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Guess the Lady Smut TBR Stack–Win $10 Amazon Gift Card!

4 May

Hi RT Orphans! Does your TBR pile have some of the same titles as ours? Let us know–leave us a comment below. 🙂 Want to buy the book on our TBR list? Click the link.  Meanwhile, here’s another fun game you can play at home.

FIRST Read the TBR lists. THEN guess which list belongs to which blogger. Your blogger choices are below & we’ve abbreviated the longer names for you. We also provided some hints.  THE FINAL STEP IS TO email us at LadySmutBlog@gmail.com with your guesses. The first reader to email us the most correct answers wins a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

CONTEST ENDS FRIDAY MAY 5th AT 12PM PST!!!!!

OUR BLOGGERS:

Elizabeth Shore

G.G. Andrew

Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK)

Alexa Day

Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB)

Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF)

Isabelle Drake

Thien-Kim Lam (TKL)

Madeline Iva

Ready to play? Here we go——

Lady Smut TBR List #1

Hint: This blogger is a foodie who loves diverse romances & sex toys

  1. Alpha by Jasinda Wilder
  2. Nine Kinds of Naughty by Jeanette Grey
  3. The Muse by Anne Calhoun
  4. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  5. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

Lady Smut TBR List #2

Hint: This blogger likes to share all after a few dirty dates. ; > 
  1. The Pawn by Skye Warren
  2. Trophy Wife by Alessandra Torre
  3. The Truth About Love and Dukes by Laura Lee Guhrke
  4. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
  5. The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

Lady Smut TBR List #3

Hint: This blogger is a big fan of New Adult romances, secrets, and other crazy, sexy topics.

  1. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
  2. Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole
  3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  4. Deadly Testimony by Piper Drake
  5. Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

Lady Smut TBR List #4

Hint: This erotica author loves blogging about TWD, kidnapping & a few other illicit topics.

  1. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  2. All the Lies We Tell by Megan Hart
  3. Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos
  4. Slow Surrender by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Infamous Miss Rodriguez by Lydia San Andres

Lady Smut TBR List #5

Hint: This blogger is wild about reviewing her fav authors.

  1. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
  2. The List by Tawna Fenske
  3. Madly by Ruthie Knox
  4. Beyond Doubt by Kit Rocha
  5. Edge of Ruin (set of 3 Viking Dystopian Novellas) by Megan Crane

Lady Smut TBR List #6

Hint: This author blogs about edgy topics of desire including: swallowing, tattooing, cross-dressing–even Jewish Swingers. 

  1. Purity by Jonathan Franzen
  2. The Fireman by Joe Hill
  3. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose
  5. Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Lady Smut TBR List #7

Hint: When this author wasn’t all tied up, she’s blogged about CW’s Riverdale.

  1. Lilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler
  2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  3. DC Comics Bombshells: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Marguerite Sauvage
  4. Initiates of the Blood by Cecilia Tan
  5. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Lady Smut TBR List #8

Hint: This blogger is a capital BDSM Erom author

  1. Bombshell by CD Reiss
  2. Truly Helpless by Joey W. Hill
  3. Royally Matched by Emma Chase
  4. The Chosen by J.R. Ward
  5. The List by Anne Calhoun

Lady Smut TBR List #9

Hint: This author loves blogging about wicked villains & paranormal television shows.

  1. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  2. The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde
  3. Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
  4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic V.E. Schwab
Send off those answers and follow us at Lady Smut. If you want to know the about the latest fun when it comes to sex, romance books, and pop culture–we won’t leave you guessing.
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

Never Have WE Ever Ever! Lady Smut Bloggers Reveal All…

3 May

You shared your fun, sexy secrets  — Now we’re sharing ours!

We just finished our game of NEVER HAVE YOU EVER EVER at Romantic Times and it was a blast!  Not to fear, RT orphans!–it’s your turn to play. Match our bloggers to their sexy/funny confessions below and you could win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

THE RULES: Read the questions & answers below.  All the bloggers answered all the questions in the same order every time. Match the answer color to the author.

Answer colors: Pink, Red, Blue, Light Green, Lavender, Orange, Dark Green, Red-Violet, Black.   Bloggers: Madeline Iva, Elizabeth Shore, Kiersten Hallie Krum (KHK), Isabelle Drake, Elizabeth SaFleur (ESF),  Alexa Day, Rachel Kramer Bussel (RKB), G.G. Andrew, Thien-Kim Lam (TKL).

Sample email: “Hi Lady Smut, here are my answers:  Pink is Isabelle Drake,  Red is KHK, Blue is Alexa Day…” Email us your answers at ladysmutblog@gmail.com.  The first person who guesses the blogger order correctly wins!

CONTEST CLOSES SATURDAY NIGHT, (MAY 6th) at 12pm PST!!!

1) Have you ever used a sex toy?

  • Yes, indeed, lots of them!

  • Possibly… though most of the toys around here are the kind that I trip over on the floor in the middle of the night. It’s true what they say: there’s nothing worse than stepping on a Lego at 2 a.m.

  • Does the earth rotate around the sun? That would be a yes.

  • Which ones *haven’t* I tried?

  • I had this nasty-ass clog in my bathroom sink. Couldn’t get even a drop of water to go through. So I grabbed my biggest, longest, whopper of a dildo – and I used that sex toy to pummel that drain into submission. Pounded hard–slap slap. Had that baby unclogged in seconds.

  • I’ve been single for a looooong time. You’re damn right I have. And my best friend knows exactly what to do about my “special box” in the event of my death…before my father finds it. She’s my equivalent of the Coupling pron buddy.

  • I am a sex toy virgin. Saliva is my go to sexual aide.

  • Yep. But I’m not going to tell you about that. I’m going to tell you about the time I was asked to review a set of sex toys. The box was sent to me; I took it to the office where I do my writing. There were so many, I wasn’t sure where to start. Maybe to some people five isn’t all that many, but for me it was a little intimidating. I laid them out on the table beneath a big window, so I could look them over to get inspired. You know what I mean. A couple days later, the maintenance guy lets me know the blinds he ordered for the big window had come it, and that he was going to install them that day. Nope. I didn’t remember ‘the display’ spread out right beneath the window. That’s not completely true. I didn’t remember it –later. When I got home. Now,I remember it every single time I see him.

  • Yes, but only after he agrees to being used.

2) Have you ever had sex outside the bedroom — where?

  • On an airplane.

  • Maybe, but it’s a skill I could stand to work on. I’m very into multi-tasking and those lines at the DMV can get pretty long, amiright?

  • How much time do you have? Outside, hot tub, pool, beach, on a (stationary) motorcycle (for real), at a music festival, in a tent, against a tree, in the woods
.

  • Bedroom, kitchen, living room, tennis court, but who’s counting?

  • Once I did it in my apartment’s second bedroom. So technically it was outside THE bedroom.

  • In college. Outside up against the wall of the chapel (no judging!).

  • In a pottery studio. Yes, a la the movie GHOST. So cheesy. Sigh. But the sex was smoking hawt.

  • On the beach, of course! You want to know the others? Read my stuff and guess.

  • Everywhere but the bathroom. I mean, no judgment, but the thought of actual sex in a bathroom is not for me.

3) Have you ever had a threesome?

  • Yes and they’ve been some of the best sexual experiences of my life, especially with a couple who were clearly in love.

  • Naw, too much work/people to think about/elbows to nudge me in the face.

  • In my dreams, yes. In reality—no.

  • I can neither confirm nor deny this.

  • Well, sometimes the cat looks on with the stink eye when I and partner have the naughty in full bloom. That’s three, right??

  • A very, very, very long time ago, when I was too young and inexperienced to understand a lot of things…or enjoy them for that matter.

