Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sexy Spiderman

Spidey banned?

Colleen Kane at Nerve's Scanner blog reported on a possible case of library censorship involving a Spiderman graphic novel:

When a 6-year-old boy brought home a Spider-Man graphic novel from his school library in Millard, Nebraska, his mother found it to be age-inappropriate and requested that it be removed from the library.

The offending comic is from 2002 and was rated PG, Ages 12+, and features Mary Jane (above) in a bikini and short skirt. Woah now! It's not like you can see that anywhere you turn like on TV, the Internet, movies, or real life.

The school district's head librarian is forming a committee to determine what course of action to take. And this will take how many resources...?


Interestingly, Craig Yoe's book Secret Identity offers a fascinating look at the bondage and other kinky art Spiderman creator Joe Shuster made. And they're having a book party!

Secret Identity party

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Food porn: baked eggs at Spoon

photo by Stacie Joy

This was what I had for brunch on Sunday at Spoon, their opening weekend for brunch. Cupcakes Take the Cake was comped a lovely brunch, which Stacie organized. This was perfect, especially for cold weather - there was spinach, eggs, sausage...and some other things. See why I'm not a food writer? But it was delicious and there were all these babies in there who would wave and smile back at me when I made faces and waved at them. What more do you need? And yes, they also serve cupcakes!

It's on 20th between 5th and 6th, so not really that convenient for me, but if you're in the neighborhood, I recommend it.

Interview with The Mile High Club contributor Donna George Storey

Crossposting from The Mile High Club blog to give these fun interviews more exposure. I love hearing what celebs people most want to join the mile high club with!

Donna George Storey, author of "Nasty Little Habit"

What was your inspiration for your story in The Mile High Club?

In my story “Nasty Little Habit,” I wanted to set up an airplane seduction that could easily happen in my real life. Now you may be wondering if I’ve masturbated on a trans-Atlantic flight under the blanket? I’m afraid I have to take the Fifth on that one…

I will confess that like my narrator, I find the close contact with so many anonymous men on an airplane very provocative. The writer in me wants to slip inside their lives to know their secrets even for just a few moments. As in the story, I’ve also sat next to men who kept glancing over clearly hoping to chat, but since I usually have a great book I want to read, I’d ignore them as best I could. On the other hand, when I did relent, I enjoyed the strange intimacy with a partner chosen by the seat assignment computer. It makes me realize we’re all on the same journey, at least for a time. And why not have fun along the way?

Why do you think The Mile High Club has such a mystique?

Good sex whisks us away from ordinary life to another realm, a sort of suspended state existing beyond the rules we usually follow. Witness for example all the control freaks, men or women, who love to be dominated in bed, just as Matt Conklin’s narrator observes in “Wild Child.” Airplane travel is like sex. We are literally suspended in air, able to take on a temporary new identity. We’re brushing up against strangers we’d otherwise never meet, our senses are heightened by the excitement and novelty. Plus, there’s always that whiff of danger that each ride might be our last. Since we’re all thinking sexy thoughts anyway, we’re bound to be curious about the brave few who can take it one step further to actually realizing our collective fantasy.

Do you have any tips for people looking to join The Mile High Club, whether from personal experience, observation or imagination?

On our many flights to Japan, my husband and I occasionally lucked out and got the entire middle bank of seats on a 747 to ourselves. We’d put up the arm rests and stretch out, his head on one end, mine on the other, legs entwined. Sometimes we’d spoon together and I could feel his hard-on pushing against my ass, cruelly separated by our clothes. Occasionally a flight attendant would glance at us, but that’s back before I wrote erotica and we reined in our improper urges. Now that transgressive sex is very much on my mind for professional reasons, I can appreciate the possibilities that situation presents more fully.

For a woman, masturbating under the blankets is very doable. As a responsible professional, I confirmed the logistics on my last flight to Japan recently. However, practically speaking, to move up to platinum membership in the Mile High Club with intercourse in the restroom, I’d definitely need some serious foreplay in the seats to overcome the ick factor. Of course, in the right mood, squalor can be a turn-on all its own.

What celebrity would you most want to join The Mile High Club with and why?

Jon Stewart. He’s smart and funny and he looks a bit like my grandfather. Plus, I think he has enough of a prurient streak he’d really appreciate a good roll on the seats.

Are there any specific planes or airports you find particularly sexy?

Pittsburgh International Airport is definitely my first love. I took my maiden flight from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. when I was eight. It lasted all but forty-minutes, but they served an elegant breakfast on china plates: two huge Danishes, fresh melon, orange juice in a real glass.

The parking lot of the Pittsburgh Airport was where I became enchanted with the perfume of jet fuel on the breeze, the fragrance of foreign adventure. The waiting area is where I saw an infomercial on California made by TWA that made me yearn to live in that golden land someday. (Dreams do come true--I’ve been a California girl for years now, although of course TWA has long passed into history.) And the Pittsburgh Airport is where the man who took my virginity--actually I sort of shoved it at him and said “here”--treated me to breakfast one very early July morning. Driving out to the airport to have eggs and toast and watch the planes take off is an time-honored romantic tradition in the City of Steel.

We all know that in real life, plane travel is often not very sexy at all. What’s your best piece of advice on how to make plane travel as relaxing as possible?

Long flights to Europe or Asia are the real challenge. Drink lots of plain water, but no alcohol. Take off your shoes and wear travel socks (except to the restroom—those floors are sticky) to avoid swollen, aching feet. Blow-up neck pillows are key for restful sleep, and try to get some or the jet lag will hammer you. Plus, always snag a blanket, even if you don’t plan to masturbate!

What’s next for you?

I’m easing up on the promotion of my first dirty book, Amorous Woman (the semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman’s love affair with Japan), to start work on a new novel, which will be a journey into America’s erotic past. The research has been lots of fun. I’m also starting up a collection of podcasts of my work, which you can find on the Aural Pleasures page of my website.

Below is an excerpt from Donna George Storey's "Nasty Little Habit." Read the entire story in
The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories.

Today’s the day I’ll break my nasty little habit once and for all.

That’s what I tell myself as I shuffle on to the London-bound plane with the other Premiere Executives. I’m the only woman in the bunch, which isn’t unusual. Before I decided to change my ways, the closeness of so many anonymous male bodies was the first thing to get me in the mood for later misbehavior. I’d imagine them gathered around me as I pleasured myself, cocks in hand, ready to shoot their loads all over me until every inch of my flesh glistened like a freshly glazed doughnut.

Today, however, I resolutely wipe such thoughts from my mind as I hurry through the business class cabin—no upgrade this time, alas—and silently repeat my vow.

I will not masturbate under the blanket on this flight.

I murmur it, under my breath, as I slip my suitcase into the overhead bin.

I will not masturbate under the blanket on this flight.

Pulling my book from my shoulder bag, I settle into seat 33B. Call me a masochist, but I specifically requested a center seat rather than my usual window. Breaking bad habits always requires a certain amount of discomfort, and it will be that much harder to jam my hand down my pants with a vigilant stranger on either side.

