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Monday, January 16, 2017

Why my Best Women's Erotica of the Year book tour is only going to 4 cities

When I sent out my most January newsletter announcing the Best Women's Erotica of the Year Volume 2 book tour, a few people asked me, "How come you're not come to my city?" (Side note, if you're a newsletter subscriber, read it above or in your inbox and enter to win a copy of my female orgasm anthology Orgasmic by January 22nd!)

Book tour-2

So I wanted to answer that question here. Whether I do any book readings at all, and how many I do, boils down to three main factors: time, money and people. I'll break them each down.

Time

Especially since the middle of last year when I started working in an office again for the first time since 2011, my time is much more limited. I'm taking three unpaid days off to do this tour, and that's only four dates. If I could have scheduled them all to avoid taking days off, I would have, but I also have to accommodate the stores' available dates and the days they feel will have the best turnout, along with the availability of my readers. To my mind, there's no point in doing an event on a night that nobody shows up to readings. In addition to scheduling, there's also getting to the event and back home. The other time factor that I would imagine people don't realize is the numerous hours of promotion leading up to an event. I learned when I was running my reading series In The Flesh that you have to reach people in as many ways as possible, so for the few months leading up to my readings, I research every avenue possible to let people know. Then I add my event listings everywhere from Yelp to Craigslist to Eventful to Galleycat, send them to the local newspapers and alt weeklies and blogs, have my publisher send the book and the event details, post on message boards, etc. All of that is very time consuming, and probably not something I could do, or at least, do well, if I had 10 events at once. I would rather do 4 events where I know I did everything I could to get people to attend and, hopefully, have good turnout, than 10 events where I was too frazzled to do anything more than a half-hearted effort.

Money

Money is directly linked with time, in that the time I'm doing all of the above, I'm not doing any paid work. Now, indirectly, hopefully, a book tour helps generate sales and visibility and publicity, which in the long run translates into more money for me, but in the short term, my book tours are huge expenses. I organize and fund my book tour myself, so in addition to the days off work I'm taking (I'm a freelancer so I only get paid for the days I'm actually working), here are some of the expenses involved: having promotional postcards made, mailing postcards, travel (airfare, hotel, taxis and Uber), meals while traveling, payment to authors (I am paying authors traveling outside of their home city $50 to help cover their travel costs). I also believe it's only right to support the stores that are supporting my work so I will likely buy one or more books at each venue. I haven't done the math yet, but I will likely have spent around $2,000 on this tour, not counting the days off I'm taking. Let's be widely generous and say I will sell 20 books at each event (that's most likely not going to happen and I'm not even sure if stores bring in that many for an event), my royalties would be $101.60, which I would receive in early August.

In other words, I'm losing money on doing this or any other book tour, in the short term. So why do I do it at all? Several reasons. For one, it's simply in my blood. I've been organizing readings since my first short story, "Monica and Me," was published way back in 2000. I believe that words don't only live on the page, and should be enjoyed live in front of people to truly gauge their impact. I also know that most bookstores stock very little to no erotica, so to have the genre take center stage alongside all the other valuable and important books being published is a sign that we don't want to be relegated to some back corner somewhere or solely read in secret on e-readers. I love that I'm getting to read at the same bookstore that Jon Hamm recently did an event in. I want more visibility not just for my books but for the genre as a whole. I subscribe to numerous bookstores' mailing lists and simply don't see a lot of erotica events listed. I'm deeply grateful to all the independent bookstores from Asheville to Anchorage who have chosen to stock Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, amongst the hundreds of thousands of books they could have stocked, and I want to make sure everyone from casual browsers to regular customers knows that those stores have these offerings.

I believe it's also valuable for my book's word of mouth to be seen in a "coming soon" display, to appear in a bookstore's newsletter and social media, to be listed in local media (thank you, Time Out LA!), and to simply be talked about. Maybe someone will see it and not think anything of it but in a month or a year will get curious and remember, "Hey, I saw that book of erotica at ___ store. I'm going to see if it's up my alley." I'll also be sharing photos and video on Twitter and Instagram and follow the BWE Facebook page because in Boston on February 9 I'm going to do my first Facebook Live! Yes, I'm a little nervous, just as I'm always nervous before I do a reading, but I'm also excited. I also believe it's useful for my authors, many of whom are doing a public reading for the first time (for some, this is their first published erotica story, or first in print). Since I got my start organizing readings and doing them for anthologies I was published in, I want to give this opportunity back to my authors. This deserves its own post, but part of my vision for the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series is that it's one where readers come to read sexy stories but also find new to them authors to follow as their careers blossom and grow, and live readings are part of that. They can build lifelong fans who may not remember everything they read, but are far likely to remember having heard the author speak the words with their own unique way of telling a story.

To put it another way, I'm a gambler. I actually don't go to the casinos within ten minutes of my home because of that, but with my books, I'm willing to gamble my own money that they are worth the effort and expenditure, that the cumulative impact of doing several readings in a row under the guise of a "book tour" is sending the right message to the universe. I wish it were as simple an equation as, the more time and money you invest in your book, the better it does in the marketplace. Of course it's not. There's myriad factors that go into whether a book is a hit with readers and book buyers, but I want to position this series, which is the culmination of my 17 years in the erotica genre, to do the best it possibly can. The better this book sells, the more resources I have for the next two volumes and, hopefully, my publisher will be happy with the series' progress and ask me to edit more of them.

