Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Obsessed postcard beauty=happy editor!

My Obsessed: Erotic Romance for Women (click to read my introduction) postcards I ordered from the fabulous My Postcard Printing arrived just before I left so the British authors and Saturday's Sh! attendees are getting first crack at them. Gorgeous, right? I love postcards, which my postcard-strewn apartment can attest to. You can get one free by either emailing obsessedantho at with "Postcard" in the subject line (US only) and your mailing address in the body or coming to our kickass, cupcake-filled party August 25th at Fontana's! Kindle edition should be for sale August 1st or thereabouts, I'll let you know.

In two weeks this book will be in my hands, and about 4 weeks it'll be in stores. You'll get one straight from my shipment if you requested (or request by July 5th) to be an Amazon reviewer (MUST have Amazon account, MUST review it by August 31) - email obsessedantho at with"Amazon" in subject line and your mailing address.

Pre-order Obsessed from:


Kindle edition (available August 1st)

Barnes & Noble



Cleis Press

Below is an excerpt from UK author Justine Elyot's story "Mephisto Waltz" - buy the book to read the whole thing! Sexy piano playing...we've got it.

Take the fear,” he says. “And leave. Or else, turn it into something else. Turn it into—”

With a gasp of pure frustration, his lips are on mine, his million-dollar fingers in my hair, messing it up. I had been so careful with the clips and combs and spray earlier, but it doesn’t matter anymore.

My third kiss, and it is nothing like the others. No alcohol on the breath, no drooling, no limp lips. This is how it is meant to be. I have been wrong all these years to be disappointed in kissing—it is the kissers who have let me down. Leonid has lips that sing, just like his fingers, and into me he pours all that fire and fury that echoes around the concert halls of the world. Not even a token spark of resistance can be mustered on my side; instead I yield, totally and instantaneously, melting into him, wanting to be him, and have him, and hold him in a permanent kiss.

Oh, that’s his tongue! I have never gone so far before, and rather than finding it disgusting, I just want more, deeper, farther, harder. It feels like walls crumbling, like old orders dying, it feels like music. And now I can see how the music can be mine. Now I see it.

In my euphoria, I am not sure whether to break the kiss or continue it, but he leaves me no choice, his hand tight at the back of my head, locking me into the embrace. Once my lips are stinging and my face is damp and the tears have come, he lets me out, but his face is still so close, nose to nose, his eyes looking behind mine, into my soul.

“You have it,” he says. “You have so much of it.”

“But it’s for you,” I whisper to him in despair. “You, not the piano.”

See you at Sh! in London Saturday night

Maybe when I'm in London or my stopover in Iceland I'll have a chance to post links to the things I want to see, like the Kirsty MacColl bench in Soho Square, Jamie Reid exhibit at Isis Gallery, London Street Photography Festival, Tracey Emin exhibit, but if not, I'll be off enjoying London and a much-needed vacation. I am excited to see very old friends and explore and write and read and thankful that my iPhone will work so I can communicate a bit better than last visit, which seems like forever ago. I'm still a mess, but I'm hopefully not going to have a broken suitcase, expired passport, or be banging a grandfather. Why, I even have the copy of Gotta Have It, though managed to forget the copies of the novels by authors like KD Grace and Justine Elyot I ordered. May buy some others while I'm there.

Sh! says they are almost at capacity, so get your RSVPs in!

July 2, 6:30-9:30 pm

Join New York-based author and erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for her first UK reading. She will be joined by authors Janine Ashbless, Jacqueline Applebee, Justine Elyot, KD Grace, Kay Jaybee and Carmel Lockyer, 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!

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

Please pass this on: Facebook invite

Labels: , , , ,

Want to read: Madonna and Me

The 2012 anthology Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop is a book I definitely want to read, and especially upon seeing the kickass list of contributors is one I wish I'd gotten my act together to write an essay for (my second failure to write about Madonna...hmmm). Someday my dream anthology is to edit something like this; not about Madonna or music per se, but a topical anthology with my dream list of authors, which takes, well, I don't know what it takes, but I intend to figure it out before I die, maybe even before I turn 40! It'll up other stuff in the meantime. I also think that first-time anthologist Laura Barcella is someone you should emulate if you're editing an anthology. She's got a website, a a Twitter account, Facebook page for her book many months prior to publication. I will be studying it to learn how to better promote my books! And plotting how I can someday realize my dream.

From the book's about page:

Madonna and Me will be published by Soft Skull Press in March 2012.

Madonna and Me, 40 female authors including Cintra Wilson, Gloria Feldt, Caroline Leavitt, Bee Lavender, Wendy Shanker, and Susan Shapiro write about how Madonna changed their lives.

Why? Because, for children of the '80s and ‘90s, Madonna's been nothing less than a constant companion. Maturing in the media spotlight for nearly 30 (!) years, Madonna has truly grown up with us (not to mention that she’s sold more than 200 million records worldwide). Brazen, beautiful, and balls-to-the-wall, Madonna is so much more than just the sultry architect of a few hit songs. For the MTV generation and beyond, Madonna is a living example of having it all. She's been so much more than a media darling or a “boy-toy” tartlet, even in her later incarnations as savvy businesswoman and kooky Kabbalah matriarch. Madonna has inspired us and challenged us, pushing us to be bolder, edgier versions of ourselves.

Of course, not all women love Madonna, so not every writer in Madonna and Me worships at her altar. The essays are honest, funny, engaging, and real, and they’re about more than just Her Madgesty. They delve into the hearts, souls, and memories of contemporary writers both established and up-and-coming. In
Madonna and Me, they offer a broad array of perspectives on aging, sex, childhood, and more.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sex After 50: The Naked Truth, new column

My latest column, "Sex After 50: The Naked Truth" quotes Naked at Our Age author Joan Price, who's about to go on a book tour, Sugar in My Bowl editor Erica Jong and more on senior sex. If you like the column, there are buttons at the top of it to spread the word - as always, that's much appreciated!

Joan Price is 67 and wants you to know that sex doesn’t stop at 50—or 60, 70 or 80 and 90!

The author of
Better Than I Ever Expected is back with a new book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex (Seal Press), inspired by the many readers who wrote to her asking about how to deal with issues ranging from vulvar pain to breakups, illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, as well as “dating while older,” erectile dysfunction, divorce, grief, even hiring people for sex or erotc touch. The tone of the book is supportive but realistic; Price isn’t telling seniors to expect to have the exact same kinds or frequency of sex, but instead that if you’re adaptable, sex can continue (with yourself and others) for one’s entire lifetime.

Throughout the book, Price and a series of experts such as Charlie Glickman, Lou Paget, Carol Queen, and Candida Royalle offer tips related to specific queries in concise, practical responses. Price is a big sex toy advocate as well. “When I review a sex toy on my blog, I concentrate on what it does well (or is supposed to do well!), and how well it works from a senior perspective. e.g. It shouldn’t hurt arthritic wrists; it should last as long as we need without overheating or turning itself off, and more.”

Read the whole column

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Want to read: Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

Fins are Forever has been at the top of my 2011 want to read list and has been; I pre-ordered my copy and am eager to dig in to this sequel to Forgive My Fins. I got hooked on Tera Lynn Childs' work with her YA novels Oh.My.Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp and have enjoyed every one since. Plus she sends cool swag (I have these bookmarks and temporary tattoos on me, so just ask for one if you see me at an event):

Official description below. Click here to read an excerpt and see author Tera Lynn Child's collages she made for inspiration (and a most excellent example of an author website done perfectly, with everything neatly organized, easy to navigate, fun extras and more)!

On Lily Sanderson’s eighteenth birthday she’ll become just a girl—still a mergirl, true, but signing the renunciation will ink Princess Waterlily of Thalassinia out of existence. That leaves plain old Lily living on land, dating the boy she loves, and trying to master this being-human thing once and for all.

Now that Lily and Quince are together, mer bond or not, she’s almost content to give up her place in the royal succession of Thalassinia. But just when she thinks she has everything figured out, the waves start to get rough. Lily’s father sends a certain whirlpool-stirring cousin to stay with her on land. What did Doe do to get herself exiled from Thalassinia and stuck in terraped form, when everyone knows how much she hates humans? And why why why is she batting her eyelashes at Lily’s former crush, Brody?

