Hungry for More: Romantic Fantasies for Women - just published! With stories by Tiffany Reisz, Greta Christina, D.L. King and more. 21 fantasies, from "Kitchen Slut" to a cougar to Craigslist sex to BDSM to bukkake to watching two men get it on, and more!
If you've ever taken an erotica writing class with me, you've likely heard me quote from one of my favorite stories of the many hundreds I've published: "Chemistry" by Velvet Moore. It's about, yes, chemistry, as in labs and scientists, and it's in Orgasmic: Erotica for Women, which, even though it's about 25 women and their 25 different orgasms, is really "for everyone." It's also currently on sale for 99 cents on Kindle, to end any moment (it was supposed to end yesterday). It's also 99 cents on Google Play.
What I love so much about it is that it taps into an unusual fetish, portrays a woman of science who's hot for scientists, uses the senses, especially the sense of smell, and brilliantly takes us inside the mind of the narrator and her fetish. It jumps right into what she's all about and doesn't let up. Part of why Orgasmic is the model I use when editing anthologies, such as Best Women's Erotica 2016, which I'll be reading all the submissions for next week (deadline is June 1, writers!), is that it is so wonderfully varied. No, it doesn't have every possible way a woman could come; I don't have the space for that. But it looks at single women, coupled women, kinky women, queer women, and so many more. Just as the book as a whole is a model for me for what I aim to achieve as an editor, this story is a model I offer as one example of an exquisite erotic story.
Here's a snippet, and I hope you'll like it enough to check out the book. As I said, the 99 cent sale is probably ending very soon. You can also get it in paperback and audiobook narrated by Lucy malone. Here's a little snippet of what I love about the story. I hope you like it too:
From "Chemistry" by Velvet Moore:
The smell of science makes me horny.
I narrowly resisted shoving my hands down my pants and rubbing myself to oblivion during my niece’s science fair. My stomach dips with pleasure every time someone lights a match. Each July I’m aroused by the vapors of the noise-making novelty fireworks called “snappers.” Little do tricksters know that when they crack one on the pavement at my feet, I shiver out of excitement, not fear.
Smell is the sense tied most closely to human memory. So when I sense any use of potassium chlorate; a white, crystalline compound well stocked in science laboratories and often used for combustion; I remember how it feels to have the fire of orgasm sizzle its way through my body and melt a liquid path down my legs. The chemical’s odor singes my nostrils and flashes me back to the sensation of a chilly, marble countertop pressed against my
back, to the press of fingers digging into my supple thighs, to the slick pressure of rounded glass slipping in and out.
And it’s what I remember most about him.
Most scientists that I’ve met fit the typical stereotypes. Most would rather analyze your genes than pry off your jeans. Yet I suspected that Michael Harrison was capable of much more than stripping me of my pants. With his wavy black hair, broad shoulders and Clark Kent glasses, I believed that stripped of his unassuming attire, he would have something surprising and heroically powerful bulging underneath.
I understood this the first time I shook his hand and caught the scent of chemicals trapped in his clothes and seared into his skin, a smell faint and tangy and far too interesting to be cologne, like the smell of your body after a lengthy swim in a freshly chlorinated pool. I imagined that if I should run my tongue along his
perky nipples, my tongue would sizzle as though touched to the tip of a battery.
We needed a scientist to impress the hospital donors with a tour of the lab. I planned to find an excuse to use him.
Last night, after a pretty long day, I kind of lost it. My boyfriend and I were talking about a trip I'm taking right after my move. I booked it before I knew we were moving, so I land in Newark, which would have been great if we were in Red Bank because I could hop on a New Jersey transit train, less so in the suburbs of Atlantic City. There's not really a way to change to the Philadelphia airport, and I got a good deal on the trip, so I'm keeping it.
Since I'll land around 10 p.m. on a weeknight, I suggested my getting a hotel near the airport or staying with family in New York that night, rather than trying to navigate getting home at night. He offered to pick me up, but the idea of asking him to drive a total of three hours at night seems ludicrous to me, along with activating my deep-seated fear of cars, which John Nash's death in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike has only exacerbated. Yes, I wear seatbelts, and am well aware that anything could kill me at any time, not just cars. But still, it seems like a chance I would so much rather not take.
