Tag Archives: Rachel Kramer Bussel

69 Ways To Be Kinky

15 Dec

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Today I’m giving you a sneak peek at my new BDSM erotica anthology The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2: 69 Kinky Tales, out on Tuesday, December 19, in ebook form. Yes, I know it’s officially Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 week, but today is my last official post as a Lady Smutter and with back to back releases, I wanted to make sure you know about both of my new Cleis Press books.

The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 follows on the heels of the first edition, which has been so popular with readers (and audiobook listeners) that my publisher decided to commission a new volume. My books just arrived last night and they are gorgeous:

rachel kramer bussel bdsm erotica

So many books!

What I love about these kinky flash fiction stories (each one is 1,200 words or less) is that each of them manages to be varied and nuanced even within the short word count. There are fetishes, role-play, costumes, spanking, bondage, kink at the office, humiliation, orders, obeying, being bratty, using sex toys in public, long distance dominance and submission, breath play and so much more. To give you a feel for what’s in this book, which makes a wonderful holiday or Valentine’s Day gift, here are brief excerpts from all 69 stories, offering you 69 ways to be kinky (you can read a lot more ways and a lot more hotness in these erotic tales):

Words by Jo Henny Wolf

“I want you to write down exactly how you want me to fuck you tonight, darling.”

The Assistant by Malin James

“You have ten minutes. Make me come.”

Switching Struggles by Leandra Vane

Charlotte held Nate’s wrists together, his warm pulse thumping against the pads of her thumbs.

Flagged for Revision by Elna Holst

The slick flagpole to which she was strung up, arms hoisted high above her head, creaked in the wind.

Grocery Run by Rose P. Lethe

A pair of Ben Wa balls in her cunt and a metal plug in her ass—”The sooner you get home, the sooner they come out.”

Conference Call by Elizabeth Coldwell

He has so much less composure than my Master, and I know it won’t be long before he’s free his cock from his suit trousers so he can jerk himself off to the sight of my willing humiliation.

Listening to Her by Eve Pendle

With me spread-eagled under the duvet, if someone saw me they’d just think I slept like a be dog. Except my cock is making a bulge.

The Back Room at the Saloon by Donna George Storey

He felt harder this time, and she took him so deep he knocked against the back of her throat.

Winter Games by Allyson Shannon

The sound of me fucking myself is obscenely loud in his small, eco-friendly car.

Private Message by Erzabet Bishop

Her bare pussy had touched his chair. It was the only coherent through running through Dale’s mind as the meeting ran into the two-hour nightmare that as CEO he had to endure every Tuesday.

Metamorphoses by Emmanuelle de Maupassant

He taps at both her ankles, reminding Evie to part her legs.

Way of Life by Selena Kitt

“You’re not allowed to come, pet. Not until I say.”

Symphony of Submission by Jordan Monroe

The leather tip of the flogger against your skin is so sudden, you are more surprised than pained. Digging your fingers into the expensive sheets, you remain silent.

Twelve by R.A. Buckley

All I can feel is the paddle reddening my bottom, and Master’s gaze upon my body as I react for him.

Around the Block by M. Marie

He cursed in a low voice as, after squeezing the base teasingly, she slid her grip up to circle the head of his shaft and pull it out of his pants.

The Old-Fashioned Way by Angela R. Sargenti

My wife thinks I’m working late. She’d be shocked to know where I really am, lying facedown, shackled to a table at my Dominatrix’s place.

The Gift by Victoria Blisse

From this angle he can only really see her ass and spread legs, stretched apart with the aid of a sleek, steel bar, her ankles encircled by black leather connected to the restraints with a few chain links.

Bottega Louie by Zoey Trope

With His rough hands, He grabbed a fistful of my hair, peeling my desperation away until I was hovering within a breath of His lips.

Lashed by Dr. J.

He had never used these particular rope designs before. They highlighted the femininity of my breasts and the lips of my vulva.

What She Wanted by Olivia Foxe

The rope bound his wrists behind his back and to his ankles, the silk brilliantly red over his muscled thighs. At the end of it, he felt…secure.

Lightning Strike by Sommer Marsden

I smile…until his fingers close over my nipple and pinch. Hard. I hiss between my teeth and my hips shoot up like they’re on a string and he’s just yanked it.

Imago by Anna Sky

My body has become a canvas, a riotous carnival of ink. It’s an homage to the pain I endure and showcases my ultimate, unquestionable submission.

Her Turn by Martha Davis

“You’re fucking hot on your knees, Liam. I’m going to have so much fun fucking this ass.”

Making Him Mine by Evoë Thorne

I slide a finger inside him, edging in a little at a time. He feels warm and slick and tight. I bend my finger and he moans. I slide in and out. He gasps. He begs.

Roped In by Adrea Kore

As he speaks, he knots my wrists together in front, then bends my elbows up into prayer position. He loops the rope around my neck, exerting gentle pressure, until my head tilts forward, as if in supplication.

One Word Leads to Another by Pearl Monroe

“What did you say, Cumslut?”

“I’m sorry, Mistress. Mistress, please let me come.”

The Broken Dam by Rob Rosen

I fell from the couch and landed in front of him, his cock already aimed my way. he slapped it across my face.

Chased by the Wolf by Mischa Eliot

The collar settled around my neck. It was a simple black strip of leather with a charm in the shape of a floppy-eared bunny just like he one we’d originally bonded over in the pet shop.

The Amazing Lucinda by Heather Day

The subtle whisper of the sand threatens to set my nerves on edge, but I can’t afford to panic. I have three minutes to escape and need my wits about me.

His by Jade Melisande

She opened her eyes and found him watching her, the tip of his blade raised in one hand, the woman’s body an intricate swirl of lines and liquid beneath the other.

Cari’s Recital by Rod Harden

The chastity belt held in place both a butt plug, which she felt with every movement she made, as well as a small but powerful radio-controlled vibrator locked inside her pussy. Control of the vibrator rested, as always, with Master.

Beautiful by Kendel Davi

I feel his erection against my naked back as he steps behind me. I lean back, hoping my stimulation against his cock will spark his need to untie this rope and ravish me. But why would it?

My Girl, My Boy, My Enby by Annabeth Leong

Then their eyes turned catlike, cold and green, and they said, “I’m going to tickle you now, until you can’t breathe.”

They pushed me onto my back, dug into my ribs and my armpits and the vulnerable places behind my knees and the points of my hips. They let me feel their weight. 

A Jamaican Affair by D. Fostalove

“With the way he fucked my pussy, I couldn’t deny myself the pleasure. He was so big and skilled. I needed him to stretch me out in a way I hadn’t been in a long time.”

Playing with a Beast by Salome Wilde

As Jeff’s panting turns to grunts, I know Lee’s big dick must be achingly hard, straining against the rope that binds it to his thigh. I don’t know if he’s wishing he were fucking me or Jeff or someone else or no one at all.

We Are Magic by Giselle Renarde

She slowly unbuttoned his shirt. She figured he’d knock her hand away before she got all the way to the bottom, but his body remained stiff even as she pulled out his tucked hem.

Room 253 by Iris Ann Hunter

“He said you were beautiful. He was right.” The man’s voice sliced through the air, cutting her deep. it was a compliment, but all she heard was confirmation that her owner had sent someone else in His place, something He’d never done before.

