Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Audiobook version of Crossdressing: Erotic Stories now available from Audible!

Very excited that my anthology Crossdressing: Erotic Stories, with a foreword by Veronica Vera, is now available as an audiobook from Audible, read by Lucy Malone and Sean Crisden - click here for a free sample listen! It's also available as an ebook for Kindle or Nook and I am extremely remiss in my search for a new cover photo to get it back into print but it's on my to do list! This is one of the books I'm most proud of and one I think goes beyond erotica to at least a hint of social commentary and it would make me very happy to see it back in print, but I hope the audiobook will reach some new readers too. Click here to see all my other audiobooks.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Veronica Vera
Introduction by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Temporary by Tulsa Brown
Just Like a Boy by Debra Hyde
Halloween by Helen Boyd
More Than Meets the Eye by Stephen Albrow
Tough Enough to Wear a Dress by Teresa Noelle Roberts
The Sweetheart of Sigma Queer by Simon Sheppard
Tori’s Secret by Andrea Miller
Like a Girl by Alison Tyler
Michelle, Ma Belle by Marcy Sheiner
Beefeater by Lisabet Sarai
Phone Fatale by Stan Kent
I Need a Man by Andrea Dale
A Cute Idea by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Higher and Higher by T. Hitman
Birthday Girl by Jason Rubis
The Princess on the Rock by Elspeth Potter
Down the Basement by Ryan Field
Some Things Never Change by Melinda Johnson

From femmes who channel Marlene Dietrich in the sexiest of suits to men who love nothing more than the feel silky panties stretched tight against their skin, these characters boldly indulge their fantasies of being a girl — or a guy — for a night. Drag queens get dolled up for a night on the town, a dyke packs a special surprise beneath her dress, and a devoted husband puts his dress-up skills to the ultimate test in this seductive new collection.

“Crossdressing presents a catalogue of kinky fiction from some of the industry’s most respected names. Each author has tackled the subject with an eye for the unusual, a sense for what works, and a finger on the pulse of what is erotic. But, beneath the fiction, there is a message that shows we can all enjoy a range of erotic stories, regardless of whether the characters are dressed as men or women and regardless of whether they want to be a perfect woman, or whether they want to simply take it like a man.”
—Erotica Readers and Writers Association (lick through to read entire review)

“The stories about men who dress in feminine frills range from light and sunny (Rachel Kramer Bussel’s A Cute Idea, in which a young man agrees to wear his girlfriend’s silky underwear) to poignant (Higher and Higher by T. Hitman, in which a frustrated man in a dead-end job and similar marriage finds the “dudette” of his dreams) to tragic (The Sweetheart of Sigma Queer by Simon Sheppard, in which a crossdressing young gay man is sexually used by a succession of men who regard him as a joke).

The theme of sneaking into forbidden places wearing “inappropriate” garb continues in stories about men, since “women’s” clothing is generally more taboo for men than vice versa. In More Than Meets the Eye by Stephen Albrow, a businessman loves wearing women’s lingerie under a suit. After defeating his corporate rival in a ruthless takeover bid, the character shows his alter ego, “Suzy,” by taking off his masculine business armor in the men’s lavatory, where the rival is allowed to “win” sexually.” —Erotica Revealed (click through and scroll down to read entire review)

“The perverts in Crossdressing bring fascinating sexual fluidity to their kink.”
-Books to Watch Out For

“With a good-natured, light-hearted approach and plenty of steamy erotic action, Crossdressing celebrates the sexual thrill of gender play while having plenty of erotic fun.” -Eros Zine

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Death and cliches

I'm off for 2 days in Chicago. Found out last night via Facebook, which I guess I have been remiss in checking, that a friend's partner passed away. They have two extremely sweet little kids and my heart breaks for everyone. I had this thought last night that death is so final and then mocked myself for such a pithy thought, but you know what? There's really not much else I have to offer on the subject of death. I haven't known many people my age who've died, which I know makes me very fortunate. I talk to my grandparents and I know they can't say the same. It's heartbreaking, and I am sending my love to all of them. I was heartened to see that all the slots at Take Them a Meal were filled in, which showed me how much love is being shared.

I usually change the subject when death or wills or anything associated comes up, but last night I was talking to my boyfriend and I said something about not having life insurance, and he said that he arranged it for me through the health insurance I'm getting via his job. It didn't make me less sad, but it was exactly the kind of caretaking he excels at and that I've never had in a relationship before, the kind that isn't about just the moment, but forever.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Reading tonight at Posman Books at Grand Central Station

I changed my Chicago trip to tomorrow (a mini vacation) so I could read tonight at 6 at Posman Books at Grand Central Station (9 Grand Central Terminal) with an amazing lineup of readers from the new BenBella Books anthology Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey. I'm dressed appropriately!

I'm doing very few readings these days, because I sortof feel like a wasteful fraud to take time away from writing and income-generating work to do something that feels frivolous, which is pretty much how I feel a lot of the time, so this will be the last one for a while. The more I see comedy and theater, the more I know that I am not a natural performer, I don't enjoy it, I don't excel at it and it gives me the kind of nerves I'm trying to banish from my life. I've done it since 2011, and will continue to do it on occasion, but it's not something I plan to seek out any longer unless it's a special occasion.

But I am nothing if not vain, and the chance to read in such a special location and have my own books stocked there won me over. I'm also talking to a few colleges about going to teach classes, which I do enjoy, because newcomers to erotica bring a zeal that I am always trying to recapture when I write a new story. Lately I've felt like I'm kindof watching myself from afar and even things that should excite me feel more like chores than anything else. On the plus side, I am sending out fun holiday cards and have a few possibilities dangling in the air that would be dreams come true. In the meantime, one word at a time. They're coming, slowly but surely, and I'm doing my best to write and pitch and hope and dream and journal my way out of this slump.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday erotica book BOGO sale

I'm offering a sale through midnight EST today, Cyber Monday, November 26th for U.S. addresses only (my sincere apologies - were I a rich girl I would love to extend this internationally, but I can't afford overseas postage). Buy any of my 29 current Cleis Press books in print, ebook or audiobook form, from a bookstore (remember to show your local bookstores some love this holiday season!) or online and send me the receipt and I will send you any of them autographed (except for Crossdressing, which is very sadly out of print, but it's on my to do list to finally get it back in print!). Here's the list of books you can purchase to qualify. To recap: buy any of my Cleis Press books in any format, and I will send you a signed paperback free! Just email your receipt by 8 am Tuesday to rachelkramerbussel at with "Cyber Monday" in the subject and your name and address and which book you want. Please allow 3 weeks for it to arrive as I may have to get copies of the requested book in. Limit 3 free books per person.