The seafoam on the raging surf comes when a merboy from Lily’s past shows up—Tellin asks Lily for something that clouds her view of the horizon. There’s a future with Quince on land, her loyalty to the kingdom in the sea, and Lily tossing on the waves in the middle. Will she find a way to reconcile her love, her duty, and her own dreams?

And I just found out she's in New York tonight:

* June 28, 2011
* Readers For Life Booksigning
* 5:30-7:30pm
* Marriott Marquis Times Square
* 1535 Broadway
* New York, NY

* July 8, 2011
* Blue Willow Bookshop
* 7:00pm
* 14532 Memorial Drive
* Houston, TX

* July 9, 2011
* Katy Budget Books
* 3:30-5:30pm
* 2450 Fry Road
* Houston, TX

If you're into YA or know someone who is, do check out her work; I have a feeling you'll be hooked too!

And just because it's so gorgeous, here's the cover of Forgive My Fins again and my review. Click here to read an excerpt.

Spoilers. Forgive My Fins features Lily, a half mermaid, half terraped, with the soul of a teenage girl who's desperately in love with Brody. The only problem is, she gets kissed by Quince, the annoying boy who's always spying on her. This wouldn't be such a big deal except that in her world, that means they are bonded for life unless her father, King of Thalassania, gives them a special separation agreement. First, Quince has to learn to swim, as well as absorb the news that Lily is actually a mermaid.

This story was beautifully told, and while elements of special powers will be familiar to readers of Childs' previous books, this one is special and, dare I say, even better and more romantic. Lily insists on thinking that her feelings for Quince are only due to the bond that's been placed on them, which allows them to read each other's thoughts. The reader is treated to umpteen examples of Quince's gentlemanly charm, but Lily persists in her delusions, while also trying to acclimate to being back underwater after three years away at a regular high school. The push/pull between Quince and Lily is beautiful and touching, as he, the supposed tough guy, puts his heart on his sleeve again and again and risks so much, including life on land, to prove his passion for Lily.

This is a charming, delightful book, and I will indeed be reading the 2011 release Fins Are Forever. The only off note in my opinion was the very end, which dealt with a side character, Lily's cousin Dosinia, and seemed to come out of nowhere; it gives a preview of what's to come but I was still blissed out on Lily finally figuring out what's in her heart. Watching stubborn Lily reject Quince again and again, coupled with her fish puns and the descriptions of the magical underwater world, where tears make a mermaid's eyes sparkle, was great fun.

Labels: , , ,

Babeland snapshot

I'm back in New York for 2 days before flying off to London Thursday night! Not ready in the least but it's starting to come together, as in, I remembered before I got to the airport that I need a converter for my chargers.

Back to back trips like this is madness, yes, but I'm looking forward to exploring London's art and cupcakes and Pride parade and meeting authors whose work I've been publishing for years in my anthologies, most of whom have written their own novels as well. Here's a snapshot from last night's packed reading from Babeland. I love Gotta Have It because we read, collectively, 9 stories! There's rarely time for that many and usually people get antsy, so these short shorts are wonderful for when you only have a few minutes. Plus it's the most humor I've been able to include in my books and I am impressed with the authors who work humor and hotness together.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sex Diary: "The 'Mostly Straight' Woman Jumping From One Male Lover's Bed to Another"

This week's sex diary is up! (I edit them.) It's: "The ‘Mostly Straight’ Woman Jumping From One Male Lover’s Bed to Another’s."

Official info on how to submit yourself as a diarist (or pass it on to your friends).

Would you like to take part in the glorious tradition that is the New York Magazine sex diaries? Just send an e-mail to with your contact information and why you think you'd make a good diarist. If you've got what it takes, we'll be in touch!

Labels: , , ,

Learn from my mistakes: never book a plane ticket on good faith

A heads up: I will only be doing one event in London, the July 2 reading at Sh!. I want to impart my lesson to you because I never would have booked the trip if I'd known I was only doing one reading. It just makes zero financial sense. I will deal with it but this is not a year for me to be wasting money, so authors, especially those funding their own events: do not ever take anyone's word for anything. I should've known that, and you should too (like, DUH, right?), but sometimes we (or maybe just me) are too trusting/gullible when it comes to business, and pay the price for it. So I would just warn you to always get something in writing when it comes to events. I will take that advice if I do any future events, though I have no plans to save for a joint event I'm working on for Las Vegas in September. I am going to focus on what I want to be doing: writing and editing. I have done enough readings to last my lifetime, I think and will leave entertaining to the professionals who love being on stage. I don't, except as a host.

My week is too insane and there is literally nothing I can do about it for me to be too upset, but I do feel a little foolish and naive. The only thing I can proactively do is let you know not to make my mistakes. I am most upset with myself, because I'm the one who bought the ticket and agreed to go without truly investigating everything and that is very poor decision making on my end, for someone in my financial situation. Not something to be proud of at 35. Live and learn. As I said, this is the last year I plan to do any readings outside New York City. I want to travel not like a crazy person who is always working and hustling and begging people to come to events and spending money like a rich girl, but someone who can fully appreciate her time in other locations. New me, indeed! Overhaul is in place right this very second. I'll chalk this error up to the old me.

That being said: London! I am excited to have time to explore and see friends and enjoy myself. It'll leave me more time for fun and hopefully will draw more people to Sh!, who have been professional, prompt, enthusiastic, supportive and wonderful. My first London reading is going to be a success, I predict.

July 2, 6:30-9:30 pm

Join New York-based author and erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for her first UK reading. She will be joined by authors Janine Ashbless, Jacqueline Applebee, Justine Elyot, KD Grace, Kay Jaybee and Carmel Lockyer, 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!

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

Please pass this on: Facebook invite

Labels: , , , , ,

Seattle cupcaking and tonight's the big night of Gotta Have It hotness

Conveyor belt cupcakes
at Blue C Sushi! I couldn't believe it.

The divine s'mores cupcake
from Trophy Cupcakes, who put my face on cupcakes last year!

And here's the Cupcake Royale lineup at tonight's Gotta Have It fun, free reading (do tell anyone you know in Seattle, I promise hotness):

Rachel Kramer Bussel, Shanna Germain and Naked Girls Reading at Babeland! (no need to RSVP but that links through to Facebook where you can easily pass this info on)

June 27, 6-8 pm
707 E. Pike Street
Seattle, WA (Capitol Hill)

Join Gotta Have It editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, contributor Shanna Germain ("Genesis") and burlesque performers Jesse Belle-Jones, Polly Wood and Heidi Von Haught from Naked Girls Reading for a fun, fabulous event at Babeland Seattle for short, sexy readings from Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, plus free cupcakes! Free EdenFantasys tote bags will be given away.

Cupcakes will be 5 dozen mini cupcakes by Cupcake Royale, also in Capitol Hill. Flavors:

Baby raspberry rhubarb (rhubarb cake w/raspberry cream cheese frosting)
Baby gay (vanilla funfetti cake w/vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles)
Baby peppermint on chocolate
Baby salted caramel
Baby triple threat

Labels: , ,

Want to read: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

I found this book while looking up Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge, which I'll be blogging about soon. I bought that yesterday at Comics Dungeon in Seattle (Wallingford). I'd met the author and was interested in the book and am super impressed with it; it's definitely going to be a gift for my cousin who is getting bat mitzvahed this summer. I'm the type who can be sucked in by a book cover, and this one did it for me:

Official description:

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part . . .

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks.

Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere,
Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Book trailer:

So anyway, I know very little about it but Anya's Ghost looks great (thank you, Amazon, for your customer recommendation pages). Click here to check out a 17-page preview. Here's a little bit from author Vera Brosgol's blog, but do check out that blog post for a more in-depth look at her artistic process:

Anya’s Ghost is my first book. Consequently everything I did was a bit trial and error. Maybe wasn’t the most efficient way to get the job done, but it worked for me.