I pick up the plastic-wrapped blanket from my chair and push it under the seat in front of me, well out of temptation’s way. It’ll make for a chilly night, but I can hardly masturbate under the blanket if I have no blanket, can I?

“Excuse me.”

It’s a male voice, obviously the occupant of 33A. I don’t even look his way as I rise and step into the aisle to let him pass...

Read the rest of the story in The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories.

You may also enjoy Donna George Storey's hotel sex erotica interview and her Do Not Disturb guest post, "Love Hotel Madness."

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Counting down to Virgin Night April 16th...

No need to RSVP to Virgin Night at In The Flesh Reading Series, just show up at Happy Ending Lounge on April 16th at 8 for delicious free cupcakes and snacks, porn DVD and book giveaways, contests to win prizes such as a JimmyJane massage candle and the game Sexy Slang, and more!

View all Happy Ending events at Eventful

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Yesterday in photos

Nichelle Stephens and Rachel Kramer Bussel of Cupcakes Take the Cake
photo of me and Nichelle by Matthew Powell

Bacon mini cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery
Kumquat Cupcakery mini bacon cupcakes at Bacon Takedown (taken by me, though the event was sadly sold out)

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Where I'll be Friday night

At Dixon Place seeing my friend Felice Shays (who I haven't seen in, literally, years) in The Possibility of Response. (I know I said I wasn't going to go out as much, but exceptions for cool artist friends must be made.)

Felice Shays in The Possibility of Response

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Wouldn't you want to have sex on a plane with Natalie Wood?

Bill Kte-pi told me
she was the inspiration for his story "34B" in The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories.

Read the short but sweet interview here

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Win a cupcake apron and cupcake gloves!

Cupcakes Take the Cake contest - deadline Wednesday, April 1! See rules at Cupcakes Take the Cake to win thess:

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Submit your sex writing to The Sexies and Best Sex Writing 2010

I'm a guest judge this year for The Sexies (The Sex-Positive Journalism Awards) so I'm passing that info on for your information. Any questions, ask the folks in charge. That deadline has been extended to April 20th.

I'm searching high and low, print and online, all over, basically, for pieces for my Best Sex Writing 2010. Deadline is May 1st, guest judge is Esther Perel, book's out in December. See below for guidelines. I've already made some selections and am really excited about this book, especially because we're doing galleys so that the powers that be (such as Publishers Weekly) will have it in time so the book can actually be seen, read and bought.

I have so many ideas, but need your submissions and suggestions (suggestions are very welcome, and anyone who suggests a piece I wind up including in the book gets a free copy!). Plus they don't have to be U.S.-based; the pieces must be in English but can have been published outside the U.S. I want it to be as timely as possible, so topics like breastfeeding and sexting (to link to but two examples of pieces I liked) will hopefully be included.

The Sexies guidelines:

We are seeking pieces of journalism that:

* Touch on sex—sexual practice, health, or behavior—in some manner (stories just about sexual orientation do not qualify)
* Are intended for a general audience
* Meet high overall standards of reporting, fact-checking, and writing

and do at least one of the following:

* Show evidence of fairness in seeking sex-positive sources to respond to sex-negative ones
* Ask hard questions about the motivation and background of sources who rely on sex-negative soundbites
* Avoid biased or sensationalistic language
* Cover newsworthy topics, events, or issues that might tend to be swept under the rug because of controversial sexual content
* Report accurately, respectfully, and with nuance on sex research results
* Contain fair, accurate, and non-sensational portrayals of sexual subcultures
* Keep a clear separation between sex crimes, such as sexual assault or pedophilia, and things that merely make people uncomfortable, such as consensual kink, teen sexuality or gay priests; and help readers who may not be familiar with the issues make the distinction
* Specifically challenge sex-negative assumptions or practices in society at large or in a specific community
* Educate the public as to the diversity of sexual behavior without sensationalizing
* Celebrate sexuality as a positive force in human lives

We are not looking for racy or sensationalistic stories. The awards will be something any traditional journalist should be proud to hang on his or her wall—a testament to journalistic standards of fairness and accuracy about a charged and controversial subject.

Best Sex Writing 2010 Call for Submissions

To be edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, selected by
guest judge author and therapist Esther Perel (author of Mating in Captivity)
Publication date: December 2009
Deadline for submissions: May 1, 2009

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for personal essays and reportage for inclusion in the 2010 edition of the Cleis Press series Best Sex Writing, which will hit stores in December 2009. Seeking articles from across the sexual spectrum, covering (in no particular order) alternative sexuality, reproductive rights and sexuality, sex education, sex and technology, sex work, sex and aging, sex and parenting, sex and religion, sex and race, sex and class, sex and disability, BDSM, polyamory, transgender issues, gender roles, etc. These topics are just starting points; any writings covering the topic of sex will be considered. Personal essays will also be considered. I like work that looks at sex in new and unusual ways (see Stacey D'Erasmo's "Silver-Balling" in Best Sex Writing 2009 for a prime example), that challenges us to think about sex and our own sexuality, is thought-provoking and possibly disturbing. I want sex journalism that's found in the most unexpected places and is as topical as possible. No fiction or poetry will be considered. No fiction or poetry will be considered.

Previous editions of the annual series have featured authors such as Brian Alexander, Violet Blue, Susannah Breslin, Susie Bright, Stephen Elliott, Gael Greene, Michael Musto, Scott Poulson-Bryant, Mary Roach, Tristan Taormino, Virginia Vitzhum, and others. See Best Sex Writing 2008 and 2009 for examples of the types of writing being sought (tables of contents at and I'm especially looking for reported pieces that are political, timely, intelligent, surprising, and insightful about sex in American culture (and its many subcultures). Think topics in the news such as Obama and sex, Nadya Suleman, abstinence education, breastfeeding etc., to give a few examples.

About the editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is a prolific author and editor. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, hosts In The Flesh Reading Series and has edited or co-edited over a dozen erotica books, most recently Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Spanked, as well as Best Sex Writing 2008 and Best Sex Writing 2009.

Requirements: Story must have been published (or slated to be published) between September 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009, online and/or in print (book, magazine, zine or newspaper) in the United States. No unpublished work; reprints only.

Instructions: Please send your double-spaced submission (up to 6,000 words) as a Word document or RTF attachment to bestsexwriting2010 at – you may submit a maximum of TWO pieces for consideration. You MUST include your full contact information, a bio, and previous publication details as per below.

If for some reason you are unable to send a Word document or RTF, send your submission in the body of an email. Put BSW2010 in the subject line. Include your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and exact publication details (title of publication, date of publication, and any other relevant information). ONLY SEND WORK YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REPRINT.

Editors may submit up to three submissions from their publication, following the guidelines above. Please make it clear that you are the editor submitting work for consideration from your publication, and have the author's contact information available upon request.

Email address (for queries and submissions): bestsexwriting2010 at
Payment: $100
Deadline: May 1, 2009
Expect to hear back from me by October 2009 at the latest.

