Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Friday, April 29, 2011

The year of celibacy that wasn't...

So a friend expressed surprised that I’m in a relationship and in an email said something to the effect of, that they knew I was trying to spend the year celibate and that struck me as, well, not really correct.

The more accurate thing to say is that I was sick of sleeping with people I wasn’t in a committed relationship with, and I didn’t think I could do justice to a committed relationship, so I was giving up both sex and dating until I turned 36. That was a great plan and I have mixed feelings about abandoning it. I don't have mixed feelings about the relationship I'm in, but reconciling my big goals for this year with trying to accomplish them while in a relationship is a challenge. A good one, actually, but it's a different challenge than trying to accomplish them by my stubborn self.

It wasn’t so much a rejection of sex and dating as such, as my ability to partake of them and also work on myself. I felt like such a mess, a failure on every front, and I wanted to systematically tackle all the Big Issues, the extra weight, the debt, the messy apartment, my chronic lateness, my inappropriate attachments. I fell into what felt like a very deep hole, and in November and December, it felt like only the already happily in love with perfect partners people were telling me they loved me, and I was instead sleeping with people who’d never love me no matter what I did. There was something so nauseating about that equation to me, so deeply, utterly wrong, and it hit me pretty strongly. I could see how easily I built fake, false attachments, how easily I’d be ready to give up anything and everything on the vague off chance someone might, I don’t know, smile at me. That’s how it felt, anyway. And in the meantime I didn’t even want to look at myself, really, up close, both literally and figuratively.

So I thought taking that almost-a-year, rather than keeping up with bad dating decisions and lusting after the most unavailable people possible as an avoidance of Real Life strategy, was a good way to go. Or at least, it seemed the only thing possible when I kept hitting rock bottom over and over, when I couldn’t seem to stop myself from failing to a point where I could not see an escape from the failure. That was all I saw and felt, guilt, failure, a sense of wrongness not just about the situations, personal and professional, I kept willingly going toward like a moth to a flame, but a sense of wrongness about myself. I hated that person and I sure as hell couldn’t see anyone else liking her, and if they did, they were probably even stupider than I was. I also just wanted to be alone for more than a few hours a day. I just couldn't, for a while there, even fake smiling and laughing and pretending everything was okay when it seemed like all I was doing was disappointing people, myself first and foremost. There wasn’t enough solitude when I was trying to turn myself into everyone’s good-time girl, into some amalgamation of who I thought the people whose beds I climbed into wanted me to be. I think on some level I truly believed that those fleeting moments with them would fix me, by, like, osmosis. Without the hard work. Without the introspection. Without patience. Or maybe it was more that when I was with them I didn't have to care as deeply about the bombs blasting at my career. I could forget, even though it was always, always there. I knew I’d never be like the seemingly perfect lady who haunted my dreams. I knew that and yet I still hated myself for being older, fatter, uglier, all the pejoratives I could think of.

I was trying to start over, to wipe, if not my entire past clean, then as much as I could. To heal and cleanse and figure out who I am if I’m not the girl writing the book, not the girl pining away, who I might be as the girl with everything in its place. And the thing is, I am still trying to figure all that out. It’s scary to take my clothes off in front of someone else when most days I just want to leap forward to what I think of as the magical age of 36 and not weigh so much, not be so indebted, so disorganized, so everything-I-hate-about-myself. But I decided that maybe it’s possible to work on myself and be in a relationship at the same time. Actually “decide” sounds much more deliberate than how it happened, but I did somewhere along the way make that decision.

I am a little nostalgic for that single time, because it was the first time in literally years that I was genuinely happy to be single, that I wasn’t single-but-looking, single-but-crushed-out, single-and-blaming-myself-for-it. I was just single=. I was also trying to figure out big things, like if New York is really a good fit with me, and if I truly want to be a writer, or just someone who dabbles in it. I was trying to figure out how to set realistic goals, rather than doomed-to-fail ones. I was trying to forgive myself and those around me. I was trying not to have crazy breakdowns where I throw butter on the street and cry.

So I really don’t have any conclusions. I haven't figured most of those things out but I'm trying to be a little less all-or-nothing in the way I approach them. Unlike my past relationships or even minor flirtations, where in my head I made the most outrageous, unrealistic leaps of logic and fantasy, I’m pretty much taking both my life and work and relationship one day at a time. To do otherwise would feel crushing at a time when I am trying hard to distress, to de-dramatize, to not reach that overloaded point where I have a public fit like I did before that kindof awful, kindof wonderful trip to DC. It is so easy for me to look at myself and only see the flaws, the failures, the money I didn’t make because I didn’t write X, or the things I could’ve been doing rather than thinking person Y liked me more than they did, or whatever. I have so much I’m still working on and I know it’s a lifelong endeavor, I’m not going to turn into a swan on November 10th.

