Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I wrote about my partner not telling me who they're voting for

I'm a little late getting this posted (I do post all relevant links on Twitter and Facebook), but I wrote a piece for the wonderful DAME (I highly recommend bookmarking the site) about how it feels to be supporting Hillary Clinton but my partner not wanting to tell me who he's voting for for president, which could be Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, a third party candidate, a write in candidate, or nobody. I miss writing essays and have been trying to carve out time to write more of them, but this is a start.


On the career front, I'm mostly a copywriter these days, and I'm proud of learning a new skill/career path at 40, but I don't want to give up "me" writing entirely, though the steady paycheck thing more than makes up for any downsides. It's a daily challenge to figure out what's feasible in terms of managing my time, what's worthwhile financially, what matters to me. I'm catching up on pieces that have fallen by the wayside so I can make room for new ones. I'm also getting ready for what I hope is my biggest, best and most successful book launch ever (December 13th is the big day!). Though my books, thankfully, have long legs and tend to sell even years after their release, that first release month is so vital and I dread messing it up. So that's what I'm up to, and trying to make writing from the heart something I practice more often. I'll be at writing conference BinderCon in New York this weekend, so if you're there, say hello, and if you're interested in this fabulous event for women and gender nonconforming writers, check it out. They also hold an L.A. version in March. I'll be doing something I've never done before, a theme for me of this year: pitching editors in person.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Body positivity in romance novels: my ode to Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

Over at Lady Smut, I sang the praises of romance novel Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton, part of her delicious ode to the food and men of the Hudson Valley.


I wrote about her size 18 and ultra confident heroine Natalie, who knows what she wants in the bedroom and on the job and goes after it with this attitude I wish I could possess even a small fraction of. Here's a small sampling of her attitude, from the book:
Size-eighteen women were supposed to be timid. Size-eighteen women were supposed to be shy. Size-eighteen women were supposed to be grateful for any male attention, and to feel especially honored if a good-looking man paid attention to them.

Fuck all that noise. I took the best-looking guy home with me whenever and however I pleased.
I got very personal, more so than I intended when I started, sharing my weight and my body image issues and hopefully by doing so, helping break down that social custom that says either we shouldn't talk about our "numbers" and/or that we must all always be perfect feminists who love our bodies every second of the day.

I got to meet Alice Clayton this weekend at romance novel convention Shameless Book Con in Orlando and when she saw my name tag, she leapt up and hugged me for writing the post. Plus she was wearing an I'm With Her Hillary Clinton t-shirt. Both those things made my day, as did people telling me they were going to check out the book based on what I wrote. If you like humorous romances, food and amazing characters, definitely check out Cream of the Crop. I recommend her other wonderful books too; I started Roman Crazy (set in Rome) over the weekend and am loving it.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Supporting my community by backing Sexy Little Pages and Sex Down South

My two biggest goals this year were to get my financial life in order (I have a list of specific goals around that, but they basically amount to increasing my income, raising my credit score, upping my savings and amping up my retirement account) and to get pregnant. So far I've had zero luck on the latter, though I haven't given up, and am working diligently on the former. Five years ago, in October 2011, I was laid off from my full time magazine editing job and I really had no idea what I was going to do. My forays into the job market yielded nothing and that was depressing and demoralizing and I quickly realized I needed to simply adapt and rather than look for another full time job, I had to hustle as hard as I could.

That worked for a while, and last year was a good year financially, but it also came at a cost; I researched an article for a print magazine I'd dreamt of breaking into while on vacation in Thailand. I worked many odd hours and always felt like I was scrambling to read every last news item to see if I could pitch a story on it. So this year, when things got rocky in my little freelance world, I reached out to people I love and trust and told them I was looking for work, and lo and behold, I got part-time jobs writing for OMJ (Oh. My. Jersey.) and doing copywriting. Both have amounted to pretty much a full time job, and I still pour my heart and soul into editing and promoting my anthologies, teach my online erotica writing class at LitReactor, do occasional freelance writing and consult with writers about erotica. At the end of this year I will be formally assessing what's working and what's not so I can figure out my next steps.

But since this year has mostly gone well and seems to be on the upswing, I wanted to take a small amount of the money I've earned and find ways to both give back and spread the word about my books. I pour most of any extra income that doesn't go to bills or debt or savings back into promoting the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series, and that's paid off in the sense that I'm about to sign a contract to edit a fourth volume. That means I can plan and grow the series and really think strategically about what my goals are for it.

