Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tonight's our big Chicago erotica reading - please join us and help spread the word!

In just under six hours at 6 p.m. central time tonight, I'll be reading with contributors to Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica: Tara Betts, Rose P. Lethe and Corrine A Silver in Chicago at The Pleasure Chest, 3436 N. Lincoln Avenue (Brown line to Paulina). If you can help spread the word, I'd greatly appreciate it as I dropped the ball a bit with promoting this one, which I was reminded of yesterday as I wandered Chicago and kept seeing kiosks with all the papers I didn't send my listing to (sorry, Chicago!!!). Here's the Facebook event page. I'm truly honored to have these women join me and look forward to hearing them read their sexy stories in their own words. Plus we'll be doing a Q&A afterward so you can ask us anything about the writing process (or me about editing the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series; the deadline to submit to Volume 2 is tomorrow).


It's been a month, which I'll share more about soon, but to put it briefly, March has been a time of upheaval and change and decision making, and one of the conclusions I reached is that I won't be doing any more work travel this year save for Book Expo in May. Travel is both physically draining and expensive and takes time away from my relationship and my other income-generating work writing, teaching and consulting. I do love connecting with people live, but especially through teaching my LitReactor online writing classes, I've realized I can reach more people and take better care of myself when I work closer to home and that's what I'll be doing the rest of the year.

That being said, yesterday I got to see some lovely and unexpected art as I explored Chicago and took photos I've put up on my Instagram account and the Best Women's Erotica of the Year one (go awesome indie bookstores!), including this:


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Monday, March 28, 2016

Ebook sale alert: My BDSM erotica anthology Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission is $1.99 this week!

New week, new kinky book of mine on sale! Get Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission for just $1.99 on Amazon, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo. I love this book and how creative the BDSM is in it and if you are interested in BDSM or curious about it, I think you'll like it too. And if you do, I will shamelessly ask that you leave a review wherever you bought it; even a sentence helps new readers find my books, which in turn helps me get more book deals to keep editing them. This is an oldie but goodie that I treasure and I love that these stories read as novel to me as when I first edited them back in 2007 (the book came out in 2008). Thank you!


Table of Contents
Introduction: Ready to Say Yes, (Sir)
The Art of Darkness • Alison Tyler
Dear Professor Pervert • Donna George Storey
A Necessary Connection • Debra Hyde
The Editor • Amanda Earl
Ribbons • Kathryn O’Halloran
The Day I Came in Public • D. L. King
Lunch • Elizabeth Coldwell
When Penny Met Harry • Stan Kent
The Power of No • Teresa Noelle Roberts
In the Corner • Sommer Marsden
Stuck at Work and Late for a Date • Chelsea Summers
Running Wild • Shanna Germain
Pink Is the Enemy • Jocelyn Bringas
Sitting on Ice Cream • Lisette Ashton
Under His Hand, I Blossom • Nikki Magennis
Make Me • Rachel Kramer Bussel
Body Electric • Lisabet Sarai
Reclaiming the Sofa • Maddy Stuart
How Bad Do You Want It? • Gwen Masters

When I started working on Yes, Sir, I didn’t expect the title phrase to be taken as a literal motto, but more as a call to arms (or rather, to surrender one’s arms) for submissive women who seek out dominant men. I intended Yes, Sir and its companion volume Yes, Ma’am to be the bottoms’ answer to my previous collections He’s on Top and She’s on Top, to showcase our fantasies, desires, and deepest wishes. I wanted those of us who love to be tied up, spanked, blindfolded, bound, or “used” for another’s pleasure, to tell it like it is, to explore why and how we get off in these ways, and the authors presented here gave me what I was looking for—and more.

Here you’ll find all sorts of women for whom their own personal Sirs (or Masters or Daddies) hold the reins to their erotic pleasure. For them, saying yes (or a bratty, defiant no for which they’ll be duly punished) is as powerful as a good, hard smack on the ass. They give up control in all kinds of ways, from letting their doms decide who they’ll fuck to when they’ll come to which color panties are acceptable—and which aren’t. In one of these stories (you’ll have to keep reading to figure out which one), playing at Sir, having your lover become the Sir of your dreams when real life may dictate otherwise, lets the two players take their kink to a whole new level.