I didn’t work from a script. When I write the art and the dialogue come at the same time and one suggests the other; it’s really hard for me just to come up with dialogue onto a blank computer page. I try to show more than tell with my comics and that seems to work best starting with thumbnails rather than attempting to get it across in a script. I did work up an outline for the entire story and plotted it out very carefully, but I let each scene form itself in thumbnails with the dialogue being written as I drew. I’ll run you through a process of some sample pages from writing to drawing to final color.

Check her out @verabee on Twitter and in person:

San Diego Comic Con
July 22nd-24th

Portland Wordstock Festival
October 6-9

New York Comic-Con
October 13-16

Labels: , , , , , ,

Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World at ACT

I'd said I was going to leave this to the critics as my inner "wtf am I talking about?" fear usually overtakes me when talking about topics I don't know much about, so I will preface this post by saying it's not so much a review as an impression of a show I stumbled upon looking for some Seattle culture (not even knowing the theater was 2 blocks from my hotel) and walked away from with lots to think about.

If I lived in Seattle I'd totally get an ACT Pass from ACT Theatre; for $25/month you get to see as much of their theater as you can. I highly, highly recommend Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World, for which I had a front-row seat. Though it was largely about Musa's experience as an immigrant from Egypt, it was also about love, passion, culture, sexuality and expectations and there were so many lines that resonated with me, some of the funnier ones, like Sheri shaking her stomach fat at us and telling Musa that it was like a "rubber tire" (and there were lots of very funny moments) but more lines like "Here's to temptation and the strength to resist it" and "I really am more of a lady than I appear." I started off thinking I was so much like Sheri with her sexy underwear and talkativeness and boldness and provocativeness but wound up identifying with Musa a lot, Musa who admits to being imperfect, to being unable to live up to his family's and others' expectations, who feels them as burdens he can't reveal to anyone (including himself, for the most part), yet who wants so much from the world and the people in it.

I wrote most of this post save for this section last night and then went to sleep and had a really twisted dream and woke up and thought about how Musa would've liked the Clem Snide song, "I Love the Unknown," not just because it's American, but because that is, to me, what he was saying. He says to one of the characters who I don't even want to mention for fear of giving away too much of the plot, "I want confusing." And that was where it turned for me from an immigrant story to a very universal one. Or at least, if not universal, then where I saw myself in Musa. In the song, Eef Barzelay says of his character that he'll get off at "the place with the most allure" and I think that is why Musa, for all his faults, won me over. There's a point where he says he wants to travel and Sheri tells him he's come all the way from Cairo. "Isn't that traveling?" she asks and he says no, not really, because so much--too much--remained the same. I don't think he was a vagabond so much as a searcher and seeker who was looking for that elusive piece of the puzzle that is life (which I realize is not just one piece). It is about him finding it in the United States and while it was emphasized in the program that this is a very American play, which, in many ways, it is, I don't see it as just an ode to the "melting pot"--thankfully.

I am always interested in the moment, or moments, or overall effect, when a piece of art transcends its specificity. I was in downtown Seattle, watching a play about New York City, and it all sortof fit together and that scene, though Musa's venom is a little bit misdirected, was very real to me, about the tension between the expected and the unexpected, between obligation and passion. There is obviously a lot more going on in Pilgrims but that crystallized a lot of things for me as I saw there trying to be as unobtrusive as possible with my pen and paper in my lap.

I think the play also shows us that infidelity, and our very concepts of fidelity--to lovers, to family, to culture, to ourselves, even--are complicated and complex and I think that aspect of the show was done very well. We are living in a time, certainly, where infidelity is seen as a grave crime that others have the right to judge, and I'm not saying the play didn't judge its characters--Musa, certainly, was his own biggest critic--but without trying to justify his actions, he humanized them. The play was set in New York, which made me feel a little touch of home as well.

There was a lot going on. Yes, it's a romantic comedy, and it's plenty comedic; coffee is thrown and Sheri in particular, about the perils of dating in New York, is quite funny, but there are other moments that, without a word, say so so much, like Gemila shaking out her hair.

The program has some interesting pieces in it as well exploring the concept of "pilgrims," "pilgrimage," immigration, culture and belonging. So please do check it out; there were a few parts and minor characters that I didn't think really fit, but they were dwarfed by what I thought worked. Coming this summer to ACT: Sarah Ruhl's look at hysteria, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, which is a humorous take on a disturbing period of history when women's sexuality was treated as, well, a medical problem, by doctors who had very little knowledge of it.

What other people are saying:

While one critic panned it as "really your standard rom com" (I don't agree, but maybe that is why I liked it, as I am a rom com fan), here's this review from

For all those rather large concerns, the great success in this play is that these characters are so accurately and authentically drawn, so sympathetic without necessarily being admirable. Musa is a recent Egyptian immigrant, driving a cab in New York and trying to build a domestic life in his “empire” (an upstairs apartment of simple, slightly tawdry decor and unflattering lighting). When he invites Sheri to come home with him late one night, it is to simply get to know her better. Or so he would have himself believe.

Musa, played with earnest, charming modesty and sincerity by Shanga Parker, is “a bad Muslim” by his own admission, and his offer of Scotch to Sheri is an indication of his own weakness, and an invitation to hers. Sheri is not really crude or vulgar so much as simply common, the sort of free-wheeling waitress you might encounter anywhere at any time. Slightly older than Musa, she wants him to know that she is not the kind of woman who is likely to be in the situation she is currently in, or acting the way she is currently acting, or certainly not likely to end up in bed with a man she barely knows, as she will on this night.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Snapshots from Seattle

I am still recovering from both walking 13 miles in the Rock N Roll Marathon and also traversing Seattle and slowly getting back to writing/internet mode after two days of Seattle exploration. The walk was so fun and inspiring and challenging that I want to do it again, either next year in Seattle and/or another city.

Yesterday I got to see some amazing burlesque at Stripped Screw: Disney After Dark (see some of the official photos by Chris Blakeley on Facebook). Today the weather was blissful, so much so that if it were always like that, I'd consider moving here. I spent about an hour lying on the grass and maybe it wasn't life changing, but it was certainly one of my happiest hours of 2011. See self-portrait below.

I'm having fun exploring parts of Seattle I've seen before an parts I haven't. And learning about things like cupcakes at conveyor belt sushi restaurants! See more photos in this Flickr set. I especially recommend stationery store/art gallery/cool place Paper-Hammer; letterpress fans will especially like it. From Seattle Magazine:

Open since last December, Paper Hammer functions as his urban laboratory for Tieton-made paper products, which are lovingly arranged in a stark, white, gallery-like setting. “The merchandise is very experimental, evolving with the fun and weird designs coming from our studio,” Marquand says. Affordable treasures include gorgeous letterpress coasters ($2.50), hand-bound journals and Marquand’s own invention, cheeky “You As Fine Wine” sweetheart cards (describing people using common wine terms, like “robust” and “full-bodied,” $3.95). The “hammer” title refers to the shop’s selection of handcrafted furniture by local designer Kerry Quint, Marquand’s inventive side tables created out of a stack of recycled books ($250) and, soon, a line of welded steel tables.