Additionally, I also plan to make an end of year donation to one of my favorite nonprofits, the New Jersey based Bridge of Books Foundation, which provides books to children in need. I used to volunteer helping sort books for them when I lived in Red Bank, and miss that experience but am so glad they are out there helping kids get their hands on books.

So while I'm still in the midst of really getting a handle on my money, when I have had a surplus due to especially good months, I've been looking for ways to give back, and two of those have been by supporting the sex positive community. I just backed my first Patreon, for the UK based publisher Sexy Little Pages. I've really enjoyed the books of theirs I've read, especially their tattoo erotica anthology Inked, and think it's wonderful for the genre to have new publishers, new voices, new ways of drawing in readers and new outlets for authors. I encourage my students to check out their calls for submissions and am always thrilled when one of them gets an acceptance.

The bottom line is, publishing is a business, and I believe we all have to support each other. This may be with money, by buying books or backing a Patreon like this, or by reviewing books on Goodreads, Amazon, your blogs, etc., by asking your library to buy an author or publisher's books, etc. There are really an infinite number of ways you can support the publishers and authors you love and want to see stay in business. I find that when a publisher closes, there's a lot of disappointment, but I think we then all need to ask ourselves, what were we doing to support them? So I wanted to use the blessing and gratefulness for what's been a good year so far to support a publisher I think is doing great things, and I encourage you to as well. If you back them for $3 a month, you even get a link on their site, so there's something in it for you too.

I have heard wonderful things from participants in the Sex Down South conference in Atlanta. I wasn't able to attend this year but I wanted to both support them and reach out to a community I think would enjoy my books, so the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series is now a sponsor of the conference. It's really an honor for me to be able to do this, and while large sums would have been out of my reach, theirs were very reasonable. So if you're in or near Atlanta, I encourage you to attend the conference this weekend and think about submitting to speak next year! Their lineup covers a wide range of topics, they bring in fascinating speakers and it looks like a wonderful event that I do hope I can experience for myself at some point.


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My erotic romance anthology Irresistible is $1.99 this week with stories by Tiffany Reisz,

I'm thrilled to share that my anthology Irresistible: Erotic Romance for Couples is only $1.99 on Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo this week. I hope you'll check it out if you missed it the first time. It's a very special collection that really pushes the boundaries of hotness and says something broader, in my opinion, about women's sexual desires. Happy reading!


This Irresistible read features stories of couples turning their deepest fantasies into reality for uninhibited and imaginative sex. You'll delight in discovering all the exciting erotic possibilities, and ways of getting and staying turned on. It all starts with a little sexting in A.M. Hartnett's sizzling "Safe for Work" office tryst and Cole Riley's moving "Same As It Ever Was" shows that makeup sex can be the start of something new and better. Dirty talk leads to lustful surprises and inspiration for the neighbors in "The Mitzvah" by Tiffany Reisz. Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel notes that the lovers in this daringly romantic anthology are "able to open up in the ways they do is precisely because they have another person to rely on, coax them, challenge them, tease them and seduce them into traveling down a new sexual path. Whether that means outdoor sex, kink, a trip to a strip club or a very sensual massage, we get to see how the layers of trust that have been built up get used to stoke the fire that burns between them."
Table of contents:

Twice Shy Heidi Champa
Safe for Work A. M. Hartnett
Repaint the Night Janine Ashbless
Same As It Ever Was Cole Riley
Out of Control Karenna Colcroft
Warrior Kate Pearce
Hypocrites Alyssa Turner
The Pact Elizabeth Coldwell
Exposing Calvin Rachel Kramer Bussel
Six Eyes, Two Ears Kris Adams
Renewal Delilah Night
The Netherlands Justine Elyot
Predatory Tree Craig J. Sorensen
The Mitzvah Tiffany Reisz
After The Massage Kay Jaybee
Pink Satin Purse Donna George Storey


A lot of the erotica that comes across my desk focuses on the spark of attraction when strangers meet, the cataclysmic sensation of falling, hard, for someone new and exciting. That makes sense, because there's built-in drama and erotic tension when two people discover there's intense chemistry between them. With this anthology, though, I wanted to explore what happens after that, once those people have been together a while (even a short while). I wanted to see what sparks fictional couples could produce on the page, and the results are, well, scorching.

The couples in this book explore all sorts of exciting sexual possibilities, and one of the main reasons they're able to open up in the ways they do is precisely because they have another person to rely on, coax them, challenge them, tease them and seduce them into traveling down a new sexual path. Whether that means outdoor sex, kink, a trip to a strip club or a very sensual massage, we get to see the ways the layers of trust that have been built up get used to stoke the fire that burns between them.