Some are old pros at BDSM, and have had many masters, while for others, the language of domination and submission is a novelty. They may not know exactly why they thrill to being told what to do, but they know for sure that they like it, as in the case of the newbie in “Sitting on Ice Cream.” D. L. King’s Libby overcomes her natural shyness in “The Day I Came in Public,” proving that the very acts she first scoffs at are ones that give her no end of delight. It’s almost as if the doms who enter their lives see the potential for submission in these women, and want to bring it forth for their own naughty motives, along with making the women come harder than they ever have before.

The inherent power dynamics of the classroom are brought to light in Donna George Storey’s “Dear Professor Pervert,” a story in which, once official class time ends, the real learning (about everything from masturbation to butt plugs) begins, as well as in Lisabet Sarai’s “Body Electric,” wherein a prominent professor shows a colleague his very intriguing “apparatus.” In Sommer Marsden’s “In the Corner,” the man who first introduced Amelia to kink lures her away from her current “nice guy” date.

These women aren’t pushovers by any means. They make rules and negotiate with their masters, though sometimes they also get off on being pushed just a little too far by men they know they can trust. In “The Art of Darkness,” Alison Tyler writes, “Once Killian understood my fear, his mission became not to save me from my phobia, but to exploit it, every chance he could.” She objects, but when she finally surrenders, she experiences a whole new world, where a blindfold is the path to ecstasy. And the woman who lets her man dictate her meals in Elizabeth Coldwell’s delicious “Lunch”? Well, she knows exactly what she’s doing. “I could go home and just tell Michael I’d done as he instructed. But he would know. He always knows when I try to disobey him, however careful or sneaky I try to be.” In other words, she’s not doing what he says simply because he says it, but because something inside her gets off on obeying. So too in Shanna Germain’s story, the protagonist makes an active choice to go where her inner ache to submit compels her: “‘Follow,’ he said. Something in me resisted, but the power of his voice, the way he walked away from me as though he knew I would trail after him, made it so I couldn’t say no.” And the woman getting fucked on the sofa in Maddy Stuart’s short, sexy tale flinches at the words slut and whore, even as her body responds to them. This duality, with the brain protesting but the blood rushing to the surface, is also part of the thrill of submission, especially for strong, powerful women.

These writers make clear just how much their characters get off when they say “Yes, Sir,” whether literally or figuratively. Sure, they may be doing their masters’ bidding, but the masters are often doing the subs, in their own way, as well, making them ache, moan, quiver, and, yes, come. They know just how to draw out their subs’ pleasure (and pain), how to make the most of a woman whether she’s on her knees, or bent over, or at her computer waiting for the next command. They know that denial, temptation, and frustration can be the most arousing acts of all. They know that, as Teresa Noelle Roberts puts it, “The Power of No” can often be just as hot as the power of yes. Gwen Masters asks in her title, “How Bad Do You Want It?”

I turn that question over to you, dear reader. How bad do you want to be bound, gagged, spanked, or slapped? How bad do you want to have your hair pulled, your nipples clamped, your body strung up? How bad do you want to pant, gasp, scream, and squirm? How bad do you want to turn over some part of yourself to a man just dying to strip you bare and take you somewhere you’ve never been? I don’t know about you, but I want all of those things, very much, and, I’m thankful to say, I (and you) have them all right here. Just turn the page, and be prepared not to get up for a good long while.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

My last 2016 LitReactor online erotica writing class starts May 17th; early bird discount through April 15th

I'm teaching my next LitReactor four-week online erotica writing class from May 17-June 14.


