Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

6 podcasts that have helped me advance my writing career

Over the last few months, I've become a major podcast listener; almost every day, I listen to some portion of a podcast, sometimes several episodes, and I have no idea why it took me so long to convert to listening to them! I think I was convinced that my mind would wander too much, or that I was too linear to focus on them, or to truly absorb what I was hearing. But over the past few months, I've been listening to podcasts to help me grow my writing career and business, along with reading the work of authors recommended on these podcast, such as Jennifer Lee's excellent Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur (want to know more? Here's a great interview of Lee by podcaster Tiffany Han).

While I haven't listened to every episode of all the podcasts listed below, what's been remarkable to me is that even when I've only heard a few episodes, I've learned a lot from them. When I say "a lot," I mean practical steps that I then apply in my daily life and work. Not every episode will completely relate to my job, but another thing that's stood out is how much I can glean from people whose careers differ from mine. Even when the subject is writing, if you peruse the podcast episode offerings, you'll see all kinds of writing: writing books, writing essays, writing fiction, writing blog posts, writing for LinkedIn, etc.

The first podcast I started doing a deep dive into was Raise Your Hand. Say Yes. by Tiffany Han, which I've gushed about before. Most of the people she interviews are artists of one kind or another. Me? I'm not and likely never will be a visual artist. I can barely draw a stick figure. I'm not crafty. But the area where I've learned the most from these guests is about business, and that's an area where I am learning by leaps and bounds. I feel like I'm a very young person soaking it all up like a sponge. The best part is I get to apply these lessons, such as offering an early bird discount for my next Litreactor online erotica writing class. Plus I'm packing to move in January (just a block away, but still a pain) and listening to podcasts is something I can do while I stuff endless books into boxes!

You can listen to the first episode, the most recent one, or just pick which topic or guest leaps out at you. These will likely be of interest to those who aren't writers too, but if you're a writer or creative person of some kind, I especially recommend them. I've highlighted my favorites of the episodes I've listened below, but really, start wherever you want. And let me know what you think!

Beyond the Prose


Sometimes I think people don't want to know the nitty gritty of writing, how many hours of researching it took to craft 800 (or 1,000 or 2,000 or 10,000) words, how much transcribing and digging and cutting and revising and agonizing. But for those who do want to know, host Keysha Whitaker goes there. These are long episodes, and very insider baseball about much of writing, but worth it. I'm looking forward to listening to the episode where she interviews essayist Dinty W. Moore. I especially like that Whitaker shares her own writing ups and downs, including rejections, and encourages listeners to submit their work, but submit it smartly and study their markets like they would study any other subject. The interviews are great, but the shorter updates by Whitaker that start the podcast are perhaps the most inspiring, because they are so honest and relatable.

My favorite episodes

Sharisse Tracey on how she got bylines in The New York Times, Salon and elsewhere
Jennifer Niesslein on her literary magazine, Full Grown People
Lee Gutkind on creative nonfiction

The BinderCast (you can also read about it on the BinderCon website, and if you're in Los Angeles, I encourage you to check out their March conference)


BinderCast is new, which means you don't have to listen long to catch up and stay current! Also: check out BinderCon if you're in or near Los Angeles. It's a conference for women and gender-nonconforming writers happening March 19-20.

My favorite episodes

Roxane Gay and Emily Gould - especially recommended if you blog or write online
Jillian Lauren on memoir and permission

Raise Your Hand. Say Yes.


My favorite episodes

Creativity as an Asset with Jennifer Lee - Jennifer Lee is one of numerous smart creative people I've found via this podcast. I follow everyone who's interviewed because they teach me so much.
Jason Zook, who sold his future - I also bought Jason's book, written when he was Jason Surfrapp (he changed his name as part of his business model), and was inspired by his story and very novel, daring approach.
Todd Henry on honing your authentic voice - yes, yes, yes. Also, yes, the third podcast guest whose books I've bought based on hearing him on the podcast.
The myth of passive income - Brava! Han breaks it down that, sorry, there's no free lunch. There's hard work in pursuit of your dreams.

Solo-Ish (click here to subscribe in iTunes)


My favorite episodes

Host Lisa Bonos' parents' origin story - First, I think it's ballsy of Lisa Bonos, editor of The Washington Post's Solo-ish section, which I've contributed to, and host of the podcast, to interview her parents. But even more, it's ballsy of them to go there and talk about sex and dating and commitment and how they got together in a not-straightforward fashion.
Freezing your eggs - This one was tough for me, because I'm too old to freeze my eggs, and possibly too old, at 40, to get pregnant. But it's an interesting listen (ha ha, Freudian slip, I'm actually listening to a podcast as I type and I wrote "lesson" at first).
Cooking on dates - I've only cooked for people I was already committed to, not when we were still in the getting-to-know-you early date stage. So what's good to cook, and when? This episode explores that.

Write with Impact with Glenn Leibowitz


My favorite episodes

Tim Paige on growing your email list - sometimes I hear the words "email marketing" and want to immediately erase them from the existence of the English language. They sound so corporate and business-speak. But...but but but. Paige actually makes a lot of sense and marketing and branding and reaching readers are topics I'm personally interested in and ones I want to learn about so I can share them with my students.
Sarah Wendell on romance - my boyfriend walked in just as she was saying the words "cock," "pussy" and "arousal" - she breaks down some of the major romance subgenres and does a great job discussing the modern romance market
Sean McCabe on growing his business with writing - I don't count how many words I write a year, but I'm still impressed both with his million words a year and his take on writing.

Writing Class Radio


There's a lot to be amused by here, like the fact that this podcast is sponsored by host Andrea Askowitz's brother, that it has a homespun feel and that it's a podcast of a class, which is a little unusual. But when you dig deep into the stories, they are wonderful and break down the process of writing into its basic parts. I'm linking to Soundcloud because that's the easiest way to link individually, but they are also on iTunes.