So between deadlines and having walked a lot Wednesday in the sun while attending BEA and running errands, and the cumulative stress of packing and purging, all my fears about this move pretty much culminated in this discussion. Much as we each thought we were right, we also both had to concede that being "right" is almost irrelevant. I'm scared of cars, and yes, I might even learn to drive one again one of these days, but I'm never going to volunteer to be driven at night if I can help it. I'm in cars more than enough for my comfort, and will be plenty once I move. I don't pretend that public transport is failsafe or anything, but I also feel entitled to my fears. I try not to obsess over them, but I like to retain some sense of control.
Eventually, we agreed that I would make the decision about how I'd get home. I know it bothers him that I would waste time or money rather than just have him come pick me up, but part of loving someone is accepting that they have their own issues that aren't yours and you can't fix. My boyfriend loves someone who is living in suburbia and is afraid of cars. I've gotten so much better about this over the last two years, but it's a fear that goes way, way back, over 20 years, when I had a car accident a few blocks from home not long after getting my license. I truly feel safer being a passenger in a plane than in a car, and the more people try to talk me out of it, the more stubborn it makes me about it. I don't refuse to drive in cars, I just try to minimize my contact.
This is typical of the ways we approach life from vastly different perspectives. I know those differences can drive both of us up the wall. I get the urge to try to make someone understand what you think you understand, because I have that impulse too, but navigating those gaps, those places where you have to stop and put yourself in the other person's mindset and come to an understanding of how they see the world, is what, to my mind, bonds us together. When we finally settled on our agree to disagree solution, I felt relieved. It's hard to overemphasize how much the cost of a hotel room or a few hours of travel feel like nothing next to the worry I'm saving. I wasn't very eloquent last night, because this fear taps into something so raw and primal, it's hard for me to be. But his embracing me, phobias and all, made me confident about our future as we move for the third time in three years.
I'm heading into New York today for Book Expo America at the Davits Center, where I'll be signing free copies of Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica at 2:30 in the autographing area and, I believe, 3:30 at the Cleis Press booth. However, if you've been following my Instagram account or blog, you know I'm moving very soon to South Jersey. Which means I am purging books left and right.
Considering the fact that free stuff is catnip to my hoarder lust, the prospect of being in a convention center full of free books and not being able to take them feels utterly masochistic. Good thing I am a masochist in many ways, then! Truly, it will be a challenge, because cracking open a new book fills me with such joy; it's one of the greatest things I can think of to do with my time. It's a gift, and for me, Book Expo has always been about soaking in the atmosphere of books, books and more books, of being surrounded by book people, of geeking out on publishing. Yes, I can do that while I'm moving, but it's not the same, and I already feel left out and I haven't even arrived.
That being said, I can't wait to take notes on what to read after I move. I'll be posting pics so check my Instagram (rachelkramerbussel).
Orgasmic is only 99 cents right now on Kindle! I believe the sale lasts until Thursday, so act fast. It remains one of my favorite of the 50+ anthologies I've edited. Why? I think it's one of the hottest and certainly most varied. I made sure that none of the 25 female orgasm erotica tales were too similar, and it has a story I read from in all my writing classes, "Chemistry" by Velvet Moore, which I consider a model of how to write an intriguing erotic tale about an unusual fetish. Want to read my BDSM story "Belted" for free? Visit Goodreads, and I hope you'll also enjoy the other 24. At 4 cents a story, this bargain can't be beat (unlike the narrator of "Belted")! If you've been hankering to listen to these orgasm erotica stories narrated by Lucy Malone, buy the 99 cent Kindle version and get the audiobook for just $3.99!
