Email: rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com



 

Lusty Lady

BLOG OF RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to make money writing about your sex life and 5 times I did

I've been writing about my sex life for over a decade, and probably will for the rest of my life. For me, it's part of how I learn about myself and my relationships and how my sexuality is impacted by the world around me. It's also part of how I make my living. It makes sense that the only place (so far) I've taught my nonfiction Sex Writing 101 workshop is at CatalystCon, because the audience for this wonderful conference is people who work in sexuality or blog about it or are somehow involved in it. Many are sex nerds, and I would bet everyone attending has something to say about sex that differs from the mainstream culture and could be of interest to an editor. Just take a look at the speaker list.

This will be my second time teaching Sex Writing 101, and we cover a lot of ground in 3 hours and I'll be asking people to think about potential pieces with an eye to submitting. No, not everyone wants to write about their sex life, but you can get published, and can use a pseudonym, and so often it's about how you frame what you're writing about. It's not about having an "out there" sex life (though if you do, that can be fodder), but about thinking about what you want to write and how you can craft the best piece possible to catch an editor's eye.

Below are the details of my September 12th erotica and sex writing workshops, and if I can answer any questions about the workshops, email me at rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com with "Catalyst" in the subject line.

But first, here are 5 times (of many, probably hundreds) I got paid to write about my sex life. Take my workshop and I'll teach you how you can too! I'll do a separate post about sex journalism, which I will also teach in the workshop. Can't make Catalyst but want to place a sex essay? My consulting rates are at rachelkramerbussel.com

"Is My Vibrator Ruining My Relationship?," Salon

"Baby Talk," Salon (on age play and fetishes)

"Sexting Advice for Tiger" (Woods), The Daily Beast

"Girl Talk: I Want My Boyfriend to Fantasize About Other Women," The Frisky

"I Don't Want or Need an App to Measure My Sex Life," Boinkology, Medium

September 12, 9:15 am-12:15 pm
Erotica 101 writing workshop, Los Angeles before 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. $45 (or $79 with pre-CataystCon Sex Writing 101, see below).
The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

September 12, 1:30-4:30 pm
Sex Writing 101 workshop, Los Angeles before CatalystCon

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 has been a sex columnist for The Village Voice, Penthouse and The Frisky, and has written about sexuality for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, Glamour, Inked, Salon, xoJane and many other publications. A resource list covering markets for sex-related pieces will be provided. $45 (or $79 with pre-CatalystCon Erotica 101, see above)

**Attendees who would like the opportunity to get feedback from Rachel on one piece of their own writing (3,000 words or less), to be submitted prior to the workshop can purchase this as an add on to either of the above workshops. Fee: $20
The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

See you in Seattle (twice)!

I'm looking forward to visiting Seattle and these two events and having a little time to walk around and explore Seattle. This tour will probably be my last book tour for a long while (though you never know!) so I am going to make the most of it.

If you know anyone who'd like a free erotica reading or may get something out of an erotica writing workshop, please let them know. Below are the Facebook and Fetlife links if you care to spread the word. A reminder: my September 9th erotica writing workshop is only $23 in advance (plus a small fee) or $30 at the door, so don't dawdle if you want to take it!

September 6th free erotica reading: Facebook and Fetlife

September 9th erotica writing workshop: Facebook and Fetlife

September 6, 3:30-4 pm
Free erotica reading in Seattle

Readings from The Big Book of Submission, The Big Book of Orgasms and Hungry for More with me and local contributors.
Center for Sex Positive Culture Annex, 1608 15th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119

September 9, 7-9 pm
Erotica 101 writing workshop, Seattle

Professional erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of over 50 anthologies such as The Big Book of Orgasms, Flying High and Best Bondage Erotica 2014, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing, from getting started, finding your voice, and incorporating your surroundings, pop culture, and personal experiences into your stories to crafting a range of characters and settings and submitting your work. In this supportive, welcoming workshop environment, you’ll learn how to write vividly about everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies, and make them fit for particular publications in the thriving erotica market. This workshop will address the recent boom in erotica inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, provide examples of well written erotica, and will include multiple writing exercises. You’ll be given a handout listing major markets and further reading suggestions. No previous writing experience required. Please bring laptop or pen and paper. 18+ with ID. $30 at the door/$23 in advance. Get tickets at Stranger Tickets.
Center for Sex Positive Culture Annex, 1608 15th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Publishers Weekly praises my female fantasy erotica anthology Hungry for More!