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My Parents Are Sex Maniacs - a YA novel

Lately, I'm all about reading YA (young adult) novels, which if I ever get it together (I am months behind) I will be writing about for the Huffington Post. Anyway, I loved this Robyn Harding book's title: My Parents are Sex Maniacs: A High School Horror Story.

You can win a copy from Tea Time at Annick Press by sending them your tale of parental humiliation (on Twitter if you can do it in 140 words or less even!). I guess the contest is aimed at teenagers, but we all have a little parental humiliation going on, don't we? As I, um, prepare to go to Switzerland for a week with my mom in May, I can certainly answer YES.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today = drawing and cupcakes with Dr. Sketchy's and Cupcakes Take the Cake

Join the Cupcakes Take the Cake Meetup group today at 4 at the Slipper Room for Dr. Sketchy's! If you can't make it, do join our group for future fun cupcake events in NYC.

And tomorrow enjoy bacon cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery and 29 other bacon-y treats at the Bacon Showdown!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday food lust: S'mores cupcakes with blowtorch

see more at Cupcakes Take the Cake; photo/cupcake by Provo, Utah's The Sweet Tooth Fairy via Flickr

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"Blogging, Frosted and Bare Bottomed"

That's my friend, writer and "Chief Evangelist" and Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times editor Kevin Smokler at Huffington Post suggesting combining my loves of blogging, cupcakes and spanking into a SXSW panel next year.

He also has some very smart things to say about publishing:

Really it comes down to this: Readers wish to be empowered as book lovers. Make it easy for them to not just buy and read books but celebrate, talk about, remix, dissect, talk back to and about books. It is the publishers responsibility to not just produce great books but enable a relationship with them.

In plain English, the answer to every inquiry from anyone spending their time to sing about their love of books (in blog, podcast, social network or scrawl on a restroom wall) is "yes." Yes to interviews, yes to excerpts, yes to review copies, yes to images, yes to event data, yes to whatever they want. If they act like jackasses and abuse that trust, then feel free to say no. Until then, the answer to anything short of "Will Joyce Carol Oates clean my patio furniture this Sunday?" is yes.

Read his entire piece (part of his Shelf Talker series at HuffPo).

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

MTA Service Specialists can service me any time!

MTA Service Specialists
photo of the MTA Service Specialists by Zandy Mangold (via Staten-Island Real-Time News

No, this isn't about a plane, or the mile high club, but a) the outfits are hot, b) the campaign is cheeky, and c) the MTA fare hikes, especially combined with what can only be called lackluster service, are absolutely ridiculous. I love this sexy art only would've been better if they were passing out cupcakes!

Who are the MTA Service Specialists? I'll let them tell you:

Their names (via MySpace) are:

Kae Burke

Kiki Valentine

Lauren Larken

and Anya Sapozhnikova

From The New York Daily News:

The MTA has found yet another way to make riding the subways more miserable.

On top of fare hikes and service cuts, it's now dumping on "MTA service specialists," four women who voluntarily ride the rails to help straphangers get around quicker and happier.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority thinks the smiling women in their 1940s-style stewardess uniforms are giving riders the idea that the MTA is actually improving service, said specialist Kiki Valentine.

MTA lawyers filed a cease-and-desist order Tuesday giving the volunteers 72 hours to remove a video and make other changes on their Web site,, which the MTA says makes unfair use of the agency's "intellectual property."

And they have a video:

And another photo by Zandy Mangold, just because I couldn't resist:

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Award nominations for my books!

Just got word of these nominations from the National Leather Association International!

Congratulations to all the nominees and especially our publisher Cleis Press. Looking ahead, and kindof a longshot, but I nominated some of my books for the Erotic and Sexuality categories for the IPPY Awards (Independent Publisher awards) so keep your fingers crossed for me on those too.

Speaking of erotica, I will have much more to say soon, by the weekend at the latest, about Greta Christina's piece about the state of the erotic fiction anthology.

Direct from an email from Steve Vakesh, NLA-I Awards Chair:

The finalists for the John Preston Short Fiction Award are:

Mike Kimera, "Toying With Lily " in Alison Tyler (ed.), Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica (Cleis)

Jeff Mann, "Kidnapping Chris" in Richard Labonté (ed.), Best Gay Bondage Erotica (Cleis)

Thomas S. Roche, "Butterfly's Kiss" in Rachel Kramer Bussel (ed.),
Rubber Sex (Cleis)

Xan West, "First Time Since" in Alison Tyler (ed.), Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica (Cleis)

The finalists for the Anthology Award are:

Rachel Kramer Bussel (ed.), Yes Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission (Cleis)

Rachel Kramer Bussel (ed.), Rubber Sex (Cleis)

Richard Labonté (ed.), Best Gay Bondage Erotica (Cleis)

Alison Tyler (ed.), Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica (Cleis)

Read the introduction to Yes, Sir here.

Read the introduction to Rubber Sex here.

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Reject me!

I mean...I'm reading a very old Village Voice column that was rejected by Jon Friedman from his book Rejected. Fancy that...It's actually a kindof dated and boring column, but the part I'm extra bummed about is that we were told that reprints were fine, and then the reason given for my rejection was that they weren't looking at any reprints. Um, okay...anyway, come hear me and eat free cupcakes. I will be scouring the galleys at Housing Works!

The Rejection Show presents:

Featuring pieces that were, for whatever reason, left out, declined, removed, and rejected from the recently released, critically acclaimed book, Rejected: Tales of the Failed, Dumped, and Canceled. --For established fans and/or new fans of the book, the show will also feature readings/performances from some of the book’s actual contributors.

AND live music from Erin & Her Cello!

FREE "Rejection" CUPCAKES courtesy of Life in a Peanut Shell.

'Rejected from Rejected' is a uniquely fun, entertaining, funny, and insightful night filled with rejects of rejection and accepted rejection from rejects in the book REJECTED (or something like that).

'Rejected from Rejected'
A "Rejected" Book Release Event
Hosted by Jon Friedman
The Housing Works Bookstore
Wednesday, March 25th @ 7PM
126 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012
B, D, F, V, to Broadway-Lafayette

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My new shoes and stockings

One of many photos from In The Flesh last week by Stacie Joy

I also have these shoes in gray and purple and I wear them with these great grayish/lilacish tights and a purple dress, just don't have a photo of them yet.

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Bacon cupcakes!

For those who were unaware of the bacon/cupcake connection, feast your eyes on Cupcakes Take the Cake's bacon coverage.

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Men vs. women: who has it worse when it comes to sex?

I'm a bit behind on this, but there was a he said/she said by Grant Stoddard and Susannah Breslin recently at The Daily Beast.


So women seem to have carte blanche to express every hue of their sexuality. This is in addition to being able to pick and choose male sexual partners at will. Paradoxically, it’s resolutely acceptable for a woman to be uninterested in having sex at a moment’s notice. On several occasions I’ve been invited back to girls’ apartments in the early hours of the morning, ostensibly for intercourse. On a few of those occasions, upon arriving at their respective stoops, I’ve had second thoughts and declined their kind offer. Their befuddled expressions implored me to explain myself. When I didn’t, they verbalized their need for an explanation: “I’m allergic to cat dander,” I say. Or: “I have to pick up my parents from the airport.” “I have to cram for a real-estate exam.” In truth, I simply wasn’t wasn’t feeling like having sex with them or anybody else, and for no reason in particular.