Oktoberfest Addiction by Roxanna Cross

“Now look what you’ve made me do.” He slaps my nipple and continues to fuck my mouth without any of his rigid control. His strokes are wild and frantic.

This Time by Jade A. Waters

“Lift up your arms.”

I do, enjoying the sparkle in his eyes when he comes round to face me again. He takes two hands to me, one for each breast, molding them in his palms before making me jump with a pinch of my nipples.

His Wife’s Wonderful Cocks by Dahlia Lovejoy

She nudges Ben forward and his swollen cocked brushes against Colin’s lips. The texture is silken and inviting, not so different from Ananda’s mouth when they kiss.

Good Girl by Genevieve Ash

“Shh. You must not make any noise or I will stop, do you understand?” His graveled whisper carried a threat, and Louise felt the panic rise inside.

Kintsukuroi • Corrine A. Silver

“Eyes down.” His fingers are warm as he tilts my face. “I think there may be a day when I don’t have to remind you of that. Why do you want to look at me?”

Building Something New • Xan West

He chose where they sat on the train, gesturing for Rickie to have the window seat, while he took the aisle, crowding Rickie just a bit agains the window in this way that just flat did it for him. It was being cornered and being led and being protected all wrapped together and it filled Rickie with this electric pleasure.

Plug Play • Dorothy Freed

“Please, Richard, tell me you’re not serious,” I say, when he shows me the plug he has in mind. “That thing is enormous. It’s not going to fit in my ass.”

Sidetracked • VK Foxe

As she pulled up, her perfect legs wrapped around his head, her sneakers catching him below the shoulder blades, Lewis found himself yanked forward and buried in her thighs. His goddess had been running a while, and she was slick with sweat.

My Gemini Twin • Randi Miller

Malik twisted my left nipple. Todd bit the right. I had two handsome men sucking my breasts and the promise of a spanking. Todd reached down to play with my clit.

Choker • Rachel Kramer Bussel

“And no, don’t even ask, because I’m not going to tell you whose cock you’re about to suck. All you need to know is that I want to watch.”

The Framework of Fantasy • Sonni de Soto

“There’s something about someone taking control of me, taking control from me. Someone forcing me out of myself and making me feel.”

More by Michael in Texas

“I’ll give you a while to think about that,” he says. “Think about where I’ll spank next.” Then he drapes the tawse across the bench in front of my right hand and walks away behind me.

Cinnamon by Lazuli Jones

I planted my left heel on the bed, my eyes always on the Dominatrix behind me. She placed the riding crop against the black curls of my hair and sternly said, “Don’t you look at me, Miranda. Do you need to be spanked to obey me? Look t that gorgeous pussy of yours.”

1,000 Words by LN Bey

I went ahead and bent over the desk, pressed my breasts against its hard surface; my nipples hardened against the cool varnished wood. I steppe dup on my toes, as he expected—my ass was presented high, ready for the beating. I gripped the edge of the desktop and waited.

The Sound of Silence by Lucy Felthouse

I soon had my husband’s shaft in my mouth once more. This time, though, there were no distractions. I poured my entire being into sucking and stroking Jack’s luscious dick. HE was my only focus—nothing else mattered.

Warning by Valerie Alexander

You slap his face, pull on his leash until you’re trembling as hard as he is. It’s no longer a game. He’s lost in submissive euphoria as soon as the spreader bar locks around his ankles. Kissing him, you bite his lips until pain shoots to his cock and stiffens it.

Power Surge by A. Zimmerman

Abandoning the duster, I hooked one of the tines of a serving fork through a nipple ring, tugging to make him moan. Doing the same to the other ring made his cock jerk. Tracing loops down his stomach made his head tip back.

Kimono by Tess Danesi

“I’m going to kiss you now,” he said, grabbing my shoulders and pushing me back until the tree stopped me. I think I nodded or mulled; whatever I did it was clear I was in agreement His lips were firm and demanding and when he took my bottom lip between his teeth and bit down hard, I knew we were kindred spirits.

The Eunuch by Regina Kammer

The mattress dipped as she clambered up to straddle his head, her calves at his ears. No hem fluttered around his face. His princess was nude.

He breathed her in, his mouth watering.

Goombay Lover by Zodian Gray

I grabbed Carl’s ponytail. Some people thought it obnoxious that a man in his forties should still have a ponytail but Carl kept it for one reason only. I wound his beautiful brown hair around my hand and shoved his mouth farther down my dick.

Dixie Cup by Anastacia Lucretia

I’m dimly aware that I can’t breathe very well from the amount of cock that’s in my mouth. She pulls again on my nipple and fuck I just do that thing where I try and hold back for a half-second because I know it will make that first spurt harder.

Mum by Charlie Powell

He doesn’t slap her. Instead, he spits, fiercely right into her open mouth.

It’s the hottest thing she’s ever experienced. Somewhere at the back of her mind, clouded by lust, she remembers a friend complaining that her husband never actually listened to the things that bother her, he just pretended to listen until she calmed down.

Mike has been listening.

Twenty-Nine by Rose de Fer

The whip falls again, harder. The stinging leather tails elicits little cries and gasps from her and she wriggles over the chair. It is all she can do not to reach back and rub the burn out of her cheeks. But she stays focused.

Sing by J.C. Parker

My break is short lived. When she raises a hand to slap my pussy, I double forward as the pain explodes throughout my pelvis. I bite my lip to silence my cry.

A Testing Time by Suzanne Fox

His hands battled hers for control of her wrists before she surrendered to the grip of hard steel cuffs. Her sharpened hearing strained for the slightest of clues. The driver’s door slammed shut and muffled steps circled the car.

Trading Places by Myra S. Hart

She went to the kitchen sink and quickly washed whatever she was holding. Then, she filled it with water. She placed a pet bowl near the kitchen door. I noticed the words MY PET were painted on it. “Drink,” she instructed.

Viscera by Emily Bingham

He’s silent as he raises the blade so I can watch he course he draws in the air between himself and the target he’s decided upon—the crook of my thigh where leg meets hip, so close to cloche as to be nearly indistinguishable.

I gasp as the impersonal metal presses into my flesh. He grins wickedly.

Apprendimento by Kathleen Tudor

Another word, another pin, again and again until my breasts tingled and ached and throbbed and tears flowed freely from beneath my closed lids. I held tight to the pull-up bar and sobbed. I was no good at this! I was never going to learn, and she was never going to let me quit!

First Slap by T.C. Mill

She started to stroke his cock, and just as he sank into  it her other hand slapped him. Still gentle. A hint of sting beneath the growing heat. A clap like distant thunder, a lightning strike, a line of fire racing toward his core.

Continuing Education by Rachel Woe

The throbbing deepened. Her legs twitched. Miles was about to make her come in front of all these people. She could leave. Safe out. He wouldn’t hold it against her. But he wouldn’t have brought her here if he didn’t want her to stay.

Becoming by Violet R. Jones

She wore nothing but the blindfold, tape, and ropes. The muscles in her arms and legs ached. The ropes that bound her arms over her head were just a little too short to let her feet rest fully on the floor, so Elizabeth had to stand on her tiptoes like a ballet dancer on point. 

