Tag Archives: Rachel Kramer Bussel

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.

How to talk about sex in public

20 Jan

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I’m in the midst of getting ready for my upcoming Best Women’s Erotica of the Year book tour, which will take me to four cities: Los Angeles on January 31, Baltimore on February 9, New York on February 11 and Jersey City on February 13.

Join us on the Best Women's Erotica of the Year book tour!

Joining me will be contributors to Volumes 1 and 2 in the series. As these dates inch closer, the two words I’m hearing most often from seem of the authors reading are: “I’m nervous.”

My response, which sometimes feels like a dirty little secret, is always, “Me too.” Because despite the fact that I believe readings are a vital career tool for authors, and that I’ve been organizing and participating in them since 2000, I still dread having to read my dirty words out loud. It’s gotten a little easier over the years, but it still makes my heart pound wildly every time I look out over a crowd and realize I will have to navigate language like “cock” and “pussy” and “orgasm” and, the one that always causes me the most anxiety, “cunt.” I never know whether I should pronouncing with a loud, proud, hard “t” at the end, or let the four-letter word almost trail off with a soft “t,” as if that will lessen its impact.

So despite this post’s title, I don’t have the secret to getting over your fear of public speaking, especially when it comes to speaking about sex, but I do have a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way after seemingly countless readings in bars, bookstores, community centers and other locales. When I read my work, I often feel like I’m reading it to myself anew as well, because once I put the final edits on an erotica short story and it goes to print, my mind tends to move on to the next thing. I don’t always grasp how odd it might seem to read about, say, an oral sex restaurant, such as the one in my story “Secret Service,” until I’m actually doing it. Here’s a peek at me reading that one at my old reading series In The Flesh, nervous tics and all:

Here are some tools that have helped me get over that fear and nervousness, and push through it when it strikes during a reading. For one thing, I think you want to remember what compelled you to write the piece in the first place. On one of my favorite podcasts, Bad With Money, host Gaby Dunn discussed the topic of self-promotion with Real Artists Have Day Jobs author Sara Benincasa, and Sara said something I’ve always believed: that you have to believe in yourself 100% and not be shy about letting others know about your work (I’m paraphrasing, but I promise the episode is worth a listen). Tap in to your motivation for telling this particular story, and channel that as you give voice to that tale.

I believe readings are the epitome of that practice of putting your work out there, because even though you can, of course, do some last minute editing on the fly, you don’t have the time to agonize and overthink and cut and paste and edit and delete and hem and haw that you do with writing (yes, I do this with almost all my writing). You are there, live, raw, and showing that you are showing up for your words and ready to share them in this personal format. The words are already there, and your job is to do them justice and bring your own personal spin to them.

Most likely, you’ll find that as you read, even if you start out nervous, at some point, you will get lost in the story, and find that it becomes a separate entity to what’s on the page. It’s only when I read my work out loud that I often get its nuances. I don’t tend to think of myself as a funny writer, especially of erotica, but during readings is where I start to notice the humor in my pieces. Sometimes, I gravitate toward those aspects, selecting passages that play up the funnier angles. Since you’re usually only reading a small selection of your words out loud, you can shape and frame them, tantalizing the audience with a teaser of your work, and encouraging them to read the rest on their own.

I also think it’s important to remember that even if you’re nervous, audiences don’t mind. In fact, they appreciate you all the more when you reveal your humanity and let them know that you’re nervous. In all my years of doing erotica readings, I’ve never had anyone criticize me when I’ve faltered over a phrase, or skipped over a line, or couldn’t stop my voice or hands from shaking. We are all human, and we all know that talking about sex can be challenging, but I think that at a time when the arts are under attack, it’s vital that we meet that challenge and show that we don’t see anything wrong with writing explicitly erotic material.

It also helps me to think less about the individuals I’m reading to, who in the past have included friends, family members and current and former lovers, and instead focus on the story. I do try to look up and make eye contact, but at the same time, in my mind’s eye, I’m picturing the action of the story, and trying to do it justice.

Another way to lessen your nerves is to give audiences a little peek into your writing process. Whether you do this before you read, after you read, or with small asides as you go, this gives them additional insight they won’t find on the page. Bring a prop if it’s relevant to your story, as D.R. Slaten plans to do at our reading at Sugar in Baltimore. Tell us something personal about yourself; this doesn’t have to mean your sexual history (though it could), but something that makes readers appreciate having taken the time to leave their homes when they could be curled up under a blanket watching Netflix. Give them a juicy detail, tell them how you came up with your story idea, offer a tidbit of writing inspiration, or anything that will add to the words you’ve already crafted on the page.

Bring your personality with you when you read. Remember that you don’t have to be an A list quality actor in order to bring your words to life; you just have to be yourself. Here’s a wonderful example of a reading by a woman who inspired me to get into the genre, Susie Bright. Watch her reading from her story “The Best She Ever Had” in her gorgeously crafted anthology X: The Erotic Treasury, back in 2009 at In The Flesh, for an example of a master of how to talk about sex in public:

The awful/wonderful thing about readings is that anything can happen. I recognize that for women, especially, it can be unnerving to talk so frankly about sex in public, lest we be greeted by flirtatious, inappropriate or downright creepy comments in return (I’ve experienced all three), with the assumption being that because we aren’t ashamed about sex, we want to sleep with anyone who happens to be around. At the same time, I think staying silent about sex adds to our cultural confusion around it. Exploring it, whether in fiction or nonfiction, is a way to break some of the taboos, and in a culture when so many of us, myself included, live our lives behind a computer screen, saying those dirty words, giving them context and meaning and emotion and weight, is all the more valuable.

The awful/wonderful thing about readings is that you can’t predict how they will go. The audience may listen avidly, or twiddle with their phones. They may laugh or gasp where you don’t expect them to, and your favorite jokes may fall flat. Someone may catch something in your work you’ve never thought about before.

Lastly, remember that readings don’t last forever. They may loom large when they’re on the horizon, but the time really does fly by when you’re up there speaking into the microphone. I can’t tell you the number of times an author who’s seemed nervous beforehand has trouble sticking to their allotted time, because once they get started, they get swept away.