I’m trying to be a little more optimistic than is my usual bent and when I’m not, I’m trying to break it down for myself into even the tiniest parts, like instead of taking the subway two stops, I walk. That is not going to lose me the pounds I'm going for, but it’s healthy. It’s literally a first step. It clears my head, it makes me feel proactive. I’m letting myself spend $7 on green juice because I feel really fucking awesome when I drink it. I’m trying to spend the energy I usually would berating myself for not submitting a piece to Z book by instead just writing a piece for the next one on the list.

I’m trying not to be such a walking basket case that I scare the people away who care about me. It’s definitely more vulnerable to try to do even a fraction of these things while in a relationship. I hate cracking open that shell and exposing myself, despite the fact that I’m writing this post. There’s still a distance, a veneer, with a computer screen, or a piece of paper, that I don’t have in person. At the same time, I’m learning from the person I’m seeing and trying to both think and live a little more sanely, calmly, to, as best I can, put aside my catastrophizing and just be in the moment. I’m not naturally good at that, but I’m hoping I can be more patient and empathetic with myself and other people while not using that as an excuse to wallow in all the messes I’m so good at creating. There’s a long slog ahead, especially because some of these things I'm tackling have been going on since at least 1999 when I yanked my life out of one course and steered it toward this course.

So, I don’t know what happens next. I do know that I feel healthier than I did at the start of this year, that having some of the pressure lifted means there is space to figure out what I actually want to do and to try to live up to that, not for anyone else, because that is a road to ruin, but for myself. To live up to my dreams, simply because I dreamt them, not for money or to keep up with anyone else or because it "looks good." I'm getting there, slowly, very slowly, but surely. I'm away that this post applies none of the lessons I’ve been absorbing in Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk and Writing, which is like my new writing bible, about how to hone in on what you are truly trying to get at. There is no point or real story here except that sex, or its absence, are honestly the least of what's standing in my way. It wasn't sex that was the enemy but me. That I see pretty clearly with the clarity of hindsight. I was so eager to get in my own way it was almost eerie. So unlike the essay on Jewish mothers and the essay on shame I have committed to writing, with this meandering post I don’t know what my tone is or even what my conclusion is. But I wanted to say it anyway.

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Food porn: grilled cheese and cupcakes

Yesterday I had the pleasure of celebrating my one-month anniversary with a lunch date at Melt Shop. We got rained on soon after we started eating but it was fun. I had the 3-cheese grilled cheese which was delicious and very rich and filling. I'm not a big fan of sundried tomatoes but otherwise it was awesome, though LA's Grilled Cheese Truck is still my favorite. The tater tots were great too. I'll be back next week to try more!

Buttermilk fried chicken grilled cheese (I didn't have this one but it looked good)

3-cheese grilled cheese with sundried tomatoes

tater tots!

And I hope you're visiting Cupcakes Take the Cake every day for royal wedding cupcakes, oozing filled cupcakes, and so much more! Here's my ode to the quiet sweetness of Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the Lower East Side in the morning. I am hoping to rouse myself from slumber for more walks there. It's invigorating and I don't even want sugar after a brisk walk, but I do like giving out cupcakes.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

New essays up at Modern Love Rejects and Thought Catalog

I have two new essays that, coincidentally, both went up today.

One is at the new site Modern Love Rejects. It's called "The Unlikely Other Woman." It feels dated to me, because it's from a while ago, but as part of my new try, try, try again attitude, I thought it fitting to send a piece that's in part about rejection to a site about rejection.

I thought I was too smart to get hurt, which was my ultimate downfall. There’s no such thing as “too smart” when it comes to love; it’s the great intelligence equalizer. Why else would Nikki Giovanni have a poem addressing precisely this scenario called “I Would Not Be Different.” I grabbed it off the shelf at my local bookstore, one where we’d even had a date, where he’d kissed me between the stacks. I was desperate for a sense of community of fellow women who were not smart enough to evade the charm of the married man. “You sort of see someone/And you don’t want to notice/That ring on his finger/Nor really that sort of happy/Look in his eyes,” she writes. I thought he could be happy with her—and me—and that I could be too.

And that local bookstore is that fantabulous WORD, where I got some amazing books and ogled cute items last night. More on that later. But since it's still National Poetry Month, I'll recommend you check out that stunning Nikki Giovanni book, Bicycles: Love Poems. I kept that book in my bag for a long time and would read it almost daily. Yes, it helped.

The other essay has a crazy long title, and I'm really happy with it. Some of it is about the fact that social media is, well, social, and is a counterpoint to some of the people who think it's not. I described it on Twitter as being about "art appreciation, theater, iPhones, Flickr, 4square, Nirvana, David Carr, technology & more." That pretty much sums it up, I think. Please read it and, if you're so inclined, pass it along. I'm honored to have my work published their because I love what they're doing. Do make sure to check out their Love & Sex section. I have my eye on some pieces for Best Sex Writing 2012 (no decisions have been made on that book yet, as I'm wrapping up Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and madly reading reading reading).