In addition to enjoying naughty, wild adventures, the couples here also work out differences between one another and handle issues like infidelity in ways that ultimately strengthen, rather than destroy, their relationships' longevity. In Cole Riley's "Same As It Ever Was," Joanne suspects her husband of cheating, but with a little help from her best friend, manages to recapture the sensual spirit and passion that's been missing as both husband and wife make amends and move on, knowing what it was they almost lost. Rekindling a romance that's threatened to go stale is also the theme of "Renewal" by Delilah Night, where she writes, "That touch sent a long-missing ripple through my body. I hesitated, hoping he'd remember what I love."

In "The Pact" by Elizabeth Coldwell, a woman rediscovers a man she'd once passed over, only to find that the years they've spent apart have made him someone she's sorry she overlooked. How a couple deals with a death in the family, as well as religious tradition, is the subject of "The Mitzvah" by Tiffany Reisz, as Grace and Zachary find that embracing desire can be healing. Kris Adams takes us into an African village and some complicated relationship dynamics, along with a lot of voyeurism, in "Six Eyes, Two Ears." Kay Jaybee takes a common fantasy, that of a man watching two women make love, and breathes new life into it by showing both halves of a couple as they live out this dream. Individual characters work through their own issues with the help of their partners, getting support, love and, of course, very hot sex. "Repaint the Night," by Janine Ashbless, is about public sex, but, even more, a woman who is conquering a fear of the dark after being mugged ten years before. The erotic power of that story is heightened by Leah's awe at being able to enjoy what she and Callum are sharing, as she recovers a part of herself she lost and deepens the level of trust between them. For those who likes things a bit spicier, there's "The Netherlands" by Justine Elyot, in which a nude Loveday serves guests tea and takes orders, while fulfilling a longtime fantasy of being "used," with her true love there to watch. Make no mistake: though these are stories about couples, they are not light or fluffy. They are full of joy, lust and kink, as well as realistic elements of mistrust, uncertainty and confusion, which the couples work through in ways that don't gloss over or ignore their differences. These couples, however long they've been a team, push the envelope by pushing themselves to try something new, even when they're not sure where it will lead them. They go to those exotic, erotic places, to those recurring fantasies, because they know they have someone who will travel there with them. I hope this book will inspire nighttime reading--out loud--and erotic adventures, as well as conversations that have been bubbling under the surface, waiting to be exposed, just like the fantasies in the tales you're about to read.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Free audio erotica on The Kiss Me Quick's Podcast and enter to win Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica

I've loved working with Rose Caraway, the narrator of many of my anthologies (and certainly the best selling ones), including Gotta Have It, The Big Book of Orgasms, The Big Book of Submission and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, because she's got a gorgeous voice, reaches a wide audience and is super talented at what she does. I have a post in the works about passive income for authors and how successful our audiobook collaborations have been for me, but it's not just the money. It's that Rose is exposing my books, and my authors, to a huge range of listeners who very likely would never have come across the print or ebook versions otherwise. This really can't be overstated, so I'm thrilled to have worked with her again on two new audiobooks: Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica and Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples, both of which are out now on Audible.


Not only that, but you can listen to "The Prototype" by Malin James free on The Kiss Me Quick's podcast.


Here's a little excerpt from the beginning of "The Prototype:"
“What the hell is that?”

“It’s a prototype,” Edward says, grinning like a kid.

“For what?”

I ask because the form and function of the thing in Edward’s hand remains unclear. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a beach ball that’s been shoved through a piece of three-quarter-inch plastic pipe. The pipe forms a sort of handle—I can tell because that’s where he’s holding it—while the uninflated ball flops out the other side, all strangled and primary colored. He has a bright-red bicycle pump clutched in his other hand.

“It’s something I’m making. For you.”

Edward smiles at me. His eyes, behind his glasses, are earnest and adorable. Edward invents things for fun. In real life, he does something abstract with currency markets, but in his dreams he has an underground lab and a henchman. At the moment, he’s wearing his eureka! face, which means he’s onto something.

“That’s really sweet, babe,” I say, coming closer. “But I’m not sure what I’m going to do with a ball shoved through a tube.” “Ah,” he replies, “but it’s not just a ball shoved through a tube. Watch!”

