Email: rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com



 

Lusty Lady

BLOG OF RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL
Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekend writing inspiration from me

I'm thrilled to report that my latest LitReactor writing class, which began this week, sold out - thank you for spreading the word if you did, or just reading my posts about it. I'll share when I'm teaching there again in 2017; I have a lot on my plate the rest of the year and won't have the time to devote to it again in 2016, but I'm cooking up other offerings and also do private erotica writing consulting. One of the most interesting things is hearing about how those in the class came to hear about it and decided to sign up. That's private, but for me it's always eye-opening, when someone takes that leap and opts to devote themselves to whatever it is they're passionate about.

I'm working on assorted essays and articles and pitches that I'm excited about and have been delving into some new arenas, including some much more lighthearted blogging over at the newly launched OMJ.com, which is all about New Jersey celebrities, culture, events, entertainment, beauty and fashion. If you think that might be up your alley, check it out. Thing I most enjoyed working on: posting a video of Snooki doing pushups with her 3-year-old son. I also got a crash course in using Wordpress and am feeling like I did back when I started blogging for the first time on Tripod back in 1997 or so.

But what I really wanted to share was my latest Lady Smut post, entitled "Please keep writing, because the world wants your sexy words". I had another subject in mind, but this felt more urgent. I've also struggled over writing a mission statement, because it's felt pretentious and daunting, so I managed to settle on this, which I put on my Amazon profile: "My mission is to tell powerful stories and encourage others to get their words on the page and into the world." That's simple but something I really strive to accomplish, whether I'm writing an essay, a fiction story, interviewing someone or anything else.

I'll leave you with a shot of me signing my books at BEA, which was a whirlwind to do in one day and not something I recommend (although three full days is a lot too!). I had a great time and returned really energized and excited about books and book people and my upcoming titles. I hope you'll read the Lady Smut post, or bookmark it for a time when you need a little boost of inspiration.

signingatbea2016

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sex and depression interview for Elle - Mental Health Awareness Month

For my weekly Elle.com sex interview, I focused on sex and depression. While it's not the place for it in the interview, I can say that I've dealt with depression and it's certainly affected my relationships, all the more so my current one because I live with my partner, and it's something I know many other women struggle with. I'm looking to interview more women (anonymously, unless you want to use your name) about their sex and dating lives, about anything and everything related to sex, whether you're partnered or single. So far I've talked to women about everything from polyamory to BDSM to sex after childbirth to sexual fantasies and affairs. You can email me at ellesexstories at gmail.com and tell me a little more about yourself and what you'd want to discuss in the interview.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 16, 2016

3 spots left in my LitReactor online eerotica writing class - no prior writing experience necessary!

So tomorrow, May 17th, is the start of my final LitReactor online Between the Sheets erotica writing class of 2016. I love teaching for LitReactor but my workload will be too heavy in the second half of the year to devote to it, so this is the last one for the year. There are 3 spots (of 16) left right now, and I can't wait to dive in again. (And no, we can't add any extra people if it sells out; one of the great things about LitReacdor is that the classes are small enough that everyone gets attention and can get answers to their questions, and you can truly get to know your fellow classmates.) I wanted to let you know in case you were thinking about taking the class, and if you have any questions about it, email me at rachelkramerbussel at gmail dot com with "LitReactor" in the subject line.

betweenthesheetsmay17

I can tell you that in the previous six classes I've taught for them, we've had students from around the world who've brought vastly different life experiences. There's a real camaraderie that forms amongst classmates as we get to know each other over four weeks. You can use a pseudonym and share as little or much about yourself as you'd like. What I wanted to emphasize is that there's no prior erotica or writing experience necessary. Something I've appreciated is that many who've taken the class have come into it completely new to erotica. I encourage that because I had no erotica or even fiction experience when I started down this path with my very first erotica story, "Monica and Me," which got published in two anthologies, Starf*cker and Best Lesbian Erotica 2001. You are not required to send out your work, but I do strongly encourage students who've completed stories to send their work out, even if they don't come into the class intending to submit their writing, both because I believe it's a valuable process to go through and because I know that so many publishers and editors need and want new voices.

Whether you're looking to simply try a new type of writing or want to get published and sell your writing and create a name (or pen name) for yourself, this is a wonderful place to ask all the questions you'd like, write weekly short stories and get feedback from me and your fellow students and really dig into modern erotica writing.