People

While time and money determine how many cities I can visit and how much I can spend on these events, the determining factor in which cities I actually book events in is people. For instance, I love feminist bookstore Book Woman in Austin (shop there! It's a treasure trove for book lovers), but I don't think there are any authors in Best Women's Erotica of the Year 1 or 2 anywhere in Texas. Ditto for many other locations I'd love to visit. It doesn't make sense for just the editor of an anthology to do an appearance. So I scan each volume and see where the largest concentration of authors are located, see if they are interested, and make my plans around that. I have authors in each volume who live outside the United States, which I think makes the books stronger and more varied, but it leaves more limited options for events. I love that we get insight into dating culture in the Philippines, but I obviously can't afford to go there for a reading.

In this case, two of my authors are traveling from northern California for our Los Angeles reading at Skylight Books on January 31, and several are traveling for the others. That to me is an incredible honor, that someone would give up their own time and effort to take part in a reading I organized. That makes me all the more determined that they get a big crowd to hear their dirty words! I don't believe in unpaid labor or exploiting authors, so this year I offered that extra payment to my authors who are traveling to readings.

One of the great aspects of editing a series like this, though, is that as the years go by, I have a larger pool of readers to choose from, so even if there weren't enough people the first time, there may be next time. While this tour is mainly focused on Volume 2, Jade A. Waters and D.R. Slaten from Volume 1 are also reading with us, and I will probably read selections from each volume.

So that is my very long-winded way of describing how my book tours operate. Obviously, authors with big publishers likely have a very different setup that doesn't involve out of pocket costs (though it may). I'll end by saying that I would greatly appreciate you helping to spread the word about these four events. I always poll attendees after events to see where they heard about them, and amazingly, I get a wide range of response; it's rare that 80% heard about it from one source. So you telling your friend in LA or Baltimore or New York or Jersey City about this event is extremely valuable and helpful. Below are the links to the individual venues and the Facebook event pages if you want to spread the word that way. We're also doing Q&As after each event so you can ask me and the authors anything about erotica, writing, publishing or whatever else you're curious about. The better this tour does, the more likely it is that I'll do it again next year in new cities!

Best Women's Erotica of the Year book tour, 2017

January 31, 7:30 pm, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Facebook event page

February 9, 6:30 pm, Sugar, Baltimore (Hampden), Facebook event page

February 11, 7 pm, Bluestockings, New York City (Lower East Side), Facebook event page

February 13, 7:30 pm, WORD, Jersey City (half block from Grove Street PATH Station), Facebook event page

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Friday, January 13, 2017

How Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys inspired a Best Women's Erotica of the Year Volume 2 story

Who knew that boy band fandom could lead to getting published? Read on...Part of why I've done so many author interviews in my career is that when I finish reading a book (or a short story or an essay), if it moved me, I have questions. That's why I've been asking the contributors to Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, all about their writing process and fiction inspiration over on the book's Tumblr.

This week's interview is with Jocelyn Bringas, author of the story "Taste," and she told me that the photo below of Nick Carter of The Backstreet Boys was the genesis of her story! How cool is that?

All dressed up.

A photo posted by Nick Carter (@nickcarter) on



You can read all about this sexy tale in our interview. The story itself starts out like this:
The cool San Francisco air was refreshing on my skin after being stuck behind a stuffy cubicle for eight hours. I was following my routine of walking to the underground Embarcadero BART station to take my evening train ride home. When I reached Market Street and Drumm, I stood on the crowded sidewalk and waited for the signal to walk across the street.

“I wonder if you taste as good as you look.”
Taste Image

I hope you will join us Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30 p.m., where she will read from "Taste" live at Skylight Books at 1818 North Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, and probably give us a little more juicy insight! On a totally superficial note, I got a new dress for the occasion and can't wait to kick off this book tour and finally meet Jocelyn, who I published years ago in my anthology Yes, Sir. I follow most of my authors on social media and feel like I somewhat know them, but it's different from getting to see them in person, and hear the way they personally tell the story they created. That is an incredible feeling and something I wish I could do with all my authors.

BWEV2 LA Reading Promo (1)

Even if you're not in LA, I would love it if you'd help spread the word. Here's the Facebook event page, and of course, we'll have photos and maybe even some video snippets, so stay tuned to the book's Twitter and Instagram accounts. We may even try doing a Facebook Live!

And through this Sunday, June 15th, I'm giving away 10 free copies of the audiobook over on Facebook, so enter the giveaway if you want to hear Rose Caraway narrate all 21 stories.

bweoftheyearvol2 Audiocover

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Monday, January 09, 2017

Early bird pricing for my LitReactor online erotica writing class ends Tuesday, January 10

My final LitReactor online Between the Sheets erotica writing class, which takes place entirely online from February 7-March 7, is starting soon and if you register by Tuesday, January 10th, you save $25 on the price. Starting January 11th, the price goes up to $375, so if you're planning to take the class, act fast to get the early bird price.

litreactorfebruary7erotica

In this class, which you can learn more about by clicking above, I offer weekly written lectures, daily postings with more in depth material as well as exclusive to the class Q&As with erotica publishers, editors, literary agents and successful authors (both self-published and traditionally published), weekly homework assignments with line-by-line critiques (plus you will give and get critiques from fellow students) and the chance to ask all the questions you want, as well as an invitation to my private online group for alumni to continue the conversations started in class. Since it's only four weeks, we do work hard and if you want to get the most out of the class, you should be prepared to do each homework assignment and spend at least five hours a week working on it. You will retain access to the classroom materials forever. It's basically an immersion into the genre and thinking about the world around you with an erotic writing lens, as well as motivation to submit your work and guidance on how to position yourself for success when trying to get published. That's not the only reason people take the class, but it is something I strongly encourage as a way to complete work and be ready if you do want to take that step.

