Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is the Kindle so popular it warrants NYC subway ads?

As seen last night on the J train, ads blanketing one side of a subway train for M-Edge Kindle accessories. I've seen people reading on Kindles on planes, and maybe once or twice on the NYC subway, so I have to wonder, has the Kindle really gone this mainstream as to warrant an entire half of a subway car's worth of advertising?

M-Edge for Kindle ad on NYC subway

M-Edge for Kindle ad on NYC subway

M-Edge for Kindle ad on NYC subway

M-Edge for Kindle ad on NYC subway

M-Edge for Kindle ad on NYC subway

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cucumber tea; who knew?

I do try to expand my tea horizons, but not this far.

Peep Show will be here for my birthday

Which, considering my birthday is November 10th, is kindof a record for me; a book is turned in and approved over 6 months before the pub date! I never work like that, and it's exciting, mostly because now I've gotten the worst part, the rejection letters out of the way. My assistant Inara is going to help me copyedit the manuscript and then I can forget about it for a few months, until I start working on the book trailer.

I have a lot of projects up in the air, and I hope at least one of them goes through. In the meantime, I'm contracted for five more books for Cleis, the most urgent, and most maddening, of which is Best Sex Writing 2010. I love being the series editor on this one, because I've gotten to publish the likes of Gael Greene, Michael Musto, Mary Roach, Violet Blue, Tristan Taormino and others, BUT it's also a gigantic pain in the ass in terms of minutiae and rights. There's nothing like this when publishing original stories. I'm talking emails to editors, then emails to rights people, then forms, then negotiating, and on and on. I wish it were as easy as I read an awesome piece and then the author sends it to me as a Word doc. Hopefully, it'll all be worth it.

This year, we're doing galleys and blurbs and all that stuff that makes me feel like it's a "real book." Meaning, stuff that will hopefully get Publishers Weekly and Library Journal to notice my book. I see Mary Roach's Bonk at the Hudson News at Grand Central. Now, I know with a book cover like mine, and probably there's more involved economics to it that price indie publishers out (I'm assuming), but still; if so many people are interested in science and sex, I really hope they'll be interested in my book. If all goes as planned/hoped for, it'll include pieces like Seth Michael Donsky's excellent look at "The Trouble With Safe Sex" in New York Press and Jesse Bering's wonderful Scientific American article, "Secrets of the Phallus."

I was hoping to have the book done by when I go to Geneva on May 8th (a week-long trip that comes with is own major heaping of stress) and in the hands of guest judge Esther Perel, but that doesn't look like it'll happen. Still, I'll be very relieved when I turn this one in because it's such a big undertaking. Worth it, but still, give me erotica stories once this is done!

Mostly I can't wait until Friday, when I have a really hot hotel date with my guy at a fancy hotel (one good thing about the recession, Priceline and other places have all kinds of deals). We definitely need it as both our schedules are way too hectic.

Here's what you'll find in Peep Show: Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, coming out in November from Cleis Press.

Introduction: Hungry Eyes and Sensual Show-Offs

Showtime by Susan St. Aubin
Clean and Pretty by Donna George Storey
Superior by Monica Shores
People in Glass Hotels by Jennifer Peters
Indecent by Lolita Lopez
Ownership by Craig J. Sorensen
Audience Participation by Elizabeth Coldwell
Now You See Her by Andrea Dale
Watcher in the Shadows by Cheyenne Blue
Glass by Nobilis Reed
Sleeping Beauty by Malcolm Ross
The Theory of Orchids by L. A. Mistral
Missing Michael by M. March
Busted by Kissa Starling
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Sommer Marsden
Rosse Buurt
by Geneva King
I’ve Only Got Eyes for You by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Calendar Girl by Angela Caperton

Introduction: Hungry Eyes and Sensual Show-Offs

When the stories started rolling in for Peep Show, I was surprised to see that so many were about sex work: strippers, burlesque babes, and other professional show-offs and their customers. I had intended the title to be a sexy suggestion of the complementary fetishes of exhibitionism and voyeurism, not necessarily the main setting for the bulk of the stories. As I kept reading, though, I realized that peep shows and other forms of commercialized sexual displays are a major way we as a culture sanction the act of watching.

There’s a sense of the forbidden in many of the stories you’ll read here, whether money changes hands or not. There is the thrill of baring your body in exactly the place you’re not supposed to, which Lolita Lopez zeroes in on with her nude campus performance art protagonist in “Indecent.” As Lopez writes, “Trini couldn’t stop herself. The risk heightened the allure.” In Malcolm Ross’s “Sleeping Beauty,” the main character catches his gorgeous wife in repose in the middle of the night, and is compelled to keep on watching. M. March gives us a poignant, moving story of being watched over from above.