Submissive-in-Chief by Kristi Hancock

He removes and holds out his glossy leather belt with the tarnished silver buckle. I’m trained to fold and place it beside him in the chair, and I do. My heart pounds as I wonder if he’ll use it on me later, and where. On my ass? On my breasts? On my pussy? Will it leave me a rosy pink for hours, or marked for days?

kinky bdsm erotica book

Read them all in The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2

Order The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 in ebook for Kindle (all countries), Nook, Google Play, iBooks or Kobo, or pre-order the print edition, out January 9, from Amazon (all countries), Bn.com, independent bookstore Powell’s or your local independent bookstore via IndieBound. Follow the book @submissionbook on Twitter and on Facebook. And of course your reviews are greatly appreciated anywhere online (or in person!), including Goodreads.

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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. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

Sexy snippet: Oral sex and sex toys in “Body Shots” by Thien-Kim Lam

13 Dec

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 week continues here at Lady Smut! If you missed it, we ran a very sexy excerpt from strangers turned lovers story “The Skin of Someone Else” by Charlotte Stein yesterday. Today I have the honor of sharing an excerpt from a writer Lady Smutters are familiar with: Thien-Kim Lam, who’s making her erotica publishing debut with her sex toys and oral sex story “Body Shots.”

Not only that, but she’s reading along with me, Sommer Marsden and Lynn Townsend on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 7 p.m. at independent bookstore Politics and Prose at The Wharf in Washington, DC! If you’re in the area or know anyone who is who’d like some sexy Valentine’s Day stories read to them by the authors alone with the chance to ask us anything about erotica writing, please tell them to join us. (Side note: I rarely brave the cold in the winter but to hear and meet my amazing authors and share hot stories and at an amazing bookstore right on the water, I will!)

best women's erotica cover

Out now in ebook and print!

Without further ado, here’s a sexy Best Women’s Erotica snippet from “Body Shots” by Thien-Kim Lam, in which couple Kit and Tre are enjoying an intimate evening where she’s turned him into a “human bar” and is tasting her way along his delicious offerings:

The first item in that box is currently in his hand. A gentle push of its buttons gives her a roller coaster ride of pleasure mixed with frustration. Underneath that remote had lain the cuffs. Her orgasms are literally in his hands. All evening, he’s kept her right on the edge of climax. He refuses to give her the satisfaction she desperately craves.

She jumps to attention as the vibrator comes to life once more.

“The tequila is getting warm. I know how much you hate hot shots.” He chuckles at his own joke.

Ignoring his pun, she slowly shuffles her knees closer to him, his body radiating with the intoxicating musk of arousal. If she could, she’d rip off the cuffs so her tongue could lick wherever she pleased.

But she doesn’t want to rip them off. She dangles right on the edge of ultimate pleasure and desperate need. Chest heaving. Legs trembling with need. Thighs glistening with arousal. She is exactly where she wants to be.

Slowly, she drags her knees closer to his belly button. Each micromovement causes her nipples to rub against the textured leather. Her concentration fights against the unpredictable pulses between her thighs. Kit is too close to winning to give in now.

Her tongue brushes against her lips and catches a stray salt crystal. Its metallic tang reaffirms her purpose. Once again, her tongue darts out toward the trail.

Never before have little bits of salt provided so much motivation. Starting at his belly button, the salt follows down the line of curls inching past his waist. The grains float on top of his tight curls, not quite ready to surrender to his skin.

Her eyes travel where her tongue cannot.

oral sex erotica story

Can you say HOT?

Read all of “Body Shots” plus 20 other brand new super sexy stories in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3, available in ebook for Kindle (all countries), Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo, or the print edition from Amazon, Bn.com, independent bookstore Powell’s or your local independent bookstore via IndieBound. Please follow us at @BWEoftheyear on Twitter and on Facebook for news, giveaways, calls for submissions for future volumes and more. And if you read the book and would like to share a review, that’s very much appreciated and helps guide me in selecting stories for upcoming volumes in the series.

About Thien-Kim Lam: Thien-Kim Lam writes erotic multiracial romances exploding with delectable delights. When she needs a break from imagining new places for her heroine to hide her battery-operated toys, she guzzles Vietnamese iced coffee and bakes her feelings. Visit BawdyBookworms.com for reading recommendations and pleasure pairings while you wait for her debut novel.

About the book: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 delivers the kind of sexy stories you want most: daring, bold, and surprising tales of women who pursue their boundless passions anywhere and everywhere. Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, winner of multiple Independent Publishing Book Awards, these scintillating scenarios turn the tables on how women are “supposed” to behave. Instead, these uninhibited vixens indulge in their favorite fetishes, do deliciously intimate “Body Shots,” and get tied up with “Red Satin Ribbons.” They pose nude, dress up, and roleplay, always obeying their most exhilarating impulses. These lusty ladies take your most cherished, private fantasies—from making a sex tape, to taking part in a thrilling threesome, to having a stud delivered to your door hot and ready—and make them come alive. Written by beloved authors Abigail Barnette, Annabel Joseph, and Charlotte Stein along with several genre newcomers, these are erotic encounters you’ll want to savor again and again and again…

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year: Your Complete Collection

11 Dec

by Madeline Iva

Lovely readers: It’s the most wonderful time of the year –No, we’re not talking Xmas, we’re talking theRachel Kramer Bussel’s latest anthology:BEST WOMEN’S EROTICA OF THE YEAR Volume 3!

Rachel will celebrate here on the blog this week by posting two free excerpts:  one from Thien-Kim Lam (who used to blog with us at Lady Smut–Yay Thien-kim!) and the other from Charlotte Stein, whom, as you know, we at Lady Smut lurv lurv lurv.

Did you miss Rachel’s fun blog post about this new collection? Check it out–it’s yummy!  Five Feminist Movements From Best Women’s Erotica of the Year.

I know, I know, now you want the complete collection, don’t you? Here they are — tres chic! Click to buy one set for yourself–and one for a friend. ;> Best Women's Erotica of the year, vol. 3

Best Women's Erotica, Vol 2

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Vol. 1

 

Five feminist moments from Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3

17 Nov

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Last night the most magical time in my life as an erotica editor happened: I received a box of my latest anthology, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3. The official print pub date isn’t until December 12, but I order my copies directly from the printer so I can get them as fast as possible. At a time when nearly every day we are hearing accusations of sexual misconduct, abuse or assault by predatory men misusing their power such as Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K., I’m extremely proud to have my name on a book of sexy, powerful, female-driven stories by 21 women authors from around the world.

best women's erotica

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3

Though I don’t have a book fetish like the protagonist of “Bibliophile” by Dee Blake, one of those 21 tales, as I paged through one of these beautiful, sexy books, I was enamored and excited. [And by “sexy book,” I don’t just mean what’s inside; there’s something deeply sexy to me about touching a book’s glossy cover, about seeing pristine, hot-off-the-press pages, about admiring the design and care that went into it.] I was also thinking about feminism, and some of the standout feminist moments I’ve found between its pages. While this isn’t marketed as a book of “feminist erotica” and I can’t claim it is one because I don’t know if that’s how the authors would describe their stories, there are some timely and some timeless elements to these tales that I think will appeal to anyone looking for erotica that doesn’t speak down to women, but builds them up. Just as I believe sexual knowledge is power, I also believe that having women see their true desires reflected in erotica is also important. For me, this means that while characters can of course question themselves, their fantasies, and their bodies, they also talk back to a culture that does plenty of questioning, blaming and shaming.

