Email: rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com



 

Lusty Lady

BLOG OF RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL
Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Paying markets: My new Cleis Press anthology calls for Erotic Teasers and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4

I'm editing two new anthologies for Cleis Press - links below. As I blogged about recently, the calls are long, and may get tweaked as time goes on at the URLs below, but I did my best to answer any and every question an author might have, including listing the exact contract terms you'd be asked to sign. As should be crystal clear, I don't want sloppy first drafts, I won't read any unrequested revisions and I want your very best, hottest work. Keep in mind that I generally can only accept less than 10% of the submissions I receive, so make yours brilliant, unique and outstanding! Happy writing! And if you do have questions, direct them to the email address listed at the bottom of the relevant call.

Erotic Teasers - pays $100, October 1 deadline

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 - pays $200, November 1 deadline

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Washington Post Solo-ish essay on sleeping in separate bedrooms

I haven't written an essay since November, so it feels wonderful to be back at the Solo-ish section of The Washington Post today with this essay on why I prefer sleeping in separate bedrooms, and how that's not a sign of how a relationship is doing, whether we're talking about the President and First Lady or anyone else.

soloishseparatebedrooms

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Enter to win erotica anthology Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sexy by Sunday, March 26!

I'm giving away 10 signed print copies of my Cleis Press erotic flash fiction anthology Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. Enter the giveaway here only if you're a subscriber (and make sure you use the same email address you're subscribed with). Want to subscribe? Visit rachelkramerbussel.com - it's sent out monthly with a giveaway each time, writing tips and news on what I'm up to. Here's the March edition. Good luck!

gotta-have-it-sudden-sex-erotica

Want to hear some of the 69 authors read their work? Watch the book trailer! Can't wait to read it? Download the Kindle edition or Audible audiobook narrated by Rose Caraway now!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, March 17, 2017

Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories on sale for $1.99 for the next week!

An oldie but goodie, Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories, is on sale starting today for only $1.99 for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo! It's a perfect sexy read if you happen to be traveling and staying in a hotel or motel but it's also great to read at home as you fantasize about your next hotel stay. It's no secret that I am smitten with hotels. I recently became obsessed with Kimpton hotels, and have stayed at them in various travels, from my vacation last year in Pittsburgh to my book tour stops in Los Angeles, Baltimore and New York. Highly recommend them and looking forward to more stays there later this year. More info below on Suite Encounters, which has a special place in my heart and some amazing stories by writers whose names just may be familiar if you're a regular erotica reader. And if you want to get an email every time one of my books or a book I have a story in goes on sale (which usually happens about once a month), follow me on BookBub as this icon says. You'll need to make an account but once you do, you can follow me and your other favorite authors, and learn about free and sale books by genre.

follow-bookbub

suiteencounterscover

More about the book:

Table of contents

Introduction: Sex Magic (see below)
Two-Way Ariel Graham
Selfish Donna George Storey
Air-Conditioning. Color TV. Live Mermaids. Anna Meadows
Proof of Desire Remittance Girl
Soundproof Emily Moreton
An Inspector Comes Suzanne Fox
Surrender with a Twist Suleikha Snyder
Unbound at the Holiday Inn Lily K. Cho
Travelodge Tess Justine Elyot
Business Expenses Elizabeth Silver
Return to the Nonchalant Inn Erobintica
The Deacon Tahira Iqbal
Love, Loud as a Bomb Steve Isaak
Night School Valerie Alexander
Feel So Dirty Andrea Dale
Please Come Again Tenille Brown
Dirty White Envelope Ellie Vokes
Tailgating at the Cedar Inn Delilah Devlin
Stiletto's Big Score Michael A. Gonzales
Special Request Rachel Kramer Bussel

Introduction: Sex Magic

Hotel rooms are magical. Anything can happen in them, and the travelers in these stories know that well, using their hotel and motel rooms to engage in all sorts of explosive acts.