As for those peep shows, there’s plenty of very sexy jiggling to be seen here. Donna George Storey beautifully and, as always, utterly erotically captures a different kind of peep show in “Clean and Pretty,” in which an American woman in Japan soaps up in the shower, getting paid handsomely, while exulting in the one viewer who can look for free. Geneva King takes us deep inside Amsterdam’s famous red-light district, or “Rosse Buurt,” A woman is drawn to a woman she sees there, a woman who “stands in her window on the second story, not banging on the glass like the other girls, just standing, surveying the crowd, like she picks the customer and not the other way around, like she’s deciding who is lucky enough to experience any bit of her.” This is the kind of woman who sells her body in this book; one who’s knowing, aware, yet can allow herself to get swept away by passion, even when she’s on the clock.

Modern technology also plays a role here in the webcam-themed “Audience Participation” and “I’ve Only Got Eyes for You,” where private citizens become amateur porn stars. When you think of voyeurs, you probably picture the iconic image of the Peeping Tom, and he’s to be found in these pages as well, once, even wearing a trench coat. But rather than being the town creep, here the various peeping Toms (and Thomasinas) are more than just stereotypes. They see and hear things they aren’t supposed to, and sometimes, as with Sommer Marsden’s Jared in “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” they even get caught.

Neighbors, coworkers, spouses, and hotel guests all experience the power of looking, and being looked at. Even the most intimate relationships can get closer when one person opens himself up to being studied, caressed not with the hands but with the eyes. These stories honor the art of the striptease, the daring of the nudist, the boldness of the person who’ll go out of her way to get more than an eyeful. I hope the sensual visions these stories create stay in your mind’s eye for a long time to come.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What I'm reading: Live Nude Elf by Reverend Jen

Cover of Live Nude Elf by Reverend Jen

It's truly a shame that every sex columnist ever now has to be compared to Carrie Bradshaw, even though I slip into it too sometimes. I just gave a blurb to a novel and since there were four female friends who all talked about sex, I felt compelled to call it hotter than SATC, but I try not to. So I will ignore the Carrie reference in the official description of NYC art star Reverend Jen's new book Live Nude Elf and just share this little excerpt of an excerpt:

After a moment's deliberation, I typed: Adorable nude housecleaner will clean your pad spic-and-span for a reasonable fee. Available immediately.

I thought that "adorable" sounded less conceited than "hot" or "sexy." Plus, I figured men who were seeking nude housekeepers were probably looking more for June Cleaver than Jenna Jameson. Moments later, a deluge of e-mails appeared in my inbox. Posting my ad on the coldest weekend of the year had been a stroke of genius. No one was planning to leave his or her apartment. The very idea that someone, anyone, was willing to go outside, let alone take off their clothes, was a phenomenon — a marketing blitz.

"Do you do bathtubs?" "What is your rate?" and "Can you send me a picture?" were the most common requests. Not knowing how much to charge, I looked to the other ads on Craigslist, but all of the nude housecleaners simply wrote, "e-mail me for rates," with the exception of one nude housecleaner who was offering his services for free.

"Ew!" exclaimed my coworker, Angie, who'd been hovering over my shoulder, reading the various ads. The going rate for clothed housekeepers was between ten and twenty dollars per hour. "If they just took their clothes off, they could make a lot more money," I surmised. "Maybe they need a manager." Fifty dollars an hour seemed to be a fair price, if not a bit on the cheap side. But because my endeavor was really a science project, I didn't believe it was ethical to charge premium rates.

She's having a book party this Saturday and other events are planned, and is reading August 20th at In The Flesh Reading Series. All I can say right now is that Carrie Bradshaw never would've had a chapter in her book called "Art Fag."

Live Nude Elf: The Sexperiments of Reverend Jen

Official Launch Party:

Saturday, May 2nd 8pm

Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery)

with Reverend Jen

The Trachtenburg Slide Show Family Players,

The Electric Mess, Brer Brian, go-go elves and more!

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Your new favorite sex site

I mean, my new favorite sex site, but hopefully yours too, and very NSFW, not only because of the explicit photos, but because there's no way to work (even when, say, you're me and supposed to be finishing erotica stories!) when there's so much to read/look at/lust over. Just trust me.

F/lthyGorgeousTh/ngs is an online magazine about sex for artists, thinkers, sensualists, and fuckers. FGT aims to cultivate innovative content that stimulates us sexually and intellectually. Each monthly issue showcases work from both up-and-coming and established writers, photographers and filmmakers with content oriented around a featured theme.

