Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Friday, August 30, 2013

How writing for free can lead to paying writing work

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because despite my horror when I see discreet and discrete mixed up, I have my own grammar bugaboos.*

Let me start by saying that this is a complicated topic, and I don't have all the answers. There are many factors that go into deciding whether to write for free, how much to charge, what your minimum fees are, etc. What I want to do with this post is offer a few examples of how writing for free led me to paying writing jobs. That being said, I believe everyone should be paid for their work, and don't think you should aim to write for free. You should aim as high as you can, and equal pay for equal work isn't just about gender equality, but about knowing, owning and demanding your worth. That being said, if working unpaid can lead to bigger and better things that you might not have access to otherwise, it can be worthwhile, in my experience (and of course I'm only writing from my own very limited experience here).

My aim here isn't to debate the finer points of what writers should get paid; you can get fascinating insights into that at The Awl in "How Much Should A Writer Get Paid? A Conversation", and Noah Davis breaks down his freelancing assignment rates by the numbers.

Ann Friedman offers up some excellent reasons to write for free, based on her work experience. Of her pie charts for The Hairpin, she writes: "After I published a few and people seemed to like them, I made it a goal to find a publication to pay me for similar work. "

I also can't recommend enough Virginia Sole-Smith's writing about freelancing, especially "On Getting Paid (And Knowing Your Worth)" (her math on figuring out how valuable your time is was a whole new way of looking at the topic for me) and "Why Creative Word Fairies Need Business Plans, Too".

In my case, I'd written a few pieces for Nicole Cliffe when she was at The Hairpin, for free. Why? Well, I'd pitched my review of The Feminist Porn Book to a few sites that passed, and wanted it to be read, ideally by readers who'd be interested in the topic, plus I wanted it to be timely. I didn't want the work I'd put into the review to go to waste, and I wanted to join the conversation about the book. I also did an interview with former Westboro Baptist Church member Lauren Drain about her memoir, Banished, for similar reasons. When it was announced that Nicole was leaving The Hairpin to launch The Toast, I queried her, and so far have written "Sympathy for E.L. James" and "Hoarding Isn't Fashionable or Glamorous." Both pieces are paid. I couldn't have known that would happen at the time, but it was fortuitous.

I got invited to write for in May, and was interested because I'd read about the site on Gawker, and was avidly reading all sorts of essays about a variety of topics. Most were tech-related, but there was also a great column by bakery owner Allison Robicelli, about everything from appearing on Chopped to her letter to a first-time father.

Even though I wasn't being paid, I agonized and agonized over what my first post should be; I even decided I'd try to go all out and push myself to write an essay a day. That so didn't happen, despite my handy chart of what I planned to write about. Maybe someday it will. But when James Gandolfini died, I hammered out my first post for them: "James Gandolfini Was My Celebrity Crush." I worked all morning on it, then hit publish, and went to lunch. I didn't get paid, but you know what? I felt great, for having written it. For not having thought about it for weeks or months until my ideas turned to mush in my head. Salon reprinted it. I didn't get paid for those, but it was okay, because I had contributed something I thought was important, and perhaps brought in new readers in the process. One thing I especially like about Medium, as a reader and writer, is that your profile is linked to your Twitter account (you must have a Twitter account to post on Medium), so it's very easy to start following writers you like. I've found some amazing writers that way. You can also view your statistics, and I'm trying to use this information to help me figure out what works and what doesn't in terms of drawing readers, which I plan to use when formulating pitches for other publications. For me, since much of the focus of the writing is tech-oriented, I have a feeling I'm reaching readers I wouldn't normally reach, which to my mind is always a good thing.

When I was asked to contribute to the Boinkology collection at Medium, I was honored, but I said I'd only do it if I was paid. This was different to me than the Gandolfini piece, because this is my area of expertise, the topic I write most about, and I'd probably be writing things I'd likely sell elsewhere if I didn't write about them for Medium. Based on the Gandolfini piece, someone who I don't think would've known my work previously, knew who I was and agreed. So far I've written "Wikipedia Thinks I’m a Lesbian — And This Bisexual Is Okay With That" and "I Don’t Want or Need an App to Measure My Sex Life" and "5 Ways to Use Technology to Write Erotica". One thing browsing Medium, including their monthly top posts(right now "Why I Quit CrossFit" was the most popular in July), has shown me, is the power of a headline. Think about your title standing alone on Twitter as a link. Then, it won't be your name or your writing or wittiness selling it, it'll be your title. That has helped me crystallize exactly what I'm trying to say, hopefully in a snappy way.

