a few of these shows in November, when I'm also hoping to head out of NYC for a bit to visit Portland, Maine and Los Angeles, somewhere I've never been and somewhere I've been going since I was little (to visit family). Anyway, you can see all the shows they're putting on; these are 5 that particularly caught my eye (descriptions via AFO site, click on titles to get to the official page, where you can read bios and buy tickets):

Deb Margolin, Good Morning Anita Hill

Full Title: "Good Morning Anita Hill It's Ginni Thomas I Just Wanted To Reach Across the Airwaves and the Years and Ask You To Consider Something I Would Love You To Consider an Apology Sometime and Some Full Explanation of Why You Did What You Did With My Husband So Give It Some Thought and Certainly Pray About This and Come To Understand Why You Did What You Did Okay Have a Good Day."

Who are we at the moment we flip someone the bird; show the middle finger to a stranger? And what is tragedy? Is it possible that one definition of tragedy involves the realization that, in order to address an oppressor, or seek redress from him successfully, we must descend to his level? Here's what happens when a middle-aged Jewish woman confronts her road rage at the 20-year-old intersection of young motherhood and the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings. With a fair amount of Bristol Palin tossed in.

Mary Dimino, Scared Skinny

As a chubby Italian-American child growing up in Queens, Mary Dimino was warned by her mother that playing in a sandbox could lead to venereal disease, and cautioned by her "perverted" knife-wielding grandmother to stay away from all boys and dogs. Eating sausage and pepper sandwiches for lunch (with a cannoli for dessert), she suffered acute humiliation from her peers. Yet when she was only 8 years old, the realization of Mary's dream, to one day be skinny, was foretold by a Ouiga board. Still an obese virgin at 26, Mary had an epiphany when she overheard two "guidos" from Brooklyn making merciless fun of her. Angry and determined, she faced her fears and after a number of false starts, finally fulfilled the destiny of her Ouiga board. One hundred and fifteen pounds later, Mary Dimino tells the amazing and hilarious story behind her remarkable achievement.

Gioia De Cari, "Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze

Created as a response to former Harvard President Lawrence Summer's now infamous suggestion that women are less represented in the sciences because of innate gender differences, "Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Male Math Maze" is a true-life tale that offers a humorous, scathing, insightful and ultimately uplifting look at the challenges of being a professional woman in a male-dominated field. Performed barefoot on a bare stage with only a chair and a small table, writer/performer and "recovering mathematician" Gioia De Cari brings to life more than 30 characters in a hilarious and deeply touching performance that has earned raves from critics and stirred audiences to standing ovations. "Truth Values" is an ideal conversation starter about issues concerning women in math and science.

PJ Walsh, Over There - Comedy Is His Best Weapon

"Over There - Comedy Is His Best Weapon" illustrates the hardships and hilarity of PJ Walsh's journey - from a screw-up kid convinced there's no chance of war who enlists in 1990, all the way to the White House. It's his career in stand-up, though, that causes him to face his mortality in the belly of a C-130 flying over Afghanistan. This poignant narrative intertwines the solemnity of war with Walsh's keen eye to see comedy in the ebb and flow of every day events, while tackling larger issues such as war and growing up.

Jeff Grow, Creating Illusion

Magician Jeff Grow explores the diverse facets of the art of illusion, whether for entertainment or manipulation, beauty or deception. The tools of the conjurer are seen all around us. Elegant sleight of hand and surreal mind reading mix together to explore the tools of the art of creating illusion.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10 Reasons the Hitachi Magic Wand is My Favorite Vibrator

Check out my new column, 10 Reasons the Hitachi Magic Wand is My Favorite Vibrator. And single girl/self-employed BFF.

1. It's powerful. Plain and simple, it provides the sensation I like against my clit and along my vulva. I know some women temper the intensity with a towel, but I like it direct and strong.