  • No, but I enjoy living vicariously through my friends.

  • Nope.

  • I can’t get anyone to agree to my terms, so sadly, the answer is no.

4) Have you ever gotten sexual with a woman? –to what extent?

  • Yes, I’ve had one-night stands with women as well as relationships.

  • Nope. I’m neurotic enough by myself.

  • Yes. We’ll just leave it at that.

  • There was a reason the other wing on the floor of my college dorm was called Lesbian Lane.

  • The saleswoman at Victoria’s Secret once helped me pick out some new bras. We talked about panties, too. Low-rise hiphuggers versus cheekys. It was intense!

  • Nope. Strictly dickly.

  • Had to kiss a few women while “acting”. It felt strange kissing someone shorter and smaller…but…interesting.

  • Define sexual. Because I think the answer is going to be yes.

  • I have not. I think I am the elusive Kinsey Zero.

5) Have you ever done something where you’ve slapped your hand to your forehead later and said–“I can’t believe I did that!” Some deets pls.

  • Definitely. If I told you, I’d have to kill you though. Just kidding. Short version: Gone out with a stranger because I was impressed with their 15 minutes of fame, then kept the date going into the bedroom even though they turned out to be really weird (they brought their assistant on our date, for one thing).

  • Many, many times, but almost none of them sexual.

  • Yes. I had sex with a married man believing he was single. The bastard.

  • All the time. You mean with sex? There was the one time I fell off the bed right in the middle of my horizontal polka.

  • OK, so. I had this incredible craving for grapes one time. The red kind, cause I find the green ones a little too tart. Know what I mean? So I’m in my car and I’m really close to Whole Foods, like a few blocks away close. Shop Rite, where I should be going, was considerably farther. I was like some grape addicted junkie needing my fix, so I just said “f**k it, I’m going to Whole Foods.  I bought the grapes, but they were like $7.99 a pound versus 2.99 a pound at Shop Rite. The cashier told me I owed almost $25 for all the bleepin’ grapes I just bought, and I smacked my forehead and said, I can’t believe I just did that!

  • There’s stuff I’ve done from decades ago that still makes me cringe…and some from last week. But nothing sexual.

  • That time we were messing around and I got sperm in my eye. Swear I felt wiggling. It really stung. Like, for an hour at least.

  • Are we still talking about sexual stuff? There was a time I attempted to sit on a bar stool and fell
and another time I got a job at ‘being” the Easter Bunny at the mall.

  • I don’t know if you mean this in a good or bad way. This happened to me in a good way. I still can’t believe this happened. Some time ago, I met a trio of military folk from the Army Officer Training School, which is not far from home. One of them sat down next to me at a bar. Turns out he was celebrating his thirtieth birthday. At the time, I could still see thirty in the rearview mirror, but it was very small and receding quickly. The officers and I went dancing, and I eventually went home with the birthday boy. This is not the shocking part of the story. The birthday boy invited me to a party. A pool party. A pool party with lots and lots of hot, shirtless, young, newly minted Army officers. I kept expecting to wake up. We played a couple of drinking games (my first time playing Flip Cup). It was apparently some sort of tradition for guests to be carried to the pool by their hot, shirtless hosts and tossed in, even if those guests are wearing short, filmy sundresses. You know, the sort of thing that sticks to you after you’ve been tossed into a pool. Important lesson: Study the social traditions of one’s hosts before attending their party. Fortunately I was able to borrow some clothes for the long drive home. I wrote an epic poem about this party. Sometimes I still don’t quite believe it actually happened, but I still have the borrowed clothes to remind me. Good times, good times.

6) Have you ever gotten kinky — was it enjoyable?

  • Yes. I’ve been tied up in a dungeon with someone else and gotten spanked in front of a roomful of people.

  • I’m not sure what “kinky” even means anymore. One woman’s kink can be another’s Saturday Night Special.

  • Yes. See earth reference.

  • I’ll try (almost) anything. Twice.

  • One time I fed my cats and I had no clothes on. Not even a stich!

  • Kink is in the eye of the beholder. But generally, no. I’m adventurous, but overall, mostly the usual. Especially compared to the Lady Smut crew.

  • Yes we get kinky, and f*** yeah,…it’s awesome!

  • The answers are yes and yes. If it wasn’t a good time I wouldn’t have done it. What’s that? You want details? I wish I could offer some but I’m not the get kinky and tell sort of girl.

  • Possibly the kinkiest thing I’ve ever done (and yes, I am reframing the question) is to be hooked up to a TENS unit. This was at another kind of party. The sensation is really intriguing. Kind of like having one’s muscles gently twisted this way and that beneath the skin. A strange, fluid feeling. Very pleasant. All things considered, the TENS unit isn’t all that kinky. My host hooked the TENS unit up to my shoulder, under my dress. But a lot of people are all about being hooked up in other places, if you know what I mean. If you get the picture.

7) Have you ever done “something”–wink wink, nudge nudge–with more than one person on the same day (but you know, NOT at the same time.)

  • I have but I actually wound up feeling really guilty about it because it wasn’t planned.

  • I gotta be honest: this question kind of exhausts me.

  • Yes. Yes, and yes again.

  • I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you.

  • Yeah. Next question please.

  • A lady leaves the dance with the man who brought her.

  • Three dates with three separate guys in one day. Even **I** can’t believe that happened.

  • Do the characters in my books count?

  • I have not. Usually, if I’m with one person, it doesn’t leave enough time for ‘something’ with another person on the same day. I am, however, a huge proponent of dating more than one man at a time, each on his own night, until one of them starts looking like a really good idea.

8) Have you ever read someone else’s blog post on Lady Smut and thought: “Hoo boy! That was hot/interesting/made me feel squidgy inside.” — Which blog post was it?

  • This one: Cum On Are You Gonna Swallow That 

  • I’m not sure about squidgy, but the sex robot posts are always interesting! As are the posts about hot villain characters. Hot villain characters are what makes American great.

  • Yes. A lot of the spanking posts in the spanking category do it for me.

  • Hoo boy! That was hot/interesting/made me feel squidgy inside –That’s not one of the Lady Smut posts!

  • Now that would be telling… So many. Hard to choose.

  • I’m into posts on men. Bald men, sexy older men, and the occasional post-apocalyptic Viking.

  • I have to say Alexa’s post on Sharing Sexy Secrets just about killed me when I read it yesterday…Lexi and Elizabeth Shore get really edgy, and I lurv it! 

  • Oh geez. Lots of them. Learning about, thinking about, new stuff always gets me stirred up. Not just the steamy things, but anything “thinky” gets my attention. Comfort and stability are great, but mixing things up in conversation, and other places, matters to me.

  • You guys are fantastic, and all your posts are fascinating. But I’ve never been tingly.

9) Imagine someone is holding a gun to your head and you now have to choose a sexual activity you’ve never quite gotten up the nerve to try before. What would it be? The upside: you get to pick the hot sex partner.

  • A threesome with two guys.

  • I’d be too nervous to say–there’s a gun to my head!

  • A three-some with Jason Momoa and David Gandy and they can do *anything* they want to me.

  • The fantasy of two men is real but I’d never feel safe enough to do it. I’m totally boring as I don’t fantasize about hot celebrities. Though I never turn away eye candy, champagne, and ropes.

  • Hot partner of choice would be Dwayne Johnson. But that’s not gonna happen. The Rock doesn’t fear no stinkin’ imaginary gun!

  • Hugh Jackman circa 2007 is my reward for all the unbelievable crap I endured in early aughts and beyond. In a hot tub. The rest would be organic evolution from there.