Want more enticement? Watch the book trailer:
Table of contents
Introduction: Let Me Count the Ways…
The Waiting Game Elizabeth Coldwell
What’s in a Name? Jacqueline Applebee
Chemistry Velvet Moore
The Chair Lolita Lopez
Fixing the Pipes Susie Hara
Share Dusty Horn
Hurdles Rowan Elizabeth
Seeing Stars Louisa Harte
Old Faithful Sylvia Lowry
Paying It Forward Kendra Wayne
The Big O Donna George Storey
Moon Tantra Teresa Noelle Roberts
Feet on the Dashboard Rachel Green
Frosting First Lana Fox
All She Wanted Andrea Dale
Making Shapes Lily Harlem
Rapture Angela Caperton
Belted Rachel Kramer Bussel
Rise and Shine Heidi Champa
Taking the Reins Vanessa Vaughn
First Date with the Dom Noelle Keely
Animal Inside Neve Black
The London O Justine Elyot
Fight Charlotte Stein
Switch Jade Melisande
What gets you off? How do you like to come? Let Orgasmic count the ways…with 25 stories centered around female orgasm, there’s something here for every reader. The women in Orgasmic climax from Tantric sex, role-playing, piercing, G-spot play, sex toys, horseback riding, BDSM, a belt and even chemistry–the scientific kind. They delight in food, God and handymen. They create their own objects of pleasure; they spy, tease, obey, command, argue, submit. Some are shy about their orgasms and some are bold as can be. They come, and come and come again, and they do it in some of the hottest, most creative ways you can think of. Featuring red-hot erotica by some of today’s hottest writers, these stories will make you want to stop everything and have an orgasm immediately…once you’ve turned the last succulent page.
It's been quite the week, so to celebrate the weekend and Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, here's a free excerpt from my story "Claws Out," inspired by actual claws I saw but never bought at Purple Passion. By the time I was able to buy them, they no longer stocked them! I can't find a good photo that does justice the ones I had wanted to buy, but if I do, I will post it. In the meantime, here's part of my story; read the rest along with 20 other creative, hot, sexy varied stories of sex toys in Come Again. Read more about "My Life as a Vibrator" by Livia Ellis and "Must Love Dolls" by Giselle Renarde from Come Again.
From "Claws Out" by Rachel Kramer Bussel
He only began to stir when she raised his hands above his head and twisted her panties into makeshift handcuffs around his wrists. “What’s going on?”
“You’ll find out soon enough, Sleeping Beauty.” She ran the flat of her palm along his spine, down over the slope of one buttcheek, curving along his balls. She wanted to make sure he was, indeed, hard; otherwise the torment of keeping him on edge lost some of its appeal.
“That’s what I like to feel first thing in the morning,” she uttered as she reached beneath him and wrapped her hand around his stiff cock. John tried to buck into her touch, but she was too smart for that, and immediately dropped it.
“That’s not what your dick is for,” she snapped. His moan let her know he didn’t mind one bit; being used as little more than a phallic prop turned him on like nothing else. Okay, maybe not quite as much as her taking him to the edge of pain and keeping him dangling on the precipice. Celia grabbed the pouch before straddling his waist, making sure her wetness met his warm skin. If she wanted to, she could simply hump him until she came, maybe use a vibrator to heighten her pleasure. But she’d have no problem getting off later; this was about a more lasting kind of pleasure, the kind she got from making sure he knew he belonged to her, through and through.
Before she broke open the pouch, Celia decided to play good domme for a little while longer. She leaned over to the bedside drawer, letting her nipples brush against his back as she reached for the massage oil. “Just relax.” Those two little words could have multiple meanings—their simple, surface meaning, or their more twisted, sadistic opposite. She wasn’t above telling him to relax right before she pushed the lever on his nipple clamps higher, tightening them on his nubs, or before she brought a vibrator up to his balls. It was up to him to read her well enough to hear beyond the dictionary definition, to learn her body language even when he couldn’t see her. Only when he’d mastered that skill would she truly know he had long-term potential.
Celia warmed the oil between her hands, pausing to rub a little on her breasts, once again leaning down, this time to smear the warm liquid directly onto him. She added more, doing a sexy slip and slide before capping the bottle. Then she put her training as a masseuse to work. She’d done a stint as a massage girl, giving hand jobs but also true back massages; she’d been so good that the latter were what netted her the biggest tips.
Soon he was practically purring, putty in her hands—just where she wanted him. After digging her elbows into a few strategic spots, Celia stopped.
“Stay right there; I’ll know if you move.” She got up to wash her hands, and when she returned, she made sure to jingle the claws; the soft tinkling sound of metal on metal made him groan. “I have a surprise for you, because I take good care of what’s mine, don’t I?” When all Celia got was a moan, she pinched the tender skin at the back of his neck. “Words, darling, use your words.”