FGT is helmed by women, including debauchette, a former courtesan, interviewed in 2008 by Diane Sawyer; and Kasia, a writer and fellow unapologetic hedonist. Both women have written extensively about sexuality and embody sexual freedom and experience. Editors include Kim A., a sexuality coach, who oversees feature content, and Christina Voss, an art historian, who oversees art and photography.

The mission of FGT is to provide a venue for content that is often considered too graphic for mainstream audiences but more artful than what is conventionally intended for adult audiences. The result is a more visually refined and intelligent take on the world of sensuality.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Go see male circumcision documentary Partly Private

Tonight at 10:45, Wednesday at 4:30, and Friday night at 8:30, Danae Elon's documentary about male circumcision, Partly Private, is showing as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. I highly recommend it. It documents Elon and her husband's decision about whether or not to circumcise their son, then facing the same question as she's pregnant again and shooting.

She gets arrested, visits a baby fair, travels to England and investigates the royal family's circumcision rites (there's a rumored "royal mohel"), visit Turkey, examines an artificial foreskin, attends an anti-circumcision rally, and much more. I learned that sometimes the mohel places alcohol in his mouth, then places it on the baby's just-cut penis (they don't show any actual circumcisions in the film, but they do show this). It's fascinating and I hope to do something further on it.

Here's the trailer, more clips on the official site:

IndieWire interview with director Danae Elon

NY1 on Partly Private

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Listen to me on the radio

New Hampshire Public Radio show Word of Mouth had me on the show today to talk about bisexuality, bromance, and more, related to my piece last week at The Daily Beast. Listen at the link above.

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My favorite hate mail: why I'm like Hitler!

If you ever are stuck for something to read in public, here's a hint: go with the hate mail. It's comedy gold! Seriously.

Saturday night I performed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at The Brick Theater for the awesome John DeVore's show Broke. Culturebot taped it and you can catch a little of my banter with John, then me reading about why I'm like Hitler and other fun stuff about who should pay for dates (based on a 2006 Village Voice column I wrote):

The next Broke is May 23rd. Thanks to John for being such a hilarious, fun host and for having me on the show.

This topic comes up all the time.

Witness two recent posts:

Glamour's Smitten blog: "True Dating Confession: My boyfriend and I always split the bill."

Amelia at The Frisky calls going dutch a "dating trend" and shares her recent experience with it.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Adventures in book covers: Bitten and In Praise of Indecency

cover of Bitten edited by Susie Bright
forthcoming from Chronicle Books

cover of In Praise of Indecency
forthcoming from Cleis Press (actually found this one looking up Susie Bright on Amazon)

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An interview between two of my favorite writer moms, or mom writers

My friend Rachel Sarah (Single Mom Seeking) interviewed Mary Pols, author of Accidentally on Purpose. Check it out.

I have to say, seeing and meeting Mary and her son, Dolan, for me, helped me see how wonderfully she and Dolan's father, Matt, have worked out their arrangement. I didn't meet Matt, I was only there for one night where Mary cooked Rachel and I an insanely good meal and the best brownies I've ever eaten, and in the morning we took a little walk through town. But I was hanging out with Dolan and I think we were talking about his Looney Tunes DVDs and he was just so casual about telling me which stuff he keeps at his dad's.

My parents split up when I was two, so it's not like I remember them being together, but my experience of divorced parents, there was always a sense of discord, mild or not. Yes, there was my mom's, where I grew up, and then my dad's various places, and there were great things about getting to spend so much time with each of them one on one. But I'm talking about the difference between the sense of tension between divorced parents, and ones who are simply co-parenting. I don't know, but based on my limited observations, that extreme tension is not there between Mary and Matt, and I think that makes their son much better off.

Back to the interview...quote from Mary Pols on dating now that her son is five:

“While it’s great to feel like a woman again, and be appreciated as something other than purely a mother, I find myself going out into the world with rules I should have had for myself all along.”

“Such as: Is he really worth upsetting my equilibrium over? Is he ambivalent? Is he still pulling the kind of crap guys do at 30? Because if so – no hard feelings, but forget about it. I don’t need the hassle. Or the drama. And I’ve already got a boy in my life who I have to teach to be well-behaved. I don’t need another one…”

I think anyone who wants to write a book, whatever the topic, should definitely check out Mary's blog. She links to fascinating pieces, like a recent Poets & Writers editors' roundtable, and gives the backstory of her gorgeous hardcover cover. The big baby on the paperback version from Harper Perennial? I'm not really a fan, but I also have a feeling it'll sell books. Oh, and she gives the scoop on the crazy process of having her memoir, aka her life, turned into a sitcom!