It will be my last one for 2016 as I focus on other projects, so if you're interested, registration is now open and, as always, limited to 16 people. There's an early bird discount if you register by April 15th; after that, the price goes up by $25. You can read about the weekly lectures here and why I emphasize submitting your erotica here (and here's a student who sold a story started in class). You can take the class from anywhere in the world and log in at any time, 24 hours a day. In the past seven times I've taught it, there have always been students in the United States and outside of it. You can be anonymous (you pick your username) and you will have access to the classroom materials forever, although the weekly assignments do have deadlines.

I recommend only taking the class if you have at least five hours a week to devote to it, since there are weekly writing assignments that are then critiqued by your peers (in groups of four), and you will be asked to critique as well, and I of course critique everyone's assignments. That is the heart of the class, but there are also daily posts by me which include exclusive interviews with erotica publishers, editors, literary agents and successful authors, the chance to ask me anything about the writing and publishing process and after class ends you'll be invited to join my private online group for alumni to continue forming community, getting erotica news and asking questions of me and your peers. If you have any questions about whether the class is right for you, feel free to email me at rachelkb at with "LitReactor" in the subject line.

Want to learn more? Here's a Q&A with me at LitReactor and testimonials by my former students.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Chicago Best Women's Erotica reading March 31, Erotica 101 and Sex Writing 101 workshops April 1

I'm gearing up to head to Chicago next week for what will probably be my last live events of 2016 as I wind up my work travel for the year. I hope you can make some of these and if you can't, I hope you'll let Chicago folks know! I highly recommend the conference CatalystCon if you're interested in sexuality and activism. I've loved every one I've attended and while this will be my last for a while as I focus closer to home, I encourage you to attend and also to pitch a panel or presentation for their Los Angeles conference in September. For a glimpse into how my in person erotica writing workshops operate, check out this writeup at Brightest Young Things about my workshop last year at Lotus Blooms in Washington, DC.

I wrote a piece for Lady Smut about why live readings are so important to me, and I'm dedicated to spreading the word about what I think is my best, sexiest, strongest, most diverse book, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 (so far, until Volume 2 comes out!) however I can. The truth is, traveling is expensive and beyond my capacity in time and funds these days, I'm doing it this time because I believe so strongly in this book and its stories and want to share them and give my amazing author a space to share their words in their own voices. I'm honored that The Pleasure Chest is hosting us and has the book in stock (yes, I list every indie store I know of that has my little book right here and would love to add more store names). I'll be documenting the reading on the book's Instagram account.


March 31, 6-7:30 pm
Free Best Women's Erotica of the Year reading

Join Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 editor Rachel Kramer Bussel along with contributors Tara Betts and Rose P. Lethe, plus Corrine A. Silver, author of Wrecked and contributor to Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, for a fun, free erotica reading. Q&A and book signing to follow.
The Pleasure Chest, 3436 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, 773-525-7151 or Facebook listing


April 1, 9:15 am-12:!5 pm
Erotica Writing 101 workshop
In this three hour workshop Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 50 erotica anthologies, such as The Big Book of Orgasms, Cheeky Spanking Stories and Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. Learn how to get started, find your voice, and write against type. You’ll discover how to incorporate everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular magazines and anthologies. The class will also cover branding yourself as a writer, using and selecting a good pseudonym, and using social media to promote your work and do outreach. She’ll also talk about submitting your work and keeping up with the thriving erotica market, including anthologies, ebooks, magazines and websites. Please bring paper and writing implements or a laptop to use for in class writing exercises. A bibliography with erotica resources will be provided. Organized by conference CatalystCon but open to all (you do not have to attend CatalystCon to attend). $45/person. Registration open through March 31 at (or $79 for both Erotica Writing 101 and Sex Writing 101).
Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018

