Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Call for Submissions: Best Sex Writing 2012

This is not part of the “official” call but I’d really love to see pieces that are not by “sex writers,” but by comedians or comedy writers, other kinds of artists, scientists, etc. – people who deal with sex in their fields (or personal lives). To me its vastness as a subject is what makes sex continually interesting, so please, spread the word wide and far. The deadline is looking (May 1st) but I hope this reaches all sorts of fascinating people. I highly encourage you to check out the previous editions (these links go to the pages for those books, or see more information at of the series to get a feel for the types of work we are looking for, but anything nonfiction about sex is applicable. For tables of contents and introductions, see: Best Sex Writing 2008, Best Sex Writing 2009 and Best Sex Writing 2010.

And click here for the illustrious list of past contributors to all the editions (I didn't edit Best Sex Writing 2005 or 2006).

Call for submissions: Best Sex Writing 2012
To be edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, selected by guest judge Susie Bright, author of Big Sex Little Death
Publication date: December 2011
Deadline for submissions: May 1, 2011 (earlier submissions welcomed!)

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for personal essays and reportage for inclusion in the 2012 edition of the Cleis Press series Best Sex Writing, which will hit stores in December 2011. Any non-fiction writing covering the topic of sex will 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, as well as “It’s a Shame About Ray” by Kirk Read and “Sexual Outlaw” by Betty Dodson in Best Sex Writing 2010), 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.

Previous editions of BSW have featured authors such as Brian Alexander, Violet Blue, Susannah Breslin, Betty Dodson, Stephen Elliott, Gael Greene, Paul Krassner, Judith Levine, Michael Musto, Scott Poulson-Bryant, Mary Roach, Tristan Taormino, Virginia Vitzhum, and others.

Requirements: For reprints, story must have been published (or is slated to be published) between August 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011, online and/or in print (book, magazine, zine or newspaper) in the United States. Original, unpublished work is also welcome.


Please send your double-spaced submission (1,500-4,000 words) as a Word document or RTF attachment to bestsexwriting2012 at – you may submit a maximum of TWO pieces for consideration. You MUST include your full contact information, a 50-word or less bio, and previous publication details for reprints.

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 own the licensing rights to.


Submit up to three submissions from their publication, following the guidelines above. Provide the author's contact information available upon request.

Email address (for queries and submissions): bestsexwriting2012 at
Payment: $100

Deadline: May 1, 2011 (earlier submissions welcomed and encouraged)
You will receive an email confirming your submission; after that you can expect to hear back from me by August 2011.

Rights bought:
Author hereby grants Editors, during the first term of the United States copyright, and any renewals thereof, in the “Work”:
a. The non-exclusive right to "publish" (i.e. print, publish, and sell) the Work as part of the Book in book and digital form in English in the United States and its territories; and
b. The non-exclusive right to "publish" and license the Work as part of the Book in book and digital form in English in other countries; and
c. The non-exclusive right to license translate and publish the Work as part of the Book in book and digital form in languages other than English in all countries.

Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is an author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, sex columnist for SexIs Magazine, and has edited 38 anthologies, including Gotta Have It, Surrender, Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Orgasmic, Fast Girls, Spanked, Bottoms Up and Best Sex Writing 2008, 2009 and 2010. She hosted In The Flesh Reading Series from 2005-2010 and writes for a variety of publications about sex, dating, books and pop culture.

Susie Bright ( is the author of the national bestsellers Full Exposure and The Sexual State of the Union, as well as The Best American Erotica and Herotica series, which ushered in women’s erotic publishing. She the host of Audible’s In Bed With Susie Bright, the longest-running sex-ed show in the history of broadcasting. She was co-founder and editor of On Our Backs magazine, and was the first journalist to cover erotic cinema and the porn business in the mainstream press. A progenitor of the sex-positive movement, Bright taught the first university course on pornography, and brought lasting sexual influence to her role in films like Bound and The Celluloid Closet. Her latest book is the memoir Big Sex Little Death.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cupcake tissue holder and 5 other things I've blogged at Cupcakes Take the Cake

In case you need a cupcake-pick-me-up, a few items from Cupcakes Take the Cake:

cupcake tissue holder at Neatoshop!

Inception-inspired cupcakes with absinthe

Dr. Seuss cupcakes

Camouflage and Easter cupcake wrappers

pretty flower cupcakes

St. Patrick's Day cupcakes

And Nichelle posted this Cupcake Coif at Atlanta Hair Show!


Publicity is surreal, kindof like life

More fodder for my mini memoir...Tuesday is my 7-year job anniversary and 11-year apartment anniversary, and I moved to NYC in August 1996, which I still remember so clearly. I often have little clue how I got here, or even where "here" is and whether I like it or not. I'm reading Ellen Meister's novel The Other Life about a woman who can enter portals and visit herself in her alternative lives, one in which she doesn't have kids, one in which her mother is alive, and the questions it poses are fascinating. I bought it after reading her interview with Susan Henderson at The Nervous Breakdown. Who would we be if we hadn't made the choices we have, and if we were given numerous opportunities to toss away this life in favor for the road not taken, would we seize them? I'm not a character in a novel so I don't spend too much time pondering the paths I didn't take, just trying to make the best of this one. I'm attempting to tell "the" story (really "a" story) of how I got here in a mini memoir that I hope a major company wants to publish...we shall see, like with so many of the things I'm working on. No guarantees, but I'm trying to love the process. If it winds up being for sale, I will be sure to let you know. I'm not holding my breath, but I do hope it gets out there because it's been interesting to work on and try to figure out what I gave up and how I stumbled into doing the various things I do now and tackle things like hate mail, my misconceptions of the idea of what a "sex writer" is and what I love about writing and the creative process.

I snail mailed two stories recently as submissions to Zane's Chocolate Flava 3 anthology, and realizing that I needed to trim words to make the 3,500-word cutoff, and that I was actually really proud of the ways I'd tackled the subject, was a revelation. Lately writing has been, well, largely a chore, a task, a hurdle. Not fun in the least, and if it's all like that, I have to ask myself, why bother? Actually putting in the time and sending off those stories and making sure they were as good as I could make them, and accepting that "as good as I could make them" isn't the same as perfect or even good by anyone else's standards, but is literally the best I could do, made me feel a sliver of what I remember loving about writing.

I still do this horrible thing where I tell myself that what I've written sucks because it's not how someone else would've written it, and that's a self-fulfilling prophecy to never getting anything published right there. It's what I've done umpteen times, and the fact is, no, what I write is not going to be what someone else might've written, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's "better" or "worse." I should know after combing through thousands of stories for my anthologies that it's all subjective. Of course it is, yet that's so easy to forget when I feel doubts. So now I'm trying to just tune out all the other noise and focus on doing the best I can. It's meant cutting out dating and sex (until November0, and to a large degree, cutting way back on my social life and spending a lot of time alone which can be, yes, lonely. But it took me so many years of fucking around and accomplishing very little to realize that the things I want take time to accomplish, that I have to fight and push myself and slog it out to actually be able to be proud of myself. That doesn't happen by trying to go to every event and be supportive of everyone else's art and shove mine into those spare minutes here and there.

I struggle with that because I want more than anything to be a good creative citizen, to share with other people the art that moves me, and I do that, to the best of my ability. But there does come a point, and I think it's exacerbated in a city like New York, where you are pulled in so many directions that it can feel suffocating. It makes me long to move somewhere far, far away, somewhere far, far quieter, to lead a very different kind of life. And maybe if I can ever afford that, I will. I'm slowly starting to fall out of love with New York, certainly with the way I've lived here for most of my time here. This past week my body simply shut down and told me it couldn't hack that lifestyle. So I'm turning more inward and I find that, much as I hate myself a lot of the time, I like myself a good deal of the time, too, and even if I don't, I'm stuck with myself, and instead of turning outward, instead of constantly looking to other people who I think are smarter/cooler/sexier/better than me to give me a little of that validation, I need to find it somewhere inside. And if I can't today, I just have to hope I can work toward being that person who can tomorrow.

I really feel like I left this other person behind when I decided to take this sex and dating sabbatical. It was sortof decided on a whim, but it's not just about my actions, but my thoughts. I left a lot of baggage behind when I made that decision and maybe I should've done it ages ago, but I didn't, and I definitely learned a lot about myself, especially in the last three years of dating. I'm trying not to become a total hermit and still get out and about (theater recommendation: Saving Tania's Privates at NYC's FRIGID Festival - really fucking amazing, bold, hilarious take on having breast cancer, twice) but not feel guilty for turning down any invitations. It's selfish, yes, but it's also the only way I'm going to wake up in the morning and not feel total dread, which is happening less and less, but shouldn't be happening at all.