“Yes, you do. You always know what I like.”
“That’s more like it. Now relax; this will only work if you don’t tense up.”
Then she put the claws back on, transforming herself into what she considered her own version of Catwoman. She didn’t need to dress up; the claws were all the costume she desired. With them on, she was a fierce woman with a weapon, one she chose to use for their mutual pleasure.
She waited until the only sound she could hear was John’s heavy breathing. She shifted so the full weight of the warmth between her legs pressed down against him, then, steadying herself with her left hand on his upper back, she traced the tips of the claws from the nape of his neck on down. With barely any pressure, they still had a profound effect, if his breathing was any indication. “Well? What do you have to say for yourself?” she asked, before sinking them just a little more firmly into his soft, pliant skin.
“Oh my god,” he sobbed, his body shaking as she made identical pink lines down his back. Celia had expected, to some degree, how turned on he would get, but the claws seemed to be working just as much magic on her. With each stripe she left on him, a corresponding jolt of excitement crept from his body back into hers.
Buy Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica in print or ebook form from the following places (full independent bookstore and sex toy store list coming soon!):
I've written a lot for Salon this week, and have been linking the articles mainly on Twitter. It's been a crazy week, which I'll share more about as soon as I have time, but I wanted to share this piece on why women lie about their age, Rebel Wilson, Maggie Gyllenaal and Hollywood age discrimination.
Next Wednesday, I'll be hopping on New Jersey Transit to attend Book Expo America, where I'll be signing free copies of Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica. It's one of my last trips to New York before I move to South Jersey, where I'll be much closer to Philadelphia than the Big Apple. It's also the last unpaid event I will do in New York. I'm excited to step into a new role I'm creating for myself: that of a true businesswoman. I will be continuing the process I started this year in earnest, of making smarter decisions for myself and my business, RKB Enterprises, Inc. Sometimes that means saying no to cool events, but now I have to ask myself: are they worth over 6 hours of travel? In almost all cases, the answer will be no. Because with my six hours (which in reality I suspect will be more like 7), I can be earning income, or even just sitting in my backyard. Or if I want to travel, going somewhere I've never been, rather than a city I lived in for 16 years. New York is the city of my birth, and will always be a part of me, but it's stopped feeling like "mine." When I visit, I'm every inch the visitor, a guest, a bystander looking in, and I'm okay with that. I don't want to be the me I was when I lived there; that girl has vanished and turned into someone hopefully wiser and more mature.
I feel like I wish I had approached my life like this way back when; maybe I'd be more accomplished, maybe I'd have more money, maybe maybe maybe. But I can't think like that; I can only look forward. I welcome being a little more removed from my former life, because as wonderful as New York was to me, it also hit me hard at the end. I'll be turning 40 soon and my only goal for my birthday is to be pregnant by then--well, that, and able to pay all my bills. I used to have major FOMO and want to be everywhere at once, and now I'm so grateful for the chance to turn that focus back where it belongs. Okay, one more goal: no more jealousy. I'm so over wanting the seemingly glamorous, amazing, perfect lives other people have, and hope I can live up to my promise to myself to do my best with this singular one I've been given.
It means finally letting go of all the New York businesses I've patronized: for manicures, for waxes, for sneakers, for doctors. It's time to truly be a Jersey girl, rather than a faker. So I'll see you at Book Expo, and I may have one more NYC event before the end of the year, but otherwise, I'll see you online, where most of my writing and teaching happen. There'll be lots more of those, and new books to plot and plan. I'm finally ready to shed my old life, and it feels so freeing.
It's actually about masturbation's cultural stigma and issues around sex positivity when it comes to National Masturbation Month. Many thanks to Jenne Davis of Clitical.com and Hannah Jorden of The Smitten Kitten for letting me interview them! Want to read my sex column archives at Philadelphia City Paper? Click here. Email me at rachelcitypaper at gmail.com with any suggestions for future columns. And yes, that's me with a Magic Wand.
Speaking of masturbation, my anthology Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica is out now in print and ebook and is what I consider my funniest book, while also being totally hot! I'm so proud of all the queer stories and the sci fi elements and the made up sex toys and the humor. I think this one has a different feel than my others, and am so happy it's out in time for National Masturbation Month and starting to hit stores (full store list coming as soon as I can finish all the links!). Find out more at comeagainbook.com, where you can also read Q&As with the contributors (more are being added soon)!