April 1, 1:30 pm-4:30 pm
Sex Writing 101 (Non-fiction)
In this three hour workshop, writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel will cover all you need to know about writing about sex, including blogging, first-person essays and journalism. You’ll learn how to ethically write about your love life, what editors are looking for, where to find experts on sexuality topics, and how to stay abreast of current sex news. Whether you’re looking to write a sex blog, column, articles or books, you’ll find out how to pitch, how much money you can expect to make, and how to maximize your editorial opportunities. The class will also cover branding yourself as a writer, using and selecting a good pseudonym, using social media to promote your work and do outreach, and how to pitch stories. Rachel is the author of Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, a sex columnist for Philadelphia City Paper and DAME, and was a sex columnist for The Village Voice, Penthouse and The Frisky, and has written about sexuality for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast,, Glamour, Inked, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Salon, Slate,, xoJane and many other publications. A resource list covering markets for sex-related pieces, including editors who are actively looking for pitches, will be provided. You do not have to attend CatalystCon to take the workshop. $45/person. Registration open through March 31 at (or $79 for both Erotica Writing 101 and Sex Writing 101).
Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018

Saturday, April 2
I'm also speaking on two panels at CatalystCon! I'm moderating "Sharing Your Sex Life on the Page and the Stage" April 2 from 9:30 am-10:40 am and am part of "Partners in Pleasure: Building bridges between sex positive retailers and educators" that same day from 12:30 pm - 1:40 pm. See the full schedule here.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

LitReactor student success story: new fiction in Lit Select food erotica anthology Love Slave: Sizzle

Few things make me happier than to hear that my students have enjoyed my classes, save for when they tell me that work they created in my class is now published, and that that came about because of me. It feels like coming full circle and a wonderful validation of all their hard work and the community that's formed in my LitReactor classes. So yesterday when writer LN Bey announced that their story "Just Desserts" was published in the new food erotica anthology Love Slave: Sizzle from publisher Lit Select, I was thrilled. In LN's words from a recent blog post:
This is a food-themed erotica collection; I wrote this story as an assignment in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s online erotica writing class via LitReactor and I’ve been saving it for just such an anthology. I am especially happy about the acceptance because I mentioned it in my last blog post as an example of how I sometimes enjoy playing with the tropes of erotica in my stories, and now I look much more knowledgable since the story will be in print (or online, anyway)!

It's also wonderful to see that Lit Select has several calls for submissions posted on such wide-ranging topics ranging from "what went wrong?" to sports to enchanted forests to second chances. When I say that erotica is a democratic genre always in need of new writers, this is precisely what I mean. You don't need to have studied it, in my classes or anywhere else. You don't need intense research, unless you're writing about some specific aspect of sex like rope bondage, in which you'd want to make sure you're being accurate. You really just need imagination and dedication. Of course, we go over lots more than that in my classes, but I want to shatter the myth that to get published you need to somehow work your way up. You need to write the best work you can and make it as unique and polished and exciting as you can, but that is something I truly believe more people are capable of than they realize. I think many new writers shy away from submitting their work because they are nervous about it, and I always tell them the worst that can happen is it gets rejected. My work has been rejected umpteen times, but that doesn't stop me from continuing to submit it. In fact, those rejections have served me especially well in the last four and a half years of working for myself, because rejection is something I face daily and I know that my livelihood depends on continuing to persevere on the projects I am proud of and believe are worthy. Believing in your work, being passionate enough about it to pursue it in the face of rejection, researching markets and finding the right fit, is part of being a writer, and those are values I try to instill in my students. Again, I never pressure anyone to submit their work, but I do encourage my LitReactor and other students to get used to the submission process because it's a wonderful feeling to have worked hard and been rewarded for that.

I've written before about why I put a focus on my erotica students submitting their work, and I stand by it. Of course, not everyone wants to send out their work, but I want them to know what markets are available and what the possibilities are. Especially if, like LN, they have a novel coming out, whether self-publishing, as in LN's case, or traditionally publishing, getting your work seen by an audience beforehand has a great impact in terms of name recognition. This is all the more so if you're talking about an anthology, where, I believe based on editing over 60 of them, the final product is far greater than the sum of its parts, because you have so many people's combined talent and creativity in one package. You will undoubtedly be tapping in to an audience that may overlap with yours but that will also be different, because the publisher and your fellow authors will have wider networks than you alone do.