Sex work is, of course, a mainstay of hotel sex, but in this anthology, sex work happens with a twist. There's the male escort and a desk clerk in "Night School," by Valerie Alexander, the "Dirty White Envelope" in Ellie Vokes's story and the professional procurer in my "Special Request." Hotel workers play just as vibrant a role here as traditional sex workers.

Hotels give us an opportunity to engage in our favorite forms of sex magic on big, wide beds with plenty of pillows that can be used to lean back on or muffle screams of pleasure. We can indulge in the guilty pleasure of eavesdropping on our neighbors or walking down the hall hoping to spy or hear something juicy. Many of the characters here use hotels to escape from their everyday lives and engage in all sorts of flings and fetishes. Hotels bring out our most daring side, and let us strip down in a window, listen in on a stranger, star in an orgy and take part in all manner of other outrageous sex acts. In "Two-Way," by Ariel Graham, a couple rekindles their passion for hotel sex and exhibitionism, recalling past thrills while making new ones. Isabel, in Donna George Storey's "Selfish," sets out at age forty-four to try something new and a little risky, and her daring, and selfishness, pay off big time. The title of Anna Meadows's "Air-Conditioning. Color TV. Live Mermaids" tells you a good bit of what her story's about, but there's a tenderness and longing in this beautiful tale of a real mermaid and the man who wants--and gets--her that you'll have to read to fully appreciate.

The characters in Remittance Girl's "Proof of Desire" get exactly that, and in her telling, it's hot, urgent and fierce: "There it was. Need, desire so strong it burst into the stillness of the room, tainting the air with an ache. It hurt. It hurt deliciously to stand so close, to see the beads of sweat that birthed and glinted along the line of his sternum. To smell the faded scent of morning soap rise off his skin, and the sweetness of the oil he'd used on his cock, and the richer musk of his crotch. The tip of her tongue prickled with want."

The hotel in "Soundproof," by Emily Moreton is anything but, and listening to strangers get it on fuels Sam's desire as he soaks in every word. Suzanne Fox teases us with a fun yet sexy murder mystery weekend in "An Inspector Comes"--yes, her use of the double entendre is deliberate. "Surrender with a Twist," by Suleikha Snyder, takes us to, fittingly, Las Vegas; no book of hotel erotica would be complete without some Sin City sex. Lily K. Cho brings on the kink in "Unbound at the Holiday Inn," as a marriage takes a vital step when Mark bares his bottom for a spanking, changing the course of their relationship for the better. "Travelodge Tess" is on the job, but that doesn't stop her from having some fun along the way in Justine Elyot's clever tale. Elizabeth Silver delivers a torrid threesome in "Business Expenses," as Margo, Tonya and Javier enjoy sex toys--and each other.

The tone becomes nostalgic in Erobintica's "Return to the Nonchalant Inn," when Gerald and Jillian return to the island hotel they'd visited twenty years before and figure out if they can pick up where they left off. Tahira Iqbal looks at the head of a hotel empire, a modern-day Conrad Hilton named Mark Deacon, in "The Deacon," as this corporate tycoon makes sure to do a very thorough inspection of his hotels, and a very special employee. Steve Isaak's brief but powerful "Love, Loud as a Bomb" deals with the fear induced by a Hawaiian tsunami, and a clairvoyant who times her orgasm to a disaster.

Stories about sex workers abound in erotica, but they are usually women; "Night School" mixes things up with its male escort and a woman who turns him on to the thrill of being dominated. They exchange power in a way that unsettles and energizes them both. "He looked at the wall with this weird smile and I realized just how embarrassed he really was. I was the one whose presence had been requested tonight and he was the one who had done the requesting. He didn't know who was the client here, him or me, and the ambiguity had robbed him of his usual confidence."

In "Feel So Dirty," by Andrea Dale, a storm knocks out the power, but that doesn't stop Lea and Jon from skirting the edges of an affair as they enjoy a sexual connection that the close proximity of their hotel rooms enhances. "Please Come Again," by Tenille Brown, manages to tackle homelessness in away that doesn't address it as an "issue" but rather looks at the core of humanity and desire for human touch Randall hasn't lost, and that Simone welcomes as she takes care of him, sexually and otherwise.

