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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How about some free erotica for your listening pleasure?

For the next few days, while my publisher switches distributors, my ebooks will be offline. They'll be back soon and I will be promoting them as I usually do, because even though I prefer print, I love that I can get the immediate gratification of an ebook purchase and save money so I can buy even more. So in the meantime, I wanted to share some free audio erotica read by my favorite narrator, Rose Caraway, from the book I'm most proud of, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1. Right now I'm brainstorming about possible readings for Volume 2 as I finalize the table of contents and getting ready to make that launch a spectacular one (want to help in just two seconds? Add the book to your Goodreads want to read list!).

Not only do I love Rose Caraway's voice, but because she hosts The Kiss Me Quick's podcast, I get to share the stories from my book with the world for free. Of course, I hope listeners will then go on to buy the Best Women's Erotica of the Year 1 audiobook and listen to all 22 stories, but even if they don't, I'm so thrilled to work with Rose and by the high quality she brings to her recordings. (Fun news: more Rose and Rachel audiobooks are on the way! More on that soon.)


So I'm thrilled to share with you these three free stories: "The Carnalarium" by Rose Caraway, which you'll just have to listen to for yourself, because it's wild and creative and I don't know how to describe it "Two Doms for Dinner" by Dorothy Freed, based on her real-life BDSM kinky play as a submissive woman with two dominant men, and "Ophelia the Second" by Jade A. Waters, a Shakespeare themed erotica story. Click through to listen to them on Rose's site (yes, I know there's a way to embed them, but my time is short this morning so I'm posting these the fastest way possible).


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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Read my Jazz Jennings interview for Paper on her new memoir, overcoming depression, bathroom laws and more

I interviewed transgender teen activist and I Am Jazz star Jazz Jennings for Paper magazine, my first piece for them. I only had twenty minutes for the interview and wasn't sure if we'd get to everything I wanted to cover but we more than did, and Jazz had lots of fascinating things to say about her double life as a media star and regular teen, overcoming depression, the fight over restrooms and much more. Hope you enjoy it.


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Friday, June 24, 2016

Why I love editing the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series

I'm in the midst of working on three volumes of the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series at once, promoting Volume 1, which is out in print, ebook and audiobook, finalizing the table of contents for Volume 2, which will be published in December, and doing some early promotions and brainstorming, and spreading the word as wide and far as I can about the call for submissions for Volume 3 so I can meet my goal if receiving 500 submissions.


It's a lot to juggle, especially with two part-time jobs that combine to make a six-day-a-week full-time job, but I'm happy to do it because I'm incredibly honored to be at the helm of the series. For me, editing a series is different than editing a one-off title, because I know that each book does not stand alone. They stand as sequels to all the ones that came before them (in this case, starting with Best Women's Erotica edited by Marcy Sheiner in 2000 through Best Women's Erotica 2015 edited by Violet Blue, before the series changed to using volume numbers and I became editor).

As I'm editing, I also envision the same readers reading all of the volumes I'm editing, and I keep that in mind when I'm selecting stories. I try not to repeat scenarios or pick anything too similar to what's come before; I think of it as wanting the stories to echo and complement each other, to speak to each other but not duplicate. So one thing I'd love to see in Volume 3 is another outstanding pop culture reference erotica story, similar to what Lazuli Jones did with "Starstruck" in Volume 1, but outside the comics/superhero world. I also have subjects that for whatever reason, didn't yield many submissions for Volume 2, so I am definitely on the hunt for the perfect trans woman erotica story or stories for Volume 3, and some stories about older female characters. I know I may not get everything on my wish list into every given volume, and I don't know for sure that I will get to edit more, but that's why I'm putting my heart and soul into promotions, so that I can hopefully keep on editing the series for a long time to come. That being said, it's fiction, and part of the beauty of any writing is that everyone will approach it with their own ideas and experiences and angles, what writer Todd Henry calls your authentic voice.

It also helps me on a personal level when I have to do my least favorite task, sending rejection letters. I just sent out over 200 rejection letters for Volume 2, and that is such a hellish experience it deserves its own post. Suffice it to say, it makes me feel like a terrible person and never want to go through the process again, but what gets me through it every time is knowing that I will most likely have new anthologies on the horizon and a rejection today might mean an acceptance on another story next year, or the next or the next.

This mindset helps me get through sending rejections but on a more positive note, it also helps me conceptualize what I want my role to be as editor. I am taking a more pro-active approach to Volume 3, reaching out to groups and websites and authors I think might appreciate the call, and doing my best to spread the word while there's still 5+ months left before the deadline. I'm not against one-off anthologies, but I feel extra excited about the possibilities for the series, and maybe even doing some joint readings from multiple volumes, if I'm lucky.