Here's where it gets a little woo-woo: you never know who is going to read your work, and where that might lead. Ann Friedman says she plays a long game. As someone who is both trying to sell freelance articles and promote my anthologies and, hopefully, someday, my own authored books, I know that there may be readers who've never heard of my erotica, or never thought about reading erotica, but might think, Hmmm....Baby Got Back. That's funny. Maybe I'll check that out. That's why I have stories posted for free on my website and Goodreads. I got paid to write them, but am now giving them away, in the name of building up a readership. And I think that figuring out what your end goals are is important. I don't have that aspect totally down pat, but I know that I have books coming out well into 2014, so I try to keep up with what's happening in the fields I write about, but also broaden my reach to readers who may never browse the erotica section but might want to check something out based on reading either my nonfiction or fiction. You never know who might see a post and, whether that day or down the road, recommend you or your books to someone else. That's the part that you can't control, and may never even know whether or how someone came to notice you, but for me, it's worth taking the chance. My royalty checks are what pay my rent (with a bump from freelancing), so if I write something for free but enough people see it and buy a few books, that helps.

Right now I'm working to get my career in alignment, so the things I want to write about are also the things I get paid for. I spend a lot of time pitching, and sometimes that feels like "wasted" time, in the sense that I tend to agonize over it and do a ton of research and most often it doesn't yield an assignment. Those pitches aren't paid, but the hope is that by honing my pitches, reading the publications I want to write for diligently, broadening my scope and keeping pitching, it will pay off. I'm not looking for more opportunities to write for free, but rather, more opportunities to expand my reach and try to make freelancing a sustainable career option for me. I almost didn't write this post because I feared that saying I sometimes write for free would give me less bargaining power when I do pitch publications I want to write for. But again, you need to know your own rock-bottom needs and criteria for writing for free or for pay.

A tangential but semi-related topic is that sometimes, for me, it's been worth it to pay money to get a byline. Not buying the byline, but spending money to attend an event or purchase a product so that I could write about it. I paid $129.12 (according to my PayPal record) to attend the E.L. James luncheon by Divalysscious Moms that helped me break into the New York Observer. Not only did attending this event give me insights I wouldn't have had otherwise into the Fifty Shades fandom phenomenon, but also this led directly to me covering a Koch protest in the Hamptons for them. I will also share something that is a huge no-no that I did, a mistake I hope you will never make: I never turned in my receipts to get reimbursed. I saved them, and meant to send them, and then...didn't. Oops. I've done that multiple times, and I have no excuse, but that's a surefire route to making your expenditures not worth it. Keep track of everything, and if your publication is reimbursing you, turn in your receipts right away. Even if they're not, save them for when you do your taxes. I'm attending another event soon that I paid for, in the hopes of covering it for a venue I haven't written for yet, and if that gambit succeeds, it will have been worth it (and if not, it will be an interesting life experience).

Ultimately, I agree with Slate's Matthew Yglesias (see also: his first post on writing for free):
The fact remains that if you have things to say that you think are worthwhile and nobody is offering to pay you to say them, you ought to say them anyway for free. If enough people agree with you that those things are worthwhile, it just may lead to something.
I write for free when the pros outweigh the cons, or I've simply run out of time or patience pitching a piece and would rather get it up, anywhere, than have it live on my computer with only me reading it. Or sometimes, I want a piece to fit in well with like-minded pieces. I weigh the venue and the effort involved and how important it is to me to give the piece a home, and what the possible gains might be. I've written plenty of pieces that never went anywhere because I couldn't sell them, and as I move into my third year of freelancing, I'm doing my best to make sure that doesn't happen, or else take it as a sign, to pitch better and smarter (which is why I very well may retake Anne Trubek's excellent How to Pitch and Submit class, which I highly recommend).

' Lately, I've been riddled with fear, anxiety, writer's block, self-hatred...I could go on, but the point is, I have barely been able to write lately, whether I'm being paid or not. I'm working on conquering those fears, which circle like vultures, zooming in on my weakest spots. In the meantime, any writing is useful to me, because it shows me I can do it, which is another piece of the puzzle, because first i have to believe in myself and prove myself, before I can expect anyone else to. Publishing the pieces I've linked to above for free shows me not every piece has to be perfect (according to me) to be valid, to be done, to be able to turn it in and move on to the next one, and the next, and the next.

* To wrap this all up and comply with the FTC, this post is sponsored by Grammarly, but I was planning to write it anyway.

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Two new memoirs reviewed at Huffington Post

I reviewed two memoirs at The Huffington Post, The Art of Sleeping Alone by Sophie Fontanel and Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin by Nicole Hardy, both of which I included in my 9 Memoirs About Not Having Sex roundup at Bustle.



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Thursday, August 29, 2013

3 erotica events and my erotic writing tips

When I was in Vermont last weekend (more on that soon), I was perusing alt weekly Seven Days and found so many classes and events that would make great settings for erotica stories. There's more about using both technology (and much of it is applicable to whatever's around you, including event listings) to write erotica in "5 Ways to Use Technology to Write Erotica" (if you like my piece, please click "recommend" at the bottom).

I have 3 upcoming events in Manhattan, Milwaukee and Albuquerque -- and I'd love to visit your college or store or conference to give an erotic writing workshop! Email me at rachelkb at with "Erotica 101" in the subject line for my rates.