Role-playing takes center stage in "Dirty White Envelope," which opens with, "It took me three years to tell Ron I wanted to be treated like a whore," and goes from there with this common, exciting fantasy. Erotic romance author Delilah Devlin gives us "Tailgating at the Cedar Inn," in which Kelsey brazenly takes on two guys, who are more than happy to enjoy her lusty attention. Michael A. Gonzales gives us a sexy heroine, Miki Jamison, a forty-five-year-old former blaxploitation star who luxuriates in the sumptuous hotel room, and her costar's passion for her. Closing out the book, Francine is famous for being able to deliver anything to her guests by "Special Request," and when Claudine requests she arrange--and attend--an orgy, she is more than up to the challenge--or so she thinks.

All of these stories capture some aspect of the thrill of hotel sex, and I hope you will enjoy them at home, at a hotel or wherever you happen to be, and perhaps you'll be inspired on your next vacation, staycation, work trip, or wherever your travels take you, to engage in the spirit of these sexy stories.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

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

Why my erotica anthology calls for submission are so long

I'm getting ready to publicly share two new erotica anthology calls for submissions for books to be published by Cleis Press in 2018 and 2019 (one of them is for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 4), and as I wrote the calls I was thinking to myself, Jeez, these are really long (fun fact: those who subscribe to my newsletter will get to see them today, but they will be all over the internet by the end of March). I even looked for parts I could trim and found that I wanted every word there, because each helped convey something I find important about what I'm looking for. The BWE call is over 1,200 words. I struggle with the length because I know for a fact that many people ask me questions about the calls or submit to them without having read them in full (or without having truly taken the time to absorb all of it). But I stand by my long calls; after all, it's the age of self-publishing when anyone can edit an anthology, so if you don't like my calls, you can make your own!

Something I've had to keep relearning in life and work is: that the way I do things may not be the way other people do them, and that's not just okay, it's a positive thing. In my head, intellectually, I know that, but in my heart, I tend to assume that the way other people do things is is the better, preferred way, and if mine is different, then I'm the one who should change. This is a recurring struggle for me, both in my personal writing, in my editing, in my book promoting, in my personal life, etc. Because isn't it always going to feel easier to want to fit in, go with the flow, feel part of a group, rather than feel like you're alone? Yet every time I've tried to weed out these calls, I argue myself back into keeping whatever I've tentatively deleted. So before I make those calls public, I wanted to share a little bit of the thought process behind them and why they're so long.

It's something I tell my students and I've put in my call: When you're writing, think about what every word and every sentence are doing. Do they serve a purpose? Are they advancing your story? I am doing my best to make my own advice; in the case of my calls, my words are advancing the story of the kind of anthology I want to edit. They are giving essential information and clues, if you will, as to what will make me select one story over another. Writing an anthology call is actually a pretty challenging thing to do, because I am always hesitant to be too specific. If I say, "I want stories about people who like bondage with duct tape," I could wind up with an inbox 100% full of tales about that very subject. And if my anthology were called Duct Tape Erotica, then that would be great. But if it's about bondage more generally, it's actually a bad thing because readers would likely get bored with story upon story featuring the same bondage implement.

I start out the process of editing an anthology with a blank document; I then fill it in based on the submissions I receive in my inbox. I don't have a preconceived idea of exactly what the book will look like when I begin the process of reading through all those stories; the shape of the book starts to take form as I read.

One of the biggest offerings I can provide to readers is variety. To me, that's one of the points of an anthology; that every author tackles a given subject differently, and offers their own individual take. I figure someone reading an anthology over a novel craves that variety, and wants to be surprised and wowed. Do I expect them to absolutely love every story? Not necessarily (though of course I hope so!), but I want to reach the largest possible audience I can and give that widely diverse group, who have vastly diverging tastes, something they can enjoy. Hopefully, many somethings.