In some cases, this means defying the need to categorize us as straight or gay; it could mean engaging in polyamory or other forms of non-monogamy; in others, it means defying the still-prevalent cultural taboo against mixing sex and money. While I intend my books to be erotic entertainment first and foremost, and selected the stories I think will make the hottest anthology possible, what I see when I read these tales are stories that respect women and our ability to make our own sexual choices. A year from now, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4, will have a theme of outsiders and risk, chosen directly because of the election of Donald Trump and my desire to capture diverse, multicultural erotica.

But right now, Volume 3 is here and while, as I said, I can’t speak for the authors as to whether they intended these tales to be “feminist erotica,” nor can I get in the minds of readers as to whether they’ll agree with my assessment, I read these as powerful feminist moments in a book already packed with bold, smart women who go after what they want regardless of what society tells them they “should” want.

1.The naked woman showing off for another woman in a Pussy Grabs Back t-shirt during a sexy photo shoot

In “Watch Me Come Undone,” August McLaughlin’s protagonist Belle recounts a life-changing photo shoot that gives her a lot more than she bargained for. One aspect I especially liked is that she weaved in the power of being an exhibitionist with Belle’s bisexual desires in a seamless way. Here she also gives a nod to the fact that while women don’t want our pussies grabbed without our consent, we are still deeply sexual beings. The key difference is that we get to decide. Here’s part of how that plays out (there’s much more after this initial encounter):

I placed my other hand in my pants, pressing a finger between my dripping, swollen lips. As I added my drenched digits to my mouth, tasting my wetness, I swore I heard Jayden stifle a moan. How hard he must be. How hungry.

Outside the window, I glimpsed a woman walking by. She was dressed casually, in jeans and a PUSSY GRABS BACK tee. The irony. She did a double take, then paused. I looked her in the eyes, encouraging her to keep watching, continuing to suck my fingers on one hand and moving the other to my protruding breasts.

sexy photo shoot erotica

From “Watching Me Come Undone” by August McLaughlin in BWE of the Year 3

2. Becoming a drag king

What drew me to “Romance and Drag” by Lyla Sage was how it utterly upends the concept of gender roles. Both main characters play with gender and, through that process, get to reclaim aspects of themselves that the culture around them had told them were incorrect or problematic. As Max Notorious, our narrator gets to live out a side of herself that fulfills here. Here’s a little more on her introduction to drag:

Ever since a former fling took me to a drag king show years ago, I’ve been mesmerized by male drag. I’d heard of drag queens before, and I’d seen some actresses and female models dress up as guys in magazine layouts, but this show was a different kind of animal altogether. These kinds served up the entire male illusion, down to the chest hairs and the bulges in their pants.

Coincidentally, when I started doing drag, I realized that I was attracted to women in addition to men. I hooked up with girls who swooned over my boy look. And I knew I was doing drag right when some men mistook me for one of their own. The bi guys in particular were intrigued by me, intrigued that I was the best of both worlds: I looked masculine enough to fulfill their male-loving side, but I also had a vagina for them to fulfill their love of women.

3. Roleplaying as a cheerleader

Kim and Jody, the lesbian couple in “After the Heist” by Aya de Leon (who can also be found in her Justice Hustlers #1 novel Uptown Thief), are thieves by profession. On their own time, they entertain each other and part of that involves roleplaying in a way that defies our cultural stereotypes of cheerleaders as straight girls. We learn later in the story that Jody’s family “had wanted her to be a cheerleader, but she wanted to date one.” Together, they queer this common image and turn it on its head.

In the center of the bed, Kim wore a yellow and green cheerleading uniform. She was posed in a half split, with pom-poms in the air.

“Go Jody! Go Jody!” she cheered.

Jody chuckled and blushed a little. “Oh goodie,” she said. “We’re playing the girl soccer star and the cheerleader.”

“You did great out there tonight,” Kim said. “I thought you deserved some appreciation on the home field.” Kim did a series of high kicks that revealed that she wasn’t wearing any underwear.

Jody grinned and walked slowly over to the bed, letting her towel drop. She lay down below Kim.

“Gimme a J!” Kim said.

J,” Jody said.

Kim planted her feet on either side of Jody’s head and spelled out her name, while shaking her hips from side to side.

Jody grinned from beneath her. “I’m loving this half-time show,” she said.

4. Hiring a male sex worker

In making it “Making It Feel Right” by Annabel Joseph, Myra hires a man to dominate her. This act alone is something we’re not used to hearing about from women. But where things get really interesting is that he doesn’t simply arrive and perform his job in a rote way. He listens to her, and in turn, gives her space to discover an aspect of her kinky impulses and desire to dominate (without necessarily being a Domme) that she hadn’t considered before. What I particularly loved about this story is that Myra gets to discover what she truly wants at this specific moment, without labels, without pressure. That her hired guy, Daniel, makes that happen for her in a delicious way is icing on the cake.

Personally, I sometimes think there’s pressure on women to always know exactly what we want in the bedroom and if we don’t, it can feel like we’ve somehow failed to live up to a different kind of cultural ideal: the strong woman. But questioning who we may have thought we were can lead us into sexual pleasures we could never have imagined. Here’s what happens when he asks her why she wants to dominate him:

“I don’t know. I think it’s because you’re so strong and beautiful, and I want to be in control of . . . of . . . ” She waved her arms, delineating all of him, broad shoulders to manly feet. “Of all this strength and beauty, just for a while. The thing is, I don’t know how to do it.”

He refuted that statement with a tilt of his head. “I think you know. You’ve already imagined what you want, so make it happen. You’re paying for me. Use me.”

Use me. Why did those words give her such a thrill? Because you’re not submissive, sweetie, and apparently never have been.

5. Claiming a fetish after childhood abuse

In “Infused Leather” by Dr. J., Angie and Hal bond over a mutual fetish for leather, but their interest goes much deeper than simply the feel of the sensual material. For Angie, as she explains to Hal, after surviving abuse at the hands of her uncle, “When I take control, I win.” Together, the pair use their fetish to transcend their painful past. Writing about a heavy topic like sexual abuse and still crafting an erotic, arousing story is no easy feat, but Dr. J. does it marvelously. Here’s how they decide to take their relationship to a new level after a shoe-shine event:

“Hmph, we’re a pair.”

“Yeah, confirmed little leather freaks.”

For a long moment, we held each other’s gaze, locked in our own space, transported away from everything around us.

“Angie?”

“Yeah, Hal?”

“You want to take it another step?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Sex.”

“Sex?”

“Yeah, let’s put pleasure into something that hurt us in the past.”

“How?”

“In any way it feels right, like how we just marked our leather for each other when we shoe shined.”

“Do you think it will help us?”

“I can hope, Ang.”

And that’s how our leather sex began.

You may find other moments in the book that strike you as feminist, or you may find none. What I can promise  you is that all of these stories sizzle with sexual tension, heat and realistic desires, whether the women involved are fulfilling outrageous sexual fantasies or falling in love.

Order Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks or Kobo, or in print from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells or find it at your local independent bookstore via IndieBound. For international orders, click here.

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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. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

How to have a kinky date night inspired by On Fire

19 Jul

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

It’s On Fire week here at Lady Smut, so I wanted to talk about what you can learn about having a kinky or otherwise naughty date night from the characters in the book.