Read the whole thing

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Tonight in Greenpoint: Moderating Men Undressed panel

Like free wine, amazing authors, and discussions of sexuality and literature? Then join us tonight at Greenpoint, Brooklyn's amazing indie bookstore WORD (bonus: signed copies of Women in Lust will also be for sale). Cris Mazza who co-edited the original Chick Lit way the hell back in the day is one of the co-editors of this wonderful book, along with Stacy Bierlein, Kat Meads, and In The Flesh alum and Slut Lullabies author Gina Frangello, who very kindly asked me to moderate this event, with a foreword by Steve Almond.

Female writers discuss writing the male sexual experience in a panel featuring contributors from the new anthology Men Undressed. Panelists Allison Amend, Nava Renek, and Elizabeth Searle will be in conversation with erotica author Rachel Kramer Bussel, who will also lead an audience Q&A.
Free, October 19, 7-8 pm, WORD, 126 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (G train to Greenpoint Avenue)

Official description:

From D. H. Lawrence to Philip Roth, acclaimed male writers have depicted sex from the perspective of female characters. Now, women writers from Aimee Bender to Jennifer Egan engage in provocative fictional cross-dressing, exploring sexuality from the male point of view. With a foreword by Steve Almond, this provocative collection includes work from twenty-six women in all, including Bender, Egan, Susan Minot, Elizabeth Benedict, Alicia Erian, and Diane Williams. Edited by Gina Frangello, Stacy Bierlein, Cris Mazza and Kat Meads—four women with a great deal of experience as editors (Other Voices Magazine, OV Books, anthologies) and authors.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kindle and Nook readers: Women in Lust goes on sale November 1st

While the paperback of Women in Lust should be for sale online any day now, and in stores shortly, I can now confirm that the e-book edition will be available November 1st for Kindle and Nook. Yay! November 1st is also when the month-plus-long virtual book tour starts. Both are $9.99 (though I must point out that both Amazon and are selling the paperback for $9.68). Want a free postcard with the hot cover? (US only) Email womeninlust at with "Postcard" in the subject AND your name and mailing address in the body.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

If you like my posts, please spread the word

Since I'm attempting to write more often here, I just wanted to remind you that if you like these posts, there's a Facebook like button at the bottom of each post, and I'd love it if you'd pass any of these on. Obviously I'm trying my hardest to get more paid writing work while I look for full-time employment, so that is my focus, but I'm going to try to write here if I have anything to say. And of course please keep visiting Cupcakes Take the Cake for daily content, events, giveaways, etc.

Why You Should Care That Alexis Stewart Has Sex on the First Date, and is Proud of It

This is a post about sex on the first date...and it isn't. It is in the sense that it was inspired by the chapter "Should Sex Ever Involve Food?" in Whateverland: Learning to Live Here by Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt, which opens with sex on the first date, but the broader topic is about whether you should have sex to please yourself or whether you should have sex to please a host of other people and entities you want to impress: your partner, your friends, your parents, your religion, your employer, your society.

I'm pretty sure a hell of a lot of people privilege one of the latter over the former, because as someone who's tried my best to follow what I've felt was right, whether that involved my heart or my libido or my mind or actually none of those, I've senses, explicitly and implicitly, the questions of "But shouldn't you be worried about ___?" or, basically, you're doing it wrong. There is so much judgment and shaming around sex, and it doesn't take much to scratch the surface of our facade of live and let live. Don't use condoms (or any birth control)? Have sex on the first date? Like almost any kind of kinky sex, especially if you're a woman, especially if you're submissive? Like cross-dressing? Dare to question the gender binary? Wear inappropriate clothing? Are a sex worker, or in any way mix sex and money (cue my mom telling me she'd "support me if I needed help leaving the porn industry" - hi, hours of therapy). I could go on. There is also a tendency to be utterly narcissistic readers, to look at any first-person statements about sex, whether it's my "Uncut cocks don’t look sexual or arousing to me" (see Jewcy) or questioning whether facials (aka, someone coming on your face) are demeaning or posting a photo post-facial or an admission of not being utterly perfect with birth control and make it all about them. "But you should ____" Because I say so, is basically the "reasoning," and I find it sad that many people are on a mission to make sex so boring that it is exactly the same in every home.