I hope you’ll join me on this book tour, and if you’re not in any of these cities, I would love it if you’d pass on the details to someone who is. I’ve organized it in part to promote my books, but also to stand up for erotica, to ensure that it’s not relegated to some bottom shelf or back corner of a bookstore, only ferreted out by the truly dedicated. Plus, on a personal level, it’s another way for me to help conquer that fear, to leap into the unknown and find out what happens. I want to see erotica front and center, next to the latest mystery and romance and fiction titles. Here’s where to find us – all our events are free and will be followed by Q&As and book signings.

January 31, 7:30 pm, Skylight Books, 1818 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles

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February 9, 6:30 pm, Sugar, 1001 W. 36th Street, Baltimore (Hamden)

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February 11, 7 pm, Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, New York City

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February 13, 7:30 pm, WORD, 123 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey

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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.

The joy of travel sex

16 Dec

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

If you ask me, travel sex is some of the hottest sex in the world. Why? Because travel puts us in a different headspace, where anything can happen. For me, there’s a mix of anticipation, uncertainty and adventure that, when combined as I step onto a plane, check into a hotel or set foot in a new to me city, make me feel far more uninhibited than I do at home.

One of the most outrageous travel sex adventures I’ve ever had happened during an unexpected overnight layover. My flight had been cancelled and I decided to stay at the airport overnight. This was long ago enough that I don’t actually remember what airport it was, which doesn’t really matter save for the fact that the place cleared out as people scrambled to find hotel rooms. Except for me…and a guy who was also stranded. I believe he was from somewhere in South America. He was incredibly sweet and as we waited next to each other, we talked…and then did much more.

It’s hard to put into words without it sounding sordid but what we shared in that airport is actually one of my favorite sexual memories. Why? Because it was completely unexpected. Because we likely never would have met had fate not brought us together that night. Because I would have been scared as hell to spend a whole night in an airport entirely alone. So yes, it was much more than stolen hand jobs. It was a chance to connect with a total stranger and get through a frustrating situation and release some sexual tension. It was an opportunity to be exhibitionists hidden in plain sight.

I also have a huge fondness for hotel sex, whether during a staycation or a full on trip, because hotels are such gorgeous blank slates, with their freshly made beds and amenities, with the chance to shed all my mental baggage for a few nights and bring out my most erotically adventurous side.

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So it’s no surprise that travel lust made its way into my brand new anthology, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, released this week. I didn’t set out with that plan in mind, but as I read the submissions that landed in my inbox, over and over I found a trip to be the key to starting a fling or relationship. This made perfect sense within the context of each story, and as I crafted the table of contents, I realized how perfectly each travel erotica tale fit within the greater whole. Each of these women are on an adventure, whether they know it when they start out or not, that takes them somewhere they didn’t expect to go. They don’t just “make the best of things” and muddle through, but truly use travel to learn more about themselves and avail themselves of the erotic opportunities awaiting them.

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One of the travel stories in the book is “Like Lights in the Northern Sky” by Dorianne. Here’s how she describes the title phenomenon:

Green and blue waves of light pirouetted across the sky. The stars were dazzling here every night, but now they played peekaboo, constantly disappearing behind a vibrant wash of color only to reappear a second later as the real color (teal, royal blue, emerald and chartreuse green) pulsed in a different direction. Valentina stopped breathing, her entire awareness focused on the light show playing against a rich, black backdrop.

“Aurora borealis,” said one of the tourists.

Wawasayg,” Johnny whispered in her ear.

Dorianne paints an intriguing and intimate portrait not just of this natural phenomenon, but also about the lodge owner and his wife, who are in an open relationship, and how tourist Valentina gets an unexpected but very welcome erotic introduction to the land she’s visiting.

kay-jaybee-best-womens-erotica-of-the-year-volume-two

In “Brick Dust” by Kay Jaybee, protagonist Liza, who lives in England, takes a job at a South African sandstone brick quarry, which leads to some very sexy on-the-job training. We find out she’s taken this assignment in part to escape her ex, Ryan, and his kinky requests, but in this isolated location, with hunky boss Mick, they just may be right up her alley:

Liza could picture the words her ex had written clearly despite her blindfold, she had read them so often. “He…he wanted to tease my body until I begged.”

“That’s the bit that I’ve waned about the most.” Dropping to his knees, Mick sent a shower of particles spraying across Liza’s legs. “It’s not the fact you are bound at at my mercy, but that you’er going to have to plead for me to fuck you that’s working the magic.”

The blanket of ground brick beneath Liza’s body that had initially felt like a soft mattress morphed into unyielding grime-covered earth as Mick spoke. The top layer was sticking to her back, making Liza feel as though she were a living piece of sandpaper. Each time she wriggled her back was scratched, but rather than feeling uncomfortable, it sent ripples of confused desire tripping through her veins.

Jaybee does an excellent job of making sure we get up close and personal with how aroused Liza gets by their public sex, precisely because she’s in a new environment with someone she trusts completely.

josie-jordan-best-womens-erotica-of-the-year-volume-two

In “Volcano Nights” by Josie Jordan, strangers are thrust together when they have to share the only available room in a hotel. When I interviewed the author about the story’s origins, she told me, “There’s something inherently sexy about long-haul travel. All these strangers briefly thrown together, never to meet again.”

Indeed, the surprise layover, combined with her feelings after catching her boyfriend in bed with someone else, make Monica prone to flirting in ways she like wouldn’t be back home:

“What are you thinking?” he asked.

“That I’m going to bed with you in a minute,” I blurted before I could help myself. To hide my embarrassment, I drained my wine.

His smile widened. “I keep thinking about that too.” His eyes sparkled.

My stomach fluttered again and I toyed with my empty glass.

For me, whenever I roll my suitcase away from home and set forth on a voyage, a part of me does step into that anything-can-happen mindset. It’s part of what, in my opinion, makes joining the mile high club so much fun. These days, I’m in a monogamous relationship, but were I to find myself on a crashing plane taking my last breaths, I have a feeling I wouldn’t be worried about propriety. While I am not too fearful about air travel, that frisson of concern and the fact that there are so many factors out of my control, have in the past helped me blurt out similar sentiments to Monica’s. It’s almost as if when we travel, we are adding a layer of sexual bravado that allows us to go where we’ve never gone before, in more than the geographic sense.

Reading itself offers a similar feeling from home, letting us virtually travel to other lands, other worlds and other people’s beds and, perhaps, letting us absorb some of the characters’ coveted bravado. If you’re curious about just what kinds of naughty adventures traveling can lead to, I hope you’ll check out Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, out now in print and ebook and available at your favorite local bookstore.