THANK YOU for your support! I'm making some major decisions about how to spend my time and creative energy, but no matter what, I'm so proud of these books, honored to have gotten to work with hundreds of authors and to have some amazing ones coming out in 2013. I'm a very lucky girl indeed and I so appreciate everyone who's ever bought my books, especially now that I work for myself full-time. Also, I know some of these say "for women" but I hope that doesn't deter anyone who's not a woman from reading them.

Anything for You: Erotica for Kinky Couples, Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Best Bondage Erotica 2012, Best Bondage Erotica 2013, Best Sex Writing 2008, Best Sex Writing 2009, Best Sex Writing 2010, Best Sex Writing 2012, Bottoms Up, Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, Cheeky Spanking Stories, Crossdressing, Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, Fast Girls, Going Down: Oral Sex Stories, Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, He's on Top: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance and Female Submission, Hide and Seek: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, Irresistible: Erotic Romance for Couples, The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories, Obsessed: Erotic Romance for Women, Orgasmic, Passion, Peep Show: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, Please, Ma'am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission, Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission, Rubber Sex, She's on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission, Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women, Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica, Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories, Surrender: Erotic Tales of Female Pleasure and Submission, Tasting Her: Oral Sex Stories, Tasting Him: Oral Sex Stories, Women in Lust, Yes, Ma'am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission, Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm officially excited about sending holiday cards this year

I'm officially excited about sending out holiday cards now that a bunch of mine just arrived that I bought from my friend Jessie Oleson, aka Cakespy. If you are looking for cards or holiday gifts, check out her online store AND you can win a set of Cakespy holiday gift cards at Cupcakes Take the Cake!. Enter by November 27th. Good luck!

Labels: , , ,

I cooked bacon bound chicken wings from parody cookbook Fifty Shades of Chicken and have the recipe for you

I cooked bacon bound chicken wings, white-wine steamed chicken with sesame oil and scallions, and insanely delicious Yukon Gold potatoes (with my favorite recipe name in the book: Taters, Baby) from the new parody cookbook Fifty Shades of Chicken by FL Fowler and have the recipe for the bacon bound wings, which are great hot or cold, and a great party food. This parody cookbook is one of the best Fifty Shades of Grey parodies I've read, and trust me (or, ahem, truss me), I've read a lot! Check it out at Buzzfeed Shift.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Land locked

A friend asked if I could get together today, and I can't, because I'm still catching up on work, but said I could tomorrow, if she could pick me up. There's a glaring difference between my home in New York and my/my boyfriend's home in New Jersey, and it's not just that there's no coffeeshop or 24-hour deli or movie theater or hotel in his town. Where I live, life is happening all around me--on the street, below the ground. There are people spilling out of subways and buses and cars and restaurants; at most hours of the day or night you can hear people talking. I can hear the next subway stop announcements from my bed if the windows are open and I listen closely.

It's not like that here, and the biggest difference for me is mobility. I once knew how to drive, barely, but that was many years ago. I haven't driven a car in probably 15 years, and don't plan to again, at least, not in the tri-state area. Maybe on some wide sunny open road somewhere without other cars, but even that scares me. So when I'm here, I'm here. I don't make plans to go places. I don't spontaneously meet anyone for coffee. I'm hoping to seek out a place to get a manicure/pedicure. From my home, I can hop on a subway and then a bus to Philadelphia or Washington, DC, as I've done this year, or a plane to anywhere in the world. The New Jersey transit train I take to get to here passes by Newark International Airport, but that's about it.

My life here is about home, about this home that we are cobbling together, day by day, so that now, versus when I first came here, it feels a bit more like me. Yesterday, my boyfriend was sitting at the dining room table, which I've commandeered as my desk, while I watched him from the couch. I could tell he was itching to straighten everything I'd strewn across the wooden surface, and he did. He lined up the empty boxes I'd left there in order, placed my three seltzer bottles next to each other. I was impressed he left my laptop case and iPhone charger and Hello Kitty gratitude journal and little sticky notes in their own haphazard placement.

I used to feel trapped here, precisely because I had to decide in advance how long I'd be here. I wasn't free to come and go and that went against every ounce of New Yorker in me. Being able to create my day however I want was the consolation prize of freelancing when I got laid off and is still part of what I treasure most about New York; not only the time, but the abundance of choices of how to use that time. Slowly, though, I've come to like the homey aspects of this life. I like that with fewer options, I do actually spend more hours in front of my laptop, hopefully generating income. I get to be here when he comes home, and we can have a whole weeknight together. I cannot imagine what this relationship would have been like had I been working at my old job, but there's no way it would have been as rich and fulfilling because we would have had only a fraction of the time we get together.

Lsat night I'd planned to go see graphic memoirists Ellen Forney, whose new book Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me is excellent, and just hit the New York Times bestseller list, and Julia Wertz, author of The Infinite Wait, which I bought at an indie comic shop in my neighborhood, at the Strand, one of those amazing New York institutions that inspires me every time I walk in its door. But when we got back from New Haven on Sunday I realized I didn't have the energy or desire to go all the way back home and spend Monday zipping around New York, only to come back Tuesday night. I wanted the quiet and the time and the simplicity. It's a balancing act, and I keep being seduced by all these tempting travel offers (there is an amazing $382 Hawaiian Air roundtrip from JFK to Honolulu, but the December dates are extremely restricted). 2013 feels like it's practically already here; I have no idea exactly how I will fly there because something about paying double what I could pay to go to Honolulu to go to London seems wrong, but I am officially part of Eroticon 2013.