My favorite episodes

"The Hardest Thing to Write About" - have tissues handy. Wow.
"What is the Story You Tell About Your Relationship with Your Mother?"
"The Lies We Tell" - I've been a liar and I've been lied to. Haven't we all?

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Sex on #CyberMonday - 5 of my erotica titles on sale now for Kindle!

Happy Cyber Monday! Most of these sales I just found out about via Amazon, and I have no idea how long they'll last. All these ebooks are under $5, a major bargain. The Twice the Pleasure sale of $1.99 on Kindle (and Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo) is on through November 4th. I'm just including Kindle links below since they are the most common, I believe, but I encourage you to check them out if you are in the mood to sex up your Cyber Monday! Also: today is the final day for my buy one, get one free kinky erotica ebook promotion for Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples. Happy e-reading!

Irresistible: Erotic Romance for Couples


The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories


Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission


Tasting Him: Oral Sex Stories


Twice the Pleasure: Bisexual Women's Erotica


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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bisexual erotica ebook readers, Twice the Pleasure is $1.99 through December 4th

Guess what? Cleis Press has put my anthology Twice the Pleasure: Bisexual Women's Erotica on sale for ebook readers for just $1.99 through December 4th. Read more information about the book below, or if you saw "bisexual erotica" and were all "I want that!" you can buy it instantly using the links below.



Google Play




Hot Bi Babes: A "Both/And" Approach to Bisexual Sex by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Woody Allen once famously said, "Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night." As a bisexual woman, I can attest that this is not necessarily true. Bisexuality is more than just a math equation, and cannot be so easily categorized or summarized. Identifying as bi, or being attracted to or engaging in sex with a variety of genders, or whatever version of something approximating those states of being, is the theme of this anthology, and in many ways, the term is actually a lot broader than that dual opportunity. This is not a book about choosing "either/or," male or female, or simply one of each. It's not about narrowing gender down to one size fits all, but about expanding our options, to a "both/and" approach to how we view and cultivate our sexuality. It's a welcoming, inclusive definition that welcomes all comers—pun fully intended. I wanted this book, while fictional and focused on the erotic aspects of bisexual women's lives, to explore as wide a swatch of "bisexual" as possible. That means that some of the best stories here don't mention the word "bisexual" at all; they don't have to, because their bi angle, their queerness, is embedded—and bedded—in the story. The characters are living it, rather than identifying with it; the sexual exploration and attraction, the experience and movement, are more important than what anyone wants to call it.

The large majority of the submissions I received for this book were about women having sex with women, which makes sense in the context of a culture that still privileges heterosexual identity over any other kind. Even in an era of so-called lesbian and bisexual chic, there's still plenty of discomfort with the fluidity with which many women view their sexuality. Shifting away from a purely heterosexual mindset forces women to grapple with the ways we differ from mainstream society, even one that is becoming much more open and knowledgeable about the varieties of queer life. The first time we dare to dip our toes—or other bodies parts—into the world of sex with other women is often momentous. Many of us will find the character of Laura, in Nicole Wolfe's opening story, "1% Adaptable," familiar. Laura at first protests Marie's advances, warning her that she's not gay, not bi, until she listens to her body and follows its yearnings. "Laura was shocked that the kiss had surprised her, considering what had just happened between her legs. She let her lips caress Marie’s. She dared to let her tongue out to play. She risked letting her hands tickle Marie’s hips and backside," Wolfe writes. But I didn't want this to simply be a first-time bicurious tentative collection, but a robust one exploring the intimacy of life as a woman interested in men and women.

That's why I wanted stories that asked questions like the ones in Jacqueline Applebee's closing tale, "What I Want, What I Need," when she writes, "I’d been out as a lesbian since I was twenty-three. Why was I suddenly spending time with a straight man? Why was I enjoying it so much? Had I really been a lesbian at all, or had I been lying to myself for the past twenty years?" There are girlfriends and wives, husbands and boyfriends, first dates, threesomes and much more here. There's daring and adventure, women taking risks by stepping outside their comfort zones, whether it's by surrendering to a bodyguard in "The State" by Tahira Iqbal or confronting "The Wife" of a male lover in Kay Jaybee's story, only to be confronted right back. The women you'll read about are attracted to strong women like "The Robber Girl" in Lori Selke's story, and men who surprise them with their sensitivity, such as in my story, "A Little Fun."

There's also kink, if that's what you're looking for. In Cheryl B.'s "The Break," spanking becomes a way for two exes to reconnect and revive the passion between them, while Sinclair Sexsmith takes us inside a gay bar and then home with a boy her protagonist has met there, one who may or may not know her true gender, in "Right Red Flagging." The protagonist of "Seduction Dance," D., is under the watchful eye of her master when she finds a new female plaything for her to command and seduce. Gender is played with, fucked with, and grappled with as well in Giselle Renarde's "Glitter in the Gutter," in which the female partner of a male crossdresser encourages his interest when he fears he's crossed a line and doesn't want to live in the new, judgmental world he's stepped into. Aimee Pearl writes in "Meeting at the Hole in the Wall, "Chivalry is dead, and I want to writhe naked on its grave."

These are celebratory, sexy stories, but, all apologies to Mr. Allen, they are more complex than a view of bisexual simply as "twice as much" offers. I like to think of them as "both/and" stories that, collectively, offer a look at the ways bisexuality, queerness, and lesbianism affect us while recognizing that there's no monolithic "typical bisexual." We are multifaceted, full of desires that can't be contained into a single, simplistic category. We are hungry, horny, mischievous, naughty, provocative, and, yes, curious. We may think we know what we want, only to keep on surprising ourselves just when we think we have it all figured out. We are open to a wide range of sexual possibilities, whether they exist in our heads or beyond. I hope you'll enjoy the 23 stories presented here, and that they serve as erotic catalysts, no matter how you identify.

