Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CatalystCon West is here - see you in Los Angeles!

I've been a whirlwind of activity since I got to the West Coast on Friday night, so if you want to see photos and little updates, you can follow me on Instagram (rachelkramerbussel) and Twitter (@raquelita) and Tumblr. Today I'm heading to Los Angeles and then you can get all the details of my other events at my website (one update I have to add there is the Portland Public Library 9/24 Banned Books Week talk is now 6:30-8:30 pm). I'll be doing events in San Francisco (9/15), Portland, Oregon (9/18), Portland, Maine (9/23 & 9/24), Chicago (9/28), Milwaukee (9/30), New York (10/24) and my first online only erotica writing class, an in-depth 4-week workshop you can take at your schedule anonymously anywhere in the world, starts October 16th via LitReactor. That class has a max of 16 people and is almost half full, so check it out and if you have questions, you can ask me at rachelkramerbussel at with "LitReactor" in the subject line.

But what I wanted to tell you about is CatalystCon, which starts tonight with its film series showing the documentaries Slut ("'Slut: A Documentary Film' features the stories of girls and women who have been the victims of sexual bullying and slut shaming in the United States and Canada.") and Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story ("In Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story, former U.S. Navy SEAL Christopher Beck embarks on a new mission as Kristin Beck. Kristin’s journey in search of the American ideals that she protected have a whole new meaning as she lives her life truthfully as a transgender woman."). I've attended and participated in I believe 4 CatalystCons so far, 3 on the East Coast (held in March) and 1 on the West Coast. Every time, I've been so utterly impressed by the content of the workshops and panels, the care taken to be inclusive and welcoming, especially of sex workers and those of non-mainstream sexualities, and to present a smart, nuanced, powerful event that I walk away from energized. Every time. The energy is palpable and I believe it's in large part because organizer Dee Dennis and her team pull from a wide range of sexuality communities. CatalystCon isn't about just one thing, yet the umbrella topic is sexuality. The tagline is "Sparking communication in sexuality, activism and acceptance."

Going to Catalyst has helped me get toward the place that I see my role in the erotica and sexuality communities. I didn't and don't really think of myself as a traditional activist, but what I'm passionate about is my genre, erotica, and helping people get published and realize the full potential of their desire to write erotic material. I've grown into teaching and am so honored by the groups I get to work with, like the one Tuesday night in Seattle who blew me away with their helpful comments to each other and overall support and willingness to share information and resources. I've made wonderful connections at Catalyst, and with most people I meet there, there is already some baseline framework of how we either know each other or know people in common, or have commonalities of what our interests are. I don't mean that at all to sound like it's cliquish, but rather, the opposite. People go to Catalyst because they have an interest in sexuality and want to know more.

Before I tell you about the two workshops and two panels I'm doing, I want to tell you a little more about what makes this conference so special. Firstly, there are three meetups tomorrow before the keynote: a shy/newbie meetup, a sex worker meetup, and a networking meetup. How cool is that? I am so impressed with all of those, and if I am still able to think after teaching for 6 hours, I plan to hit up the networking one. There's morning yoga ("downward doggystyle") taught by the wonderful Stacey Swimme (I saw wonderful because she's a friend I admire and think is awesome, though I didn't even realize she taught yoga until just now). There are panels on everything from "Fantasy Girls: The Perils Women Face In Geek Culture" to "Infidelity Is More Than Cheating," Living With An STI" and "Sex & Parenting: Sex Positive Parenting in a Sex Negative World." The closing keynote plenary address is by the women of Club 90, Annie Sprinkle, Candida Royalle, Veronica Hart and Veronica Vera, stars of "The Golden Age of Porn." And so much more!

Here's where I tell you what I'm up to, and I wouldn't be on a marketing panel if I didn't give you links to all the panelists. I did these two extended workshops at CatalystCon East in March and have to tell you that I've thought of them often because the people attending CatalystCon have a lot of passion for what they do and stories to tell, fiction and nonfiction. So far it's the only place I've taught my Sex Writing 101 workshop (though I hope to teach it elsewhere) and it's great to have 3 hours to really dig in to these topics. I hope to be sharing more of their work and am looking forward to the workshops and panels. Follow my marketing panelists on Twitter at @cunningminx, @ReidAboutSex and @charlieglickman and my erotica panelists, whose book covers you can see below and who'll be selling and signing books right after our workshop, at @shawnajkenney, @JoanPrice and @rebekahwsm.