Take a look at the young women who write openly about their sex lives online, and what you’ll find is that trailing along behind them is a line of rabid attackers looking to punish them for doing so. The more high-profile among them spawn lightning-rod debates as they reveal their sexual proclivities in provocative blog posts and graphic cellphone pics. When Lena Chen, a Harvard student and sex blogger, posted a shot of her face after oral sex, Gawker pronounced it the “Worst Overshare Anywhere Ever”—and republished the “horribly oversharey” photo (it was later cropped to a thumbnail). It’s as if when women choose to exercise their sexual freedoms, men can’t quite figure out whether to love them or hate them for it.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How low can you go?

Picture 17

That's kindof a funny question to ask in relation to the mile high club, but still, apparently how low my book The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories went yesterday with my Amazon Spike Day promotion thanks to the approximately 20 of you (there may be more, but that's who I heard from with free book requests) is 1,997. Not bad for a book that started the day in the 200,000 range!

THANK YOU to everyone who participated. It was one of my little cheap DIY book promotion experiments and I think I will do it again with my next book Bottoms Up: Spanking Good Erotica but in a more organized, less haphazard/last minute way. I hope those who ordered enjoy your books! Big thanks to Alison Tyler for throwing in her own free book offer. And if you ordered The Mile High Club on on March 23rd, you can still email me your receipt, but otherwise this promotion is over.

To say thanks, here's a snippet of my airplane cybersex erotica story "Urgent Message" from The Mile High Club. To read the whole thing, you'll have to check out the book!

Urgent Message
by Rachel Kramer Bussel

The fact that I have to travel a lot for my job as a fashion photographer has always been a sore spot with my boyfriend, Brandon. He works the day shift at a French restaurant, and in many ways is more of a homebody than I am. I like a fast-paced lifestyle, which is why I moved to New York in the first place, but even though he thrives on the energy at the restaurant, he’s happy to veg out in front of the TV or just explore the city. Still, we fell hard for each other and weren’t going to split up simply because sometimes I have to hop on a plane. The chemistry between us was strong right from the beginning, and hasn’t let up, so we’ve learned how to deal with my traveling with frequent phone calls and hours of hot sex when I return. We balance our nights out with ones cuddled in front of our fireplace (yes, we have one in our apartment), watching movies or having luxurious sex on our shag carpet.

When I have to go out of town, though, he practically sulks. Or at least he did until we devised a high-tech, ultramodern, yet perfectly dirty way of dealing with my absences. I had heard on the news that several airlines were now offering in-flight instant message and Internet services. What better way to keep in touch with my man than by sharing every X-rated thought I had, while on a plane filled with strangers?

Usually I try to fly first class, where I indulge in champagne and ice cream sundaes and generally pretend I’m on vacation, rather than heading off to work. But since I’d had to book a last-minute flight, I’d been stuck with the only seat left—a middle seat in coach. Oh well, how bad could it be? I thought.

If you’ve ever asked yourself that dangerously rhetorical question, you know the answer: very, very bad. I wound up stuck between a drooling older man and a fidgety teenager of indeterminate gender. Though I’d never cheat on Brandon, I’d at least have wished for some eye candy, a hunky man—or, hell, even a curvy, cleavage-baring woman—to keep the edges of my vision occupied. So I turned to what at first seemed like a last resort: I logged on to my computer. The teenager was listening to some very loud music and the old man was nodding off, often with his head collapsing onto my shoulder. As I waited for my laptop to load, I knew that at least I could get lost in the endless offerings of the Internet, which I often do even when I’m supposed to be retouching photos or replying to email. It offers endless distractions and can keep up with my ADD brain much better than even a juicy novel.

The prospect of going online was enough to make me forget about the cramped legroom—did I mention I’m five-eleven?—and lack of food service on a cross-country fight. I went on and immediately checked my email, then logged onto IM, hoping that even though this was a red-eye, one of my friends would be up. Well, one of them was-- very close, personal, sexy friend. There was Brandon, or rather, Randyboy69, as he so often was when he wasn’t at work. We’re an equal opportunity online addiction household.

Hey sexy, I typed, shifting in my seat as I pictured him wearing just a pair of gray cotton briefs as he watched the latest episode of “Entourage,” probably with a beer, or perhaps a joint, in hand.

You stuck at the airport? he wrote back.

No. I’m stuck in the hell that is coach. I’m high. In the sky, that is, I typed.

What do you mean?

What do I mean? I’m in the air. On my flight. They have wireless now, at least, while it lasts.

Fancy schmancy.

Not so much. But you can help me pass the time. Take out your cock. Show it to me.

I didn’t mean literally, even though he could have, via Skype. That vision might be a bit much to share with my seatmates, plus I wasn’t sure I could handle the prospect of Brandon’s powerful dick right in my face. But I wanted to picture it in all its hard, pounding, deliciousness, while he pictured me in my seat, getting nice and wet, just for him. If I’d been in my car, I’d have been tempted to ditch my shoot, turn around, drive home, and jump his bones.

You’re crazy, do you know that? And I’m not gonna show you my cock till you take your panties off. Get rid of them and shove them in the seat pocket in front of you. I dare you.

That was unfair. He knew I could never resist a dare, or an order, or even a mere naughty suggestion...

Read the rest of the story in The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories.

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Google maps gone wrong on my iPhone

Yes, even though I've lived in New York since August of 1996, I still sometimes get turned around, especially on the windy, wily streets of the West Village. Last night, I was heading to bakery Batch, which apparently has gotten a reprieve from its sad closing and will be open a little longer (call the store to find out exactly how much longer!).

So last night, after answering 2 hours of questions from NYU journalism students (who knew time could fly so fast when talking about yourself?), I tried to meet my friend and fellow cupcake blogger Stacie Joy there.

Here are the directions I got:

If it's not immediately clear what's wrong with this picture, I'll tell you: You can just make a left on West 10th Street, the street Batch is actually on! Plus it was freezing cold. I'm pretty sure these are meant to be driving directions, in which case it makes sense, except that, oh, I live in New York and don't drive. There really needs to be a "walking directions" option.

I outsmarted these convoluted directions by making said left, only to find Batch closed. least I knew where I was once I got to West 10th. Still, these looping directions had me super confused.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

FREE BOOK! or Today's my The Mile High Club Amazon Spike Day

What is Amazon Spike Day you may ask? It's something authors do (here's an example, and here's another) to bump their ranking up, which means more people are likely to take note of your book and Amazon will recommend it more often. I saw Sage Cohen's Writing the Life Poetic creep up into the 200s - amazing results! Officially: "243,882 to a low of 240." I'd love to crack the Amazon 100, but will settle for Amazon 1,000! Right now, The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories is at 220,949. (The lower the number, the more people are buying your book, relative to all the other books Amazon sells, so #1 is the #1 bestseller book at that moment, etc.) I know there are more people interested in the mile high club than that!