  • After watching the Man From U.N.C.L.E I thought long and hard about several m/m/f scenarios in which I was the filling in a Henry Cavill/Armie Hammer sandwich. But who didn’t? ; > 

  • If I was feeling sassy, I might suggest doing it with a robot. If I was feeling risky, I might suggest a werewolf. Rugged? A cowboy. You get the idea, its going to depend on my mood.

  • It’s a better use of that imaginary gun to put it to his head. I suspect he’ll need to get up his nerves more than I do.

10) What is the most shocking sexual thing you’ve ever done–that you’re willing to tell us?

  • This is a tough one! The very first sex party I ever attended I lay on a kitchen counter while a metal sex toy that had been in the freezer was used on me. That probably counts.

  • I’m willing to tell you–for a price. I accept PayPal.

  • Sex at a NYC play party with 200 people around, some within inches of us.

  • First I’ll need a pitcher of margaritas.

  • That I’m willing to tell? See above re Victoria’s Secret.

  • All the shocking sexual things I do are done in my head and in my books…for now.

  • My Sweetie and I spent a lot of time naked in our bed post-sex with the covers on.  For some reason, our apartment mates often came into our room and hung out while we were in this state. This is back when we shared an apartment with a revolving cast of characters. Why was our room so popular? Why didn’t we just get out of bed and get dressed once in awhile? IDK.

  • See answer to number 6.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been shocked by any sexual thing I’ve ever done.

Thanks for playing, folks! One caveat–what happens on the blog stays on the blog.  We reserve the right to deny everything in person. ; > Let us know what you enjoy about sharing sexy secrets below in the comments section. Follow us at Lady Smut! Subscribe to our saucy monthly newsletter!  And thanks so much for bringing joy and friendship to our blog. We luvs you, readers.  🙂

BDSM Newbies and Erotic Romance: Q&A with The Discipline author Jade A. Waters

17 Mar

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Author Jade A. Waters has made a name for herself with her sexy approach to erotica writing. I have published her work in several of my anthologies and have always been impressed with the way it draws the reader in, whether she’s writing about a flogger (in The Big Book of Orgasms) or Shakespeare and theater and love (in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1).

After publishing numerous short stories, the San Francisco Bay Area-based author landed a three-book deal with Carina Press for her Lessons in Control trilogy, which follows Maya and Dean, both relative newcomers to the world of BDSM, on an exciting erotic journey. The series started with The Assignment, which featured the pair starting to date, with Dean giving Maya a series of increasingly risqué assignments, involving everything from public sex to bondage to sex clubs. Now, it continues with newly published The Discipline, as they take their sexual fantasies to a new level,  and the third book in the series, The Reward, will be published on June 12.

What especially drew me to her series is that while many kinky erotic novels are set in the world of dungeons with confirmed Masters and submissives, everyone fully aware of their BDSM identities from the start, both Maya and Dean are navigating those exciting but often confusing paths together. She has to figure out how much she can share with him about her past, which includes an abusive ex, and he has to figure out how far he can go with his kinky fantasies, especially as they ease into becoming reality. In Maya, Waters has created a heroine who is starting to tiptoe out from the shadow of her troubling history and into a future where she can crave roughness and tenderness from the same person. In our interview, I asked her about her writing career, choosing ebooks over print, BDSM and consent and what we can expect from this exciting literary love affair.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How and why did you get started writing erotica and erotic romance?

Well, I’ve been writing fiction and poetry since I was a young girl, but I was also on the precocious side growing up
which eventually translated into a thing for provocatively reading synonyms from a thesaurus to my high school sweetheart over the phone. (For some reason, me reading the word “smoldering” often resulted in his squeaky voiced “Can you come over, maybe?”) Around the same time I discovered Anaïs Nin and The Best American Erotica 1993, and I realized I wanted to give sexy fiction a try. My first attempt was a story about a Russian princess trapped in a tower; her king father was attempting to marry her off to a bunch of disappointing courters, and she was supposed to be saved by a seductive stranger
but I never did finish that story. After that, I penned the occasional ditty every few years. The truth is that I fought the idea of writing erotica for a long time for too many reasons, but once I finally decided to up and go for it, it was on. I wrote two stories that I tried to submit to a small call (one of which ended up appearing later in Coming Together: Among the Stars), and then when I decided I was really serious in early 2013, I submitted “The Flogger” to you. That ended up being my first publication in The Big Book of Orgasms later that year!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: When did you first get the idea for the romance between Maya and Dean, and was there a specific inspiration for it? Did you always plan for it to be three books?

JADE A. WATERS: Maya and Dean’s story was one part my own experience, and about three parts “what if?” The initial idea was sparked because I had a short-lived relationship with a man who playfully gave me an assignment on date one. I thought it was fun (my turn-ons are “playing” and “trying things”), but it wasn’t my thing in the long run, nor would we have ever worked out in a serious way. Pair with that my own history of having been in an abusive relationship in college, and the “what if” arose as I toyed with the idea of how the assignments and power dynamic would play out long term for someone who liked the submission, but who had only experienced it in a negative context. Maya’s independence is a mix of sass and survival—safety and control are imperative to her daily life, so I wanted to explore how that would work if she desired something considerably contrary. When I started book 1 I had some faint ideas of what could happen as they explored and their relationship continued to develop—so I imagined it could be a series, but I didn’t have much beyond an overall arc when I wrote The Assignment.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: There are some very vivid descriptions of things like sex clubs and rope bondage. Did you do any research for the books?

JADE A. WATERS: I do like to do my research. 🙂 It was a mix of memories of a few trips to sex clubs in the past, knowledge from a friend who studied shibari, and a lot of scouring the internet for alternate ideas. Also, reading is key. You pick up a lot from other stories and supplement with research as needed.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Can you tell me about your writing process? For the trilogy, did you write at a set time every day? Did you outline?

JADE A. WATERS: My “process” has morphed like crazy throughout this series. Book 1 was a breeze; it just popped right out. Book 2 had a lot of life and health issues throwing everything off, and required significant time and rewrites. Book 3 happened pretty quickly but needed a solid tweak between the manuscript turned in and what readers will see. The one thing that definitely held true throughout was that I’m a morning writer. It’s my most creative, calm time. I get up at 4 most days to get an hour or so of work in before I go to my day job. Weekends, I’ll start at 6 or so and go until the lunch hour.

I’m pretty simple when it comes to the how—it’s just me and a Word doc—but I like my coconut milk lattes and water in hand and to just go at it. Editing I seem to be able to do later into the day, which is helpful—but any big overhauls need morning light. As for outlining, that’s a big yes for novels. I use a combination of the Hero’s Journey, a 9-step outline process I picked up at a conference a while back, and then a method posted by Glen C. Strathy that I love. I merge these three styles together in a giant document that I print and keep on hand complete with character sketches and floor plans of characters’ houses as I work.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How did you decide on e-publisher Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin, as the publisher for your series?

JADE A. WATERS: My agent, Jessica Alvarez, and I shopped The Assignment around for a few months. Some publishers weren’t sure on a series. When the offer came in, we had two—one was for print for a single book, and the other was for the whole series with Carina. While I loved the idea of print, I’ve been fortunate to have been in print in several anthologies and I knew there was time for a print novel later. Carina was enthusiastic about the whole series, which excited me! So, after talking it around with Jessica, it was an easy yes.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Both Maya and Dean are intrigued by BDSM, but are both new at exploring it. Why did you decide to have them both be inexperienced? What was it like to write about a dom who has to act in control but is also, at times, unsure of what he’s doing when it comes to their power dynamics?

