Email: rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com



 

Lusty Lady

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Buy Best Sex Writing 2012 at Amazon or for the Kindle or Nook

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

My Sex Writing 101 workshop September 12th in LA at CatalystCon and examples from The Village Voice, The Fix, Salon, The Daily Beast, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar

I'm gearing up to teach my Sex Writing 101 workshop ahead of CatalystCon on September 12th, which so far is the only place I've taught it because I think it's the best venue for a 3-hour, intense workshop where people are already generally in the sexuality field in some capacity and have a framework for the types of issues and ideas being discussed. This is a companion post to "How to make money writing about your sex life and 5 times I did." That one was about writing about your personal life, which will be covered in the workshop, but this post is about sex journalism, which will also be covered.

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There is also room to overlap both of those in one piece or book, and I'll be highlighting the work of CatalystCon speakers like Joan Price (who's on my September 14th panel on Envelope-Pushing Erotica), Carol Queen (who's excellently blended both personal experience and journalism/advocacy pieces), Conner Habib, a prolific writer about sexuality topics and past Best Sex Writing contributor, Cunning Minx with her podcast Polyamory Weekly and ebook on polyamory (we are on a panel on September 13th on Shameless Self-Promotion: Marketing 101 for Activists). See the full CatalystCon schedule here.

I'll also be highlighting the work of many other people who write sex articles, such as Jillian Keenan, who wrote a Modern Love essay about spanking in The New York Times (yes, that's more of a personal essay, but since then she's gone on to write a lot about related topics in a more journalistic fashion) and a recent piece for Slate about kink as a sexual orientation, my friend Twanna Hines, who parlayed her blog Funky Brown Chick into a column for Metro, and much more.

In a nutshell, just as I think everyone has a personal sex essay in them they can publish and sell, I feel the same about other forms of nonfiction sex writing. I'm not saying everyone should do it, but if you want to, there are ways to mine your own life and the news and craft great pitches. I'll be teaching you how and getting you writing and pitching, and I hope you'll attend this workshop if you're at CatalystCon. Here are 8 examples of my own nonfiction sex writing over the years (please note they aren't all about how people have sex, but also about sexuality and culture and how our sexuality affects the rest of our lives), that I hope give a bit of breadth to the topics you can cover (which are vast, and new ones pop up every day, like the leaked nude Jennifer Lawrence photos):

"A Revolutionary Relationship", The Village Voice - one of my favorite of my columns, which I wrote almost 10 years ago (!!). Here's the opening:
I'm a little nervous when I pick up the phone to call Betty Dodson. After all, I had sex with her live-in partner, Eric, only a few weeks ago. While I know they have a long-term open relationship, that doesn't mean she'll exactly welcome me with open arms, even though she's agreed to the interview.
"Kinky, Sober and Free: BDSM in Recovery", The Fix

"Guybrators! Prostate massagers! Fleshlights! “Louie” and the expanding male sex toy market", Salon

'50 Shades of Grey' is The Subject of a Course at American University", The Daily Beast

"Erotic Lit Your Grandmother Will Like," The Daily Beast

"How to Talk Sexy (and Not Sound Stupid)", Glamour

"The O-Shot", Harper's Bazaar

Ready to write your own, CatalystCon attendees? Sign up for Sex Writing 101 on September 12th!

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Monday, September 01, 2014

I love traveling but hate leaving the comforts of home

I have a love/hate relationship with traveling. Well, that may be too harsh. I love traveling, and do it frequently, so much so that I've become an ardent devotee of JetBlue's Badges program, which has allowed me to rack up lots of frequently flyer miles and visit more places (I highly recommend it; you get points for simply using social media, flying, using partner sites, etc.). While I don't love waiting on TSA lines, that process has gotten easier because I get to bypass most of the line using JetBlue's Even More Speed option, which is well worth the $10. This trip there were a few legs I couldn't use JetBlue, like Portland to Seattle, but those are cheap and quick flights.