As you can see below, buy the book anytime during today's date, March 23rd, then send me your receipt and I will send you any of my Cleis Press books you want. PLUS you'll be in the running to win a signed (by me) copy of the 2009 Sex Bloggers Calendar.

Want to read more about the book? Check out the introduction here and an entire FREE sample story from the book, "Wild Child" by Matt Conklin.

Anything you can do to spread the word about this ONE DAY SPECIAL would be magnificent. For someone like me with no budget for promotion (those book trailers come out of my pocket), this is a cheap and easy way to boost sales and see the effect in real time. Pass it on and if you were thinking of buying The Mile High Club (or any of my other Cleis Press books), today's the day! Alison Tyler is also kicking in something special: if you also buy one of her books along with The Mile High Club, she'll send you another one free, so that's 4 books for the price of 2! See her post for those details.

I'm running a special promotion: order The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories from anytime on Monday, March 23rd, and I'll send you any of my Cleis Press books you want, for free (Do Not Disturb, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma'am, He's on Top, She's on Top, Rubber Sex, Crossdessing, Hide and Seek, Caught Looking, Rubber Sex, Best Sex Writing 2008, Best Sex Writing 2009).


1. Purchase The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories on March 23, 2009 from (MUST be on that date and MUST be from

2. Forward the receipt to milehighantho at AND tell me which of the above books you'd like

U.S. addresses only (sorry!)

Thanks for your support! Read the book's introduction here

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sad (but temporary) goodbye to Batch

Pichet Ong's creative West Village bakery Batch (
closes tonight. They will be taking orders by phone or online and
opening a new store in Chelsea in August, with more to follow.

I stopped by last night and ate these treats, the meringue yuzu lemon
tart running a close second to the lemon yuzu lemon cupcake. Batch
will definitely be missed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pillow talk

Pillow talk
Originally uploaded by
Light makes it hard to see too pillow has ! on it.

I know who I'd buy the top one for and kindof like the question mark,
but who'd need/buy/want a dollar sign pillow?

Pre-In The Flesh girlieness

Love it! From Thursday night's In The Flesh Reading Series

photo by Stacie Joy

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Why I love New York

Talk about a food community - a chowder slam (via Not Eating Out in New York) and a Mac and Cheese off (via Blondie and Brownie) in one weekend!

I think I'm going to the mac and cheese off, then seeing I Love You, Man. I keep wanting to try the mac and cheese at Bar Matchless when I'm there Tuesdays for the Greenpoint Chess Meetup, but haven't yet. I've had the burger there twice and it's been delicious, plus it seems that french fries aid in the chess playing. If you have any interest in the madness that is bughouse (tag team chess), do join us. The later it gets, the crazier it gets, and I mean crazy as in cursing, screaming, and, in my case, being told I'm "mean" when I play bughouse. I think I'm just "passionate" about the game, but come join us and decide. I will try to bring cupcakes cause they went over really well last time.

Saturday, March 21, noon-5pm
First Annual NYC Chowder Slam
Jimmy's No. 43
43 East 7th Street, Manhattan
New Amsterdam Public is on its way, and it feels like the whole foodie
community is pulling together to see the project through. Jimmy's No.
43 (your local hotbed of activity for all projects sustainably
food-minded) is hosting a chowda' cook off on March 21 in effort to
raise funds for the little market that could (and will)! Plus, the bar
will have a smattering of good New England brews on tap to make the
party just that much more merry. $20 at the door gets you in and shows
your support to this organization that aims to bring sustainable, local
food back to a market on the seaport.

Date: Sunday, March 22nd
Time: 4:00pm
Location: Various Locations in Greenpoint
Cost: Free

"Four of Greenpoint’s best bars will be participating in the first Great Greenpoint Mac Off... Starting at 4pm at Red Star chef, John Manzo serves up his menu’s Mac ‘N Cheese the day. At its own pace, the crawl moves to The Habitat where chef/owner Ashley Engmann offers samples from their standard menu. Participants then cross the road to The Mark Bar, the tried and true Greenpoint watering hole celebrating its 5th year, where Chef Michael Diprima of Lamb and Jaffee and Dream Cuisine Catering fame serves the group from their all day menu. The crawl moves one block to t.b.d. Brooklyn to receive a final sample prepared by chef Cody Utzman, owner of local Cali-Mex eatery Papacitos and the soon to open Brooklyn Standard. Judging takes place at 8pm at t.b.d. Brooklyn by local 'celebrity' judges giving their own critiques of the fare from each bar while customer voting will determine the winner of the highly coveted title of 'Greenpoint’s Best Mac & Cheese'... Cost is free to participate, with each bar providing a free sample of their signature mac and cheese, as well as a different drink special per bar." Addresses after the jump.

Red Star
37 Greenpoint Ave
(718) 349-0149.

The Habitat
988 Manhattan Ave
(718) 383-5815

The Mark Bar
1025 Manhattan Ave
(718) 349-2340

t.b.d. Brooklyn
244 Franklin St.
(718) 349-6727

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The ethics of sex writing, or Monday night's meltdown

Warning: If you don't want to read about my sex life and/or puking, don't keep reading. Seriously.

So on Monday I was at SXSW and got an email from The Frisky editor Amelia asking if she could run my Dealbreaker on The Sexless Guy. I’d sent it a few weeks ago, and had written it pretty soon after my last trip to San Francisco, that didn’t end too well. I’d assumed she didn’t want to use it. I was kindof distracted by the conference and also figured it’d be good to make a little money and get my name back out there. I paused, though, because that heat of the moment urge to share (or, yes, as some might say, overshare) had passed. The act of writing in itself helped; I didn’t feel quite so strongly or emotional about the topic. But I agreed, for various reasons, and then it went up and I blogged about it, sending the link around as I do with any new piece.

And then a few hours later I got an email from my ex. It wasn’t a mean email, it was short and to the point, and basically said the piece was hard for him to read. After I read that, I kindof lost it. I had just been in the panel Sex Lives of the Microfamous, where we were talking about rules we have for writing about other people. As now famously quoted in the New York Times, someone (Kris Krug, according to Nick Douglas) said, “You can blog about me or you can date me, but you can’t do both.”

The thing is, I wasn’t ashamed of what I wrote. It was something that had been on my mind for a while, and it bubbled up from that. It wasn’t just about my ex, but a pattern of men I’d dated, one that clearly had a strong effect on me. But it led me to wonder: Why exactly did I write it? For the $150? To send some passive aggressive message to my ex? To have some kind of final word?

The more I thought about it, the worse I felt, and we hadn’t really been talking much, mostly by my choice, so I didn’t want to call him. As I watched the comments at The Frisky pile up (currently 43), I realized that maybe I wrote it for the same reason I’ve written most of the personal, revealing things I have: to connect with other people. In that sense, my ex was in no way the target audience. If he were, I’d have been able to say some of that directly to him. But what would be the point of that? We were already broken up and we’d discussed this issue between us. It wasn’t about fixing it or rehashing it but more about declaring something for the future that I need out of relationships. I think that is sortof the point of the dealbreaker stories, aside from entertainment; that by trial and error, by seeing traits or behaviors in people we date that we don’t like, we can figure out what we do.