Table of Contents

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Why Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 is the most important book I've ever edited

While I’m busy promoting this month’s release of Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples, I’m also looking ahead to January and the release of what I consider the most important book I’ve ever edited: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1.

BWEOfThe Year_approved

I’ve been reading the Best Women’s Erotica series since the very first volume edited by Marcy Sheiner, and have had the honor of having several stories of mine published in the series, including some of my favorites, most notably my dishwashing fetish story “Doing the Dishes” and my oral sex restaurant story "Secret Service," inspired by a former restaurant where I used to live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With this new volume, Cleis Press has shifted from using calendar years in the title to volumes, so that the books are not automatically returned by bookstores at the end of the year. This means that readers will have more opportunities to discover the book.

I put everything I’ve learned from my last decade plus of anthology editing into this book. My vision was for an anthology of varied erotica by and about women, and while of course no single book will speak to every aspect of female sexuality, I am incredibly proud of the result. There’s a story set in the past and a story set in the future. There’s a fictional superhero and a pop star. There's kink and tenderness, love, lust and flirtation. There's real life drama and plenty of fantasies.

As I discovered upon my recent copyedit, as befitting my turning 40, there wound up being several women in their forties. There are two trans men (and if I have the honor of editing another volume, I will make sure trans women are included). There are lesbian and heterosexual pairings; there are bisexual stories; there are single ladies and ones in committed relationships, as well as ones in relationships that could use a little improvement. And much more!

I think this is one of the most diverse collections I’ve edited, in terms of race, age, sexual orientation and types of story settings and storytelling. I had to turn down many amazing stories due to space, which is always gut-wrenching to me, but one of the rougher aspects of anthology editing. However, my hope is that this volume reaches readers around the world, as it contains stories written by authors in the United States, Canada, the UK and Japan.

It’s become my new favorite amongst my titles. When people ask me which anthology of mine they should try, I will say Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, because I think it’s both modern and timeless. And yes, these stories are by and about women, but I truly believe anyone interested in varied, well written erotica, will appreciate them. I just reread them and even though I already knew what would happen, I got a kick out of it. My story "Flying Solo," written in the second person, made me want to write more in second person because it's fun (if challenging, but a good challenge).

The other reason I’m so proud of this book has to do with me stepping up as a businesswoman in a way I never have before. When I was asked to edit this anthology, I hired a publishing lawyer to help me with my contract, and then I got on the phone with my publisher and negotiated a better deal for myself than I would have gotten otherwise. I got some terms that I hadn’t even asked for, and all of that makes me even more committed to devoting 100% of my energy in the first half of 2016 to spreading the word about this book wide and far.

Right now I’m working on arranging readings that I hope will take place in San Francisco and Chicago and possibly a few more cities. As a general rule, I only travel for paid speaking events, because that’s what I can afford and what’s best for my business, but I’m breaking that rule to invest in this book because I believe in it so much and want to share that passion in the form of live readings. If those pan out, I will be posting about them all over, especially on the social media accounts for the book on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. I hope you will consider pre-ordering the book in print or ebook, or just sharing this link with the cover, table of contents and introduction. I'll be sending postcards to any stores that want them (email me at rachelkramerbussel at if you have a store or event where you can put postcards out).

This is the culmination of the work I’ve been doing since I wrote my very first erotica story in 1999, and since I worked on my first anthology in 2004. It’s a huge honor that I do not take lightly. I thank all the authors who’ve allowed me to publish their work, and Cleis Press for believing in me and putting a beautiful cover on this incredibly sexy book. I will be sharing much more about the stories in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, as we approach the January 12 publication date.

What I’ve been learning in recent months is that if you want to achieve big goals, you have to first dream big. So here’s my big dream: that Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 becomes my bestselling anthology. I love all the books with my name on them, of course, but this one I truly believe speaks to modern sexuality in a way that’s, without explicitly using the word in its fiction, feminist. I can’t wait to share these 22 hot stories with you. If you're a blogger or journalist and would like to cover BWE of the Year (for short), email me at rachelkramerbussel at with "BWE" in the subject line and in the body your name, mailing address and publication name.

Below you'll find the links where you can pre-order Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, edited by me, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and published by Cleis Press. I hope you’ll check it out, because these authors are all ones to watch.

Introduction (read it on Tumblr)
A New Canvas Tara Betts
Demimonde Valerie Alexander
Ophelia the Second Jade A. Waters
Revisiting Youth J. Crichton and H. Keyes
Date Night D.R. Slaten
Flying Solo Rachel Kramer Bussel
Drawn by Nic Heidi Champa
The Ropes Elise King
Starstruck Lazuli Jones
The Altar of Lamented Toys Jessica Taylor
Matilda’s Secret L. Marie Adeline
Scents & Sexuality Doriana Chase
Alvin’s Night Elizabeth Coldwell
Enter Me Tabitha Rayne
The Wolf at His Door Deborah Castellano
Out of the Ordinary Rose P. Lethe
Lighting the Pyre Theda Hudson
Restitution Ria Restrepo
The Carnalarium Rose Caraway
Waiting to Pee Amy Butcher
Two Doms for Dinner Dorothy Freed
The Assistant Tiffany Reisz

Get your hands on Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1:

Amazon (print)


Barnes & Noble (print)




IndieBound (find your nearest local bookstore)

Cleis Press

Amazon UK (print)

Amazon UK Kindle

Amazon Canada (print)

Amazon Canada Kindle

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A free book on Black Friday? Enter my giveaway on Facebook to win Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

Like me, your inbox is probably inundated with Black Friday sales. I love a good sale too, but with Thanksgiving this week and me feeling truly grateful that I get to live this life and keep on editing books that I'm so proud of, I wanted to offer something back. So I'm giving away 5 copies of my first "little" (in size) book, Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex on my Facebook page. There are only three requirements: a) that you're in the U.S. (I'm not rich, so can only afford to send books via media mail in my country) b) that you subscribe to my monthly newsletter and c) that you leave a comment on this Facebook post with the email address you've used to subscribe to my newsletter.