This month I'm doing something new for me; from September 5-October 1, I'm taking 11 flights, as part of my multi-city book tour, which will take me to, in order, Seattle, Portland (OR), Los Angeles for two writing workshops I'm teaching and two panels at CatalystCon, San Francisco, back to Portland, Oregon, then after a few days at home, Portland, Maine, then back home, then Chicago, Milwaukee, then home again. It's a lot of travel, even for me, and I admit it's a little daunting, both in terms of the demands on the body of hopping on so many flights, making sure I get to my flights (thankfully, most are at reasonable hours, with only one or two at a very early hour).

But more than that, especially since moving to my house in April, I've realized just how much I'm a creature of habit. My boyfriend just asked me what kind of eggs I want, and I said what I say almost every time he asks: "Fried." He makes amazing fried eggs, and even though he also makes good scrambled eggs and omelets and other breakfasts, that's what I like and I choose it consistently. I use the same coffee mug, even though I have prettier and bigger ones.

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So when I travel, my routine is disrupted. The irony is that I travel in part specifically to break up my routine, to see new things, meet new people, eat at places like Sweet Iron Waffles in Seattle, walk and navigate public transportation, and simply do things I can't do in Red Bank, New Jersey. When I'm home for a month or two, I get that itch to go somewhere. But about a week into a trip, I get very homesick. I miss my boyfriend, even though we email and talk while I'm away; it's just not the same as all our little rituals.

It's a conundrum, trying to balance both those desires, for travel adventures and the very basic daily sameness I crave. I usually travel about once a month, and that satisfies my wanderlust. Last weekend I visited cousins in Vermont, which is a true respite because they live in what to me is a very rural area. We get to eat tons of fresh food they grow, and I got to learn about games like Animal Jam and Subway Surf and go to the fair, where I ate frickles (fried pickles, which now seem to be on every menu I encounter), rode bumper cars and played bingo. But this month will be a challenge, because it's travel for both business and pleasure. I'll be teaching 7 writing workshops, doing 3 readings, and doing my first talk at a library. I'm responsible for making sure each of those events has as big a crowd as I can conjure, and making sure people leave happy they attended. I'm confident but also nervous about my ability to see those through.

Now, that's nothing compared to Chris Guillebeau, who's doing a massive book tour for his latest, The Happiness of Pursuit, which I want to read, but for a self-employed writer on a shoestring self-funded budget, it's a lot. That's why I'm trying to spread the word as wide and far as I can, because I don't want to let down the stores and conferences and community centers hosting me, and I also believe this is a very ripe time for newcomers to break into the erotica market and want to help make that happen, while also making it something I can continue to do well into the future. I'm itching to put out a new call for submissions and hope to as soon as the last obligations I have are fulfilled, but I also am spreading my wings as I wrap up my very first all-written-by-me book, an ebook for Thought Catalog Books (more about that once there's an official cover and release date, but it will be this fall!), and get ready for things I've never done before.

After this latest round of events, I'll be slowing down on travel, and probably cutting way back in 2015. I hope to have enough money to take a fun vacation, the kind where I do little more than lie around a sunny beach. I tried to take one earlier this year and it didn't quite happen, and if it doesn't this year, that's okay too. I've traveled a lot, and I really do love my house. It feels like a home, partly because it's so cozy, and partly because we've added our own touches to it and made it somewhere I adore coming back to. I didn't realize how much I craved that, but when you work from home, it matters even more. In Brooklyn, when I "worked from home," I really worked from a coffeeshop. I still love a good coffeeshop, and can get quality work done in them. But when I'm home now, I really do work here, with occasional forays to the library or a cafe for a change of scenery. So this week I'll be finishing up some writing deadlines, preparing for and promoting my events, packing and getting mentally prepared to head off on more trips in a short time period than I've ever taken before. So that's what I'm thinking about before Friday's flight to Seattle. Hope to see many of you on the road (if you know anyone near any of the cities I'll be visiting--again, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland (Maine), Chicago and Milwaukee--I'd love it if you'd spread the word), and if you can't make it, I'm also gearing up for October's online erotica writing class with LitReactor and my October 24th erotica writing workshop in New York City

Snapshots from Vermont at the Champlain Valley Fair:

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I went on this Ferrish wheeland was nervous at first, but wound up loving it

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winning 3 rounds of bingo made me very happy! I miss playing bingo and want to find one near me.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

I'm in an unboxing video thanks to Unbound Box!