Can't take the class but have erotic writing you want feedback on or interested in private learning? I also offer individual consulting with writers that can cover plot feedback and line edits, advice on pitching publishers, pseudonym and social media suggestions and more. My rates are listed at my site eroticawriting101.com and you can always email me at rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com with "Consulting" in the subject line.

More information:

"What my LitReactor students are saying about my erotica writing class"

"Why I Encourage My Erotica Writing Students to Submit Their Work"

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, May 13, 2016

After divorcing at 55, she's having multiple orgasms and the best sex of her life

I was thrilled to get to conduct this interview about multiple orgasms at age 77, among other topics, for my Elle.com series Love, Actually, which so far has covered subjects like a swingers cruise, coming out to your husband as a submissive into BDSM, a spouse's gender transition, sexual desire after childbirth and dating while disabled.

ellemultiple

I found my subject this week an inspiration and hope you will too. And no, it's not because she's having multiple orgasms (though I'm happy for her), but because I think her story exemplifies how your life can be going in one downward direction for a long time and then you can make positive changes and steer it in a better direction. Did this happen for her overnight? Of course not, but it did happen, and that's something I think we can all relate to and strive for, whether in the sexual arena or not. (That was my personal takeaway; the goal of these interviews isn't to be "inspiration" but simply to be honest, I just wanted to share why this week's resonated so much with me.)

I actually asked senior sex expert Joan Price if she could put out feelers to her network for women over 50 who'd talk to me and that's how this came about, and I'd love to profile more women over 50 (see below for other women I'd like to speak to for the series, which features anonymous women sharing what their sex and dating lives are really like).

Check out all the rest of these sex interviews and if you are a woman who wants to be profiled and has an interesting sex and/or dating life, please email me at ellesexstories at gmail dot com - I'm deliberately keeping that vague because if you think it's interesting, if there's a burning secret you have or something you frantically rush to discuss with your friends, I'd love to hear about it. Specifically, I'm looking to interview a single woman who's actively dating (whether sex is involved or not), a woman to talk about what sex is like after an abortion (and dating, if applicable), a woman with a specific fetish, a woman in a long distance relationship or one who travels frequently for work, a woman in a relationship with another woman, and a transgender woman. Those are a few of the types of women I want to interview, but by no means an exclusive list. And for anyone who's asking, why women? Well, Elle is a magazine geared toward women and this is for their website.

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

BEA book signing today and flash giveaway of 5 copies of Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 ends tonight!

Two quick things: I'm off to Book Expo America (BEA) at McCormick Place in Chicago and if you'll be there, come get a signed copy of Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 from 2:30-3 pm in the autographing area, Table 9.

RKB-BEA-Promo-2016

I'll be Instagramming my favorite book finds too (rachelkramerbussel) because for me, BEA is really about being surrounded by fellow book lovers, absorbing all the new books and excitement over books and exulting in stuffing my tote bags full of gifts for myself and others. It's a wonderful celebration and place to learn about this industry and I intend to take full advantage of it.

If you can't make it (or even if you can!), I'm doing a giveaway of 5 copies of Best Women's Erotica of the Year on my Facebook page (open to all, your choice of print, ebook or audiobook). Ends tonight at 11:59 pm EST so enter fast!

Rachel BWE

And bonus news: the wonderful Rose Caraway, my very favorite narrator, who narrated the audiobook and contributed to it, has shared her hot, wild story "The Carnalarium" on her podcast The Kiss Me Quick's. Listen and enjoy!

Carnalarium

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On stepping out of my literary comfort zone

Last week, while battling a head cold, I also ventured into new professional territory: copywriting and entertainment blogging (for a retail business and a soon to launch site, respectively). And let me tell you, I was nervous. I have found over the last four and a half years of supporting myself as a freelance writer/editor/teacher/consultant that, even though every day is different, I can easily get into a rut. The status quo can seem like the only option because it's hard to imagine someone taking a chance on me in a new field when they could just as easily hire someone who's been doing it for years.

Both of those small gigs came about by referrals from friends, and I'm not sure if either will pan out into something larger. But whether they do or not, I'm grateful for them because they forced me to revisit all the other times I felt confused and uncertain about the work I was doing. Trust me, the first day, first month and many of the months that followed as I learned all the intricacies of copyediting marks as an editor at Penthouse Variations, I was baffled as to how it all came so easily to my coworkers. It was like learning a new language, but somehow, doing it every single day, I learned that language so well that now my mind can't help but copyedited everything I see, whether it's a sign on an office wall or the website a new friend is showing me or random billboards.