But still. I felt awful about having hurt him, because that wasn’t my intention. It wasn’t really a secret either that I felt that way, and I admire and respect him, and value his opinion of me. It was killing me that maybe I’d squandered any high regard he might have held me in. I tried to convey that to him, but email is not always the best format, and I kindof wished I hadn’t seen his email to me, but I had, and it settled into me, all over, making itself hard to ignore.

We were at this event at Whole Foods, sitting in the sun, mingling with food bloggers and basking in the good weather after the previous day’s chilliness. I ate. A lot. These amazingly delicious mushrooms, some meat and potatoes, a rice ball. I drank the free iced tea and tried to chat but couldn’t really. I went to The Onion party where the sight of more food really grossed me out. I’d eaten too much and just felt out of sorts while everyone was preparing for all kinds of revelry. I went to the Feministing/Pandagon party and was offered a drink, but I at least wisely declined. Then I left and started walking, I wasn’t really sure where. Stopped at the hotel to charge my phone and rub my itchy feet on the carpet.

Then I was in our room, alone, and it all kindof hit me. I was upset because I missed him, especially there. How could I not when I was hanging out with his cousins and our mutual friends, when I kept hearing and seeing things I knew he’d have appreciated? Way back when I booked our joint smoking room, I’d envisioned us going there together, being this geeky blogger/writer couple and having yet another out-of-town adventure.

I really felt like I could not proceed with the night with all that food in my stomach. It was painful and annoying. We’d been joking about it earlier, but I went in the bathroom, knelt in front of the toilet, shoved my fingers in my mouth, and puked. Once, then got up, drank a little water, then again. I can’t even tell you how relieved I felt. Physically, in a way, but mentally. I’ve never gotten high (I’ve tried to smoke pot twice in my 33 years, with an emphasis on tried – it didn’t really work) so I don’t know what that’s like. Drunk, I know. Even that, though, takes a little while. There's a time delay between drinking and feeling drunk, and even if it's short, it's there. You have to wait, and as an impatient sort, I never liked that. But making yourself puke is this instant rush of satisfaction. What you want to do is accomplished, just like that. It doesn’t even hurt, even though it’s gross. For me, there’s a sense of both accomplishment and transgression to it, and I wanted and needed both at that moment. I felt so awful about myself that I needed to do something to myself to prove that.

Anorexia doesn’t have that high of the a-ha moment. It’s a slow, drawn out, neverending thing. You wait to eat, and then wait, and wait some more. You’re always waiting, always hungry, and it has to be this round-the-clock vigilance because you could be good up to hour 23:59 an din that final minute, ruin it all. Making yourself vomit isn’t like that; in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s like saying you can be bad and bad and bad and bad and stuff your face all you want and in moments, undo what you’ve done. Of course that’s extremely seductive; imagine if you could undo all the stupid things you’ve done in mere moments.

It’s not something I make a practice of; maybe I wind up doing it once a year, when I’m feeling like I’m at some sort of crisis point. I fight the urge at other times, take walks, drink seltzer, try to remind myself that tomorrow is another day and I’ll get through whatever the present painful moment is. But sometimes that rush is exactly what I need, in fact, to remind me that I don’t want to be there. I think we all have rock-bottom go-to places that we need, if only as a benchmark to remind us how much we don’t want to settle there. At least, that’s how it is for me.

I felt better, kindof, but still really out of sorts. I kept wandering from party to party but none of them felt right, until I got to Beerland. I walked in and this girl Gillian was belting out “What’s Up” by Four Non Blondes and it was awesome. I’d been Tweeting some of my feelings, because I really couldn’t figure out where to put them or what to do with them, and because we were at SXSW and my friends are constantly connected, when I got there I got at least five hugs and “Are you okay?”s. I got invited back to Minneapolis (for a spanking). I watched my friends kick ass at karaoke. And I felt better. Not perfect, but better.

The thing with the whole dealbreaker piece is that I know it was never meant to be a personal affront. With any of the sexless guys I’ve dated, it was never I don’t want to have sex with you so much as I’m not in the mood. I get that intellectually, but my whole point was that it still feels the same, and for me, I place a lot of value in who I am sexually, in what that kind of connection brings me. Maybe I place too much emphasis on it, but I just know I felt buoyed when I found someone who was the sexless guys’ opposite. Because it’s not just about, well, sex, though it might seem to be. It’s about affection and desire and interest and attraction, which often get conflated. For me, it’s not so much about “doing it” a set amount of times as feeling wanted, which is what I was trying to express.

Orion67 posted a great comment at The Frisky, about his use of anti-depressants and the resulting low libido:

I can tell you from personal experience that finding fault with yourself is not the place to start; I have seen this first hand with my wife. We decided to sit down with each other and discuss the problem and how it affected our relationship. It isn’t a new concept; communication and mutual respect for each other is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Before I sound like I am getting on my soapbox, I cannot pretend to know everyone’s issue with this problem; I can only speak for myself.

The first part of our conversation was to differentiate between sex and love. So many of the issues we faced were centered on a false understanding that the two are one and the same. At first she felt I did not find her attractive (which was totally not the case). She disclosed to me that she even had fleeting thoughts of infidelity on my part which I assured her was the farthest thing from the truth. As a result of our discussion, I tell my wife how much I love her and express my affection for her every day. I also let her know how beautiful I think she is.

I think there’s some great discussion going on there, and I’m glad to know I’m not alone in reacting the way I did. I’m almost wrote, “I’m glad I’m not wrong in reacting the way I did” and that’s the thing I told my ex the other day about this; there is no right or wrong. I don’t think there’s any “should”s when it comes to libido or sexual frequency, it’s a matter of your desires being compatible with someone else’s.

We talked the other night for a long time, and I realized I’ve missed him a lot. It would be much much easier in some ways I think to not try to be friends, because I start getting all these “what if” scenarios in my head. What if we could have...? But there are only so many ways that can end, and if this were the only issue between us, I’d say, okay, maybe there’s some kind of way for us to get back together and make things work. That’s not the case though, and I’ve had to make my peace with that.

So to everyone who asked, thanks, I’m okay. Good, in fact. The panel and this experience gave me a lot to think about, about why I write and what I write and the purpose of it. I don’t necessarily have hard and fast rules like everyone else in that room seemed to, but I hope I have a little better sense of the impact my words can have.

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Quoted on!

Emily Farris (of Casserole Crazy fame) wrote about my food blog panel at SXSW for!

With the advent of companies like FoodBuzz, which advertises on food-related websites, it is possible to turn a passion for writing about food into a money-making venture—which is exactly what Bussel wants to see more of.

“I hope the panel gave people the sense that there’s room in the blogosphere for more food blogs, which I believe is true,” Bussel said. “As long as they are targeted and know exactly what their aim is.”