Window of Paper Hammer:

I stayed at the Grand Hyatt downtown (found via Priceline) and was SO impressed; my bathtub was luxurious and wonderful, they were extremely courteous and there were apples in the lobby and a Starbucks with great staffers in the hotel, and my poor tired legs and feet were so happy to be tucked into that giant, comfy bed. And I dug this chair, even though I didn't even sit in it:

Grand Hyatt lobby

Bands did indeed play along the way, many of them ones I'd have liked to listen to, but were had to walk very fast, with the occasional jog and sprint, to keep our time (mine was 3:44:50).

my favorite sign was one that said "Go Random Stranger, Go!" but I didn't get a photo of it

post-marathon victory brie and basil waffle from Sweet Iron Waffles

spinach, egg and cheese roll from Piroshky Piroshky

Pike Place=food porn! I ate one of the best pears I've ever eaten. Tried not to gorge myself on fruit.

leather pride flag

There is art everywhere here:

hanging on the wall at a Starbucks

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, June 24, 2011

My gay erotica stories in Hot Jocks and Brief Encounters

2 new Cleis Press gay erotica anthologies have stories by me in them! "Muscle Memory," a weightlifting and BDSM story (with chess references, see below!) is in Hot Jocks: Gay Erotic Stories and "The Most Unexpected Places" is in Brief Encounters: 69 Hot Gay Shorts. I haven't seen either book yet (very overdue for a visit to my po box but might have to wait til after London). Only found out that my story was in it from this post. I love short shorts and this one I remember actually working on at the much-missed now-closed Village Tart. (Pichet Ong, please feed me!) Because in a week or month, let alone a year, so many words pass through my head, I sometimes forget what I've written. How I managed to work Glenlivet, which I barely know what it is, into "Muscle Memory," I have no clue. I'm always extra honored to have my gay male erotica published because I'm not a gay man. It feels like it's more of an accomplishment. Which should spur me on to write a story inspired by a little game my ex and I used to play, turned totally on its head, that I've only been working on for, oh, about four months. Time to whip my lazy fingers into shape. (That is just how I talk to myself. I've eked out a few things, but all the stuff I haven't done is what I remember, and what I will hopefully use to get me back on track with my writing. I'm fully aware that nobody else cares which anthologies I submit to or don't, but again, I maintain that for me, writing is always a selfish act, and I want to keep trying as hard as I can. When I don't, I feel like a loser.)

From "Muscle Memory"

With each bench press, Todd felt himself grow not just more powerful but more virile—which helped him fight back the tears that still threatened to tumble out, even as he hoisted the heavy weight over his head, when he let his mind wander back to Steve. Three months after their breakup, the memory of their relationship was still fresh—not to mention raw. Steve had accused him of being too young, immature and weak, hurling accusations and Todd’s clothes at him across the room he’d practically moved into. I’ll show him weak, he thought, as he grunted, pressing one-hundred-twenty pounds above his head, his teeth gritted, shoulders and arms straining. He sucked in a breath, then let it out as he lowered the weight and began again, until his set of twenty reps was done.

He lowered the bar and sat up, reaching for a towel to wipe the sweat from his brow. Todd wasn’t a natural bodybuilding type; the biggest muscle he liked to exercise was his brain, going over chess combinations endlessly, studying the great masters like Bobby Fischer, Alexander Alekhine and Mikhail Botvinnik. He’d read once that the serious players like Garry Kasparov could burn major calories when they played in a simul, moving around a circle to do battle in the ancient game with dozens of players at once; at first that idea appealed to Todd much more than weightlifting, but the latter had grown on him as he’d realized that it was as much about brainpower as biceps.

Chess was familiar, comforting, a welcome challenge. He loved getting so lost in studying an old game that he knew it by heart, investigating it over and over again like a detective would a particularly thorny clue in a crime. That was his favorite kind of muscle memory, where he knew the moves by heart so well that he could focus on fantasizing about new strategies to breathe life into what, on paper, was just a bunch of numbers and letters spelling out the moves. He could hold almost thirty moves in his head a once—a skill that had earned him the coveted grandmaster status—as he sat for hours at a time, silent, trying to outwit his opponent.

Steve had been drawn to him, as he’d always said, for the furrow in his brow, the way he could practically see Todd’s brain calculating, but that same trait had been what had ultimately driven Steve away. “You live in your head too much; you forget about the rest of us in the real world trying to enjoy our bodies too.” The words still stung, especially because Steve had never complained in the bedroom, where Todd had always submitted to whatever scenes Steve cooked up, kneeling at his feet or crawling around on a leash, sucking him off at a moment’s notice, taking a beating from his belt without a whimper. Remembering that last conversation made Todd want to punch someone. Instead, he took a sip from the water fountain, put down the weights and moved to another part of the gym to do the next best thing—strapping on gloves and beating the hell out of a punching bag.

From "The Most Unexpected Places"

It’s bad enough to run into an ex while on a tropical cruise, even worse to run into your ex’s ex, but that’s exactly what happened to me. Given the options of going to Minneapoils for Christmas and facing my family for the first time in four years solo, or having fun in the sun with as many gay boys as I could handle, I chose the obvious.

I figured all those strangers would help get my mind off Parker. But one of the first people I ran into was Carlos, Parker’s ex. I’d heard all about Carlos, had even met him once, but it’d been a long time until I could even hear his name without wincing. He’d come before me, and I knew he’d always resented the fact that I’d “stolen” Parker away, even though they’d been split up for three months.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Call for Submissions: Erotic spanking anthology

I just signed contracts with Cleis Press for my 49th and 50th anthologies! 2012 is going to be a big year. So here is the first one, with a September 1st deadline. The next call will be coming shortly, and remember, July 1 is the hard deadline for my hotel erotica anthology.

Call for Submissions
Erotic spanking anthology (title TK)

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press
Deadline: September 1, 2011 (earlier submissions preferred)

Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is looking for erotica stories on her favorite topic: spanking! I want creative, original spanking stories in a variety of settings using all sorts of implements. Because of the highly specific nature of a themed anthology such as this, characterization, plotline and motivation are all extremely important. Spanking as part of roleplay, discipline, adventure, foreplay, etc. are fair game. Stories that incorporate other types of sex or kinky acts (oral sex, anal sex, role-playing, bondage, etc.) are welcome. The final book will have a mix of POVs of tops and bottoms, and a variety of motivations, scenarios, implements and storytelling styles. All genders and sexual orientations are welcome.

Unusual settings/scenarios, a variety of spanking implements, use of sex toys, group scenarios, and public spanking scenes are all encouraged. Most of all, I want stories that truly eroticize spanking in every way possible. All characters should be over 18; no incest, scat or bestiality. No poetry will be considered for this book. Original stories only; no reprints.

See my anthologies Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica and Bottoms Up: Spanking Good Stories (more information and story samples are available at and 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. Since submissions will be considered on a rolling basis, earlier submissions are 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 eroticspankingantho 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 February 1, 2012.

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.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Memorial for Cheryl B (is for Beautiful)

One thing that has helped me this week is having so many conversations about Cheryl with friends, with strangers I met at the funeral home, with people I only see once in a while, like Blaise Allysen Kearsley, who told me that How I Learned The Hard Way, which Cheryl read at, was one of her favorite of her series How I Learned (which was awesome and is one you should totally attend) and Goddess Perlman, with whom I discussed over the top Catholic flower arrangements (something I'd been previously unaware of). So many people loved, cared about, and were moved by Cheryl. I met super funny lady Andrea Alton. I'm looking forward to seeing her friend Tim Wells while I'm in London; I know she would've liked that. I believe the people you surround yourself with are just as much a statement about who you are as anything you yourself do, and Cheryl knew a lot of amazing, beautiful, talented people. My instinct in some ways is to be alone, but I've realized this week that obviously nobody can bring her back or stop the awfulness that was her illness, but we can celebrate her life and her spirit and her talent and creativity and generosity.

I reread Cheryl's poem "Lizzie" in a book I was so grateful happened to be next to my bed (along with, okay, probably 30 others), The World in Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave, before I went to Staten Island and I heard her voice in my head, in that accent, with all that it held. I remembered that her story "Break" appears in my anthology Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 2. I am hoping I will have the opportunity to publish another of her short stories in an upcoming erotica book. I hope that more video of her reading surfaces because of course the words live on on the page, but with Cheryl, that were most vibrant when summoned by her, in her voice.

So here are the memorial details; read more at WTF Cancer Diaries and Facebook, and please spread the word. I hope to see Dixon Place, where I was in the audience with Kelli and Cheryl and a bunch of other queers, on their first date, packed extra full.

If you’d like to remember Cheryl with a donation, we are in the process of negotiating with an LGBT arts organization to provide a writers’ scholarship in Cheryl’s name. The details of this should be settled in the next few weeks, so please keep checking back. If you’d like to financially help out Cheryl’s partner Kelli, who lived at the hospital and rehab 24/7 from April 5 until the time of Cheryl’s death, you can do so here.