JADE A. WATERS: Ultimately, everyone has to be new at BDSM before they’re into BDSM. The desires can be part instinct, but we don’t just wake up one day knowing we like to be spanked or whatever without giving it a whirl. There are a bounty of books out there right now with a super experienced dom and inexperienced (and oft virginal) sub, and it drives me nuts. I wanted to explore two people who had a little exposure and interest in trying more, so that they could develop and cater to their own needs, but together. I find that exploration concept really sexy, which is why it was such an integral part of Maya and Dean’s relationship. However, it definitely posed some challenges in portraying Dean. He had to be in control, and yet he had to make rookie mistakes (he does in The Assignment, after all). It’s maddening to read and watch, but life is all about learning, and that’s what they do. Maya and Dean’s flubs allow them to figure out how to communicate and negotiate their boundaries—something I don’t think ever stops, in reality, in BDSM or any relationship. So they continue navigating that throughout the series.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Maya is intrigued by BDSM and submitting to Dean, but very wary based on abuse in a past relationship that had included some elements of BDSM, and she is also works with abused women at her job, which complicates her perspective. Was it challenging to incorporate the subject of domestic violence into a book of kinky erotic romance?

JADE A. WATERS: In some ways, yes, but not completely. I remember that when I told a non-erotica writer pal about Maya’s background early on, as well as some of what happens in the book, she’d said, “Wait, you’re basically giving her PTSD and having her trigger in an erotic romance book?” I’d found the question rather curious. I think we as a society have a tendency to gloss over the fact that real people have real histories and that can impact one’s choices and experiences. Maya is a fictional character, sure, but I like my characters to be real people. As someone who actually lives with PTSD—which does flare for most PTSD sufferers randomly throughout life—and yet someone who is also extremely sexual, I didn’t find the combination all that strange; I know what that feels like. It doesn’t saturate every moment but there are periods when it’s active. In the same way, making sure that past experience didn’t oversaturate the relationship was a challenge I enjoyed. To me, Maya’s story is about finally coming to terms with her past throughout the course of the series while she finds not only love and lust but herself in her relationship with Dean.

 One of the biggest themes of The Assignment is safety, which is what allows Maya to indulge the side of her that wants to have sexual adventures ranging from bondage to public sex to visiting a sex club. What about Dean makes her feel safe, and what, if anything, about Dean makes her feel unsafe?

JADE A. WATERS: Dean is naturally dominant, but he’s also a playful, compassionate guy. Maya is playful too, which is why they respond so well to one another. His openness allows her to feel safe, as does all his checking in—he may be giving assignments, but they really cater their dynamic together, and flesh it out through the series. We learn more about Dean in The Discipline, and some of his experiences have given him his own reticence that he [foolishly] tries to cover up. But as their relationship grows, it’s got to come out. I’m really into the pieces unfolding in time with people much like peeling back an onion, and yet, that lends to the challenges these two face. Maya’s questioning of safety comes from her background, pure and simple. It’s hard for her to place her trust entirely in someone else’s hands, but she wants to with Dean. Later, when she’s found her confidence in submission, she’s able to use that to call Dean out when he’s holding back. I wouldn’t say she feels unsafe then; in fact she feels safe enough to make the call and draw him out to meet her, too.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: If Maya had not met Dean, do you think she would have found other ways to explore her interest in BDSM?

JADE A. WATERS: Maybe? Frankly, I think she was too busy avoiding. If—and I mean if—she did find it later, I think it would have taken her a long time, because she was mighty happy with her fancy free love and sex life. There’s something about Dean that pushes that button for her in the perfect combo of dominant, charming, and sweet.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: The San Francisco Bay Area, the setting for the series and your home, is very prominent in the series. What’s so sexy about the area? Do you think people are more open to exploring BDSM there than in other parts of the United States?

JADE A. WATERS: I didn’t realize how into the area I was until I started writing erotica, honestly. Someone pointed out that I had a water motif and I had to pause before I realized, um, hello, I’ve been writing watery motifs for a while. I lived in Nevada until I was a teen, and from there I was in Sonoma, Marin, all over the East Bay
this place is just so incredibly lovely. (A 12-year-old me protested becoming a California girl and I now proudly tote that badge.) There’s water everywhere, be it moderate rains or on the coast. And waves
they’re so sexy to me. It’s that soothing but rhythmic one-two punch. I’d read a few erotica books set in other highly populated areas and none seemed to be here, so I felt like it was high time the Bay Area got some quality love! As for BDSM here
San Francisco is such a far cry from many places in our country. There’s a lot of open-mindedness (never mind several BDSM and sex club options), so, if there aren’t more people exploring it here there are at least more aware of and open to it here, I think. 

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Was your focus on safety and consent a response to the perceptions in popular culture of BDSM? Were you trying to address any cultural myths about kinky relationships?

JADE A. WATERS: YES!!! (Sorry, was I shouting?) I have read and heard about far too many misconceptions that BDSM is actually abuse. This is dead wrong. A consensual BDSM relationship is a beautiful thing. A nonconsensual relationship of any type is abuse. But BDSM is not a synonym for abuse, and many people still believe this is the case because unfortunately in real life and in fiction some do treat it as an excuse to abuse. That’s a no-no. Also, I think consent is an extremely important topic. I need to preface this with the fact that I under no circumstances believe it is a fiction writer’s job to educate the public on consent or to only write consensual scenes—and it drives me crazy that people say otherwise. However, if one is writing a BDSM story and they don’t intend for the dom to be an abusive character, then one does have to be a responsible writer and make sure the consent, communication, and negation is there in a healthy way. For Maya and Dean’s story, consent and safety was imperative, both because I wanted them to have a real and healthy BDSM relationship, and because Maya’s backstory requires safety in her relationships. Period.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: What were your favorite and least favorite parts of writing this trilogy?

JADE A. WATERS: This is strangely the hardest question you’ve given me, Rachel! 🙂 Favorite
man, all of it? The way the story morphed over time, and at the same time challenged me and exorcised some of my own demons. I really loved Maya’s growth throughout the series (just you wait until book 3), and it felt good to watch her develop. Same for Dean. Hardest? Mmmm
my life, like, completely blew up at the start of drafting book 2. So I think it would be cool to try writing a series not under so much life stress! (You hear that, Universe? Eh-hm.) Part of that was the pace, and part was just all that was going on. But, I think it worked out all right!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Can you give us a hint at what happens in The Discipline, which was just published, and the third book, The Reward?

Jade A. Waters: Happy to! The Discipline sees Maya and Dean learning the discipline of having a serious relationship while also exploring more sexual discipline, which means more play, and several really hot fantasies that will definitely challenge them. A. Lot. By The Reward, they’re not only more stable but stronger
however, some past challenges will confront them, hard. We will see tremendous growth in both characters
as well as in their relationship. It’s a mighty reward!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: What have the responses been like from readers to the series?

JADE A. WATERS: Fairly positive, I think! Some people seemed to really like their dynamic and the story, which is amazing to hear. Some wanted more Dean in book 1, which I knew would show up in book 2 because The Assignment was more about Maya’s growth
so I’m hoping they find what they’re seeking when they read on. I try not to read reviews too closely and when I do I just figure to each her own, but so far it seems people are enjoying, which is such a compliment.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Anything else to add?

JADE A. WATERS: Yes
a giant thank you for having me over!!

Click here to read a sexy free excerpt from The Discipline, which is available for purchase for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com.

How to write erotic flash fiction and turn readers on in a few pages

17 Feb

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I’m a sucker for a good short story. I always have been, which is perhaps why I’ve made a career out of editing short story anthologies, but I’ve come to appreciate the genre anew by compiling three books of erotic flash fiction: Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories and The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales. Yes, the number 69 is a cheeky reference, but also rounds out these collections in a beautiful way, allowing room for plenty of variety.