I was looking up something else about Hungry for More and found this mostly wonderful review from Publishers Weekly! I'm working on a post listing all 21 fantasies to be found in the book, but for now, I'll share this - and there's another book of fantasy erotica in the works too. I must also say that "Jailbait Torch Song" is one of my favorite stories I've ever published in all 50+ anthologies, because it takes a taboo topic and makes it vivid and real and tender and sweet and sexy all at once. I know it will push buttons, but those are about social norms, and if erotica is good at anything, it should be questioning social norms and giving readers something to think about as well as entertain and arouse them. In other things I love about this book: the title and story in "Kitchen Slut." Join me for 2 free readings from the book (and other stories too from The Big Book of Submission and The Big Book of Orgasms) on Saturday, September 6 from 3-4:30 at Center for Sex Positive Culture Annex, 1608 15th Ave. W., and Wednesday, September 10th 7:30-9 pm at sex toy store She Bop, 909 N. Beech Street, Portland, Oregon, where the renowned Tiffany Reisz, author of The Original Sinners series, will read her m/m baseball erotica story "Bringing the Heat."
Twenty-one tales of women pursuing and getting what they want make up this steamy collection. Veteran editor Bussel touches on a variety of common fantasies, including threesomes and moresomes, bondage, and voyeurism. Olivia Archer’s “Kitchen Slut,” about a woman aroused by kitchen utensils, is a surprising treat. Jeremy Edwards’s “Tickle Day,” is delightfully playful while Valerie Alexander’s “Jailbait Torch Song” is unexpectedly poignant. Brandy Fox’s “Organically Grown” has a clever twist, though the build-up is bland. On the downside, Greta Christina’s “Craig’s List” reads like a summary of someone else’s spicy story, and Rose de Fer’s “The Instructor” blurs consent issues enough to leave readers questioning its presence in the collection. With many more hits than misses, all long enough to titillate and short enough to leave the reader craving more, this is a satisfying feast for the erotica fan.
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Purchase Hungry for More:

Amazon

Bn.com

Kindle ebook

Nook ebook 

Powells

Books-a-Million

iBooks

IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Germany

Cleis Press



Introduction: Getting Explicit

Submissive Jacqueline Applebee
Happy Endings Giselle Renarde
Craig’s List Greta Christina
Bringing the Heat Tiffany Reisz
Madam Secretary Jaye Markham
Kitchen Slut Olivia Archer
Just Once Jocelyn Dex
Boat Rocking D. L. King
The Sleeper’s Beauty Jade A. Waters
Upstairs at the Ava DelovelyOlive
Organically Grown Brandy Fox
The Room of Guarantees Jessica Lennox
Redrawing the Lines Bren Emile
Tickle Day Jeremy Edwards
Relief Katya Harris
Jailbait Torch Song Valerie Alexander
Red Lipstick Erzabet Bishop
Something Sleazy Elizabeth Coldwell
The Instructor Rose de Fer
My Pillar-Box Red Cock Tilly Hunter
A First Time for Everything Rachel Kramer Bussel

Introduction: Getting Explicit

When we fantasize, we give ourselves space to live out the naughtiest acts we can imagine. For me, fantasizing is like taking a trip to another world, where I can be as wanton, selfish and depraved as I like—and for that matter, that’s exactly what erotica writing does for me as well.