While I never intend my erotic fiction anthologies to be in any way how to books and they’ll never be marketed as nonfiction, nonetheless, I believe that those who want to gain inspiration for their own bedroom sexytime fun can do so. You don’t have to follow the action of a fictional story to the letter, but rather you can use it to spark your imagination and perhaps a discussion.
As I recently wrote about for Brides, erotica can improve your relationship, whether you’re reading it together as a couple, or if each partner is reading it separately, then joining forces to dish on their favorite parts. beI keep that in mind while editing, and make sure to include scenarios that, for the most part, could plausibly happen, while leaving room for sexual fantasy and creative flourishes.
So what can you learn about having a sexy and kinky date night from my latest release, On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories? A few of the authors provide some very arousing clues. One is just how much fun adding sex toys into your love life can be. As wonderful as they are for solo pleasure, they aren’t just for masturbation. A rabbit vibrator brings some major heat in “The Sweetest Thing” by Giselle Renarde.
 
One of my favorite stories in the book is the BDSM tale “Behind the Blindfold” by Rebecca Croteau (come back Sunday for an excerpt), not only because it’s deliciously kinky, but also because the dominant/submissive relationship is ritualized and relished. The couple have a play room in their home, where the narrator goes and kneels. For them, it’s silk cords and a blindfold that signal the tone their evening will take. It’s not that these kinky sex toys are taking the place of their human connection, but rather that they’re amplifying them. They are both signals and tools that help each person get into the right headspace.
In the story “My Wife, My Sub, My Love” by Victoria Blisse, told from the point of view of the narrator, a dominant male, about his wife, referenced in the title, they enjoy some very risqué outdoor sex. Theirs isn’t the ultra planned ritual of “Behind the Blindfold,” and one thing I appreciated about it is that it shows that couples can negotiate between family time and sexy time as needed. During a walk in a public garden, they steal away to enjoy some furtive oral sex. He’s made her skip wearing underwear, and she’s obeying his commands, even though she’s nervous about possibly being found out.
“As soon as we entered the clearing I pushed her down over that trunk. She had looked wonderful suspended over the rough wood, her hands in the soil, her ass in the air. The old trunk was so wide her toes didn’t touch the ground. I pulled up her dress and exposed her ass. WheN I finished spanking her, her buttocks were reddened damask; she looked like the perfect rose, like she’d grown there.”
While a fictional tale can’t give you precise tips on how to get away with public sex, this one does show how a couple engages in oral sex and erotic spanking surreptitiously.
If you read On Fire, I hope you’ll come away utterly entertained and perhaps even inspired! Follow Lady Smut, and stay tuned for much more during On Fire week.

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.

On Fire Week Continues with a Femdom Twofer Tuesday

18 Jul

Click and get your copy right now — today!

By Alexa Day

We’re celebrating the release of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s anthology, On Fire, all week long, but today is extra special. This is the release date for the electronic edition of On Fire, so if you’ve got a Kindle, you could be reading right now. While you’re clicking, On Fire Week continues with a glimpse of one of my favorite subgenres: femdom.

As my colleague Rachel Kramer Bussel promised yesterday, the On Fire anthology contains a femdom story, entitled “Dreams Made Flesh.” The couple featured in the story is just starting to explore the world of female domination together. The protagonist must overcome his fear of revealing his particular submissive inclinations. He revels in competition with other men for his lover’s attention — my favorite analogy pairs the male submissive with the knight riding in the queen’s service, and author Lawrence Westerman does the same here. But the story’s sensual core lies with the protagonist’s willingness to own his submission, with his lover and with others, until he finds the pleasure he most desires with the dominant woman of his fantasies.

“Dreams Made Flesh” is an enchanting story about two people learning to acknowledge their own needs and meet their partners on their journey to pleasure. A great story to leave on your partner’s pillow if you’re struggling with that tricky conversation in real life. I love stories like that, don’t you?

Click here and get your very own copy of On Fire right this second. When you’re done, I’ve got another surprise for you all.

Ready?

No shirt? Mo’ service! Stay tuned to hear more about this hot military femdom story!

That’s the cover for my own, newly expanded femdom story, Passing Through, which first appeared in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. The novella pairs bar owner Gigi Dean with former Army Ranger Noah Monroe. As Gigi’s best employee, Noah should be off limits. She should do the right thing and refuse to act on the immense attraction between them.

But that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? Seriously, does that sound like the sort of thing I’m going to advocate in the fabulous world of erotic fiction?

I’ll have more to share about Passing Through next week, just in time for its release. Right now, build on the summer heat with your own copy of On Fire.

And follow Lady Smut.

Welcome to On Fire Week at Lady Smut!

17 Jul

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Welcome to On Fire week, where we’re celebrating the release of my new Cleis Press anthology On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories, which comes out as an ebook tomorrow, and a print book on August 8th. And stay tuned for the audiobook, which will be narrated by the fabulous author and podcaster Rose Caraway.

I’ll be sharing more later in the week, including a very sexy excerpt from the book, but I wanted to give you a little glimpse into this sexy book, which features couples having all sorts of erotic adventures, from exploring a stocking fetish to planning an orgy to diving into cherished BDSM rituals.

This is the official blurb:

In On Fire, today’s top erotic authors take us inside the passions of couples who go above and beyond in pursuit of sexual and romantic satisfaction, from kink to fantasies to outrageous, stimulating adventures. You’ll treasure the stocking fetish in “Sensitive to the Touch” and travel to “A Place as Beautiful as This.” You’ll go “Beyond the Blindfold,” find out what lurks in the “Art of Darkness,” delight in discovering “The Sweetest Thing,” and observe a feisty femdom couple in “Dreams Made Flesh.” These steamy stories by Kristina Wright, Delilah Devlin, Giselle Renarde, Kay Jaybee, Victoria Blisse, Jade A. Waters and others are perfect bedtime reads for your lover or for your own pleasure.

Here’s my introduction to the book, and keep reading Lady Smut all week for all our fiery posts!

Introduction: Fired Up

What does it mean to be On Fire? The characters in these stories know! It means to burn with need for your partner, to be willing to do anything for them, to take risks because you know they’ll be there to catch you. In this collection of erotic romance stories, you’ll read about all kinds of ways that desire plays out between couples. They know each other inside and out, know what makes the other tick, and use that to their advantage. When the narrator of Jacqueline Applebee’s “Approaching Hardcore” reveals, “I’m a filthy girl. My husband, Dan, always says so,” we know that we’re in for a treat as we find out just how filthy she can be.

Yet these stories are both tender and dirty, sometimes within the span of the same page. That is the beauty of these erotic storytellers—they don’t skimp on love or lust, instead entwining them in tales that will make your pulse pound, your heart race and your breath sigh. Some of these are about new lovers, like the one who helps Deb get over her ex in “Just Knowing.” Some are about long-term relationships where a new revelation leads to the type of intimacy neither partner had imagined, such as in “Every Second of It,” by Lynn Townsend, in which she writes, “Twenty-three years of marriage, and if he knew that she masturbated, he had never mentioned it. Until now. ”On the opposite end of the spectrum are couples who know each other so well, they know exactly how a command like “No underwear” will go over when given from a Dom to his submissive in “My Wife, My Sub, My Love,” by Victoria Blisse.

The couples here also learn how to understand and embrace each other over time, using the power of love and trust to further their sexual and emotional closeness, as is the case in the fun “Sensitive to the Touch,” by Donna George Storey, about a stocking fetish fulfilled. These are transformative, powerful moments that I hope will move you as much as they did me.

Sometimes the most wondrous thing is for lovers to watch their partners with someone else, with their full approval and consent—the couple made all the stronger for their extracurricular passions. This is the case in the paranormal “Masquerade,” by Angela R. Sargenti, and with the swingers in my own “The Dance.”

