Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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, March 27, 2015

5 new articles on sex and shame, fisting, adult preschool, Mariel Hemingway and Woody Allen and Becoming Steve Jobs

I've been writing a lot, with more on the way. Usually I post them separately, but this week is crunch time so here are 5 very different pieces I published this week:

"Why Do We Feel So Ashamed About Sex?" at DAME, touching on Monica Lewinsky's TED Talk and the recent documentary Inside Her Sex

dame 2015-03-25 at 9.22.38 PM

Fisting for beginners in Philadelphia City Paper

Why I totally understand the appeal of adult preschool at Thought Catalog

And two topics outside my usual wheelhouse, for Salon (one more is coming for them that's about a topic I've been following for a while):

On Mariel Hemingway and Woody Allen and age and consent

Why Apple executives are wrong to insist Becoming Steve Jobs is a definitive biography

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

See you at CatalystCon for Erotica and Sex Writing 101 workshops!

I've got a heavy deadline day today so will recap my recent writings as soon as I can, but wanted to share that I will be at CatalystCon this weekend at the Hilton Crystal City, 2399 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia (Crystal City stop on the blue line). Tomorrow I am teaching Erotica Writing 101 from 9:15 am to 12:15 pm and Sex Writing 101 (nonfiction) from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Classes are $45 each or $79 for both. You can register online at Eventbrite through 11:30 pm tonight (March 26) or else in person from 8:45 to 9 am or 12:45 to 1 pm tomorrow with me directly (bring cash). Find out more about the workshops on the Catalyst site. Otherwise, see you CatalystCon folks at the opening keynote session!

So far, CatalystCon has been the only place I've taught Sex Writing 101 but I plan to bring that class online soon. Almost all my teaching will be moving online after May, save for CatalystCon and possibly a few other very special events. I will send announcements in my monthly newsletter (see blog's left-hand side or my website) and post them on Twitter and Facebook.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sexy Spy Games erotica anthology out now

I'm excited to share with you that the new ebook anthology Spy Games: Thrilling Spy Erotica edited by Jillian Boyd is out now for Kindle US and Kindle UK! You can read free excerpts on the book's Facebook page, where I got the image below the cover from, which a quote from the story "Undercover Desires" by Ria Restrepo.



Here's the official blurb:
From the sunny streets of South Florida, to the bars of Paris, to the backstreets of Rome where a secret club for old spies lies hidden, Spy Games is a collection of nine tantalizing tales in which spies and detectives seduce and deduce in all corners of the world.

Edited by Jillian Boyd and featuring stories from the likes of Zak Jane Keir, Slave Nano, Emily L. Byrne and F. Leonora Solomon, Spy Games is filled with danger, desire and the thrill of sex and spying. Unleash your inner Mata Hari and devour this collection... should you choose to accept this mission, of course.
I don't have a story in it, but two of my LitReactor erotica writing students, Ashton Peal and Jessica Taylor, do, as do 7 others who all brought a thrilling sense of imagination to this unique topic. It's out from House of Erotica, who I recommend to my erotic writing students because they always have such fascinating calls for submissions up. I'll post a proper review of Spy Games soon, but wanted to let you know it's out.

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Snapshot at Sugar and a moment of self-indulgence

I bought this new blue dress yesterday (at Anthropologie, if you're wondering, and there's some cute designs at the bottom you can't see in this photo), something I very rarely do these days; I can't actually recall the last time I did.


I got it partly because I didn't feel like I had anything exactly right for Friday night, when I'm part of the keynote opening panel at CatalystCon, and partly because I wanted to treat myself. The current me, not some future me, to celebrate my recent successes and, to honor my current body. I don't weigh myself so I don't know the exact numbers, but I can see in my face and other body parts that I've gained weight since moving to New Jersey. Many of my clothes still fit, because based on the way I tend to dress, I am not wearing too much that's super tight. But still, it can be frustrating when I go to put something on and it either doesn't fit at all, or hangs differently than I remember.