Right now, though, I'm focused on today's stories; I'm trying to narrow down my lists so I don't get depressed and overwhelmed. I'm on Day 2 of Gabrielle Bernstein's 40-day guide May Cause Miracles, and I'm supposed to be meditating on choosing love instead of fear. Sometimes that feels impossible. I know fear; it's comfortable, familiar, steady. Choosing love, which I had to do to get to a place where I don't wake up and miss the noise and chaos and transportation New York City has to offer, didn't happen overnight. But I can say for sure that the building blocks of our relationship, the little things that keep surprising me, they are more special to me than any reading or party or event or subway line. The amount of love and caring and commitment I've been given seems a little surreal after the last few years, and I catch myself thinking I in no way deserve it. Who knows? Maybe I don't, but I have it anyway, and all I can do is try to be worthy and give it back as best I can. Not at the expense of me, which is why I plan to shop for a town with a little more going on, somewhere I can find the equivalent of a Gimme Coffee, somewhere I can meet kindred spirits and walk to a train and raise a family.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A year later my heart tattoo essay still suits me to a T

My heart is a lot stronger than it was when I wrote this essay a year ago. I'd forgotten about it because I'd submitted it to xoJane and never heard back, and as often happens with me, I simply let things go and assume they suck if I don't hear back from an editor and don't try to shop them around. Freelancing can be kindof like dating, and if you let someone else's rejection of you form your sense of self-worth, you're in for a very hard road. So I will let this speak for itself, without giving in to my temptation to go in and tinker with it, posting it here flaws and craziness and all. My heart it still very much like a little girl, as am I, but 37 is so much better than the start of 36 was, and I hope 36's worst, most heartwrenching moments stay where they belong. I still look at my tattoo every day, and I'm still incredibly grateful for all the luck and opportunity and love that's come my way this year. Now I just have to keep being worthy of it. Today I'm thinking about that phrase home is where the heart is, and also its converse. I decided to skip New York this week, after our lovely getaway in New Haven this weekend, and stay at my future home, with my guy, where we tease each other and play on the Wii and cook together and are silly and stubborn and still getting to know each other. My heart, and I, still have a lot of growing up to do. A lifetime, really. Never would I have imagined what the year after my tattoo would bring, because how could I? And maybe that's the real lesson.

I end this essay with a quote from Gabrielle Bernstein, and I'm now reading her new book, May Cause Miracles, because I want to be like her, be someone who believes in and creates miracles. She nails me, or the old me, to a T when she writes: "Special love is based on dependency and lack. The ego convinces us that we're alone, which leads us to desperately seek completion in others. The experience of lack grows out of our profound sense of separation from our real spiritual identity. Believing this state of lack to be our reality, we seek special relationships to help us feel whole." I got the tattoo in part to make me feel whole. I sat in that chair in that city in that state and I cried for so many reasons and yes, it fucking hurt. My skin, my heart. But I got through it, and I think it made me stronger. I figured out that I don't need anyone else, certainly not anyone I thought I needed. I figured out a lot of things, including that I'm still the same raw, stubborn, impulsive, wistful girl I was. Even though my boyfriend does add happiness to my life, a hell of a lot of it, I never want to see love as anything other than what comes from inside me. I spent far too long feeling so lost because I thought I didn't matter, and only when I finally believed that I did did the person I'm with now step into my life. Even then, on our second date I had to tell him something that made me feel like my life was utterly out of control, because it was. That was this wakeup call moment where I realized I was either going to let myself spin completely out of control or pick up the pieces and only focus on the things I can control, to truly live the Serenity Prayer, rather than just aspire to. I'm glad I had all those rock bottom moments this past year, because they taught me exactly the lessons they were supposed to. They told me what and who to value, taught me that I have so much more power than I think I do in my lowest moments. And every day I try to remember that. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I don't get what I want. Sometimes I don't even know what I want. But as Gabrielle Bernstein writes, " with an open heart and embracing love as our true purpose is essential to living a miraculous life." And no, she's not talking about any kind of fake, Hollywood-ized version of romantic love, or the idea of some knight in shining armor to save you love. She's talking about the real thing. I'm so glad I have the wisdom to know the difference.

Last year, I deliberately chose to get my first tattoo, the word "open" in purple cursive script, on a part of my body I wouldn't be confronted with every day: my back. I can easily see it if I'm naked and look in the mirror, but most days I'm too busy going about my routine to focus on those four purple letters. I know they're there, and right after I got the tattoo last year, I used to reach behind me and touch them, letting their spirit press its way into my fingers.

Which brings me to my brand new tattoo. After the first one, I was pretty sure I wouldn't get another. I didn't want to be the cliché of someone who "just can't stop getting tattoos," which many friends told I would become. "It's addictive," they said, and since I have an addictive personality, I resisted. I'm the type of person who, if you tell me that I'm going to or should do something, I immediately want to prove you wrong and not do the thing in question, because I'm stubborn and contrary like that. More so, I don't want to feel like what I'm doing is somehow preordained, conformist, not thought out.

But the longer I've lived with my "open" tattoo, the more I've realized that the job I wanted it to do—to open my heart and mind—wasn't happening in part because, like everything good for us that we want to forget about because it's annoying or inconvenient or frustrating or slow or difficult, I was tuning out my tattoo. I liked the idea of being marked "open" but in reality, when anything went awry in my life, I shrank bank into the same old negative thought patterns; I had trouble adapting to change, whether a breakup or a layoff. When things fell apart for the last time with the man I was crushed out on, to put it mildly, instead of trying to make my peace with that, I went into jealousy mode. His wife (it's an open relationship) suddenly embodied everything I'm not, and never will be. In my head she was not just younger, but smarter, prettier, thinner, more successful. Yes, talk about another cliché—the jealous woman—but that was me, and, if I'm honest, still is me on some days. I couldn't figure out how to acknowledge that jealousy without letting it overwhelm me. I interpreted "open" as being allowed to revel in any and all emotions that passed through me, as if they were all equal and thereby deserving of my attention and devotion.

The hard part of being truly open isn't recognizing my contradictory and often unhelpful feelings, but using my vision for the kind of life I want to sort through them and only tap into the ones that are healthy and furthering me on my path. I found that instead of trusting my heart, I was starting to berate myself for making foolish relationship mistakes. Every setback seemed like a blaring sign that there was something deeply wrong with me I'd never be able to fix (public service announcement: don't ever tell someone during a breakup talk that they "deserve" better, that's basically an extremely twisted passive aggressive version of "fuck you"). I let myself return to dating people who'd already told me explicitly they didn't want the same things I want. I was stuck and, well, a tattoo seemed like a start on the path toward getting unstuck.

So, "heart." I wanted this word bold and bright and in my face, because I tend to scorn my heart more often than I should. I blame following my heart any time doing so doesn't lead to mad passionate long-term romance. But closing off my heart can't be the answer; I don't want to freeze out my heart to the point that I don't have room to welcome love—not just romantic—of all kinds into my life. A lot of my heart's travails have related to dating, but I also want to use my heart to be a better daughter, granddaughter, cousin, friend. I don't want to get so mired in my own head and problems that I can't use my empathy and compassion when I need to, while also taking care of myself.

Once I decided to get the tattoo, I did a little Googling and found Sanctuary Tattoo in Portland, Maine, where I was taking a birthday vacation, and chose them mainly because I liked the look of their website. I may agonize over what to order off a menu, but with bigger decisions, I usually make them more quickly. I made an appointment, sending a photo of my other tattoo and explaining what I wanted, and then I didn't let myself think too much more about it, lest I second-guess myself.