That means I want to include stories with different plots, paces, tenses, settings. I want stories in first person and third person (and if I'm lucky, second person), past and present tense, contemporary, historic and futuristic, set in locations that are likely familiar to readers as well as unfamiliar. I want characters of different sexualities, races, ages, experience levels, single and coupled. I could go on and on, but often for me when I'm editing, what it comes down to is finding that variety, especially as I make the final few selections for an anthology. But I can't just say, "Send me varied erotica." So I try to convey that I'm looking for some specific types of characters and stories, while leaving the door wide open, as in, it couldn't possibly be more open, for authors to take my suggestions and run with them and send me stories whose plots I never could've dreamt up even if I sat at my computer 24/7 for the rest of my life.

I also look for variety in my authors; in each book, I include many authors I've never worked with before, and while I don't ask for biographical details, I do make it a point to make sure that my authors aren't all white. Usually there's a mix of previously published authors and newcomers, or relative newcomers, to being published. That matters to me, and you'll see the mention of own voices in the BWE 4 call. I've mainly read about ownvoices in relation to young adult books, but it's important to me too when it comes to the erotica I publish. That being said, my main goal is to create the best book I can create. I can't see into the future and know what readers will or won't enjoy, so I'm doing my best to make educated guesses, then assessing reader feedback. The BWE 4 call is very different from past ones; it will be open to all stories by/about women, but has two highly specific themes that I hope the majority of the book will touch on. This was important to me in light of current events, as well as because this is the last BWE book I'm currently contracted for, so if I don't get to edit any more, I want to go out with a bang, so to speak.

So all these factors go into me writing those calls, and sometimes tweaking them depending on what comes in. For The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2, which is now closed, I had to extend the call twice to get all the stories I needed. That being said, often the best stories are ones I never could have anticipated. Writer Tenille Brown sent me a story titled "Please Come Again" about a very moving relationship in which one person is homeless for my anthology Suite Encounters: Hotel Sex Stories (shameless plug: on sale today and for the next week for $1.99 in ebook form) and that wouldn't have occurred to me to include in my call, but was beautiful and hot and memorable, and I have dozens of other examples of stories that just blew me away that I was in no way expecting to receive.

I consider my calls both guidelines and suggestions. The specifics like word count and formatting aren't suggestions, and while I have certainly published people who didn't follow them, you will infinitely increase your chances if you follow them to the letter. But in terms of the actual writing I seek for my books, which again, may be totally different from what another editor is seeking (which is what makes the literary world go round in my opinion), my calls are simply an attempt to bring forth something I can't truly name, something that even if I wrote 10,000 words about what I'm seeking still couldn't get inside a writer's head and demand, "Write me exactly THIS." Even when I refer to previous stories or books I've published and say, essentially, "More of that, please," every writer is unique so I will never get more of precisely that, but rather, something new and different. "New" is probably the thing I look to offer my readers the most, right after variety. I know they have millions of books to choose from. I know some may be reading erotica for the first time, and some this may be their thousandth erotica book. I consider my job pleasing both of those readers.

Maybe there's a way to convey that more concisely than I've done, but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm going to trust that the authors whose work best fits my book are going to find my call and it's going to spark something in their minds that's going to turn into a gorgeous, sexy story that will ultimately find a home nestled amongst a bunch of other stories in one of my tables of contents. And that is my long-winded way of saying, sorry not sorry. Watch out for those calls, because I am very excited to get back into editing mode. And the deadlines aren't until October 1 and November 1, respectively, so don't panic about being in a rush. Lastly, when I post the calls, I would love it if you passed them on to anyone who might be a good fit. New writers are, in my opinion, the lifeblood of erotica, and I look forward to working with lots more of them on these titles and, if I'm lucky, more titles down the road.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Help me edit my next erotica anthology!