A Memorial for Cheryl B (is for Beautiful)

July 23, 3-6 pm

Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street
New York, New York

Labels: , , ,

This book is a good party conversation starter

My open letter/book review is coming soon to this blog. And yes, I know I need a manicure!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bob Smith's gay time travel novel Remembrance of Things I Forgot

Bob Smith has read at In The Flesh and is wonderful and hilarious. I highly recommend his novel Selfish and Perverse and the few pages I've read of his new one, Remembrance of Things I Forgot, are wonderful. Here's the first sentence:

It's safe to say your relationship is finished if the only way you can imagine solving your problems is by borrowing a time machine.

I also liked this sentence:

Powrerful forearms always get me; there's something irresistible attractive about a man who looks as if he could break my heart with his bare hands.

I will warn you that if you're a Republican, especially a Log Cabin might not love your portrayal in this book. And hopefully that is actually an endorsement for most people reading this blog!

And you can hear Bob read tomorrow night free at Drunken! Careening! Writers! For so long I couldn't attend because my night and DCW were the same, but now I can attend. And I'm reading in November!

Drunken! Careening! Writers!

Isa Coffey

Joel Derfner

Jenifer Levin

Bob Smith

"Glitter and Be Gay"

Thursday, June 23, 7pm


85 E. 4th St., NYC


Labels: , , , , , ,

Best Bondage Erotica 2012 table of contents

I posted my excerpt from Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and am now happy to share with you the full lineup. More purchasing links TK closer to the pub date. I'm extremely honored that this book will have a foreword by Midori and will share my introduction once it's through copyediting. I'm also very honored to be publishing a few of these authors for the first time in one of my anthologies! Irresistible is shaping up heavy on the new authors too. Always a thrill for me.

Which reminds me: if you're submitting to my books, just submit the story. Don't tell me your life story or have your friends write to me to tell me you sent a story. If you get my acknowledgment, it means I will consider your story, on its merits, the same way I consider every story that is sent to me. Should be obvious but it needed to be said.

Professionalism gets points with me, as in, read my guidelines and follow them. Especially when I'm down to the wire, as I was recently, the more time it takes me to reformat and play around with things that have nothing to do with the words, the more frustrated I get. And remember that I and most likely every editor always receives more stories than they could use even if they were madly in love with all of them, so a rejected story is a chance to submit it elsewhere.

My July 1st deadline for the hotel erotica anthology will not be extended, so if you're going to submit, get your story in by then. I'll be tackling that anthology as soon as I'm back from London. Looking forward!

I don't know why it wound up so female dom heavy but I like that it's a little different from last year's in that sense and there are some other twists and turns and plotlines that wowed me in every sense of the word, which, considering that this is my 41st anthology (I'm weird and keep count), that says a lot. The knife-throwing story I dictated to myself never quite materialized but I do hope to write it at some point, inspired by a friend who was a knife-thrower's target. Congratulations to all the authors. Please support this series so I can keep on editing it!

Best Bondage Erotica 2012 table of contents

Use This Book for Your Kink Life Midori
Tying Men Up: Dominant Women Storm The Pages Rachel Kramer Bussel

Melting Ice Shoshanna Evers
A Night at the Opera Elizabeth Coldwell
Darlene’s Dilemma Andrea Dale
Snow White A.R. Shannon
Trophy Boyfriend Lucy Felthouse
The Spider and the Fly Salome Wilde
Tied Down Elise Hepner
The Cupboard Under the Stairs Kay Jaybee
Suffer for Me Teresa Noelle Roberts
Dry Rub Giselle Renarde
Worth Redemption Craig J. Sorensen
Laced Elizabeth Silver
Pawns Elska Tas
Cumaná Helen Sedgwick
Good British Steel Lana Fox
Parting Ways Tenille Brown
Knot Alone Kathleen Tudor
Insurrection Valerie Alexander
The Tipping Point Lolita Lopez
As Long As You Don’t Wake Me Neil Gavriel
The Weight Rachel Kramer Bussel

Labels: , , , , , ,

Free comedy show in NYC Saturday night

If I were going to be in town I'd totally be at this FREE comedy show! It's a joint creation by Moonwork and Drink at Work.

Saturday, June 25th
8pm (that’s 8pm, with an 8)
Luca Lounge, 222 Ave B (just below 14th St.)
No Cover, Cash Bar

Christian Finnegan
Shayna Ferm
Mike Errico
Craig Baldo

And featuring Drink at Work's
Carol Hartsell and Sean Crespo

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Seattle, Seattle, Seattle! Get your FREE cupcakes and sexy erotica Monday night

This is the kind of question I am fielding from my readers from Naked Girls Reading:

By the way, do you know if it would be possible for us to wear sheer lacythings with nothing underneath? So it would still show our nudie bits but technically be clothing? Just trying to figure out how to make it the most like Naked Girls Reading as possible.

What will they wear? I don't know, and I wouldn't tell even if I did. You have to show up Monday night to find out! Extra special karma points to those who spread the word about this fun, free event. I do plan to visit Seattle again for fun but I probably won't do more readings so please do check it out! I will be offering up teasers of the stories we plan to read. I'm open to suggestions, so if you liked Gotta Have It and have a request, I'll read any of the 68 stories (Shanna will presumably read her own, "Genesis")! Free tote bags will also be given out courtesy of EdenFantasys.

Baby raspberry rhubarb (rhubarb cake w/raspberry cream cheese frosting)
Baby gay (vanilla funfetti cake w/vanilla buttercream and rainbow sprinkles)
Baby peppermint on chocolate
Baby salted caramel
Baby triple threat

Get your free cupcakes and hot smut:

June 27, 6-8 pm, FREE
Babeland, 707 E. Pike Street, Seattle, 206-328-2914 (get directions here)
Gotta Have It reading

Join Gotta Have It editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, contributor Shanna Germain ("Genesis") and burlesque performers Jesse Belle-Jones, Polly Wood and Heidi Von Haught from Naked Girls Reading for a fun, fabulous event at Babeland Seattle for short, sexy readings from Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, plus free cupcakes! Free copies of SexIs Magazine will be given away.

Salted caramel is the one on the top; see more of my photos from Cupcake Royale Capitol Hill on Flickr.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

"The Weight" to be published in Best Bondage Erotica 2012

Lately I am trying to be lighter, physically and mentally. I'm working on getting to my goal weight and fitting (better) into this slinky tight tan dress I bought that's basically the same dress I have in gray but is tighter for whatever reason. Mentally, well, it's tough. Yesterday was a day of such highs and lows. I waved like a fool on the Staten Island Ferry looking for my friend, watched two little kids instantly bond over drawing, laughed over nothing with friends old and new, and went to my friend Cheryl's wake. I was long as I didn't walk by the big box with my friend's body inside it. I could admire the gigantic, bigger-than-I've-ever-seen flower displays. I even took a prayer card even though my thoughts on prayer are a bit muddled.

I'm working on purging both belongings and negative, unhelpful thoughts, along with the extra pounds, and talking to my friends and seeing how they each deal with their grief was telling. I don't think there's a right way or wrong way, and I teeter between being so outraged for Cheryl, that her life was cut short, and recognizing that my outage isn't going to bring her back. I can't feel light about her death, in any sense of the word, but I am honored to have known her and heartened to keep on seeing such an outpouring of support and love for her.

I will probably be working on this lightening that my whole life. So the fact that I wrote this story is both interesting and fitting. I'd say curious but to me it represents the way I think of BDSM when it works perfectly, which is like this yin and yang, people who have different urges, but urges that contrast perfectly in their extremity. Or what I think of as extremity; obviously that word means different things to different people. There are definitely things I've done I never thought I'd do and things I have and do think about that I'm not sure I'll ever do, and a lot of that comes out in fiction. "Foot and Mouth" you'll have to wait until next year for, but "The Weight" is going to be in Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and the part that is curious but also complimentary is that desire for weight on someone else, for the force of a body as a weapon.