I'm really pleased with all the feedback I've seen; people have said the panel was very useful, and in turn I've been reading posts about food blogging that are very useful to me. I truly want to take Cupcakes Take the Cake to the next level, starting with the book proposal we're writing now. Then our 10,000th post celebration (we're about 1,700 posts away, so it'll be a while).

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Virgin Night at In The Flesh is April 16th!

And there will be giveaways of the game Sexy Slang (formerly PervArtistry) and cupcakes by Baked by Melissa. I'm already planning another Virgin Night for later this year too, so all you reading virgins, contact me!


In The Flesh logo by Molly Crabapple

April 16th at 7:30 PM
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

In The Flesh is proud to present its second annual Virgin Night, featuring new authors and first-time readers. Texan Jenny Block reads from Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blogger and co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms Sarah Wendell shares the sexy side of romance, memoirist (I'm Perfect, You're Doomed) and ex-Jehovah's Witness Kyria Abrahams talks about losing her virginity, Jehovah's Witness style, while Scanner blogger Emily Farris delivers a sex story and erotic romance novelist (Stranger, Dirty) Megan Hart reads her steamy prose, along with Gideon Levy of Kinky Jews and Sugarbutch Chronicles blogger Sinclair Sexsmith, and first-time reader Nicolette Dixon. Hosted and curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel (The Mile High Club, Do Not Disturb, Spanked). Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Susie Bright, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, Zane and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Observer, Philadelphia City Paper, Time Out New York, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth.

Kyria Abrahams is the author of the memoir I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales From a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing. She is a 34-year-old standup comedian, spoken-word poet, and web producer. She lives in Queens, New York.

Jenny Block is the author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage (Seal Press, June 2008), which has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. She writes a weekly column for the Dallas Morning News publication Quick called “Sex Talk with Jenny Block” ( as well as for a variety of other publications and websites, including Her essay “And Then We Were Poly” is included in Rebecca Walker’s book, One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry,Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love (Riverhead Hardcover, February 2009), which received a starred review from Kirkus. Jenny holds both her BA and her MA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught college composition for nearly ten years.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is an author, editor, blogger and reading series host. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations and a former sex columnist for The Village Voice. She’s edited numerous anthologies, most recently The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories, Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, Best Sex Writing 2009, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, and Spanked. Her writing been published in publications such as Clean Sheets, Cosmopolitan, Fresh Yarn, Huffington Post, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Tango, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York, and in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006. She has hosted In The Flesh since October 2005.

Nicolette Dixon is very excited to be reading her first erotic story at In The Flesh. She is a performer and a theater artist hailing from San Diego, but has left her mark all over California and therefor decided to give life on the east coast a go. She can also be seen clowning with the sketch comedy troupe Peer Pressure. She has a fascination with all things related to travel and transit.

When Emily Farris was an impressionable youth her mom told her that people who talk the most about sex are the ones having the least of it. In Emily's case this has, unfortunately, turned out to be true. This makes her pretty good at her job, as editor of's culture blog, Scanner. She also takes her sexual frustration out in the kitchen and her first cookbook, Casserole Crazy: Hot Stuff for Your Oven was published in 2008. Having recently escaped New York, Emily now lives in a ridiculously large apartment in Kansas City, MO with her cat, but just one... so far.

Megan Hart began writing short fantasy, horror and science fiction before graduating to novel-length romances. In 1998, now a stay-home mom, Megan took up writing in earnest, attending her first writing conference and getting her first request for a full manuscript. In 2002 she saw her first book in print, and she hasn't stopped since. She's published in almost every genre of romantic fiction, including historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, futuristic, fantasy and perhaps most notably, erotic. She also writes non-erotic fantasy and science fiction, as well as continuing to occasionally dabble in horror. Megan's goal is to continue writing spicy, thrilling love stories with a twist. Her dream is to have a movie made of every one of her novels, starring herself as the heroine and Keanu Reeves as the hero. Megan lives in the deep, dark woods with Superman and two Her books for Harlequin Spice include Stranger, Tempted, Broken and Dirty.

Gideon Levy is a loud and proud, native Brooklynite who makes his living sharing the stories of New York as a City Tour Guide with his family tour company Levy's Unique New York, the Tenement Museum, NY Water Taxi, and about half a dozen other outfits who probably still owe him money. He enjoys the finer things in life like a nice three-piece suit, a well-balanced cocktail, a well-written and drawn graphic novel, and tying up and spanking beautiful, naughty girls, especially through his organization Kinky Jews ( Not published yet, but trying, Gideon is currently working on a 22nd century Superhero Political comic book, an early 20th century Lower East Side Crime Drama, and tonight will be reading from a recently completed novella called "She & I.

Sinclair Sexsmith was named 2008's #1 Top Sex Blogger for Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series and the forthcoming Femmethology, Mr. Sexsmith enjoys whiskey, topping, the serial comma, political activism, and has been known to get on his knees in order to fix the strappy sandals of a queer femme. Sugarbutch Star chapbooks are available, if you ask nicely (and have five bucks).

Sarah Wendell is a transplanted Pittsburgher currently living in New York metropolitan area. By day she's mild mannered and heavily caffeinated. By evening she dons her cranky costume, consumes yet more caffeine, and becomes Smart Bitch Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. The site specializes in reviewing romance novels, examining the history and future of the genre, and bemoaning the enormous prevalence of bodacious pectorals adorning male cover models. Sarah is co-author of the seminal monument to all things romance: Beyond Heaving Bosoms: the Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels.

You will be hearing from these books:

Open cover

Beyond Heaving Bosoms cover

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why Diana Joseph's I'm Sorry You Feel That Way is my new favorite book

I will have an interview with Diana Joseph here soon as well as some key excerpts from her book, but for now, my admittedly gushing, glowing review. She so deserves it. Seriously, this book is amazing. Do also check out her blog. But really, do yourself a favor and go get a copy of I'm Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing but True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog. Much more TK because she's that good. I was intrigued at first by the "Slut" in the title, and that essay ("The Girl Who Only Sometimes Said No") is my favorite by far, but there's so much more here, though anyone who has ever been called a slut or identified as one will appreciate that particular essay.

Diana Joseph's I'm Sorry You Feel That Way is my new Favorite Book. By that, I mean Favorite Ever, the kind I talk about incessantly, whip out and read aloud, buy for my friends and family and generally insist everyone I know stop everything they're doing and read now (the last one was Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle).

Lest you think that's hyperbolic, let me tell you when this book is so amazing. Firstly, I read a lot of memoirs, and even the most compelling ones can take on a certain sameness: I did this, I went through tragedy, I did this. Not to knock the genre, because I gravitate towards it, but what Joseph's done here is to turn the memoir on its head. On the surface, these are character studies of the men in her life, and as character studies, they should themselves be studied by fiction writers for their fine detail, their knack of getting inside her subjects' heads, whether it's her ex-husband, son, Satanist neighbor, or dog.