The design Ryan had picked out was taller than I'd expected, curving over my inner arm, its swirls visible when my arm is facedown. That was a surprise, but I liked it; I knew I wasn't just making the transition into a person with multiple tattoos, but into someone with a publicly visible tattoo. It hurt, a lot, more than I remember my other one hurting, but what made me cry—not huge wracking sobs, but a few good tears—wasn't the physical pain. It was thinking about the fact that there is still a part of me that wants to impress that same person I spent a long time infatuated with, who taught me so much, good and bad, about what it means to love someone. There will probably always be a part of me that wants his respect, and I couldn't help wondering what he'd think about my tattoo. I let myself go with it, feeling the pain on both levels. When the scraping of my skin with the tattoo needle seemed to much to bear, I reminded myself that it was the visceral equivalent of the times when I felt this extremely profound, painful ache of wanting the love and attention of someone who didn't have those things to give me. And less than an hour (and costing only $125!), it was over.

I described the tattoo before I got it as being an "anti-cynicism tattoo," and that still sounds pretty accurate. When I feel hurt, my first reaction is to retreat, to pull far back from anything and anyone who might ever hurt me again. The problem with that is that self-protection very quickly turns into a misguided sense of self-sufficiency and cutting myself off from the world. I start to think I should cocoon myself away until I'm somehow a better, smarter, prettier, more moral person—basically, until I'm perfect—rather than doing the only thing any of us can do: work through our issues, each and every day.

My heart is like a little girl, imperious, impulsive, and impossible. And while little girls are adorable, especially my friend's 2-year-old daughter who I love to pieces, my heart reminds me of the time I walked into my friend's bedroom and her daughter was tucked under the covers, looking like she was sick, but was instead just cozy and watching TV. She wanted me to leave so she just pointed to the door (a movement translated by her mom), while I tried not to laugh at being bossed around by someone so tiny. She's two, so she's entitled to do whatever she wants whenever she wants. My 36-year-old heart, though, not so much; it gets in trouble when it simply wanders down a path without considering any of the potential pitfalls.

Lest that sound too much like I'm just some girl who's not quite over a guy (which is accurate, in its way), I want "heart" to mean all the best things about me, and about life. At a time when 10-year-olds are committing suicide, elderly people are getting pepper sprayed, and a friend of a friend was randomly shot three times on his block, I know that my problems are quintessential White Girl Problems, but they are still very real to me. I want to wake up genuinely happy and grateful to greet each new day, rather than facing the morning with dread and fear of what it might bring. I want the tattoo to be a reminder that I shouldn't forget my heart, but I shouldn't be ruled by it either.

"Heart" in a way is a substitute for faith—faith in love, in other people, in the future, in myself. I've been reading Gabrielle Bernstein's excellent book Spirit Junkie, and she writes of the clash between fear and love, "We've saved our faith for fear. But deep inside each of us lives a soft voice reminding us that love is real." I believe her, but the loud self-hating voices in my head often run roughshod over the softer-spoken ones, so I hope my loud tattoo helps me keep that lesson real, and, most of all, keep me in touch with my heart, with all her wayward demands, demons, and desires.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 new erotica audiobooks: Dirty Girls and Curvy Girls

Dirty Girls has been my bestselling of my over 40 anthologies, which says a lot, and now it's available as an audiobook from Audible! Click through for a free sample listen. Click here to read my introduction to this action-packed, extremely varied 27-story anthology, with authors including Marie Lyn Bernard, Alison Tyler, Carol Queen, Sofia Quintero, Melissa Gira and many others.

Curvy Girls, featuring plus size women of various kinds, from athletic (I love the way Sommer Marsden interpreted the theme in the opening story "Runner's Calves" and hope athletic women and runners will especially appreciate it!) to kinky to butch to ones with big asses, is also available as an audiobook. Click through for a free sample listen.

Here's the table of contents and description:

Foreword: The Volumptuous Life by April Flores
Introduction: Curves and Attitude by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Runner’s Calves by Sommer Marsden
Before the Autumn Queen by Angela Caperton
Champagne & Cheesecake by A.M. Hartnett
First Come, First Serve by Lolita Lopez
Small Packages by Tenille Brown
Decadence by Satia Welsh
Excuses by Nina Reyes
Recognition by Salome Wilde and Talon Rihai
Passing the Time by Gwen Masters
First Date by Louise Hooker
At Last by Jessica Lennox
Wenching by Justine Elyot
What Girls Are Made Of by Evan Mora
Appetite by Elizabeth Coldwell
In The Early Morning Light by Kristina Wright
See and Be Seen by Arlette Brand
Big Girls Do Cry by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Marked by Isabelle Gray
Happy Ending by Donna George Storey

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, November 16, 2012

You just pick a day in time and I'm in/a new destination

I wrote an essay for a friend's website that'll be up soon about some of the music I started listening to when I first moved to New York, and found myself listening to Live City Sounds by Mary Lou Lord and vaguely recalled this post, which feels like a lifetime ago. I don't think even then I could have imagined all the places this year would take me, and not just on planes. I'm sitting in the complete quiet, the only sound coming from my laptop, in my second home. You don't get this kind of quiet in New York City. At first I thought it was too much quiet; it haunted me, felt unnatural, unnerving.

But slowly, through many days of sitting and sleeping and taking baths and cooking and kissing and watching game shows here, of having my own closet that is now neatly arranged by my boyfriend, it's come to be my home just as much, if not more so, than the place where I send my rent checks every month. And maybe by having that stability, I've been able to go so many places, to dream of new places to go. I looked up the list I'd made of all 50 states and counted up the ones where I've eaten cupcakes, and found that I've gotten up to 22, and while I do want to get to all 50, it's not just about the numbers. It's about the connection. I like being able to talk to someone and say, "Oh yeah, I got a tattoo in that city, or I ate at that restaurant, or saw a show." I like feeling like I don't have to be tied down to any one spot, that there are an infinite number of adventures waiting for me.