"Why I Had My iPhone In My Hand While Viewing The Nirvana Exhibit At Experience Music Project"

I can contrast my visit to EMP with the other Seattle Center cultural offering I took in, a matinee of the play This at Seattle Rep, a few minutes’ walk away. There were plenty of moments in the play I found noteworthy, from the married man who tells the woman with whom he had a one-night stand, “You invade my psyche,” to the game the other characters play with Jane, whereby she leaves the room and has to guess the story they’ve made up, using only yes and no questions. Only there is no story, save for the one she spins, and she is the last one in on the not-so-funny (to her) joke. Unlike the museum, except for perhaps the video interview sections, the play moved too quickly to capture except by memory.

Both ways of processing and responding to art with simply our eyes and ears, or with the aid of technology, or perhaps pen and pencilæare, I believe are necessary. Any time I walk into a museum, a theater, or even a park, or open a book or visit a website, I am hoping that something I find there will leave me changed and different than I was before I ventured into that space. My photos (which you can see here) don’t tell a whole story, mine or the museum’s, so much as offer a tease, a glimpse into what stood out for me during my two hours in EMP. They aren’t meant to replace or stand in for the exhibit.

Read the whole thing

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

3 novels I'm reading: Abandon, family, Skinny

No time to go into more about these books that are all different from each other. Probably, even though it's paranormal and based on Dante's Inferno, Meg Cabot's Abandon is the lightest. family not only has chilling subject matter, but it's told in a chilling way that's also disconcerting (lowercase "i"s). You can read an excerpt of Skinny at Jezebel (I'm not anywhere near that part yet) and an interview at Crushable. If you're wondering, I got all these in the last two days. I'm also reading a few books I'm reviewing, and want to blog soon about the extremely fascinating Bobby Fischer biography Endgame by Frank Brady which was utterly engrossing. And I bought the first two, a copy of Skinny was sent to me by the publisher, Harper Perennial.

Author sites and Twitter feeds:

Meg Cabot (@megcabot)

Micol Ostow (@micolz)

Diana Spechler (@dianaspechler)

Cover image links go to Amazon, where I got the plot descriptions from:

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

family by Micol Ostow

It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go.

Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.

Skinny by Diana Spechler

After her father’s death, twenty-six-year-old Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating. Desperate to stop bingeing, she abandons her life in New York City for a job at a southern weight-loss camp. There, caught among the warring egos of her devious co-counselor, Sheena; the self-aggrandizing camp director, Lewis; his attractive assistant, Bennett; and a throng of combative teenage campers, she is confronted by a captivating mystery: her teenage half-sister, Eden, whom Gray never knew existed. Now, while unraveling her father’s lies, Gray must tackle her own self-deceptions and take control of her body and her life.

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Modern Love Rejects has launched

My Modern Love rejection, from The New York Times Modern Love section, but of course, goes up tomorrow at Modern Love Rejects. I hesitated over giving permission, even though I'd submitted it, but then I realized, once again, that fear is the ultimate self-sabotage. That even if my essay is foolish and stupid, even if one could say the same about my actions (feel free), I wrote it. I finished it. I tried. The not trying is what makes me despise myself. So, yeah. It makes me feel a little squeamish, but maybe that's a good thing.

So check out the first three Modern Love Rejects, by Samara O'Shea, Kiri Blakeley and Alisa Bowman, and submit your own!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"To put it bluntly, weddings make me horny."

No, not me, but the protagonist of my story "Wedding Crasher" in the new Alison Tyler anthology from Harlequin Spice, With This Ring, I Thee Bed which just came out. Here's a little bit more from the opening of the story:

To put it bluntly, weddings make me horny. Not the idea of a wedding, me in a frilly gown and veil, walking down the aisle with the mythical man of my dreams. I leave that stuff for other girls, ones far more traditional than I. I can get through all the shmaltz, the bad dresses, worse food, and even dismal music as long as I can find someone to make my night a little more interesting. It can be a man or a womanæor both at once! I’ve had some of the best sex of my life at weddings, and I think the reason is because even the cynics among us can’t help but get lulled into the sense of love and companionship that are in the air at a wedding. We want someone to celebrate with, even if we’re not breaking in the honeymoon suite.

Now or Forever by Nikki Magennis

Racing to the Altar by Sommer Marsden

Forever Hold Your Peace by I.K Velasco

A Lucky Wedding by Thomas S. Roche

Something Old, Something New by Sophia Valenti

Kiss the Bride by Lana Fox

One Last Time by Saskia Walker

Forsaking All Others by Janine Ashbless

Mother of the Bride by Cheyenne Blue

I Married a Gigolo by Jax Baynard

Strippers and Cigars by N.T. Morley

Something Blue by Shanna Germain

Speak Now by Heidi Champa

Wedding Crasher by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Blushing Bride by Bella Dean

Anniversary Waltz by Portia Da Costa

I Will by Erastes

A Vow for a Vow by P.S. Haven

Seven Year Itch by Kristina Lloyd

Rites of Passage by ADR Forte

Naked Nuptials by Alison Tyler

Love, Honor, and Obey by Rita Winchester

May the Best Man Win by Kate Pearce

Taking Vows by Kristina Wright

The Wedding Stoppers by Michael Hemmingson

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Royal wedding cupcakes!