September 25, 7-9 pm (free but you MUST RSVP to info at
Vica Miller Fall Erotica Salon
287 Spring Street, NYC
Featuring Liesl Schillinger, The Other Room author Kim Triedman, Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray author Nicole Audrey Spector and me, reading from my nudist hotel story "Marks" in Cheeky Spanking Stories
Full details here


September 27, 8-9:30 pm
Erotica 101 Writing Workshop, Milwaukee
Sign up at The Tool Shed
Professional erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. Learn how to get started, find your voice, and write against type. You'll learn how to incorporate everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular magazines and anthologies. She'll also talk about submitting your work and keeping up with the thriving erotica market (including anthologies, ebooks, magazines and websites). Whether you're writing to that special someone, penning longtime fantasies, or want to earn cash for your dirty words, this workshop is for you. Paper and writing implements will be provided or you can use your own laptop. $20 per person

PLEASE NOTE: When you pay/register for a class online, your name will be added to the guest list for the event-- tickets will not be mailed. Please arrive a few minutes early to check in with the front desk.
2427 N. Murray Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211, 414-906-5304

November 12, 7:30-9 pm
Erotica 101 Writing Workshop, Albuquerque

same description as above, $20/person; $35/pair, register online at above link to reserve your spot
3904B Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, 505-265-5815, info at

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Go Topless Day article, about bare breasts and feminism

My latest for Medium is "On Go Topless Day, a look at topless activism and the law" (subtitle: "Should women defend our right to bare our breasts in public?") and I will once again ask that if you like it, click "recommend" at the bottom. I hope this piece leads to more writing for them, and the recommends help. The article is about today being Go Topless Day, women who've been arrested for going topless , and a look at topless and topfree activism, with detours into things like nurse-ins and the journalist who took her top off in the middle of interviewing a mayor. How could I not find this subject fascinating? If you click on the link in my article for The Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Society, you can see some photos of my boobs, and a different topless lady reading my book Cheeky Spanking Stories, along with us in the Washington Square Park fountain, enjoying gelato, and generally having a wonderful day. if you're into that kind of thing. I hope to cover (pun intended--there are many to be made!) another of their events soon.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Use Technology to Write Erotica and 9 Memoirs About Not Having Sex

I wrote 2 recent pieces about two of my favorite topics: erotica and books! "5 Ways To Use Technology to Write Erotica" - I link to a couple current calls for submissions for anthologies and offer up ways to brainstorm erotic story ideas. I will be ballsy/annoying and ask that if you like my Medium piece, you click "recommend" at the bottom -- I really appreciate it! And if you want in-person erotica advice, I'm teaching Erotica 101 September 27th at The Tool Shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and November 12th at Self Serve Toys in Albuquerque, New Mexico (and am always open to teaching at new venues, email me at rachelkb at for my rates).

"9 Memoirs About Not Having Sex" at Bustle (yes, Bussel on Bustle) - leading off with this week's release, Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin by Nicole J. Hardy, which I highly recommend. More on that one soon, but I think it speaks so much to the longing for connection and intimacy, and the ways that often religion (in this case, Mormonism), doesn't provide that. But it's also about self-discovery and travel and independence and is a lovely memoir.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Freelancing limbo land

My professional life feels very up in the air at the moment. I'm not sure if it's time to start thinking about giving up freelance writing and anthology editing for the most part and find a job, let alone who would hire me, or whether to lean in, and if the latter, how to go about it. I feel like all I can see are all the things I didn't do, and won't get a chance to do again, even though I also know that there's a world of possibility potentially waiting for me. I have no idea, and that is probably the part of freelancing I hate the most: the precariousness. One day is up, one day is down. One royalty statement makes me feel like I'm awesome and one makes me feel like the worst editor ever. It's unsettling and I don't know if I'm cut out for the ups and downs, though I love diving into a new story like the one I sent out on spec yesterday that I am hoping someone out there wants to buy.

I think that part of freelancing, the part where you are always hovering on the verge of rejection, where rejection is built into the job, and it's hard to know what's a "good idea" and what's a "waste of time," is why I'm ready to start looking for a job. But I'm giving myself until my birthday. I'm turning 38 and treating myself to a trip to New Mexico, where I'll be teaching Erotica 101 on November 12th at Self Serve Toys (which apparently already has people signed up!), and hopefully being inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe in Santa Fe and Abiquiu. Until then, I'm tracing my fingers over the italics of my "open" tattoo and trying to listen and stay as calm as I can. The other day I was the opposite; the more I internalized the fear and panic and shame, the more I couldn't breathe. That's the feeling I'd be willing to give up writing madness to avoid. But I hope it won't come to that. I hope I can prove to myself, if no one else, that I can meet my goals, that I can not stagnate and wallow, but truly think and be different, better. I'm trying to be rationalize, a businesswoman, rather than take it all so personally, though I'm not sure I'm capable of that. Taking things personally is pretty much in my blood; you don't get the word heart tattooed on your arm if you don't take life personally.