Fantasies don’t follow the rules, whether the ones society has set for us—and if you’re a woman, our culture has plenty of sex rules to rein you in—or the ones we’ve set for ourselves. Anything—and everything—goes. In the twenty-one stories in this book, I’ve tried to include both common and unusual fantasies, ones that speak to things you might do or want to do, ones that might unnerve you, ones that touch the edges of our most cherished taboos.

The title Hungry for More has multiple meanings—these characters do indeed want more, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more sex just to have more sex. Getting off isn’t a numbers game to these characters; it’s about accessing more pleasure, pushing more boundaries, trying new things, sometimes with new partners. Even when they get more of whatever it is they crave, they’re still hungry, because fulfilling one fantasy isn’t the end of their pleasure, but the beginning of a new and grand adventure.

The common thread here, whether the characters are having sex with strangers from Craig’s List, the organic produce clerk or the secretary of state, is that these women are unabashed in their desires. They may recognize that others might look at them askance, as in Valerie Alexander’s “Jailbait Torch Song,” but they follow through anyway, not letting anyone stop them from experiencing the ultimate thrill of playing out a dirty dream that’s often followed them through lovers, relationships and plenty of orgasms. These women often surprise their lovers with their adamant affirmations of lust, but they quickly realize the thrills to be found in venturing beyond their usual erotic boundaries.

The women in these pages know fantasies have a way of finding us, even—or especially—when we try to disavow them. They don’t care about propriety, reputations or acceptability. These fantasies—of public sex, BDSM, strap-on play, lesbian encounters, bukkake, watching male lovers and much more—speak so loudly they cannot be ignored. They insist on being heard, seen, touched. While in real life we may keep our most treasured fantasies tucked away for our most secret selves, in these tales, women’s fantasies are front and center, every explicit act laid bare. Luckily, here, in a book that perhaps you’ll enjoy in bed, or the bath, or wherever you do your erotic reading, you get to watch—and live vicariously through these brazen, taboo-busting women, who are willing to go all the way in the name of living out whatever wild, wicked scenarios their lustiest selves have dreamt up. I invite you to come along for the ride.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
Red Bank, New Jersey

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Monday, August 25, 2014

My 4-week online erotica writing class from LitReactor starts October 16th

Often, when I announce my erotica writing workshops (click here for details on upcoming ones in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon), Portland (Maine), Chicago, Milwaukee and New York), people ask me when I'll be offering an online class for people not in any of those cities. The answer is: now! Through the wonderful LitReactor, I'll be teaching an in-depth 4-week online class, Between the Sheets, designed to get you writing and submitting and learning about sex in literature and erotica. If you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know! You can take the class at any time over those weeks, so it's perfect for people in non-U.S. time zones and/or those with unusual schedules, using any name you'd like, and will be critiqued by me and your fellow students, and I will be offering suggestions on where in the marketplace your work might best fit. The class is limited to 16 people and there's more information at LitReactor, including exactly what to expect over each of the 4 weeks.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

3 books I'm looking forward to reading

I'm planning to read these soon, and will hopefully share some more info on them when I'm done. I've read previous books by Jo Piazza and Xiaolu Guo that I enjoyed, especially Celebrity, Inc. and one of my favorite novels, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, which has even made it into my fiction in "Book Swap" in the newly published The Sexy Librarian's Big Book of Erotica, based on my actual reading of this book on a plane (which I'll be reading from September 15th at 7 pm at The Booksmith in San Francisco!). I'm linking to Amazon but encourage you to shop wherever books are sold near you; see IndieBound for your local bookstore.

washuta
My Body Is a Book of Rules
by Elissa Washuta - I just got this book and it's far more stunning than even this beautiful cover does justice to onscreen. Check out this review for more info.

nunsruled
If Nuns Ruled The World
by Jo Piazza - I started this and it's fascinating (and feminist). Nicholas Kristof explains why the book's important in The New York Times.

iamchina-listing
I Am China
by Xiaolu Guo - read an excerpt at Asia Society, and catch the author in person at Asia Society in New York September 10th (if I weren't away I'd be there in a heartbeat).