We've got lots and lots of royal wedding cupcakes for you over at Cupcakes Take the Cake, with more coming. This is the new "cupcake holiday" between Easter and Mother's Day!

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Why Justine Musk's blog Tribal Writer is such a must-read for me

This post. And pretty much every other one. Seriously. I only wish I were brave enough to go there. I'm so tired of the cycles of hatred, doubt, fear, envy that not just cycle through my head but lead directly, do not pass go style, to failure. I don't blog about the epic fails because I want to look successful, on the off chance anyone powerful is watching me and might think, "Hey, she'd be good for..." I don't want to be the fail girl, but she is me and I am her. Not forever though. Still, we are inextricably linked. I've always taken the easier way out and once you start on that path it seems easier, even when deep down you know better.

I am trying to dig my way out of the giant seemingly bottomless hole, one fucking word at a time. 2009 and 2010 and much of 2011-so-far were ruled by fear, by what-would-whoever-think, by no-way-in-hell-do-I-deserve it. So because I didn't think I deserved anything, I made it such that I didn't. I was so convinced it was true and now I am literally grateful for every word. For the winnowing, for the ideas, for the moment when I know it works. Not that it's perfect or even good, but that it works, whatever it is. Now I could care less what anyone thinks. Except me.

Rushing to get two anthologies closed and to make time, real time, for the big project I want to do. Not the big project anyone else wants me to do - been there, will never do that again. The project I like, that maybe I'll self-publish, or whatever. That's like when I was young and naive and worried about passing the fucking bar before I realized I was flunking out of school. No more. Now it's just the words, for me, selfish, the way it should be. Maybe someday I will get to share them, but first, I have to produce them. And that is the scariest thing ever, still, but I want to push through that fear.

From Justine Musk:

This is what’s known as deliberate practice. It’s not enough that you log a minimum of ten thousand hours at your chosen craft to get truly good at it…because your practice cannot be half-assed. It has to keep you at the very edge of your ability, which means that you’re falling on your ass, making mistakes and failing. But the important thing is that you’re failing forward. The brain learns through mistakes — mistakes force it to stop and evaluate, to pay serious attention, and think its way through what it’s doing. That added intensity of consciousness encodes those actions into your grey matter and carries you farther through the Dip.

The thing about deliberate practice is — it’s uncomfortable.

Anything that pushes us past our comfort zone is going to make us uncomfortable — whether it’s trying something new, taking it to the next level, or exposing ourselves to painful but much needed constructive criticism.

Which is why Nick advises aspiring creative types to get comfortable with discomfort.

Learn to love discomfort.

Discomfort is the price — and sign — of growth.

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Cover of my 39th anthology, Obsessed: Erotic Romance for Women

Once I get the copyedited version I will share my introduction and the table of contents, but I can now share the cover to my July release, my 39th anthology, Obsessed: Erotic Romance for Women, which is available for pre-order on Amazon. My story is called "I Want to Hold Your Hand." It's about size and jealousy and, yes, hot hand holding. And a foreword by Stronger Than Sin and Aztec Gold (both of which I recommend, especially for paranormal and history fans - Aztec Gold is contemporary, but has a touch of history) author Caridad Piñeiro®.

Actually, here's a tiny snippet of my sweet (for me) story - there are dirtier ones in here, I promise!

She smiled at him as she chewed the licorice while he held it, until she reached his fingers. She licked them gently, enjoying his soft moan, feeling almost giddy at their running off in the middle of their party to play at being luststruck. Or maybe they weren’t playing at all, because when he reached for her hand with his free one and held it, she felt nothing but love and lust coursing through her.

I'll have other purchasing links and more information closer to the pub date. Next is Women in Lust, Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and Best Sex Writing 2012, all out this year, then a bunch more hotness in 2012. Amazingly for someone like me, a few of those 2012 books have already been filed! Which leaves me more time to focus on brainstorming new ones and reading through piles of submissions and, in the case of Best Sex Writing 2012, searching far and wide and reading lots of books, magazines and websites for the authors on my wish list. It's gonna be brilliant, if I do say so myself.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Sex diary: "The Divorced Doctor on Hormones"

This sex diary was a bit different and really interesting - there are medical things and sex things and exes and period sex and Starbucks. Check it out: "The Divorced Doctor on Hormones".

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Why “Nerd Lottery” Winner Andrew Kessler Opened “Monobookist” Bookstore Ed’s Martian Book Stocking 2,500 Copies of His First Book

The other day I gushed over how cool Ed's Martian Book (which I keep wanting to call Ed's Martian Hand, in some misguided Dorian's Red Hand mental transposing) is? Well, I interviewed the Meatball Shop-inspired mastermind behind it, Martian Summer author Andrew Kessler. For The Nervous Breakdown, which makes me crazy nervous to write for. Hope you like it and if so, let people know!