But then Joseph manages to bring the topic at hand back to herself in ways that are subtle yet extremely powerful. She talks about what these men (and animals) mean to her, how she is like them and different from them, what she gets out of her relationships with them, the complexity of the love she feels for them. In the process, she touches on sex, religion, family, motherhood, daughterhood, smoking, work, and pet ownership.

My favorite chapter by far is "The Girl Who Only Sometimes Said No," about looking at her son's yearbook with him, and trying to grapple with her own past as a slut (or perhaps a "slut") while conveying to him why judging women on their sexuality is wrong. Her writing is blunt, direct, and powerful. The scant few sentences about her being date raped are ones that linger in their scarcity.

I skipped around these essays, which Joseph makes it easy to do. Together, they cohere and make a narrative of a woman who got married and became a mom in her early twenties, was miserable and lonely and often lost-feeling, drank a lot, but got her bearings (her essay about her former colleague and how his alcoholism separated them is moving in its calm tragicness) and became a professor. I left the essay "Humping the Dinosaur" for last; I started it, but since I'm not a dog person and I thought it was about her dog (which it is), I kept putting it off. When I finally got to it, it contained a paragraph about crying, about losing it, about worrying incessantly, that was as honest and true and easily relateable as the rest of the book. That's the magic here; a chapter on her dog's humping problem is also about how she copes with stress.

By taking the winding road to tell her stories, Joseph makes us pause and truly look at the people she trains her pen on. Her compassion for them, her insight into what makes them tick, and why she's drawn to them, is at the heart of this book. Please do yourself a favor and check out I'm Sorry You Feel That Way. I have a feeling it just may become your new favorite book too.

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In The Flesh Tonight!

A few changes: Kyria Abrahams was in a car accident (she's okay) so is moving to April 16th, Virgin Night.

And I messed up and forgot to secure Mobile Libris but if you buy any of the authors' books today or tomorrow (online or off, but online is easier) and send me the receipt to rachelravenous at I'll send you a free book of mine (at my discretion, depends which ones I have left). Sorry about that! We WILL have Mobile Libris on April 16th and May 21st. And we are showing the Do Not Disturb book trailer on the big screen!

March 19th at 8:00 PM
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue,
Admission: Free, 21+
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

March brings an eclectic mix of true sex stories, erotic romance, hotel sex, a graphic novelist and a former Jehovah’s Witness to In The Flesh! Featuring Paula Derrow, editor of the anthology Behind the Bedroom Door, along with contributors Anna Marrian and Pari Chang, graphic novelist Koren Shadmi, author of the fabulously titled In The Flesh, first-time novelist Victoria Janssen (The Duchess, Her Maid, the Groom and Their Lover) and Tess Danesi and In The Flesh host/curator Rachel Kramer Bussel reading from Rachel’s latest anthology Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories. The Do Not Disturb book trailer will also be shown. Mobile Libris will be selling copies of the authors’ books. Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Susie Bright, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, Zane and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Observer, Philadelphia City Paper, Time Out New York, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is an author, editor, blogger and reading series host. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations and a former sex columnist for The Village Voice. She’s edited numerous anthologies, most recently Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, Best Sex Writing 2009, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, and Spanked. Her writing been published in publications such as Clean Sheets, Cosmopolitan, Fresh Yarn, Huffington Post, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Tango, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York, and in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006. She has hosted In The Flesh since October 2005.

Pari Chang is a former litigator whose personal essays have appeared in the New York Times, Self, Glamour, and The Bark. She lives in Manhattan with her family.

Tess Danesi is writer of erotic fiction with a D/s twist, who also blogs about her varied experiences and often tumultuous life at Urban Gypsy ( as well as a sex toy reviewer for Tess was a winner of Babeland's erotica contest and has been published in Time Out New York.

Paula Derrow is the editor of Behind the Bedroom Door. She has worked for more than twenty years at a variety of magazines and other media, including Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, and Lifetime Television. She is the articles director at Self magazine and teaches writing workshops for She lives in New York City.

Victoria Janssen's first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, the Groom and Their Lover, is a December 2008 release from Harlequin SPICE. Her second, The Moonlight Mistress, is a December 2009 SPICE release. She enjoys playing with genre tropes. Frequent themes in her stories include role reversal and empowering women, usually through unconventional means. Under her pseudonym, Elspeth Potter, she's sold more than thirty short stories to various anthologies, including Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women's Erotica, Best Lesbian Romance, Periphery, and The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica. She's also sold to Fishnet Magazine. Her latest publication, a one hundred word story titled "Unlimited Minutes," appears in Alison Tyler’s Frenzy: 60 Stories of Sudden Sex; and Never Have the Same Sex Twice: A Guide For Couples.

Anna Marrian has written essays, articles and reviews for Newsweek, The Observer, the Village Voice, Jane, Glamour, the New York Post, and Modern Bride. She is the recipient of a Hertog Fellowship, teaches creative writing at Hunter College, and is currently at work on a memoir.

Koren Shadmi was born in Israel, where he has worked since his early teens as an illustrator and cartoonist for various magazines. At seventeen, his graphic novel was published in Israel, followed by another book collecting his work from children’s magazines. He then proceeded to serve as a graphic designer and illustrator in the Israel Defense Forces. Upon completion of his service Shadmi relocated to New York to study in the School of Visual Arts, where he acquired his bachelor’s degree. His graphic work has appeared in numerous international anthologies, and his books Cours intérieures and Dissymétries have recently been published in France. His illustration work has appeared in publications such as Spin, BusinessWeek, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Progressive, San Francisco Chronicle, and many others. He is the author and illustrator of In The Flesh: Stories.

You'll be hearing from these books:

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More from February's In The Flesh

The rest of the February In The Flesh Reading Series readers on YouTube!

Paula Bomer:

Martha Garvey:

Tsaurah Litzky:

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Home, not panicking

I'm back in New York, not all that together - just realized I'm an idiot and forgot to secure a bookseller for In The Flesh tomorrow. Worse things have happened, but still, I feel stupid. It'll be a fantastic reading anyway, I can't wait. I mean, one of the authors wrote a book called In The Flesh, that is very, very twisted, in the best possible way.

In happy news, I'm closing in on a hotel for the Do Not Disturb book party. SXSW was fun, crazy, maddening and delicious, pretty much all at once. I saw friends I hadn't seen in ages, met new ones on the sidewalk, stuffed my face (and, well, unstuffed it - more on that later) and survived a mini breakdown. Oh, and moderated a panel.

More pics:

We're so happy to be at SXSW!
Me, Feministing's Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Ann Friedman, and Funky Brown Chick Twanna Hines, photographed by the karaoke sensation George Kelly

Last night, I had the pleasure of having a lovely meal of Mexican food (outdoors!) with Violet Blue and Thomas Roche, two San Francisco writer pals I don't see often enough. Violet took this photo of me after I copied her order and got a beautiful and delicious margarita, my first and only drink of SXSW:

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Picture me here!

Outside the day stage cafe, 2:30-3:30

But Stephanie Klein, who supports my desire to move to Austin, will
sign her own books.