The point is, I'm so glad that someone prominent is gutsy enough to simply own liking, preferring, having sex on the first date and that her friend and co-author, Jennifer Koppelman Hutt (who is married to a man) deliberately didn't have sex on the first date, but is not shaming Alexis Stewart in the book. Alexis Stewart writes, "To me, if you're not going to have sex on a first date, then I don't understand the point of the date. What better way is there to get to know someone than by having sex? If you don't have sex on the first date, it means you don't like the person enough to have sex And having sex on the first date doesn't mean the relationship won't last. Every single guy I've ever dated I've slept with (or the equivalent) on the first date." Then Jennifer Koppelman Hunt writes that she couldn't have sex on the first date (she's married now) "because I couldn't separate sex from love...If sex isn't a big deal for you, then have sex as often and as much as you want. But if you're someone who can't disconnect sex from emotional attachment, then you have to be careful, and maybe it's better to wait. Not because he's not going to want to be in a relationship with you now that he's slept with you, but because it's not something you can handle." She later writes about slut shaming and while this isn't about sex on the first date, I think it's an important message: "I didn't have sex with a lot of guys when I was dating because I didn't want to, and it took years before I had great sex and felt liberated and able to own my sexuality. You need that kind of experience before you get married, because if you've never experienced great sexual chemistry with someone, then how do you know?"

They are agreeing to have different approaches and not privileging one over the other. It's not the differing approaches I object to, it's the privileging, shaming, judging. It makes me cringe because not only is it so mightier-than-thou, it's not helpful if your true goal is to get people to change their ways (which I would hope your true goal isn't, but still). And while the examples I wrote about above are coming from the dominant culture's view of sexuality, I must add that it's not only the dominant culture that can assert its sexual hierarchies. I wrote in my column "The Non-Consensual Play Party Voyeur," about attending a play party where I felt pressured to engage in sexual activity, was simply handed a rope and became part of a BDSM scene that I in no way whatsoever wanted any part of (and wasn't even told exactly what was happening, thereby creating an unsafe environment for the woman whose leg the rope was attached to), "Despite the supposedly laissez-faire, anything-goes, no-pressure attitude, there are people who do think you’re fair game if you even set foot in such an event."

I'm not saying I'm immune to it either. There have been times in my life when I abstained from first date sex on purpose because I had enjoyed it and thought I was building something with someone only to have them never talk to me again. As I headed into 2006 I wrote the Village Voice column "New Year's Sexolutions" and wrote:

4. Save sex for date two, or later. Much as the outspoken, sex-positive, feminist side of me wants to say that girls can be just as voracious as guys, I've noticed that hopping into bed on the first date hasn't brought success for me. It's not inevitable, but especially when drinking's involved, it seems to jump-start the nascent relationship too early. The sex may still be awesome, but it's the next few days of "Should I contact him? What does he mean by 'busy'?" post-hookup confusion that makes first-date sex more trouble than it's worth. There's a line in the band Sarge's song "Clearer" that goes, "Now I mark each new morning by whose bed I climbed out of last," and every time I hear it, I remember what that was like, when I got off more on the fact of bedding new partners than on what I actually did with them. I'd rather go for quality over quantity; hopefully, waiting, even just one night, will be worth it.

But I think there's a difference between making your own informed choice and only doing something because it's what's expected. My reasons have differed over the years, and trying to parse that line of your own choice vs. what others expect is challenging, but worth it. Which brings me to a book that will help you examine those forces and make those choices...