See you at Catalyst. Come say hello! I'll be going to as many panels and events as I can (I have learned the hard way not to skip panels unless there's a good reason cause you miss out on a lot). And I know so many wonderful people who will be there: erotica writer Stella Harris, who I read with last night at She Bop, erotica writer Olivia Archer, who wrote "Kitchen Slut" in my anthology Hungry for More, blogger Lori of Kink, etc... and tons more awesome people. Can't make it? Follow the #ccon hashtag on Twitter (and each panel has its own hashtag), follow Catalyst on Facebook and stay tuned to their website for the announcement about CatalystCon East, which will happen soon.

September 12, 9:15 am-12:15 pm
Erotica 101 writing workshop, Los Angeles before CatalystCon

In this three hour workshop Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 50 erotica anthologies, such as The Big Book of Orgasms, Cheeky Spanking Stories and Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission, 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 discover how to incorporate everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular magazines and anthologies. The class will also cover branding yourself as a writer, using and selecting a good pseudonym, and using social media to promote your work and do outreach. She’ll also talk about submitting your work and keeping up with the thriving erotica market, including anthologies, ebooks, magazines and websites. Please bring paper and writing implements or a laptop to use for in class writing exercises. A bibliography with erotica resources will be provided. $45 (or $79 with pre-CataystCon Sex Writing 101, see below).
The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

September 12, 1:30-4:30 pm
Sex Writing 101 workshop, Los Angeles before CatalystCon

In this three hour workshop, writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel will cover all you need to know about writing about sex, including blogging, first-person essays and journalism. You’ll learn how to ethically write about your love life, what editors are looking for, where to find experts on sexuality topics, and how to stay abreast of current sex news. Whether you’re looking to write a sex blog, column, articles or books, you’ll find out how to pitch, how much money you can expect to make, and how to maximize your editorial opportunities. The class will also cover branding yourself as a writer, using and selecting a good pseudonym, using social media to promote your work and do outreach, and how to pitch stories. Rachel has been a sex columnist for The Village Voice, Penthouse and The Frisky, and has written about sexuality for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, Glamour, Inked, Salon, xoJane and many other publications. A resource list covering markets for sex-related pieces will be provided. $45 (or $79 with pre-CatalystCon Erotica 101, see above)

**Attendees who would like the opportunity to get feedback from Rachel on one piece of their own writing (3,000 words or less), to be submitted prior to the workshop can purchase this as an add on to either of the above workshops. Fee: $20
The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

September 13, 9:30-10:40 am
Shameless Self-Promotion: Marketing 101 for Activists panel, CatalystCon

With Charlie Glickman, Cunning Minx, Reid Mihalko and me (follow along with the hashtag #cconself on Twitter)
Got a sex-positive cause you want to promote but remain unsure how to market yourself, your group or your organization effectively? Got the passion and drive but missing the marketing degree and the communication plan? Join this panel of expert sex-positive educators and activists as they share marketing tips designed to help you gain credibility, generate content and promote your ideas effectively. Attendees will learn how to use basic marketing tools such as speaking, blogging, social media and ebooks to build a following and promote themselves effectively.
The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

September 14, 12:30-1:40 pm
Moderating Envelope-Pushing Erotica panel, CatalystCon

Envelope-Pushing Erotica: How Sexy Stories Can Change The World (follow along with the hasthag #cconerotica on Twitter)
Erotica can be more than just entertainment and titillation; it can help redefine what’s considered sexy, give readers an expanded way of looking at sexuality and reach readers in ways nonfiction may not. Each of the authors on this panel approaches the topic from a different angle: Shawna Kenney, as editor of Book Lovers: Sexy Stories from Under the Covers, explores the depths of literary erotica, senior sex expert Joan Price, as editor of Ageless Erotica, demystifies sex over 50, and Rebekah Weatherspoon, whose tagline is “Where The Happily Ever Afters are Always In Color,” as author of BDSM-themed erotic novels such as At Her Feet and Blacker Than Blue. We will discuss what it means to push the boundaries of erotic fiction, the marketplace for erotic books, incorporating diverse types of stories and characters and the meaning of erotica in readers’ lives. Moderated by Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of over 50 anthologies including The Big Book of Orgasms and the Best Bondage Erotica series.
The Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

Ageless Erotica edited by Joan Price

At Her Feet by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Bonus for reading all the way to the end: the first person at CatalystCon who asks me for this I Am A Frostitute sticker (that I bought at Seattle's Cupcake Royale) gets it:


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