Before I delve into why I love these super short tales so much, I want to let all you writers out there now that I’m looking for the last few ultra hot, creative and brilliant BDSM erotica stories to include in The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2, to be published in 2018 by Cleis Press. Get all the details in the call for submissions and send your stories in by February 28, 2017. Yes, I know that’s around the corner, but at only 1,200 words or less, writing one can be done in a day.

The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales

The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales

So what do I love about these books? As an editor, I selfishly love that I get to say yes to 69 authors, since sending rejections is the part of the job I hate the most. As a reader, I relish seeing just how playful writers can be with such a limited word count. And as a person with ADD, I love that I can read one of these stories in just a few minutes, making them perfect for our often overbooked and overly busy culture.

Some people might see the words “1,200 words or less” and think, That’s nothing more than a sex scene. Au contraire! What’s been extraordinary to me is seeing just how much passion, heart and soul these authors have imbued into their relatively small amount of words. They’ve created stories that are rich with gorgeous imagery and eroticism, the kinds of stories I reread often. One of my favorites is “Housebroken” by Laila Blake, from The Big Book of Submission, about a special kind of roleplay. Here’s a snippet:

The tiny bell on her kitten-collar chimed whenever she moved her head a little this way or that, sparkling like her pink lips with their ubiquitous honey-scented gloss. All of her seemed to glow as she lay there ivory-pink, her knees pulled up in a shallow angle, leaning against each other, her toes wriggling a little. She never did lie completely still—for that she needed ropes and cuffs, commands and punishments. For the moment, though, Imani allowed it, smiling at her kitten’s antics and the way, in her apartment, her kitten could let go completely, with no care in the world but Imani’s pleasure and her own, attaining the purest sense of freedom humans could find.

Yes, in her limited space, Blake takes readers inside an intimate, loving lesbian BDSM relationship and helps bring their roleplaying to life.

The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories

The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories

One of my favorite stories I’ve ever published is the humorous yet thought-provoking gender changing tale “Remote Control” by Logan Zachary in The Big Book of Orgasms. Using the hilarious premise that the title device can change everything from the weather to one’s genitals, Zachary presents a couple who transform themselves inside and out, with fascinating results. You can listen to the whole story on The Kiss Me Quick’s Podcast—I dare you to do so and not wonder what you yourself would do with such a remote in the palm of your hand! Not only is this story sexy and funny, it also manages to slyly comment on gender and sexual orientation.

What the writers who are successful at these sexy flash fiction stories know is that economy of language can indeed be hot, because it forces you to truly say what you mean and imbue every single word with as much power as possible. You can focus on the heart of what makes a relationship or sex act or scene so arousing, cutting out all extraneous distractions. Honing in on what’s vital can help authors see what makes the story tick and force them to value each thought, each touch, each movement as it builds to something greater than the sum of its parts. For the reader, the payoff is that they can get completely sucked into a story, knowing they can fully savor it in the time it takes to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

These tales capture the complexity of trying something new in bed, and instead of jumping straight into the screwing, they still take the time to make imbue realism into the equation. In “Anal-yzed” by Donna George Storey from Gotta Have It, she tackles the negotiation between a couple about exploring anal sex, covering a woman’s doubts, fears and uncertainties while still maintaining the heat level:

“Interesting. I have another theory, though.” As he said this, his finger dipped between my asscheeks to stroke my tender pink valley.

I shivered and arched up into his touch. “Theory?”

“Yes, that anal sex is an unnatural act, so it makes you feel like a dirty slut to do it.”

My muscles down there—belly, cunt, asshole—immediately went into spasm, prickles of shame mixed with sweet twinges of pleasure. He was right. It was a turn-on to be a naughty girl who let boys in the back door. But I suddenly realized something else too. Having him talk about fucking my ass—actually analyze it like this—was making me incredibly hot.

Yes, within the confines of her 1,200 word maximum, Storey takes a common sexual fantasy, deconstructs it and does it justice as the narrator and her partner find out just how they can make this fantasy come true. She doesn’t waste any words, but she doesn’t rush the action either.

For those who prefer watching a sex scene unfold, here’s me reading my face slapping erotica story “Manners” from Gotta Have It several years ago at erotic shop Coco De Mer in West Hollywood, a topic I enjoyed distilling into a few racy pages:

To play devil’s advocate, I know that for those who solely read and write novels, the idea of even attempting to narrow down a short story into the confines of flash fiction is anathema. The biggest complaint I get from readers is that these stories are too short, that just as they get started, they’re over. On that point, I agree; however, I see their shortness as their strength, their beauty, their brilliance, and if they leave you wanting to know more about these characters, I consider that a win. So if you’re pressed for time, have a limited attention span like me, or simply want a huge amount of variety in the palm of your hands, check out these flash fiction books, and perhaps they’ll even inspire you to write one of your own.

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com.

Sex in public, or why I read my erotica to live audiences

18 Mar

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Writing is a lonely act, and while I wouldn’t trade my writing time for anything, ever since I was first published in the erotica genre in 2000, I’ve sought to take that act out into the world and make it interactive with live readings. Because my stories and books veer toward the sexier side of things, I’ve found that audiences are incredibly hungry to hear people talk about sex in public in an honest, open, unashamed way. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or nonfiction, or what the exact details are: if you stand up in front of a crowd of people and are talking about getting naked, people will listen.

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Me with burlesque performer Gigi La Femme at In The Flesh

For five incredible years of my life, from 2005-2010, I took that spirit and ran a reading series in New York called In The Flesh. In that time period, I hosted over 300 readers covering a range of genres, from erotic romance to memoir and poetry. While these days it’s but a fond memory, running In The Flesh remains one of the highlights of my career because it taught me an incredible amount about getting out of my shell and connecting readers with authors.

Yes, it was exciting when the events were covered on Gawker and Flavorwire, but what warmed my heart was walking into the relatively small bar where the readings were held and seeing both familiar and new faces each month. The people who showed up valued the community that formed sitting around tables before the readings just as much as what was said into the microphone. They valued the openness about all kinds of sexual interests that were presented with complete honesty, whether they were sex confessions or love stories, fetishes or fears, tender moments or raucous ones.

What thrilled me was when authors who made the erotica genre what it is today, like Susie Bright and Zane, deigned to grace my stage. If you want to make friends with writers, my advice is to start a reading series. Writers want to bring their words directly to people, want to find out which lines sizzle and which ones fizzle. They want to have a give and take with an audience, to share a part of themselves and have listeners share right back.

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Zane reading at In The Flesh; photo by Stacie Joy

One piece of advice I give my writing students, but don’t always take myself, is to read your work out loud. Yes, it’s time consuming, yet I’ve never regretted doing it, because I always find elements that work differently when voiced. Well, live readings take that sensation and amplify it. If you’re reading from an already published work, sure, you can’t change the text on the page (unless you’ve self-published in ebook form), but you can learn how to phrase things differently next time. You simply hear yourself in an entirely new way.

That’s why, even though I now live in suburbia and don’t have access to many literary events, for my newest anthology, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, I’ve made it a point to travel and bring these stories to life live. It also gives me the chance to get to know my authors in person and introduce their work not just on the page, but in front of actual people.

That’s an important part of my value system as a writer and editor, because I know that those who come out to hear a reading, given the myriad other options for how they could spend their evening, will remember the little things. They’ll remember the funny behind the scenes story or bit of local inspiration a writer shares. They’ll remember the way someone’s voice drops or how they shift or blush. They’ll remember the sound and texture and rhythm and energy when they’re at home, rereading those same words. I know I certainly do, and once I’ve heard an author read their work out loud, that forever changes the way I approach it when I return to it on my own.