But if I'm walking down the streets of Red Bank and see a great job opening, or meet the right person, I want that resume ready. I want to be open to the idea that giving up won't be failing, but opening a new door, hopefully a more stable and freeing one. I also know it's not all or nothing. I will always write, something, somewhere. But maybe this way of going about it is not for me. I've got a little less than two months until the big 3-8 to find out.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Win a copy of Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica

For you! Sorry, there's supposed to be a cover photo in this but too late to fix now. I promise, it's Baby Got Back.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Meet My Sexy Muse tonight at 7-9 pm EST

I'm excited for my first Meet My Sexy Muse tonight, where we hosts star the story and you continue it! I"ll be posting a contest where you can win a copy of Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica, plus there'll be contests from the other hosts. See you there!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I'm judging by its content, shockingly enough

I picked a bad week to be on a social media break, between #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen on Twitter and now the internet issue of the day around the new website Bustle. What's interesting is that while almost every piece I've read has reacted to Bustle founder Bryan Goldberg's post on PandoDaily, I haven't seen many commenting on the actual site itself. I'm not saying his post doesn't have problems, but for me, I've been genuinely enjoying the site. They were where I first read read about the UK Twitter harassment issues. I've been reading for the past two weeks and am a fan, especially of their books coverage (and of that, I really like their book suggestions for the week's headline smakers), which is why I pitched them last week and am working on my first story for them. So, focusing on that and making it the best it can be, along with generally hustling my freelance ass off.

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Flash ebook sale: $1.99 gets you 2 ebooks Tasting Her and Women in Lust

My fabulous publisher Cleis Press lowered the price on my Kindle ebooks Tasting Her: Oral Sex Stories and Women in Lust to $1.99, and I'm going to give you an extra bonus, today through Friday, August 16th at 11:59 pm EST. Buy one of these ebooks, I'll send you the other free. Forward your receipt to me by Saturday morning, August 17th at 9 a.m. EST at rachelkb at with "BOGO" in the subject line, and tell me where to send the ebook (I can't send to an address). Thank you! If you want to make me think you're extra awesome, I'd love it if you'd leave a review if you like the book (Amazon reportedly treats books with 30 or more reviews better, so I'm trying to get on their good side!).

Tasting Her: Oral Sex Stories

Introduction: Reading Her Lips

Cavanaugh’s Ridge Jeremy Edwards
Snatch Donna George Storey
Teaching Teresa Gwen Masters
Queen of Sheba Jen Cross
Suspension Craig J. Sorensen
Kiss the Cook Giselle Renarde
Happy Hours Adelaide Clark
Spill Alison Tyler
Rain Check Emerald
Treatment for a Tongue Job Thomas S. Roche
The Goth Chick Lisette Ashton
The Vitality of Youth Joanna Christine
Cunnilingus 101 Rachel Kramer Bussel
Read Her Lips Stan Kent
Down There Julia Moore
To the Point Rita Winchester
Hold On, I’m Coming Kristina Wright
Dropping the Hint Drew James Dyer
Pause Sommer Marsden
All about the Girls Shanna Germain
The Dominance of the Tongue Teresa Noelle Roberts

Introduction: Reading Her Lips

Whether you’ve delved between a woman’s legs, received cunnilingus, or fantasized about either, Tasting Her has a lot to offer you. To be honest, I’m usually not the biggest fan, personally, of getting head. Often it feels either rushed or perfunctory, or like I’m not sure how long I should give the person until we move on to something else. I don’t always know when or how I will come, though plenty of women swear by a little tongue-lashing (or a lot!) to do the trick.

What’s great about this collection is that there are oral sex connoisseurs and newcomers, men and women, who explore the treasure to be found in a woman’s pussy, often in surprising ways. Maybe they think they know everything there is to know about giving (and getting) head, but have a partner who wants to show them something new.

We sometimes forget, given stories about men who refuse to go there (and yes, I’ve encountered a few), that there are plenty of men and women who truly enjoy, relish, and get turned on by basking in a woman’s sex. The kind who find eating pussy not just a pit stop on the way to something greater, but the ultimate pleasure. Sometimes this can take the form of a BDSM scene, where someone is being “forced” to do what he really loves best. At other times, these happy lickers have to convince their partners that they want it so bad they’ll do anything to get it.

In Jen Cross’ outstanding story, “Queen of Sheba,” we meet one such couple:

Jimmy would use his hands to hold me open, and his whole mouth, his nose and chin and cheeks. He’d fuck me with his tongue, then lap at me with the full flat of it, wriggle the tip across my clit, then capture the fat little head between his thin lips and suckle first gently, then more sharply, as I came. And came. And came.

He got me off so many times when he was down there, like that was the whole point. Can you imagine?

Her narrator learns that some men treat a woman’s pussy like it’s the pinnacle of her body, even when the woman herself may be a little puzzled as to what he loves about it so much.

I’ve been in the position of Gwen Masters’ Teresa in “Teaching Teresa,” refusing to let someone go down on me simply because I didn’t think it would be all that fun. The last person I tried that with, though, used my refusal as a pawn in our sexual game, and when I let him advance, he showed me just how wonderful a well-placed tongue could feel. I think he wanted to show me what I’d been missing. In Masters’ story, our hero has to articulate what it is he enjoys about the act:

“I love everything about it,” he told her. “I love the smell--that deep and secret scent. I love the taste. I love the way it changes when a woman comes, and the way it changes again after I’ve been inside her. It’s like I can taste all the different levels of arousal.”