Not a subscriber to my newsletter? You can subscribe on the left-hand side of my blog ( if you're reading hit elsewhere) or on my Facebook page (click on "newsletter signup") or on the left-hand side of


The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST tonight and I will be contacting the winners in the morning so I can send them their books! Good luck!

I hope you are feeling thankful this year, even if it's in small doses. I have strived hard to make gratitude a daily, deliberate part of my life this year, and along with that, I've tried to figure out ways to change the parts of my life that I don't like. It's not always easy, and sometimes there are curveballs thrown at me. For instance, in January, I'll be moving for the fourth time in four years. Do I want to? No. Will it require time and money that could have been invested back into my business? Yes. But is there anything I can do about it? No, and since I live by the Serenity Prayer, I am simply pulling out the packing tape today and getting a head start on packing up what will turn out to be mostly books, along with clothes and other important items. The upside of moving so often, especially after having lived in my convenient Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment for 13 years, is that I care less about "stuff" in general and more about the specific things that matter. It gets easier to pare down each time. I've gifted hundreds of books to friends, and gotten to share in the delight of them reading one I liked (or, in some cases, never wound up reading). I got serious with myself about what items I wanted to keep and which I didn't.

Out of all the things I've read about gratitude, this post by the wonderful Latham Thomas of Mama Glow, "My Home Burned Down Before Thanksgiving & I Am Still Thankful" spoke to me the most. Read it and treasure people, health, love, humanity, not things. Yes, it's a paradox: this post is mainly about giving away a thing, and I make a living by crafting things (books) I care deeply about. But I care about them differently now after my moves. I know that they can be a burden as well as a blessing. Books have taught me almost everything I know about life, but they are not life itself. It's a good lesson to remember.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Just announced: my next LitReactor erotica writing class starts February 11; register by December 31 to save $25

Want to learn how to write erotica, and how to market your work and get it published? You're in luck!


My next LitReactor 4-week online erotica writing class will start February 11th. And for the first time, they're offering an early bird discount! Register by December 31st and pay $350; register January 1 or later and the price will be $375. This will be my sixth time teaching the class, and each time I refine and learn more about how to best serve my students.

You can take the class from anywhere in the world, in any time zone, on your own schedule. You read the weekly lectures and assignments when you want to, and can participate in weekly homework assignments. I would say the people who will get the most out of the class will be able to dedicate at least 5 hours a week to it. I also encourage questions and enjoy researching the answers for my students. You will also be invited after class ends to join my secret Facebook group for my erotica writing alumni to continue to the conversation.

On the LitReactor site, you'll see a breakdown of the weekly lectures and assignments, plus quotes from former students. In addition to what's listed there, I also offer extra material, including over a dozen Q&As exclusive to the class with erotica professionals such as publishers, editors, agents as well as authors, including Tiffany Reisz, Elizabeth SaFleur, Charlotte Stein, Cecilia Tan, Rebekah Weatherspoon and others.

Have a question about the class? Email me at rachelkb at gmail dot com with "LitReactor" in the subject line and I'll get right back to you!

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why the "for couples" in the Dirty Dates subtitle is a suggestion, not a mandate

Look closely, or even not that closely, at the cover of my new BDSM erotica anthology Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples and you'll see that the image and subtitle are trying to tell you something. "Couples" is the theme, what with the one kissing in the black and white photo and the "for couples" in the subtitle of the book.


Well, I'm not saying the subtitle is a lie, but I am saying it's not the full story. I get into this more at Lady Smut in my post "Why I believe in sexy stories for everyone", which I encourage you to check out. The week before they made it Dirty Dates week and there's lots of posts there riffing on the theme.

I believe Dirty Dates, like all my anthologies, has something for everyone interested in sexy tales. You don't need to be part of a couple, or kinky, or have ever read erotica before, to find something to appreciate.

Now I will do my duty as an editor with a brand new book out to tell you where you can buy it (and if you buy the ebook by November 30th, I'll send you a free erotica ebook as thanks):



Barnes & Noble


Books-a-Million (paperback)

Books-a-Million (ebook)


IndieBound (find it at your local bookstore)



Cleis Press

Amazon UK

Kindle UK

Amazon Canada

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hello from your "erotic fairy grandmother"

A few awesome things converged around my recent Washington, DC erotica writing workshop. One is that I learned just how much a store like Lotus Blooms appreciates its teachers. I got a small bonus for all the promotional posts I did about it, which felt awesome. I've been reading and listening to podcasts all about using your strengths, talents and passions to further your creative career. That's what I do; I'm a sharer—some would obviously say an oversharer. But I don't apologize for it, and to be financially rewarded for it felt like my career and my passions and my life were all in alignment.

I was also thrilled that Lotus Blooms booked the upstairs of the bar across the street, The Black Squirrel. It was a wonderful little area, complete with bartender. We were a relatively small group, I think about 12 or so, but the perfect size for the setting and for those who wanted to share to be able to.

One of the places I did my outreach to was the website Brightest Young Things, and their writer Kaylee did a fabulous review of my erotica writing class. I love that she called me "our erotic fairy godmother for the evening" and you should read her piece to get her take on the workshop. Key words: "A Freddy Vs Jason love story."


Speaking of teaching, I'm just about halfway through my latest LitReactor Between the Sheets class and am looking ahead to 2016. I'll be announcing a new event soon, and will teach both erotica writing and nonfiction sex writing workshops on April 1st for CatalystCon in Chicago (though you don't have to attend CatalystCon to attend my workshops). Beyond that, nothing is finalized, but I am working on launching new events and classes, so stay tuned by reading this blog, @raquelita on Twitter and/or subscribing to my monthly newsletter at

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Free kinky erotica book offer for Dirty Dates ebook release day!