My favorite line is at the end: "When you start thinking of ideas, the one that makes people the most nervous is the one you want."

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Earth Day cupcake roundup

This is how I put my college education to use, people! Please click through if you want more Earth Day cupcake cuteness, plus I linked to all the nonprofit groups that are benefiting from the sales of these cupcakes.

Magnolia Bakery Earth Day cupcakes

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Call for Submissions: Hotel Erotica anthology

In case I didn't say it as clearly as I can below: CREATIVITY is key! And following the guidelines. Trust me. I really really really mean that. Excited to read more hot hot hot hotel erotica.

Call for Submissions
Hotel Erotica anthology (exact title TK)
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is looking for hotel erotica in all its forms. From couples on vacation to quickies with strangers, from luxury hotels to seedy motels and everything in between. I’m looking for swingers, sex toys, sex on the beach, voyeurism, exhibitionism, conventions, hotel bars, special hotel suites and more. The emphasis should be on creativity and adventure and the various ways hotels bring out passions we might not indulge at home. Specific hotel settings and use of themes beyond a couple having an affair are desired. See the IPPY Award winning Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories (book trailer and story samples are available at for an idea of the kinds of stories I’m looking for. All characters must be over 18. No poetry. No scat, bestiality or incest. Original, unpublished stories only. Pansexual stories will be considered, though the bulk of the stories in this anthology will feature heterosexual characters. Since submissions will be considered on a rolling basis, earlier submissions are strongly preferred.

Deadline: July 1, 2011 (earlier submissions strongly preferred)

Payment: Contributors will receive $50/story and 2 copies of the anthology on publication. Contract is for one-time rights (if you would like to see the exact contract terms, email hoteleroticabook at with “Contract” in the subject line).

How to submit: Send double spaced Times or Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc only, NOT .docx) OR RTF of 1,500-4,000 word story. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch and double space (regular double spacing, do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). US grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required. Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), mailing address, and 50 word or less bio in the third person to If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you'd like to be credited as. I will be accepting stories on a rolling basis so the sooner you submit, the better. Cleis Press has final approval over the manuscript so you can expect a final answer by October 1, 2011.

I've been seeing numerous recent submissions that do not conform to my guidelines. They are there for a reason and submissions not meeting these guidelines will not be considered. Please read and follow them or risk your submission being rejected or returned for reformatting. If you have any questions, please contact me at

About the editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is the editor of 38 anthologies, including Gotta Have It, Surrender, Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Bottoms Up, Spanked, The Mile High Club, Do Not Disturb, He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Crossdressing, Dirty Girls, and is Best Sex Writing Series Editor. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, writes a column for SexIs Magazine, and hosted and curated In The Flesh Reading Series in New York for five years. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Susie Bright’s X: The Erotic Treasury, Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and Zane’s Purple Panties and the New York Times bestseller Succulent: Chocolate Flava II. She has written for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, Fresh Yarn, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Time Out New York, Zink and other publications.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ed's Martian Book, the West Village bookstore selling only Martian Summer by Andrew Kessler

Tonight I particpated in one of the most fun, unique readings I've ever done. I was invited by all-around cool guy and Galleycat editor and birthday boy Jason Boog to read at Ed's Martian Book. I looked it up and all I saw on Yelp was "science fiction bookstore." I arrived and this is what I saw:

Yes, author Andrew Kessler set up an entire shop with thousands of copies of his book artfully displayed. What's his book, Martian Summer: Robot Arms, Cowboy Spacemen, and My 90 Days with the Phoenix Mars Mission, about? From his site:

Martian Summer is a non-fiction account of author Andrew Kessler’s time spent working on the Phoenix Mars mission. It’s about winning the nerd lottery--getting the most exclusive ticket to work inside mission control for a NASA mission to Mars. The luckiest fanboy in fandom gets a shot to spend three months with unfettered access to mission control--that’s a journalistic first and potential NASA no-no. It’s just your average summer trying to capture the story of 130 of the world’s best planetary scientists exploring the north pole of Mars. It’s a warts-and-all look at the Phoenix Mars mission and NASA’s space narrative from a regular guy who once dreamed of leaving the planet.

Andrew Kessler is a writer living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in The New York Times and on The Discovery Channel. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. This is his first book about Mars -- or any planet for that matter.

More photos. The e-book launch party is Thursday night, April 21st. I encourage you to check out the store if you're in New York, whether Mars or space interest you or not. As a book lover there is something mesmerizing and gorgeous about seeing the same title seemingly endless displayed on shelves. It makes you wonder what the book buying experience would be like if every book were given that kind of display. Plus it's fun. And the bathroom is totally charming! And, yes, Martian-themed.

(slightly fuzzy cause this giant ball was swaying in shop window)

From an interview at Galleycat on the opening of a "monobookist" bookstore (by Jason Boog):

Kessler also explained how he assembled his ambitious project: “I dipped into the old savings a bit to make this whole project happen–but who wouldn’t to live on a NASA mission and then make a giant art project about it to tell the world!? I live the frugal life to make these moments happen. But I’d be very nervous to tell others to spend their hard-earned money on art projects (although I secretly want them to).”...