To conclude, if you know anyone who might be eligible and interested in submitting their erotic fiction to Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, please pass along the writing guidelines to them. If you want to help me get a head start in spreading the word about the amazingness that will be Volume 2, please add it to your Goodreads want to read list.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why dating tech guys is the worst and Bay Area Peter Pan Syndrome at

My latest sex interview for is about dating in the Bay Area and men who don't want to grow up (my interviewee cooked dinner for a guy who left early to go have sex with someone else). I'm on the lookout for more women to interview! Some topics I'd like to discuss: sex and dating when you travel often for work, sex after abortion, sex while dealing with illness, any momentous sexual first times, your experience with female ejaculation, preferring sex toys over partner sex, and sex when you have a very specific fetish, but I'm open to pretty much anything else, especially subjects I haven't covered yet. Email me at ellesexstories at and tell me about yourself and what you'd want to discuss and if you know any women who might be open to talking to me, please pass this on.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On entering new careers at 40

This year has been a drastically up and down one emotionally and professionally. The two, for me, as a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve in the form of a tattoo with the word, are intimately intertwined. For a few months I was in pretty bad shape mentally; nothing really seemed worthwhile and the less work I had, the more convinced I was that I should start prowling want ads and take any available job, not just for the money, but to feel useful and wanted.

Cut to May and June, when I've been working full-time hours six days a week and making more than I ever have in the years since I got laid off from my magazine editor job in 2011. It's been exciting, and today starts a new chapter in the form of a copywriting job that will actually require me to leave the house sometimes and work in an office, which will be its own kind of adjustment.

Before this year, I'd never done any copywriting; now I have and I've been paid for it and even though I was terrified at first, doing it once and seeing my ideas respected and valued taught me that I can do it, even if it's all new. At age 40, I assumed I would keep on simply doing the same old tasks I've been doing for years. When people asked me what my dream career was, I would say, "This, but earning more money." Well, now I am earning an income I feel is commensurate with my skills and that is helping me pay down debt and just might pay for super pricey fertility treatments, and I'm finding that knowing I am capable of learning so many new things each day has been incredible for how I value myself.

I've also learned how to be an entertainment blogger, and let me say that for me, Blogger in no way prepared me for the job I do now writing Wordpress posts. I thought I knew a thing or two about blogging; after all, tis one's been going since I believe 2002 (in a fit of rage I deleted the entire thing and brought it back sometime around 2004). I used to have a pretty significant part-time job blogging at Cupcakes Take the Cake. But writing for OMJ has been an entirely different experience.

Before May, I knew nothing about Getty Images. Now, I use it every day. Now my beats includes parents and babies who I'd honestly either never heard of or never thought of. I have constant technical questions and am now doing my best to learn as much SEO as I can because I'm genuinely curious.

I'm still all in on erotica, and will soon be revealing the updated version of my site I launched this year to work directly with clients on their writing. I'm editing new anthologies and have book releases in July and December. I'm still doing weekly sex interviews for and freelance writing here and there. But I can't stress enough how invaluable it is to have strangers take a chance on me in arenas I was unfamiliar with and believe in me enough to hire me. That's allowed me to believe in myself so I never feel stuck, like I can only do the things I've already done.

Maybe some wouldn't consider entertainment blogging and copywriting "new" careers because they involve writing, but I do. To me, they are vastly different from writing fiction or essays or journalism because they serve a different purpose. The writing does involve words, but to me that's where the similar ends. So as a new phase of my career begins, I wanted to share this, and if it in any small way encourages those of you wanting to learn a new skill or try anything they haven't done before, please take this as encouragement to go for it and see what happens. You'll never know unless you do.


Monday, June 20, 2016

My Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 authors are excited, or why I keep editing anthologies even though they are always a lot of work

I'll be posting more about the anthology editing process, including my number one pet peeve and some advice for writers. It's exciting to have two new calls for submissions and I'm working on spreading the word because I've set a goal of getting 500 submissions for each book to have as much variety as possible in the final volumes (so please spread the word if you know any writers!). In the meantime, acceptances for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 recently went out. (The book pubs in December and is available for pre-order now.) If you're excited to read the book, please add it to your Goodreads "want to read" list and stay tuned to my next few monthly newsletters for a chance to get a review copy!

And I was going to do a separate cover reveal post but I'm too excited about this one to share it. This series is a giant honor to get to edit and every bit of support you can give the book enables me to keep on editing it and keep on publishing new authors each time.