This won't be the grand, wonderful, amazing post I wish it could be, similar how no piece of writing I do is ever as perfect as I hope it will be, because it's 7:30 a.m., I have a 10 a.m. writing deadline, a LitReactor class awaiting feedback, a mover coming to assess how much I have to pack and lots more to do today. Which reminds me that I didn't share my links here yesterday, but I wrote about Cate Blanchett not being a sexual role model and surveyed Mad Men fan fiction for Salon. That's sort of my lesson at this ultra hectic time of my life: do the best you can, and focus on your life's purpose, because life itself may be short.
That, along with the only prayer I embrace, The Serenity Prayer, is why I don't have time or energy to worry about the umpteen what ifs happening in the wake of most or possibly all of the staff at my main publisher, Cleis Press, changing. Was it a surprise to me? Yes, but so is, well, every day, not just in my professional life, but in every aspect of my day, there are always surprises. My job is to roll with them rather than being undone by them. We never know what's coming next. What I do know is that I'm still signing books at Book Expo America next Wednesday and still on track to turn in Best Women's Erotica 2016 next month, hopefully before my move, but probably while I'm in the midst of unpacking (get your stories in by June 1 as there will not be any extensions!).
The bottom line for me is that it's publishing. Of course there are unknowns, all the time, and all I can do is try to make the best decisions possible for myself. I had a contract end for a site I loved writing for, and in the wake of that, I've been pitching new places, and you know what? I'm working on new stories I'm just as excited about. Does that make it "easy?" Of course not, but that's part of the ups and downs of freelance life, as is this upheaval.
Having this news for one day, I have literally no clue what the future will bring, but I know it can't be as bad as last year when I had to move because my book were selling so badly I was sure I would never edit another one. Sometimes I actually welcome those rock bottom moments because there is literally nowhere to go but up. Lo and behold, this year, I am going to the bank to get bank checks to move into our house with royalties from those little books I'd almost given up hope on. Aside from making me feel self-sufficient, that tells me that I have to keep going forward, to keep believing in the power of those books I've poured so much of my energy into. So I'm going to keep touting the amazing work of my authors because they keep wowing me, because I have a new book about sex toys out and it's National Masturbation Month and I published sci fi erotica and love doll erotica and a vibrator narrator and I'm fucking proud of that. It's my name on the book's spine too. What I'm most afraid of is that readers will see this news and decide to abandon us editors too, and that would be a shame.
If I didn't believe in what I do, I wouldn't be shelling out cash to go to New York for Book Expo or buying postcards to stuff in bags for TES Fest or mailing dozens of books to contest winners. I love doing that stuff, and it's my way of saying thank you for supporting my books, buying them or checking them out of the library or reading them in whatever format, of spreading the word, of making it so that I can afford both to move and to have the time to continue to write and edit more books. I'm going to publish many new authors I've never worked with before in Best Women's Erotica 2016, and that gives me a sense that I'm giving back, that I'm giving someone else the chance I got way back when I was a wayward law student looking for a new, better path. I'm grateful for that opportunity, and if it's the last anthology I edit, all the more reason to do a kickass job on it, right?
There will also be outside events attempting to pull us away from our true purpose. It took me what feels like twenty years of flailing, from dropping out of a law school I'm still paying for to assorted jobs with their high and low points, to this already chaotic year, where I get to truly live out some of my writing dreams, but still face a blank page at the start of each morning. That is my focus right now: making sense of that blank page, digging in to the tasks at hand, rather than fretting endlessly about all the ways everything could unravel. I'm the kind of person who could live entirely within that potential unraveling to the point that I so often don't even appreciate the bounty of my life, all the love and joy and high points, because I've convinced myself disaster has already struck. In my middle age, I'm trying to kick Disaster Girl to the curb and become a new, wiser, kinder person, one who's filled with dreams rather than doom. That goes against my nature, so it's taken a transformation, the deeply internal, personal, very tough kind, with plenty of detours, like last Friday where I got home and pretty much collapsed in bed, unable to stop crying. But today I want to start over, to trust myself, to trust my partner, to trust whatever comes next.