I don't share every student victory here, but since this book is out now and I think food erotica is a fun theme and something I often teach, I wanted to share it. Also, there's an early bird discount for my next LitReactor class, which will run May 17-June 14 and will likely be my final one for the year as I focus on other projects; sign up by April 15th to take advantage of it. Those classes are limited to 16 people and it's likely to sell out, based on past experience. It'll be my seventh time teaching the class and, having just wrapped up my sixth, I'm looking forward to working with another dedicated, enthusiastic group.


If you prefer in person erotica writing workshops, my next one will be a three-hour class Friday, April 1st from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Chicago (actually, Rosemont, Illinois). It's being organized by the wonderful conference CatalystCon but you do not have to attend CatalystCon to take my workshop. Full details are at the CatalystCon site and you can register here. Hearing fellow students read their work aloud and having that space and time to focus on expanding your writing boundaries is a wonderful way to kickstart your writing and you should go home full of story starts and prompts that will keep you writing for a long time to come. Official details:

April 1, 2016, 9:15 am - 12:15 pm
Erotica 101 workshop, CatalystCon
In this three hour workshop Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 50 erotica anthologies, such as The Big Book of Orgasms, Cheeky Spanking Stories and Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. Learn how to get started, find your voice, and write against type. You’ll discover how to incorporate everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular magazines and anthologies. The class will also cover branding yourself as a writer, using and selecting a good pseudonym, and using social media to promote your work and do outreach. She’ll also talk about submitting your work and keeping up with the thriving erotica market, including anthologies, ebooks, magazines and websites. Please bring paper and writing implements or a laptop to use for in class writing exercises. A bibliography with erotica resources will be provided.

This class will take place on Friday, April 1, 2016 at the CatalystConhost hotel. You must purchase a ticket to this workshop separately from CatalystCon on the registration page and do not have to attend CatalystCon to take the workshop. $45/person.. Register here.

Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Rosemont, IL 60018


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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Femdom erotica sale this week: Yes, Ma'am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission is just $1.99!

Short version: my femdom BDSM erotica anthology Yes, Ma'am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission is only $1.99 this week on Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo. Bonus good news: this week only, the Yes, Ma'am audiobook is only $3.99, so you can read or listen (or both) for a much lower than usual price. It's for sale on Audible or Amazon. Below is what's in the book and me taking a moment to remind myself how far I've come. If you've already read it or read it now for the first time, I'd love if you shared your honest opinion about it wherever you purchased it or on Goodreads. Those reviews help sustain a book like this and keep it alive (yes, I have plenty of books I've edited that are out of print, never to be revived, not available in ebook or audiobook form, so this matters to me.)


What's in this fantastic femdom collection?

Yes, Ma'am table of contents

Introduction: Giving It Up: Letting Her Rule

Zero Sum Game Alex Mendra
Secret Desires Ellen Tevault
Tea for Three Lee Ash
Exhibit A Chris Cooper
A Different Kind of Reality Show D. L. King
Secretary’s Day Rachel Kramer Bussel
Wedding Night Dominic Santi
Flash Alison Tyler
It’s Cold Outside Stephen Elliott
An Invitation to the Dance Sylvane Alistair
Sticking with You L. E. Bland
i 1t u 2 do sumfin 4 me George Cross
Rope Burn A. D. R. Forte
His Lady’s Manservant Andrea Dale
Taming the Unruly Debra Hyde
The Big What Michael Hemmingson
The Mean Girl Teresa Noelle Roberts
Connection Kristina Wright

Giving It Up: Letting Her Rule

“What makes a man cower before a powerful woman?” I asked in my call for submissions for this book. What you’ll find here are numerous answers to that question, though surely there are infinitely more waiting to be written. Men are the ones gifted with all sorts of power in our society, but our dirty little secret is that so many of them long to strip themselves of this power, to be tied down, gagged, spanked, taken, owned. They want to be made to do a woman’s bidding, whether that means being ordered into a threesome or put on full, naked display, as you will read about here. They want to ease the burdens of manliness, if only for a little while, to be “ordered” to do all the naughty things they’ve dreamed of.