For all that, though, readings are not easy. You are competing with the weather, with other events, with TV and every other form of entertainment out there. You never know how many people will show up, or how much they will pay attention once they do. You don’t know if someone will ask a question during a Q&A that is utterly inappropriate. There’s no guarantees and room for any and all surprises, which is part of the magic and the horror of doing live readings. There’s no delete button, only spur-of-the-moment decisions.

Then there’s the actual opening your mouth and sharing your words part. The truth is, for me, even reading my work out loud is incredibly scary. No matter how many readings I’ve done, I still shake and get nervous and want to duck and hide whenever I step in front of a mic, or look up and see eyes eagerly expecting me to entertain them. It’s a far cry from staring at a blank screen, which, while demanding in its own way, is not one I will ever disappoint.

I don’t know if something that was a breeze to write will suddenly remind me of an intimate part of myself I didn’t realize I’d revealed in print. I often cringe as I mentally go back and try to re-edit my words, inserting a more charming phrase rather than a clunker that now seems totally wrong.

But what I’ve learned from sharing my stories everywhere from famed lesbian bar Meow Mix (RIP) to London sex toy store Sh! and countless places in between is that it’s worth getting over those nerves. Why? Because readings bring out our humanity. While words on a page (or screen) remain the same, we will never speak them aloud again in the exact same way. I learn more about myself and my work every time I read it aloud, and as an anthology editor, I treasure being able to hear my authors voice their work and bring out nuances I never would have gotten if I hadn’t heard them.

If I were rich, I would find a way to do readings with every author in my anthologies, because while I’m infinitely grateful that my books are on bookstore shelves, in ebook formats and out as audiobooks, it makes me fee like I’ve come full circle as an editor to get to smile and look directly into my authors’ eyes, to get to know the person behind the story, to take a tale I’ve come to think I know and add even more depth to it.

I also want to help create public spaces where listeners can hear writers, especially women, sharing stories about love, sex, romance that come from the heart. When my voice drops as I read, or I stammer, or I make a last minute decision to skip a part that no matter how many dirty words I’ve written, suddenly seems “too embarrassing” to say in front of people who I’ll be mingling with in an hour, I’m being human. I’m not three names in a fancy font on the cover of a book or a Twitter handle, but a person revealing my flaws and insecurities.

That human element is one that can’t be replicated. As I said at the beginning, writing is lonely, but when you hear someone chuckle or exclaim or gasp or whisper, it’s an incredible feeling, one that, for me, is worth all the nerves. It means that my words, the ones I often struggle over, the ones that seem distant because they were written one or two or ten years ago, are suddenly vivid and alive.

Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is that audiences don’t expect me to be perfect (I do enough of that on my own). They’re okay if I trip and stumble over a word, if I suddenly get shy, if my persona on the page doesn’t quite match up to who I am in a room full of strangers. They aren’t looking for a false version of perfection, but for genuineness, and that I can amply provide.

So if you’re in Chicago, or know anyone else who might be and would like to hear some sexy stories about everything from a woman used as a lover’s canvas to a couple and a tentacle dildo to a woman whose erotic airplane adventures are reported back in breathless detail to her husband, I hope you’ll join me and my authors Tara Betts and Rose P. Lethe on March 31st. I promise we’ll give you an event to remember.

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The Art Of The Spank

24 Feb

By Elizabeth Shore

Our fellow Lady Smutter Rachel Kramer Bussel recently posted a wonderful article on how to achieve orgasm through spanking. Full of insight as to why some lucky folks can get off from getting spanked and the emotional connection tied to it, there was one line in the article that got me thinking. Rachel wrote – referring to the heroine in the short spanking story “Restitution” by Ria Restrepo – “…the man delivering those blows knows precisely what he’s doing.”

Intriguing! But how exactly does the dude learn to deliver those orgasm-worthy blows? Surely perfection comes with practice and there’s much to be said for learning on the job. Yet what about if you’re the kind of person who likes to do her homework? What about if you prefer reading a recipe to throwing all the ingredients in a pot and seeing how it comes out? Is there a spanking primer for the studious among us? Well, of course there is, silly! It’s called the Internet.

It was interesting to note that upon a quick Google search for lessons in how to spank, kink spanking – thankfully –  far and away rose to the top over spanking a child. (wikiHow does provide lessons in the latter, complete with drawn pictures. Creepily disturbing). But the first how-to for what I was after comes via our friends at Cosmopolitan. In their humorously titled “Guide to Cheeky Sex” the Cosmo slideshow provides tips via sexologist Dr. Sadie Allison.

I actually thought the suggestions here were pretty decent. The initial message was that you’ve got to introduce the idea of backdoor blows slowly to your man, lest it turn into a butt ugly experience for you both. You might begin with a massage before progressing to rubbing your naked body all over his bare bum. Give him a couple playful blows before notching up the intensity and moving from bare handed smacks to paddle play.

Over at SoFeminine, they’ve called on help from spanking master Allison England. She hosts a spanking salon over at Coco de Mer, London’s “spanking emporium,” so I figure she knows what she’s talking about. Much of her advice is similar to Dr. Sadie’s, but she also has an additional tip. For maximum enjoyment when using a paddle, go for the “sweet spot,” also known as the lower area of the bum. She also advises, for female spankees, to wear crotchless panties while getting smacked. Pressure on the labia from the straps on the central part of the panties can be arousing to the point of achieving orgasm. Sounds A-OK to me.

Of course, it you don’t feel like reading up on spanking tips, you can always head over to YouTube and watch them. There are spanking videos a’plenty. Or, you can watch one of my favorite spanking scenes of all, from Secretary. Maggie Gyllenhaal is superb as she moves from surprise to arousal in the span of two minutes. Of course, James Spader is the one doing the spanking, so …

Enjoy. And before you go, get your a** in gear and follow us at Lady Smut. We’ll keep busting our butts to bring you fresh content every day of the week.

 

Sexual empowerment on our own terms

19 Feb

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Recently, actress Emily Ratajkowski wrote an essay about female sexuality for Lenny Letter that I resonated with me. She detailed the ways we tell women that sexuality is something to be hidden, contained, dangerous, whether it’s a teenager whose bra strap is showing or too much lip gloss. As she put it:

The implication is that to be sexual is to be trashy because being sexy means playing into men’s desires. To me, “sexy” is a kind of beauty, a kind of self-expression, one that is to be celebrated, one that is wonderfully female. Why does the implication have to be that sex is a thing men get to take from women and women give up?

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Emily Ratajkowski via Facebook

This reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was wearing one of my favorite dresses, a turquoise short-sleeved number with a ruffled on top and a zipper that lands between my breasts. I’ve worn it on dates, but considered it classy enough to wear to temple with my family. A man I didn’t know wouldn’t stop talking to me; I was polite but kept trying to avoid him. My mom implied that it was my dress; if I’d been more covered up, he would have left me alone.

What kind of world do we live in where it’s our job as women to constantly second guess what men might think of what we wear, what signals they imagine we are sending? It also reminded me of Christen Brandt’s viral Facebook post, where she detailed being sexually harassed this winter while wearing this outfit:

christenbrandtsmall

Brandt wrote:

Next time you wonder whether your skirt is too short, next time you ask your teen daughter to change her clothes, or the next time you hear about school dress codes in the news, remember this photo.

I am in a fucking parka and boots. 

And it. doesn’t. matter.

But this post isn’t just about the ways our sexuality and our bodies can be used against us, but about how reclaiming our sex appeal after we’ve been shamed, can be part of our process of digging out from under all that sexism and cultural baggage telling us what we should or shouldn’t do with our bodies. I just finished the first of three linked erotic romances, Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe (aka Molly O’Keefe).

everythingIlefthunsaidcover

What stood out for me is that the heroine, Annie, a domestic violence survivor who’s fled from her husband after he tried to kill her, is fighting back against a lifetime of shame not just about her sexuality but about her very existence. She’s been told for too long that she’s essentially worthless, but has cobbled together a new life for herself that she’s starting to test out.