Edward holds out the contraption, which is, apparently, more than it seems, and rummages around in the “handle” before pulling out the ball’s valve. Then he attaches the bicycle pump. Cradling it like a baby, he lays the prototype on the counter and pumps the ball full of air. Once the ball is inflated, it sticks awkwardly out from the top of the plastic rod like a…like an I don’t know the hell what. Then he looks at me, triumphant. He’s so jazzed he’s nearly rocking on his heels. With a grin, he presents it to me like a bouquet.
When I set out to edit a book of sex toy erotica, I knew I wanted stories about both the kinds of toys you'll find in stories that sell sex toys as well as tales involving using household items to arouse characters and fictional toys, the kind that either can only exist on the page or that so far have only existed in an author's imagination. The combination of these various types of toys is to me what makes Come Again such a wonderful anthology, one I'm very proud of and I'm thrilled it's getting a wider audience. Rose is giving away copies signed by me or a copy of the audiobook in this Facebook contest that runs through October 24. Enter now!

While I'm posting about audiobooks, Dirty Dates is also special to me because it's all about BDSM and kinky couples who explore their interests in a wide range of very hot ways. You can listen to it now at Audible.


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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Why I organized a 2017 book tour for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2

Every year, I tell myself some version of: You need to stay home, be responsible, save money. Readings are not the most efficient use of your very limited financial resources. Sometimes I listen to that voice, because it does speak a certain kind of cold, hard, practical truth, but sometimes I go rogue and listen to my book loving heart, which tells me that short term loss is okay because what I gain in the long term, as an anthology series editor, person and event organizer, will worth it. I did that when I booked a mini book tour for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2.

mini book tour for BWEOfTheYear,Vol2

I wanted to share both the tour dates (with one more to be added hopefully in Jersey City) and also why I did it. Because it's true that readings, while technically free to organize, cost money in terms of hours spent booking and promoting, wages lost to travel to them, travel costs and promotion costs. I don't know exactly how many readings I've organized over the years, but likely close to 100 if you count my reading series In The Flesh, which had around 60 readings over 5 years, so I've definitely weighed the pros and cons. While there are plenty of cons, like the fact that you are always at the mercy of weather and competing events, the pros I decided in this case outweigh them for me.

So even though it's literally impossible for me to make back the actual money I'll be spending on book sales, since a good night would be selling maybe 20 books, hence earning around $20 in royalties, I still love making readings happen. It's in my blood; I organized one for the very first story I got published, "Monica and Me" in Best Lesbian Erotica 2001. That reading was at Bluestockings and I remember being amazed that authors would come from all over the country to read from this book, and that little old nobody me could get my event listed in places like Time Out New York. That felt as thrilling as getting published. The funny thing is actually standing in front of a crowd has always terrified me. I don't revel in being up on stage reading the dirty words I've written in privacy to people who are staring at me, eagerly awaiting their erotic entertainment.

So it's a paradox: I love creating readings and making those spaces where people can hear sexy stories, but the part I enjoy most is being get host, the instigator, the one running the show. I do read, and often choose to read other people's work because it's easier for me personally than reading my own. But as I tell my students and authors, reading your work aloud is one of the best ways to truly hear what you're writing, to catch things beyond typos that go to the heart of your story. Is there an extra pause that doesn't need to be there? Should certain words be moved or removed? Would it sound better to add a line or a noise or punctuation mark? The bonus of reading to an audience rather than just yourself is that you get to hear how your words affect people. Do they laugh where you expected them to, or in other places you never would have thought anyone would chuckle? Do you find yourself grinning or cringing inside at certain lines? Do you wonder why you even wrote that one section?

For authors, I think doing readings is something you should say yes to if you can, since it does provide this invaluable feedback that we so rarely get. People remember readings; they are moved by them. They listen closely, and they hear the lines far differently than they do when they are sitting at home reading them. Maybe they hear them similarly to when they listen to an audiobook, but they still don't hear them in the voice of the author (unless the author has narrated the audiobook). You might tell a very brief aside at the beginning or after your story (or sometimes during) that sheds light on it; you might find yourself falling in love with a twist you gave to a scene and imbuing it with something even stronger than the black text on a white page.

As for me, I decided ultimately that I was willing to give up that day or two of paid wages and truly invest my time and money in my book, because I urgently want it to succeed. It may not be "cool" to so shamelessly say that, but it's true. I am pouring my heart and soul, my time, my social media assistant's time, my entire erotica focus, into making the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series successful. It may or may not work, it's too early to tell (but I was very impressed with the first quarter sales of Volume 1), but I feel like I owe it to the series, having taken it over from two esteemed, wonderful editors, and having decided I want to publish a different set of authors with each volume, to honor those authors, to do right by my publisher and mostly to know in my heart I did every single thing I could to help these books. Readings do that by getting the books into stores that may not have stocked it otherwise (or may have stocked only one copy), by bringing the book to the attention of the local community and to customers of those stores, and by being listed in local media. It's also a great way to support small local businesses, because you are bringing new audiences into those stores. I've done events at Sugar and Bluestockings (as I mentioned, the home of the very first reading I organized 15 years ago), but never at Skylight Books. My hope is that if it goes well, it will also help pave the way for other erotica events at that store, so it's also a way to spread the word that erotica is a worthy genre, not just something people read on the sly in private, but something people are eager to hear in public.