In the meantime, was very surreal for my great-aunt to say, "I'm sure you saw your blog in The New York Times." Um, no, I hadn't...I really have to laugh, mostly at myself, at the audacity of hiring a publicist and the inane maxim "sex sells" when my cupcake blog, which I do nothing to promote, gets press without us lifting a finger. So yay cupcakes, yay randomness, yay for the surreal, and yay for just keeping on plugging, even on the bad days.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cupcake toothpaste!

Cupcake toothpaste. Yes, it exists. Review TK.

Interview with Lena Chen about my anthologies and feminism

I've been busy with multiple writing and editing projects, plus was hit by a whammy of a headache/illness this week, so haven't had much time to blog, but wanted to share this interview Lena Chen did with me about erotic writing and feminism. While I don't characterize my 35 erotica anthologies as "feminist" per se (I don't feel it's my place to one way or another), I do think I bring a feminist bent to the Best Sex Writing anthologies I've edited and...stay tuned next week for the announcement about Best Sex Writing 2012, with a fabulous guest judge and a very firm May 1st deadline.

I'll be very eager to read your nonfiction submissions. And in the meantime, I have an April 1st deadline for calls for my erotic romance, kinky couples and Best Bondage Erotica 2011 anthologies which are all wide open - I read submissions on an ongoing basis and so far have gotten very few submissions, so I highly encourage you to get yours in early and make them stand out! (Note: I consider all submissions received by the deadline, but since I consider stories as I go, the later stories are sent, the fewer spots that are open. I always welcome excellent writers though and have so many great stories in my upcoming books which I will be sharing closer to pub date - this summer/fall Obsessed and Women in Lust will be out!)

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Sex at the movies: Twanna Hines and I review Orgasm Inc.

Even though she didn't believe me that Quad Cinema, one of NYC's independent movie theaters, existed (really), Twanna Hines and I finally made it over to 13th Street to check out Liz Canner's documentary Orgasmic, Inc.. We did a relatively short review below, and you can see Tracy Quan's interesting take on it at MyDaily. You can also follow @Orgasm_Inc on Twitter and like the film on Facebook. Apologies for being so slow to get this posted; let's blame it on technical difficulties.

I definitely encourage you to see it; if anything, it will make you look at the pharmaceutical industry with a bit more skepticism (if you don't already), and the idea of what women "should" be doing when it comes to orgasms is something I will be exploring in a future SexIs Magazine column, both related to this film and in general, because in my personal experience there is a lot of pressure on women (okay, me) to have orgasms in ways that feel unrelated to my personal pleasure, and in fact impede that pleasure by putting so much focus on it, but that's another discussion.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

My essay at The Root: "New Interracial-Dating Book Hurts More Than It Helps"

Please check out and pass on/like it on Facebook (if you like it) my first piece for The Root, "New Interracial-Dating Book Hurts More Than It Helps" on JC Davies' book I Got The Fever. "Whitey" was but one word she used that I don't think I've ever heard someone say before.

The very idea that, as white women, we should "broaden our horizons" when it comes to dating assumes that we're only looking for white men to date in the first place. The way Davies positions the groups she profiles, practically pimping them out, suggests that dating outside of our race (or religion) makes us somehow edgy or avant-garde. I'd venture, instead, that if we choose to do so, it makes us human, not in an "I don't see color" kind of way (could there be a more stupid phrase when it comes to race?), but in the sense that we don't limit ourselves to dating one type of person.

Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Can't Think Straight author Kiri Blakeley on professional jealousy

I liked this column by Kiri Blakeley on professional jealousy, such as bookstore placement of Rachel Shukert's books (my sex column tomorrow is on jealousy regarding relationships) - it's funny because I'm jealous that her publisher got her video of her reading at In The Flesh posted on Barnes & Noble while Amazon basically has ignored my Passion video that I had recut just for them. But then I tell myself that the two are unrelated, and that it's true, there is literally not a thing I can do about that, except choose whether or not making book trailers is worth it financially in future. Here's what Kiri had to say:

When it comes to other women, however, I merely ask myself the questions. I don’t have the answers. Why one person gets something that you don’t is entirely out of our control the vast majority of the time, and there have been plenty of times I have accomplished something that other writers haven’t. Somewhere, some woman might even be thinking, “Why does that Kiri Blakeley get to rant on Forbes and I don’t?”

Women, however, are not supposed to be jealous of other women. It’s petty, it’s immature, it’s damaging to the notion of sisterhood. Men don’t get jealous of each other—men give each other jobs. Men don’t get “jealous,” they get “healthily competitive.”

But I say hoo-ha to all of that. Let’s call it what it really is.

“Jealousy, if channeled positively, can do wonders,” says Hannah Seligson, author of
New Girl On the Job: Advice From the Trenches. Seligson, for example, was jealous of people who got their bylines in the New York Times (the newspaper of record also seems to be the newspaper of bitter envy). So Seligson made it her goal to get her name in there too. Eventually, she became a regular Times contributor.

And if you missed it, you can read my interview with Kiri Blakely at SexIs.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Sex diary of the week

This week's sex diary is already prompting lots of comments of the "Why would you date someone who doesn't like your friends?" ilk. Check it all out in "The Female Museum Greeter Whose Boyfriend Is Making Up for Lackluster Sex" at Daily Intel.

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Lost Love and Feminism

Actually two totally separate pieces, but they both went up today. I highly recommend you check out the entire Lost Love issue of Lost Magazine - all our pieces are linked from the cracks in the broken heart! Original art illustrates all our pieces as well.

My short essay for them is called "You." Certainly not the most imaginative title there, or my best work, but it's raw and real and, well, I wrote it.

I posted this last week but it took Huffington Post a while to get it up, it was inspired by Kate Betts' new book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style, which I actually liked, except for the part where everything was "post-feminist," hence my piece: "'Post-Feminist:' Why Ubiquitous Use of the Term is an Insult to Feminism"

More essays coming this week about jealousy, interracial dating, dermatology and anthology editing, cause I'm versatile like that! Also working on what I'm calling a "mini memoir" plus lots of fiction. The whole not dating thing, plus setting aside Friday nights and much of my weekends for writing, has made me a wee bit more productive.

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I Stand with Planned Parenthood Blog Carnival Friday, February 25th

I'm participating in the I Stand with Planned Parenthood Blog Carnival on Friday, how about you? For more information on Planned Parenthood, visit their website and sign this petition. You can donate here.

I'll be writing something new for Friday, about my own encounters with Planned Parenthood, pregnancy scares and Plan B, as well as about the wanted and unwanted pregnancies of people I've been close with, but for now, a blast from the past.

Five years ago I wrote a Village Voice column called "I'm Pro-Choice and I Fuck," which read in part:

One needn't look far to confirm Page's argument that sexual freedom and reproductive rights are intimately entwined. In the eyes of the pro-life movement women are designed for making babies, and men's pesky sex drives are something to be suffered or used to procreate. According to, "Abortion enables the woman to become a reusable sex object without any idea of fidelity, and it gets the father out of having to pay for child support." Someone recently posted to a Pro-Life America website, "There is no such thing as an accidental pregnancy. Pregnancy is the outcome of sex and is the sole purpose of sex. Sex is not a game and is not for pleasure only. If it were . . . then pregnancy would not be an outcome." Even the group Feminists for Life (feministsforlife .com) points to women as the kinder, gentler, less horny gender: "No one can deny that women have always had a higher biological investment in sexual union; abortion seeks to undo that tie. Is the ideal a world wherein sex can be (and often will be) commitment-free?" While Page's title is deliberately provocative, wading into the minds of those who consider women baby-making vessels is more disturbing. To hear them tell it, we're off having careless sex 24-7, then blithely aborting. Anyone who's sweated out a pregnancy test knows nothing could be farther from the truth. Says Page, "There's a pro-life war against Americans' sex lives and the pro-choice movement is a relief agency. We're the levee that keeps this wave of fundamentalism from washing over the American public."