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Portland Public Library discussion for Banned Books Week September 24th in Portland, Maine

I'm honored to be part of this discussion taking place September 24th at the Portland Public Library in one of my favorite cities, Portland, Maine during Banned Books Week. If you know anyone in the Portland, Maine area, please let them know! I will also be teaching my Erotica 101 writing workshop the previous night, September 23 from 7:30-9 pm at Nomia, and you can get more information on Facebook and sign up by calling Nomia at 207-773-4774 ($25/person).

September 24, 7 pm - 9 pm
The Guilty Pleasure of Erotic Literature, Portland, Maine
Join Gina O'Rourke, owner of Nomia, and Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of several erotica anthologies for a conversation about 50 Shades and other titles; the lines between romance, erotica and pornography; and recommended reads. #bannedbookweek
Portland Public Library, Rines Auditorium, 5 Monument Way, Portland, Maine

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

5 things I love about Portland, Maine, where I'll be speaking September 23 and 24!

I've been waiting to announce this until everything was finalized, and I will still have to wait on the September 24th event (stay tuned!) but my September 23 7:30 pm erotica writing workshop at Nomia is confirmed, so now seems like a good time to share 5 things I love about Portland, Maine. I first visited to celebrate my birthday in 2011 and get my heart tattoo on my arm, and have been back twice and loved it every time. I got the chance to visit in June and go to a street festival and just walk around and explore. It reminds me very much of my former home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but with a Maine twist.

1. The Holy Donut - these donuts made with mashed potatoes are some of the best I've ever had. This is a small local business with two Portland, Maine locations, and they are delicious, innovative and welcoming. They have interesting flavors like mojito, though my favorite is old-fashioned. They also have something that's so good I'm glad I don't live closer: it's like a donut pocket filled with bacon and cheese. I also love that it's so close I can bring these home to my boyfriend in New Jersey and they are still fresh and delicious.

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2. Nomia - this feminist sex toy store is the reason I'm going back to Portland this fall (stay tuned for one more event, which I'll post about as soon as it's confirmed). I was walking down Exchange Street the first time I visited and stumbled across Nomia and was so delighted. For a sex toy store, they also have a huge selection of books, both erotica and nonfiction. They are a wonderful resource, have a wide range of products and have arranged them in a way that's easy to browse. See you there on September 23rd! The erotica writing workshop starts at 7:30 and is $25 and you can sign up by calling 207-773-4774. You can also friend them on Facebook.

3. Any town with not just one but multiple independent bookstores is good in my book (ha ha)! I visit Longfellow Books and the newer Sherman's Books and Stationery, which does this with their shelving:

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4. Bard Coffee - this is where I'd hang out and work if I lived in Portland, Maine. Great coffee, plus pastries as well as real food, including soup, free wifi and they are one of several locations that are part of the Portland Public Library's Portable Library where you can grab a free book if you like. I got into the Kate Collins flower shop mystery series that way and am going to finish this novel I got last visit, The Partner Track by Helen Wan, and return it:

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5. Last but never least, I got my second tattoo, the one that says heart on my left arm, at Sanctuary Tattoo. I picked them because I liked the look of their site and am honored to have this permanent attachment to this city and a reminder of what matters to me the most.

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Bonus: pretty sights like this:

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The life of a professional juggler

No, I'm not this kind of professional juggler. I'm far too uncoordinated for that. But as I close in on three years of being a full-time freelancer after getting laid off from my magazine job in October 2011, I realize more and more that what I do is juggle. Every day is different. While the bulk of my income comes from freelance writing and book royalties, on any given day I might be listing my upcoming events on sites like Fetlife and SheWrites and Eventful (and yes, sending the updates to my webmaster is at the top of my list!). I might be mailing bookmarks to Unbound Box or She Bop, or sending books to Amazon reviewers. I might be researching where to send my books for review or updating a virtual book tour. I might be reading a market I plan to pitch, immersing myself in their language. I might be reading a book I have to review.