Sometimes, yes, it's disorienting. I not only don't know where I am, I don't know where I want to be. But that girl who pushed everyone away, who sought out the most unavailable people over and over again? I think I left her behind, at an airport, maybe, on a bus, on a train, in my journals. I have a date in 2013 for Catalyst, and for all sorts of things. I have all these possibilities dangling right in front of me, ones that would make me giddy if they come through, but also, right here, in this quiet space, I know that I can always make more dreams, especially with someone who is more supportive of my dreams, as outlandish and ridiculous as they may sometimes be, than I could ever have hoped for.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm reading at Grand Central Station November 28th

I will have details soon on the time but I'm reading on Wednesday, November 28th at Posman Books at Grand Central Station from my essay "Kink and Condescension" from the new anthology Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey edited by Lori Perkins, out now from Smart Pop Books! It's shipping now from Amazon and has an amazing lineup of erotic and romance authors, commentators, Fifty Shades of Grey parodists, book industry insiders like Judith Regan and more!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

I love a sexy spine and a hot bondage photo

On a person or a book! Many thanks to my publisher Cleis Press for putting this hot bondage cover photo by Roman Kasperski on the spine as well. I was just reading a whole comment thread at xoJane about how Jane Pratt revolutionized the reading of magazine spines for people.

I'm sending out copies of Best Bondage Erotica 2013 today, hot off the press, to my reviewers (you ROCK!!) and it always makes me so happy. I'm sending books to California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas! I love getting to send out books before they're even in stores, getting to know where my readers are, and helping ensure the longevity of my books. There's something about investing in my business (and now the paperwork is in place for me to officially be a business) that makes me feel good about the work that I do. I hate having to be all "buy buy buy." It feels slimy and gross, even if I do believe in the projects I work on, even if it is part of the life of something creating things that are for sale. I know I need to get over my Fear of Money and Fear of Business if I can ever hope to make a go at this freelance life for real, not just for a year, but I also know I need balance, so sending out 20+ books this makes my soul feel good and gets to feed my love of the post office and snail mail! More info on this book is below, and I'm hoping to have new calls up very soon! And as always, stay tuned to @raquelita on Twitter for my random musings and book giveaways.

Order Best Bondage Erotica 2013 from:


Kindle edition (ebook)

Barnes & Noble

Nook (ebook)



IndieBound (search for your local indie bookstore)


Google Play

Audible audiobook

Cleis Press

Foreword: Uncomfortable Truths Graydancer

Introduction: Loving Bondage Anywhere and Everywhere

An Introduction to Shibari Elizabeth Coldwell

This Is Me Holding You Annabeth Leong

Tying the Knot Tiffany Reisz

The Great Outdoors Teresa Noelle Roberts

What Vacations Are For Thomas S. Roche

Lights Out Mina Murray

Feeling the Heat Lucy Felthouse

You Can Look… Evan Mora

The Moons of Mars Valerie Alexander

Interlude for the Troops Louise Blaydon

Hot in the City Sommer Marsden

Passion Party Purgatory Logan Zachary

Steadfast Andrea Dale

Tree Hugger Giselle Renarde

A Public Spectacle D. L. King

Seven More Days N. T. Morley

A Bit of a Tangle Monocle

Wheelbarrow Position Danielle Mignon

The Longest Afternoon Medea Mor

Plastic Wrap Shoshanna Evers

Wiped Kay Jaybee

Foot and Mouth Rachel Kramer Bussel

Introduction: Loving Bondage Anywhere and Everywhere

One of the main things I look for when editing the Best Bondage Erotica series is variety. I want a mix of types of people being tied up, a range of implements used to bind, a diverse setting for these kinky scenarios. This year, I got all that and more—much more.

I was especially pleased to see that several authors threw open the bedroom door and took their kinky play outside. In “The Great Outdoors,” “Wheelbarrow Position” and “Tree Hugger,” you’ll find some very creative bondage that borders on exhibitionism, as well as full-on exhibitionism in “A Public Spectacle.” The excitement of being exposed, of baring your body to the elements and not being able to escape should someone walk by, is expounded on with kinky delight in these tales.

The variety doesn’t end there. There are newcomers, whether to bondage or specific types of bondage play, from shibari to a simple rope harness, plastic wrap to handcuffs to a chastity tube. There are sex toys, all manner of them, from a special pink ribbon to a Hitachi Magic Wand, and they come into play in ways that will surprise and delight you, but what I’m most thrilled about with this collection is what the men and women feel once they are tied up, bound, restrained, at someone else’s mercy. Here’s a sampling:

“…this is a stranger for whom I want to be the very best toy ever.” (“The Moons of Mars”)

“She focused on her breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths, she stared back at him, daring him to do his worst.” (“The Longest Afternoon”)

“The blatant hunger on his face almost made up for the last year of neglect. But he was struggling against his bonds now, and that just wouldn’t do.” (“Lights Out”)

“Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker that I fall for it every time. Maybe I just want to. But when I see and hear him taking out the duct tape, I squirm in anticipation.” (“Foot and Mouth”)

These characters find themselves appreciating even the discomfort of bondage, trading their autonomy for something greater, something that sets them free—from convention, from daily life, from their usual roles. It’s that freedom to exult, straight, mouth off, give and take pleasure that I hope comes across the strongest in these pages. For while these stories take place in a variety of settings, using all sorts of implements and household items, what they have in common is desire, curiosity and a willingness to pursue them, even when you’re not sure where the journey will take you. I hope dedicated bondage fans, newcomers and those of you who share that curiosity about the thrills of being tied to a tree or a chair or a bed, will keep this book handy and be inspired to dream up, and live out, your own fantasies.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last chance for a free bondage erotica book, reviewers

I have a few more copies of Best Bondage Erotica 2013 to send to reviewers tomorrow; if you're in the U.S. and have an account you've made a purchase from and want to review it, email me at bestbondage2013 at with "Amazon" in the subject line and your name and mailing address by tonight (Wednesday, November 1th) and if I have enough, I will send you a free, signed copy tomorrow. You can read the table of contents and my introduction here. I just ask that you review it within 6 weeks! This is a promotion I do with all my books and I buy and mail the books myself, which is why I can't afford to send overseas, sorry! Thank you so much for your ongoing support, everyone who's read, bought, reviewed, liked and otherwise supported my books. It means a lot, and I hope to have some more calls posted soon!

November gratitutde

I have a lot to be grateful for, like amazing friends, exciting news that actually made me tear up last night, these fishnets from Gigi K that for some reason I'm only now wearing for the first time, and a sexy cooking date with my man tonight which I also get to write about! My friend took a photo of me last night talking on the phone because I looked so happy, and that said a lot to me. More on what we cooked tomorrow. For some cute food photos, check out my daily Movember moustache cupcake posts.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What I look for in an airline is what I look for from the people in my life

Yesterday, I spent about 6 hours in Buffalo, at the airport, waiting to find out when I would get to go home. My JetBlue flight from Phoenix was diverted due to fog at JFK, after it had been delayed about an hour. At first, we all trudged off the plane and waited, and I expected to get home that morning. Not at 6 as planned, but that morning. Each hour we were told to check back. Around 9:30 we were told we'd be boarding. Some people stood in line; I sat and charged my phone. Just when we thought we'd be boarding, an announcement was made that the crew had timed out, that gate was closing, and we could go to another gate to find out what was happening. They said something vague about giving us food vouchers and that we could take a bus. That was it. No notice, no warning that this crew time out was imminent, no information about next flights.