Why is this my last time teaching a class I developed in 2014 that has been a wonderful success? Time. I spend at least 20 hours a week, often more, on the class, which gets daily input and postings from me in addition to detailed critiques on all homework assignments. For most of the last few years, I've worked entirely from home, but now that I'm employed again, my time is more limited, and I wouldn't want to offer this class unless I could truly immerse myself in it and be available to my students the way they deserve.

I really love the camaraderie and community that has developed out of this class, with students keeping in touch, taking part in my private online group for alumni and continuing to work on their writing, submit stories, get published and grow and learn. Whether or not you take the class, I strongly encourage you to bookmark LitReactor and take advantage of all the resources and information and variety the site offers. I am honored that they asked me to teach the class and that I was able to develop my in person workshop into one that translated online.

therippedbodicephoto

Speaking of in person, I'll be teaching what's probably my only in person erotica writing workshop very soon, three weeks from today, on Sunday, January 29 from 4-6 pm at romance bookstore The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, California (they also have an extensive erotica section, which is more than most U.S. bookstores, many of which have a few or even zero copies of erotic books). It's $25 and the official description is belowIt's limited to 20 people and is such a wonderful setting for the class. You can register at erotica101rippedbodice.brownpapertickets.com. If you are nearby or know anyone who is who wants to get their 2017 in gear with their writing, please let them know.

Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 60 erotica anthologies, including Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1 and 2, Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women, Cheeky Spanking Stories, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, The Big Book of Orgasms, Fast Girls, Gotta Have It, and more, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. Learn how to get started, find your voice, experiment on the page and write from various viewpoints. You'll discover how to incorporate everyday scenarios, settings and objects as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular publications including magazines and anthologies. She'll also talk about submitting your work, selecting a pseudonym, building your author brand 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. $25/person. Limited to 20 people. Contact The Ripped Bodice at 424-603-4776 if you have any questions.

Lastly, if you are looking for feedback on your erotica writing or private consultation, you can visit my website Erotica Writing 101 to get more information about the service I offer.

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Monday, January 02, 2017

Kinky new year ebook sale: Best Bondage Erotica 2011 is only $1.99 this week

Happy 2017! To celebrate the new year, I wanted to share that the ebook version my anthology Best Bondage Erotica 2011 is only $1.99 this week for e-readers Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo. This was the first of five bondage erotica books I edited for Cleis Press and I loved working on it. Even though it has a date from six years ago on it, I promise that if you're into bondage and BDSM and creative kinky scenarios, you'll likely find something you'll enjoy. These are timeless, sexy stories that are a perfect way to start the new year. I'm pretty sure there will be many more of my ebooks on sale this year so if you want to know about them as soon as they happen, follow me on BookBub and get an email when the price drops. You can also follow your favorite authors or by genre so if you're an avid ebook reader, I highly recommend checking them out.

Best Bondage 2011


Introduction: The Joy of Restraint

The Long Way Home Elizabeth Coldwell
His Little Apprentice Jacqueline Applebee
Foreign Exchange Evan Mora
The Ingénue Janine Ashbless
Reasoning Tenille Brown
Subdue Dusty Horn
Relative Anonymity Emerald
Closeted Emily Bingham
Vegas Treat Rachel Kramer Bussel
The Cartographer Angela Caperton
The Apiary Megan Butcher
Wired Lisabet Sarai
How the Little Mermaid Got Her Tail Back Andrea Dale
The Lady or the Tiger Bill Kte’pi
Sealed for Freshness Jennifer Peters
Stocks and Bonds Rita Winchester
Helen Lay Bound Suzanne V. Slate
The Rainmaker Elizabeth Daniels
Do You See What I Feel? Teresa Noelle Roberts
Truss Issues Lux Zakari


Introduction: The Joy of Restraint

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to find, when putting together this anthology, that about 75 percent of the story submissions involved the submissive’s, or bottom’s, point of view. When it comes to bondage, the feeling of giving in, surrendering, allowing oneself to be placed at someone else’s mercy, comes alive on the page, and these authors certainly know how to vividly depict that appeal. Though there are stories here from a top’s perspective, told by dominants who delight in the thrill of watching a lover squirm, struggle and submit, most of the stories here go the other way.

Take “The Rainmaker,” by Elizabeth Daniels, in which Amy, a bit uncertain, allows herself to overcome her fears and get tied up:

Darkness and the ropes enfolded Amy like a chrysalis. Her mind was clear, finally at peace. After months of agonizing over every step of foreplay, after sex that consisted of checklists and flow charts compiled from hours of research, for once, she did not need to think or plan. Like extradark chocolate, such dependence was not something she would want every day, but for the moment, it was a bite of bitter bliss.

I especially appreciate the stories here that illuminate the leap of faith one needs to make to allow someone else to bind him. In “Truss Issues,” Emy repeatedly tells Samir that she’s not into bondage, doesn’t want to be tied up and yet, somewhere inside, she knows that isn’t totally true. “To her surprise, her body didn’t sync up to her beliefs. She felt a warm liquid rush flood her cunt… Cursing her body for its betrayal, Emy nestled her teeth in her lower lip and forced her breathing to remain calm, to not come out as a needy whimper.” What happens when she surrenders teaches her that she doesn’t have to give up all of herself to enjoy the sweet friction and emotional journey that submission to bondage can incur.