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Building a personal brand as a writer and living up to the best of your Evil Plans

Funnily enough, on a weekend when I decided to embrace Hugh MacLeod's brilliant new book Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination, which spoke to me about not being afraid and letting my fears derail me from living up to my potential (and flaking on $1,000 assignments!), and write about how in 1999 I was a failed law student with no clue what to do with my life and now, I'm, well, a writer and blogger and editor and event organizer, I came across this post on building a personal brand as a writer by Lisabet Sarai:

In the realm of erotica, I consider Rachel Kramer Bussel an example of effective brand-building. Pretty much anyone who reads erotica will be familiar with the dozens of anthologies she has edited, many focused on kink or fetishes. Rachel builds her brand not only through her publications but also through readings, parties and an amazingly active presences in the blogosphere. Just say “cupcake” or “spanking” to any erotica reader and Rachel's name is likely to come to mind.

Hopefully you will soon be able to read 5,000+ words from me on this very topic; well, in a memoir form as I figure out how it was I got here and what happens when "sex writers grow up." More on that when...I get the word, hopefully the good word.

I may write more about Evil Plans, especially the chapter on why it's good to have people hate you. It, along with MacLeod's previous book, Ignore Everybody, are essential shots in the arm for those of us who are waffling about how to embrace being unique. I have that problem all the time; I want to do things the way everyone else is doing them. I assume that they know something I don't, rather than that we are each pursuing our work and life goals in our own ways. I think because I never had a "plan," just started sending out erotica stories, and grew this life organically, I often am unsure about how wholeheartedly to embrace it, how to figure out where I've erred from where I've found success (or only seeing the former). So I'm trying hard to work on figuring out what I do know and writing those things down while being open to learning, learning, learning. Do visit Gaping Void to see more of his work, and sign up for a free daily cartoon and lots of both inspiration and practical tips on how to best utilize your creativity for your own benefit, rather than letting your fears (of success or failure) defeat you.

My review:

In the same concise but profound manner he used in Ignore Everybody, Hugh MacLeod gives artists and businesspeople a way of looking at the world that values them and their own talent, providing examples and encouragement on the path to building your own evil plan. He doesn't just throw random pronouncements out, but backs them up with examples from his own career and those of others he's known or read about who've forged their own paths, along with examples of his business-card cartoons.

Some of the biggest lessons I got out of this book is that it's okay, welcome, in fact, to have enemies; doing so means you are getting known, and provoking people. I also got the message that enacting your evil plan is not "easy," and does mean forging ahead and not following the pack. I've struggled with trying to figure out how to be "unique" and true to myself while also, to some degree, not wanting to rock the boat, and I read this book to try to gain some insight into how to proceed with a career that combines various tasks (editing, writing, blogging, event organizing) and building a personal "brand" (even though I kindof hate that word when applied to myself). I think I've been the opposite of a "waker" and am grateful to this book for waking me up to the possibilities, to facing the parts of writing that I love and going for them full-bore, rather than getting in my own way all the time. This is an excellent book for anyone looking for motivation, from someone who's lived it and gone on to succeed on his own terms.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Almost Blue" by Elvis Costello

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Sex and the internet are not comparable

This whole "giving up sex or the Internet" made me crack up. I can live without sex (and am til November), but the Internet? Never! I say it jokingly but the reality is, my incone would drop to a point where I doubt I'd be able to support myself without the internet, which I use to pitch articles, file articles, read submissions, publicize my books, etc. Not to mention interact with almost everyone I know. But to each their own! These ladies can have all the men in designer outfits. I'm much more of a starving artist type, or ladies in pretty dresses. Granted, I highly doubt anyone would actually give up these things in real, non-survey life, but still, I object to the lumping of sex and the internet together.

From MyDaily:

According to the survey:

• 10 percent of women would give up sex or the Internet for a sharp-dressed fella
• 23 percent would toss their iPhone into the nearest river if he'd get rid of those pleated pants
• 32 percent of women have actually tossed a piece of their significant other's clothing
• 65 percent said, more gently, that their other half's closet "could use a makeover"

Looking for interviewees on female bisexuality

I'm writing a story for Penthouse about straight male/bisexual female couples, looking at different arrangements these couples have in terms of monogamy, etc. If you'd like to be interviewed (need men and women), email me at rachelkb at with "Penthouse" in the subject line and your basic story and I'll be in touch. Thank you! To some degree, I'm looking to explore whether, for straight men, how dating a bisexual woman is different from (better? worse?) than dating a straight woman. All perspectives are welcome from couples that fit the above category. This pretty much includes almost every couple I know to some degree, and my curiosity about what relationships like some of my past ones have been like, hence the inspiration. Would need to talk to you by end of March, ideally sooner.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Babeland Seattle reading Monday, June 27th

I'll have more details as it gets closer, but in the next few months, I may be teaching an erotic writing class, will be doing a signing at Book Expo America of Gotta Have It, and on Monday, June 27th, I'll be doing a reading with some special guests at Babeland in Seattle. There might be some other summer events in the Midwest, but for now I'm focused on writing and anthology editing. Next week I have some more nonfiction I'll be linking to, and various other things are in the works. Sorry to be so vague, I've just learned not to count my publishing chickens before they hatch.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Having sex versus writing about sex

These days I'm not having sex, but I am still writing about it, via journalism, my SexIs Magazine column and lots of erotica. I thought this really interesting Alexis on the Sexes column by my friend Alexis McKinnis brought up a lot of good points, and is relevant no matter what subject you write about, though sex is especially fraught. How do you tell someone you're just not that into their writing when they're your friend? She also gave me some fabulous compliments, so thank you back! And Surrender is my 38th anthology - with the release of Obsessed, Women in Lust and Best Bondage Erotica 2012 later this year, I'll have over 40 anthologies out!

Just because someone has good sex doesn't mean he or she is able to skillfully write about it the morning after. I own bookshelves full of erotic short stories and novels, fiction and nonfiction, and I'd estimate approximately 10 percent of it is even worth rereading. I can't even imagine what a frustrating job someone like Rachel Kramer Bussel must have. She has edited nearly 30 anthologies, each packed with dozens of erotic short stories gleaned from hundreds of open-call submissions. I don't know how she's going to feel about me comparing her to a mainstream female porn star, but I'm about to, anyway: Imagine being subjected to mediocre to just plain bad sexual stimulation for hours and, if you're lucky, maybe something will get you off by the end of the workday. Rachel, if you're reading this, thank you for working so hard to make the world a better place.

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If you want to set your mouth on fire with delicious food...

Try these sriracha-habanero pickle chips by Rick's Picks. I'd bought some a while ago and forgotten and discovered them (pickle chips) last night and they were AMAZING. Seriously. I can't wait to get more at the Union Square Greenmarket and get some for my dad too, who also likes spicy food.

Hotties are crinkle-cut spicy pickle chips with bold flavor notes of dried habanero and sriracha. Heat lovers are discovering that Hotties are an irresistible snack, and healthy eaters appreciate that Hotties are low sodium, gluten-free and contain no fat or cholesterol.

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I wish there were more long-term relationship erotic stories like Christen Clifford's "After Ten Years"

Christen Clifford

I wasn’t really in the mood for a reading last night, and I was running really late. As I walked fast from SoHo to the Lower East Side, I got a voicemail from D.L. King that Bluestockings was packed. We had a good crowd, despite the umpteen other events, and as I listened to Christen Clifford read her story “After Ten Years” from Gotta Have It, I was struck by how rare it is that I get a perfect story like that about a long-term relationship. It was tender and sexy and real; it wasn’t trying to pretty sex up, make it funny or perfect. There are moments of friction between the characters, ways they don’t get along, aren’t quite in sync in bed, and yet the narrator isn’t looking elsewhere. She wants what she wants from the same person after ten years.

I’ve known Christen a long time; I once did an event she organized at Makor, along with Julie Atlas Muz and I can’t remember who else. I’ve seen her perform her one-woman show 17 Guys I Fucked while I think 7 or 8 months pregnant. Hearing and watching her read, seeing her blush or squirm, was so moving. I wish I could do readings with all the authors (66, since 3 of them are me), and hear what they bring to their work. I hope more people will send me stories like that, especially for my next erotic romance anthology, but even for the “erotica.” It was perfect and moving and in 1,200 words or less, she captured sex in a long-term relationship. THAT is what I look for when I edit an anthology, that mix that doesn’t shield sex from the rest of the world, or use sex to shield characters from the rest of the world. It mixes them together, and she brought all the italics in the story to life as she read. I wish I had a recording of it, but maybe part of me doesn’t; maybe you had to be there, and maybe that’s as it should be.