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and Volume 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.

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 excerpt: Simply Sinful Giveaway

25 Nov

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Welcome to our Simply Sinful Black Friday Reader Event, where we’re sharing excerpts all day and giving away the gorgeous basket you see below, full of goodies any romance lover would want.

My excerpt is from Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, part of the annual series I edit for Cleis Press, from my bisexual open marriage travel erotic short story, “Flying Solo.”

Blurb: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, edited by award-winning author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, delivers risky, romantic, heart-pounding thrills. Featuring a diverse range of characters, sexualities and scenarios, these 22 steamy stories revel in erotic adventure, from the sparks between strangers to the knowing caresses of longtime lovers. Women learn “The Ropes,” get “Starstruck” and dine with “Two Doms for Dinner.” Penned by beloved authors such as L. Marie Adeline and Tiffany Reisz along with newcomers to the genre, these sexy encounters will give you plenty of fantasy fodder to last all year long.

bweofthe-year_approved

Excerpt of “Flying Solo” by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I’ve made sure my camera has plenty of battery left for this trip, because you’re not here to watch me. I wish you were, but life sometimes keeps us apart. You didn’t ask me to, but I want to send you photos of me naked, turned on, wet for you. Even though you’re not talking up a storm as you usually are when we travel, I feel you with me as I pass through security, and especially as I head to the gate and start casually, quietly, discreetly looking around, the way we did on our honeymoon. Has it really been four years? They’ve flown by.

I’ll never forget sitting with you and hearing you whisper, “Find someone to take back to our hotel room with us.” You didn’t specify if it should be a man or a woman, and although I’d never considered it before, the idea of being pressed between you and another man made me so excited I almost spilled the medium coffee I’d just purchased. You took it from my hand and blew through the small opening in the plastic top for me, raising your eyebrows. I giggled, then started looking. I reached for your hand for support; you squeezed it but then let me go. I fiddled with my wedding ring, twisting around the new gold band over and over, afraid I looked like a kid in a candy store.
You’d whispered to me again. “I’m just so madly in love with you, and I think this should be a new tradition; when we travel, we find someone to join us. Just for fun, no strings attached.” I’d spent the entire time before we boarded perusing every adult sitting around us, mentally undressing them, wondering who had piercings or tattoos, who was kinky, who was the best kisser. I pictured the tall man in a suit, speaking rapidly in Spanish on the phone, with his cock in your mouth. I pictured the short, curvy redhead with her head buried between my legs while you entered her from behind.

“Well?” you’d asked, as they started to board the plane.

“I can’t decide. And I certainly can’t go up to any of these people. What am I going to say? ‘I just got married and my husband wants to have a threesome?’” Yet even saying those unspeakable words made me wet, made my mind and heart race. I’d told you that I was bisexual after our third date, wanting to make sure you wouldn’t have that awful, frat-boy, “That’s hot!” reaction that even most seemingly sophisticated men busted out once I revealed I went both ways. You just nodded and let me tell you all about Simone, the gorgeous woman with the smoky voice and beautiful, curvy body I’d most recently bedded.

I’d fallen in love with you in part because you let me tell you anything, and in turn revealed some of your fantasies. We’d tried out many of them—bondage, strap-ons, hot wax. We’d talked about threesomes and orgies but in a fantasy way, until that trip. For whatever reason, you’d never mentioned wanting to be with another man, but I liked learning new things about you just when I thought I knew it all. “Let’s wait until we’re on the plane,” I’d said, and lucky me: my dream girl, the one whose face I kept returning to, was sitting next to me on the plane. You’d pretended to sleep while I made small talk with her, all the while working up the courage to say what I most wanted to. As it turned out, she’d been the one to whisper in my ear, “I wish I could be alone with you for an hour. I want to kiss you all over.”

I’d stared right back at her, barely hearing the screaming infant behind us, or the blaring music from the woman’s headphones in front of us. I just saw her, Katia, her ripe, naturally pink lips, her jet-black hair, the tiny diamond glinting from her lightly freckled nose. When I reached up and traced her lips, you’d stirred, gently knocking my knee with yours. “You can. Well, not alone, exactly. I’m with him,” I’d whispered, getting close enough to make sure my lips grazed her earlobe. “It’s our honeymoon, but he wants me to bring someone home for us to share.”

“I’m good at sharing,” she’d whispered back, and she’d proven exactly how good once we were settled into our suite. Fresh from a hot shower we’d shared, our kisses making me tingle all over, Katia had gotten you and me on our backs and eased her mouth from one to the other until I was absolutely dripping wet, desperate for more. “You get on top of him,” she’d instructed, in the sweetest, silkiest voice possible. It was an order, but a gentle one. If I’d had a better plan I’m sure she’d have gone along with it, but there was nothing I wanted more than your cock inside me, my body primed from her hot, hungry tongue. She eased you inside me and just as I moaned and thought I might come right then and there, her tongue was back, lapping between the cheeks she held open with those soft, delicate hands. Her tongue pressed against my rosebud, making me groan.

“She’s licking me,” I’d whispered frantically before burying my face in your neck. She worked me into a frenzy, one that your hard, driving cock only made more frantic. When Katia’s fingers reached around me to circle my clit, I came, trembling against both of you, then biting your neck when her fingers didn’t stop dancing against my hard bud. She raised her head, only to nip at the soft flesh of my ass while she coaxed another climax from me. But it wasn’t until she lifted me off of you, pressed three fingers deep inside me, then eased them out and put them in your mouth that I really lost it. The look of sheer ecstasy on your face had me slamming down on top of you, fucking you harder than I ever had. You looked right at me while you sucked her fingers, and I came for the third time, something I’d also never done.

“Can I taste him?” she’d asked, and no sooner were the words out of her mouth than I was climbing off of you, wrapping my hand around the base of your cock, and feeding it to her. She didn’t swallow the whole thing greedily like I would have. Instead, Katia was like a cat with a bowl of milk, her tongue slowly licking up the cream at the tip, one long stroke at a time. I’d never seen a woman give a blow job up close like that, and I didn’t even think about what I did next, I just leaned forward and joined her, my tongue on one side of the ridged crown, hers on the other. Soon we were taking turns putting the head in our mouths, but I let her do the honors when you started to buck your hips up and down. I was too blissed out to give you the proper care and devotion you deserved, but Katia certainly wasn’t. I saw her saliva glinting off the length of your shaft as she rose all the way up, opened those beautiful brown eyes to stare at me, then, keeping her gaze locked on mine, moved all the way down. When I reached out to stroke her hair, you grabbed my hand and we both put just a little pressure on her head, enough to make her moan. Soon you were fucking her face—there’s no other way to describe it. She was grunting like an animal and you were lost in the feel of her mouth.