In October, I'm going back to San Francisco for Litquake (the reading is October 15th, which I agreed to before realizing it's also the night of In The Flesh, which I'm either going to move or get a guest host for). I am excited for that, but also excited to head across the Bay and hang with these two awesome moms and their kids again. That was the best part of my trip last time.

Read more about Accidentally on Purpose on Mary Pols' site.

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Topping the list of books I'm excited to get at BEA

I can't wait to get this at BEA! this new one, Lost Constellations: The Art of Tara McPherson by Tara McPherson, just out from Dark Horse Comics. I first discovered her work from an album cover by Canadian band The Weekend, and a few years ago interviewed her for Gothamist.

Actually, I will probably get a signed copy for my friend Brett Jackson, of Meet the Jacksons, cause he's a fan too and is putting me and my mom up in Geneva in May.

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Natalie Merchant at Monday's Tricycle benefit

Natalie Merchant


click through for party details

On Monday, through a very kind friend, I'm going to this Tricycle benefit with Twanna. You can still get tickets - performances by Natalie Merchant, John Giorno, Philip Glass, and Nico Muhly.

I don't know if it's even possible to describe how huge a 10,000 Maniacs fan I was in high school and college. I was pretty obsessed, and went to so many shows and listened to those CD on repeat a bazillion times. Then I kindof stopped, and don't even have Natalie Merchant's latest album or know what's going on with her aside from her becoming a mom, but I'm still extremely excited. Once, while wearing a 10,000 Maniacs t-shirt, I was backstage at Lilith Fair (courtesy of Mary Lou Lord and her guy Kevin) and in the same room as her and way too nervous to say a thing.

I found this on mom used to play the Bette Midler cover of "Hello in There" when I was little, and so it's a very familiar song, performed by Merchant, Michael Stipe and Billy Bragg (what a combo). I think I once saw Natalie Merchant and Billy Bragg do "Wonderwall." I haven't seen her perform in a loooong time and am very excited.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Best Sex Writing 2010 cover and guidelines

I have about 1/4 of the pieces I need for it, but am definitely on the prowl for more. Guidelines are below. Even if you haven't written anything, for everyone who refers me to a piece that I wind up using, you will get a free book! Send links, books suggestions, etc., to me at bestsexwriting2010 at

I'm looking for pieces like this teen sexting article by Judith Levine from The American Prospect that, pending the approval of guest judge Esther Perel and my publisher, will be in the book. (If you submitted and haven't heard back yet, please wait until late May for an answer.) Not exactly like that piece, and not about sexting per se, but as an example of a treatment of a modern topic. I'm especially on the hunt for a great analysis of Natalie Dylan's virginity auction and of Obama, race and sex.

Best Sex Writing 2010 Call for Submissions

To be edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
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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A bisexual romance novel hero: Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight

I read this A- review of Deidre Knight's e-book Butterfly Tattoo the other day at Smart Bitches Trashy Books. You can also read an excerpt of the book online.

This is part of what Smart Bitch Sarah wrote:

Rebecca O’Neill is a former actress who was attacked by a crazed fan, stabbed and slashed and left for dead. A few years later, she is a shell of her former self, scarred and damaged, afflicted with asthma and a tendency toward panic disorders. Instead of an actress, she’s a producer, working behind the scenes, hiding behind her hair, living in the shadow of the sets that constituted her former life.

When the lights go out in her office, she meets Michael Warner and his daughter, Andrea. Michael, an electrician, seems as lost and sad as Rebecca does, but because they meet in the dark, Rebecca feels secure enough to act a tiny bit on the instant and powerful attraction between herself and Michael. When she volunteers to take Andrea to get something to eat while he works on the power, she learns that Andrea is scarred like she is, and that Andrea’s father, Alex, died. Michael, Andrea says, is her step father. Michael, it would seem, is gay.

Yet Michael is drawn to Rebecca, as is Andrea, and the three of them form fast and deep connections across lines that aren’t normally crossed in a romance. Not only is Michael conflicted about getting over the memory of his first love, but he’s conflicted about being attracted to a woman, about bringing her into his life, about whether he’s gay, or bi, or straight, or just broken.

Rebecca is cautious, and tries to break out of her assumptions and predefined concepts of gayness and straightness - which are pretty clear-cut in Hollywood culture, it seems - and learns to trust Michael, trust herself, and try risking herself and her emotional happiness, trading her stagnant inert life for the excitement and potentially painful hurt of being with Michael.

I was intrigued, and then magically, based on my The Daily Beast article, it was sent to me by the agency repping it. So I plan to read it...well, I was going to say "soon," but I also have about 5-15 other books I want to read soon. Anyway, though, I thought the sexuality aspect of this novel was fascinating and really do look forward to reading it, whenever I can. I am Kindle/e-book-reader less, so had to get it as a PDF.