However these couplings happen, whatever fire warms them from the inside out, transferring from one person to another, all of these tales are ones that are daring, taking risks of the body and soul, in order to reach a new height of pleasure.

Rachel Kramer Bussel

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Intrigued? You can buy On Fire for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks or 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. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

Booked author Leandra Vane on BDSM romance, writing male/male sex scenes and #ownvoices

16 Jun

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

As soon as I heard about the new BDSM romance novel Booked by Leandra Vane, I knew I wanted to read it. Actually, as soon as I saw the sexy cover with a man’s wrists handcuffed and the words “Detectives Were His Ultimate Fantasy” at the top, I knew. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling? I don’t know if there’s a specific word for it besides “anticipation,” but I get tingly when I see a book and immediately know: You’re going to be mine.

Isn’t this a HOT cover?

I’m pleased to report that Booked was every bit as sexy and fascinating as my initial inkling indicated it would be. Vane, a prominent sexuality blogger and author, has spun a small town romance that’s kinky, smart and edgy, with a fast pace that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could (it’s for sale in print and ebook, but I’m a sucker for print). There are many layers to this romance novel, which features a kinky bisexual male protagonist, Nate, a writer who volunteers at the local library and also suffers from nerve damage. He has a BDSM mistress, Charlotte, who’s just started dating the also kinky Ian, but then Nate also falls for his town’s hunky new librarian, James. All that, and there’s even a happily ever after!

I wanted to learn more about the process of writing Booked, which seemed extra fitting for Pride month, so I emailed Leandra Vane and here’s what she had to say about writing male/male romance, #ownvoices, the mental side of kink and BDSM, self-publishing and much more. You can follow her on @Leandra_Vane on Twitter to find out what she’s up to next, and she also has an original tale, “A Stolen Story,” forthcoming in my November anthology Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3.

Booked author Leandra Vane

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How long have you been writing erotica and how did you get involved with it? How is writing erotic fiction different for you than writing nonfiction about sex and kink?

LEANDRA VANE: I’ve been a reader of erotic fiction since I was a teenager. It has been a constant and important aspect of my sexuality for my entire sexual life. But I didn’t start writing erotica until I was 25 years old. I had been surrounded by a lot of sex negative attitudes growing up and had the basic impression that romance and erotica wasn’t “Real Writing.” But in 2013 I launched my sexuality blog The Unlaced Librarian where I reviewed non-fiction sexuality books that had been really helpful in my life. This bolstered some confidence so I started writing erotic stories and submitting them to anthologies. At first I just wanted to experiment and see how it felt to write in the genre. What I discovered was the kind of writing that suited me so well I could grow and thrive as a writer. June marks my four year anniversary as a sex writer and I’ve genuinely never been happier.

I think writing erotic fiction is interesting because it lets me explore certain topics from the perspective of different characters as well as exploring how the setting is infused into the sexual aspects of the story. For example, a lot of my stories take place in small Midwestern towns and that flavor certainly impacts how my characters work through their relationships and kinks. Writing non-fiction is more focused. I tend to take one viewpoint and keep it as concise as I can. It’s more structured in order to be effective as sex education and help people work through aspects of their sexualities without becoming overwhelmed.

Both types of writing are rewarding. But I love the ability to see different perspectives around a topic and explore the harsh and painful aspects in a creative way. There are some aspects of sex, disability, and embodiment that are difficult for me to write in non-fiction. But I dive right in with these themes in fiction because I’m more emotionally connected and my characters can serve as an outlet for all the different ways I feel about things, even when these feelings conflict.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: You’ve written that while the idea for Nate and James came to you easily, you almost didn’t write Booked because you weren’t sure you could do justice to a male/male plotline. What made you push past that initial resistance?

LEANDRA VANE: Ultimately I just loved my characters so much I couldn’t not write them. At first I felt like I was somehow “stealing” an experience that was not mine – being a gay man. But when I looked at certain characteristics and qualities of my characters, I saw that I was bringing a lot of my own experiences into the story and the characters. I asked friends and readers of an array of sexual orientations and body identities if they would like to read a story about a librarian and a tattooed novelist exploring kinky role play together and the answer was a resounding yes. I’m now open to writing a lot of different pairings I haven’t been in the past. I’m a romantic erotica writer and readers need and want interesting characters in a variety of pairings. So I’m going to write the ones that interest me. I’m easily seduced by my characters so this breakthrough has been really freeing.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Since this was your first time writing a male/male romance, I’m curious about how the experience was similar and different from the pairings you’ve written in the past. Were there aspects of it that you struggled with more than when writing female characters?

LEANDRA VANE: At first I was a little caught up on trying to do things the “right” way and doing justice to my masculine characters. I asked both gay and straight guys in my life how they felt during and about sex. I learned a lot, but I was mostly struck with how their experiences with sex and romance were not so different from mine. I certainly kept some things in mind but ultimately I focused on making unique and complete characters. Once I got rolling, I was led by their unique pasts, motivations, and desires. Confronting this challenge has made me more aware and able to write well-rounded characters no matter what body or sexual orientation they possess, which is invaluable for me as a writer and an experience I’m so grateful to have had.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: There’s a gradual education about BDSM that unfolds for James, who’s had kinky fantasies but has never acted upon them until he gets together with Nate. Nate and Charlotte recommend books for James to read and they have plenty of detailed discussions before they actually try anything kinky together. Why was this important to both the story and to you as an author to have this slow buildup?

LEANDRA VANE: I personally think it’s important to bring a more varied level of sexual experience to erotic stories. One of the reasons I didn’t try to write erotica myself for so long was because I felt I was sexually inexperienced or not kinky enough. But there are way more people I know who are curious about or just beginning to explore aspects of sexuality than people who have had loads of hardcore, creative, kinky sex. I started wondering, why can’t I have characters who haven’t been sexual with a lot of partners? Why can’t I have a main character in a BDSM story who had fantasized about BDSM but had not tried anything yet? These were more interesting stories to me and ones I connected to.

Also, I feel like talking about sex and desires is intimate and vulnerable. I’ve read a lot of erotic stories where the action happens so fast and the characters go into the sexual situation nervous and sort of looking at each other from the corner of their eye and then things just happen. It’s exciting and all, but I don’t think the tension or excitement is lost when characters talk about things first. In a way, some of the dialogue scenes in Booked felt very erotic to me.

Communication and understanding yourself as well as your partner is a high value for me as a sex educator so I try to infuse this into my fiction when I can.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Something that stood out to me is how much attention is paid in the book to making sure there’s both consent and participation from both tops and bottoms in the BDSM scenes. At a play party, Charlotte asks Nate, “What is it you want out of this scene before you’re at the mercy of my hand and mood?” This struck me as different than a lot of the dominants I’ve read about. What does this level of care toward the submissives from dominants in the book signify about their relationships?

LEANDRA VANE: I personally find it erotic and enticing when the top is fully engaged with the bottom and the scene. It’s a personal preference but I often get turned off if there’s not at least a hint in an erotic story that all partners are consenting. When I play in kink scenes with my current top, I still always ask things like if I can touch him or if it’s okay that we do certain things in a scene and he does the same for me. We’ve been playing together for over a year.