If someone had told me I’d spend the first night of my honeymoon watching another woman giving my husband head—and liking it—a few years before, or even a few weeks before, I’d have thought they were crazy. But in the moment, it was the hottest thing ever. There was no separation between us; we were all connected by our desire, our yearning to give and get pleasure all at the same time. When you came, I could tell instantly, even though Katia expertly sucked down every drop. “I think you should let Katia sit on your face,” you told me.

Oh my goodness. Of course. I lay back and soon she was on top of me, not writhing wildly, but slowly pressing herself against my mouth, enveloping my senses with her perfume. You got between my legs and ate me while I ate her, and even though your tongue distracted me from what I was doing, nobody minded. Eventually her languid movements weren’t enough for me, and I pulled her tight against me, loving how wet she was getting, loving it even more when she came. She repeated her clit stroking as you kept your mouth on me, so I got to experience a fourth orgasm that knocked me out. Katia was gone by the time I woke up, but what she left us with was an insatiable sense of sexual adventure.

Since then we’ve bedded men, women and couples—only while traveling, never back home. Today will be a first, though, and I not only don’t want to let you down, I’m curious what it’ll be like. Though I’ve had more partners than most of my married friends, when I’m with you, it always feels like married sex, no matter how many people are in the room. This time, it’s just me, and I have to imagine you watching, you whispering to me, you encouraging me. I still get nervous, as you well know, but I’ve loved every single one of our encounters, both in the moment, and how they spur us on later when we’re alone.

I text you a quick hello along with a photo of me, and just as I’m finished sending it, I see a man watching me. His head is shaved, and he towers over my five-two frame. I can tell he’s muscular from how his suit doesn’t quite fit him, even though he looks amazing. He’s taller and wider and probably stronger than you, but again, I know that if you were here you wouldn’t be threatened. Remember that pro football player we picked up, the one who not only bent me over and, with my head buried in the sheets, fucked me so well I squirted, but also fucked you? I think about that when I’m alone sometimes. It was one of the hottest things we’ve ever done. I wonder if Mr. Muscles would ever want to be with a man like you. Instantly, I blush; I can never hide that.

You’ve told me that’s one of the things you love about me—how easily I blush, how readily you can tell when I’m thinking something dirty. The muscle guy walks over. “Hi,” he says, his voice deep yet somehow boyish. “You busy?”

“Just waiting for my plane. Going on a business trip,” I say.

“Me too. Meetings, but not till three tomorrow.” Our flight’s at seven and is only an hour and a half, which means we both have a whole night free. “Look, I don’t want to bother you if you aren’t interested”—he nods at my wedding ring, which I only take off when I shower—“but I couldn’t help noticing you.”

“I’m interested,” I say quietly. I’ve had this conversation dozens of times, but it’s never easy to tell a stranger you’re in an open marriage, and it’s even more challenging without you by my side to help ease things along. “I’m…available. Tonight, anyway,” I say with a laugh.

“Tonight works for me,” he says. I motion to the seat next to me and we sit in companionable silence. I have an urge to lean my head on his shoulder, so I do. He strokes my hair, a seemingly gentle touch, but one that sends shivers running through my body. I picture you on my other side, and me snug between two men, one who sets me on edge and one who makes me feel safe—and sexy too. That’s what you do, if you didn’t know; I feel like I could take on the world in every way, knowing you’re there for me.

flying-solo

You can read the whole story in the anthology, available in print, ebook (including Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo) and audiobook. You can also listen to the full story free read by Audible audiobook narrator Rose Caraway

Comment below–or on any post published today, November 25–and be entered to win a Simply Sinful basket of book goodness.

Books! Wine! Bath bombs and soaps! Scones! What more could you need?

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Giveaway closes at midnight (Eastern), November 25, 2016.

Next up in the LadySmut Simply Sinful Reader Event is Isabelle Drake at 11 a.m.

——-

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.

On creating inclusive, multicultural erotica in the age of Trump

18 Nov

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

In the nine days since I woke up and learned that Donald Trump had been elected president, I must admit that everything I do with my life has seemed largely pointless, from sex journalism to erotica editing to even blogging. How could it not be n the face of public discussions in 2016 in favor of a registry for Muslims and praising Japanese internment camps? The question that made my 41st birthday on the tenth and the rest of the ensuing days pass by in a blur of bingo and the blahs has been, What am I doing to make this world a better place? Because I had already been in somewhat of a creative lull and mental haze, the answer I kept coming back to was: nothing.

It felt ridiculous to be talking with the social media manager I had been so proud of myself for hiring about what quotes and images to use to promote my books, like I was ignoring the very real problems that have exploded into our world with a vengeance since last week’s news, despite not being able to take my eyes away from my increasingly scary Facebook feed for more than a half hour at a time.

And then copies of my new anthology, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, arrived, all 200 that I had purchased in a burst of optimism and eagerness. There’s always something thrilling about seeing a book with my name on the cover for the first time, knowing that it went from a mere concept in my head into an actual paperback that will soon be on the shelves of bookstores and sex toy stores in all its shiny glory. I savored that moment, realizing that the book was bigger than me, and that I had authors who were excited to be published, many of them for the very first time, and that by helping them share their work, I might also be encouraging future authors to get writing. So I stopped feeling despondent for a little while and got to work packaging up those books and mailing out contributor copies to my 21 authors from around the world. I actually think my trips to the post office are my favorite part of the anthology editing process, even more than opening those boxes, because I get to be the one to deliver something that’s so much more than the sum of its individual parts to the people who helped create it, without whom the book wouldn’t exist.