In the lesbian scene in Dusty Horn’s “Subdue,” the narrator finds herself, finds the core of her submission and learns how to be patient.

After what seems like eons without touch, her hot hand on my chin is electrifying. She lifts it up and back, pressing something against my smooth exposed throat. Tugging firmly up on the hair at the nape of my neck, she wraps the rest of the mystery object against the top of my spine where my still body meets my busy mind.

“This is mine,” she hums to me as she slides a metal clasp into place. “This is not your collar. It’s mine, for you to wear.”

The collar bulges around my neck, a leather halo engorged with blood.


Other stories stand out for their unique scenarios. In “The Ingénue,” by Janine Ashbless, a young woman finds a bound man outside in the yard, and goes to investigate this curious vision. “How the Little Mermaid Got Her Tail Back,” by Andrea Dale, puts a kinky twist on a beloved fairy tale. In “Sealed for Freshness,” Mitchell pays for his disobedience with a flogging against his plastic-wrapped skin, while in “Stocks and Bonds,” some historical role-play at a Renaissance Festival leaves Kerri begging for mercy.

I was looking for stories that spanned the world of bondage, and boy did I get that! Here, you’ll find rope and handcuffs, as you might expect, but you’ll also find cling wrap, Ethernet cables, stocks and bonds, silk ties and other implements whose creators probably didn’t intend them to be used in kinky play. There’s bondage at the office, bondage onstage and under a red turtleneck sweater dress. There are bondage beginners and seasoned pros, men and women who offer up their wrists, ankles, necks and other body parts to those just itching to play with them.

This is a book for anyone who wants to know what’s so arousing about being tied up. Whether you’ve ever experienced bondage or not, these authors boldly take you along as they negotiate what they are and aren’t willing to give up, and illustrate the blissful beauty that can take place, inside and out, when you make the choice to give up some of your freedom and mobility in order to access the world from a new perspective.

If what drew you to this book was the stunningly sexy image on the cover, I can assure you that the stories you’ll find inside is just as hot—possibly even hotter. They are about so much more than simply what one looks like while tied up: for instance, what it feels like to wait, longing for release while also hoping the joy of restraint never ends. That push/pull is at the heart of bondage, and that is what you will experience along with the characters, those brave subs, brats, bad girls and naughty boys who offer themselves up so their masters and mistresses—and you, the reader—can savor them, one click of the handcuffs at a time.

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My words of the year for 2017: nest and save

In 2016, I told myself I was too busy moving and pitching and hustling and finding jobs and, well, life, to set an intention or pick a word for the year. I spent much of the year feeling quite out of sorts, floating from one random project to another without any real concrete goal. It was like I was having my Saturn Return at age 40 (though that may be the wrong metaphor). I accomplished some big things that were on my list, like quitting caffeine and getting a business credit card, but most of the year felt like I was scrambling to catch up with myself and never got even close.

So this year I decided to set two words, because I'm a hoarder and can never pick just one (actually because they go together) to help guide me in 2017: nest and save. While I love traveling and have a huge list of places I would love to visit before I die, the truth is travel can be very stressful. Most of the time when I travel I am also bringing along the baggage of a giant to do list, which cuts into my ability to relax and enjoy myself. Plus now that I have actual jobs rather than the random cobbled together freelance writing assignments of the past, I don't want to miss any more unpaid days than I have to. I'm missing a few for my book tour because the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series means the world to me and I want to do everything I possibly can to make sure these books reach a wide audience and that I offer the opportunity to do live readings to my authors.

But other than that, I'll be sitting out all conferences and postponing my European vacation to a future date. The other side of the coin is savings. I've listened to every episode of Gaby Dunn's podcast Bad With Money (you can read my interview with her about it at Salon), and felt a deep sense of shame that at 40 (and still at 41), I identify with so much of what she discusses, yet she is in her late twenties and already helping herself climb out of her bad money habits. I heard her say in an early episode that she has $20,000 in the bank and realized that I think I can only say I've had that once, for a brief, lucrative moment.

I'm only starting now, which I fear is too late but I also know that it's the best that I can do. I raised my credit score from around 580 to above 700 last year and intend to keep on raising it. I did accomplish some financial positives last year but I also wasted lots of money on pointless trips and spending that could have been better harnessed saving with a purpose or funneling back into promoting my books. That's not to say I won't spend any money this year, but that I will do so more deliberately and will have the time to plan and assess because I won't be on the go so much. I will have more time, for instance, to actually read all the lovely books I bought during my Boston independent bookstore trip.

I moved in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and unless an unexpected problem crops up, I will be staying put in 2017, which is great because I love my huge bedroom/office and all the artwork we've decorated with. I want to further get to know my neighbors and neighborhood and my state and focus on self-improvement and my relationship and what's important to me. I want to start volunteering again locally and be able to donate to my favorite nonprofits at the end of this year. Travel is also something I value greatly and I will still see family and hopefully take another trip with my partner, but only after I've met some savings goals first. That's the opposite of the way I've been doing things for my whole adult life, and while I have gotten to visit some wonderful places, now is the time to step up and act like I'm in my forties, rather than someone half my age.

All of my income streams could end any day, and I'm fully aware of that. Jobs come and go, which I know well having been laid off. Book royalties, which were wonderful last year, could dry up, which is why I'm also devoting some time every day toward book promotion. But all of those small tasks that go into the general job of "erotica editor" I can't do to my fullest when I'm on the road. Yes, there's wifi at airports and I do get some things done and have even written pieces I'm very proud of in hotels, but I am far more deliberate and aware of my purpose when I have steadiness and reliability in my routine. I'm someone who drinks out of the exact same coffee mug every morning and actually miss it when I go away.