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NYC Cupcake Social 2.0 May 7th

Join Cupcakes Take the Cake for another fun cupcake social. You can join our NYC cupcake meetup to find out about all our upcoming events.

I have a bunch of other upcoming events, mostly book-related, to post about, but mark your calendars for this one too. I'll be there, then the night of the 8th I fly to Geneva!

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Violet Blue, "Bye Bye Bisexual"

Make sure you check out Violet Blue's latest San Francisco Chronicle sex column, Bye Bye Bisexual.

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Book Expo America: the excitement is building!

(click to enlarge)

Okay, maybe I'm the only one walking around with a printout of the autographing sessions and in-booth signings and a highlighter, but my excitement about Book Expo America, better known as BEA, is building! Oh, and they are now on Twitter.

I am signing FREE copies of Best Sex Writing 2009 on that Friday, 12:30-1:30!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

May 21st In The Flesh Reading Series lineup

May 21st at 8 PM (doors at 7; we recommend arriving by 7:30 for a seat)
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue,
Between Forsyth & Eldridge. Look for the hot pink awning that says "XIE HE Health Club."
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

May’s In The Flesh offers a mix of steamy erotica, kept women, an orgasm quest, the mile high club, real-life sex adventures, and an intriguing look at Superman’s fetish art. Featuring novelist Anna David (Bought, Party Girl) on kept women, memoirist Mara Altman (Thanks for Coming) on looking for an orgasm, erotica writers Jeremy Edwards (Oysters & Chocolate) and Robin Glasser (My Life as a Concubine), memoirist Suzanne Guillette (Much to Your Chagrin), Blaise K (host, How I Learned Reading Series), and Craig Yoe (Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster). Hosted and curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel (The Mile High Club, Do Not Disturb, Spanked). Books will be for sale by Mobile Libris. Giveaways include the fun word game SexySlang, samples of Wet® together™ for Him lube, a copy of Oysters & Chocolate and Ravenous Romance e-book gift cards. Free chips, cookies, candy and cupcakes by Baked by Melissa will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the country'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.

Mara Altman is the author of Thanks for Coming: One Young Woman's Quest for Orgasm (Harper Perennial) and has written for daily newspapers in India and Thailand. She was a former staff writer for The Village Voice and has written for New York Magazine and The New York Times. She is currently an adjunct faculty at Columbia University's Journalism School, and working on her next book project. She lives in Brooklyn with her computer.

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, The Daily Beast, 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.

HarperCollins released Anna David's novel, Party Girl, in 2007, the same year that an essay of hers appeared in the Dutton anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. Sony Television has purchased the film rights to Party Girl. Harper Perennial will release Anna's second novel, Bought, in May 2009 and her anthology on reality shows in early 2010. Anna is also the sex and relationship expert on G4’s Attack of the Show, appears every month on the Fox News cult favorite Red Eye, has been featured regularly on The Today Show, Hannity & Colmes, and Showbiz Tonight, and occasionally pops up on MTV News, VH1 and E. Her Sirius radio show on the Maxim channel, "Sex Files," was the network's number-one specialty show and she's been published in Playboy, Details, Cosmo, Redbook, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and Maxim, among many others.

The libidinous fiction of Jeremy Edwards has been widely published online, as well as in over thirty print anthologies (new releases include The Mile High Club, Oysters & Chocolate, and Playing with Fire). His work was selected for the two most recent volumes in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica series; while in the world of periodicals, his lascivious prose can be found frolicking in magazines like Scarlet. Jeremy's eroto-comedic novel Rock My Socks Off has been acquired for upcoming release by Xcite Books. Drop in on him unannounced (and thereby catch him in his underwear) at

A recovering copywriter, Robin Glasser has written for a variety of magazines ranging from Readers’ Digest to Penthouse Letters, where she wrote a column called “The Red Hot Woman.” Her poetry has been published in Upstairs at Duroc and The Riverside Poets Review. Robin guarantees Men at Work, her book of suggestive poetry, will put twinkles in your eyes and sparkles in your pants. Ms. Glasser’s latest novel, My Life as a Concubine, which is based on her experiences in Paris or as she likes to call it, The City of Merde, is available at and Amazon and in a Kindle edition. She now reads at various venues in New York.

Suzanne Guillette's first book, Much to Your Chagrin: A Memoir of Embarrassment, chronicles the year she spent collecting embarrassing stories on the streets of Manhattan, in hopes of compiling them for a book. But, as the year progressed and the stories began to pile up, Suzanne slowly came to realize that the embarrassing story she was really meant to tell was her own. Her work has appeared in Tin House and SELF, in addition to a handful of other publications. Suzanne holds a Bachelor's in Philosophy and a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Non-fiction.