Teresa was looking up at him with wide eyes.

“Most of all, I love the way a woman moves. I love the way the same touches can get a different reaction every time. But I also love finding that one thing that drives a woman crazy every time.”

Other lessons are imparted throughout this collection, and I can tell you that by the end of the editing process, I was more than ready to spread my legs. Whatever your feelings about going down, I hope this book will broaden your horizons, and expose you to the ways cunnilingus can become part of a relationship, a quickie fling, a BDSM scene, and so much more. The characters here, from the dedication of the man who gives geographical names to specific parts of his lover’s sexual anatomy in Jeremy Edwards’ “Cavanuagh’s Ridge” to the kinky pleasures of the couple in Teresa Noelle Roberts’ “The Dominance of the Tongue,” have a thing or two to teach you about pussy power. Savor them and their adventures, as well as your own.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

Women in Lust: Erotic Stories

Introduction: Ladies Who Lust

Naughty Thoughts Portia Da Costa
Guess Charlotte Stein
Her, Him, and Them Aimee Pearl
Bayou Clancy Nacht
Smoke Elizabeth Coldwell
Bite Me Lucy Hughes
Ride a Cowboy Del Carmen
Queen of Sheba Jen Cross
Hot for Teacher Rachel Kramer Bussel
Unbidden Brandy Fox
Something to Ruin Amelia Thornton
Guitar Hero Kin Fallon
Ode to a Masturbator Aimee Herman
Orchid Jacqueline Applebee
Cherry Blossom Kayar Silkenvoice
Rain Olivia Archer
The Hard Way Justine Elyot
Strapped K D Grace
Beneath My Skin Shanna Germain
Comfort Food Donna George Storey

Ladies Who Lust

Lust. It’s one of those four-letter words that trips off the tongue. When I say it out loud, it makes my lips want to curve into a smile. Lust is more than simple arousal; it is the force that makes us not just turned on, but craving a certain person (or people).

I used to write a sex column called “Lusty Lady,” named after the famed strip club, but somehow lusty, rhyming as it does with busty, sounds a bit like a joke, an added bit of humor, which is how our culture often treats sex. Lust, though, is different; it’s intense, overpowering. While in real life we may not always act every time lust calls to us, in fiction, we can abandon the safety of propriety and seek out lust and sex wherever we find them.

The characters in Women in Lust may vary in the objects of their lust, and how they go about acting on their urge, but what connects them is that pure impulse for a lover. Sometimes he is someone she knows well, is married to or dating; in other stories, he is a stranger, and is sexy precisely because he represents the unknown. Women also lust after other women here, as in Kayar Silkenvoice’s Japanese happy ending massage story, “Cherry Blossom,” and while we only hear one side of the story, I’d like to think the working woman is doing more than just her job. In addition to the culture clash, there’s the joy of throwing caution to the wind while on vacation, using travel to broaden one’s sexual horizons. Whether watching a lover playing guitar, using a webcam, going out for a smoke or simply embracing a chance encounter, these women seize the opportunities presented to them, and savor the lovers who teach them about themselves and help them open up to new sensual possibilities. Sometimes that means looking at the man they live with in a new light, and other times that means something much naughtier. Either way, their lust is a valued part of their lives, not a pesky afterthought or to-do list item on “date night.”

The objects of their lust are not always the “right” person. In “Rain,” a woman falls for her best friend’s boyfriend, one of the ultimate dating taboos, but she goes for it. Sometimes the desire itself, the way it can be used to tease and taunt, as in Charlotte Stein’s “Guess,” is maddening, but we embrace our lusts even when they are maddening, even when they make us do things we might otherwise consider reckless.

For every woman here who can locate her lust on the map of her body, who zeros in on her target and goes for it, there is another who is opened up to her lust by a lover, whether it’s Jen Cross’s narrator pondering what it was, exactly, her orally generous long-ago lover got out of being between her legs. The first words of Shanna Germain’s powerfully kinky “Beneath My Skin” are “I’m afraid,” to which her lover, Kade, responds, “You should be.” Fear can be a powerful motivator and, crossed with lust, can lead to explosive results.

Whether discovering the joy of a younger man, not to mention some delicious pudding, in “Comfort Food,” by Donna George Storey, or taking sex and bondage into the great outdoors in “Something to Ruin” by Amelia Thornton, these women indulge in new ways of getting off and pushing the limits of their lust. Thornton writes: “Despite my longing, there was still part of me that wanted to protest, to tell him to cut me loose, to run wildly through the forest back to the safety of our picnic blanket, but to me that is the beauty of rope: to desire escape but to willingly be imprisoned, to feel the pressure of something that prevents my movement, yet to know there is no place that I feel safer than when trapped like this.” She captures the excitement of giving in to a dominant lover, even when there is a small part of the narrator that is unsure, for that is precisely the part that fuels her desire. This story captures the true power that lies in submission and the many joys it can bring. In “Her, Him and Them,” by Aimee Pearl, the narrator submits to various lovers who question her and push her not only to be the best sub she can be, but to figure out why, exactly, she likes the thrill of submission and service.