Submissive men are some of the most misunderstood, and invisible, sexual creatures around. Their voices simply aren’t heard in popular culture, though you’ll find them in plenty of bedrooms, in the blogosphere, and in fetish clubs. After putting together the anthologies He’s on Top and She’s on Top, I wanted to look at BDSM from the bottom’s perspective. Why would a man want to give up control? What does he get out of such an arrangement? These stories show you some of the tantalizing possibilities out there for sniveling men and the women who love them.

Men who crave the company of a dominant woman find her with wives, girlfriends, and dominatrices, sometimes bringing out the kinky tendencies of their partners, other times tapping into what’s already well developed, yet we rarely hear their authentic voices telling us what makes them shiver with fear and excitement. There’s still a taboo element to our leaders—in business, government, and the home—voluntarily relinquishing the top spot. Men are taught to be the hunters, not the hunted, and when the tables are turned, many are all too thrilled to be treated like scum. The flipside is that any woman who can lure a submissive man into her lair knows just how valuable a prize she’s gotten and will surely want to keep him happy, even if this means putting her foot down, literally, upon him, as the boss in “Secretary’s Day” does to her new hire.

“Masturbation without permission was strictly forbidden. This was the most difficult for me because I got so worked up being Rikka’s little whore that I desperately needed to jerk off,” writes Alex Mendra in “Zero Sum Game.” He describes his setup with the commanding Rikka as “perfection,” striving to be everything she desires, but delighting in each form of punishment she cooks up, whether a firm spanking across his ass or the sudsy scene she cooks up for him.

In Stephen Elliott’s “It’s Cold Outside,” the element of realism he so beautifully captures takes us far beyond the clichéd Catwoman fantasy into the stuff of real life, where a woman commandeers the body of the narrator while her boyfriend is asleep. She leaves him tied up, helpless—and horny, and he takes her marks with him, literally and figuratively, when they part.

In “The Mean Girl,” Teresa Noelle Roberts writes of a man reminiscing about his first fantasy domme, now embodied by his real-life Cruella. “I tasted every humiliation I’d ever faced in my hopeless pursuit of Muffy Spaulding—made new and fresh and delicious because now it was coming from Heather, whom I loved. Whom I really did worship, kinky games aside.”

There’s also plenty of humor here. In “A Different Sort of Reality Show” by D. L. King, the author takes us behind the TV screen, where a man is controlled by a cacophony of women’s voices, each taking more delight than the next in ordering him to humiliate himself for their pleasure.

Debra Hyde encapsulates perfectly why the “unruly” man doesn’t just wish to be tamed, but needs to be. “Fear no longer dominates; submission does. I am vessel and vassal—tool and toy, the means to her pleasure. I am hers.” If those words resonate with you, making you long for a woman to come along and grab you by the scruff of your neck, or order you to your knees, or simply control you with one fierce, all-knowing look, then this is the book for you. Go ahead, say the words out loud: “Yes, Ma’am.” Wherever your domme is, she’ll hear you.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City June 2007

This is one of my earliest anthologies, finished so long ago I had to formally go back and remind myself what's inside it, which is exactly what I needed this week. Why? Because lately I've been having a tough time, trying to figure out where to go next, what path to follow, or forge. I still don't know but am exploring new possibilities, ones that may be better suited to my talents and needs. So seeing work I produced when I was almost a decade younger, work that stands the test of time helps remind me that I do have the power to create, whatever that next creation looks like. It also reminds me what I love about the anthology editing process: getting to work with a range of writers, with very different styles and approaches, which I will be doing in a few short weeks for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2. I have largely moved away from anthology editing to other types of work, but it's an honor to get to work with women from around the world, one I don't want to take lightly. (If you know any women, especially women who might have great erotic stories lurking inside them but have never written erotica or thought of themselves as "erotica writers," I'd love if you'd pass on the call for submissions. The April 1 deadline is fast approaching!)