Blaise K is the host and producer of the How I Learned Reading Series at Happy Ending. She is also a writer, photographer, and veteran blogger who has appeared at PS 122, Lolita, Bowery Poetry Club, Lucky 13, and The Tank at Collective Unconscious. Between her writing and photography, she has been published in Nerve, Vice, The Black Table, The Morning News, Gothamist, Gawker, Playbill, and in the books Mortified and Cringe. She believes 2009 might be the year she finally finishes writing her novel, but she also has a lot of YouTube videos to catch up on.

Craig Yoe the author of Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster. After co-creating Superman and selling the rights for $130 dolllars, Joe Shuster found himself on hard times in the 1950s and illustrated dark S+M porn for under-the counter pulps. The Nights of Horror books figured into the murder trioal of the Brooklyn Thrill Killers, Jewish Nazi juvenile deliquents who horsewhipped girls and killed bums in Brooklyn Parks inspired by this porn. The Supreme Court banned the books and ordered them destroyed. Yoe runs the New York design firm YOE! Studio with Clizia Gussoni, and is the author of over 30 books, including The Art of Mickey Mouse. Yoe has won the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, two Addys, a Mobius, and an Eisner Award.

Blaise K is the host of the How I Learned Reading Series. Her written work has been published in four online magazines, one print magazine, and one newspaper, and she has been written up favorably in four newspapers, one British magazine and one newsletter for young orthodox Jews who live in Toronto. She has two websites, one blog, five cameras, four wigs, and two signature karaoke songs. She has been 29 since 2002, and single for approximately 180 days and is thusly available for parties and rebounding. She performs often and eight times out of 10 she’s pretty funny.

You will be hearing from the following books:

Secret Identity cover

Below are images from Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster.

Free samples of Wet® together™ will be given away:

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Tonight: How I Learned to be Super Successful!

The How I Learned Reading Series presents:


("The Assimilated Negro," Gawker, New York Times, NPR, several enviable accomplishments)
(Dave Hill Explosion, King of Miami, This American Life, basically a renaissance man)
(Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories, Ars Nova, also gorgeous and crazy-popular)
(The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, plus a list of successes that would seriously blow your mind)


Wednesday, April 22nd, 8PM
302 Broome Street, NYC
between Forsyth & Eldridge
Look for the hot pink awning that says "XIE HE Health Club."
(212) 334-9676
Get directions


See the How I Learned Reading Series site for reader bios and more info. And the awesome Blaise K is reading May 21st at In The Flesh!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bisexuality strikes a nerve

My male bisexuality piece on The Daily Beast has been getting a lot of buzz, everywhere from Queerty to The Frisky to Gawker. Thanks to everyone who commented, Tweeted, blogged, linked it. I'll probably have more to say in the next day or two. I think the hardest part of writing it wasn't fact-checking what year that Sex and the City episode aired, but compressing everything into the allotted word count. I really hope I can get a nonfiction book deal by year's end to talk not just about "bisexuality," but about the many, many ways our system of sexual labeling and categorization just doesn't work. But that's another story.

This is after an uproar in which Village Voice blogger/gossip columnist asked, Ever Meet a Real Bisexual? then got taken to task, then apologized, concluding:

I'm well aware that bisexuals exist, and said so in my post. I was merely relaying that in my own personal experience, "most" of the people who've told me they were bi later turned out to be using that as a cover and were actually antsy gay men (and in one case there was a straight woman trying to be cool, then dropping it once lesbian chic temporarily peaked).

So of course I wasn't saying that everyone is excited about male bisexuality (or female, for that matter), but I do think there's been a major change and much more room for fluidity in the last few years.

Speaking of bisexuality, I read this fabulous post on Violet Blue's blog, with images. She writes:

...this was an exercise where a fairly big group yelled out assumptions and cultural perceptions and stereotypes about different sexual orientations. In a way, it was oddly like brand/label brainstorming. And then we discussed the results across the gender and orientation gaps, which were really interesting.

See her post for more and all the images, but I'll include below the two about bisexuality:

stereotypes + assumptions: bi female via Violet Blue on Flickr

stereotypes + assumptions: bi male via Violet Blue on Flickr

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"How Male Bisexuality Got Cool" - my first The Daily Beast piece!

I'm very excited because I just wrote my first piece for Tina Brown's site The Daily Beast, called "How Male Bisexuality Got Cool." I'd love it if you'd check it out, let people know, comment there, etc. Thanks!

There is obviously a lot more to the topic, but I couldn't fit everything ever into my article. I hope to work on a book proposal about sexuality this year, I was doing a little of it last year, so these are some of the topics I want to look at. I was also inspired by the (admittedly few) times readers said that I glorified female bisexuality, but mostly by what I've been seeing around me and in pop culture.