Most of us went to the gate we were sent to; some went to another gate nearby. Both gates were busy boarding two other flights to JFK and barely moved. I did see the two sisters (one was 10, I believe, the other probably younger) being boarded onto one of the flights. The woman with a baby was waiting with all the rest of us. We had to rely on random snippets of information gleaned from passengers who pushed to the front and returned with what we hoped was concrete details. @JetBlue on Twitter apologized but couldn't tell us anything more. We were told we could go to a third gate for information, but when I arrived I heard the woman staffing that gate tell us she was having a bad day, too, before leaving. She returned shortly only to call and ask what to do with us. I heard murmurings about a 5 p.m. flight. Then out of nowhere an announcement came that they'd found us a crew and we would be boarding. Eventually, we did, and landed around 1 p.m.

The thing that bothered me most wasn't the delay, although that wasn't fun. My KLM flight from Amsterdam to Dubai was cancelled due to the plane's mechanical issues, and we dealt with it. No one wants to fly on an unsafe plane or into fog. But the utter lack of information given to us was appalling and for that, I do blame JetBlue. They should have foreseen that the crew would time out when they did and tried to get another crew in sooner. They should have told us that was a possibility. They should have kept us informed and had staffers to help us when that crew timed out. They didn't.

Today I got an email from JetBlue about a fare sale. Go short, go medium or go long. Travel between November 20th and December 20th. "Fares not available on Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, or Priceline," according to their website. I'm tempted, because I love traveling, I love the thrill of escape and discovery. But what I look for in an airline is what I look for from anyone I deal with: good communication. Trust. Knowing they are working to the best of their abilities. Yesterday, JetBlue wasn't. I did get a $10 voucher. I did get home, to a city where the Airtrain and my subway are back up and running. The Buffalo airport did have wifi. But I remembered telling everyone who asked in Scottsdale that JetBlue is my favorite airline, that I try to fly them as often as possible, that I was looking forward to flying them home after I'd flown Delta on the way out. I hope JetBlue can restore my faith in them, because they have a lot to offer as an airline. But they didn't live up to the service I've come to expect yesterday, and that's because they didn't tell us what was going on. It was chaotic and unprofessional and confusing. I hate that in my relationships with people, and in my relationships with airlines or any other business.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

37 so far

I'm waiting for my redeye home from Scottsdale, grateful I can stay at home Monday if I want to, grateful I can take the Airtrain and subway home, or go to bingo (to support the Ali Forney Center serving LGBT homeless youth, which was heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy) if I'm up for it, grateful I discovered Elif Shafak's memoir Black Milk. Tuesday I set in motion the process of incorporating, which feels way more adult than I am, but that's the way things are now, and I just have to catch up. 36 was intense, and even with all the good, I wouldn't want to repeat its worst moments. I learned so much, like how to search email on my phone, that drugs don't cure jealousy and I can be pretty good in a crisis and that I can take care of myself at home and 6,000 miles away. I did things I never would've imagined myself doing, surprised myself in all sorts of ways, and through trial and error and luck am somehow in a much better place than I was last November. When I sat at Sanctuary Tattoo almost a year ago, I couldn't have predicted where my crazy heart would lead, and maybe that's how it's supposed to be. Probably if I'd known in advance I would've fucked things up, but thankfully I didn't, and in a few days I will be back in my second home, which is more and more becoming where I feel the most comfortable.

So far, 37 is pretty good, but I think this photo is a lot more accurate of a picture of the age I feel:

Friday, November 09, 2012

There's no place like...

The other morning I woke up out of a dream, probably before or just around six. I was groggy, not sure if I was still in the dream. My eyes were half open and I could make out shapes and images and slowly I started to realize I was somewhere familiar but it took me a few more bleary seconds for it to sink in that I was at home, in my own room. The outlines of the door and the bookcase and the surroundings all were recognizable but it's like hearing your own language transformed by a heavy accent or when someone you know changes their look and you think it's them but aren't quite sure. When I finally opened my eyes and slipped completely out of dreamland I then felt a little ashamed to not have recognized the room I've lived in for twelve and a half years.

At the same time, I was away for two weeks, then was in New Jersey and DC, and am now heading off to Arizona. The new normal means that home is just another place to visit, a pit stop on my way to somewhere else. Except it's not. I may sleep better in better beds, less physically and mentally cluttered spaces, but I love it here. Little things have changed in the twelve years, both inside and outside my door. I moved here very sheltered and naïve, having barely worked, having managed three years of law school without a degree but also without pretty much retaining any legal knowledge. I was young and clueless and never could've imagined that all those years later I'd even have an accountant, let alone be meeting with one to incorporate a business. It still feels amazing, to have gone from that girl to this one, though really we are so similar. We are both flighty and impatient and don't know how to finish what we start. We are both selfish and bratty and want things to go our way. I hope that in those years I have grown up at least a little. I don't ever sit at a desk or anywhere else hungover. I am rarely up past two, although one night in Austin we we crashed on a friend's couches and I felt many years drop off.

I try not to be too attached to this home, because I am planning to leave. I don't know if it's the best decision, or rather, I will have to give up many comforts of home, of New York, to gain others, like togetherness and quiet and home-cooked meals and daily Jeopardy! watching, like making a future and, if I'm lucky, a family. Like investing in my writing in ways I am simply incapable of in New York.

For all its vastness, New York is sometimes too small. There are aspects of that I appreciate, like the woman at my dry cleaner who always chats with me, tells me I have a doppelganger, compliments my dresses, who seems so quintessentially like someone's mom, which she is. Her shop isn't fancy or hipster in any sense of the word, it's old school, family run. At the same time, my coffee shop is a hipster coffee shop, but no less family, just not an Italian one. I get to hear so many wonderful stories while sitting there for hours, from my fellow customers and the baristas. I brought them cupcakes the day after the election; I apologized for the one with the topper I would bet money they hadn't voted for, but I didn't ask. I will miss that coffee culture and community, and that is high on my list of what I want in my new town. I've never shopped for a town before, or a home. Since I was two, I've only lived in 6 apartments (1 was a dorm). I stick around a long time. I was born in New York, and it will always be a part of me. But I think this year of traveling all over, places I never imagined or thought I could figure out how to go to, has shown me that home is about love. I was so grateful to have someone I barely know open their home to me, and then extend that, when I couldn't get back here. Not being able to come back was frustrating, but it taught me a lot about what and who I miss. It wasn't my stuff or the trappings of home in this space.