Hot off the press Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2

Hot off the press Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2

Holding those books in my hands made me realize that while I don’t consider myself an activist, what I can do in my own small way, is continue on with my vision for inclusive erotica. When I took over editing the series (which used to include calendar years in its title; my editing started with Volume 1), I decided to make some changes. One biggie was that authors who’d been published in one of my volumes before wouldn’t be able to submit again, in order to make room for more voices. While I’m only contracted through Volume 4, my dream is to get to edit 10 volumes, and in the process, publish writing by over 200 amazing authors, while also boosting their profiles and helping them gain a dedicated readership. I also started doing more outreach to writers who might not consider themselves “erotica writers” but who might want to contribute, because I believe there are so many people with brilliant untold stories that speak to their deepest desires, even when times are hard, even when other things may seem and actually be far more urgent than plain old s-e-x.

Now, I vow to do even more of that, because while I only have 65,000 words to do so, within that space, I want to publish the types of authors who may not be heard in mainstream erotica, yet whose perspectives are vital and urgent and powerful and lively and fierce and tender, who find eroticism within circumstances that may seem unlikely or unusual, whose fetishes defy categorization, whose desires continue unabated no matter how many hurdles, internal and external, they have to jump through to act on them. I want to continue to seek out women from small towns and big cities, from atheists to dedicated believers, from brand new adults to those many, many decades their senior, to contribute and make this a more varied, diverse series and share aspects of sexuality that help us understand each other better. This may be my Polyanna side showing, but I hope that in illuminating how sex and lust and love play a role in the lives of the kinds of women readers may or may not know in real life, these stories bring us all a little closer together.

So here is what I will ask you: please think about women and gender nonconforming/nonbinary people you know who might have a fascinating erotic story to tell, and pass on my call for submissions for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3. The deadline, December 1, is soon, but for those with stories to tell, I hope this call inspires them (and I will be editing Volume 4 next year, so stay tuned). Authors whose stories are accepted for publication will receive $150 and 2 copies of the book (plus as much social media promotion and support as I can possibly provide).

While I intend these volumes to be timeless and, hopefully, still in existence twenty, thirty, fifty years from now, I also want them to grapple with what it’s like to live and love and lust now, in such a chaotic political climate, not just in the United States but all over. I want them to run the gamut of human experience and look at how sex and religion, sex and age, sex and race, sex and disability, sex and gender, sex and anger and sadness intersect. I don’t want cardboard cutout characters or agendas, but humanity in all its messy imperfection. I want characters who break the rules (their own and society’s), who try something new, who surprise readers and themselves by following the path their desire takes them, even if it’s not “smart” or “rational” (perhaps especially if it’s not). I want them to defy stereotypes and slut shaming and the notion of being “good girls.” I want characters who deserve (and maybe even get, or have gotten) their own novels to truly see thir journeys to their fullest course. No, these aren’t essays, and their primary purpose still needs to be to arouse readers, and perhaps offer them an escape from the real world, but I don’t think that’s antithetical to also giving those consuming those words something lasting to think about.

On a personal level, I also am grateful that I’ve already got a mini book tour in the works, because I’m sure if I had the option of planning one now, I’d chose instead to stay home, to savor the small comforts of my little corner of suburbia, where people from different cultures do actually live together in harmony, rather than going out into the big wide world where it seems like we are becoming more and more divided and the worst of humanity is on full, loud, public, scary display.

Will anyone want to hear erotica read to them after the inauguration? I have no idea, but one of the things that has sustained me through editing anthologies over the last 12 years is taking an often lonely process that happens solely in my home and channeling it into something that brings real, live people together in a room. I also believe we need our independent bookstores and sex toy shops more than ever to be community spaces, places where we can find new ideas and entertainment, and I’m proud and honored that they want to work with me and my authors.

I don’t know what the future holds, for my country or my career. But right now, I know that this is my path, and I intend to use it to help other writers get published, get paid and help spread their words as far and wide as I can. It may be a drop in the ocean in terms of making the world a more understanding, less hateful place, but it’s the drop I can offer.

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.

How to get published in anthologies

16 Sep

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

First let me start by saying this is not a definitive guide to how to get published in anthologies, but a highly subjective guide based on my editing over 60 anthologies, and now being the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series editor for Cleis Press, and having my own work published in over 100 of them. Why am I sharing this on Lady Smut? Because writing erotic short stories for anthologies is how I got my start, and how many in the erotica and erotic romance genre have broken in. It’s not for everybody, especially if you think only in novel length plots, but what anthology writing credits can do is give your work visibility and gain you new readers, boost morale, connect you with other writers (and editors and agents, who may be reading and looking for their next big author) and earn you a little extra cash. My anthologies are on bookstore shelves across the country and a few around the world; several have been translated into German. That means that your short story may be read by someone far, far away who, if they like it enough, may start following you online, eager to read every word that follows the end of your anthology tale.

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1

Numerous erotica and romance novelists have gotten their start by publishing shorter fiction in anthologies. Delilah Night, whose work I published in my erotic romance anthology Irresistible, put out her first solo novel, Capturing the Moment, this year. She described getting her first acceptance letter for an anthology this way: “I actually found out that my story had been accepted into Irresistible because I was following Rachel Kramer Bussel on Twitter. She said that she had three stories with Jewish characters, and I thought *hmmmm.* An hour later I got the email. I screamed, grabbed my husband, and may have cried.” Jade A. Waters, whose novel The Assignment, the first in her erotic romance trilogy Lessons in Control, will be published in December by Carina Press, got her first byline in the genre in my anthology The Big Book of Orgasms. There are countless paths toward book deals, but having previous writing credits bolsters your visibility and can be impressive to publishers because they know your work is already “out there” and being read.

Jade A. Waters' first novel, The Assignment

Jade A. Waters’ first novel, The Assignment

I also organize readings at bookstores, like our upcoming Best Women’s Erotica of the Year reading January 31, 2017 at Skylight Books in Los Angeles, for my anthologies, giving authors the opportunity to read their words aloud to a live audience, which I find an invaluable experience for finding out what truly connects with readers. Often, local bookstore patrons will attend, who may have never heard erotica read aloud before. You never know who will show up to a reading, and often your words will stick with audiences long after they’ve heard them.

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2

Plus, it can often be easier and faster to get a short story published than a longer work. Generally, it takes about a year to a year and a half from submission to publication. It’s also exciting. I too cried when my first short story, “Monica and Me,” got published, and the thrill of seeing my name in a book has never gotten old. It’s also been a stepping stone to a career as an anthology editor I never imagined when I sat down to pen that first story.