I hope these stories inspire some lusty days and nights for you, as they have for me.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

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Write a story with me Monday night at My Sexy Muse

On Monday night, August 19th, from 7-9 pm EST, I'm taking part in a very cool event called My Sexy Muse - I along with hosts Alyssa Turner, Renea Mason and Jenny Lyn will be posting sexy photos and story prompts, and anyone can add to the story! Join us at this Facebook URL for collaborative hotness!


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Albuquerque Erotica 101 class November 12th at Self Serve Toys!

I'm writing about all sorts of things and getting ready for the hotness that is The Big Book of Orgasms, which hits stores at the end of September, but I wanted to let you know that I'll be teaching Erotica 101 on Tuesday night, November 12th, in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Self Serve Toys. If you know anyone in the area who might be interested, please let them know! Details will be up on the site shortly. I'm thrilled to be visiting Albuquerque for the first time, so if you have recommendations on what I should check out there, let me know at rachelkb at - on my list of places to visit is the George O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe while I'm in town!


I'll be posting more about it soon, and am working on a little video about my erotica classes and tips for Swellcon, a collection of videos for The Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis, which just celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Yay sex toys!

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Anal sex book BOGO: buy Baby Got Back, get Between the Cheeks free during Anal Pleasure Month!

To celebrate August, aka anal pleasure month, and my two books about the topic, I'm offering you a special deal for purchases made from August 1-31: buy my book Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica from,, Cleis Press or your local bookstore and I'll send you the Kindle or Nook ebook version of Between the Cheeks: Anal Erotica, the 6-story ebook I edited. Just forward your receipt (or snapshot of receipt from brick and mortar store) to analantho at with "BOGO" in the subject line and specify if you want the Kindle or Nook version. Must send receipt by September 1, 2013, 9 a.m. EST. At this time, this deal is only for the print version of Baby Got Back as the ebook versions aren't for sale yet.

If Baby Got Back does well, I'll be pitching another anal sex erotica book, so fans of backdoor pleasuring, spread the word! Thanks for your support on the back end (couldn't resist). Here's a refresher on what's in the books:

Introduction: Prepared for Pleasure (read it here) Brenda’s Booty Tenille Brown
Rectified Tiffany Reisz
Delivery Emerald
My Turn Anya Levin
A Winter’s Tail Veronica Wilde
No Rest for the Sick Medea Mor
Vin Rouge Pour Trois Erobintica
The Support Group Fiona Curtis
Lights Out Angela R. Sargenti
Bar None Mina Murray
Seat Belts Kate Dominic
Better Than a Massage Annabeth Leong
Body Heat Shoshanna Evers
What You Feel Like Talon Rihai and Salome Wilde
Her Kingdom for Her Ass Maggie Morton
A Taste of Jamaica D. Fostalove
Hard Astern Thomas S. Roche
In Training D. L. King
Everybody Knows Giselle Renarde
With Lucy in the Middle Kathleen Tudor
Keeping the British End Up M. Howard
Two-Timing Laura Antoniou
Plugged In Rachel Kramer Bussel

Buy Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica from:




IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Cleis Press

Between the Cheeks final cover

Here's the table of contents:

Pink Satin Purse • Donna George Storey

As Long As You Don't Wake Me • Neil Gavriel

Apple Blossoms • Emerald

A Different Kind of Reality Show • D. L. King

Playing the Market • Angela Caperton

Worth It • Alison Tyler

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An iPhone app will now calculate how good your sex life is

My latest Medium post is called "I Don't Want or Need an App to Measure My Sex Life." If you like it, please click "recommend" at the bottom and spread the word. And I took my Hitachi Magic Wand for a sex drive:


This isn't really related, other than to say that while I don't want badges for having sex (you earn them using Spreadsheets), even on Hannukah, I do highly recommend the JetBlue badges program. If you already fly JetBlue, it's totally worth it. You get frequent flyer miles just for joining, and then more when you earn badges for travel, social media use and other things. I have a few trips coming up with JetBlue: Burlington, Vermont, Charleston, South Carolina and Albuquerque, New Mexico--I chose the latter in part because JetBlue had cheap flights, $133 each way. But really I'm such a booster for them because they make flying as easy as possible. They don't charge for the first checked bag, which I so appreciate; for other airlines, I'd rather pay more for my ticket price and not have to fork over an extra $25 each way for my luggage. I just overall have had good experiences with JetBlue, though I check prices and fly whichever airline is cheapest.

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I've boiled down new life philosophy to this: No FOMO (fear of missing out). I'll be writing more about that fear, but yesterday crystallized for me something I should have realized last fall, when my inflated ego led me to rearrange my Chicago trip so I could do a reading at Grand Central Station's Posman Books. I thought I was such hot shit because I was reading at Grand Central. That's not to say it wasn't fun or an honor or cool, but rather that it wasn't necessarily something that was worth changing my whole schedule over. Very little is. Yet because of my FOMO, plus fear that if I don't say yes to every opportunity ever no one will ever buy my books again, I keep repeating that mistake. That's over, and I feel much more peaceful, knowing that my limited time on this earth is mine to control, plan and parcel out.