I wanted to select a short segment of the story for you, one that captures what I’m talking about, but you know what? You have to read it. I’m not even asking you to buy it (and, shhhh….I’ll give you a copy if you ask nicely and promise to write a review for me on Amazon, until I run out), but go to your local bookstore. Look at page 173 and take five minutes and tell me if that doesn’t move you. Or, yes, you could buy the book (see below for options). But really, I'm sick of the relentless selling, the postcard mailing, the posting in a bazillion places, the utter uncreativity of book promotion. Who knows if I'm good at it? Who knows when those statements arrive whether anything I've done has made a difference? Right now, I just am moved by a story...the whole reason I got into this crazy thing called erotica editing.

There’s love and hurt and lust and pain and desire and raw need. There’s so much in that short short story and I listened, me, someone who is likely never to be in a relationship for ten years, someone for whom that seems inconceivable. There is a line in the story that is not at the end, but near it, that is, I think, the backbone of it, what makes all the surrounding words so meaningful: “I want him to fuck me forever.” So yeah, that reading reminded me why I say yes to these things even when they’re often the last thing I want to do. I was in a sports bra and t-shirt and ratty sweater, no time to change. I was ratty and wheezing and didn’t really care, and I read some other people’s stories and my own. I knew I’d be reminded of D.L. King’s librarian late fee punishment story “Punishment Befitting the Crime” every time I pay the New York Public Library for my overdue fees. I remembered that way back when, in, 2001, I think, I organized my very first reading, and it was at Bluestockings. It was a nice way to end a long day, to sign off from doing readings and focus on words on the page, on the screen, words in ways that don’t involve quite as much relentless ubiquity and self-promotion and stress, words that have room to breathe and give the reader a chance to read them alone, in private, not be blasted with them live. That is not really my thing anymore, and the freedom of not having to corral people anywhere every month is one I feel immensely. I’m grateful every time anyone shows up, and was pleasantly surprised at the crowd last night, at the readers, and at myself. So thank you for that, for a last hurrah (though I will be asking questions about art, morals, death [her book opens with a suicide], love, sex, pornography and more of Pleasure Bound author Deborah Lutz Thursday night at 7 at McNally Jackson, which will also have copies of my books ,but interviewing, where the burden is on someone else to talk, I’m happy to keep doing).

Order Gotta Have It from:

Kindle edition (coming soon) (Barnes & Noble)




IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Cleis Press

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Rainbow Book Fair, March 26th, NYC

I'm coordinating a day's worth of readings on March 26th at Rainbow Book Fair - featured readers are Christopher Bram, Martin Duberman, Thomas Glave, Raymond Luczak and Felice Picano. Mark your calendars. See the official site for other programming (and please don't ask me about that, I'm just working on the readings part).

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My gay erotica story "Muscle Memory" sold to Hot Jocks anthology

Richard Labonte's anthology Hot Jocks: Gay Erotic Stories will be out from Cleis Press in July, and it will include my weight-lifting erotica story "Muscle Memory." Here's the cover! More on my story when the book is actually out. I am hoping to get the good word on a few other gay male erotic stories too.

Who hasn't been hot for a jock, or, for that matter, an entire team? Those sweat-drenched Lotharios induce lust in the heart of all and finally receive their due in Hot Jocks,, erotic short stories with an athletic theme. Trophy-winning master editor Richard Labonte has gathered a collection featuring tales of inter-athlete lust, the skinny nerd's hots for a jock, and about unavoidable links between sports and sex. Wrestlers, quarterbacks, surfers, swimmers,boxers, soccer players, bowlers, divers, and martial artists: abound. We also venture outside the stereotypical jock box: cross-country runners, MMA fighters, badminton players, speed skaters, weightlifters, archers, rowers - even cricket players can be very sexy.

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My interview with historical romance author Sarah MacLean

I interviewed historical romance author Sarah MacLean, whose new book, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, comes out in April, for SheWrites. Visit Sarah's blog for all the historical romances you should be reading (by which I mean, where I have discovered a ton of amazing authors) and giveaways and news about her books.

Below are the questions I asked her - read the interview to get the answers!

Why did you decide to focus on historical romance? Do you find the conventions of that subgenre conducive to your writing process or are they limiting?

You have 2 books out in your linked trilogy: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord, with the third, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, due out in April 2011. How did you get the inspiration for them, and did you have all three mapped out when you started writing the first?

What kinds of research have you done to accurately write about the time period your books cover?

When you were 17, you stated that your dream occupation was romance novelist. What were the biggest hurdles to achieving that dream, and do you have any advice for budding romance writers?

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What's it like to date and sleep with a cross-dresser?

Read this week's Daily Intel sex diary: "The Female Editor Teaching Her Cross-Dressing Boyfriend a Lesson" - as always, check the comments section for a spirited discussion, in this case about things like whether the term "jerk off" can be applied to women, men in panties, and more.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

"Single Lady Admits: It's Me" - my response to the Village Voice cover story at The Hairpin

I wrote my first piece for The Hairpin: "Single Lady Admits: It's Me." The below will make a little more sense once you read it. Yay smart decisions! And yay The Hairpin - I have another essay in the works for them. I'm all about essays lately. Well, mixing them in with the short (and long) stories.

I am not the most thoughtful of decision-makers, or perhaps I should say, once I make a decision, or get the inkling that I’m going to make one, like getting a tattoo, I kindof just know. Considering that my January 1st and February 1st somehow involved unraveling myself from a more complicated dating situation than I’d have liked, it just seemed natural to take a break until my birthday. No drama, no confusion, no sadness. Well, there might be sadness, but not over romance or sex or dating. I feel so free, and I didn’t expect that. I thought I’d be lonely, and sometimes I am, but I’m finding that all this stuff is coming out of me, I’m having more time to work and write and think and nest. I am less focused on “what can I do to make ___ decide to like me?” I spent so much time doing that, or wondering what I did wrong to drive whoever away.

Finally, I feel like I don’t care, and all that would’ve been nice, but didn’t happen. I’m all about the Serenity Prayer and figuring out what I can change about my life, and going for it. This is one small step that I think is going to at the very least cut out hours spent in therapy obsessing over people who couldn’t care less about me, and at the most…well, who knows? It’s given me a focus: 36. Which is scary enough for me, but I’m looking forward to making the most of 35. I’ve already squandered enough of it and certainly had enough sex to last me the rest of the year. Maybe I’ll fail in some of my goals, and maybe it won’t go exactly as expected, but for now I feel like I just got all this energy back that was going outward and turned it back onto myself.

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10 reasons not to keep something

Based on personal experience, of course...

1. Someone you like/love gave it to you
2. You remember where you bought it
3. You remember why you bought it
4. Something momentous happened while you were wearing it
5. You'd forgotten you owned it until you unearthed it
6. You don't want to be wasteful
7. You plan to get it fixed/mended/adjusted
8. You want it but don't have space for it
9. You plan to read/where/use/write about it...someday
10. You can't figure out what else to do with it

Photos from New York Confidential

Photos by Mindy Tucker, from Saturday night's New York Confidential at The Cove. I bought the dress at Urban Outfitters, the last time I plan to shop there. The tights too, which you can see a little in the photo below.

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Free cupcakes and short erotica tonight at Bluestockings in NYC

I'm doing a lot fewer readings these days, and I have my sanity back, but tonight I'm hosting two In The Flesh alums, Christen Clifford and D.L. King, reading about long-term relationship sex and librarian/library patron BDSM, respectively, plus serving up free mini cupcakes, as we all read from my new book Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex from 7-8 pm at Bluestockings, 72 Allen Street, NYC. I know there are a bazillion events this Valentine's Day in NYC (feels like more than ever), but mine is free, fast, sexy and you'll be out of there in time to go off and have a romantic dinner. And enjoy free cupcakes. What more could you ask for? See below for excerpts from their Gotta Have It stories and Christen, in the Gotta Have It book trailer. You'll also get to find out the two pseudonyms I use in the book!

And here's the Facebook invite if you want to tell your friends.

From "After Ten Years" by Christen Clifford:

“Touch me,” I say.