I got an email while I was sleeping at 12:08 a.m. that my Kindle copy of Dirty Dates was ready for my ebook reading pleasure, so it must really be release day for Dirty Dates! That's a great way to make an anthology editor happy.


It's like my book gets two release days, because I know many people prefer to read on an e-reader. Here are those handy links, and if you have read it, or when you're done, I'd love if you'd leave a review wherever you purchased it and/or on Goodreads. Even a sentence sharing your favorite story in the book goes a long way to more readers discovering the work of these amazing writers! My goal as an editor is to publish stories readers of all kinds will enjoy (not just kinky readers and not just "couples" in this case), and to give my authors a wide audience. So thank you for your support! FYI, I'm not seeing Dirty Dates listed in Google Play, but if that changes, I will update this post and the official Dirty Dates Tumblr.

Not convinced yet? Read the introduction on Tumblr. Read sexy free excerpts:

"The Corset" by Dorothy Freed

"Switch" by Mina Murray

"Polka-Dot Dress" by Erzabet Bishop

Buy the ebook of Dirty Dates from these retailers for your e-reader of choice:




Kobo (note: I found out after I posted this that Kindle doesn't allow users to send ebooks as gifts and because I'm in the U.S., I can't send a Kobo egift card. So if you're a Kobo user, I can only send you either a physical gift card from Kobo or else an ebook gift from Amazon, Amazon Canada, Nook or iBooks. My apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. I wish Kobo allowed the gifting of books!)


To sweeten the pot, for those who've already ordered Dirty Dates in ebook form OR those who do by November 30th at 11:59 pm EST, here's a special deal:

Send your receipt for any of the above ebook versions of Dirty Dates to dirtydatesbook at with "Ebook" in the subject line and your free ebook request in the body (see options below), and I will send you the ebook version of any of the following of my BDSM erotica titles free (I believe they should all be available in the above ebook forms):

Anything for You; Best Bondage Erotica 2011; Best Bondage Erotica 2012; Best Bondage Erotica 2013; Best Bondage Erotica 2014; Best Bondage Erotica 2015; The Big Book of Submission; Bottoms Up; Cheeky Spanking Stories; He's on Top; Please, Ma'am; Please, Sir; Serving Him; She's on Top; Spanked; Surrender; Yes, Sir; Yes, Ma'am.

It's that easy, but in case you prefer a numbered list:

1. Buy the ebook of Dirty Dates on Kindle, Nook, iBooks or Kobo.

2. Select your preferred free kinky erotica ebook from the list above.

3. Forward your receipt with "Ebook" in the subject line to by November 30, 2015, 11:59 pm EST.

4. Download the free gift ebook I've sent!

Unless otherwise specified, I'll send you the gift ebook in the same format you bought the Dirty Dates ebook. So if you send me a Dirty Dates Kindle receipt and ask for The Big Book of Submission, I'll gift it to you via Kindle. This promotion is valid through November 30th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST. Your receipt MUST be received by then for me to send you the free ebook. This is a promotion done solely by me as a gift to my readers to thank you for reading Dirty Dates. Feel free to pass this on to anyone who might appreciate some hot BDSM erotica!

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2 recent podcast appearances: Speaking of Sex and Made in '83

I've recently gotten pretty obsessed with listening to podcasts ("obsessed" as in, I try to listen to at least part of one every day), so I was excited to be interviewed recently on two podcasts: Speaking of Sex (the wonderful podcast by sex educators the Pleasure Mechanics) and the Made in '83 podcast. Click on each podcast title or logo below to listen and/or subscribe to each in iTunes.

For Speaking of Sex, I talked a lot about Dirty Dates, my responsibility as an editor of BDSM, how couples can use erotica, whether I agree with the review that called it "kink light," what I hope readers take away, and a little about what I teach my erotica writing students. On Made in '83, we briefly discussed Dirty Dates but mainly talked about sexuality in everyday life, from slut shaming to dating and more.



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Sunday, November 15, 2015

How to know your relationship is going to last

Okay, unfortunately, I don't think there's any way to know anything for 100% sure about the future. But here's my hunch about my relationship: it's lasted almost four years now both because we love each other and we are open to change. Change within ourselves and change imposed from the outside world. In January, a week or two after our anniversary, we are going to be moving for the fourth time in four years. Is that a complete pain in the ass? Of course. But both of us, after a few minutes of complaining, have simply adapted.

Yes, I just hung up my gorgeous Georgia O'Keeffe painting and other artwork. I have bookshelves set up so all my books are accessible by walking across my bedroom/office. But that's life, and we aren't moving far, and while we will still only have a one-year lease, we are both pretty confident who we're renting from won't have any reason to kick us out (in this year's case, it wasn't anything to do with us, but our landlord decided to exercise their option to move back in after our lease was up).

We have adapted to so many things: job losses, family deaths, loss of income, jealousy. We've adapted to new towns and new circumstances. We've seen each other at our best and our worst. We're working on learning how to argue more productively. Friday, we went to Grounds for Sculpture, which was stunningly gorgeous. I wasn't quite prepared for how grandiose it would be. We lucked out with a sunny but slightly chilly day, and bundled up, I was happy to roam around most of the day, punctuated by a lovely lunch at their restaurant, Rat's. We so rarely get a weekday together and if we do, are usually on our computers.

Summertime Lady by David Hostetler (side view)

Then we came home and watched the news about Paris. It was such a jarring juxtaposition to see this artwork that celebrated life and love and, I believe, timelessness, contrasted with such horrific violence.

Then yesterday, we set off for Westchester. We had a little day adventure planned, but when we checked into our hotel, it was awful. As in, we stayed for as long as it took to book another room and left. It was a little tense; I'd been so relieved to be out of the car, and there we were, getting in another one. But guess what? We not only got a refund because my boyfriend calmly but firmly told them why the room didn't work (it was very dirty and it smelled), but we found a suite at a new hotel for only abut $30 more that also had a jacuzzi hot tub we could both fit in!