That's not to say every second of it will be spent doing things I like, or that I can't juggle and rearrange my schedule as needed, or that sometimes, plans go awry. It just means that I have to make smarter, more pro-active decisions and focus on my bottom line. If I do that and keep my actions in alignment with my life goals, everyone wins. I don't want to be someone that keeps making the same mistake over and over, but rather someone who uses her past to better her present. FOMO always leads me down a bad path, because it tricks me into thinking that no matter what choice I make, it's the wrong one. It tells me that every party, reading, trip, concert, movie, lunch, dinner, date, etc., is some kind of magical gathering that I must attend or else, and if I miss it I'll somehow be much worse off, rather than just someone who didn't make it to one thing.

Certainly, if I ever hope to become a parent, or live somewhere more remote, that way of thinking has to die a fast death. Ultimately, the probably with my FOMO is that I'm never at the center of it; it's everything else that determines how I spend my time. It's that external thing that will convey its magic it factor onto me, make me better, rather than me making myself better, me entertaining myself, me working on myself. That is what 2013 is blaring loudly at me, with megaphones and red flags and nightmares and reminders left, right and center to do. Chasing the high of external praise, kudos and events only keeps me further away from that core of me that keeps sending the SOS signals. So I'm listening to her, that core. I'm letting her tell me what matters, what she needs, what her values are. And they have absolutely nothing to do with the outside, and everything to do with this:



The funniest use of my books ever


This totally made me smile, as did its corresponding awesome review of Serving Him at Clitical! Jenne wrote:
Many of the stories refer to the freedom that is often experienced by the very act of submitting. I adored the story, Silver Fish In The Crystal Pool by Gina Marie which is an awesome example of this. In the story the female sub is bound to a tree, but it’s more than that she becomes one with the tree as she feels the pleasure her Master administers. I loved the imagery the authors words create in my mind. I loved these lines for example: “ You’re not wet, lover. Why aren’t you wet?” The breeze catches the river of juice streaming down my thighs and my mind is tumbling. There is symbolism in this story that reaches far beyond the juices that I found running down my own thighs as I read.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Writing lessons from a 3-year-old

As I face what feel like increasingly scary blank pages, all the more frustrating because I always assumed that the more you write, the more confident you will be in your writing, I’m reminded of a lesson my 3-year-old cousin taught me this summer. When I first arrived on Martha’s Vineyard, which was also I believe his first day, he would freak out every time my uncle’s dog came outside. He’d run to hide inside and wouldn’t come out until she’d gone back inside. They were staying in separate houses, but next door to each other. Over the course of my visit, I noticed that he got increasingly calmer when the dog was around. He’d realized, and been shown, that if he was calm around her, she actually wasn’t so bad, just a big, lumbering friendly dog. I even saw him pet her, and it was like he was in awe that this being he’d been so afraid of could be so fun. His face still lit up, but this time with fascination.

That’s kindof how it is with me and writing. It’s so scary, from afar, all these to do lists items. I am so certain I will never get through them, or they’ll suck, or not be what I wanted them to be originally. Probably, on that last point, they won’t be, because what piece of writing ever is exactly how you envision it? But then I dive in, and I realize that it’s always such a relief to get through it, to go into the fire and realize it’s not actually a fire at all, just words, some good, some not as good, but all part of the process. Far better to have tried than to have simply “written” drafts in my head and let the ideas die there. Lately I don’t embrace the act of writing with open arms; it’s more like being dragged to it, and then sometimes in the middle, I catch myself marveling at what is pouring forth. It’s often the most unlikely scenes and conclusions, ideas I didn’t know I had buried somewhere inside. It’s those I’m most scared of, clearly, but also those I need to let come out, or be haunted by them. And maybe, like with my cousin, they’ll be all the more satisfying for having feared them, and written through the fear.

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Sunday, August 04, 2013

When the going gets tough, it's time for gratitude

At least for me. It's been a rough week, with much to sort out and figure and configure, and trying to write and failing and working to fail better and maybe even succeed, which may not look like what I envision in my wildest dreams, but may come in the babiest of baby steps. Part of me wishes for a job far afield from the word business to appear out of the blue and save me, rescue me from the hell of all this business where you give up control in pretty much every way and face nonstop rejection along with the bright spots, and part of me knows that this is a test, and my task is to devote myself 100%, which I have never ever done, because I've let the fear win, always, always.

It's a harrowing way to live and moving did not erase, well, the core of me. Too bad, perhaps, but maybe that's the lesson: wherever you go, there you fucking are and you learn to deal or wither away. Some days I choose the latter, a slow death by inertia, of watching life pass by, of not trying because you don't see the point. I got such a deep, sure sign that this way of living is not working the other night. It came fast and furious and rocked my world, and certainly upended my sad plodding along by reminding me that I need to step up or give up. My eyes are no longer bloodshot but my heart and soul are still recovering. So at a time when I lack words, and am looking for them high and low, inside and outside, drilling deep and trying to stay as open as my tattoo says I am, it's time to point you to ones I wish you'd read instead, ones that have helped buoy me, reminded me that the worst day, the blankest page, the darkest of doubts are perhaps there to show me rock bottom and remind me that there's something better waiting, on the next day, the next page, the next...and also the now. I hope there's cheerful news to share soon, though I may lay low for the next few weeks as I try to make words happen.