I felt the same way when I taught my first LitReactor writing class, that panicky feeling of everyone's-going-to-know-I'm-totally-winging-this. I would not say I in any way enjoy that sensation, those thoughts looping through my mind of how-the-hell-do-I-approach this? In both cases last week, I had moments of wondering if I should simply give up and say that I wasn't the right person for the job. In the past, I have given up when I couldn't get past that negative feedback loop, and in all those cases, it's haunted me ever since.

But this time, I didn't give up. I let myself acknowledge that my work wasn't perfect, that I'm a beginner, no matter how much other writing I've done, and I have to embrace that fact. I reminded myself that if they didn't like it, they could edit or tweak my work, or kick it back to me. I thought about all the times I've been edited heavily, all those notes that often on initial receipt feel overwhelming but ultimately produce work that's both stronger and more in line with what my editor is looking for.

I also thought about how many of my LitReactor students have posted some variation of "I've never thought about writing erotica before." That always blows my mind, because I went into teaching that class assuming that anyone shelling out a significant sum would have their mind set on becoming a professional erotica writer. Some students are, but others are simply open to trying something new, ready to take a chance, even if they don't know the outcome. I want to emulate that sense of literary risk-taking.

I am proud of myself for being able to say yes to something new, although it's far more challenging than staying with what I know, and hope that the future brings more newness, even if it comes with a steep learning curve. Coming out on the other side of that learning curve makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Why I don't post many personal updates on social media these days

You can read all about my transformation from incessant social media oversharer to middle-aged social media observer over at Ravishly. I love writing for them and encourage you to bookmarked them; they're one of my favorite sites to read. This is an essay I've been mulling over and tinkering with for months and Monday I got so sick of my procrastinating I just wrapped it up. It wound up being longer than I'd planned, and feels a little vulnerable to write because it's such a stark contrast to the old me, but it felt incredible to hit send. I've got to do more of that rather than overthinking, which is all too easy for me most days.

ravishlypromoimage

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 09, 2016

Do you like free books? Sign up for my newsletter and visit my Facebook page on Friday (plus a BEA giveaway)

I'm getting ready to head to Chicago later this week to attend Book Expo America (BEA), where on Friday at 2:30 I'll be signing free copies of my favorite of all my anthologies, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 at Table 9 in the autographing area.

RKB-BEA-Promo-2016

BEA is a book publishing industry event so most likely, if you're not an author, editor, publisher, librarian or press, you won't be there, but that doesn't mean I don't have free books for you too! If you aren't already a subscriber to my newsletter, get on that ASAP (at the left-hand side of my Lusty Lady blog or at rachelkramerbussel.com) so you can enter to win a signed copy of Dirty Dates in my next newsletter giveaway exclusive, coming this week. And so that nobody feels left out of the Best Women's Erotica love, on Friday, May 13th I'll be posting a flash giveaway on my Facebook page, so stay tuned for that - you'll have to act fast to win!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

I want you to write your book and get all the readers you can, especially if you hated my new book

Writers are often told not to read our reviews, but for me, I do read my reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon. I may use those collectively to guide me as sI edit future anthologies, or simply to know, because knowledge is indeed power (so if you loved or hated an aspect of Best Women's Erotica or there's something you want to see in future editions, I'm all ears!). I actively want to know what turns readers off as much as what turns readers on, because I appreciate every single person who's so much as picked up and read the back cover of one of my books, and certainly am honored when anyone takes the time to truly engage with the stories and give feedback.

I appreciate the opportunity to get a feel for what readers are thinking, what they liked, what they didn't. But sometimes, a review really tells us nothing of the sort. Such as this recent one, which reads, "I will write my own book. This was poorly written and extremely boring."

It's actually not the latter part that I take issue with, although of course I fully believe the 22 stories in Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, which I consider my best work as an editor and the high point of my 16-year erotica career, has excellent writing and fully realized plots and characters. But I can't argue with someone's opinion; they didn't like it, that's cool. But the part where they wrote "I will write my own book" seems to imply that that's antithetical to this book and my job, and the truth is, it's not.