Not only was it very special to me to be working with a book almost entirely comprised of authors I've never published before (one of my goals for the series and my anthologies generally is to publish new writers), their responses helped remind me why I do this in the first place. Yes, it's part of my income stream, but after 63 anthologies, I know I've started to lose steam. I very carefully consider every time whether I've put enough anthologies out into the world and whether there's a real purpose and meaning to my adding yet another one, and these authors have helped remind me that one of the reasons I keep on doing it is the joy of knowing I've helped someone achieve a career goal or get their first erotica byline or simply tell a wonderful story and showcase it alongside their peers.

ella tweet

melina tweet

kate sebastian tweet

And Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 contributor Jade A. Waters tweeted about how happy she was to have her Shakespeare-themed short story "Ophelia the Second" read on Rose Caraway's podcast. All 22 stories in the book are read by Rose on the bestselling Audible audiobook!

jade tweet

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

2 new anthology calls for submissions: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 and The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2

These may not need a preface because they are very wordy as it is, but here goes: I chose to post these now, rather than waiting until a later date, even though it means anyone submitting now will have over a year to wait. I did that for my own sake so I am not racing around trying to meet an unmanageable deadline and to put some new calls into the world sooner rather than later. As you'll see below, if this is too long to wait, don't submit to these calls. If you have questions after reading both of them thoroughly, feel free to ask, but please honor your time and mine by not asking me anything that's already stated below.

I get more precise with each call based on things I see happening in the submission process. The truth is, I wasn't sure I would take on any more calls because I have a lot going on these days work wise and want to put every effort humanly possible into making the books I have out there now succeed, which can be hard to do when you are also in the midst of editing one, let alone two, anthologies. But I also know that part of my life's work is giving as many authors as possible a platform, which is why I've strongly encouraged authors new to the genre and those I've never worked with to submit. As for why there aren't bios on The Big Book of Submission, one word: space. Cost is the reason those authors will receive one contributor copy. And yes, I bolded my pet peeves.

I may very well tweak them slightly, as tends to happen, but I wanted to get the process started now. My goal is always to get my calls read by as many writers as possible and increase the pool of submissions, so I will be doing my own research and outreach to make sure these reach a wider audience than my past ones have. If you know of any websites, bulletin boards, groups or individual writers who might appreciate the calls, I would love if you passed them on. I often get writers telling me they heard about my calls right before the deadline, which is obviously less than ideal circumstances for writing, so I hope that this is seen with plenty of time to jog your creativity.

I welcome questions about these calls (though I cannot read any story drafts or comment on any specific plots or storylines, though I will answer specific content questions related to these guidelines if an element is unclear), and I also respect that these calls aren't for everyone. If these speak to you, good luck, and I look forward to reading your stories when it's time!

Lastly, if you submitted to Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, I'll be getting back to you by the end of June, so please be patient.

Call for Submissions
Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 3

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press in December 2017

This anthology is open to women authors only, as the series has been since its inception (genderqueer and nonbinary authors are welcome to submit as well). I want your best, boldest, hottest, most creative and diverse 1,500-4,000 word erotica stories, written by and starring a wide range of women, from single to coupled, living in big cities and small towns anywhere in the world, of varying sexual orientations, races, ages (all characters must be 18+ for the entirety of the story) fetishes, jobs, interests and life experiences. I want fast-paced stories that grab me from the first word and don't let up on the heat until the final word. I want stories about women with sexual fantasies, fetishes and lives that are underrepresented in the erotica genre. I want stories that sizzle, push envelopes and surprise me. I don't want clichéd plotlines or generic characters.

Stories in the final book will range from humorous and playful to intense and soulful, and will reflect a similar sexual, racial and age diversity as the stories in Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1. Story submissions must be unpublished (never published, in whole or in part, anywhere, online or offline). No scat or incest, although age play will be considered as long as it's clear in the context of the story that the characters are engaging in roleplay. No poetry will be considered.

I don't want to limit your creativity, because I want these stories to be as dazzling, varied, surprising and sexy as possible. I want your very best work, the kind that will make readers want to savor your story over and over again. Some things I'm looking to include in this volume: stories by authors who've never been published in the Best Women's Erotica series or are new to writing erotica, stories by authors based outside the United States (and stories set outside the United States), stories from the point of view of women of color, stories from the point of view of transgender women, stories featuring women in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties or nineties, romantic erotica (they don't necessarily need to have a traditional "happily ever after," but happy endings are extremely welcome too), stories involving more than two people, stories in unusual settings, erotica touching on current events (though the story should be one readers ten or twenty years from now will also appreciate), stories that touch on real-life issues affecting women, BDSM stories (especially ones with creative motivations and femdom stories, though I also want stories about outstanding submissive women), and creative fetishes. These suggestions are merely meant as springboards for your storytelling. All stories that meet the guidelines will be considered.