I, like my protagonist, am much more partial to the human body as a tool than I am anything else when it comes to kinky play, and by "body" I mean both body parts but even more so the mind. In this excerpt you'll see that it's both this character, Damian, the narrator is so attuned to, but also the phrase his knee, the look on his face, his eyes. It's all of those body parts working in concert with both her and all that has come before. For me it's the kind of story I long to write, and am proud of, but couldn't do every day, just like I couldn't do anything like that every day. It's part of, maybe, my recovery process, my getting over someone who is seemingly ubiquitous, inescapable. Or maybe it's something else I'm not even aware of. But I'm looking forward to sharing this story with the world. It will close out my book, which should be in stores by Thanksgiving. I'm working on more food stories, lighter ones, ones that dance around their kinks, rather than dropping them on the reader so, well, heavily. I'm writing a story named after a Cyndi Lauper song now. But I also think that "lighter" is relative. We all have light and darkness inside us and for me lightness is a goal not at the expense of mental or emotional weight, but as a coping mechanism. Anyway, here is an excerpt from "The Weight." More bondage erotica excerpts closer to pub date! Much of the book, and my introduction explores this, features women tying up men, because that was what the majority of the submissions included, so I hope you femdom types will buy it. I think there is a wonderful mix of types of bondage and motivations for it, and I hope I'll get to keep on editing more bondage erotica because it's always an interesting process.

This is fiction, for sure, but the kind of fiction I sometimes think is more truthful than any essay I write could ever be.

From "The Weight" by me:

I don’t gulp in greedy deep breaths of air; that would be too obvious. I take the smallest breaths I can, savoring them, making do with what I can get, while I can. He rises just enough to turn me over, settling down again with his knee planted firmly against my pussy, so firmly it hurts a little. He’s not trying to make me wet, or make me like it. I know that much by now. He’s trying to simply tell me that even his knee owns me, that even his knee can make me do anything he demands.

It’s the look on his face that makes me shudder as surely as if someone zapped me. I can breathe a little now, but I can’t move, not really. He has me pinned, strapped in as surely as the fanciest of handcuffs. The shudder rises from my red-painted toenails on up. I tremble against him where his knee is greeting me, and he shifts so the pressure lands at my wrists, where he’s raised them above my head. At any moment he might shift both wrists into one meaty palm and tickle me, threatening my bladder, threatening my control.

I’m tempted to bite my lip, but I don’t. He’d only force them apart, force my mouth, like the rest of me, open, shove something, probably his fingers, many of them, inside. I’m not sure if I miss his weight yet, because I love how strong he is, how his strength brought to bear full bore demands an equal showing of strength from me. I look up at him, not sure which Damian I will see. Sometimes his hazel eyes are dark and stormy, and he’ll lean down and bite my lip, digging his teeth in, clamping down until I mewl to get away, and then giving me a few extra seconds of pain before rising and spitting into my mouth. Sometimes he’ll raise his hand so suddenly I hardly have time to be aware of what’s about to happen, then strike my cheek so hard my ears ring. Sometimes he shackles my arms above my head, to the cuffs secured to the headboard, and pinches my nose and mouth shut, holding them tighter and tighter until I start to truly thrash, and then he’ll let go of one hand, keeping the other in place. Like I said, I’m not into all the accoutrements of bondage, but I gladly give him my arms, and savor the tightness of a cuff or the sweetly deceptive smoothness of a silk scarf, even though he is my favorite sex toy of all.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My first article for The Grindstone, and want to read: The Gifts of Imperfection

Looks like this never posted. OOPS! Pretend it's last week. Or maybe it did and I'm reposting. I've lost track of almost everything this week, but I am excited to read this book.

I just ordered The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, after seeing this Tweet by Alina Tugend, author of Better by Mistake, who inspired my first article for The Grindstone, which went up today, "How Your Mistakes Can Make You Better at Your Job." If you like it, I'd love it if you "liked" it on Facebook, posted it on your blog, etc. I always like to look good to my editors and...traffic is one way to do so.

I hope you like the piece; I learned a lot from Tugend's book and my interviewees, and am excited to be writing for The Grindstone - next up is couples who work together and when's the right time to go back to school. The site is part of B5 Media, which runs The Gloss and Crushable, both of which I've written for, among others.

Anyway, this book looks like it'll be good airplane reading:

Labels: , , , , , ,

Want to read: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Uncommon Criminals is the second in a new Ally Carter series and it's wonderful! I both want to read it and am already reading it, almost done. It's a fast-paced read about teenage thieves; in the last book, they were stealing back stolen Holocaust art. This one involves a 97-carat emerald and all sorts of security measures, plus family and romance, but mainly heists. Click here for Ally Carter's book tour dates and visit Heist Society on Facebook to read an excerpt from Uncommon Criminals (it opens with Kat in Moscow stealing from the KGB!).

I read it while getting a pedicure:

I recommend all of Ally Carter's YA novels, both her Gallagher Girls series and this series!

Official description:

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

My French fry food porn story "French Fried" to be published in Best Lesbian Romance 2012

My French fry food porn story "French Fried," set in the Paris of my imagination, with a little help from a friend's true tale (not the sex part, but the seeing a girl eating fries part), will be published in the Cleis Press anthology Best Lesbian Romance 2012, edited by Radclyffe! Yay! I definitely plan to write more food porn. Waffles, maybe cheese...could I pull off dumplings? Maybe for a short short. Wonder if Fuck Yeah French Fries would be interested?

Funnily enough I'm trying not to eat French fries til Labor Day, when I hope I will be much closer to my goal weight. I did nibble a few the other day at Coffee Shop, and they were delicious. What I love about writing is that I can fantasize about food and sex and whatever else and turn those mental imaginings into stories.

Here's an excerpt:

From "French Fried" by me:

The fry is the best thing I've ever tasted. It's warm and perfectly cooked through, salty, with a hint of some kind of spice. But what heats my mouth even more is the way Veronique is looking at me. Her eyes are taking in my entire face, wide, trusting, seeking, and her lips are red and beautiful. On someone else the color might look overbearing, a vamp on the prowl, but on her it manages to look both innocent and seductive. I'm not afraid of her in the least, nor of her hungry eyes just waiting to devour me like I am doing to the fries. The fork lingers between her perfectly manicured fingers, but she puts it down, then picks up another fry and runs it along my lower lip. I dart out my tongue, teasing the fry, running my tongue up its length, licking the salt off.

She laughs, the sound melodious, but suddenly I want to feed her, too. I part my lips and she traces a fry along each one, from the right edge where they meet, along my lower lip, then around and atop the curves of my upper lip, getting the salty potato sticky with my gloss while her eyes soak in every inch of my face. Her look is intense, whether from under those impossibly long lashes, or straight on. This is a look I never get from the New York girls, who like to keep their distance. I want to tell her I don't speak French, but when I open my mouth, she traces the fry along my tongue. The back of my throat catches. Even though we are flirting over skinny bits of fried potatoes, there's nothing innocent about this. I know little more than this woman's name and already I want all of her, inside and out.

She is so calm, I can only wonder if her heart is beating fast too. "More?" She inches closer to me, and all the thoughts about touching up my makeup, straightening my outfit, wondering what I'm doing, leave my head as she slips me another fry, this time letting her finger dance along my tongue as she does. I press upward against the pad of her finger as she traces it against my organ, and know right away we are doing much more than eating. We are communicating in a language we are both perfectly fluent in, and the delicate hairs along my arms rise up in greeting.

She is so clearly in charge of me, and yet she's not dominating me. As her finger bends and the smooth edge of her nail scrapes my skin, I relax even more. She is teasing me, right here in this bistro, in a city I'd never stepped foot in until yesterday. She is daring me to stay silent, to not rush forward with the torrent of questions I find so tedious about dating back home. She is daring me to simply sit, wait, savor. She pulls out her finger and wipes it on her napkin, the picks up another fry, dips it in a pool of ketchup that somehow now seems like a sex sauce whipped up just for us, and puts it in her mouth.

photo by me but alas, I forget where I took this!

Read the whole story in Best Lesbian Romance 2012! I'm not seeing a cover for it yet, but you can pre-order it from Amazon here (pre-ordering helps support books because it shows an interest from consumers, which means bookstores and online bookstores order more books). I can't speak for anyone else's series, but I can say for Best Bondage Erotica (lineup coming this week!) that the series can only continue if people buy the books.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sex Diary: "The 52-Year-Old Birthday Girl Flirting With Hot Young Lesbians"

Please check out this week's sex diary: "The 52-Year-Old Birthday Girl Flirting With Hot Young Lesbians". And if you're so inclined, I'd love it if you liked it on Facebook and passed it on and/or let me know at sexdiaries at if you know of a New Yorker or are a New Yorker who'd want to write a weeklong anonymous sex diary. Thank you!