I don't know why exactly, but seeing my latest anthology, The Big Book of Submission, in this unboxing video by Subscription Box Mom, who also reviewed the Erotic Education Box by Unbound Box, made me super happy! I guess it's partly because though I'm perpetually glued to my iPhone, I'm not much of an early adopter when it comes to technology. I once bought a speaker to try to podcast, and never used it. I killed my MacBook Pro with water damage and am now adjusting to life with a Chromebook. I am not exactly the most up to date technology user so never imagined I'd have anything to do with an unboxing video, but there's my face smiling from my bookmark and my hot new 69-story book that I hope will reach people who may not keep up with the latest in erotica but are open to learning, as befitting the box's title. It's also very cool to see the book cozied up next to these other sexy products, and I am hoping to get my hands on the Maison Close bralette to use as a writing prompt in my workshops.

But first, a little bit about unboxing videos. CNN says:
Welcome to the world of "unboxing videos," one of the many peculiar genres on YouTube, the Google-owned video hosting site where viewers watch more than 6 billion hours of video every month. The volume of unboxing videos has boomed in recent years. Easy to make and surprisingly hypnotic to watch, the videos have become a lucrative little corner of the Internet for the people who film them.
Okay, so here's the Subscription Box Mom one:



But wait, there's more! I wrote a letter to customers about what to expect in the book, and why I edited it and what my goals are for it. Plus Unbound Box wrote in the card included in the box, "Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, this new collection of short stories is the perfect study guide for kink, power play and BDSM." Here's everything in the Erotic Education box; buy it here and use SUBMISSION10 to get 10% off your order. Read a free excerpt of my story "Reverse Psychology."

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to make money writing about your sex life and 5 times I did

I've been writing about my sex life for over a decade, and probably will for the rest of my life. For me, it's part of how I learn about myself and my relationships and how my sexuality is impacted by the world around me. It's also part of how I make my living. It makes sense that the only place (so far) I've taught my nonfiction Sex Writing 101 workshop is at CatalystCon, because the audience for this wonderful conference is people who work in sexuality or blog about it or are somehow involved in it. Many are sex nerds, and I would bet everyone attending has something to say about sex that differs from the mainstream culture and could be of interest to an editor. Just take a look at the speaker list.

This will be my second time teaching Sex Writing 101, and we cover a lot of ground in 3 hours and I'll be asking people to think about potential pieces with an eye to submitting. No, not everyone wants to write about their sex life, but you can get published, and can use a pseudonym, and so often it's about how you frame what you're writing about. It's not about having an "out there" sex life (though if you do, that can be fodder), but about thinking about what you want to write and how you can craft the best piece possible to catch an editor's eye.

Below are the details of my September 12th erotica and sex writing workshops, and if I can answer any questions about the workshops, email me at rachelkramerbussel at gmail.com with "Catalyst" in the subject line.

But first, here are 5 times (of many, probably hundreds) I got paid to write about my sex life. Take my workshop and I'll teach you how you can too! I'll do a separate post about sex journalism, which I will also teach in the workshop. Can't make Catalyst but want to place a sex essay? My consulting rates are at rachelkramerbussel.com

"Is My Vibrator Ruining My Relationship?," Salon

"Baby Talk," Salon (on age play and fetishes)

"Sexting Advice for Tiger" (Woods), The Daily Beast

"Girl Talk: I Want My Boyfriend to Fantasize About Other Women," The Frisky

"I Don't Want or Need an App to Measure My Sex Life," Boinkology, Medium

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

See you in Seattle (twice)!

I'm looking forward to visiting Seattle and these two events and having a little time to walk around and explore Seattle. This tour will probably be my last book tour for a long while (though you never know!) so I am going to make the most of it.