So, with the caveat that short stories aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, for those who are interested, I’m sharing my top five pieces of advice on how to better your chances of getting published in an anthology. Please keep in mind that an anthology editor may be inundated with hundreds of submissions and only able to select a very small percentage of them. This means that, simply based on the numbers, not everyone is going to get accepted. Don’t take it personally; if your story gets rejected, send it back out, or polish it and see if you can tweak or extend it. Whatever you do, don’t give up on it because you don’t know all the variables at play that went into an editor’s decision.

Right now, I’m aiming to get 500 submissions to my call for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 (December 1 deadline), even though I only have room for between 20 and 30 stories, depending on length. Why? Because I want to publish as many authors I’ve never worked with as I can from around the world, and want to offer my readers as much novelty, variety and creativity as possible. The best way for me to do that is to draw from a wide pool. Please don’t let that discourage you, though; in the past, if I had too many wonderful stories that simply wouldn’t fit within my allotted work count for an anthology, I’ve taken the surplus and fashioned some of them into a new anthology idea based around a theme that’s cropped up. I’m also editing the flash fiction BDSM anthology The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2 (January 10 deadline), which will contain 69 stories, three times the usual number I have room for. You can find many more calls for submissions at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association Author Resources section, and also follow publisher Sexy Little Pages for their calls.

Onto my writing advice:

Read the guidelines fully

This rule should go without saying, but with every single anthology I edit, I receive submissions outside the stated word count, not focused on the theme or otherwise outside the rules I’ve set down in the call. My calls tend to be very long (most by other editors are shorter), but that’s because over the twelve years I’ve been editing anthologies, I’ve honed in on the exact what I’m looking for (except for plot and content; with those, I want to be surprised!). What I try to do with my very detailed calls for submissions is save both authors and myself time. Will I read your story even if you submit it single spaced when I require it to be double spaced? Yes, but for every small adjustment I have to make to submissions, that’s time taken away from reading them. One major point: only submit your story once. Don’t consider your submission a rough draft, a suggestion or in any way unfinished. Yes, an editor will be editing it if it’s accepted, but it looks bad and is insulting to an editor’s time and professionalism to submit a piece, have it accepted and edited, then completely rewrite it and expect them to the do all that work over again. Submit the final, polished, amazing, proofread (see last item) story you’d want to see published with the byline you want to use. Following the guidelines shows you want to be taken seriously.

Make your writing stand out

Considering what I stated above, that editors may be facing hundreds of submissions, think about how to make yours stand out. For instance, when I edited Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, I received many more excellent submissions than I could include in the book. Since the theme was sex toys, I read many stories that focused on the same type of sex toy used in a similar way. That’s not to say those stories were bad, but simply that I couldn’t include more than one lest my readers get bored. Some of the stories that stood out as unique were ones like “A Tale of Two Toys” by Chris Komodo, about dueling remote control vibrators, “My Life as a Vibrator” by Livia Ellis, told from the point of view of a vibrator, from factory shelf to being used by lusty women, as well as stories that employed household objects as erotic aids, such as “Icy Bed” by J. Crichton. Obviously, you can’t know in advance what kinds of stories will be your competition, but you can think outside the box. Now, I’m not saying that you should set your story on Mars or some fictional planet if you hate sci fi just for the sake of standing out. I’m saying that if you have a brainstorm that’s off the beaten path, or know about a subculture that not many people do, use that to your advantage. For instance, I used my many years playing in chess tournaments as fodder for my story “Check, Mate” in Alison Tyler’s erotica anthology G Is for Games.

Grab the reader’s attention, but don’t give away too much immediately

When I’m reading story submissions for my anthologies, I especially look for stories that pull me in with an amazing first line and keep me frantically reading to find out what happens next. That’s not to say each story needs to have a fast pace; in fact, in addition to variety in terms of sex acts, sexual orientation, setting, tense, and age and race of characters, I look for stories with varying paces so readers get a wide range of types of stories. But I tend to prefer stories that keep me guessing just a little, not necessarily with a plot twist, but that are full of enough drama to make me keep reading. Sometimes people assume that “erotica” simply means “sex story,” and that’s not the case. A short story, erotic or not, still has to have a beginning, middle and end (no matter the chronology), and the ones I tend to select are intriguing from the start and stay intriguing.

Have fun with the theme

Not all anthologies have themes, but when they do, go ahead and mix things up a little. One of my favorite examples of this is from my anthology Flying High: Sexy Stories from the Mile High Club (originally titled The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories), where Cheyenne Blue took the sex on an airplane theme and ran with it (or rather, walked) with “Wing Walker.” In this case, I truly didn’t want every story to be about seat mates getting it on in the air, and she made sure her story spun in a direction I could never have imagined when I wrote the call for submissions. I’ve channeled my fear of driving and cars into a BDSM erotica story about a woman “forced” by her partner to drive as part of their kinky relationship. Once again, if you have insider details about a certain location or fetish or hobby, taking that and eroticizing it is a way to impress an editor, gloss on the theme and stand out from the pack.

Proofread and read your work out loud before submitting

This goes along with my first rule. We all make typos and other mistakes, and I’d say almost everyone will find something to tweak once they read their work aloud. It simply sounds different when you speak the words rather than read them on the page or screen, especially if you’ve already read them numerous times. This is an excellent way to give your work a final proofing before submitting it.

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.

 

 

Declawing the Wild Alpha Male and Other Tragedies

30 Aug
In a world without stranger danger, everyone wins. Click to get yours!

In a world without stranger danger, everyone wins. Click to get yours!

By Alexa Day

I enjoy a fantasy with a bit of an edge. I don’t see how that can be harmful. It’s my fantasy, and I know I’ll be okay, so why not go for a bit of a ride first?

Two smoking hot men push, carry, or otherwise manhandle me into the trunk of a very expensive car? Let’s go.

Robosexytimes? Yes, please.

One and done, hon? As long as we’re on the same page.

But let’s understand something first, right up front. I am not being fantasy-abducted by harmless people. The stranger at the end of the bar really is a stranger. That glorious specimen pacing the ring at the MMA tourney? He has a very specific idea of what my place in his life is, and it is not to make sure his jeans are pressed. Unless that’s a clever euphemism. Which is unlikely because he doesn’t use clever euphemisms.