I do believe in signs, in reminders, in prods in the right direction when I can't provide them for myself, and while it's gratifying to see my book at 500 in the entire Kindle store (and charting on the Audible audiobook erotica bestseller list), it's even more gratifying to know that something I completed so long ago is still in print, still viable, still valuable to readers who may be exploring kinky sex for the first time or the four thousandth time. I can't and will never speak for anyone else, but for me, I needed that reminder to help me move forward, no matter what the future looks like.

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Friday, March 04, 2016

Why "A New Canvas" by Tara Betts opens Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 plus free excerpt

I'm devoting this year to promoting the book I'm most proud of, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, and the next few weeks to getting as many women erotica writers from around the world to submit their stories to Volume 2 (the call for submissions is here; deadline is April 1). As part of that, and to give a sense of why I've chosen the stories I have for this first volume, I'm going to be blogging about each of them this month. I also want to give these authors the praise they deserve.

BWEOfThe Year_approved

I'm starting with the first story, "A New Canvas" by Tara Betts, and I want to encourage you to come hear her read from it live on March 31st at from 6 to 7:30 pm at The Pleasure Chest in Chicago. Can't make it? Please help spread the word! In my ideal world, one that would require being independently wealthy, I would travel all over and do readings with every author in the book. Since I live in the real world, I can only do a limited number of readings, so I want to make those as spectacular as I possibly can. So if you live in Chicago, will be there for CatalystCon, or know anyone there who'd appreciate a free, sexy erotica reading, please let them know.

There were a few things I liked about this story. One was that it was about friends forging forward with a sexual relationship they've danced around. That part felt very realistic to me; Angela and Troy aren't star-crossed lovers or over-the-top romantics, but friends who are attracted to each other. I also liked how art played a role in their seduction dance; it's both creative and intimate and gives the reader time to get drawn into what's happening. There's also an element of awe that this is actually happening which I appreciated, such as when Betts writes, "Angela's mouth fell open. She was still stunned that her tea kettle might not be the only vessel making a high-pitched sound."

One of the things I balance in my anthologies is who's telling the stories. This opening story is in the third person, and Betts does something that's not easy to do, which is seamlessly give us insight into two characters at once. While Troy is drawing on Angela, there's this sentence: "He loved how every word fell from her tongue, and he wondered what her babies might be like inside her." There is a tenderness and passion in this story that certainly goes beyond sex, which I especially appreciated because it closes on an open-ended note. Betts captures how powerful a sexual encounter can be even when two people are not in an official relationship, but are engaging in much more than a hookup.

I chose this story to open the book for two reasons: One was the title, "A New Canvas," which signified a beginning to me. This is the beginning of a new aspect of their relationship, although it's one that's been simmering. The other reason is that for those who either use the "look inside" feature on Amazon or otherwise read the first few pages or pick up the book in a bookstore and start reading, they will see from the very beginning that even though the cover model is white, this is not just a book of white women's erotica, nor will Volume 2 be.

I wanted readers who, whether they read the whole book or not, to pick it up and know that there are diverse characters and scenarios. And that those who found the book lacking in certain aspects of women's lives or sexualities will submit stories precisely about what they found missing in the first volume. I'm honored that I have the opportunity to edit another book in this series, and it's not something I take lightly. I received over 200 submissions to Volume 1, and I hope to receive as many, if not more, this time around, and will do my best to create a book that is a complement to this first volume, and one that will appeal to as wide a range of readers as I can manage in my limited word count.

Here's a short excerpt from "A New Canvas" by Tara Betts, which you can read in full in print, ebook and, very soon, listen to in audiobook form, in Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 from Cleis Press.
Excerpt of "A New Canvas" by Tara Betts:

At first, the cool, firm tip of each pen chilled her skin. She felt the goosebumps rise as he wrote Uhuru, the Swahili word for freedom, on her left forearm. He colored in the purple letters with pink and blue chevron-like stripes. He moved on to the right forearm and wrote if, the Yoruba word for love, in black. He colored in that shorter word with red and green. On the left side, he started drawing a purple arrow along the length of her body toward the pubic bone. "Directions for later," Troy explained. When he was done drawing that arrow, he capped the pen and traced the tip around the lips of her opening, which had been wet when he began. He stroked her clitoris a few times with the pen and Angela shuddered. When he touched her with his fingers, he smiled, reached for the black pen and drew the second arrow between her breasts, right next to the purple one.