If you know anyone who'd like a free erotica reading or may get something out of an erotica writing workshop, please let them know. Below are the Facebook and Fetlife links if you care to spread the word. A reminder: my September 9th erotica writing workshop is only $23 in advance (plus a small fee) or $30 at the door, so don't dawdle if you want to take it!

September 6th free erotica reading: Facebook and Fetlife

September 9th erotica writing workshop: Facebook and Fetlife

September 6, 3:30-4 pm
Free erotica reading in Seattle

Readings from The Big Book of Submission, The Big Book of Orgasms and Hungry for More with me and local contributors.
Center for Sex Positive Culture Annex, 1608 15th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119

September 9, 7-9 pm
Erotica 101 writing workshop, Seattle

Professional erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of over 50 anthologies such as The Big Book of Orgasms, Flying High and Best Bondage Erotica 2014, will take you through the ins and outs of modern erotic writing, from getting started, finding your voice, and incorporating your surroundings, pop culture, and personal experiences into your stories to crafting a range of characters and settings and submitting your work. In this supportive, welcoming workshop environment, you’ll learn how to write vividly about everyday scenarios as well as outlandish fantasies, and make them fit for particular publications in the thriving erotica market. This workshop will address the recent boom in erotica inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, provide examples of well written erotica, and will include multiple writing exercises. You’ll be given a handout listing major markets and further reading suggestions. No previous writing experience required. Please bring laptop or pen and paper. 18+ with ID. $30 at the door/$23 in advance. Get tickets at Stranger Tickets.
Center for Sex Positive Culture Annex, 1608 15th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Publishers Weekly praises my female fantasy erotica anthology Hungry for More!

I was looking up something else about Hungry for More and found this mostly wonderful review from Publishers Weekly! I'm working on a post listing all 21 fantasies to be found in the book, but for now, I'll share this - and there's another book of fantasy erotica in the works too. I must also say that "Jailbait Torch Song" is one of my favorite stories I've ever published in all 50+ anthologies, because it takes a taboo topic and makes it vivid and real and tender and sweet and sexy all at once. I know it will push buttons, but those are about social norms, and if erotica is good at anything, it should be questioning social norms and giving readers something to think about as well as entertain and arouse them. In other things I love about this book: the title and story in "Kitchen Slut." Join me for 2 free readings from the book (and other stories too from The Big Book of Submission and The Big Book of Orgasms) on Saturday, September 6 from 3-4:30 at Center for Sex Positive Culture Annex, 1608 15th Ave. W., and Wednesday, September 10th 7:30-9 pm at sex toy store She Bop, 909 N. Beech Street, Portland, Oregon, where the renowned Tiffany Reisz, author of The Original Sinners series, will read her m/m baseball erotica story "Bringing the Heat."
Twenty-one tales of women pursuing and getting what they want make up this steamy collection. Veteran editor Bussel touches on a variety of common fantasies, including threesomes and moresomes, bondage, and voyeurism. Olivia Archer’s “Kitchen Slut,” about a woman aroused by kitchen utensils, is a surprising treat. Jeremy Edwards’s “Tickle Day,” is delightfully playful while Valerie Alexander’s “Jailbait Torch Song” is unexpectedly poignant. Brandy Fox’s “Organically Grown” has a clever twist, though the build-up is bland. On the downside, Greta Christina’s “Craig’s List” reads like a summary of someone else’s spicy story, and Rose de Fer’s “The Instructor” blurs consent issues enough to leave readers questioning its presence in the collection. With many more hits than misses, all long enough to titillate and short enough to leave the reader craving more, this is a satisfying feast for the erotica fan.
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Purchase Hungry for More:

Amazon

Bn.com

Kindle ebook

Nook ebook 

Powells

Books-a-Million

iBooks

IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore)