And he does, lightly, softly. I feel like he is really touching meæthe me he used to know and fuck. He traces the curve from my rib cage to waist to hip, slowly, up and down. He adds in my shoulder and thigh. I feel, not exactly beautiful, but well-shaped, for the moment. I breathe there with him; I leave my arms above my head as if I’m bound; I don’t start in on his cock. I lie there and let myself be touched.
He brushes my nipple. The next time he gives it a tight squeeze. I exhale, moan and voice an intake of breath. I turn to him for a kiss. His mouth is hot and wet and open and searching.

Now his hand is between my legs. I hate that my wetness doesn’t drip anymore; he has to go in and find it and coax it out. But it’s there. I shift so my back is to him. I have a very sensitive back. He reaches around so his hand is still on my cunt, the other on my nipple. I want him to hurt me a little. He’s never liked it when I’ve asked him to hurt me in a big way, to slap me or hit me; he can’t do that kind of violence to me. That’s okay. We have our limitations.

Another breath.

“Bite me a little,” I say.

Christen Clifford is a writer and performer in New York. Find her @cd_clifford or

From "Punishment Befitting the Crime" by D.L. King:

It seemed the rumors might actually be true. Ted had been working on finding out for himself for quite a while now. He’d been diligently bringing books back late ever since that friend of Frank’s had brought it up at the poker game. He’d said, “That bitch of a head librarian punishes guys who break the library rules.” He’d said that he heard she’d actually spanked some guy for bringing his books back late. He’d said it like it was a bad thing. Everybody laughed and made lewd remarks. That was all right; they weren’t library types. He’d have been surprised if they read much more than the back of the cereal box or the sports page.

But he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He began to fantasize about what kinds of punishments Ms. Carmichael might mete out to guys who didn’t follow the rules--and now he was going to find out.

He walked around the desk and fidgeted as he waited for her to open the door. He felt like a little boy who’d been sent to the principal’s office with the exception that a trip to the office in elementary school had never produced a hard-on. He crossed his hands in front of him just as the door opened and Ms. Carmichael, red lips pursed, gave him her most severe look yet. She led him to an office behind the desk.

Editor of Where the Girls Are, The Sweetest Kiss, Spank and Carnal Machines, D.L. King also publishes the review site, Erotica Revealed. Find her stories in Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Sweet Love, Please, Ma’am, Fast Girls and Sex in the City: New York, among others. She’s published two novels. Find her at

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Blisstree gives Valentine's Day shoutout to Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories

Blisstree gave my book Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories a Valentine's Day plug! They're part of B5 Media, which also publishes Crushable and The Gloss (and Blisstree is on my list of Sites I'd Love to Write For).

5. Take a cue from the youngsters and sext.

The written word can be an easy and powerful way to transition into more sexual adventure — sort of like storytime for adults. Herbenick says to read erotic stories in bed or text your significant other with a few lines from your favorite story. (Herbenick recommends checking out Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories by Rachel Kramer Bussell for inspiration.) “It may give you ideas to try the next time you have a weekend alone, and at the very least, it can help you explore fantasies and use texting as foreplay.”

Here's the book trailer too:

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brooklyn lunch recommendation: lentil salad at Saltie

I tend to develop favorites at restaurants I frequent, and once I do, it's tough to steer me away from my cravings. For a while, having sampled most of the small, excellent menu at Saltie, the sandwich and dessert shop in Williamsburg, I was going there for the Clean Slate ($9), their open-faced hummus/yogurt/beet sandwich on homemade naan bread. But the other day I decided to give their lentil salad ($7) a try and I'm so glad I did. It's topped with a mound of goat cheese and is indeed salty, and as a salt lover, I can't get enough, and the lentils are very tiny and delicate and there's a lot of them, and it also has little crunchy bits. I like that you never know exactly what you're going to get at Saltie, because the exact display and ingredients may be slightly altered at any time.

This is my lentil salad from today (on top) and Thursday (when it had little pieces of squash in it, yum!):

I also tried their coffee cake ($4), which was harder than I expected on top, but also wondrous. The cake part was moist and light, and the top was crumbly and sweet and buttery; bring a friend and share it is my recommendation.

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My New York City personal organizer recommendation, and what we did today

As some of you know, last year I hired Savage Organizing (formerly Organized NYC) to declutter my apartment. Liz did a fabulous job, and it was an enormous, week-long project. I don't have time to detail all of it now, but I can tell you she had shelves installed for my books, and totally transformed my apartment from an utter mess into one that actually was, yes, organized. For a little while, it stayed that way, but slowly, my old ways started to creep in, and today I had her come back. We did a four-hour session, which resulted in four bags of stuff to bring to Goodwill, 80 pounds of laundry dropped off, some dry cleaning, and a whole clear room (the middle room of my railroad apartment), which awaits the dresser I ordered from Amazon.

Liz also helped me set up the shoe rack I bought...last year. I let exactly two people, save for the exterminator, into my apartment in the last year, and that wasn't something I was that comfortable with. Liz is pretty much the only person I'd trust with that, and she, despite my fears, was extremely encouraging and kind and not only helped me clear out space but helped conceptualize how we can best use the remaining space (more shelves!) and never once pressured me to get rid of anything. Making progress helped me not only see how much I do have, but helped me see the light at the end of the hoarding tunnel. I want to have room for my weights, for my books, for my clothes, for all the things that are important to me, and also just some clear floor space, just for me, just to look at and gaze upon and be happy with. There's a ways to go, but it's gonna happen. And look! I can see my shoes...and keep on adding to this collection so they all have mates:

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Dear Urban Outfitters: you've lost me as a customer

A few weeks ago, as I tend to do, I shopped at Urban Outfitters. I get almost all my tights there, and have quite a few dresses from them. I also bought a winter hat, and a few other items, and on my way out my bags beeped. They checked them, then let me go. The next day I put on the warm fuzzy dark green dress I'd bought, pulled off the tags, and prepared to wear it...only to find that they'd left the plastic anti-theft device on it.

As tends to happen with me, I had the receipt, and thought I'd put it in my purse, but when I went to return it, I couldn't find it. So I shelved the task of trying to return it for a while, hoping the receipt would show up. It didn't. So yesterday when I was buying a dress to wear to The Cove, because that is how I cope with stage fright, I asked the clerk at that same store, 14th/6th, what to do. She told me to show up and tell the security guard and they'd take care of it.

Today I was near the store on 2nd Avenue and 9th Street, and when I walked in and beeped, they told me I had to go back to the original store, so I did. I explained the issue to the security guard, who got the manager, who told me that unless I have the receipt, they can't take the anti-theft device off. "Okay, I'll keep looking for it...or throw it away," I said, because those are pretty much my only options (note: by "throw it away" I mean add it to the four bags of clothes I sorted today to give to Goodwill).

the dress in question

"Do you think you have it at home?" he asked. But what's the point of asking that? I either do or I lost it, and if I lost it, I'm SOL. I was disappointed that there was no other recourse; I could look up in my bank's records the original date of the transaction. I realize that without tags, I could have stolen the dress, and they have no real way to know, but the fact of the matter is, I didn't, and I've been a frequent customer. In fact, just last night, a girl entering The Cove complimented my tights and I told her where I got them; this happens a lot.

But since this seems to be my year of giving up activities (drinking, dating), I'm adding shopping at Urban Outfitters to my list. I unearthed more than enough clothes today to keep me going for a long while, and I can find other places that have better customer service. And yes, I will be adding a pouch to my purse for receipts and trying to develop a Getting Things Done-type system to purge my receipts. The irony is that I have amassed probably thousands of receipts over the years, and they litter, literally, my apartment and my bags, but I can never find them when I need them. I guess I needed another costly lesson in receipt losing to make it sink in that I need to take better care of my possessions, and the onus is on me to be diligent. Still, I think they could've found a way to handle this better. Maybe I'll find the receipt, but either way, I'll be doing my shopping elsewhere.

My new tights, in my in-progress living room:

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Daily Intel wants your Valentine's Day sex diary

From anywhere in the world, no less, and just one day. Why not go for it? Via Daily Intel (yes, where I edit the weekly sex diaries, but this is Daily Intel's project, I'm just passing it on).