With the help of steamy phone calls from a sexy stranger, Dylan, she starts to piece herself back together, but at her own pace. What I especially loved about the book is that a large part of the sex here isn’t about one-on-one in-person action, but at a remove, with Annie protected by the safety of the phone, by the fake name she uses at first. She is able to ease into discovering what turns her on because she’s able to tap into all the parts of herself she’s had to hide for so long. O’Keefe writes:

I slipped one finger past the sharp elastic, pulling the other side harder against my skin, which made me gasp and pull it tighter, until the elastic brushed up against my clit.

“Oh my God,” I breathed and then, experimenting, I pulled both sides of my underwear down between my lips and I nearly shot off the bed. Carefully, I used the pressure, slow and driving, sharp and fast, to find out what I liked better.

And the truth was—I liked it all. Even the touches that didn’t add to the stone-rolling-downhill of orgasm, I liked. The side trip of my fingers agains the skin of my leg. The act of pushing my hair—sweaty and damp—off my face. The lift of one arm up over my head.

It was as if my body—which had seemed my entire life to be stupid and heavy, an entity to be pushed and smacked, a blind and dumb feature made only for work, its only skill a certain kind of stillness, a trick of getting smaller so as not to be seen—had been transformed.

No, not transformed. Not really.

It was as if I’d found buried beneath the skin a secret wisdom. A dark knowledge.

Like it had just been waiting for me to find it.

A woman pushing her hair off her face might not seem like such a momentous act, and it might not be for most characters. But the point here is that Annie is exploring herself for the first time, getting to know what kinds of touch and sensations her body responds to. Her masturbation scenes are a refreshing and vital part of the novel because they allow her to later open herself up to getting naked in front of Dylan literally, not just figuratively.

For Annie, sex was a thing her husband took, not something where her pleasure was ever truly considered. It was something to get through, something he controlled entirely. Reading about her transformation, seeing her stand up for herself to Dylan, and having him appreciate her for her gumption, made this one of my favorite recent romance reads.

Like Ratajkowski, Annie doesn’t disown sex even though it’s been presented to her as dangerous. And even though it’s a love story (one with, warning, a cliffhanger ending), O’Keefe makes it clear that Annie isn’t “saved” by Dylan simply because she falls for him. She saves herself, and her sexual journey is one about unlocking what’s inside her.

Ratajkowski also wrote in her essay:

Where can girls look to see women who find empowerment in deciding when and how to be or feel sexual? Even if being sexualized by society’s gaze is demeaning, there must be a space where women can still be sexual when they choose to be.

That’s something I look for when I read erotic romance and erotica as well as in the real world, and heroines like Annie are wonderful examples of women who don’t simply accept the way sex is presented to them by the world, but look for ways to make sex their own.

 

Books We Can’t Stop Thinking About: Picks from the LadySmut Ladies

26 Dec

by Elizabeth SaFleur

Have you ever read a book that you cannot erase from your mind? It gets inside you. Joins your soul. Makes you wish you lived like them . . . and there. Below are LadySmut’s list of “books we can’t stop thinking about.” They may not have been published in 2015, but we read them this past year. And, we just can’t let them go!

From LadySmut Blogger G.G. ANDREW: Badger by C.M. McKenna (a pen name for erotica and romance writer Cara McKenna).

Though not technically a romance, it tells the love story of a former pill addict and the Boston vigilante she’s obsessed with. This book (which should come with many, many trigger warnings) made me feel at different times intrigued, amused, delighted, and completely disturbed. I couldn’t put it down, even when I really wanted to. It’s definitely a story that will stick with me for years.

From LadySmut Blogger MADELINE IVA: For Real by Alexis Hall. 

Hot older, more experienced sub gets together with inexperienced, smaller, younger dom.  This book really spoke to me.  So romantic, but also full on BDSM-y too, and done so well. The prose reminded me of Charlotte Stein (who you all know I lurv) and I found it to be a cleanly written, emotional, hot m/m journey.

From LadySmut Blogger ALEXA DAY: Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight by Alyssa Cole. 

It’s a historical novella based on the very real Tournament of the Black Lady. The story is set in the court of King James IV; the king is hosting a tournament with a kiss from Agnes, who is black, as the prize. Turns out that an extremely hot Highlander is dead serious about winning that prize. The story isn’t long, but it doesn’t feel rushed at all. I definitely got to know Gareth (that hot Highlander) and Agnes very well. This is a short but quite well developed romance, and Alyssa Cole doesn’t spare the heat! I remember it so well because I don’t see many interracial romances set during that historical period, and this one is written beautifully. And it’s super hot. And I would read another fifty stories like this. How can I get Alyssa Cole to write fifty more stories like this one?

From LadySmut Blogger RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: S.E.C.R.E.T., English edition by L. Marie Adeline
(read a sample at http://www.secretnovels.com/read-a-sample/).

S.E.C.R.E.T., book one of the S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy, came out in 2013 but is an erotic novel I return to over and over. It’s about a group of women who help other women who are down on their luck fulfill their top sexual fantasies. It sounds outlandish, but in Adeline’s hands it almost sounds plausible. It’s got erotica, romance and female empowerment, all full of such sexiness I swoon each time I read it. Confession: Now that I know the plot, I re-read the sex scenes.

From LadySmut Blogger ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: The Master (The Game Maker Series) by Kresley Cole. 

Not only do you get a hot Russian mafia billionaire and one sassy heroine in this story, but genuine heat and a plot(!). I also genuflect before this author’s ability to throw in THREE languages — English, Russian and Spanish — that didn’t have me confused for a second but rather colored the story with texture beyond anything I’ve read in a while.

From LadySmut Blogger ISABELLE DRAKE: The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. 

It’s a fascinating read for anyone who likes comics and is interested in women’s history. (Direct and to the point!)

From LadySmut Blogger KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Serving Pleasure (Pleasure Series) (Volume 2) by Alisha Rai

Even after writing about Serving Pleasure on Lady Smut last June, I still cannot recommend it enough. Here’s what I said then:

Alisha Rai writes some of the best diverse, feminist, erotic romance out there today, a fact also on display in her novel A Gentleman in the Street. Her heroines ooze agency and revel in their sexuality; her heroes are complex and often surprisingly against stereotype. Her books are gutsy and original with sizzling, emotion-filled sex that will leave you buzzing for days.

With every stroke that conjures Rana and Micah’s depths and their significant emotional stakes, Ms. Rai brings these fully-fleshed, complicated people to life through words that are polished and witty, engrossing and poignant. At times funny with a touch of screwball comedy, Serving Pleasure explores the themes of family expectations and failures and the struggle of trauma recovery with grace and care through pages of sensual pleasure threaded with tender scenes of self-discovery and forgiveness.

Also from KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM:  Make You Burn by Megan Crane

The first in the Deacons of Bourbon Street series from Loveswept, Make You Burn was my gateway motorcycle club romance book, a rabbit hole from which I still have not emerged. I had a fabulous chat with the Bitches of Bourbon Street—aka Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, Rachael Jones, and Maisey Yates—while at the Romance Writer’s of America’s national conference in June. This is what I had to say about Make You Burn and its fantastically filthy hero, Ajax:

­[Ajax] knows exactly who and what he is and makes zero apology for it, which is its own kind of sexy. His confidence is intoxicating and anyone who encounters him knows he’s good for whatever he says he’s going to do. He puts a capital A on Alphahole and you just want to thank him for it as you test the durability of the nearest flat surface while taking off your pants and that’s before you get to his dirty, dirty sex skillz.