Now, my boyfriend is a big guy, so this is a rare occurrence. I didn't even know he'd want to get in. But we positioned ourselves and turned up the hot water and then the jets, while I drank a tea that was still hot 20 minutes after I got it. We didn't stay long, but I just kept looking around like, What? This is my life, that I get to randomly be in a jacuzzi hot tub with someone who cares about me so much and looks out for me at every turn?

There were other moments of unexpectedness, like curving roads that I was so relieved we passed that I almost cried (I'm extremely afraid of cars, though I'm better than I used to be). I'm not saying we are both perfectly calm 24/7, but that we are each both able to roll with any given unexpected situation, or one of us can help guide the other through it. We even shared a bed, two nights after telling the world why separate beds are good for our relationship. But with the help of earplugs for him and a king-size bed, we did it. In fact, he's sleeping in that bed right now while I type this at seven in the morning.

So no, I have no idea what the future holds. But I have a feeling we are going to make it for the long haul, as long as we can continue to adapt to change in whatever form it takes.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

My 40th birthday photo shoot on why my boyfriend and I sleep in separate beds is in the New York Post

I've been 40 for 4 days, and they've been a whirlwind! On Tuesday, my 40th birthday, I woke up very early, around 5 a.m. (I was born at 3:59 a.m., and was a preemie; I was supposed to be born in February 1976), then spent the day celebrating the release of my new erotica anthology Dirty Dates, writing two articles for Salon, teaching my LitReactor class, going to dinner with my boyfriend and a coworker, and having my photo taken for this New York Post article on couples with separate beds. I only have a few photos of my boyfriend and I from our almost four years together, so that was fun and special, all the more so because he's pretty camera and press shy (yes, my opposite!), but did it for me. Thank you to Anna Davies for writing the article and contacting me to be interviewed, and to Alex M for the great photos. This is what a 40-year-old writer with a stuffed animal in her bed looks like!

The article got a lot of buzz, including a mention on In The Papers on NY1, a discussion on Live with Kelly and Michael, another interview with me at Yahoo Health, a Jezebel post and a great exploration at The Frisky on your ideal cohabitation situation. The most amusing part to me is that the original New York Post headline changed during the day to the current one. If my life is boring (which, I admit, parts of it are), I say, the more boring, the better!



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Kinky erotica sale alert: Best Bondage Erotica 2013 is just $1.99 on Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo!

From November 13 (today!) through November 20, the ebook edition of Best Bondage Erotica 2013 is only $1.99!


It's got a foreword by Graydancer and lots of hot stories inside. Here's where to take advantage of this special sale:



Google Play



For a free sample of my story "Foot and Mouth," click here.

Table of contents:

Foreword: Uncomfortable Truths Graydancer
Introduction: Loving Bondage Anywhere and Everywhere
An Introduction to Shibari Elizabeth Coldwell
This Is Me Holding You Annabeth Leong
Tying the Knot Tiffany Reisz
The Great Outdoors Teresa Noelle Roberts
What Vacations Are For Thomas S. Roche
Lights Out Mina Murray
Feeling the Heat Lucy Felthouse
You Can Look… Evan Mora
The Moons of Mars Valerie Alexander
Interlude for the Troops Louise Blaydon
Hot in the City Sommer Marsden
Passion Party Purgatory Logan Zachary
Steadfast Andrea Dale
Tree Hugger Giselle Renarde
A Public Spectacle D. L. King
Seven More Days N. T. Morley
A Bit of a Tangle Monocle
Wheelbarrow Position Danielle Mignon
The Longest Afternoon Medea Mor
Plastic Wrap Shoshanna Evers
Wiped Kay Jaybee
Foot and Mouth Rachel Kramer Bussel

Official blurb:
Some say bondage is the ultimate intimacy. Once you have allowed yourself to fully explore your fantasies of giving in and surrendering to pleasure, you may find you need a firm but gentle hand to guide you. Let Best Bondage Erotica 2013 be your guidebook of everything BDSM. Editrix Rachel Kramer Bussel and her writers put it all out on the page in stories using everything from silk ties rope to shiny cuffs, blindfolds, wires and everything you can imagine and MORE. Best Bondage Erotica 2013 offers erotic insight for newbies and experienced players alike. These stories of forbidden desires and sexual fantasies, penned by the “masters and mistresses” of the genre, will shock, scintillate, and mesmerize.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy birthday to me and happy book birthday to Dirty Dates!

So, it's my birthday, and it's been so busy, in a good way, that I haven't had a chance to post about it until now. I'll be posting about what it means to me to be turning 40 soon, but for now, I wanted to share that my latest anthology, Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples, is officially for sale in print!


So if you're wondering what to get the woman already has too much stuff (this hoarder raises her hand!), the best "happy birthday" gift to me is actually a gift for YOU. Or someone you love/lust after/want to get kinky with. Yes, Dirty Dates has lots of inspiration. No, it's not a how-to, but it's got super sexy stories that have fun date ideas, whether you're kinky or not, that will very likely give you ideas for adding some creative hotness to your relationship (or your next relationship. There are married couples, couples who are just starting to date, kinky couples, female submissions, female dominants and a lot more. It includes short stories written by Jade A. Waters (read about the inspiration behind her story "The Swap" on Jade's blog), Justine Elyot, D. L. King, Dorothy Freed (read an excerpt from "The Corset" at Kinkly) and others. You can read the full table of contents and introduction on Tumblr and below is where you can buy it (or pre-order the ebook). I'm thrilled to share a birthday with my book, and hope you enjoy it too!