While I'm here, I try to value it, to look around my city with the same awe I brought to Dupont Circle, to Penn Quarter, to Georgetown and the White House the last time I was there. I don't want to ever be over New York, to think I know it like the back of my hand because I've walked a bridge or sat in a park or eaten in a restaurant or ridden a subway line dozens or hundreds of times. There's always something new, and it will always be its own kind of home to me. I think I'm ready for an adult life, with closets (my place has none) and organization and art and love. It'll take a while to get to that new home, wherever it is, but it will happen. In the meantime, every minute I'm here, I'm watching and learning and simply savoring it.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Interview with me at BDSM Book Reviews

Over at BDSM Book Reviews, I answer questions like ""Are you actively involved in BDSM? If so how do you identify yourself? Dom(me)/sub? Top/bottom? Switch?" and "Is there one area of BDSM that you tend to write about more? Why do you think that area creeps into your writing more than some others?"

Speaking of BDSM, today my copies of Best Bondage Erotica 2013 arrive! I'm actually having them sent to my boyfriend's so will take some glamour shots next week (I am a total dork and take unboxing photos of my books, but you know what? Fortysomething anthologies in, it is always the most thrilling feeling in the world, to know I made a book. Once that gets old, I'll stop, but I hope it never does.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

How to give me a virtual spanking and help my books with a click

I turn 37 this Saturday, November 10th (yes, I'm a Scorpio!) and I have a simple birthday request - if you like me and want to support my work so I can keep on editing anthologies, please give me a virtual spanking by clicking like on my anthology Cheeky Spanking Stories on Amazon. Bonus points if you do the same for Best Bondage Erotica 2013 (for some reason, it's only allowing likes on Kindle pages) - those arrive in my hands next week, and if you're in the U.S. and want a free signed copy, all you need to do is promise to review it on Amazon within 6 weeks and be one of the first 20 people to email bestbondage2013 at with "Amazon" in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body. I'll autograph it and send it to you next week and yes, that is before it's available on Amazon or in stores. Follow me @raquelita on Twitter if you want future free books to review because I do this same promotion with every book. If you've already requested a copy, you're on my list. Thank you so much for your support! I know make a living entirely by my earnings as a writer, editor and blogger, so every book sale, every like, every review, goes far. This has been a big year, with my first foreign translation (a German edition of Please, Sir), lots of new markets and new ideas and events and I feel so lucky to be so free, to not have to sit in a freezing office (which I would have done had I not gotten laid off), and I want to push myself to do better, to be lucky enough to continue this crazy freelancing life. Yes, it still feels crazy a year in, but in a roller coaster, learn something new every day way. More information about each book is available at and

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Why I'm thinking of switching from a Nook to a Kindle

I feel very stupid when I can't get my technology to work, so even though I will hopefully get it resolved soon, I will not be pre-ordering any more books on my Nook and may even switch to a Kindle. I was all excited to read Murder is a Piece of Cake by Elaine Viets on the treadmill today, so much so that I pre-ordered it, and apparently that was the very wrong thing to do because now it just says "preorder" and won't open even though today is the pub day, November 6th. @BNBuzz on Twitter told me to archive, then unarchive it, which I tried to do, so I will head over at a Barnes & Noble but I don't really have time for that. Good lesson to me not to pre-order, and I think I may look into getting a Kindle because then I can borrow Kindle books for free, I believe.

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, November 05, 2012

Hurricane Sandy sex

Read all about hooking up in New York City in this week's open marriage MTA shutdown Hurricane Sandy sex diary (note: I'm the editor, not the author!). If you're interested in writing an anonymous sex diary, email me at sexiaries at with your age, gender, location, occupation, relationship status and sexual orientation and tell me a little about why you'd make a good diarist, and feel free to pass that on. Thanks!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mindblowing for Wasteful Workaholics, or What I Learned in Texas About Self-Worth

When I was in Texas, my friend Brooke Axtell, who wrote a wonderful piece at Forbes about money, value and women's approach to our work called What is a Woman Worth?", talked about the value of our time and energy and work. I'm paraphrasing, but she suggested that I undervalue myself and suggested a way of seeing work that was so mindblowing I don't even know how to approach it. The gist was that we should strive to work smarter and we will earn more money, not just work more. I tend to go to bed with my to do list running through my head and often have dreams about things I should have done/should be doing/need to do. The idea of ever turning down a job, no matter how low paying, seems ludicrous stacked up next to rent, phone, travel, domain names, books, postage, etc.

And yet, I know she is absolutely right. My accountant told me how much I made in 2011 and I almost fell off my chair. He had to be wrong; not only was my immediate thought that the number was incorrect, but that I couldn't have and by definition didn't deserve that amount. What was also jarring was that so little was left, though if I were using like I should be, I could tell you exactly how many thousands I paid in taxes and student loans, which is where I put any extra money that comes in, so I don't feel like I'm literally getting poorer every day, even though the truth is thanks to my three years of law school, I am. I don't think about it too often, just try to pay as much as I can to Sallie Mae as often as I can, and I have paid over $100,00 plus interest since leaving law school in 1999. I know that's something, but it feels inconsequential when faced with what I still owe.

I've made many strides in terms of breaking into new online and print markets this past year, but there is more to do. What's hard to conceptualize is the idea that I am, in fact, free to pursue whatever projects I want. I should be writing that novella and outlining that novel but I'm still so so afraid of failing that I'd rather not try. As a result, I do the same old round of status quo tasks, the anthology and diary editing, the cupcake blogging, the short story writing that I love but that so often feels frivolous. When I read something like "Do You Have a Scarcity Mindset?" and can answer yes to every talking point, I know I have a major problem. I know that I'm not "driven" and I don't "do so much" (and yes, I want to punch anyone who tells me that, because if I really worked smart, I would make more from what I do, so doing "a lot" is pretty pointless if it's not furthering my career) because it's all so haphazard, catch as catch can. I put too much time into the low paying projects and then give up on the bigger paying ones. I get stuck on the details and frustrated and don't believe in myself; I look at authors writing many books per year and hate myself for not even finishing my short story collection, even though the two are totally unrelated.