In a nutshell: I want stories that blow my mind, that grab my attention and don't let go, that say something new and exciting about sex and sexuality, that will appeal to longtime erotica readers and new readers. I gravitate toward unique, creative, memorable characters, settings and scenarios. I will consider sci fi, fantasy, paranormal and historical stories, although they will likely not comprise the majority of the book. For an idea of the types of stories I like, see Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1.

In the interest of publishing a range of authors, those whose work appears in Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 or Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, will not be considered for this volume, but contributors to previous Best Women's Erotica collections are welcome to submit work.

Rights: non-exclusive right to publish your story in this anthology in print, ebook, and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories.

How to submit: Submit only 1,500-4,000 original, unpublished stories that are not being considered elsewhere. Maximum two submissions per author. I want only original work that has never been published online or in print. All characters must be 18 or over for the entirety of the story. US grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.). Submit to by attaching a Word .doc or .docx file, double spaced, Times New Roman Black font with legal name, pseudonym (if applicable), mailing address AND 50 word-or-under third person bio on the first page of your story above the title. Please make sure to double check the word count of your bio and only submit 50 words or less. Please make sure to use an email address you check frequently.

All stories must have a title and byline included with the submission (no untitled stories). Indent half an inch at the start of each paragraph. Use double spacing for the entire file; do not add extra lines between paragraphs or use any other irregular spacing. If you cannot use Word, submit as both an RTF AND include the full submission in the body of an email, including title, story text, bio, name and pseudonym (if applicable), and mailing address. DO NOT SUBMIT MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF THE SAME STORY. SUBMIT YOUR STORY WITH THE TITLE, BYLINE AND WORDING YOU WOULD WANT PUBLISHED IF THE STORY IS ACCEPTED. MAKE SURE TO THOROUGHLY PROOFREAD YOUR STORY BEFORE SUBMITTING IT. Only stories that are between 1,500-4,000 words and submitted by December 1, 2016 will be considered. Please do not ask about exceptions to the word count or deadline as they will not be granted.

I will confirm that I have received your submission within 72 hours. I will respond to all submissions by September 30, 2017. If you have not heard back from me by October 1, 2017, feel free to follow up at that time. Please note the time frame and if you need a response sooner than September 30, 2017, this is not the right anthology for you.

Payment: $150 and 2 copies of the book within 90 days of publication

Deadline: December 1, 2016

Questions: Email

Call for submissions
The Big Book of Submission Volume 2 (working title)

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press in 2018
Please make sure to read and follow these guidelines in order for your work to be considered. Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for short erotica stories of 1,200 words or less focused on the theme of submission within BDSM. Stories submitted that are over 1,200 words will be rejected. While the word count is short, I want complex stories with a beginning, middle and end, not simply scene snippets.

I will consider stories from a dominant's perspective if that is the best way to illuminate the mindset of the submissive, but they must explore what the submissive gets out of the scenario in some way. The final book of 69 stories will contain an extremely wide variety of characters, POVs (I welcome first, second and third person stories), settings, scenarios, motivations, experience levels, motivations, BDSM practices (which can be combined with other sexual acts), fetishes, couplings, relationships, etc. I welcome the use of sex toys and BDSM implements, real or imagined. All genders and sexual orientations welcome.

All characters must be over 18 for the entirety of the story; no nonconsensual activity, scat, incest or bestiality. No poetry. Original, unpublished stories only. Stories from authors whose work I have not published before are especially welcome. See The Big Book of Submission to get a feel for the types of short submissive erotica I enjoy. Please note that this anthology will not include author bios.

Rights: non-exclusive right to publish your story in this anthology in print, ebook, and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories.

How to submit: Send double spaced Times or Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc or .docx) with pages numbered OR RTF of 1,200 words maximum to Stories that are not in keeping with the theme of the anthology or are over 1,200 words will not be considered. DO NOT submit multiple versions of a single story; submit ONLY your final, complete, edited version of your story with the story title and byline you'd want published. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch and double space (regular double spacing, do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). US grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required. I will consider a maximum of two stories per author. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), mailing address. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you’d like to be credited as (such as Jane Doe, writing as Ann Smith). You will receive a confirmation within 72 hours. I will get back to you by September 30, 2017.

Payment: $25 and 1 copy of the book on publication in 2018

Deadline: January 10, 2017

Questions: Email

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