So here's a few bright spots of late

Xan West on writing "Baxter's Boy"

Annabel Joseph on having a story in my January 2014 anthology Best Bondage Erotica 2014 (table of contents coming soon), whose cover I can now share:


Justine Musk putting a name to something I'm extremely guilty of: miswanting

Danielle LaPorte's Truthbombs, which are a wonderful daily inbox pick-me-up

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The first Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica review is in!

Happy Anal Pleasure Month! Baby Got Back: Anal Erotica just officially went on sale on Amazon (ebook links coming soon!) and I'm thrilled to share a snippet of its first official review at the blog Books are love:
Holy sweet baby monkeys this was amazing. Each story in this anthology are unique in their own way. Tenille Brown’s dealt with a woman who was adament about this type of play until Lewis came along and changed her mind.

In Rectified by Tiffany reisz we see the confident and sometimes arrogant Brad Wolfe show a woman what pleasure really means. Go Lela enjoy the lovely Wolfe for all he is... Ms. Bussel’s story to end the book I have to say really brought it full circle. That was a cute couple. One afraid of toy stores the other of the intimacy she gives her husband that he wishes to give her. The end though that is one beautiful night of passion and love.


If you're not ready to dive into a full anthology of anal erotica, try my 6-story collection Between the Cheeks: Anal Erotica.

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Hoarding is now officially part of my writing beats

I've officially added hoarding‬ to my beats with "Hoarding Isn't Fashionable or Glamorous" at The Toast and hope to cover it more often (alongside sex, dating, books, pop culture, though I'm open to writing about anything and everything, especially travel and events). I wrote this in response to the infamous Interview magazine hoarding fashion spread (read my piece for the link).

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How editing anthologies makes me a better erotica writer

I’m deep in anthology editing mode. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up, as I drink my coffee. It helps settle me into my day, eases me into the workflow. For some reason, which I haven’t yet deduced, this latest round of anthologies I’ve been editing much more heavily than I previously have. I don’t know if I’m seeing things I should have seen before, if I’m selecting stories that I believe need more work (for this is all completely subjective, save for misspelled words and such) or that I am just more ruthless.

I do know that by seeing aspects of stories I think can be improved, whether with a word added or deleted, a rephrasing, a clincher of an ending, it’s making me see my own writing in a new way. It’s showing me where the extra words are in my stories, for there are always some. It’s forcing me to truly synthesize what I think makes a good erotic story. I have always pretty much flown by the seat of my pants, and sometimes given up when the story got hard. But I’ve also learned what I like—the unique twist on a topic, even one I’ve covered umpteen times, the way my brain starts to envision the story, and what makes it erotic or perverse or romantic.

I rarely switch points of view, but I did it in my story “A Slap in the Face” (in Sinclair Sexsmith's anthology Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica), which exemplifies something I feel strongly about in BDSM erotica, which I’m putting into play as I edit—that when you are dealing with topics many people might misconstrue, which in our culture covers everything from anal sex to BDSM to roleplaying, you need to make it very clear why it gets people off. You can’t just say “he hit me and it felt like a kiss”—even if it did. It may very well have felt like a kiss, or a painful but beautiful, life-changing erotic moment, for a character, but I want as broad a readership as possible, and I want people who have no idea what the fuck is erotic about, say, face slapping, to walk away from that story feeling moved by it, understanding what both those characters got out of the exchange.

Sometimes I hope to do with the new stories I’m writing is revisit some older stories and expand on what happens to the characters, even though my great thrill, my writing high, comes from creating new plots, new people to explore. This editing thing can be harrowing when you are trying to find 69 stories that fit a specific theme; just because they are 1,200 words or less doesn’t make it easier. It’s still 3 times the work of a typical anthology. Part of me is eager to do it again and part of me is telling myself “never again.”

But I’m grateful for this intense bout of editing because it’s sharpened my focus as I work on my own solo short story collection. It’s guided me to be more precise, shown me that I, in all my imperfect subjectivity, get to be the queen of my own books, get to have a viewpoint. It’s not that I don’t want authors to fully explore their own voices—I do, and when I did the Google+ Hangout last weekend, it gave me a renewed devotion to editing anthologies because it provides a publishing opportunity for writers that they might not have had otherwise, at least, not this specific one. I forget that sometimes, when the work feels too overwhelming and I just want to get to my 69 stories or 65,000 words and file it and move on. But I love the communal nature of an anthology, I love that the whole is always greater than the individual sum of its parts, I love that it can take a topic that seems straightforward and twist and turn it inside out, exploring so many ways of approaching it. I look forward to an editing break, but I also look forward to posting new calls, and learning about the process of editing an anthology with monkey mind, as if it’s my first, not my, I think, sixty-first.

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