I love it when these fellows turn up in erotic romance. For one thing, I don’t know what they’re going to do next. Maybe he’s killed people. Maybe he’s ordered people to kill people. The heroine’s safety is not guaranteed at all, and that’s a good thing. It might be the best of things. We learn more about ourselves when we don’t know what will happen next. Risk teaches. Risk opens the world.

With apologies to Gordon Gekko (Remember him? Am I old?), risk, for lack of a better word, is good. Risk in romance — a genre whose only unbreakable rule is that everyone will be happy at the end — should be better than good.

And so I am dismayed by the sudden steep increase in what I’ve been calling toothless stories and declawed heroes. The hero who is genuinely dangerous at the beginning of the story is a big ol’ cuddly sweetiepie at the end. The stranger in the dark who knows what you want because you told him what you want — he’s really a boyfriend on role-play night. Getting it on with one stranger while another one watches? No problem. It’s your hubby. He likes to indulge your kinky side. Isn’t he a catch?

This is starting to annoy the hell out of me for a handful of reasons.

First and foremost: It’s the gotcha. Listen, I understand that loads of readers only feel comfortable if the random stranger at the end of the bar turns out to be the very familiar husband. I also understand that this sort of thing can be made clear right from the start without losing an iota of heat. My esteemed colleague Rachel Kramer Bussel does the job quite nicely with her short story, “Flying Solo,” in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year. Check it out for a glimpse of marriage at its committed but omnivorous best. The heroine’s marriage isn’t concealed at all; it’s part of the kink. Take heart, fellow commitmentphobes.

I’m not sure why other authors need the surprise twist at the end of the story to remove the high sexual voltage built up during the story, but it’s not a great feeling for some of us readers. If you’ve ever reached into a bowl of M&M’s and discovered the hard way that they were Skittles, then you know what I mean. Not a single thing wrong with Skittles — unless you expected them to be something else. The gotcha is not cool. The gotcha is a bait and switch.

Next, consider the message. The toothless story is quietly telling us that it’s not really okay to fantasize about that giant in the alley unless we do so under the auspices of an existing relationship. It’s just fine to daydream about being hauled up against that brick wall for some consensual, recreational brutality — if you’re being handled by your boyfriend or your husband. If not, well … maybe you should get a man first. Then if and only if he says it’s okay and agrees to participate, you can start maybe getting what you want. You can have whatever you like, as long as you have it exclusively through him.

I can’t nope that hard enough. Does this genre stand for the male-sanctioned fantasy, even in stories written primarily by and for women? I certainly hope not.

And another thing — isn’t romance its own safety net? No one questions the mighty HEA and HFN, right? No matter where the road goes, no matter what happens in between, the hero and heroine end up facing the same direction, together and happier for it.

So what are we afraid of? There is little meaningful danger of lasting harm to the heroine. Hell, there’s almost no meaningful danger. Why are we hell-bent on protecting her from dangerous men? If he is hers, and they are to be together in the end, shouldn’t they go all the way, as far as they dare, even if it’s beyond our own untested boundaries?

I will address that tragic figure, the tamed or declawed alpha, last.

My esteemed colleague, Madeline Iva, did her level best to talk me down from a bout of hysteria I endured after discovering that one of my very favorite dangerous men of romance had been transformed into someone almost family friendly. “We want to have our cake and eat it, too,” she told me. “The bad girl fantasy with the good girl happy ending.”

The good girl happy ending terrifies me. The good girl happy ending is the promise of a safety that stifles, a sameness that suffocates. The good girl happy ending is the motorcycle in the front yard with the For Sale sign on it. But then I’m no good girl. I tried it for as long as I could, and now I don’t see the upside.

Madeline also referred me to a post she wrote on the topic, in which she describes the allure of Laura Kaye’s paranormal heroes. “Her readers,” she said, “enjoy a vicarious sense of victory when the heroine triumphs in taming the alpha male.”

That terrifies me, too. I have no desire to tame the alpha male. If he was not tame when he entered the story and came after the heroine, then isn’t he diminished by the happy ending? If the heroine tames the alpha hero, I’m not sure she’s won anything at all. In fact, he is losing the core of his fiery being, and she’s losing the man who attracted her at the beginning of the story.

Consider one last thought.

Are toothless stories and declawed heroes a way to build a socially acceptable fence around the wilderness of feminine fantasy? Are we building a world where some fancies are to be indulged and others shunned?
Are we comfortable with that world?

I cannot wait to hear what you’re thinking, of course. Sound off in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. We’re really comfortable on the edge.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and recovering attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

How to succeed at writing when you feel clueless

19 Aug

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I’m getting a head start on Second Chances week in honor of the release of our own Lady Smut author Elizabeth Safleur’s new erotic romance, Perfect, which you can read more about on her website, including an excerpt.

Perfect-cover_SaFleur_-640x1024

But what I want to talk about today isn’t so much fictional second chances, but real life ones, though if you are looking for a fun foodie romance all about a second chance career, I highly recommend the hilarious Nuts by Alice Clayton.

nuts-alice-clayton-romance

I’m going to focus on my own second chance career as a writer, which started off when I was flailing my way through one of the worst time periods of my life: law school. When I was in college, I thought I knew everything about everything, including what I wanted my future job to be. I did consider applying to journalism schools, because I’d been writing letters to the editor throughout my teens, getting them published everywhere from The New York Times to Vogue, but because I thought I would be the next big activist lawyer type, I focused on law schools. Also, I was 19 and 20 when I was applying, because I graduated from college in three years and my birthday is in November, which in hindsight at 40 years old seems very young to have to know what I want to do for the rest of my life.

So there I was at one of the most prestigious law schools in the country, NYU Law, and I was miserable. I felt totally outclassed by my peers and kept falling farther and farther behind on my schoolwork. I was living off student loans in a dorm so I couldn’t foresee how I would be able to ever afford to leave, since I didn’t have any savings. I wound up slogging through the next three years, but using my newfound enthusiasm for indie bands and musicians as a way to escape from what increasingly felt like an utterly wrong fit.

I had been reading erotica since college, but one day I decided to see if I could write my own. I had no fiction writing background and had never even considered writing short stories before; I was more of the impassioned, fiery, opinionated essay writing type. I saw a call for submissions for an anthology about celebrity sex fantasies called Starf*cker and went about crafting a story based on my own crush on a certain famous figure which became my first written and published erotica story, “Monica and Me” (you can listen to it on The Kiss Me Quick’s podcast).