I feel this reiterates the underlying friendship that the characters have for each other outside the dungeon. Sometimes I feel sexual or kink relationships somehow fall outside of parameters of being supportive friends toward each other and I wanted my characters to have a foundation beneath their power dynamics.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Another aspect of BDSM that I really liked was that you explore the psychological aspect of kink as much as (if not more) than the physical side of it, which is often the main image vanilla people have of BDSM. During their first time playing together, Nate tells James that he likes being blindfolded even though it’s “its own special kind of torture” because “It forces me to really give up control.” For Nate, what makes that giving up of control so arousing?

LEANDRA VANE: The psychological aspect of BDSM was really important for me in the book. I wanted it to be just as prominent as the physical aspects in the story.

For Nate specifically, giving up control is a complete matter of trust. Since he can’t feel half of his body, being blindfolded means he will not know if he accidentally gets hurt or even where the top is touching him. As a disabled person with nerve damage, I can say giving your partner complete control over your body like this takes an astounding amount of trust. Call me a vulnerability slut, but when you trust your partner that much, I find it really hot. Considering Nate had a very bad relationship based on lies and mistrust in his past, this is a personal development aspect of his character that shows he is moving on, investing in healthy aspects of his new relationship, and growing as a person.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Nate also compares the physical pain he suffers because of his nerve damage to the kind he craves in kink as a submissive, the main difference being he has control over the latter and can stop it at any point. Can you elaborate on that connection between unwanted and wanted pain?

LEANDRA VANE: Unwanted pain is terrible and for many people is a non-negotiable part of life. Not having a choice is perhaps one of the most difficult things to cope with in life. BDSM is all about choice, negotiation, and consent. When elements of pain feel good, it can be empowering to play with it and help you cope with the times in your life that you have no choice but to endure the pain.

I also know that certain aspects of pain can be very pleasurable but physical pain from sickness, chronic conditions, or illnesses can frighten people away from harnessing pain for pleasure. Having a character that goes through both experiences was important to me to include in the ongoing conversation about BDSM, which I feel I can contribute to through fiction.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: While the heart of Booked is the romance between Nate and James, Nate is also bisexual and a submissive to Charlotte, something that James takes very much in stride and is even interested in learning more about. Was it tricky to navigate the various relationships among the three of them as well as Charlotte’s other partners?

LEANDRA VANE: This aspect was not tricky in the sense that this is how I see things and how I experience sexual attraction. I get into a bad habit of thinking everyone is a bisexual polyamorous person and my friends have to remind me that isn’t how it works. (I can still dream!) Early feedback I received warned me that perhaps the aspect with Charlotte would not be believable or that James wouldn’t be okay with Nate having a Domme. I took a chance and developed this aspect of my characters anyway. I hope that in exploring the motivations and attitudes of my characters that the relationships feel natural and genuine. I’m toying with writing a sequel in which Nate, James, Charlotte, and her partner Ian have formed a loose BDSM-based Polycule. We shall see.

But, just like writing sexually inexperienced characters, I decided there was nothing wrong with writing sexually fluid characters too. It reflects my own experience of my sexuality and of some of my friends so I feel the representation in fiction is important.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Since the library where James and Charlotte work, and Nate volunteers, plays such a central role in Booked, I’m curious about the connection between books (and reading and writing) and romance in the novel. Clearly, all three are huge book lovers, and books play a central role in both entertaining and educating them, so I’m curious what you see as the role of books in Booked.

LEANDRA VANE: In the story both Charlotte and James first stumble upon their kinks in books: Charlotte in history books and James in a book about detectives and crime. Nate is also a novelist who uses his writing to explore some themes in BDSM. All three are indeed book lovers and though each character possesses their kinks for different reasons, it is the element of books that binds all three of them together.

My idea initially was to have the library serve as a metaphorical symbol for a church. It’s an historical building that becomes a sanctuary for my characters. Through the stories and information in books my characters transcend the mundane aspects of their sexuality to engage with their bodies and their fantasies in a deeper, more textural (and enjoyable) way.

It’s also a blatant relay of some of my experiences working at a library in the past. Whether it was the cute white haired lady who checked out mountains of “bodice-rippers” or stories of romance, sex, and violence that I read in the microfilm reels of my local newspaper, the library was and is a well of human experience. Sexuality is part of that experience I wanted to bring forth.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Booked is an #ownvoices novel, meaning that you, like your protagonist, Nate, share certain elements in common, such as having nerve damage. Can you share how your experiences with nerve damage relate to Nate’s, and why the ownvoices element is important to you, and to readers?

LEANDRA VANE: I used to think I shouldn’t write about disability in my fiction because people would call me a self-absorbed “Mary Sue.” But I learned that most of us carry around shame and never grow because we guard our secrets and experiences from each other. I believe by sharing our stories we can all learn and grow together. So I started mining the experiences living with a disability has given me and putting them into some of my stories. All my life I’ve turned to books to have the conversations with me that people in the real world were unwilling or unable to have. So I encourage all writers to share their experiences. You don’t have to be disabled to learn things from disabled characters. And if you do share the experience of disability, there might be pieces of your own puzzle you find in the story. So now I don’t shy away from writing about disability in my fiction.

As for Nate and I, one of the most amazing things I’ve found in experimenting and playing with BDSM scenes is how I experience sensation play and pain when I literally cannot feel over half my body. Exploring this through another character was not only fun but nurturing to me in validating my experience of sex.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Along the same lines, James has to overcome some of his preconceived ideas about BDSM as he learns what it’s like in real life for Nate and Charlotte. Did you have any stereotypes or misconceptions about BDSM that you had to unpack when you started getting involved with it?

LEANDRA VANE: I had always viewed my kinks as a “dirty little secret.” This bit of my soul I kept wrapped up in a shoe box in a dark corner that I only took out every once in a while. I thought if I let it out my whole identity would be dictated by the fact that I was a fetishist who had kinky thoughts.

Becoming involved with the BDSM community and the fantastically supportive world of erotica writers has changed all of that. Imagine, well-rounded, kind, creative people who are also kinky as fuck. Amazing!

I believed in a stereotype that if you’re kinky, it infiltrates every part of your life until you’re just a sex-crazed drone intent on only one thing no matter who you hurt to get it. (Did I mention earlier I was surrounded by a lot of sex negativity growing up? Yeaaahhh.) But now I know the complexity and deeply human aspects of kink and BDSM and I’ve brought it into my life in a healthy way, embracing my kinks and unleashing my creativity as an erotica writer.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: You self-published Booked, as well as several other books, such as your memoir Trophy Wife and fiction A Bloom in Cursive and Cast From the Earth. Why did you choose self-publishing, and do you have any advice for new authors looking into self-publishing?

LEANDRA VANE: I honestly chose self-publishing because of the combination of things I write about. BDSM/Multiple pairing and disability? Yeah, that’s probably a Venn Diagram not many publishers want to see in a pitch. But just because there aren’t oodles of people wanting to read what I write, they are out there. I’m more interested in getting my work to the readers that need to read it or appreciate it the most rather than going the traditional route right now. And I’ve found the small or independent publishers that publish really unique erotica anthologies are a great fit for my work and are the stories I want to consume as a reader. I’ve found a wonderful home for my work this way and I love it.

Of course this did not happen overnight. Before I became a sex writer, I published books under two different pen names, submitted work to lots and lots of lit journals, and launched and folded two blogs. My books and stories were half-baked and my platform was unorganized. I made mistakes. But I learned from them.