I'm almost 40, and I feel that big birthday looming over me, especially in the uncertain times, the waiting for checks time, the unanswered pitches times, the half-finished project times, the what-am-I-doing times, the her-job-sounds-so-amazing-I-wish-I-had-it ties. This year I decided to push back at all that fear, to push back at my worst doubts and worst habits, to stop writing for free with extremely rare exceptions, and to chase every lead I can, while also giving myself space to pause when I'm sick or simply cannot tackle everything on my plate. Then I assess and regroup and dig back in. I am doing everything I can to make a sustainable life, because all I want in the world is to be a stay at home mom writer. I am hesitant to even keep saying it lest the universe laugh in my face and "all" I get to be is a writer, no mom and no staying at home, but that's okay. It's all an unknown, and there are no guarantees of anything. I can just face that blank page, and all those blank spaces, with my best intentions and fully focused dedication.
If this freelance life doesn't work out, I am prepared to let it go, every last bit of it, but I've finally stopped thinking that giving up writing/teaching/editing is around the corner. I've started to believe in and invest in myself, to pull out all the stops to promote my books while also knowing that books can't be my primary source of income because their sales are so wildly unpredictable. I've started to ask myself the hard questions and the rest of this year I will continue to assess how I want to conduct my business, where it makes sense to focus my energies and where it doesn't.
So that's where my focus is right now: right in front of me. Today, the present, this morning, these tasks. Teaching my class, editing my book, packing, change of address, goodbyes and hellos, trying to stay as mentally and physically healthy as I can possibly be so that maybe, just maybe, I can make my biggest dream come true. Anything that gets in the way of that, I just don't have time for.
I've been a drama queen for way too long, someone ready to fall into a heap at the slightest disappointment, and now it's time to be a businesswoman, a partner, an actual adult, with all the attendant responsibilities and trouble shooting. I don't have an exact mission statement yet, but it's all becoming much clearer, that what I seek to do is work with words, to encourage other people to embrace their words, to push myself to take risks, to fail, to get back up again, rather than live in an endless literary hamster wheel.
All I know is, I've had to make peace with my own failings, my own foibles, my own abilities, especially in the last year and a half, and see how I can best put my strengths to work for me. It's a constant refining process, one that's full of doubts, but also full of learning from my mistakes. That's what I intend to keep doing, and it has nothing to do with relying on any one person or company or source of income to save me. It has to do with saving myself. So whatever happens next, I'll be as ready as I can be.
Because like Clem Snide, "I Love The Unknown." Or at the very least, I know it's unavoidable.
I'm still in moving madness, but I know have a moving date and new home. So it's three and a half more weeks of madness and then real suburbia for me! I'll be near Atlantic City, so am hoping to check out some concerts and perhaps play some slot machines once in a while.
Catching up, on Friday I wrote about "The Human Side of Sex Dolls" for Lady Smut, including the fact that you can order a doll with a flaccid penis or one with elf ears!
I was inspired by the incredible story "Must Love Dolls" by Giselle Renarde in Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica. You can read an interview with her about it on the Come Again site (scroll down). Very proud to have published this story that touches on bisexuality, desire, love and, yes, a doll.
I chose the story because it was unlike any of the others I received, and it managed to capture sex and romance in a way I'd never seen before, as it relates to a love doll, in this case. One thing I greatly admire about Come Again is that its queer content pushes boundaries. Does a threesome with a sex doll "count" as bisexual? What does it say about a married woman's desire for another woman and how she goes about fulfilling it? To me, it captured so much more than sex with an inanimate object, and that's why I published it.
I'm not going to apologize for this post title. I had to do it! You can find out exactly what happens in my column "What happens when a 'manwhore' podcast host gets naked with guests" about Billy Procida and his nude episodes of The Manwhore Podcast in Philadelphia City Paper. Missed any past columns? Read the archives here and send any story ideas, be they interesting people, events, subjects, fetishes, etc., to rachelcitypaper at gmail.com. Thanks for reading!
First I want to say a huge thank you to anyone who's ever bought my books. It means a lot to me personally and to my ability to continue to work as a freelancer and keep on producing erotica books (for any women authors out there, my call for submissions for Best Women's Erotica 2016 closes June 1st, and stay tuned to my website and monthly newsletter and this blog for more erotic short story calls).