In her excellent new book What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety, which I highly recommend, Jaclyn Friedman encourages readers to write a mission statement and talks about the "Terrible Trio" of "shame, blame, and fear" and how we often react to them by pulling away from our own desires and kowtowing to what others want and expect of us. She writes:

It's important to know that we all want "wrong" things at one point or another. Our cultusre's standard of what's acceptable sexual behavior for women is so narrow it's impossible to live up to. So if you find yourself fearing your own desires because you think they're "wrong," the best thing to do is take the time to figure out which kind of "wrong" they are. Specifically, you want to ask yourself: If I acted on this desire, would anyone get hurt? If so, who and why?

That is an intelligent, sensible, self-centered (not in the obnoxious way, in the taking-care-of-yourself way) approach to the topic, and any time you have someone dictating from on high how long you should wait before having sex or how many partners is too few or too many or what kinds of sex acts are right or wrong, you have a problem. In the wake of What's Your Number? there's been both criticism of the concept as well as these "whatever number you have is okay" type pieces, and yet there is still an idea that, especially for women, you can have a number that's too high, that means there's something wrong with you.

So the point is not what you personally think about sex on a first date, facials, play parties, etc., but whether you assume everyone should act the way you do. It doesn't mean you have to want to date or sleep with or even be friends with someone who does something you're not into, but that you don't assume that your opinion is better than someone else's opinion. It's not.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

5 Things I've Given Up Since Becoming Self-Employed

My next post will be about 5 things I've continued to invest in, that are worth it to me in this age of belt-tightening, but here are 5 things I've given up since becoming self-employed:

Therapy: One of the first people I contacted was my therapist, to cancel that week's upcoming appointment, and all subsequent ones. I was barely affording the out of pocket $150/week as it was, but I was loath to find someone in my insurance's network because I clicked with my therapist and had already shared and been through so much with her. The idea of starting over was daunting to the point of not being worth it. Funnily enough, I knew I'd be seeing family members and others I'd discussed in therapy for a while, and it felt like an opportunity to learn how to be a grownup, to learn how to handle possible adversity with grace, and I think I did, to the best of my abilities. It will take a little getting used to, and I in all likelihood will return when I am able, but I think I'm making pretty good strides on my own, which is an accomplishment for me in and of itself. This also means, unless I find I can't function without them, giving up the Ritalin I'd been using, since I can't afford another pricey doctor visit. It's possible I could find someone using whatever insurance I now have, but I am terrible with all forms of paperwork and don't think I'd have the time or energy at the moment to wade through that. I still have some Wellbutrin left and am hoping it's not a giant hassle to get more. If it is, I would consider springing for a doctor visit since I do need that to keep me earning money by writing and editing and generally getting out of bed.

Personal training: I had a few more training sessions left that I'd purchased from New York Sports Club, with a trainer I've enjoyed but I wasn't sure I'd continue with anyway. I've found that for me, measuring my BMI only leads me to either become obsessive and depressed about its numbers, neither of which help encourage me in a healthy way to eat more wholesomely or exercise further. I simply cannot afford the indulgence of pricey training, though I am thinking of looking into working out in a park with some friends who recommend the classes there. I do like the individual attention, but have found an inner resource of discipline I didn't have before, and have been running more consistently, in part to get my money's worth out of my gym membership, and in part to relieve stress and tension.

Travel (mostly): I love traveling; it's what keeps me sane when NYC gets to be too much for me, which is all the time, and gives me a chance to see old friends, make new ones, discover deliciousness like Sweet Iron Waffles in Seattle, and contemplate whether I could actually live in whatever city I'm visiting. I find that I see more art and explore more and just look around in a different way when I'm out of my home environment. I would still like to go to Iceland and Korea in 2012, in addition to our Cupcake Cruise to Bermuda, but for now those plans are on hold. I already have a ticket to Scottsdale for two weeks from now, and I'm hoping to still go to Portland, Maine, since it's cheap and I could use a little escape, and my uncle may get me a ticket to LA for Thanksgiving, but other than that, I'm using this extended time at home to work on clearing out my home. Perhaps if it was more livable of a space I wouldn't feel the desire to travel so much; or maybe it'll be a way to incorporate writing into my traveling and find a way to sell stories and thus support my travel habit. I'm not ruling out travel entirely but I feel extremely foolish for having, say, gone to London this year and wasted oodles of money, supposedly in the name of readings but I handled that extremely poorly. I know I cannot afford to fly anywhere just for readings or book events, because my money would be much, much better spent on promotions that reach more people. I will have to see if I can afford to visit the Bay Area as I'd planned in the spring to meet with my publishers in person and do some events, but it will have to be much more considered than my previous wasteful, haphazard arrangements.