One of the reasons I love erotica so much is that there's room for everyone. Obviously not in one given anthology, or necessarily with any one publisher, but as a genre, it's an incredibly welcoming one. You don't need any degrees or experience or writing credits. You need a good imagination, creativity and stamina. You need to go deep into the heart of what makes a person tick (not just what turns them on), and spin a story that will make readers keep flipping pages, even if the subject is something they wouldn't normally care about. Some of my favorite pieces of erotica I fell for precisely because they covered sexual acts that squicked me in real life, but the writing was so good, I didn't care.

Ultimately, who I answer to are my readers, and I know that I cannot please everyone with every selection. That's never what I'm trying to do when I edit an anthology. I'm trying to capture something special about sex and storytelling and weave it together with many other special somethings to craft a book that delivers a punch, to have stories that collectively give a glimpse into, in this case, women's sexuality. Not the glimpse or the grand summary or every possibility; that would be way beyond anything one book like this is capable of.

On a broader level, the work I've been doing the last few years is precisely about encouraging writers, many of whom have never written erotica or considered it, to push themselves beyond the boundaries they think they're capable of and write, write, write. As I prepare for my final LitReactor online erotica writing class of 2016, I'm thinking about all the students I've taught before, many of whom keep me posted on what they're up to. Some them are self-publishing their debut novels. Others have successfully submitted stories begun in class and are published with independent publishers in anthologies like Order Up: A Menu of Lesbian Romance and Erotica and Sex & Sorcery 2.

Most of all, what I see from those who have kept at it, is that they're writing. They aren't sitting back and taking rejections to heart, or giving up, but they are writing stories and books and pursuing their interests, wherever that may lead. I am a fan of this genre first, before any particular anthology I may be editing at any given moment. If I stop editing anthologies tomorrow, I will still be a huge fan and reader of the genre, and supporter of those making their way as published authors for the first time.

To give you a little perspective: with most of my anthologies, I only have room to publish about 10% of the stories that are submitted. So that figure alone should tell you that even brilliant, exquisite, amazing stories by the very numbers game that is publishing and word counts will get rejected at some point. It's part of life, and part of writing. I have no illusion that my version of "best" is truly "better" than someone else's, but one thing I've learned, by trial and error and plenty of self-doubt and failure along the way, is that all I can ever do is my best. When I try to be someone else's version of "best," I always get myself in trouble. When I assume whoever has hired me for any job wants someone else's talents, or I tell myself I'm a worthless hack and shouldn't have gotten the gig, which has happened both in the past and far more recently, I always falter because it's an impossible expectation to be someone else and do what they would have done. I can't promise that. I can only deliver what I know how to deliver, and when I focus on that job, I do pretty well. When I strive to please some mythical version of perfectionism where I lull myself into thinking everyone will love everything I do, I may as will give up before I've even started.

So in a way, it's actually fabulous for me that someone thinks my new book is "poorly written" and boring because it shows that we all have different tastes and opinions, as we should. If that opinion spurs that reader on to further her own career, I consider that a win for the creative world too. It may not be personally pleasant for me, but it's perhaps a backhanded compliment that I am happy to accept, because I want my books to inspire people to write, whatever their opinion about the content. I was a failing law student when I wrote my first erotica story; I had no clue what I was doing, but I did it anyway. If my little books can be that catalyst for someone, that's awesome.

All that to say, I love erotica for its endless possibilities, for all the new writers flocking to it every day and all the ones who've been doing it for longer than I've been alive. I hope everyone who's ever read anything, be it a book, magazine, newspaper, blog post (ahem) and thought, I could write something better than this stops reading immediately and busts out their pen and paper or computer and gets to writing their story.

It's every bit a work in progress, but I launched eroticawriting101.com because I want to help those who face hurdles, internal or external, to doing exactly that, get over those hurdles, get writing and, if they so desire, get their writing in front of readers. If that's your goal, don't let anyone else's book or words or your own fears stop you. That's what I'm all about, that's what we'll be exploring in my LitReactor class starting next week, and that's what I've been thinking about ever since I read that review, the one I'm supposed to be stoic and pretend I didn't see. But I did; I'm human, and that's another thing I refuse to apologize for. Whatever you like to do with words: writing, reading, speaking, I hope you do it with gusto!

betweenthesheetsmay17

Labels: , , , , , , ,