Barnes & Noble


Books-a-Million (paperback)

Books-a-Million (ebook)


IndieBound (find it at your local bookstore)



Cleis Press

Amazon UK

Kindle UK

Amazon Canada

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Monday, November 09, 2015

Thank you, Savannah and Washington, DC plus sexy shop photos from Lotus Blooms

I'll make this a brief thank you, since I'm heading on a train to New York, then running a few errands, then catching the bus to Atlantic City so I can spend my final night of my thirties at home and wake up on my birthday in the same place as my boyfriend. I've had an amazing trip, in two parts, Savannah and Washington, DC. I got to catch up with two of my closest friends, who I used to see all the time when we all lived in New York, eat wonderful food, explore a new city, and do a fabulous reading and teach a highly engaged workshop. All of that has energized me for the rest of my month, which includes teaching my Litreactor erotica writing class and launching Dirty Dates tomorrow. Many thanks to Nichelle Stephens for organizing Friday's reading and Lotus Blooms for booking last night's workshop.

Here's me at Back in the Day Bakery, which I highly recommend visiting if you're in Savannah.


And here's me outside the newly opened Lotus Blooms in Adams Morgan in Washington, DC, plus some photos inside the store. Great selection, and amazing shoes and corsets and other sexy clothing. And erotica and other sex related books, of course. Had a great meal at Libertine across the street, and my workshop was actually upstairs at The Black Squirrel, which was a wonderful space!


If this isn't erotica writing fodder, I don't know what is!






Last but not least: corsets! If you want a corset and are in the DC area, get yourself to Lotus Blooms.

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Sunday, November 08, 2015

How lube took over the world this week, with a little help from Ronda Rousey

In case you didn't hear, Ronda Rousey is not a fan of lube. She came under fire this week for telling Maxim readers, in an article entitled "UFC Queen Ronda Rousey Reveals the Secret to Great Sex," this:
What should a guy always do? Take his time. In general, a girl takes a minute. He needs to get her ready. You should never need lube in your life. If you need lube, then you’re being lazy...and you’re not taking your time.
For Salon, I broke down why Ronda Rousey is wrong about lube, with the help of numerous sex educators and professionals.


Plenty of others also took Rousey to task. At Bustle, Kristine Fellizar detailed "Why You Need Lube During Sex, Even Though Ronda Rousey Thinks You Don't." Jezebel noted why it's not a good idea idea to take sex advice from Rousey. Wicked Sensual Care offered Rousey a lifetime supply of free products, including lube.

Last but not least, sex educator, researcher and Come As You Are author Emily Nagoski started the Twitter hashtag #tweetyourlube to get people sharing the role lube plays in their lives, and wrote a great blog post on sex positivity and lube. For some lube suggestions, check out Lady Laid Bare's roundup. The end result has been a lot more awareness of how many people use lube, why it's important, and denouncing Rousey's outdated, false statements, which are pretty indefensible (though of course, many have questioned why she was being asked for sex advice in the first place).

This story came full circle when Maxim itself responded to the outcry, quoting my Salon article and #tweetyourlube posts and getting Rousey to comment:
These are obviously legitimate and important reasons why we shouldn't think of using lube as a sign of weakness, and Rousey seemed to agreed. "If you have a physical problem, you should use it," she said when asked by Maxim about the response to her comments. "But in my experience, I’ve never needed it. "
This brings up an issue that's basically the difference between using the first person and giving advice. It's fine for Rousey to say she's never needed lube and/or doesn't personally like it. But that's completely different from saying that nobody should ever need or use it, and if you do, you're lazy. That's incorrect, and the world knows it.

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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Save $10 on my Washington, DC erotica writing workshop this Sunday at Lotus Blooms

Exciting news: Use the code BloomsBigO to register at Eventbrite for Sunday's erotica writing workshop at Lotus Blooms in Washington, DC! Their address is 2408 18th Street NW (Adams Morgan neighborhood). That means if you register by Saturday, November 7th, the normally $25 fee will be $15 and if you register on the day of the event, the $30 fee will be $20. Hence, I would recommend signing up by the 7th. We'll be doing writing exercises for two hours, along with learning about the current erotica marketplace and you'll get two handouts. Questions? Email info at or call the store at 202-836-4474. See you there!


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New by me: That's Not a Vagina, new moms and sex, Khloé Kardashian’s new book

Sometimes, I'm very prolific in a given week, and other times, by happenstance, several of my articles go up in one day. Both of those converged yesterday and, as I was making my way from New Jersey to Savannah, I had 3 new pieces go up. I'm writing a bunch more this week, so stay tuned or follow me on Twitter, Facebook or check out my Contently profile, where I've shared most of my clips. And please always feel free to pitch me article topics at rachelkb at if you see something interesting happening.

The first is about the blog That's Not a Vagina for The Daily Dot, which is all about educating readers about the difference between "vagina" and "vulva" and celebrating the vulva.


The next is about new moms and sex, for my DAME sex column. And I highly recommend Emily Flake's book of essays and cartoons, Mama Tried: Dispatches from the Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting, which I quote in the column, but you really need to read in its full form to appreciate. I just gave a copy to a friend with a newborn and she laughed out loud.


Lastly, I reviewed Khloé Kardashian’s new book Strong Looks Better Naked, published Tuesday by Regan Arts. Key points: she's great on body image and not counting calories, and the book's ghostwriter, Pablo Fenjves, was also the ghostwriter for O.J. Simpson for his book If I Did It, which I find fascinating (in case you don't know, Kardashian's father Robert Kardashian represented O.J. Simpson, and Kris Jenner was friends with Nicole Brown Simpson, and the case is mentioned in the book). Fenjves has also ghostwritten for Bernie Mac, Janice Dickinson and others.


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Monday, November 02, 2015

Win a copy of my erotic romance anthology I Want You Bad

To celebrate it being November and as a thank you for reading my blog and my work, I'm hosting a giveaway this week on my Facebook page to win a copy of my Cleis Press erotic romance anthology I Want You Bad, which is a reissue of my previous book Obsessed (everything is the same except the cover and title). Just go there, comment on the photo of the cover of I Want You Bad with your email address (which you can post in the format myname at by Thursday, November 5th at 11:59 p.m. EST and I'll select 10 winners on Friday morning. This is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address; winners will get a print copy of the book sent to you by me via Amazon. To recap, the only way to enter is by commenting on this post on my Facebook page.