He added some simple advice for authors interested in following in his footsteps: “You’re going to hear a lot of people say, ‘Wow, that will never work.’ They’ll be right, of course, but if you love books and you should do it anyway. ”

Watch videos and learn more at and follow him @kesslerandrew on Twitter.

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Friend looking for information about bleomyocin toxicity

From Kelli Dunham, who can be reached at kellidunham at - please reblog and ask anyone you know who might have the appropriate medical information. Thank you!

We’re looking for someone, anyone that knows anyone that has been successfully treated for ADVANCED bleomyocin toxicity (which in this case is interstitial lung disease, definitely with inflammation, we hope without fibrosis) and has any suggestions. We’re also looking for folks who have used either western or alternative therapies to recover from interstitial lung disease from any cause. We’ve looked through the scientific literature without much success, so we’re even interested in anecdotal information at this point.

If you want to send good wishes or read her blog, see Cheryl B's WTF Cancer Diaries.

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"Are You (Sexually) Experienced?" - new column up

I mention Cindy Gallop’s TED Books e-book Make Love Not Porn (which despite the title is not anti-porn, see link below), Thought Catalog’s Sleeping With a Slut" essay and "beginner’s mind" in this column, "Are You (Sexually) Experienced?" Considering that I run into exes or ex-flings all over the place, it’s a timely topic. Love that a friend said: “forewarned is forearmed” re: running into exes. Indeed!

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My interview with Hannibal Buress in May 2011 issue of Penthouse

My interview with comedian Hannibal Buress is in the May 2011 issue of Penthouse, on sale now. Bree Olson is on the cover (see the cover here).

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Free reading in NYC tonight!

Reposted from Sad Men - see you there!

Poetry Circle Revisited

In the 1930s, the Raven Poetry Circle toured the West Village, selling their poems and hosting readings while the publishing world collapsed around them.

Every May, they hosted a poetry fair in Washington Square Park, selling poems for pennies. I think its time to do it again.

On the evening of Wednesday, April 20, I’m hosting an intimate reading at a cozy shop in the West Village, bringing together some of my favorite writers in the same spirit as the Raven Poetry Circle.

Each writer will read a single page: a story, poem, comic book page, memoir page, whatever they want to write. After they read, each writer will explain how much they would sell the one page of writing for—rekindling the scrappy spirit of the Raven Poetry Circle. After the reading, we will scheme how to celebrate the 78th anniversary of the Ravens’ poetry fair in May.

Join us at 7 p.m. on April 20, 2011 for the reading. The reader list follows below…

Ed’s Martian Book
547 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014

Jason Boog (host): He is the editor at’s publishing website, GalleyCat, and an adjunct instructor at New York University’s School of Journalism. His work has appeared in The Believer, Granta,, The Revealer, and Peace Corps Writers.

Levi Asher: He is Chief Executive, Creative Director and Philosopher King, Published Action Poetry, an anthology (Literary Kicks, 2004), Tiger’s Milk (a poetry chapbook, 2003), Summer of the Mets, a novel (Literary Kicks, 2002).

Rachel Kramer Bussel: She is an author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, writes a column for SexIs Magazine, and has edited 38 erotica anthologies, most recently Surrender, Gotta Have It and Best Bondage Erotica 2011. She writes about sex, dating, books and pop culture for Alternet, The Frisky, The Gloss, Huffington Post and many other publications. She also blogs about cupcakes at Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Edward Champion: He is writing this short biography just before he is about to cook a low-key dinner of tuna noodle casserole and corn on the cob, which may or may not tell you everything you know. He is one of those easily ignored people, hoping to stay violent and original in his work, who you sometimes see in Brooklyn whipping out a netbook and attempting to chronicle some phantasmagorical thought or overlooked observation on the fly. His cultural musings — often long and also easily ignored — can be found in audio and words here. His musings beyond the real are uncontainable.

Susie DeFord: Her work has appeared in BOMB, Poets and Artists, Mipoesias, Work Zine, Dog Fancy, Shampoo, the Anthology “Dogs Singing,” Pyramid Magazine,The Comstock Review, Poetry Motel, Survivor Magazine, Architrave, and Pinyon. She won the Cody Harris Allen Writing Award and was a finalist in the Muriel Craft Poetry Award and the New Letters Poetry Prize. She runs Susie’s Pet Care, a dog walking, training and pet sitting business. She writes the blog Dog Poet Laureate and is currently seeking a publisher for her first book of poems and photographs by Dennis Riley called The Dogs of Brooklyn.