Every Monday here at Daily Intel, we publish a sex diary. But this coming Monday is special: It's Valentine's Day, the day of love and romance (also sadness and masturbation). To honor that occasion, we are going to try something new: Everyone is invited to do a one-day sex diary for Monday, February 14. Make a note of every time you have sex, think about sex, simulate sex, or even reject sex from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Then on Tuesday morning before noon, send your day's diary to sexdiaries[at] Since we'll be dealing with a bunch of diaries and won't have time to check them out the way we do with the regular diaries, this will be on the honor system. But we trust you guys! For some reason! Also please note: Unlike our usual sex diaries, this is not limited to those of you in the New York region. So Californians! Canadians! Our one reader Mat Mat from Kuala Lumpur! Now's your chance to allow us to peep behind your closed doors...

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Please don't buy my titles that don't give me royalties

I posted about this a while ago on Twitter, but wanted to let you know that if you want me to get royalties, do buy my titles from Cleis Press, Seal Press and Pretty Things Press, but if you buy my Alyson Books titles (First-Timers, Secret Slaves, Ultimate Undies and Sexiest Soles), I won't get royalties, at least, as of when they decided to not pay them in 2009 and then give me the giant runaround about it.

If they ever step up and decide to pay me the money they owe me (over $900), I'll let you know and even take down this post (or adjust it), but I'm obviously not holding my breath. It's a shame because Alyson gave me my start and were once wonderful to work with, and I guess it doesn't matter now that they're not putting out new hard copy books, as far as I know, but still, I'd like to get the money that is owed me. (For the record, I got a flat fee, of $1,000, to co-edit Up All Night, my first anthology. I DO NOT recommend going this route, but I was young, and I lived and learned - I'd sooner take no advance and get a cut of royalties, but everyone has to make those decisions for themselves.)

This is what I last heard on September 24, 2010; they have my address - the same one where I received royalty checks for many years prior to their poor decision-making on this issue. I have no idea if those books sold anything last year, but if so, I am owed even more money. It's easy to write it off...if you can afford to. I can't. I still want my money and will continue to notify them until I get paid, but in the meantime, please support publishers that pay their authors what they are owed.

Dear Rachel,

For the majority of this year we have been reconfiguring Alyson books.

In connection with such, we have essentially put all Alyson related business on hold until we determine how we are moving forward with that division of our company. We have made great strides over the past few weeks with the reconfiguration and expect that within 30 days we will have a definitive plan for Alyson books. Once a new plan is in place we will begin to issue outstanding royalty payments.

I’m sorry that your royalty payments have gotten caught up in the restructuring process, but please know that it is the Company’s full intent to get your back royalties paid to you as soon as our finance department allows us to issue royalty payments for Alyson.


Brian Goldman
Vice President, Operations

Here Media

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

5 other desserts on top of cupcakes - combating the "___ is the new cupcake" food writing trend

How I fight back against silly food trend stories like the ubiquitous "____ is the new cupcake" - see my latest Cupcakes Take the Cake post (and, if you want to be super awesome, Tweet it, link to it, pass it on): "5 other desserts on top of cupcakes: macaroon, whoopie pie, cookies, donut, pumpkin pie"

I took this photo at Frosting Bake Shop in Walnut Creek, which I hope to return to next time I'm in the Bay Area:

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Kinky BDSM submissive female erotica in Surrender: Erotic Tales of Female Pleasure and Submission

I love the positive feedback I've been getting for having a woman of color on the cover of Surrender: Erotic Tales of Female Pleasure and Submission. Which is here! In stores probably next week. The cover photo was shot by the one and only Barbara Nitke, who I am incredibly honored to have worked with. Introduction is below (might have been tweaked in copyediting, for some reason I don't have that final file, but I'll go over it and correct if if any little things are amiss).

Buy Surrender from:

Kindle edition (Barnes & Noble)




IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Cleis Press

Introduction: Surrendering to Pleasure—and Power

Dear Professor Pervert Donna George Storey
Daddy’s Girl Teresa Noelle Roberts
Power Over Power Emerald
The Chair Lolita Lopez
Without Eyes Terri Pray
The Hardest Part Alison Tyler
Rapunzel Jacqueline Applebee
The Royalton–A Daray Tale Tess Danesi
The Sun is an Ordinary Star Shanna Germain
Belted Rachel Kramer Bussel
Lunch Elizabeth Coldwell
Schoolgirl and Angel Thomas S. Roche
First Date with the Dom Noelle Keely
In Control M. Christian
Wild Child Matt Conklin
Brianna’s Fire Amanda Earl
Forceful Personalities Dominic Santi
Veronica’s Body Isabelle Gray
The London O Justine Elyot
Pink Cheeks Fiona Locke
How Bad Do You Want It? Gwen Masters
Stripped Clancy Nacht

Introduction: Surrendering to Pleasure—and Power

I’m not surprised to learn that female submission is a hot topic. For the many women who fantasize about giving up control, bending over, hearing the click of a pair of handcuffs or engaging in kinky roleplay, that desire can consume them—and lead them to some wicked fantasies.

The stories here run the gamut from couples engaged in hardcore kink to the psychology of submission, with everything from coming in public to submitting to a Krav Maga teacher.

Whether you know you’re a submissive (sometimes or all the time, or just in your head) or you’re curious, this book rums the gamut and is an opportunity to read about things you might want to try, some you’d never dare, and some that will likely stay in your mind (and other body parts) for a long time to come. For me, the best erotica not only arouses my senses, as well as my libido, but takes me all the way into the character who’s experiencing such deliciously exciting erotic encounters.

These encounters are mostly focused on the women, the brats, the subs, the bad girls, but in them, you will find the most wicked of tops—wickedly insightful, wickedly mean, wickedly sadistic, wickedly keen on prompting pleasure out of these women who have chosen them to surrender to. These are the men who know the right time to push a woman’s buttons—and boundaries—who concoct vivid experiments in kink. Some of these tales are from their point of view, offering insight into what it’s like to desire a woman to be bound and at their mercy.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I feel I must: these stories are not about men violating women. They are not about women being abused or mistreated. They are about women accessing a side of themselves that many of us bury, precisely because we feel it’s not “feminist” enough or is somehow otherwise politically incorrect to want to kneel, bend over, open our mouths, spread our legs, submit, and surrender. As Dominic says in “Power Over Power” to his student, Jackie: “You’re looking for power. In your own way, getting fucked rough like that will make you feel powerful. Is that right?” Vince echoes this to his wife in “Veronica’s Body” when he instructs her, “Don’t ever back down from me.” He wants a woman who can meet him in bed as an equal partner even as he whips her until she trembles. When he disciplines her, it’s an act of love as much as, if not more than, it’s an act of kinkiness.

Good BDSM erotica makes you understand all the emotions that can come into play when, well, playing: there can be uncertainty, nervousness, fear, excitement. I selected each of the 22 stories in Surrender because they’re blazingly hot and because they illuminate some aspect of submission that I think is

The authors of the stories you’re about to read understand the art of submission and the thrill of surrender, whether that’s personal space, sight (“Without Eyes” by Terri Pray) or culinary choices (“Lunch” by Elizabeth Coldwell).

What the women here want is to give up part of themselves to gain something else. They may still be skittish, but overcoming their fears, surrendering to them, yields beauty, pleasure and, in its way, power.

In “Dear Professor Pervert,” a student learns several very kinky lessons about how to get off—and follow orders.

With “Daddy’s Girl,” Teresa Noelle Roberts takes the topic of Daddy/girl play which, I fully confess, is not something I normally enjoy reading, and turns it into a kinky roleplaying tale which stays hot throughout while also explaining the Daddy dynamic. Emerald delivers a riveting tale of power play in “Power Over Power,” where a Krav Maga instructor shows his student that the heart of her true power lies in her owning her submission and baring more than just her body.

In “The Chair,” the title object becomes the ultimate sex toy for Cal to use in teasing and tormenting Lily, while Susan in “Without Eyes,” goes from being irate to being on her knees in moments.

Anticipation is often the hottest part of a scene, with the sub wondering when and how the action will happen. In “The Hardest Part,” Alison Tyler offers up the exquisite torture of waiting for your kinky fantasies to come true:

I’m over his lap. I’ve been needing a spanking for too long, and he’s been making me wait. In spite of everything I’ve done, he’s ignored the signals. I’ve been bratty. I’ve been bad. I may as well have worn a t-shirt with the words SPANK ME in bold scarlet letters across the front.

With “Rapunzel,” Jacqueline Applebee, when a woman agrees to give up her long locks, she bares herself in an unexpected way (any woman who’s ever submitted to a hairdresser’s chair knows the tension and masochism involved!), while in “The Royalton-A Daray Tale,” Tess Danesi makes a kinky fantasy come true in an upscale hotel.