I don't know exactly how these worlds will play out, but I know as I sit here at my desk listening to the rain fall that I'm grateful to have them as my guiding principles, to help me sort out the kind of life I want for myself rather than feeling like that sense of peace and comfort is always too far for me to grasp.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My 2017 events: LA, Baltimore, NYC, Jersey City and final LitReactor class

I'm gearing up for a busy start to 2017, and hope you can either attend one of my events or pass on the info to your friends in those areas. Barring some unexpected opportunity, these will be my only events until 2018, as I embrace my words of the year: nest and save. Yes, gallivanting about on a book tour is the opposite of nesting and saving, but it's part of my value system when it comes to doing everything I can for my Best Women's Erotica of the Year series and my hope is that it helps boost the visibility of my books and keeps them in stock (and maybe encourages stores that don't carry any erotica to do so).

I believe it's worth it, not necessarily in dollars (I will lose money between missing work/lost wages during the days I'm traveling, travel costs for myself and paying authors who are traveling to readings, buying and mailing book postcards to send to stores, etc.), but to show the universe that I'm willing to invest in myself and this new book, and to support independent bookstores and sex toy stores and to give my authors what I believe they deserve: a live audience. It's one of the umpteen calculations I do in terms of what's worthwhile/what's wasteful in the seemingly endless land of book promotion. I also on a personal level love getting to meet my authors in person, because even when I interview them and hear the origins of their incredible stories, for me, nothing beats hearing them read their work live in a room with an audience hungry for those words. I feel proud that stores that don't often (or maybe ever) hold erotica events are doing so because I was proactive and asked. That's something I'm willing to spend my money on, in the hopes that it will help both my book, and pave the way for future erotica events. Images for all the events are coming soon, so stay tuned to @bweoftheyear and our Facebook page and if you want to help support me/my books/these incredible independent stores, please spread the word! My website will be updated soon with all the info too.

I'm especially excited to teach at romance bookstore The Ripped Bodice, which has a whole erotica section you will not find at many (possibly any) other bookstores in this country. That class is already starting to sell and is limited to 20 people due to space so if you're thinking of taking it, I would sign up sooner rather than later. I'm also thrilled to be doing what I'm almost certain is my first reading in my home state of New Jersey. Yes, after all these years of events across the country and in Canada and the UK, I've never done an event in the state where I grew up and now live, so this Jersey girl is very excited to do an event a WORD in Jersey City, a town where I used to live (I have done events at the WORD in Greenpoint, Brooklyn).

This will be my final LitReactor class due to my new work schedule and will probably sell out as most others have, so if you're interested, I would sign up sooner rather than later. It's a wonderful class, especially if you take the time to devote yourself to it (I recommend setting aside at least five hours a week for homework assignments and critiques). In addition to the details listed on the site, the class also contains exclusive interviews I've conducted with publishers, editors, literary agents and authors, both self-published and traditionally published, and you can ask me anything that month about writing, publishing, social media for authors, etc. You retain access to the classroom materials forever so can log in and look at everything any time, but it works best if you keep up as the class is going on. I've loved teaching this class and my students have had great things to say about it. I will certainly mis teaching it but am honored to have gotten to work with so many students and can't wait to make this final class the very best one yet! You can also learn about the student writing success stories and why I encourage my students to submit their work. Those who take The Ripped Bodice or LitReactor classes will also be invited to join my private online group for erotica writing student alumni to keep in touch and share news/questions with me and fellow writers.

Erotica readings

Los Angeles
January 31, 2017, 7 pm
Best Women's Erotica of the Year reading
Join Best Women's Erotica of the Year series editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for a rousing reading from Volumes 1 and 2, featuring Jocelyn Bringas, Melina Greenport and Jade A. Waters. Q&A and book signing to follow. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
Facebook event page (RSVP not required)
Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90027, 323-660-1175

Baltimore
February 9, 2017, 6:30 pm

Best Women's Erotica of the Year reading
Join Best Women's Erotica of the Year series editor Rachel Kramer Bussel along with contributors to Volumes 1 and 2 including Abigail Ekue, Annabeth Leong, Jordan Monroe, and D.R. Slaten for a rousing reading, followed by a Q&A and book signing. You'll hear some of the sexiest stories around starring women characters who travel the world in search of satisfaction, and find out what it takes to be successful in the thriving erotica genre. Light refreshments will be served. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
Facebook event page (RSVP not required)
Sugar, 1001 W. 36th Street, Baltimore (Hampden), 410-467-2632

Baltimore reading<

New York City
February 11, 2017, 7 pm

Join editor Rachel Kramer Bussel and contributors Ella Dawson, Abigail Ekue, Annabeth Leong, Stella Watts Kelley and Vierra Lai for a rousing reading from hot new anthology Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2. The authors will participate in a Q&A and book signing immediately following the reading. Wheelchair accessible. Free. Wheelchair accessible.
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Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002, 212-777-6028
Nearest subways: F to 2nd Avenue, J/M/Z to Essex Street, B/D to Grand Street ​

Jersey City, NJ
February 13, 2017, 6:30 pm

Join editor Rachel Kramer Bussel and Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 contributors Abigail Ekue, Stella Watts Kelley, Vierra Lai, and Annabeth Leong for a fun Galentine's Day panel on erotica, writing and culture.
WORD, 123 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ, 07302, 201-763-6611