Theater: Save for a ticket I had already bought, I'm forgoing the membership I was going to buy to The Rattlestick (mainly because I want to see Jesse Eisenberg's Asuncion, but also because I like being exposed to things I wouldn't otherwise see because I've committed to them, even when it turns out, like at Second Stage this last season, I'm not overly impressed). I do still want to continue trying to go to at least one theater show per month (hopefully going to The Lyons with my mom as a birthday present next month, but we're aiming for rush tickets), but I can't afford to pay more than $25/show. Hopefully if my finances improve this will change, as I've been lucky enough to see shows at Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, ACT, Rattlestick, The Public Theater, Second Stage (both theaters) and perhaps somewhere I'm forgetting this year. I love that New York has so much free and cheap comedy and other entertainment

Birth control: I know this is a hot topic this week, and will probably address is separately, but my new financial circumstances solidified my decision to forgo wasting $50/month on birth control. Why "wasting?" Well, on the rare occasion I might be having possibly procreative sex these days, I plan to use condoms. I had already decided to go off NuvaRing; my doctor said if I don't need the hormones, there's no point in adding them to my body. I did like the regulation of my period NuvaRing provided, and the added backup, and in the crazy wackadoo chance I wind up engaging in ongoing sexual activity where this might be an issue, I could conceivably (ha!) afford the $50 a month, but I'd really rather not. And while some argue that a manfriend should pay for birth control, I don't think I'd feel comfortable with that. Condoms, yes, but my birth control, not so much.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Some thoughts on seeing The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs for the second time

photo by Robert Cheng/CNET

I saw this sign posted in a CNET News live blog about the new iPhone, and I couldn't help but think that 34 hours is the same amount of hours a worker at Foxconn worked in a row before dying, as discussed by Mike Daisey, who was in China while this occurred, in The Agony and The Exstasy of Steve Jobs, which I saw on Thursday at The Public Theater. And I think that's exactly the connection is meant to be making in the wake of seeing the show. First let me say that I'm in now way a theater critic and am just sharing my own highly subjective thoughts on seeing the piece on two random nights in two different cities, Berkeley, and New York, and, in what I believe are two slightly different climates.

The connection to me seems especially apt because one of the sub-themes of the show, next to Steve Jobs' career ascent and Apple's rise and fall and rise, and the working conditions as Foxconn, is the culture of fandom Apple created, as evidenced by Daisey's personal story and, if anyone's been reading any of the gushing tributes to Jobs, many, many fans. It's hard to look at the 14-year-old girl in my People magazine and not think of the 14-year-olds described in the show.

I barely knew a thing about Steve Jobs' life and am not all that interested; the most irksome aspect of the coverage I've seen is the disgusting, outdated use of "illegitimate child" by mainstream media to describe his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs, as if we are not living in 2011, which solidified for me the extremely central place heterosexual marriage continues to have in determining who is worthwhile, and who isn't.

I'm also not one of the aforementioned Apple fans; I use Apple products, namely my MacBook Pro, which I purchased in January in Emeryville one day after seeing the show, so that I could use Skype, and my iPhone, but I would certainly call myself more an Apple user than an Apple fan. I was curious to see the show again both to see how it had changed and to perhaps instill in myself some sense of what I can do in terms of this issue. We bought our tickets several weeks ago, so before Steve Jobs died, and that certainly added a different twist to the show. I would also recommend attending with someone who's been to China and Shenzhen, as I did, just for a little extra detail, not necessarily related to the labor issue.