I'm in the process of moving which is disrupting much of my life, but the good news for you is I've found 10 extra copies of each of my books The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories, She's on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission and Bottoms Up: Spanking Good Stories to give away in this contest! U.S. only. You pick the book you most want to win. Enter with your full name and mailing address by this Thursday, May 14th at 9 a.m. EST (winners will notified and all entrants will be added to my email mailing list). Good luck!
I'm sure I will be posting more about the moving process, but the big news in my life is that, for the third time in three years, I am again changing homes, though I will still be a Jersey girl, this time a little further south, closer to Atlantic City. It's an area I don't know much about, but am looking forward to learning. So I'm once again packing up my seemingly endless collection of books, this time paring down from around 35 boxes to 10, as I promised to do last year when we moved.
My nonfiction sex books I'm donating to the lending library of Minneapolis sex toy store Smitten Kitten. My young adult and children's novels I'm donating to the wonderful New Jersey-based nonprofit I just started volunteering with, Bridge of Books. But needless to say, between teaching my current LitReactor erotica writing class and soon will be promoting my next one, which starts in August (stay tuned!), editing Best Women's Erotica 2016, moving and my usual deadlines, things are going to be more than a bit hectic for the next month or two. Please bear with me, and stay tuned to @raquelita on Twitter and Facebook and my newsletter (sign up on the left-hand side of this blog or at rachelkramerbussel.com) for updates and giveaways, as I will definitely be doing more book giveaways.
I'm a word girl, but sometimes a photo says wonders, like this book, Overwhelmed by Brigid Schulte, I checked out from my local library.
These are books I'm eager to read but realistically won't get to before my move. I have to make sure this time around to properly label my boxes so these are easy to find. Shoutout to excellent book site The Debutante Ball, where I won Come Away With Me by Karma Brown as well as Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton and The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert. Follow them for lots of great author posts and contests.
In more cheerful news, I'm hosting a bingo party soon and I can't wait!
My new DAME sex column is up and it's tied to Mother's Day so I focused on mothers who've been shamed about sex and mothers who approach parenting from a sex-positive perspective. Those may seem like two separate topics, but I think they all tie back to how women, and mothers especially, are expected to act a certain way and if they step out of line, watch out, which includes how they parent. I quoted Jillian Lauren (from her new memoir Everything You Ever Wanted as well as Kendra Holliday, Airial Clark, and Crista Anne. See the column archives here.
view of the Hudson River at Buttermilk Falls Inn, Milton, New York
It's Monday morning, a little after 7 a.m. (actually, it was when I started this, but now it's 1:13, because life happened). I've been up since around 5:30, reflecting on the utter madness that has been the last week. To some degree, as a freelancer and frequent traveler, no two days, let alone weeks, are the same, but last week certainly upped the ante on that.
I'm going to go a bit out of order, mostly because I'm incredibly impatient and don't want to wait to share the most exciting part (sorry, sleeping in a bathtub wasn't it). The week ended on a high note with the publication of my New York Times article on bookface. Researching it has made me view book covers in a whole new way, which is interesting because I'm sorting through hundreds of mine (my entire collection) in another attempt to purge the seemingly endless amount I own (if you're in the U.S. and haven't entered my giveaway to win one of my anthologies, do so now; the deadline is tomorrow morning). I've vowed to get my collection down to 10 boxes (from some 36, not counting books I've edited or have stories in). It's a daunting task but also a wonderful one as I get to discover books I forgot I owned.
My boyfriend suggested we take our own bookface photo with his photo book Tom Waits by Anton Corbijn, which I got him as a gift. So this was what we did:
So back to last week...I got to New York and then onto the Megabus to State College last Monday smoothly. Being in cars or buses is not my favorite thing in the world, but the ride was smooth. I got dropped off in a Walmart parking lot, and although I don't approve of most of what I've heard about how Walmart's workers are treated, I stopped in because I did need some things like seltzer and to use the bathroom. I didn't have a Walmart near me growing up and am not sure if I'd ever been in one; if I had, it happened maybe once. I immediately was glad there wasn't one near me, because I see how it's so popular: it has everything, including a bathroom I was free to use with room for me and all my luggage. And it's 24 hours.