Erotica writing workshops

Culver City, CA
January 29, 4-6 pm

Erotica Writing 101 live workshop
Rachel Kramer Bussel, professional erotica author and editor of over 60 erotica anthologies, including Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1 and 2, Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women, Cheeky Spanking Stories, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, The Big Book of Orgasms, Fast Girls, Gotta Have It, and more, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing. Learn how to get started, find your voice, experiment on the page and write from various viewpoints. You'll discover how to incorporate everyday scenarios, settings and objects as well as outlandish fantasies into your writing, and make them fit for particular publications including magazines and anthologies. She'll also talk about submitting your work, selecting a pseudonym, building your author brand 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. $25/person. Limited to 20 people. Contact The Ripped Bodice at 424-603-4776 if you have any questions.

Rachel has been writing erotica for 17 years. Her books have won 8 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Awards, and she has been quoted about erotica everywhere from The Wall Street Journal to The Globe and Mail and Glamour.com. Her own erotic stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006 and Zane's bestselling anthologies Succulent: Chocolate Flava II and Purple Panties. She's taught erotica writing workshops across the U.S. and online at LitReactor.

About the venue: The Ripped Bodice is the only exclusively romance bookstore in the United States. The mission behind the store is simple: women should profit from their creative output. We feature as diverse a selection of romance as we can get our hands on, as well as jewelry, stationery and beauty products.
The Ripped Bodice, 3806 Main Street Culver City, CA
Register at Eventbrite

February 7-March 7 my final LitReactor Between the Sheets erotica writing class
Online only class limited to 16 people; attend any time, using any username you desire (you can be anonymous) and get critiqued by me and fellow students and receive guidance about publishing your work. You'll learn how to draw on your surroundings, incorporate humor and heartache, approach stories from multiple POVs and heighten the erotic tension in your work. You'll also get access to exactly what editors and publishers are currently looking for based on my research, as well as additional information on publishing short story collections, editing anthologies and self-publishing. Click through for more details about class assignments and goals. $375/person.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 is out in print, ebook and audio!

I'm late in letting you know that the book I worked hard on all year, Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 is now officially released in print, ebook and audio, because I've been busy spreading the word on social media and posting interviews with the authors which you can read on the Best Women's Erotica of the Year Tumblr. Since I don't have time to post here too often, you can get the latest on the series by following us @bweoftheyear on Twitter and on Facebook.

The fire split into two flames that twisted around each other as Gwynn and Emily embraced.-2

If you are interested in the writing process, I highly suggest checking them out. Even I am learning a lot from them! The basic buying links are at bweoftheyear.com (and more will be added as I hear of more stores stocking it) and for more about my vision for the series and why I'm devoting pretty much everything I've got to it, read on.

About the book: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 gives us fierce female passion, timeless love, and lustful encounters that are guaranteed to fill you with utter delight. Edited by the award winning Rachel Kramer Bussel, these sexy stories about women on the prowl span the globe, traveling from Peru to the Bahamas and beyond in pursuit of pleasure. Learn why "Teacher Appreciation" is so special, what sex is like "At the End of the World," and explore some very explosive "Volcano Nights." These unforgettable erotic tales by the top authors in the genre as well as newcomers will arouse and thrill readers looking for a hot time between the pages.

on sale now best women's erotica of the year 2

To say that editing this series is a dream come true would be a massive understatement, so I'll just say that back when I was writing my first erotica story in 1999, I never dreamed of editing any anthologies, let alone a prestigious annual series. It's a privilege that I don't take lightly, and right now I'm getting ready for our book tour hitting Los Angeles, Baltimore, New York and Jersey City as well as selecting stories for Volume 3. I'm thrilled that this volume has so many authors being published either for the first time or on the early side of their publishing careers, because that's truly my vision for what this series can be: both a place to showcase very sexy stories that, hopefully, readers enjoy reading for years to come, and a launching pad for authors and way of joining forces and forming a community through both live events and social media and the online presence of the series. That's a post for another time, but it's what I'm working toward as I go all out with Volume 2 promo, select stories for Volume 3 and craft the call for Volume 4. See below for how you can help shape those next books!

I'm also doing my best to give back with this series, by increasing author pay, paying authors for out of state readings, offering a free copy to all 2,000+ subscribers to my newsletter (thank you to everyone who took me up on that!), sponsoring events like the Sex Down South conference and funding these readings and promotions so that these books have the longest life span they possibly can. I get sad when I see my books go out of print (though we'll always have ebooks, I hope), so I want these to stay on shelves far into the future. I don't know if I'm capable of making that happen, but I vow I'm trying my absolute hardest and brainstorming daily on how I can make this series better for authors and readers.

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I'm thrilled that for the first time in my publishing career, one of my audiobooks was released i the same month as the print and ebook edition and that I got to work with my favorite narrator, Rose Caraway, who I think has the best voice for erotica out there. I never want to feel like I'm just doing the same thing over and over in the exact same way, so figuring out how I can improve is like a never-ending jigsaw puzzle that I keep striving to solve.