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Amazon Germany

Cleis Press



Introduction: Getting Explicit

Submissive Jacqueline Applebee
Happy Endings Giselle Renarde
Craig’s List Greta Christina
Bringing the Heat Tiffany Reisz
Madam Secretary Jaye Markham
Kitchen Slut Olivia Archer
Just Once Jocelyn Dex
Boat Rocking D. L. King
The Sleeper’s Beauty Jade A. Waters
Upstairs at the Ava DelovelyOlive
Organically Grown Brandy Fox
The Room of Guarantees Jessica Lennox
Redrawing the Lines Bren Emile
Tickle Day Jeremy Edwards
Relief Katya Harris
Jailbait Torch Song Valerie Alexander
Red Lipstick Erzabet Bishop
Something Sleazy Elizabeth Coldwell
The Instructor Rose de Fer
My Pillar-Box Red Cock Tilly Hunter
A First Time for Everything Rachel Kramer Bussel

Introduction: Getting Explicit

When we fantasize, we give ourselves space to live out the naughtiest acts we can imagine. For me, fantasizing is like taking a trip to another world, where I can be as wanton, selfish and depraved as I like—and for that matter, that’s exactly what erotica writing does for me as well.

Fantasies don’t follow the rules, whether the ones society has set for us—and if you’re a woman, our culture has plenty of sex rules to rein you in—or the ones we’ve set for ourselves. Anything—and everything—goes. In the twenty-one stories in this book, I’ve tried to include both common and unusual fantasies, ones that speak to things you might do or want to do, ones that might unnerve you, ones that touch the edges of our most cherished taboos.

The title Hungry for More has multiple meanings—these characters do indeed want more, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more sex just to have more sex. Getting off isn’t a numbers game to these characters; it’s about accessing more pleasure, pushing more boundaries, trying new things, sometimes with new partners. Even when they get more of whatever it is they crave, they’re still hungry, because fulfilling one fantasy isn’t the end of their pleasure, but the beginning of a new and grand adventure.

The common thread here, whether the characters are having sex with strangers from Craig’s List, the organic produce clerk or the secretary of state, is that these women are unabashed in their desires. They may recognize that others might look at them askance, as in Valerie Alexander’s “Jailbait Torch Song,” but they follow through anyway, not letting anyone stop them from experiencing the ultimate thrill of playing out a dirty dream that’s often followed them through lovers, relationships and plenty of orgasms. These women often surprise their lovers with their adamant affirmations of lust, but they quickly realize the thrills to be found in venturing beyond their usual erotic boundaries.

The women in these pages know fantasies have a way of finding us, even—or especially—when we try to disavow them. They don’t care about propriety, reputations or acceptability. These fantasies—of public sex, BDSM, strap-on play, lesbian encounters, bukkake, watching male lovers and much more—speak so loudly they cannot be ignored. They insist on being heard, seen, touched. While in real life we may keep our most treasured fantasies tucked away for our most secret selves, in these tales, women’s fantasies are front and center, every explicit act laid bare. Luckily, here, in a book that perhaps you’ll enjoy in bed, or the bath, or wherever you do your erotic reading, you get to watch—and live vicariously through these brazen, taboo-busting women, who are willing to go all the way in the name of living out whatever wild, wicked scenarios their lustiest selves have dreamt up. I invite you to come along for the ride.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
Red Bank, New Jersey

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Monday, August 25, 2014

My 4-week online erotica writing class from LitReactor starts October 16th

Often, when I announce my erotica writing workshops (click here for details on upcoming ones in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon), Portland (Maine), Chicago, Milwaukee and New York), people ask me when I'll be offering an online class for people not in any of those cities. The answer is: now! Through the wonderful LitReactor, I'll be teaching an in-depth 4-week online class, Between the Sheets, designed to get you writing and submitting and learning about sex in literature and erotica. If you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know! You can take the class at any time over those weeks, so it's perfect for people in non-U.S. time zones and/or those with unusual schedules, using any name you'd like, and will be critiqued by me and your fellow students, and I will be offering suggestions on where in the marketplace your work might best fit. The class is limited to 16 people and there's more information at LitReactor, including exactly what to expect over each of the 4 weeks.

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