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Sunday, November 01, 2015

My big November=1 online class, 2 live events, 1 book release and 1 birthday

My November is going to be a busy one, but the good kind of busy, because these are all events and projects I'm excited about--even turning 40! Since these are the last live events I'll probably be doing for a while (though there may be some January events, stay tuned!) I wanted to make sure you knew about them. And if you know anyone who might like to take my LitReactor class (registration ends tomorrow, aka, Monday, November 2) or attend my reading in Savannah Friday or my erotica writing workshop Sunday in Washington, DC, please pass this on to them! Thank you.

November 3-December 3 (Registration closes November 2nd)
My online only Between the Sheets class starts at!


You'll get weekly lectures, assignments and critiques along with over a dozen exclusive Q&As with erotica publishers and editors on what they're looking for now as well as hear from authors such as Victoria Blisse, Feminista Jones, Sommer Marsden, Tiffany Reisz, Elizabeth SaFleur, Sinclair Sexsmith, Cecilia Tan, Rebekah Weatherspoon and more on how they broke into the genre and why they chose the publishing path they did (self-publishing, traditional publishing, or a mix of the two). You can be anonymous and participate on your schedule (you log in when you have time and comment as much or as little as you'd like). Plus you'll get invited to my secret Facebook group for erotica class alumni to continue the conversations. You retain access to all classroom materials, including lectures, assignments, message boards, etc. indefinitely. Questions? Email me at rachelkb at with "LitReactor" in the subject line.

November 6, 7-9 pm
Free reading at Back in the Day Bakery, Savannah, Georgia

Rachel Kramer Bussel is coming to town and just in time for the November Art March she will be reading from one of her many erotica anthologies. Back In The Day Bakery will be selling cupcakes and frosting shots. Facebook event page - RSVP requested but not required. Back In The Day Bakery, 2403 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401

November 8, 7-9 pm
Erotica 101 writing workshop, Lotus Blooms, Washington, DC

I'm honored to be part of the new Lotus Blooms' grand opening weekend in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC! Register by November 7th for $25 at Eventbrite; same day registration is $30.

Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 50 erotica anthologies, such as Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, The Big Book of Orgasms, Best Bondage Erotica 2015 and more, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. With the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, now is a great time to put your own sexy stories onto paper. 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. 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. Please bring paper or writing implements or a laptop to use for in class writing exercises. A bibliography with erotica resources will be provided.
Lotus Blooms, 2408 18th St NW, Washington, DC, 20009, 202-836-4474, info at

November 10
Happy 40th birthday to me and happy book release to Dirty Dates
I turn 40 (yes, I can hardly believe it myself, but it's very real) and my anthology Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples gets its official release day! It's actually already for sale on Amazon. Read the book and want to wish me a happy birthday/help launch the book into the world? Put me one step closer to reaching my goal of 40 Amazon reviews by my 40th birthday by sharing your thoughts about the book here. Thank you! And even more thanks if you leave it a review on Goodreads.


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5 books being publishing on my birthday, November 10th

Happy November! It's my birthday month (shoutout to my fellow Scorpios!), and while I'm excited to celebrate turning 40, I'm also excited that my Tuesday birthday means lots of great books are publishing that day (including one of mine) that I'm looking forward to reading. I actually have an advance copy of November 9 that I'm saving to read on my train ride from Washington, DC to New York on November 9th, because how could I resist?

Cool coincidence: I started this post on Thursday, and in the mail that day arrived Yes of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Sign that I'm on lots of publishers' mailing list? Perhaps, but I like to think of it as a very cool Scorpio book lover's coincidence. See below for 5 that I'm excited about - and know that Dirty Dates is already in stock on Amazon 9 days early, so you can have it in your hands ASAP (unless you read it in ebook form, in which case it'll be out November 16th). Full disclosure: all links here go to Amazon, where I get a small commission from each sale, but I encourage you to buy books at your favorite bookstore or use your local library, because libraries are awesome.

What are you excited to read this month?

1. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?
2. For the Record by Charlotte Huang

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?
3. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.

And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.

The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.
4. Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine

What becomes of a character cut from a writer’s working manuscript?

On the eve of Pearl Harbor, Sam Sumida, a Japanese-American academic, has been thrust into the role of amateur P.I., investigating his wife’s murder, which has been largely ignored by the LAPD. Grief stricken by her loss, disoriented by his ill-prepared change of occupation, the worst is yet to come, Sam discovers that, inexplicably, he has become not only unrecognizable to his former acquaintances but that all signs of his existence (including even the murder he’s investigating) have been erased. Unaware that he is a discarded, fictional creation, he resumes his investigation in a world now characterized not only by his own sense of isolation but by wartime fear.

Meantime, Sam’s story is interspersed with chapters from a pulp spy novel that features an L.A.-based Korean P.I. with jingoistic and anti-Japanese, post December 7th attitudes – the revised, politically and commercially viable character for whom Sumida has been excised.

Behind it all is the ambitious, 20-year-old Nisei author who has made the changes, despite the relocation of himself and his family to a Japanese internment camp. And, looming above, is his book editor in New York, who serves as both muse and manipulator to the young author—the woman with the blue pencil, a new kind of femme fatale.
5. Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (yes, that's me!)

What happens when date night involves a blindfold, a corset, handcuffs or a spanking? The couples in Dirty Dates combine kink and romance in this collection of erotic stories that will give you plenty of ideas for your next sexy outing. From “Magic Words” to a “Recipe for Punishment,” these doms and dommes know just how to make their partner bow to their commands. In return, these lucky subs say yes to all sorts of naughty adventures, from play parties to bondage to risqué roleplay and beyond. However they do it, they make getting dirty much more fun than dinner and a movie.

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