Many thanks to my editor Will Doig for believing in my idea and doing a great job editing and pushing me to clarify things, and to Emily Farris for the referral (make sure you check out her ode to the casserole as the ultimate recession food too).

That's part of why I love the site and do read it every day. They have Tracy Quan and Susannah Breslin writing for them, as well as Meghan McCain and a fascinating mix of people. And an interview with Tori Spelling!

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Virgin Night rocked!

L to R (since there aren't really "rows"): Jenny Block, Gideon Levy, Nicolette Dixon, Sinclair Sexsmith, Megan Hart, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Sarah Wendell, Emily Farris
photo by Stacie Joy

Virgin Night at In The Flesh Reading Series was packed - standing room only! THANK YOU to everyone who came out, to our sponsors, Baked by Melissa (cupcakes!), Ravenous Romance (cookies), JimmyJane (massage candle!) and SexySlang (word games!). And to Megan Hart for the fun giveaways. (For those wondering, Kyria Abrahams couldn't make it.)

And as always, thank you to all the readers, everyone who came out, Stacie Joy for the photos, and the staff of Happy Ending Lounge, especially manager Gina and bartender Juan Carlos!

Please come back May 21st - full lineup and bios coming very soon.

See the full photo set from Virgin Night here.

Nicolette Dixon went into glowing detail about cleavage.

Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches Trashy Books had us roaring with tales of tentacles in orifices and other romance novel delights from her book Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels.

Megan Hart read from her erotic novel Stranger, out from Harlequin Spice.

Sinclair Sexsmith reads hot poetry from the chapbook Sinclair Sexsmith.

Emily Farris read a true, amazing story of orgasms and real estate lust. She told me she was nervous beforehand but I told her the truth: that people actually relate way more to the true stories, because they've been there...or want to be.

Gideon Levy had many permutations on "ghetto-fab-i-diculous" (sp?)

Jenny Block read from her memoir Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage.

Megan Hart brought this "Bring Me My Hookah" t-shirt (the name of her awesome vlog with Lauren Dane):

We had cupcakes from Baked by Melissa - 100 of them and they were gone really fast:

And cookies courtesy of Ravenous Romance:

In addition to the giveaways, there was lots of free stuff (and fishnets):

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Back from Boston

Yes, I met Johnny Cupcakes!
Me with Johnny Cupcakes, who has the coolest house ever (I will explain why later)

I have plenty I want to say, about the 90+ (I think) people who packed In The Flesh on Thursday, prompting a complaint email about how it's too crowded at Happy Ending, then the fear every author has - you do a reading and no one shows up! (Okay, three people did.) I am pondering all of this, the "problem" of overcrowding and how to properly promote a reading, but it'll all have to wait.

Boston was busy and beautiful and fun and fabulous. I'm glad I escaped before Patriots Day, which I had no clue was a real holiday there. My stepfather is running the marathon (I think it's his 42nd marathon!). So Boston report soon, for those who weren't following the play by play.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Good Vibrations!


Originally uploaded by
Just navigated the Boston subway, en route to hotel but pausing to sit
in the sun, admire flowers, eat fruit and just enjoy this gorgeous
day. Am reluctant to spend any if it indoors but the beauty of doing a
reading is not the nerves I always feel, but that I can write it off!

I'm speaking/reading in Brookline, MA tonight!

I'm reading from my erotica books and speaking about my writing career from 6:30-7:30 tonight at Good Vibrations, 308-A Harvard Street, Brookline, MA. Please tell anyone you know in the area!

I've never been, but am hoping to bring some cupcakes, and found a fabulous hotel via Priceline's name your price program. Excited about the weekend.

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Because I know you're waiting with bated breath

I don't even know where "bated breath" comes from and don't have time to look it up right now cause I have to catch a Bolt Bus to Boston, which I plan to compare with Mega Bus, which I'll take on the return (thanks, Shelby Knox!).

Anyway, I reviewed Tori Spelling's memoir Mommywood and give it 4 out of 5 stars. I was gonna put it in italics but it's my review, so I think I'll just leave it, plus, yes, it's hella (I went to Berkeley, hence it slips in once in a while) long, but I tend to get carried away.

90210 actress Tori Spelling won me over with her first memoir, sTORI Telling (it actually prompted me to check out her show So NoTORIious, which I found hilarious), and I was eager to read her followup, Mommywood, especially now that she's got two kids, son Liam and baby Stella. Mommywood is her term for being a mom in Hollywood, and details her experience giving birth to Stella while filming her reality show Tori & Dean, her anxiety about being the mom of a girl, and shares mostly amusing stories and occasional insights.