Right now I'm in the process of wrapping up the manuscript I'm submitting to my publisher, Cleis Press, for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 (they have final approval over all stories), and then later this month I'll be issuing the call for submissions for Volume 4 (first to my newsletter subscribers, then everywhere else; if you're not a subscriber, you can get on the list on the left-hand side of this blog or at rachelkramerbussel.com). In the meantime, though, what would be very helpful is to know what those who've read Volume 1 or Volume 2 thought: the good, the bad, the ugly. Why? Because without readers, I wouldn't edit anthologies. The readers are the whole point, and the only way I really know which stories resonated and which didn't is from reader feedback.

Write us a Review

The ideal way to let me know is by leaving a public review, which also lets other potential readers glean your opinion. You can leave a review of Volume 1 on Amazon or Goodreads and of Volume 2 on Amazon or Goodreads. You don't have to have bought the book on Amazon to leave a review there; you just need to have an Amazon account you've purchased from before. Now, when I say "help me edit," I don't mean I'm crowdsourcing which story to pick over another. I use my instinct and intuition and what I think makes for a good anthology to do that.

Rather, I like to know which stories resonated most with readers; which they liked, which they didn't, what they want to see more of, what they want to see less of. Yes, even reviews that praise some stories and savage others are helpful. Obviously, I'm a fan of all the stories I publish, but I do take into account the most liked and the least liked as I make decisions for future anthologies. Yet the only way I can know which ones are popular is from reader opinions, which helps guide me in my general selections. So if everyone loves the historical stories, I will consider adding more; if people want to see more femdom, or more queer stories, or more literary stories, or longer stories, or whatever it is, I want to take that into account when I make my selections. Right now, I'm only contracted to edit up to Volume 4, but my dream is to get to edit 10 volumes in the series and publish 200+ authors in the process, and your reviews help me with that goal because more reviews equals more discoverability equals more sales, equals I can make a better case for why I'm a kickass editor. When I say "make a better case" I mean both to my publisher and to myself. Plus it gives me more funds to pay authors (pay is going up to $200/story for Volume 4), organize events and generally spread the word about the series.

My goal with the series hasn't been just to throw any old books out into the world, but to learn as much myself about the anthology editing process as I can with each one, to better amplify the voices of my authors online and offline, and to bring these stories into the mainstream in every way I can. I would love to see more stores stocking erotica, like the 52 independent bookstores that have stocked Volume 2. I would like to see erotica treated as legitimately as any other genre. And I want to encourage women who might not think of themselves as "erotica writers" (or even "writers" necessarily) to submit work to the series. That's why I only allow authors who haven't been published in prior Best Women's Erotica of the Year books to submit work; I'm sure past authors have brilliant stories to tell, but my aim is to publish as many authors as I can. So your reviews also help me with that goal because the more readers who know about the series, the greater the pool of potential people who'll consider sending me their work.

I do my best to improve with each book, both with the breadth of stories, what I provide for my authors and how much I do to get the books out into the world. I'll soon be going into brainstorming mode for Volume 3 so I can have it make even more of a splash than 1 and 2, and then will be crafting Volume 4, so your feedback counts greatly. If you'd prefer to email me, you can at bweoftheyear@gmail.com - thank you! I truly appreciate everyone who's shared their thoughts.

For those who want a free sample of Volume 2, here's some ways to get a peek:

Listen to sexy San Francisco erotica story "Taste" by Jocelyn Bringas as read by Rose Caraway on her podcast The Kiss Me Quick's!

Taste_by_Jocelyn_Bringas

Read a free sample of lesbian BDSM erotica story "Wordless Surrender" by Janelle Reston.

Janelle Reston BWE 2 quote

Read an excerpt of kinky opera erotica story "Performance" by Jordan Monroe.

jordanmonroeqanda

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Listen to me talk erotica on New York magazine's Sex Lives podcast!