As far as advice, I would say work on becoming a better writer first and foremost. Don’t focus on things like awards or accolades. Read, read, read then write, write, write. Find a book that makes you think “how can I make readers feel the same way as I did when I read that last word?” Practice.

Also, even if you self-publish some work, do submit stories to outside publishers. It helps you network, keeps you writing, and builds your CV. It also gives you practice for coping with the business of writing when your work is declined (and it will be declined). But write new things. Try again. Listen to feedback.

Finally, I say this as a joke, but really, you might also want to convert to Buddhism. Your ego is your worst enemy once you start putting work out there. Managing it well will help along the way.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: This week we’re celebrating luck here at Lady Smut in honor of the release of Lucky by Elizabeth SaFleur. Does luck play a role in Booked for any of the characters?

LEANDRA VANE: Every time I pick up an erotica book or write a sex scene, I truly feel lucky to be living in a time and place where we can read and write about sex and relationships. A little over 100 years ago things like the Comstock laws prohibited the sending and receiving of “obscene” materials including books and sex education writing. So I feel lucky to be living in a time and place where technology allows me to not just write but also self-publish my work.

My characters comment in places how lucky they feel to have met each other. Also, there is an historical undertone of the small town they live in with buildings from the 1800’s and the tragic stories of people that lived before them. My characters definitely feel lucky that they were able to work through their kinks in time to still have plenty of life left to enjoy them.

Booked by Leandra Vane is available now in print and as an ebook.

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This post is part of our Lucky week at Lady Smut, celebrating the release of the latest Elite Doms of Washington erotic romance novel, Lucky, by Elizabeth SaFleur! If you like hot , hunky dominant heroes, you don’t want to miss this book.

Lucky by Elizabeth SaFleur

Billionaire, entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright and dance studio owner Samantha Rose are unprepared for their mutual attraction to one another. She desperately wants to have a baby, and family doesn’t match Derek’s sophisticated life of private jets, vacations in the Caribbean and his BDSM activities. Yet a magnetic passion draws them closer—at least until their past mistakes arise and threaten all hope of a real future.

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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. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

Sign up for a free copy of On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories

5 Jun

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Who’s excited for summer? Hopefully, all of us! I am looking forward to vacations by the beach, attending my first bachelorette party and, of course, beach reads, including my July Cleis Press anthology On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories.

If the title and/or steamy cover (isn’t it HOT?) sound intriguing, I’ve got a great deal for you: Through June 18, 2017, one month before the ebook release (the print version pubs on August 8), I’m offering a free e-copy to interested readers in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. To sign up, fill out this form with your name and email address by June 18th. Your contact information will only be seen by me, and only used to send you the review copy. I’ll send you a copy, then you can post your review any time on Goodreads, and starting July 18th on Amazon. I just ask that you include the phrase “I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review” with your review when you post it. It’s that easy!

Here’s the book’s blurb:

In On Fire, today’s top erotic romance authors don’t skimp on love or lust—they are entwined in tales that will make pulses pound and hearts race. Bestselling editor Rachel Kramer Bussel takes us inside the passions of couples who go above and beyond in their pursuit of sexual and romantic satisfaction, exploring the racy to the outrageous during their many arousing adventures. You’ll treasure the sex toy exploration in “Every Second of It,” find paranormal pleasure in “Masquerade,” and be transported to “A Place As Beautiful As This.” You’ll go “Beyond the Blindfold,” find out what lurks in the “Art of Darkness,” and delight in discovering “The Sweetest Thing.” These steamy stories by Kristina Wright, Delilah Devlin, Giselle Renarde, Kay Jaybee, Victoria Blisse, Jade A. Waters and others are perfect intimate reads to enjoy with your lover or for your own pleasure.

Want to know more On Fire? Visit the official Tumblr to read my introduction and the table of contents. And if you want to get a free copy for review, use this form by June 18, 2017 and check your inbox!

And stay tuned for our Lady Smut week celebrating all things On Fire and Fiery starting July 17th!

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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. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

The Master of None “First Date” episode made me glad I’m not on Tinder

19 May

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I’m writing this post while binge watching Season 2 of Master of None, the Netflix comedy created (and often written and directed) by and starring Aziz Ansari as actor and newly single Dev Shah.

Here’s the trailer for Season 2:

It took me a little while to warm up to the show; I started Season 1 soon after it debuted, but didn’t get far. But over the last week I’ve been making my way through Season 1, then went right into Season 2.

There have been moments of recognition, but episode four of the new season, titled “First Date,” was one that made me grateful that I’m not using dating apps. I almost wrote, “grateful that I’m not single,” but that’s not totally accurate. While I’m happy to be in a five-year long-term relationship, even back when I was single, I could barely handle online dating, let alone dating apps.

I think the reason they never did the trick is that, unlike the woman Dev goes out with who, mid-date, starts using the app where they met, Love at First Sight, because she’s both just not that into him and truly enjoys swiping, I was never “into dating,” I was into meeting someone I could connect with. I hated the awkwardness of first dates, the way they could very easily feel like job interviews in more casual settings.

Back in 2010, I went on what’s still my worst date ever, in which a guy seemed to be deliberately trying to make our date agonizing. The thing is, on a dating site or app, it’s relatively easy to make yourself seem more interesting than you are in real life. The converse, for me, was also true: the few times I did using dating sites, I always felt torn between being honest about who I am and trying to upsell myself. If I painted too rosy a picture, I worried I wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype. But when would the right time have been to tell someone I was a hoarder who couldn’t open the door to her apartment without slamming her body weight against it? That’s just not something that would ever work in the context of an “about me” blurb.

But Tinder, which I’ve only observed on a friend’s phone, seems to take all the pressure of summarizing yourself and presenting a pretty image to a whole new level. I imagine that if I were on it, I would also become obsessed with not the quality of my matches, but the quantity. My mood would swoop up or down depending on how popular I found myself with the people there. And while there are exceptions, I have trouble imagining I’d have met someone who I could actually settle down with via a dating app.

I’ve always preferred to meet people I date more organically, either through a shared activity (like playing Boggle or trivia, both of which have yielded me dates), via a mutual friend or simply by chance. As my sex column and erotica writing career developed, I also faced a clash between my public, online persona and the “real me.” That’s not to say that I wasn’t myself in my writing—I always was (and am), to a fault—but it’s awkward when someone can Google you and find out you like giving blowjobs or have posed nude or an endless stream of other details I’ve shared with the world. There is a tension between the me who sits around in sweats and binges TV shows, who’s super dorky and romantic and cries easily, and the more readily available version that comes up via Google. They’re all parts of me, but ones that are hard to convey in an hour or two, especially when there’s all the pressure of a first date.

I know there are some people who simply enjoy the act of dating, of going out and meeting multiple people, no matter the outcome. But I was never one of them. I was more about the destination than the journey. That’s not to say I didn’t like when a date went perfectly, the kind where I lost track of time and wound up getting home in the wee hours when I’d planned to be back early. But watching Dev go on so many dates on Master of None, I didn’t feel a shred of envy. I didn’t think I was missing out on anything, and while I don’t plan to ever be single again, if that should ever happen, I won’t be using technology to help me bond with anyone. I’ll fumble through the madness that is dating all by myself. At least I don’t have a Tinder worst date story, right?

What do you think? Are dating apps a modern blessing or curse? Leave a comment and let us know!

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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.

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