I should be writing, and on good days, I do. On good days, I don't berate myself for all the opportunities I didn't take advantage of, or worry about the future and how I will support more than just myself, or wonder what will happen after I turn the piece in. I just write, rather than make a note on my to do list. I know that writing is only part of it; there's so much more that goes into working for yourself full-time and to be honest, sometimes it's exhausting. It's incredibly stressful to not know if the books you've poured your time and energy into will bomb at the bookstores or take off, and to have your income rely on that. It's worth it, because I can get up at 6 a.m. and dig right in, and leave at 4:45 to go volunteer at my local community restaurant. I can take walks during the day or sit outside for a little while and so often, when I actually do those things, I come back refreshed, with new twists and turns to the pieces that have been percolating in my head. I can go into New York for a doctor's appointment and pitch from my phone. I have this incredible amount of freedom with my time, but there are days when I wish I had a boss, a real boss, not a fake one like me.

I know good things are in the air. I know that as busy and hectic as September will be, it is worth it, because I will get to meet people who care about erotica, I will get to encourage people to send their writing out into the world, I will get to visit stores and see how they display my books. I know it's an honor that those stores exist, because most bookstores don't have a dedicated erotica section, or sometimes even any erotica at all.

Right now I think the biggest requirement of my job (aka, my life) is to be hopeful. To remind myself not to give up before I start, to not freak out over the little ups and downs, to be grateful for all that I do have and know that I get the chance each day to create new stories and ideas, to know that even promoting events can be creative and fun. In the fall I will be looking into new paths, because as 40 looms (I know 40 isn't ancient, and I know it's over a year away, but in my head, it looms), I won't be able to travel like a madwoman, nor will I want to. This is the life I dreamed about for so long when I worked at jobs that paid the bills but didn't do much more, and now that I have it, I have to keep pushing myself to not just ask the hard question of What am I going to do with it? but to truly go full force and do all the creative work this time setup allows.

So for now, there is a lot of juggling, and soul searching, and always looking to the next event or story or article or interview or book. I will be taking two little trips soon, and those are also good for me, the kind of trips where I'm not tripping all over myself to spread the word, but can simply enjoy quiet and nature and family and hospitality. I forget sometimes that "freelancing" shouldn't mean working 24/7 and if it does, then I'm doing it wrong. This year is all about working smarter, figuring out where I keep falling intro traps and how to fix them. I am doing my best, and come September, will be ready to hit the road and become a professional traveler for a month, and what I'll be juggling is cramming my stuff into as few bags as possible.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Get a box of sexy goodies sent to your door, including The Big Book of Submission, from Unbound Box

I had heard about sex toy mail order curating company Unbound Box online, and started truly checking them out when they asked if they could post some excerpts from my books, and since then I've been exploring their site and loving all the packages they offer each quarter. They partner with wonderful small businesses and that's how I discovered Seagrape Bath & Body, whose Aches and Pains bath soak I'm eager to try after messing up my neck sleeping weirdly this past weekend.

I'm thrilled that The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales is part of their next box, the Erotic Education box, shipping in early September, and to offer you 10% off the cost by using code SUBMISSION10. What's in the box? You'll have to wait until it arrives on your doorstep or they announce it, though they have revealed that the other companies are Maison Close, Sustain and Babeland, but it will definitely be full of sexy awesome things. Here's their exact wording:
We're so thrilled to announce that our next Unbound Box, Erotic Education, will ship first thing this September! We've prepared a course load of the kinkiest goods and treats for this box as we explore BDSM, sensual massage and the most scintillating collection of erotica stories.
You can get a sneak peek of the book with their excerpt of my story "Reverse Psychology."

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