When Spelling dishes on other celebrities, most of the time, she's hilarious, such as when she got invited to a birthday party for Diddy's twin daughters. She can't figure out why she was invited since they don't really know each other, and hilariously has to look up his kids' gender online, only to mistakenly buy them clothes for one-year-olds, when they're turning two. There, she encounters Gwen Stefani. "We talked about babies and siblings for a few minutes, and then we had nothing else to talk about and said good-bye."

However, sometimes this celebrity namedropping goes awry. An encounter with Luke Perry at her stepson's birthday party is pretty boring. He gives her the cold shoulder presumably because he's mad about something she wrote about him in her first book. That story seems like a stretch and really has no drama or interest. Similarly, her rant against Chelsea Handler is interesting at first (Handler has railed on Spelling on her show, and they share a publisher, Simon Spotlight Entertainment), but goes on too long.

When Spelling truly shares, such as about her dealings with her stepson, Jack, and his mom, she makes this book about something real that stepfamilies do actually deal with, and does so in a sensitive way. She talks about how her relationship with her husband has changed, and that sometimes he misses the "old Tori," one who got drunk and stayed out late and was wilder, sharing that sometimes she does too, but mostly she's happy with their mellower lifestyle.. There's also plenty of funny stories about her son pooping in pools, and about being recognized both in her homey neighborhood and while on vacation.

The other major theme here, much as in sTORI Telling, is her mom, Candy Spelling, who also has a new memoir out now, Candyland. In her first book, she painted a sympathetic portrait of a neglected Daddy's girl whose mother could have given her everything she wanted, but was competitive and withholding. Here, though, Spelling is even more bitter, and the rants about her mother (who doesn't get thanked in the extensive acknowledgments) get draining after a while. Spelling's entire list of things she wishes to teach her daughter reads less like a heartfelt look at parenting a girl than a way to get back at her mom by complaining about all the things she did wrong.

Hilary Liftin did a great job making this a fast, fun read. Spelling proves that she can laugh at herself, and her kids (she jokes that "her gays" - her group of close gay friends - have dibs on when they can take her son Liam to a gay bar, then reveals that he's been to one for the premiere of her reality show). Spelling comes across as likeable, sometimes ridiculous (she leaves a stroller in a parking lot when she can't get it to close), and, for a celebrity memoir, honest. Of course, she acknowledges that being "Tori Spelling" is part of her shtick, her way of making a living, and at times her insistence that she "needs to work" doesn't really ring true, but despite those few quibbles, I recommend Mommywood to anyone who devours the tabloids, whether they do so proudly or sneak them as a guilty pleasure.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Smart Bitch and an ex-Jehovah's Witness walk into a room...

Find out what happens TONIGHT at Virgin Night at In The Flesh Reading Series.

Here's one way I described tonight's reading:

A Smart Bitch, an ex-Jehovah's Witness, an erotic romance novelist, a Nerve/casserole blogger, a Kinky Jew, a Texan in an open relationship, a true reading virgin, and chips, cupcakes, cookies and peanut butter cups too.

I'll be feeding attendees the snacks below, plus candy, cookies from Ravenous Romance, and cupcakes!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tax Day = Cooking for Broke Dummies

Update: Whoops, blogged too soon. Apparently it's sold out so I'm not going because I stupidly didn't book in advance. But now I can go hear Storked! blogger and Rattled! author Christine Coppa read at B&N in the Village. Please come check out Emily for FREE with tons of free snacks on Thursday at In The Flesh!

My friend Emily Farris of the blog and cookbook Casserole Crazy is teaching a class called Cooking for Broke Dummies Wednesday night at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg!

Are you tired of spending $20 a night on takeout? Do your parents tease you about not knowing how to boil water? Come to Cooking for Broke Dummies where Emily Farris, author of "Casserole Crazy: Hot Stuff for Your Oven" will show you the basics of making dinner on the cheap. Save for a few kitchen staples, you'll leave knowing how to make at least five dinners for under $5 each.

It's $25. I'm going. Oh, and Emily is also reading on Thursday at Virgin Night at In The Flesh.

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My interview with Purge: Rehab Diaries author Nicole Johns

I interviewed Purge: Rehab Diaries author Nicole Johns for Huffington Post.

I'd love it if you'd pass this on to anyone interested in the topic of eating disorders. I found her book fascinating because she was not a size 2 or 0, but a size 9.

I don't write for free that often anymore because I finally got it through my head that I shouldn't have to, that actually, I'm worth more than that. But sometimes I do and in this case I think it was well worth it. Nicole's answers to my questions were insightful and I think add depth what's been written about the topic.

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