On the surface, Make You Burn is a smokin’ hot, MC erotic romance and holycrap, does it deliver on that promise. But it’s also a story about dealing with immense loss and struggling to find purpose and balance in the face of excruciating grief–and what happens when the life you thought you hated is the person you can’t possibly live without.

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Another from KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Walk Through Fire (Chaos) by Kristen Ashley

I didn’t review Walk Through Fire specifically (as dramatic, sexy, and emotional as it is, it’s not an easy or perfect book, but I do recommend it given I’ve read it oh, about eight times) my MC romance rabbit hole dive took me to Ashley’s on-going Chaos series: Ride Steady, Fire Inside, Own the Wind, and Walk Through Fire. (The first in the series is actually Motorcycle Man, last in Ashley’s Dream Man series.) Since then, along with the Chaos and Dream Man series, I’ve also read (and re-read) Ashley’s ‘Burg series, Colorado Mountain Series, and Unsung Heroes series. I went on and on and on about why you do not want to start reading Kristen Ashley’s books (if you want to, say, keep having a life, that is) in my post WARNING: Do NOT Read Kristen Ashley. Here’s a sample of why:

Do not read Kristen Ashley books if you aren’t prepared to stay up until 4 AM wondering when the hell the damn book is gonna end because you need to sleep and then not caring because the need to finish it outweighs all other considerations like the fact that you have to get up in three hours and capably perform your freaking job that you’re now seriously considering quitting because it means you won’t be able to continue reading Kristen Ashley books for about 8 to 10 hours.

Do not read Kristen Ashley’s books if you have “just one more chapter” disease or its symptomatic brethren, “just one more page” syndrome, which are both a short trip to the dreaded “Dead Reader Walking” epidemic. That sucker spreads like damn and wow with the speed of a “buy with 1-click” button. I hate that button. I need that button. But I hate that button.

And, that’s that. Get those one-clicking fingers going, my lovely ladysmutters.

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours. May you find only stellar reads in the new year. (Tell us if you find something particularly fabu. We’re all ears, er, eyeballs.)

Bring Horns: Watching, Cuckholding, & Other Things Couples Do on Dirty Dates

12 Nov
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Click to buy.

by Madeline Iva

Curious about cuckholding—a kind of couples kink? (Say that three times fast!)

Then you wanna check out CROSSTOWN CRUSH.  Samira is married to Mike.  So Samira comes home from girl’s night out covered in men’s cologne so Mike can get jealous. (Cause it turns him on.)  Then he confronts her on it, and she humiliates him with a shrugging confession of his inadequacy. (Cause it makes him hot.) She spells out her need to get a good dicking by someone other than him. Which–you guessed it–gets him horny as hell. Then he goes all cave man on her, and ‘reclaims’ her, i.e. boinks her with a fierce roughness which she really likes, so they both get off.

This was a weird book for Cara McKenna. A careful book. Samira is going along with her husband’s kink and it’s with raised eyebrows that we readers follow her on that journey.

It’s like as she wrote it Cara was thinking “This could go so wrong in several hundred ways.” And then she just grabbed her readers by the hand, saying “I’m gonna explain this, and then, trust me, it’s gonna be hot.”

And that’s what she does. Explains and explains. Then it gets pretty hot.

Pink Bow

Click to buy — .99 cents!

Because what happens is, Mike and Samira decide to up the ante and get a real guy to play the role of the man shagging Samira in their fantasy life.  Enter Bern stage left. (Bern is short for Bernard) Bern is hotness on a stick.

I think this is a book aimed squarely at me as a reader. I’m like: cuckholding? Hunh? Whaaaa? I needed that intro with all it’s careful Reasons. McKenna presents Mike savoring the kink which works.  But when Bern comes on stage things heat up and get mighty interesting.

If you’re a Cara McK addict, this book delivers. She has that talent for being oh-so-dirty, yet still classy as hell.

Random aside: What struck me most was the emphasis on generosity in this book. (Note to self—include more of it in my romances.)

Moving on. Mike’s kink was cuckholding, while Bern liked to be watched.

Watching

Click to buy. Only .99 cents!

WATCHING by Bethany James is out.  You may remember that I talked about her great dirty book recs HERE. Read her story, cause WATCHING is also about–you guessed it–exhibitionism. It’s a twenty-something’s gentle journey to the land of forbidden hot dirty sex with randy grown-ups.

What I liked best? Those little frissons she has during experiences that touch upon lines of naughty shame and transgression. I’d say both of these books are at their hottest when they put their finger right there and keep it there. Ooh yeah.  Just like that. Don’t stop.

Finally, if you’re like: why aren’t there more cuckholding stories out there? Why? Why? Why? Then check out our very own Isabelle Drake’s cuckholding short story THE PINK BOW. It’s a short little f–kfest with a charm all its own.

And if you’re looking for the perfect dirty date for your own couple-dom, look no further.  Rachel Kramer Bussel edited this great little DIRTY DATES anthology just for you.  Buy it HERE.

Click to Buy

Click to Buy

Th-th-th-that’s all folks! See you next week. In the meantime follow us at Lady Smut. We’ll never lead you astray. (Only because you want us to.)

Hot, Sweaty, Dirty. Got A Problem With That?

11 Nov

Hot guy with absBy Elizabeth Shore

Many years ago I had a single title historical published called Season of Splendor that includes a love scene in which the hero and heroine have hot, dirty, sweaty sex down in the basement where the hero is shoveling coal. I loved the imagery of that scene as I played it out in my mind. The raging fire in the giant stove. The relentless heat. Bodies coated in sweat. Here’s what I wrote:

He tossed aside the shovel and walked steadily toward her. Neither of them said a word. It was hot in the room – very hot. Fire roared from the coal stoves and the heat had long ago forced Devon to remove his shirt. As he drew closer Claire could see his muscles slickly outlined by the sheen of sweat covering his body. He crossed the room as gracefully as a panther, captivating her with the way his body moved. He was a study of masculine perfection. When at last he stood before her, she shook with desire.

Then, of course, they go on to have wonderful, nasty, soot-covered sex. That scene came to mind as I was thinking about our celebration this week to mark the release of our own Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Dirty Dates anthology. As I considered what to write about dirty dates, I thought, why not write about actual dirtiness? And then I thought of that scene.

There’s something incredibly sensual about messiness and sex. Think bodies covered in food, whipped cream and dripping chocolate smeared everywhere, tongues lapping it up. As I considered why that’s sexy, I started thinking that maybe it’s the relinquishing of control that’s the sexy driver here. When you get down to it, after all, sex is messy. Bed head, makeup smudged, not to mention the … er … fluids. But if you trust someone enough that you’re willing to give up that control, and give in to the messiness, ooooh the pleasures that await you.

OK, I’m good with that. But I’m still kinda hung up on what makes the messy so sexy. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.

Young elegant business man leaning on a grey wall with his hands in pockets, looking away from the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be sure, I tried finding similar photos. These two don’t quite do the trick. The suit guy is taken from farther away than dirty pickaxe guy. Nevertheless, I pose the question to the masses: which one appeals? If someone, you know, twisted your arm and you just had to choose one of these two to take between your sheets, who comes out the winner? Now let’s be clear: I’m not talking about which one looks like he’d make a better living and know how to treat a girl in style. The edge would most certainly go to suit guy. And frankly, maybe the edge goes to suit guy regardless. Maybe the clean cut look will be our winner. I know who I’d go for. How about you?

After getting churned up after considering these two guys, how about grabbing your own man and sitting down together for a joint read of Dirty Dates. With the scorching hot kink for couples, you’ll be sure to keep your engine hot. And dirty.Dirty Dates

 

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