Lisa Dierbeck: She is the author of two novels, The Autobiography of Jenny X (Mischief + Mayhem/OR Books) and One Pill Makes You Smaller (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a New York Times Notable Book. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Dierbeck has contributed to such publications as The Boston Globe, Glamour, The New York Observer, The New York Times Book Review, People and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez: He works in publishing by day, world domination by night. Over the years he’s lived in Staten Island and South Beach Miami; served in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, US Army, and Dennis Kucinich’s ’04 Presidential Campaign; won poetry slams, founded a reading series, co-authored a book of poetry and believes in the power of publishing as a community service. He prefers Pumpkin and India Pale Ales, Jim Beam, and Dona Paula Shiraz Malbec, and is a devout Mets and Jets fan from the Bronx now living in New Jersey with his beautiful wife and two amazing kids.

Elizabeth Keenan: She is a publicity director at a major publisher. By night she is a writer who spends more time watching ‘Hoarders’ than writing. She was a regular columnist for the NY Inquirer, has been anthologized in Living on the Edge of the World (Touchstone Fireside), and in the GalleyCat/Scribd literary re-mix of Horatio Alger’s Joe’s Luck. A workshop leader for the New York Writer’s Coalition, she most recently ran a workshop at Serendipity, a home for formerly incarcerated women in recovery in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.

Andrew Kessler: He is a writer living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in The New York Times and on The Discovery Channel. He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. This is his first book about Mars — or any planet for that matter.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My SexIs Magazine Secrets of a Sex Writer one-year columnversary

I realized I never really marked the one-year anniversary of my column so here's all of them to date. You can always read the latest one by clicking here. Tomorrow's mentions beginner's mind, Cindy Gallop's e-book Make Love Not Porn and quotes a piece on sleeping with a slut from Thought Catalog! They usually go up around noon, every other Wednesday. You can also follow @SexIsMagazine on Twitter.

"Unpacking My Relationship Baggage"

"Do Straight Women Need an After Sex Doll to Cuddle With?" (personal favorite!)

"Why I'm Taking The Year Off From Sex and Dating"

"Yes, Even Sex Writers and Call Girls Get Jealous"

"Skype Sex for Dummies"

"Is Social Media Ruining Your Sex Life?"

"An Ode to Pussy Waxing"

"My Year in Sex"

"Is The Handjob Passé?"

"Education Myself About AIDS"

"Sleeping With Married People"

"Ex Sex (Toys)"

"Attention Deficit?"

"The Nonconsensual Play Party Voyeur"

"Like a (Very Experienced) Virgin"

"Internet Dating Pros and Cons"

"Erotica Writes and Wrongs" (advice for submitting to my anthologies)

"10 Things I Want From My Next Relationship"

"Letting Someone Into My Bed"

"A Little Bit Poly"

"Loving My Body—Kinda, Sorta, Sometimes" - reprinted on Jezebel

"My Domme Side"

"Girl Crushes, Bisexuality and Bi-Curiousness"

"My 'Trendy' Post-Breakup Celibacy"

"'Are Your Breasts Real?' and Other Questions Not to Ask a Sex Writer"

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Hear Suzanne Vega perform Carson McCullers Talks About Love to benefit Girls Write Now

Very cool benefit - I'll be there! Get tickets here.

In 1936, 19-year-old Carson McCullers published Wunderkind, an autobiographical piece depicting the insecurity of a teenage girl. McCullers went on to write such acclaimed works as The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding and The Ballad of the Sad Café. At Girls Write Now, at-risk high school girls (not much younger than Carson McCullers when she wrote Wunderkind use writing to explore their own adolescent experiences. With mentors by their sides, they are set on a path towards college, and their promising futures beyond.

In Carson McCullers Talks About Love, a new work written and performed by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega, the iconic Carson McCullers reminisces about her life, her loves and her art. Seamlessly moving from spoken word to song and back again, the show features 16 original songs written by Ms. Vega in collaboration with Duncan Sheik, Tony Award-winner for Spring Awakening.

Girls Write Now is the first organization in the United States to combine mentoring and writing instruction within the context of all-girls programming. Since 1998, they have provided a safe and supportive environment for more than 3,500 at-risk girls to expand their natural writing talents, develop independent creative voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career, and life. 100% of GWN’s seniors graduate and move on to college – bringing with them awards, scholarships, a new sense of confidence and new skills.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Sex diary I think we can all relate to

Or rather, I can relate to! If you like it, please do me a favor and pass it on, Tweet it, like it on Facebook and tell anyone in NYC who's over 18 who might want to write a sex diary to get in touch!

The Single Writer Who Can't Keep It Simple

Best line: "I actually made the mistake of falling in love with him in the beginning, but I've since come to my senses."

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PB&J jalapeño popppers and other deliciousness at Seattle's Shelter Lounge

Today is my last day in Seattle and I'm going to the Nirvana exhibit at Experience Music Project (my first time) and doing more walking - that has been the biggest blessing of this trip, the several miles of walking I go to do each day. I so wish I had the time for that in New York. Another issue in New York is that unless you are walking on a bridge or some sort of park or path, you're stopping so often for lights it almost makes the walk not worth it.