Just above the collarbone, he etched in a purple and navy skyline, but included an array of tiny gold stars across her hips. A few outlined the constellation Cassiopeia between her shoulder and breast. When he got to her thighs, he started to sketch out anatomical images of the brain and the heart on one side and the uterus and tongue not he other. He leaned over and kissed her, and told her that her eyes and lips always drew him in, but the brain and the heart made it better
Get Best Women's Erotica of the Year now in print or ebook at the following online stores, or click here to see a full list of independent bookstores and sex toy stores where you can buy it:

Amazon (print)


Barnes & Noble (print)




IndieBound (find your nearest local bookstore)

Cleis Press

Amazon UK (print)

Amazon UK Kindle

Amazon Canada (print)

Amazon Canada Kindle

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Over sharing

I've been pretty quiet on my blog and social media the last few weeks, save for the occasional Instagram photo and crowdsourcing and article sharing. It's something I, who used to be quite the oversharer, am still grappling with. The last few weeks, and much of 2016, really, have been challenging in a lot of ways that I'm still sorting out. They're things that aren't well suited to dashing off an immediate update for all the world (or even a small subset of it). I'm slowly trying to write about it and figure out how to get back on track with all areas of my life.

Nothing is drastically wrong, don't worry, but that is part of the problem I keep circling back to: sharing anything about my life that's not grand and glorious and exciting can bring an onslaught of concern that I'm also not that equipped to deal with at the moment. In short, I'm trying, both in writing and in real life. Trying sounds, perhaps, half-hearted or weak or lazy, but for me, it's not. It's about recognizing what I am capable of and what I'm not and adjusting my life accordingly. I realize maybe addressing the change in output so vaguely doesn't really offer that much, yet I wanted to because I know I haven't really been as active as I could be. I may return to that level of activity soon, but it may be a while or, frankly, never. I do still plan to post things, but the majority of that is about work projects that are occupying the bulk of my attention and time. One of the things I'm working on in every area of my life is doing it anyway, even when I'm not sure what my next steps will be, even when I'm nervous or scared or uncertain.

I do have a lot I hope to write, and a lot of plans and projects in various stages of fruition, but these days, it's all about what comes immediately next, what I need to do to best look after myself. I've scaled back in a lot of ways, including my social life, such as it is, to really dig deep and work on myself. So that's what I'm up to when I'm not writing or editing or teaching or consulting, which, along with my relationship, are where I'm focused these days. It may mean I'm far more boring online than I once was, but if that's the worst thing I have to deal with, I am more than happy to embrace putting people to sleep with my dullness. That's more of a warning than an apology, but I do hope you'll keep reading.

I want to interview you about your sex life if...

I want to interview women (you can be anonymous) about your sex life if:

You've kept (or are keeping) a sex secret from a partner. This could be anything from your porn viewing habits or a particular fetish or sexual interest to sexting or flirting with someone, etc. Anything that would fall under "sex secret" is fair game.

And then for a new series of interviews I'm conducting for, the first of which, about polyamory, is up now ("I'm in a Relationship With Five People. Just One Is My Husband."), I'd like to talk women who fit any of the following:

You've exclusively dated/slept with people of one gender and after 10 or more years decided to date people of another gender.

You're a single college student.

You've only slept with one partner (and are still sleeping with them).

You're having an affair.

You engage in a specific fetish.

You're in a relationship and you and/or your partner deal with mental health issues.

You're in a long distance relationship.

You're pregnant or recently gave birth.

You have a highly unique aspect of your sex (and/or dating) life that you'd like to open up about. I will leave it up to you as to what's "highly unique" but if you know any women with such a story who might be interested in being profiled, have them get in touch.

Email me at rachelkb at with "Interview" in the subject line and a little about your story and I can give you more information.

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