As for buying myself a present, that too felt like a way of saying: you're working hard, you deserve to look your best. I sometimes think if I'm not stressed all the time or plotting my next pitches/books/essays in my head every moment of the day, or getting up crazy early to work, then I'm not being a "good enough" freelancer. Of course that's ridiculous, but I have my moments of ridiculousness. Body image is an ongoing problem/process for me. I wrote about it in 2010 in "Loving My Body—Kinda, Sorta ,Sometimes" and I'm sure I will again.

Wearing something that made me feel at the top of my game lets me take the ups and downs of life in stride. I had a small but great group at Sugar in Baltimore for my writing workshop last night. Would I have preferred more people? Yes, but there was nothing I could do that late in the game. I also know one of my CatalystCon writing workshops is almost sold out and I'm planning the next steps for more online teaching. I want to be able to handle the moments when things don't go my way, and yes, it helps to be wearing something I adore and that feels soft and cozy inside.

It also meant that because I felt great, when I got to Blue Pit BBQ, which my friend co-owns and which was truly delicious, I could fully enjoy my pulled pork, brisket, mac and cheese and collard greens. It turned out that even though I thought I was ravenous, I ate about half of what was given to me (though I ate all my pickles) and took the rest home. Since I'm a leftover fan, I now have breakfast! Win/win. So that was my evening in a nutshell. Oh, and just because I said that, doesn't mean I'm not nervous as hell about being on this keynote panel. I love talking to small groups, but a big one? That makes me want to freeze up preemptively. But I'm going to practice over the next two days, and if I get nervous, stroke my new dress and remind myself I can do it. I do some variation of that countless times each week, and for me, it helps. Whatever works, right? Now, I'm not advocating that I or anyone else go into debt to be a clotheshorse to boost their self-confidence. But in this case, yesterday, I felt justified. Now I just have to find the perfect tights to go with it.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

See you tonight in Baltimore for my erotica writing class!

I will do a proper recap of my fun visit to Charlottesville, partly with Festival of the Book events, partly with exploring the city and, most importantly, with making new writer friends. But I have an 8 a.m. train to catch and I'm not sure if it'll offer wifi so wanted to remind you that tonight I'm teaching my erotica writing workshop at the wonderful sex toy store Sugar in Baltimore from 6:30-8 p.m. You can register at the store, by calling them at 410-467-2632 or online at Brown Paper Tickets. It's $25 and includes a handout listing resources, with numerous publishers currently looking for submissions.

Here's two snapshots from this weekend: me with the wonderful romance novelist Kieran Kramer, who I met a few years ago in Brooklyn, and the cute animals greeting me outside a toy store. A gigantic thank you to Madeline Iva, whose group blog Lady Smut you should bookmark, for inviting me to be part of the festival.



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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hotel sex in Germany with Zimmerservice inklusive: Erotische Hotel-Storys!

Actually, I've never been in Germany, but I am in a hotel room right now and just discovered that my anthology Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories has now been translated into German. I still love hotels as much as I ever did, which is good because I'm staying in hotels for the next week as I make my way on my little tour, moving on from Charlottesville to Baltimore and then Arlington. Here's the German and U.S. covers. Fittingly, every one of my German book covers has been so much sexier than the U.S. version! See Fast Girls and Please, Sir in German (although the original U.S. bold magenta cleavage baring Please, Sir cover is one of my all-time favorites of mine).



It takes a while for me to get a copy of the print edition, but I just bought the Kindle edition because seeing my books and words in another language was a longtime dream of mine, and now it's come true several times and I couldn't be happier. As you can see, my story "Special Request," about a woman whose job is being a unique kind of hotel clerk and planning an orgy, has become "Sonderwünsche" in the German version. If you want to buy Zimmerservice inklusive: Erotische Hotel-Storys, you can do so for American Kindle or Kindle Germany. Fun fact: so far, Germany is the only country that has reprinted my erotica anthologies, though I know other Cleis Press books have been translated into French, Spanish, Turkish and other languages. My goal for a long time was to sell foreign rights; my new goal is to sell them in a language besides German (hint hint, universe!). Below are some screen shots I took using my phone plus the table of contents.





Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories
Introduction: Sex Magic (read it free and here)

Two-Way Ariel Graham
Selfish Donna George Storey
Air- Conditioning. Color TV. Live Mermaids. Anna Meadows
Proof of Desire Remittance Girl
Soundproof Emily Moreton
An Inspector Comes Suzanne Fox
Surrender with a Twist Suleikha Snyder
Unbound at the Holiday Inn Lily K. Cho
Travelodge Tess Justine Elyot
Business Expenses Elizabeth Silver
Return to the Nonchalant Inn Erobintica
The Deacon Tahira Iqbal
Love, Loud as a Bomb Steve Isaak
Night School Valerie Alexander
Feel So Dirty Andrea Dale
Please Come Again Tenille Brown
Dirty White Envelope Ellie Vokes
Tailgating at the Cedar Inn Delilah Devlin
Stiletto’s Big Score Michael A. Gonzales
Special Request Rachel Kramer Bussel

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Friday, March 20, 2015

A little morning magic

It's 7:44 a.m., which at home is usually when I've already eaten breakfast, drank one cup of coffee and commotion is happening in my home. This morning, after a week where I was pretty much knocked out by a cold, moving and thinking extremely slowly, not leaving the house and not even craving a drop of coffee, I'm recovered and awoke at my friend's house in Richmond. The curtains are pulled so I actually was surprised at the time; I would have guessed a few hours earlier. The room is lit only by a string of colored lights hung on the wall, the only noise what I think is the humidifier she kindly left for me.

I can't emphasize enough how glorious it felt to let myself sleep as long as I wanted, to have traveled on two airplanes (I took one from Newark to Boston, then one from Boston to Richmond, because JetBlue has some amazingly cheap fares on from BOS to RVA), and to be able to take a big breath through my nose. That is my gratitude for the day, as I embark on nine days of travel and events and what, if I think too hard about it, feels like chaos. I haven't even turned the lights on yet because the dark and quiet feel cozy and welcoming.

In my bedroom at home, the sun starts to creep in pretty early, and I appreciate that since it makes the room seem bigger and brighter. Lately I've taken to sitting on the floor in our hallway upstairs to edit pieces, absorbing the sun via our skylight. Some would say that's ridiculous given that I have an office to use, but I like to mix it up. Most weekdays will find me working in an array of spots in our home, because I need the motion after I get restless.

But sometimes what I need is, literally, to rest. That's what I needed this week, when I gave my mind a break. Even though it went against all my instincts, I forced myself not to start any new pieces, but to catch up on old ones until I felt fully capable of tackling anything new. So often, way too often, I get sucked into my to do list immediately upon waking up. I will emerge from sleep in a near panic, or even a full on panic, worried that I am "behind" on urgent tasks. It's an unsettling way to live that I'm trying to curb, because it's just not feasible in the long term, or even, really, the short term.

I am working on working smarter and saner. On being more present in my personal life and relationship. On putting all of myself into my writing and editing and teaching when I'm doing it, but then letting it go and coming back to it refreshed. It's challenging, both because I worry about money, and because so much of my writing work stems from my life. That doesn't always mean I'm cribbing from my foibles and actions, but that those inform the ideas I pitch, whether it's an element of pop culture I'm interested in or something I do that troubles or intrigues me that I want to flesh out on the page. So yes, I'm a work in progress, forever. I'm also the kind of person who often needs big signs to lead the way, and this week, my cold was that sign. It's already changed my approach to 2015; I once had grand plans for all kinds of events, and now I'm pulling back from those and focusing on a smaller number of total events that will have more of a positive impact but won't leave me utterly drained of energy and excitement. I worry sometimes that I will burn out, especially in a month like this last one. I don't think I will if I figure out the best practices for me, and am willing to change course when the ones I was trying stop working.

And now, I'm off to finish a column before I head to Fountain Bookstore to sign books (Richmond folks, I'll be there from 12:30-2:30 and if you can't make it, I'll be leaving them with autographed copies of my titles). There are few places I love more than bookstores!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

My sex column on threesomes

This week's Philadelphia City Paper sex column is on threesomes: the good, the bad and the fantasy. It features quotes by Hunter Riley and Three of Hearts editor Kristina Wright, whose new anthology (which I have a story in) inspired the idea. Have suggestions for future column topics? Email me at rachelkb at gmail dot com with "City Paper" in the subject line. I'll be conducting several interviews for upcoming columns while at CatalysCon and am always on the lookout for sex in the news ideas.


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