I hung out in Ballard yesterday for CupcakeCamp Seattle - see Cupcakes Take the Cake for photos of that, but the views were stunning and water was lovely. I highly recommend The Locks and the botanical garden on a nice day, and there were some cute shops as I walked from there up toward 22nd.

Food highlight of the day was eating appetizers afterward at The Shelter Lounge. Whoa. We ordered everything except the corn off the menu and all of it was delicious and at happy hour prices only $4-5 each. YES. Here's some food porn for you from there:

Above: outside and inside the PB&J jalapeño popppers

(note: we at first got the plain flatbread, and then when we got this with cheese, someone remarked that it looked like the chef just came all over it - don't think all cupcake people are prudish, they're so not!)

ahi tuna is big in Seattle, I have found

Then I got to see Cunning Minx, who does the excellent Polyamory Weekly podcast, which you can follow on Facebook and Twitter too (follow @cunningminx too).

Me: "So what are you in town for?"

Cunning Minx: "I live here."

We had a fabulous catchup session and I will get to see her when I'm back in Seattle in late June!

Bonus food porn:

Yesterday's breakfast at my new favorite place, Sweet Iron Waffles: turkey, havarti and raspberry preserves waffle!

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seattle Day 1 in photos

I'm off for another gargantuan walk, perhaps not 6.5 miles to where CupcakeCamp Seattle is located, but I'm gonna try. Excited! For some reason I have all this energy and am hoping that translates into writing, cause I haven't been doing much of that lately. I walked from downtown to Capitol Hill to Queen Anne yesterday, ate at Sweet Iron Waffles, The 5 Spot, went to see "This" at Seattle Rep, checked out Cakespy Shop, Cupcake Royale, Elliott Bay Book Company (what a huge and awesome indie bookstore - the Kurt Cobain card below is from there) and saw my friend Sara Schaefer do comedy. Quite a day.

Apple art at JFK

Lemon curd blackberry waffle from Sweet Iron Waffles

random nature

Space Needle from below

cute dog while waiting at The 5 Spot for brunch

Fireplace at my hotel

Hilarity when I searched for "The Canal" in Ballard, where I have to go today for CupcakeCamp. I found the right place.

Font Whore card and more at Cakespy Shop in Capitol Hill (Font Whore card is by JustJENN Designs) - Cakespy owner Jessie Oleson is a brilliant artist and will make any custom Cuppie art you want, she has Cuppie drinking Diet Coke, Cuppie at the L Train, Cuppie with Andy Warhol quotes, you name it. Visit her onlien shop to find out more.

Kurt Cobain card

Books I bought and hope to be inspired by at Elliott Bay Book Company, where I read last year and hope to read again - they have amazing cards, obviously, and all kinds of books, and a good sex section and just the sheer size means you can easily get lost in there and are guaranteed to find something you want to read. At the counter I was asked if I want a customer card, one of those rewards type things, and at first I said no because I don't live in Seattle, but then I said yes because I'll surely be back there, and to Capitol Hill in general, every trip - I still want to eat at Oddfellows and In The Bowl. Contrary to my cab driver's opinion last night, I love the food in Seattle! And I found out about Sweet Iron Waffles and In The Bowl via Yelp, so I do love them and their iPhone app, despite the humor above.

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Free champagne and cupcakes July 2nd at Sh! in London - please RSVP

If you plan to join me for a very sexy reading from my books Smooth, Orgasmic, Best Bondage Erotica 2011 and Gotta Have It at Sh! in London July 2nd, please RSVP to shop at so they know how much bubbly to carry, and if you'd do me a giant favor and let your London friends know (you can do so via this handy Facebook invitation) I'd greatly appreciate it. I'm taking a bit of a gamble with this pricey trip but I think it's going to be fabulous and am very excited to meet these booksellers who are excited to host me and all these authors whose work appears in my anthologies. More info about them and their stories TK. I'll be joined by Janine Ashbless, Jacqueline Applebee, Justine Elyot, KD Grace, Kay Jaybee and Carmel Lockyer, all very accomplished authors in their own right, do look for their books. I just ordered some and have a few more to catch up with before my trip. And if you have any London press contacts please let me know at rachelkb at with "London" in the subject because we are happy to send books, press release, etc. There will also be a July 4th event, location TBA, and I will be available for interviews July 1-5.

Official reading details:

Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium
57 Hoxton Square
London N1 6PB

Join New York-based author and erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for her first UK reading. She will be joined by authors, reading steamy selections from books such as Orgasmic, Smooth, Best Bondage Erotica 2011 and Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex.

Free cupcakes and bubbly while supplies last!

Books will be available for sale and signing.

True to our female focused ethos, we ask that male guests are accompanied by a woman.

Spaces are limited, so make sure to book your space early as this FREE event will fill up quickly! Email us at shop at and we'll add your name to the guest list!

You can listen to some of them (you'll know) in the Gotta Have It book trailer below!

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Random Acts of Cupcakes at Cupake Royale

Click here to read more about my evening at Cupcake Royale - a proper first day in Seattle post coming soon!

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