Even with blogging, I need to stop thinking I'm too dumb for tech and learn how Google Analytics works so I can blog smarter, can blog things people want to read, can even figure out what's popular. Every time I hit a stumbling block, whether with writing, editing, blogging or, well, life, I just collapse, sometimes literally, but more often figuratively. I go to the darkness because I just have no idea how to work around these things. It starts to feel overwhelming and then I doubt even the things I do think I'm good at. I tell myself it's all just luck and that I don't deserve any of the things I have gotten, or that the answer to success is pumping tons of money into silliness like book trailers or ads or publicists or whatever it is because I can't figure out cheaper ways of selling my books, when the truth is, they will sell themselves, or they won't. Sometimes the more you force it, the less you get out of it.

There are glimmers that I'm moving forward, not stagnating. I'm trying to cut out all the toxic energy in my life, in whatever form. Anything that makes me feel bad about myself in some way (even if it also makes me feel good sometimes), goodbye. I always think I'm stronger than I am until I hit a point where I realize the weakness right underneath, and those two are intertwined in my DNA. I can't collapse at the weak points, nor be bursting with hubris until I explode. I need to start by figuring out "what I want to do when I grow up" and then make a concrete plan to do it. Maybe that will involve going away somewhere to write; maybe it'll mean setting a schedule and a budget and hiding my iPhone and tuning everything out. Maybe it'll be a writing class or boot camp. I don't know what it'll be, I just know I never want to be in a situation like I was in last week, far far away from a paper check, so far that I felt like a complete failure. I never want to get used to that kind of scarcity, to accept it as what I myself am worth. I certainly don't want to pass that on to the next generation, should the universe let me be so lucky.

So yes, my mind was blown, and today I'm in a town with, thankfully, power, so I can get my work done, but whose post office is out of power. I learned a terribly important lesson which is one they teach us so early, yet I'm 36 and haven't quite grasped it. Don't put off tomorrow what you could do today. I did that the other day, not mailing something important because i figured I could "do it on Monday." Wrong. Well, I can, it'll just be a three mile walk, which is a first world problem compared to some of the hurricane devastation, I'm aware. I know there's no reason except my own stupidity that I couldn't have mailed this on Saturday, and that is a recurring issue of mine. Any angst about my birthday is less about the age, though I hate the sound of 37, but more about my lack of wisdom, my failings, all the things I thought I'd know and things I expected to have accomplished in a year's time. But all I can do is be here now, focus on the changes I need to make day to day, hour to hour, word by word, and be grateful for my health, safety and what is the freedom to craft each day however I choose, to work from Texas or New Jersey or Scottsdale or Chicago, from anywhere, really, as long as I'm actually doing the work, not just pretending to, and learning how to do it better, not just in greater but less appealing quantities. I always say I'll quit erotica when I don't have anything more to say. I don't think I'm there yet, but I know I need to push myself, both so I have a financial cushion, and so I remember why I'm doing this in the first place. It's so easy to get accustomed to a situation, to forget how miserable I was at previous jobs, to forget to be humble and grateful and know that the words are not magic entities here to carry me, but something I have to engage and grapple with, fight for, write and erase and revise, start over from a blank page every single day. So, onward, to 37 and beyond...

Happy birthday to my fellow Scorpio, Hello Kitty!

I'm writing today about something Hello Kitty related (more on that when it's in print), and just found out November 1st was Hello Kitty's birthday! A fellow Scorpio, love that! See all our Hello Kitty cupcake coverage here. Adorableness times a million.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Photos and review of Dubai ice bar Chill Out Lounge

I wrote up my visit to ice bar Chill Out Lounge in Dubai for Huffington Post Travel (I meant 21.20 ºF not -21.20 ºF). I'd included all the photos below in my submission but I don't see them on the site, so here they are! I love travel and have my heart set on going to the Ice Hotel in December 2013, I want to learn about travel writing as best I can and someday I hope to get published by sites like Fathom (I actually submitted this piece there but didn't hear back), but who knows? I'm learning, every single day, how to be a freelance writer.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, November 02, 2012

What being in Texas for Hurricane Sandy has taught me about life

The first thing I did this morning after pulling back the blinds to find not warm ways of sunshine streaming through the window, but light and chill, was check my flight status. It's a silly little game, because those can and do change at any time, but it's what I do, to try to get information, to try to figure out if I'll get home after what's become a two-week Texas trip. Anything I think about being here is tempered by the knowledge that so many have died, crushed or drowned, are without power, soon without gas. I have people who've told me their neighborhood looks like nothing happened, others frantically charging their phones anywhere they can, my pregnant friend without power and not able to contact me too often.

The next site I checked is the MTA, where there aren't so many ominous "Suspended" lines, but the ones I will need to get to my boyfriend are not running. He warned me not to come visit, that I wouldn't like the cold and dark. Surely not, but I don't care. What I've learned this week is that all the stuff that's littering my home, that I think I care about, is pointless. I can live out of a suitcase. I can earn a living from my laptop.

I've had some amazing discussions about just that, about this living I'm earning, or not earning, about whether I undervalue myself, don't truly believe I'm worth it. We've talked about Manisha Thakor and Money Zen and next on my to read list is Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want. I've found a new cafe, one with free coffee refills and delicious frittatas and friendly customers and staff to park myself at to work, but I've been forcing myself to ask some deeper questions: why do this at all? What's the next level? Why do I talk myself out of so many goals? It's National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo (want inspiration instead of my doom and gloom? Multiple NaNo winner Marianne Kirby has it in spades!) and every time I contemplate it, it's like fear thickens in my blood, tells me stop, you won't make it, you suck, you failed once so of course you'll fail again. It tells me so many things, so loudly, so repeatedly, I have trouble hearing any other voices, but the peace and quiet and warmth here in Texas have helped with that. On the opposite end of my crazybrain, I have 2 novel ideas and 1 novella idea, plus an actual contract for a short story collection I should be making my number one most urgent priority.

Yesterday I worked, hard. Instead of waiting for Very Cool Travel Site to get back to me, I submitted the piece to Huffington Post. I got almost done with an anthology that I've been almost done with for a while. I wrote a short story. I cupcake blogged. I learned that my bank has a kickass app for depositing checks from your phone. I brainstormed. I read Grace Coddington's amazing memoir, making me feel better about lugging the giant galley in my suitcases. I surrendered any semblance of control and any travel savvy I ever thought I had. I learned not to travel broke, and it's made me ask myself some hard but necessary questions as I go forward, as I embrace what is possible, as I figure out whether this is all just a hobby or something I can sustain. It's not something I can answer in a day or a week, but I am grateful to have been safe and warm and cared about this week, to have been given the chance to ask myself those questions, and plenty of other ones, and know that I have so much more growing up to do, no matter what my age is.

Labels: , , , , ,