Plus it's not only the people who show up to a reading who count in terms of awareness of your title, but every single person who is exposed to the name of your book. Maybe they see the event listed in the store's calendar or in the local paper, or see a postcard or poster or other promo material around the store. Maybe they ask a friend to join them; maybe they wind up looking up the book, or the next time they see it months later remember, "Oh yeah, that author did an event..." I really think readings are an invaluable, long-term way of putting your book cover and title into people's minds. It also makes me feel pretty badass, to borrow Jen Sincero's bestseller's term, to book these readings myself. Yes, some people have their publishers do this for them, but I really enjoy the process of personally reading out to stores (some never get back to you, and that's okay too) and doing all the logistics. It makes me feel in control and proud as a businesswoman, and reminds me that all those years of booking readings weren't for naught; they taught me a range of skills that are mostly dormant in my daily suburban life but can be revived easily.

Lastly, for me as an anthology editor, a live book event is a way to meet my authors in person, when they've previously only existed in my inbox. Yes, I follow them on social media and may know a bit about them, but I don't know their face or their voice, and getting to know them during readings is a wonderful feeling. I want this series to be about building a community of authors who support each other's work, including and going beyond their stories in the books, and readings help foster that. And putting my marketing hat back on, you can share the readings via broadcasts if you desire (like Facebook live), videos, and photos to amplify the effect.

All that to say, I truly hope you can make one of our free readings (the Jersey City event I hope to have news about soon and will be more of a party atmosphere), and whether you can or can't, I'd greatly appreciate you helping to spread the word. Readings only work if there's an audience there to hear them, and part of why I booked these so many months in advance, in addition to making travel bookings easier (Amtrak is so much cheaper when you book far ahead) is that I wanted to have the most time possible to share these dates and make sure anyone in Los Angeles, Baltimore or New York could mark their calendars. You can also find all of these on the press and events page of and can use the Facebook event links to easily share these readings with your networks. Contributors from Volume 1, including Jade A. Waters and D.R. Slaten, will also be joining us (so there's another reason to do readings: giving some love to older books that often drop off bookstores shelves to make room for new ones). No RSVPs are required.

I also learned an important lesson: when you are creating Facebook events, make sure the proper page is hosting them; the first one below is hosted by my author page, which I decided to leave as is, but the other two are hosted by the BWE page, after I made a mistake and another page of mine had wound up hosting one of them. Branding counts even when posting events. Hope to see you there! And whether or not you can make it, you can help the book in a major way by marking it as "want to read" on Goodreads (you can log in to Goodreads using your U.S. email address and password if you don't have a separate Goodreads registration). And subscribe to my monthly newsletter because I'll be doing a big book giveaway this month.

BWEV2 LA Reading Promo

Los Angeles
January 31, 2017, 7 pm
Best Women's Erotica of the Year reading
Join Best Women's Erotica of the Year series editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for a rousing reading from Volumes 1 and 2, featuring Jocelyn Bringas, Melina Greenport and Jade A. Waters. Q&A and book signing to follow. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
Facebook event page
Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90027, 323-660-1175


February 9, 2017, 6:30 pm

Best Women's Erotica of the Year reading
Join Best Women's Erotica of the Year series editor Rachel Kramer Bussel along with contributors to Volumes 1 and 2 including Annabeth Leong, Jordan Monroe, and D.R. Slaten for a rousing reading, followed by a Q&A and book signing. You'll hear some of the sexiest stories around starring women characters who travel the world in search of satisfaction, and find out what it takes to be successful in the thriving erotica genre. Light refreshments will be served. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
Facebook event page
Sugar, 1001 W. 36th Street, Baltimore (Hampden), 410-467-2632 ​


New York City February 11, 2017, 7 pm Join editor Rachel Kramer Bussel and contributors Ella Dawson, Abigail Ekue, Annabeth Leong, Stella Watts Kelley and Vierra Lai for a rousing reading from hot new anthology Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2. The authors will participate in a Q&A and book signing immediately following the reading. Wheelchair accessible. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
Facebook event page
Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002, 212-777-6028
Nearest subways: F to 2nd Avenue, J/M/Z to Essex Street, B/D to Grand Street

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