With “The Sun is an Ordinary Story,” Shanna Germain takes something you wouldn’t expect to read about in an erotica book—cancer—and offers up a vitally human story about the transformative power of kink and how getting back to playing rough makes one woman feel more alive than ever.

In my story “Belted,” the narrator wonders what it is about her lover that turns her on quite so much:

Is it the belt that makes you come? The leather, the thrash, the pain, the jolt? Is it the force behind it? Is it the noises he makes as he does it, the hitches of breath that are nothing like your shuddering sobs but are music to your ears nonetheless--is that what makes you finally go over the edge? Is it him holding you down, him promising you pain that may or may not come?

I love stories that delve into the psychology of BDSM, and few writers do that better than Elizabeth Coldwell. With “Lunch,” she will not only have you eyeing your fellow deli customers with a keener eye, but also showing the erotic potential within even the smallest decisions, once we’ve given up the decision making power to someone else.

Erotica impresario Thomas S. Roche gives us “Schoolgirl and Angel,” a top and his sub find a new plaything at a dungeon party, one who’s a little more mouthy than they’re used to. Serena winds up taking off her panties in public, among many other things, in “First Date with the Dom.”

Sometimes a bratty girl doesn’t even know she’s begging to be put in her place, or how much she might like someone else taking control. In “Wild Child” by Matt Conklin, an older man sees beneath the veneer of the young woman sitting next to him on a plane, all too happy to show her what true rebellion is all about. In “Brianna’s Fire” by Amanda Earl, a slave is put to the test, while “Forceful Personalities” come into play when Christa takes a while to submit, even though she wants to, desperately. That tension between wanting to be as slutty as we are in our fantasies, and actually doing it, plays out in numerous other stories as well. A tourist attraction provides a welcome opportunity for public sex in Justine Elyot’s “The London O.”

“In Control” takes us online, to a chat room whose participants XX, while in Fiona Locke’s “Pink Cheeks,” a woman who’s been lurking in another online forum finds out what happens when someone she sees every day finds out her naughtiest secrets. Finally, in Gwen Masters’ “How Bad Do You Want It?” she asks the title question, which I might turn over to you, dear reader. I have a feeling you want it very, very badly, “it” being all the most out-there, I-could-never (yet I can’t stop thinking about them) fantasies that flirt at the edges of your mind when you are getting yourself off, alone or with a partner.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ooey Gooey Valentine's Comedy Party tomorrow night!

You know what two things I love are? Comedy and The Skint. They join forces tomorrow night for a great event, get your tickets here. And when I know the pub date I'll post it, but look for my interview with Hannibal Buress soon in Penthouse. On Monday, actual Valentine's Day, if you're not on a date or at one of the bazillion other events awesome New Yorkers are hosting (seriously, I don't think I've ever seen SO many outstanding events in one night here), please do join me for free cupcakes and sexy stories at Bluestockings from 7-8.

Whether you're alone or in love, the skint's "Ooey Gooey" Valentine's Comedy Party will bring you a mega-heartshaped-box full of laughs!

Your cupid of comedy and host, Kurt Braunohler ("Hot Tub", Penelope: Princess of Pets) and funny folks Hannibal Buress (SNL, 30 Rock, Comedy Night at The Knitting Factory), Claudia Cogan ("Turtle Tank", Last Comic Standing) and Jessica Delfino will charm you with their first, best and worst Valentine's stories and titillating tales of love (and lust!) that are sure to put Hallmark to shame. To spice things up, we'll turn the lights down low for cringe-worthy love and dating videos presented by the Found Footage Festival as well as a special performance by the Little Top Circus and Medicine Show.

Submit your tales of dating disasters, snap sexy photo booth pictures, and win treasured raffle prizes. Indulge in $1 mini cupcakes from Robicelli's (Serious Eats' 2010 People's Choice winner) and sexy $2 tacos + $3 hot dogs from Oaxaca.

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What my writing research looks like, princess phone edition

I'm writing a story that involves a phone, and looked up "princess phone" on Amazon, and found these:

I love the part of writing fiction where you get to "own," at least vicariously, things like this. There's also an elaborate princess bed involved in this story. I hope it gets published where I want to publish it so I can share it with you. Will keep you posted.

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Other bloggers' book recommendations: Jen Lancaster and Stephanie Klein

I wish I could spend all day telling you about awesome books, but I have to write my own, so I will share links to book recommendations by bloggers Jen Lancaster and Stephanie Klein that got me to want to read and to buy some of their recommendations. Soon I hope to be as on the ball about recommending books as they are, because I am always reading.

Jen Lancaster's book recommendations - Most of these sound like I might like them, but young adult novel Here Lies Bridget intrigued me because of the premise, because Paige Harbison is the daughter of bestselling author Beth Harbison and she's, yes, 21! Oh, and the first line of her official bio on her site is "I am kind of a snarky bitch." Yes, I'm so reading her book ASAP.

Stephanie Klein's book recommendations - I ordered Epiphany as an impulse purchase immediately after reading this. These days I can use all the inspiration I can get, though generally, ideas aren't my problem, it's following through on them.

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Theater pre-recommendation: Saving Tania's Privates by Tania Katan in NYC at Frigid Festival

Sortof like I'm gonna try to do with books, I want to share with you theater and events I want to see, whether I wind up having the time/means to see them - sometimes they sell out or my time is limited. I did buy tickets to see Joan Rivers perform on April 5th, finally. I've been wanting to see her in a small setting (in this case, Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC) since I saw her documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work). But one show at a time...

I can't really "review" something I haven't seen, but I did love Tania Katan's memoir My One-Night Stand With Cancer (plus the cupcake on the cover!) and am hoping to sneak away from the writing to see this. All you need to know is at

It's part of the Frigid Festival:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 through Sunday, March 06, 2011

3 Theaters, 12 Days, 30 independent theater companies and over 150 performances...see you at FRIGID New York!

Okay, more info in case you didn't click through, from Tania's site:

The one-woman show that was a smash hit in Seattle, Phoenix and Edinburgh finally makes its way to New York! Phoenix based writer and comedic performer Tania Katan has adapted her outrageous and poignant best selling memoir My One Night Stand With Cancer, into the critically acclaimed one-woman show Saving Tania's Privates, which will make its NY debut at the Frigid Festival @ Under St. Marks Feb 23-March 6.

When Tania Katan was 21 years old she loved her breasts. They were round and perky, pert and fabulous – openly adored by many. Suddenly, in the midst of her carefree college days and during some really great sex, her partner stopped touching her breasts and said, "Do you feel that, Tania? It's a lump." Tania's perky breasts were given some gloomy news: stage-3 breast cancer. Hilarity ensued! Or more accurately, absurdity.

After a mastectomy and some good old-fashioned chemo, Tania left cancer far behind. 10 years later, at 31 years old, Tania was about to celebrate her secured status of being "cancer free" when she found herself in bed with another girlfriend who stopped touching her breast abruptly to ask a familiar question, "Do you feel that?"

By the age of 31 Katan had survived two mastectomies, a string of psychopathic girlfriends, her idiosyncratic but loving family AND running a 10K race in the desert while on chemo just to impress a girl. Obviously all that was left was to write a book and then adapt it into a play.

With wit, courage and honesty Saving Tania's Privates details Tania's race for a different kind of cure; a race that takes her through a medical labyrinth where phlebotomists miss veins, friends quietly retreat, and the prospect of being 'normal' seems to disappear every time she thinks she's got life firing on all cylinders. It explores whether bad relationships can give you cancer and whether good ones can take it away. It is, in short, a remarkable and utterly unforgettable story of survival.

From Phoenix New Times:

In one case, she conducts a quick poll about how many people would have made the same decision she did in a particular situation. We know it's going to turn out badly, but she's been so honest up until then, most of us raise our hands in embarrassed solidarity. At another moment, she asks, "Do you know anyone who's had cancer twice and lived?" The mind boggles, and the answer sticks in the throat. What is "twice"? What is "lived"? It's the closest most of us will get to being where she's been.

Let me stress that this show is undeniably entertaining and will probably not make you miserable, unless you happen to be in an immediate-catharsis-needing place -- and if you are, you might as well get it here. This is a blood diamond of great, moving acting. Katan's huge smile, gangly arms, and defiantly flat, scarred chest are the captivating façade of a soul that just wants to survive and share. In particular, her stories of crushing, falling in love, and wanting to flee it are as romantic and toe-curling -- and terrifically, hysterically funny -- as anything you'll ever see and hear.