Write us a Review

I also wanted to ask that if you've read Volume 2 (or Volume 1 for that matter) or are planning to, a hugely helpful thing for me and the series would be to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It doesn't have to be long; even one sentence sharing something you liked (or didn't like), or a favorite story, not only helps the book gain visibility and therefore new readers (yes, the more reviews a book has on Amazon, the better it will sell generally), it also helps me in making my selections for future books. Right now I'm slated to edit Volumes 3 and 4 and I am hustling every day to help this series sell better than all my other books so that maybe I'll be asked to keep on editing it. I learn from and value reader input and want to include the kinds of stories that you want to read. So if there's something you've seen in the series that you liked or things you wish were in them, leave reviews on those sites and/or drop me a line at bweoftheyear at gmail.com. Ultimately, I answer to readers (and, of course, my publisher), so I want to do my best to give you the kinds of stories you most want to read. Thank you!

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica is on sale for $1.99 via BookBub

I'm thrilled to share that right now, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica is on sale for just $1.99! Buy it at this bargain price right now for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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Officially, the sale ends today, Sunday, December 18th, but it will probably continue on for a few days, so check the price to make sure. It's got 24 tales all about vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, nipple clamps and so much more, including fully fictional erotic toys and household items like ice. I've had a busy December so didn't get to post this until now even though the sale started last week. My amazing publisher Cleis Press tends to put lots of my old titles on sale, which is wonderful because you can collect any you've missed or give them as gifts for about the price of a cup of coffee. Read on to find out how you can get notified so you never miss an ebook sale.

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If you want to get an email every time one goes on sale, follow me on BookBub. It's a really incredible site because they list free books and bargain books every single day. You can follow your favorite authors who participate and favorite genres, like erotic romance, so you'll never be without something to read. I really can't say enough good things about them; I've discovered some incredible authors this way and, as an editor, am seeing my books reach vast new audiences who took a chance on a new set of authors in my erotica books. What more could you ask for? It's truly like a book lover's dream and I am so impressed with their setup. All you have to do is make an account, then follow by genre and/or author and a whole world of new titles awaits you. Fun, right?

As an editor, another reason I am excited about more people getting access to Come Again is that while my focus going forward is mainly on the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series, which is pretty much a year round endeavor, if I were going to take on editing more anthologies, a dream project would be to edit another book of sex toy erotica featuring new writers, new toys and new scenarios. But how publishing works is that a topic has to have a proven track record to get a sequel; hence, I'm editing another volume of The Big Book of Submission because it was popular with readers. If sales are low on a book like Come Again, in my opinion it would be foolish of me to put more such work out there. At the same time, I know some of my books tend to find their audiences a few years after they've been out, and that's what I hope for this one. I think it's a perfect companion read for partners and for anyone who's into or curious about sex toys. But if I've learned anything since starting to put out books in 2004, it's that what I like may not be what readers like, and I've made my peace with that. My point is that down the road, if the universe allows it, I would have a lot of fun getting to put together a book of stories just like this one because it has so much creativity and wild scenarios, like bringing a sex toy into a dressing room, having long distance sex with a toy, and dueling remote controls. I think the subject brought out a huge level of playfulness and creativity in the authors that made it a favorite of mine. You can even find out for yourself what the book is like at no cost...

Speaking of free, I am honored that Rose Caraway, my favorite audiobook narrator, recorded the Come Again audiobook.

Come Again Pink heart

Not only that, she's offering three free stories for your listening pleasure. So while I think you'll really enjoy the variety of this title (each story is about a different sex toy) and the humor, which I promise doesn't take away from the sexiness but perfectly intertwines with it, I love that because Rose is so awesome you can listen to these tales so you can decide whether this book is right for you. If you are looking for some hot couples erotica, I recommend listening with a partner. Just click the image or title and you'll be taken to The Kiss Me Quick's podcast where you can hear these tales, three of my favorites from the book.

If you like these free stories, I urge you to listen to all of them in audio form. Money saving tip for those who like to jump between the ebook and audiobook version: buy the Kindle edition for $1.99, and you can get the audiobook for just $3.99. Amazon and Audible are part of the same company which means they do cool things sale prices like that and Whispersync, which lets you easily jump from a spot in the ebook to the audiobook and vice versa.

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Hear "Dare You To" by Jillian Boyd free


the-prototype-malin-james-come-again-sex-toy-erotica
Hear "The Prototype" by Malin James free


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Hear "Dalia's Toy" by Corrine A. Silver free

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Free read: Excerpt from debut erotic novel The Assignment by Jade A. Waters

I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the debut novel by Jade A. Waters, The Assignment, part of her Lessons in Control series, which is out today as an ebook from Carina Press. I've been following her erotica writing since I published her story "The Flogger" in my anthology The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories in 2013, and she's gone on to publish incredibly arousing and exciting pieces of short fiction, and today she makes her mark on the world as a novelist. Whether or not you've read Jade's writing before, if you like erotica, you'll want to check out her sexy new novel. And newbie and aspiring erotica writers, if you are looking for a career model to follow, you should definitely check out Jade's website and publishing credits to see how she's systematically built up her following step by step with a gorgeous website (I truly wish mine looked one tenth as fabulous).

Below you'll find a note from Jade and a very sexy excerpt from The Assignment. You can read the whole book in your preferred ebook format: Kindle US, Nook, Google Play, iBooks, Kobo and Kindle UK. I am a huge fan of Jade's writing and found her novel incredibly sexy and if you like erotic novels, you'll want to devour this one and then eagerly wait for the next installment, The Discipline, out in March 2017. Oh, and if you want to meet Jade in person and hear her read a sexy story (or know anyone who does), please join us in Los Angeles on January 31st at 7:30 p.m. at Skylight Books where she'll be part of our Best Women's Erotica of the Year reading. There will be a Q&A after so you can ask her all about her new book!