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Remembering Cheryl B.

I'm too sad to be coherent at the moment. Maybe it was naive or stupid or just wishful thinking but I was sure Cheryl would pull through. And I didn't let myself think too much about the fact that she might not, I just couldn't, though maybe part of being an adult is facing that. I didn't visit as often as I could have, but I thought of Cheryl often the past few months.

When I visited her a few months ago she showed me the honey badger video, which I hadn't seen, and then right after that I saw this t-shirt on my coworker's desk, and ordered one and gave it to Cheryl. When I got to the ICU, I was struck with this feeling of stupidity; maybe she would have to just wear a hospital gown and I shouldn't have gotten it. I realize now that I let my fear of not knowing what to say, of being nervous and uncertain, get in the way of telling my friend how much I cared about her. I hope to never be in that situation again but if I am, I'm gonna get over myself, and right now I'm trying to both take care of myself and not just wallow in sadness, reach out to my friends and loved ones, and live life as fully as Cheryl did.

But you know what this reinforces for me? "Everything happens for a reason" is total, complete bullshit. There is no reason for this to have happened and the only positive things I can say are that I'm glad Cheryl is no longer suffering, and sharing memories about her and just "I'm sad/mad too" sentiments is...something. Not heartening and not cheerful but comforting, I guess.

Anyway, I'm sitting in Starbucks at Grand Central, surrounded by bags of stuff that feel really useless, crying and blowing my nose and traversing the internets, after having fallen asleep so hard on the train a stranger had to wake me up to tell me we were here. I got some coffee and am trying to edit other people's stories but can't seem to get anywhere.

Speaking of my stuff, tomorrow my organizer is coming over for a session. I was supposed to have either bought a dresser or gotten rid of the 4 giant bags of clothes we gathered for giving away a few months ago. I haven't done either yet. But it reminds me of this one time Cheryl brought her cat over to help catch mice. The cat got lost in my two bedroom apartment and we were looking all over and it was crazy hot. We found dollar bills that had been eaten by mice and I think Cheryl was a little annoyed that her cat might have gotten lost in my home (we found the cat under my bed, caught in the netting). "This place looks like a crack house, and I would know," she said. It was funny but caustic, and, yes, true (well, I'm gonna assume it's true, never having been in a crack house). I think she'd like to know that I'm gonna part a little more freely with some of my stuff, at least, I hope I will. The stuff that matters is what's on the inside. I know that, much as I might surround myself with belongings, and I hope to be someone who privileges people over possessions. That's part of my goal in this year of transformation.

I wanted to share this beautiful tribute to Cheryl Kathleen Warnock of Drunken! Careening! Writers! wrote. DCW is a pioneering, amazing reading series and I'm posting details about Thursday's reading there. My favorite part of Kathleen's post:

She had a dayjob until a couple years ago, then got downsized along with a significant chunk of the American workforce. She pieced out a living from freelancing and editing (she was a very good editor), and while the unemployment was difficult, it was hardly a period of lying fallow. She got a lot of writing done, and her name appeared on a lot of articles and blogs, and when she came to DCW, she read pieces of her memoir, which she called “When I Knew Everyone on Avenue A.” There was a piece about when she decided not to drink anymore. A piece about her father throwing a plate at her across the dinner table. She performed in a multi-media piece downtown with some other poets at the Flea Theater, in an evening curated by Regie at full glamour. It was marvelous.

We saw each other often, at readings, panels, birthdays, the occasional “at home” at her apartment in Brooklyn, where a salon of queer divinity often reigned. While the accent was on queer, it was talent that got you in the door with Cheryl, and labels were the last thing she judged you by. As someone who had identified as bi, she occasionally took some pushback from people who demanded she pick one side or the other. She told me once a guy asked her what PERCENTAGE she was (which seems to me just the kind of question a lot of guys would ask) and she said answered: “75/25 women/men” and then commented that she answered so quickly, she knew it was true.

Is that not a brilliant memoir title? I hope we get to read it. From Cheryl's site:

When I Knew Everyone on Avenue A is Cheryl B.’s personal, irreverent take on New York City in the 1990s. In this humorous one-woman spoken word/storytelling presentation, Cheryl offers up bits of her twenty-something existence; logic-defying relationships, sexual bewilderment, artistic experimentation, fleeting friendships, the death of her father, high doses of self-medication and ultimately, sobriety. While in the background, some of her beloved NYC haunts fade into relics.

This is an amazing lineup - I'm looking forward to reading Bob Smith's novel Remembrance of Things I Forgot, which has been waiting for me in its beautiful hardcover, beckoning me.

Drunken! Careening! Writers!

Isa Coffey

Joel Derfner

Jenifer Levin

Bob Smith

"Glitter and Be Gay"

Thursday, June 23, 7pm


85 E. 4th St.


Kathleen posted this video of Cheryl reading and it's so quintessential Cheryl. She had this tough girl voice and style of reading, even though she was wiry and didn't "look" tough. She was one of the first slam poets I saw read. When I first met her, she wasn't sober, and I don't know how much to say about that, plus that was a looooong time ago so some details are fuzzy, but we always laughed about one particularly crazy encounter with a boy who is long forgotten. Anyway, enjoy this video:

And I found the photo below at Sugarbutch Chronicles, taken by Syd London, of Cheryl looking as fierce and glam and gorgeous as she could.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"New York Girl" by Cheryl B.

I'm sad and stunned that my friend Cheryl B. is no longer with us. I hate that I can link to her website but can't give her a hug. She was full of spark and passion and is an example to me of someone who saw how she wanted to change her life, and did it. Here is her poem "New York Girl." If you want to read about the last part of her life, her cancer blog WTF Cancer Diaries is something. She was one of the first people I met in the queer writing scene and we had some crazy times and some fun times and I don't have anything else to say except that I will miss her and her death is so unfair.

She's got the click of fierce heel hitting blacktop

She's got sarcasm dripping from the tip of her tongue

She's got a bra made out of steel and panties made out of licorice

She's got a vibrator in her pocket and she's very elusive to see you

She's got that tri-state area glow and a laugh that comes out of nowhere

She's got a voice like a cannon and lips that unravel like spools of silk

She's got a body that curves like the beauty of the open road

She's got Polaroids of herself floating about this city, wearing

nothing but her pet snake

She's got no problem with that

She's got that edge, you know that edge, she's got that leather cuffs

in the top drawer of her dresser, hot wax dripping onto warm flesh

kind of edge

She's a New York girl with a flask full of courage and determination

cocktail strapped to her left hip bone

She's got important aspects of your psyche drowning in the milky

ocean of her complexion

She's got various parts of your anatomy tied up and quivering

in her fist and you're going to have to play a little game to get them


Labels: ,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Song title inspiration for erotica

My story in Obsessed (out next month! party in August! postcards just ordered! please pre-order at the low cost of $9.95 at the moment or request your free review copy) is called "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The title is obviously inspired by the Beatles song. The story is inspired and my kinda sorta "type." I don't really have a type, but it's not a secret that I like "big" guys. I have another story about sexy hand holding percolating, based, actually, on a pretty skinny guy who was very good at holding hands. I think hand holding is underrated as an erotic activity.

But anyway, what I wanted to talk about was music. I wrote a story once called "Fast Girls" inspired by the Sarge song, then edited a book of the same name and used that song in the book trailer. My Irresistible story will be called "That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be," because I am a Carly Simon fan. I love taking a phrase or a title that has one meaning from its original artist and giving it a spin. Sometimes when I'm stuck, which is often, lately, I try to see what or who might give rise to a story. There is always something. Maybe Vashti Bunyan's "I'd Like to Walk Around in Your Mind."