Cupcakes Take the Cake interviewed Tania wrote about her in our infancy (2005!) and quoted this part of her book:

“I’m sorry. Hey, do you want a little treat to go with your mocha? I saw some fancy looking cupcakes up there.”

“Sure, thanks.” Mom hands me a five. I’m living large.

The cupcake is amazing: light golden brown and four inches in circumference, and when I lick the fluffy pink frosting, it licks me back.

See also: Tania Katan's essay "Pragmatic Osmosis" at beloved essay site Fresh Yarn

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Very surreal - to know that I'm on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, because people are telling me they've seen me, but being sans cable, not to mention on a few deadlines, not watching. Hopefully I'll get to see it soon (friends have TIVOed it) and maybe get a screenshot. I do want to give a shoutout to Objets d'Envy for the jewelry I wore (they are my favorite jewelry designer and lent me some items) and Yumi Kim, where I bought the blue silk Chloe jacket. I've since found out when I was in the store that there are other, possibly better ways, to wear it, like tying it behind your back, and I plan to look into that. I love all their stuff though since it's mostly silk it's not very icy-cold-winter-weather friendly.

Thanks to Food Network for having me on! For daily cupcake goodness, do visit Cupcakes Take the Cake - with Valentine's Day around the corner, we are hearting it up. And now, back to making sense of my fictional worlds...

If you missed it, according to the Food Network site, you can also watch:

Feb 19, 2011

7:00 PM ET/PT

Feb 24, 2011

7:00 PM ET/PT

"Skype Sex for Dummies" - my latest sex column

My latest sex column for SexIs Magazine is called "Skype Sex for Dummies." That is probably the last sexytime for me til I turn 36 in November - going on a sex/dating fast, for real this time. Maybe I'll write about it, but first, a bazillion deadlines are hammering at me. I can feel the pressure tightening up my shoulders. Anyway, next column is on jealousy. After that, who knows? Happy to have the new computer, hustling for writing gigs to prove that I deserved to buy it, if only to myself. Aside from my 3 readings - at The Cove, Bluestockings and McNally Jackson on the 12th, 14th and 17th, respectively (all details in my latest newsletter - sign up for it in your inbox on left-hand side at, I'm mostly taking this and probably next month "off." As best I can. I need a break from people. So no offense, it's really not personal, I just need some special solo time with my laptop and my thoughts and my soon-to-be-organized-ish apartment. I think I can safely say you probably wouldn't want to be around me in these next few weeks anyway. I am happy to finally embrace my inner loner and really give myself the time I need to try. Maybe I'll fail, but maybe I'll actually get through some of the pieces I've been wanting to write and not feel so under the gun all the time. It's a terrible, paralyzing, awful feeling, at least, for me. If I didn't have any ideas in my head, I'd be fine with skipping along through life, but I do, and when they wind up as nothing more than to do list items is when I see how much time I waste. Been thinking that New York is not really the right fit for me, especially if I want to lay low and not go out. NYC is many things, but not really the place for a homebody. I don't have any other candidates in mind, nor cash reserves to make that a reality any time probably before 2013, but it's rattling around in my head as a little fantasy. Maybe I'll manage a weekend away and come back loving NYC again, or maybe I've just grown up and outgrown it. Time will tell.

I will be hosting some readings on March 26th at the Rainbow Book Fair and will have news soon, I hope, about another project that weekend that you aspiring erotica writers might be interested in. For now, though, head, meet grindstone. Not complaining, just doing what I should've been doing for, oh, the last decade. Speaking of which, it pains me to have to turn down a panel at NYU's Bobst Library - how many hours did I spend in there? Okay, not that many cause I was in the law library, but still. Alas, I got asked to do something the weekend I'll be in Seattle for the Rock 'N Roll Marathon. And I know I should literally not give it a second thought, because I already have a commitment, but there is a part of me, the crazy part, that thought, "Well, maybe I should cancel that trip..." I know, ludicrous. Hopefully I'll get asked next year, and if not, so be it. I'm figuring out that there are many opportunities that might come one's way and that you don't actually have to say yes to all of them. Fancy that.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2 videos from my California readings: Orgasmic mashup and "Manners" at Coco de Mer

I just got emails about these lovely readings - big thanks to Bianca Butler and Dave Naz, respectively, for taping us!

Roundup of the reading at Booksmith in San Francisco featuring me, Violet Blue, Susie Hara, Dusty Horn and Donna George Storey - if you want to watch the whole thing, click here from The Campanil at Mills College. Violet Blue read from "The Fugly Ducky" by Thomas Roche, and I read from "Espionage" from Best Women's Erotica 2011, though you have to check the Booksmith link for that, in full. There was a LOT of humor at this reading, as you can tell from this clip above.

Orgasmic: Erotica for Women

Rachel Kramer Bussel reads Manners from Dave Naz on Vimeo.

Dave Naz taped me reading my kinky face-slapping story "Manners" from Gotta Have It - click that link for details on 68 more hot stories! Did I say that 5 members of my family were in attendance? I so almost read something else (and opened the evening with a personal favorite, that I also read at Good Vibes, the last story, "Vacation Pictures" by Robert Peregrine, which I look forward to reading at Bluestockings on Valentine's Day, it's so humorously hot).

I'm hoping to do a reading in Seattle the weekend of June 25-26 - alas, there are no Seattle contributors to Gotta Have It but I have something up my sleeve. And I'm working on (fingers crossed) trying to do a Midwest tour of Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Chicago when it's warmer - maybe even Madison if a venue will have me. Will keep you posted!

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Sex Diary: "The Finance Guy With a Girl (or Two) Every Night"

This week's Sex Diary at Daily Intel features "The Finance Guy With a Girl (or Two) Every Night" and has caused lots of debate in the comments - was it too straight-up about the sex, or should there be more introspection? In my personal opinion, I think if there was too much introspection, people would be like, "There's not enough sex." But I like the lively commentary.

If you're a New Yorker and are interested in writing a sex diary, click above and send your details to that address and I'll get back to you ASAP.

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Saturday night! Williamsburg! Storytelling! $5! Tough Love Boulevard...

I'm so tired today from staying up til 4 trying to write procrastinating that I left my refillable mug at Starbucks. Full of coffee. That was sad. I will be more perky and awake on Saturday night when I tell a story of tough love. Which story of tough love I am trying to figure out...the one about the socialist? the one about the person I keep freaking dreaming about (literally, in my dreams, at night, once even with him and Sarah Palin)? the one about...?

Sign up at the mailing list here for a discount. If you get to Williamsburg before 6 I highly, highly recommend stopping by Saltie. I ate their Clean Slate sandwich on Saturday and Sunday. A photo is below, but each time it's a little different - Saturday the beets were in mini rectangles, Sunday they were shredded. It's homemade naan bread, hummus, yogurt and assorted crunchy bits. I also shared a chocolate meringue and seriously. So. Good.

Facebook invite

Official site

Clean Slate at Saltie

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Photo with Pamela Madsen and Dr. Susan Block

Sorry this photos isn't bigger - I'll try to find out if there are any other good shots from that night. You can listen to the show and read more here. I have an interview with Pamela Madsen going up soon too at SexIs - delay is all mine, sorry! Visit her blog at and get details on her book tour as well. She is being sponsored by Zestra which I think is a fabulous idea - finding a sponsor is on my list of Important Author Things To Do in 2011. Well, informally, I still have to properly make that and a few other lists, once deadlines are met.

Pamela Madsen, Dr. Susan Block, Me

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Carrie Brownstein on Portlandia

From the Washington Post:

"In a lot of communities, whether it's Williamsburg or Austin or Madison [Wis.] . . . you have these people that are very stifled and conflicted by their own sense of altruism," Brownstein says. "I think that's the underlying theme of the show. . . . A lot of comedies are based on people being bad. Ours is based on people trying to be good."

And while music remains her primary love, Brownstein says the show gives her an outlet that rock-and-roll can't provide.

"As much as I admire bands that can get to a place of sheer weirdness, that's just not the kind of music I make," she says. "I think 'Portlandia' definitely occupies a sphere of silliness and outlandishness that I would not be comfortable going with in music."

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