Since getting home from my book tour in mid-February, it's been busy, busy, busy. I wrapped up my final LitReactor class with a wonderful group of students, turned in one anthology and am working on another (if you are waiting to hear back, you will this month), am preparing two calls for submission to share (they will be shared first with subscribers to my newsletter so if you're not subscribed, do so now at rachelkramerbussel.com or the left-hand side of my Lusty Lady blog!), turned my taxes in to my accountant and, to cap things off, got a septiaplasty on Tuesday (deviated septum surgery). So, yeah, a little busy.

I'll be sharing more about the new approach I've taken to my work with the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series, which has included shifting everything from how I work with authors to how I promote my books and the hustle of getting the books stocked in my favorite bookstores. One of the things I'm most proud of is amplifying my authors' voices as far and wide as I can and doing everything humanly possible to make this the little series that could. Yes, it had a big following with its two prior, amazing editors, and I want to take that and run with it. I want this series to be in every bookstore it can be, which was why I was so thrilled to see it on display at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia at Faber & Faber, and to know it's at airport bookstores in cities like San Francisco and Anchorage (I haven't traveled through those yet to see it, but I hope to!).

faberandfaber-best-womens-erotica

This totally made my day and I look forward to visiting the over 50 independent bookstores across the country, in 20 states (including my own - thank you to WORD in Jersey City!) that took a chance on my series. To whoever makes these decisions, you have my utmost appreciation! I know there are millions of books out there to choose from and knowing they've selected this series that I've poured so much of my heart and soul into means the world to me. I vow to visit as many of these stores as I can, shop in them, promote them and show my thanks in concrete ways, because I want them to know how much that visibility matters, both to me and my series and to this genre that is so often overlooked on bookstore shelves. Two of the most meaningful on that list, to me, are PRINT: A Bookstore in Portland, Maine, one of my favorite places to visit that I've greatly adored, but been saddened that its two other independent bookstores have minimal to no erotica, and Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, the town where my great grandparents settled almost 100 years ago, where I spent my childhood summers, where I visit every summer and have dreamt of seeing my name on those hallowed shelves. It finally happened and I couldn't be more thrilled and hope I get to visit both of these stores later this year. Yes, I will buy a book at every store that stocks mine, because I believe in karma and giving back and supporting the businesses I want to see in the world, especially the ones that are helping my business grow and thrive.

Part of that approach I mentioned involves being a better advocate and publicist for myself, and that includes following the simple yet damn hard at the same time advice of Amanda Palmer in her book that was eye-opening for me, The Art of Asking. As much as I now asking works, as much as I know that asking is actually what I owe myself if I believe in the work I put out into the world, it's still challenging to get over that hump, that second guessing voice in my head that told me as my finger hovered over the send button, You're being an idiot. Who cares about your dumb book when there's so many other better ones out there? Don't clutter someone's inbox. But I got over that voice, pushed it aside, told it to wait until later. I reminded myself that I believe in the power of DIY publicity, I believe in pursuing my dreams no matter how many rejections I get, and that if I want my books to not just be tucked away, unseen and unread, I have to take risks.

So I hit send, and that's what led to me being interviewed by the wonderful Maureen O'Connor in the Panoply studios for New York magazine's Sex Lives podcast.

sexlivespodcast

It's titled "The Life-Changing Power of Lesbian Monida Lewinsky Fanfic," but I have to tell you, back in 1999 when I wrote that first story, I had never even heard the term "fanfic," I just wanted to be published in Shar Rednour's amazing-sounding anthology Starf*cker. Click through for a transcript of part of our conversation and to listen, and subscribe to this wonderful podcast on iTunes. My point is: ask, and you just may get to talk about your fledgling first erotica story about Monica Lewinsky, being on the writing and the written about side of celebrity erotica, Chuck Tingle, Best Women's Erotica and much more. That's what happened for me and I am already planning big things for Volume 3, which pubs in December. (And conversely, people ignoring you or saying no or rejecting your work will never kill you; trust me, if it were, I'd have been dead a long long time ago. It's the asking, the risking, the believing in yourself enough to go for it, that truly matters.) More on Volume 3 this summer, and in the meantime, I hope you enjoy the podcast.

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