I love having a reference point, like this one story I wrote, "Bed-In" (I think that's how I spelled it) inspired by John and Yoko's bed in, though this one had a much more commercial twist (set in a bedding store). We'll see...I'm hoping my trips give me time to properly work on some stories; I have to write a hotel erotica one and a bunch of others and just get the creativity flowing again after my mind kindof not going in that direction, or at least, me not finishing stories I should have. I am determined to write a story inspired by the blowtorch at Sweet Iron Waffles which was just one of the sexiest things I've ever seen and I'm not really at all a fire play kind of girl. It was more the way the guy using it looked while he was using it, so focused and intense and holding this powerful machine in his hand to feed me something delicious. Since I so rarely listen to my CD collection anymore, maybe they can prove useful for story ideas.

Here's a snippet of "I Want to Hold Your Hand:"

At least he had two body parts that hadn’t lost their heft: his hands and his cock. She knew that saying about a man’s feet predicting his size below the waist, but with Ron, his hands and his cock were both, well, manly, while his size nine feet were what she considered average. His hands, though, they were big, strong, powerful; there was nothing he could do about his man hands. Ron had always been able to speak to her with his hands, even on their first date, when he’d reached for one of hers and massaged it, his thumb tricking along her palm, his fingers tickling her skin, making her curious about him, about what he could do to her. They were soft, and seemingly tender, but when she dared to try to get to know them, he’d crushed her fingers within his own, letting her know that he would be the one to master their manual dexterity.

She was still curious, as she’d been then, eager to get to know him by running her lips along his skin, by listening to his heartbeat, though truth be told, the parts that everyone else was so eager to talk about and salivate over were not the ones that interested Shelly. His abs, his biceps, all sounded like clichés to her ears. Her Ron wasn’t the macho bodybuilder they were making him out to be, and if he were, she wasn’t sure she would want him anymore. She’d caught a couple of college girls, home on break, whispering about what he might look like underneath, and had huffed her way through their conversation, stalking right in between them and giving them the stink eye. Who were these brats and why didn’t they find someone their own age?

“Honey, I want to go to the movies,” she said, pulling him aside, not caring how petulant she might sound.

“Now?” He looked at her in confusion.

“Well, tonight, yeah.”

“What do you want to see?”

“I don’t care,” she said, then lifted his right hand and brought it to her mouth.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Want to read: Break the Skin by Lee Martin

I have this book and plan to read it soon. I was very impressed by Lee Martin's interview at Amazon and other postings I've read on his blog about writing, aside from regarding this specific book, like this post on whether writing can be taught:

Can we teach someone how to write? That question comes up quite often within the community of folks who do exactly that for their livelihood, and I’m always a little puzzled when the answer is sometimes no.

Of course, we can teach someone how to write. We do it each year in our workshops, our literature seminars, our thesis directing, our informal conversations in this place or that, and in writing of our own. We teach technique, we teach the habits of the process and the work ethic that they require. I happen to believe that we can also teach students how to adjust their vision so that they more readily note the contradictions and complexities of the world around them. I believe we can encourage them to think in terms of opposites so they see the plurality of any one character or situation. We do it by talking about published work that does exactly that and by pointing out what a writer has done to make the vision of that story, poem, essay, novel more deeply felt and more multi-layered with different levels of emotion and intellect, often contradictory in nature.

So yes, this tattooed lady, who is just about done with the excellent tattoo mystery I don't want to end, Ink Flamingos, is looking forward to reading Break The Skin.

From the interview with Lee Martin at Amazon by Dani Shapiro that so intrigued me:

Shapiro: Miss Baby works as a tattoo artist, a profession which I imagine you didn’t know much about at the outset. Did you know you were going to write about a tattoo artist when you were first beginning the book? How did you go about your research? (Any tattoos?) Why did it seem important that Miss Baby be in this line of work?

Martin: Well now, what makes you think that I didn’t at some point work as a tattoo artist? In between the years when I cooked crystal meth, robbed banks, and worked as a hit man, maybe I was pounding ink. (Nah, that sentence was just a feeble attempt to establish my street cred.) After all, as one review of the novel says, I’m “crackling with dark deeds and bad intentions...” I love that line! I want it to be part of my introduction at future readings and events: “Here he is, crackling with dark deeds and bad intentions, Lee Martin.” Ha! I told my students that and they laughed so hard you could see how far from the truth of me such a description actually is...or is it? Hmmm...I’ll never tell, nor will I reveal my tattoos, not even the ones that glow in the dark.

My research involved a conversation here, a visit there, some things read, some things watched--just the usual methods of immersing oneself in an unfamiliar world. I’m always fascinated with the details and the lingo of someone else’s job, and as soon as Miss Baby stepped onto the corner of Fry and Oak Street in Denton, Texas, I knew she had to be coming from a tattoo parlor. Don’t ask me how I knew that. I just did. I like to think that my subconscious mind had already started to sense the rich possibilities with metaphor in this practice of drilling into the skin and leaving something to live in scar tissue.

Here's the book's official description, via Lee Martin's website:

Laney—a skinny, awkward teenager alone in the world--thinks she's found a kindred spirit in thirty-five-year old Delilah. "When I was with her," Laney says, "I felt closest to being the person I was meant to be...We could have been sisters, big and little, which some people thought we were." Then the police come to ask Laney questions and she finds herself reconstructing a story of suspense, deceit, and revenge, but also "a story of love, no matter how roughed up and ugly and stained." A story that will haunt her forever.

Seven hundred miles away, in Texas, Miss Baby has the hardened heart of a woman who has been used by men in every possible way, yet she is desperate for true love. When she meets a stranger, a man who claims he can't remember his real name or his past but who seems gentle and trusting, Miss Baby thinks she may have finally found someone to love, someone who will protect her from the abusive men who fill her past.

But Miss Baby and Laney are connected by a terrible crime and bit by bit, the complex web of deceptions and seemingly small misjudgments they've each helped to create starts to unravel. Action, speculation, and contradiction play off one another as the story is told through their first-person voices, which keep you nervously guessing all the way to the shocking, tragic climax. BREAK THE SKIN is a novel about "wanting to matter to someone, wanting it so badly that you did things you never could have imagined, and you swore they were right, all for the sake of love."

Labels: , , , , , ,

New column: "I'm Still Bisexual Even Though I'm Dating a Guy"

The more I type that column title, the more "duh" and obvious it sounds but still, it was something I felt was worth writing about. I'm always casting about for new column topics - one will definitely deal with Joan Price and her new book Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and elder sexuality. Maybe I can find something in London to write about! Still working on my Weinergate kinky sexting essay which I might just blog instead of going through the pitching rigamarole.

In some ways, my embrace of bisexual is also about a rejection of heteronormativity, of all the parts of straightness that feel oppressive to me. Yes, there are privileges accorded to straight people, but I feel there are also burdens; it’s assumed that you want to get married and become a parent and be monogamous. Stepping outside any of those roles messes with the dominant culture’s plans for you. I’d like to think being part of the LGBT community has made me more open and empathetic, and showed me how people are, in fact, so much more than any label.

What’s interesting to me is that this title, bisexual, is important to me, It's something I feel I carry no matter who I’m dating, or not dating, whereas “poly” and “kinky” are not intrinsic parts of my identity. They are things I have been at various times in my life, or rather, my relationships have been. Bisexuality is different for me, perhaps because it feels more primal than either being poly or kinky — not that they need to be pitted against each other. I used to struggle with the word “bisexual” because it implies there are only two sexes or genders, which is not something I believe, but it’s a shorthand that, in general, works for me.

My bisexuality has also played itself out in almost all of my relationships in some form. Often the form it takes is in talking dirty, and sometimes it’s gone beyond that. One girlfriend, who was pretty much exclusively into women, indulged my interest in a male friend of ours with a threesome. With most of the straight men I’ve dated, not surprisingly, they’ve been interested in fantasizing aloud about me with another woman or hearing about my own fantasies. I certainly feel freer when I have a boyfriend sharing my fantasies about women, real or imagined, than I do about other men.

Read the whole column (and if you like it, I'd love it if you'd "like" it on Facebook at the top and/or tweet, blog, etc. - all that really helps!)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,