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Jade A Waters BW Bio Pic web

Tell Me…In Public
by Jade A. Waters

There’s something about sex in public…having it, fantasizing about it, viewing it. The kink has been a turn on for me most of my life, which is probably why I often love writing it into stories. It has multiple levels of appeal: the risk of getting caught, the thrill of being seen, and of being so turned on with your partner that you simply cannot wait for a more private, secluded place.

In The Assignment, Maya and Dean thrive on wild adventures and new experiences. Their entire dynamic is built not just on Dean issuing Maya assignments to carry out, but the two of them expressing their every desire and exploring their deepest, darkest fantasies. That’s why I’ve chosen the following excerpt in honor of release day today. This scene takes place after Maya and Dean have sought out a few thrills already, so they’re growing more comfortable in their exploration together—but this moment is significant because it’s the start of Maya revealing some of her unspoken fantasies. Turns out, her craving for the exchange of words is almost as enticing as sharing them in one tempting, public moment…

An Excerpt From The Assignment:

There were at least forty people in the bar, their voices filling my ears, an audience of potential voyeurs Dean led me through on the way out to the patio deck with tables and chairs scattered everywhere.

“This is crazy—”

“It isn’t.”

He walked me to the deck rail, the moonlight glowing over the water and the waves rolling sensually under its brightness. Dean surrounded me with his body, closing his forearms around mine as we inhaled the salty ocean air.

“Just watch the waves.”

My breathing quickened, and my neck grew hot. We’d positioned ourselves on the right side of the deck, and I glanced over to see who else stood outside. Three parties occupied the left end—one was a couple, their bodies close as they talked over wine and beer, the other a trio of friends, and the last a single man who’d exited the bar after us. He perched himself against the rail like we were, his drink in hand.

“Lovely, isn’t it?” Dean kissed my cheek, and goose bumps covered my skin. The view in front of me was astounding.

“Yes.”

He shoved me tighter against the railing with the pressure of his pelvis on my ass. “Can you feel me?” I nodded. He felt impossibly hard through the thin fabric of my skirt.

“Can I tell you what I’d like to do to you?”

I loved when he did this, verbalizing what he wished with me. I pinched my eyes shut and inhaled the salt of the water undulating beneath us in loud crashes and the cooler coastal air embracing us there on the deck. “Yes, please,” I said.

Dean hesitated, his mouth hot on my ear. But when he spoke, every cell in my body responded. “I’d start by lifting your skirt, exposing your ass to everyone here. I’d want to give them a view of the curves of your body, and have you bend forward so they can see how wet I bet you are.”

“Oh my God,” I muttered, flexing my ass. As if that motion could quell the excitement that shot through me.

Dean hooked his hands around mine and pinned my palms flat on the rail. “Because I saw how much you jumped the time I did it, I’d have to smack your ass for everyone to see.”

My breath heaved. He dipped down and arched his hips, his cock probing and thick. The movement trapped the fabric of my skirt in the crease of my ass.

“Touch me,” I said. A small part of me didn’t want to be caught, but already, he was driving me wild, making me crave whatever came next no matter who could see.

“Not yet.” Dean swayed and nibbled on my earlobe. “I have to finish telling you what I’d want with you. What I’ll demand of you one day.”

I curled my fingertips around the rail. He had me spinning. Would he make me come with his words alone? “How do you feel?”

I exhaled. “Crazed.”

Dean snickered. “Desperate?”

“Yes.”

“That’s how I want you.”

He released one of my hands and trailed his fingers down my side to grasp my hip before starting to pull the fabric up tantalizingly, painfully slow. I panted, wondering if behind him anyone could tell he’d lifted half my skirt up over my ass, but my groin contracted hard enough that I didn’t care.

“So you’d be wet and exposed,” Dean said. He snuck a finger over my ass, then back over my hip and between my thighs. “You’d be panting, like you are now. Waiting to be filled.”

I closed my eyes. The waves rolled in front of us, the ocean mist lapping at my skin like Dean’s words licked at my desire.

“And I would fuck you like that. Shove myself so deep you’d scream.” Dean plunged a finger all the way in, fanning the rest of his hand over my sex. He nibbled the side of my neck.

“Dean, please,” I breathed.

“Do you want another finger?”

I bobbed my head.

“No, naughty. I want you aching.” He fingered the sensitive spot on the front of my passage, and I ground down on him, craving more pressure, more fingers he wouldn’t give.

I whimpered. “You’re a tease.”

Dean continued thrusting inside me, his other fingers latching onto my pelvis. “I bet you’d come even harder in front of other people. You’ve already shown me you like the embarrassment. The slight hint of shame.”

His words rattled my senses.

“Would you want others to touch you, too?”

I pictured Dean fucking me, his grunts loud while other hands touched my arms, breasts and thighs. A ripple of curiosity tripped through me, the vision enticing and bold. So wild. My face grew hot.

“I don’t know—”

“Tell me. It’s okay.” Dean pushed harder, the railing compressing my stomach and trapping me in his hold.

“Maybe,” I said.

“I love it when you’re open with me.” He slid another finger in, working both of them until I weakened in his arms. I could hear the slick of his fingers between the periodic sweep of the waves, and it made my cheeks burn hotter. “I want to please you in so many ways.”

My knees threatened to give under me, but I wouldn’t fall—not pressed along the rail like I was.

“I’m going to tell you something that might surprise you.”

I dug my nails into the railing.

“We’re being watched.”

Read all of The Assignment by downloading it today and check out the rest of the book tour via Jade's blog.

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