Eventually, after getting some snacks, I made my way to my hotel, then met up with some of the women taking my erotica class (it wound up being all women, but was open to anyone). The class was wonderful, full of writers in various genres, including sexy ones, and newcomers to writing erotica. I was pleased with how it went, but also tired, and didn't get a lick of work done. The next day, Tuesday, my throat started to ache, but I hoped it was just travel and tiredness, especially because Wednesday my boyfriend and I were taking a rare mini vacation to Buttermilk Falls Inn in Milton, New York. I had a feeling, though, based on my brain's utter inability to work properly, let alone brainstorm story ideas or send out interview questions, that I might be getting sick. I slept the bulk of the five-hour bus ride to New York.
We didn't cancel, but I wasn't my best. Still, I was grateful to be in such peaceful surroundings breathing fresh air. We explored the grounds and marveled at the beautiful weather and ate way too much the first night, and even so, I took home almost my entire entree, save for the kale, because I'd also ordered what amounted to two appetizers (calamari and potato latkes). My boyfriend and I are not the best co-sleepers any time, but that's heightened when we're in an unfamiliar location. We have separate bedrooms for a reason.
I conked out by 9 p.m., and he left the room to read and then had trouble getting to sleep until he put in headphones. The next night was somewhat reversed, courtesy of the two cups of coffee I drank at dinner in order to stay up until a decently acceptable adult bedtime. Well, I accomplished my task and then some: he fell asleep around 11:30, I think, and I lay there trying to sleep, but couldn't. I had a feeling we would bother each other with our snoring and shuffling if we both tried to stay in the same bed, so I took the beyond comfortable quilt and moved to the floor. I can sleep almost anywhere...if I'm tired enough. I tried to calm my mind and get ready for slumber, but it wasn't happening. I almost forgot about the coffee until I looked up and saw the clock said 1:25 and I was nowhere near sleep.
my excellent salad, on the night I decided to just have 2 items off the wonderful menu at Henry's at the Farm
Rather than try to go in the hallway and possibly wake my boyfriend or other guests, I took myself and the quilt and Jillian Lauren's excellent memoir (out tomorrow) Everything You Ever Wanted and curled up in the tub. I was surrounded by the quilt and had a towel pillow and you know what? Engrossed in an excellent book, I was fine. I don't know how long I read, probably about two hours, until I decided I could reasonably doze off. I did, until morning when my boyfriend needed the bathroom, at which time I returned to the bed. I already felt out of sorts so adding one more oddity to my night didn't seem that big of a deal. In fact, I felt resourceful.
We got to pet llamas and say hello to goats and not get in the car for two days and just chill, until I had to do some work. Next time, I hope I'm not sick and can truly unplug, but that's not always how life goes. Then upon our return the weekend was a mix of chaotic and comforting. We resumed some of our routines and caught up on our TV shows and returned to our rooms. We each aggravated the other but also got time to talk and relax before "real life" returned today.
Now I'm catching up on all the things I meant to do last week but was too wiped out to tackle and gearing up for my next LitReactor class, which starts tomorrow (I will post here very soon with news of my upcoming August-September class). I'm also trying to cut myself some slack, especially since I'll be in Philadelphia on Friday to teach Erotica 101 at SEXx Interactive. I'm spending time I'd rather be doing anything else chasing down money, one of the more frustrating aspects of freelancing. But I also feel hopeful. I think there's a fine line I walk between realistic and hopeful, between dreaming big and zeroing in on what's right in front of me, between facing my fears and growing and learning and building what sometimes seems like a precarious mix of activities I call a career, and other times seems like pieces of a beautiful puzzle. I can't say for sure this week will be any less crazy than last week; all I know for sure is it will be different, and I will do my best to be ready for it.
If you subscribed to my newsletter you'd know this already (and if you haven't, please do!), but I'm doing a giveaway tomorrow (Tuesday, May 5th) morning at 9 am EST, at which time I'll draw winners of free copies of my anthologies Sex & Candy (now out of print), Hungry for More and The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales. (U.S. only, sorry folks reading abroad.) All you have to do is enter the giveaway here before 9 a.m. Tuesday and hope that you win! I'll be doing more giveaways via my newsletter in coming months as well.