So there were two major things I noted that were different, and again, these may or may not be what anyone else took away as the salient points, but they struck me. I don't have the world's best memory so the things that stand out for me after a performance are usually either overall impressions or precise lines, and two that I remember from the first performance were Daisey asking, "Do you really think they don't know?" (or perhaps it was "Apple doesn't know," but that is indeed the "they" he is talking about). To my recollection, in January it was delivered not so much as a question but rather an extremely angry taunt to the audience, after we'd just heard about some of the horrors of the working conditions. If anything it was almost rhetorical, as if anyone who could legitimately answer "No, I don't think they know" were simply ignoring the obvious. This time, the question was asked more softly, but no less genuinely. It turned the query back onto the audience, prompting us to genuinely consider whether a company so careful about every other detail could have overlooked things like its own supplier responsibility reports. The question took on added weight now, with even more press in the subsequent nine months about these working conditions. Both deliveries were effective, but I think the quieter tone, one similar to the one used in the new ending I saw, about Jobs' death, is more eerie, more haunting. It's perhaps more weary, but it is a question I think is at the heart of the show and this issue, with the next unasked question being if Apple does know, what, if anything, they plan to do about it, whether they plan to think differently than their business peers who've also set up shop in China (or Brazil, or wherever, though the show is focused on China), or not.

Speaking of which, another target of the show that obviously didn't exist in January was Wired's Joel Johnson March 2011 cover story on Foxconn, which, while noting the suicides, generally summed up the issue by saying that it sucks to work at a factory, but this factory not so much more than any other (my summary). I vaguely recall the tech press coming in for a bit more scrutiny in January, but I can't say that for sure.

The other line that I recall extremely clearly from Berkeley was Daisey telling us that if he shared everything he heard in Shenzhen, we would close our ears. That too was delivered with ire, almost as if he were upset about suppressing whatever he was holding back, and I think that statement is something that can apply to almost any injustice being spoken about. There is a limit to our being able to take in this kind of information, and I don't think that is all down to greed or indifference. I think there are many reasons we, and I'm speaking beyond a theatrical audience but to we as humans, would close our eyes and ears. I don't say that to absolve myself from all that I'm not doing, but simply to say that there is a point where we all have to choose to focus on either a single set of issues or one particular issue or our immediate lives to the exclusion of even issues we care about.

But still that line stayed with me, and the question of whether Steve Jobs "closed his ears," whether he either didn't know, or knew some things, or knew and didn't do anything about it, or some other option that hasn't been publicly revealed yet, is a question, though perhaps the more relevant question is what Apple and other electronics companies will now do. One criticism I've seen repeatedly is that Apple is not the only huge corporation in China utilizing workers under such conditions and that people are lining up for and eager for these jobs. Both of those statements may be true but I don't think that even if they are they negate the issues of people dying of overwork or committing public suicides or being unable to claim their overtime. The show is an exploration of how these products are made, literally, in factories, as well as how they are dreamt up, at some of the vision behind their creation, and connects the two, and asks its audience to connect the two as well.

Regarding the "they'd close their ears," I wrote the above and then checked my post on that show to find that what I remember hearing is actually "you'd close your fucking ears" and I think my summary then is an apt summary for my thoughts know, except that I obviously did want to know more than I didn't want to, because I've been reading and following the story since then. I don't have much to say beyond that, but I do highly recommend seeing it, Apple fan or not (but especially for the Apple fans).

Coming on the heels of a story about a worker whose hand was fused together building an iPad, yeah, that's pretty chilling. It made me want to know and, I will fully admit, not want to know. I'm still pretty awed by the fact that there were no photos shown, nothing but words, but the images I was left with were frightening and sad and again, that dichotomy, that reality that even the LED screens lighting up the stage were likely made in the places being talked about.

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