"Monica and Me" image from The Kiss Me Quick's podcast

“Monica and Me” image from The Kiss Me Quick’s podcast

Around this time, just as that story was being submitted, I realized that the jig was up, and law school wasn’t for me. In 1999, at the end of my third year, when I should have been graduating, I slunk into an administrator’s office and confessed that after dodging my classes and basically flunking out, I would be taking a leave of absence. I never went back.

From there, I went on to write more short stories, which led to be asked to co-edit and then edit anthologies. At first, those books were conceived of by publishers who would present possible subjects such as spanking or exhibitionism and voyeurism, and later, I started pitching my own anthology ideas.

What started on a whim eventually became my second chance career, and even led to a full-time job when an adult magazine editor in chief was looking for a new senior editor, and approached me about it. At the time, I was making do as a typist at an insurance agency, an utterly mind-numbing job that left me feeling utterly bored.

Over the next seven and a half years, I learned a ton about writing, editing and publishing at that job, while also delving into new projects, such as writing a nonfiction sex column for famed alt weekly The Village Voice and running an erotic reading series.

But even though I loved all these opportunities, I carried around a huge amount of guilt about dropping out of law school. I felt like it was this giant black mark not just on my finances (I emerged with over $150,000 in student loans, and while I don’t have the exact amount I paid over the next 14 years, I’d estimate that Sallie Mae ultimately got around twice that from me in payments), but also on my reputation. No matter what I achieved in my writing career, whether bylines or awards or speaking engagements or packed rooms full of people at readings or new books published, I felt like a failure. That only started to ease once I finally did pay off those loans in 2013, with some help on the final payments from an inheritance from my grandmother.

Even now, I still sometimes wish I could go back in time and get that degree, not because I wish I had stayed on that path and become a lawyer, but because then I would feel like I had accomplished what I had set out to do. I’ll never know what opportunities that would have led to, but I do think dropping out had a silver lining, because it made me that much more dedicated to my new career. I threw myself into writing, editing and promoting my work with gusto. I said yes to almost any opportunity to do live readings, to write for new publications, both paid and unpaid, to work with various publishers.

This year all of those skills came in handy when I faced a major depression for several months, slogging through each day listlessly. I was stuck mentally, emotionally and, it seemed, in my career, which didn’t feel like it was moving forward in any way. I worried each month that I wouldn’t have enough money to pay the rent, and didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I asked those closest to me for help, not with my mental health issues, but with potential jobs.

With some guidance from my therapist and my depression naturally running its course, life started to seem brighter and a bit more worth waking up for, and those friends I asked for help have launched me into what I consider my next second chance writing career, as a part-time copywriter for a retail company. At first, I felt like I was giving up my freelance writing life that I’d built up since my magazine job ended in 2011, but over the past few months, I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy copywriting and geeking out about marketing. Contrary to my concerns that I was unfit for office life after working from home for so long, I love having coworkers I can turn to with questions and get an immediate, face to face answer. I’ve also started doing entertainment blogging for a site called OMJ (Oh. My. Jersey.), which has provided its own learning curve, but also showed me a whole new way of being a blogger I’d never considered before.

My point in sharing all this is that it’s never too late to start writing, or return to writing, or try a new way of writing. Maybe you’ve written technical manuals but want to try writing a mystery. Or maybe, like science writer Emily Nagoski, author of the much buzzed about sexuality tome Come As You Are, you’ve also got a romance novel in you. Nagoski, writing as Emily Foster, has a new romance novel out called How Not to Fall that I’m excited to take to the beach with me next week while I’m on vacation.

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Or what about Jill Kargman, who prior to 2015 was primarily known as an author of novels like Momzillas, but has now parlayed that world of ultra rich mommies into one of the most hilarious shows on TV, Bravo comedy Odd Mom Out, which she also stars in? Talk about a second chance career!

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I had no idea what would happen when I left law school, or when I got laid off from my magazine editing job, or when I started exploring copywriting, or at umpteen other points along my career journey. How could I have? But taking those leaps, some by choice, others by necessity, has helped get me where I am today. I didn’t have a game plan when I wrote that first story; I never said “I want to edit dozens of anthologies.” I did it all one step at a time, and I’m still doing it one step at a time, as I assess and measure and experiment and forge ahead with each new essay, article, short story and anthology.

I often find that prospective authors want a blueprint to follow, a mapped out route to writing success, but alas, there is none, because each of our journeys are different. Just as nobody can tell you exactly how to write (in my opinion), no one can tell you what chances you should be taking. That you have to figure out for yourself.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books I’ve read this year, the essay collection/memoir You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein, a comedian and head writer for Inside Amy Schumer.

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She has a chapter titled “How I Became a Comedian” which is actually a pretty serious chapter, about how we can wait and wait and wait, sometimes forever, for our big breaks, so often held back by our own fears, but that at a certain point, we have to decide whether to create our own chances, or keep on waiting for some mythical future time when we feel “ready.” Klein writes of doing her first standup comedy gigs after longing to do so for years: “The fear of trying stand-up and the fear of not trying stand-up were locked in an endless stalemate, where both sides made convincing arguments and both sides agreed it would be a good idea if instead of making a decision I just sat on the floor of the crap apartment Pete and I shared and ordered huge amounts of truly terrible Indian food.” Her path meandered toward her eventual success, including turning down a stint writing for Late Show with David Letterman in large part because her dad said to her of the thirteen-week offer, “Well, that doesn’t sound like much of a job at all.”

Contrary to my post’s headline, I don’t have a surefire route to instant writing success, because there isn’t one. I’ve done it in my own roundabout way, not by writing novels as so many of my peers have done, but by writing and editing short stories. That’s one path, the one that has worked for me so far, because it’s something I love doing even after 17 years. I think the key to that success has been being willing to adapt and grow and take risks and, via trial and error, figure out where to best focus my skills, time and energy.

If you take anything away from my words, I hope it’s that whether your thing is writing or comedy or athletics or art, you will never regret going for it. You won’t regret giving yourself a second or third or fourth or thousandth chance, but it’s very likely that you will regret never taking that chance in the first place.

Visit Lady Smut all next week for more on Elizabeth SaFleur’s new novel Perfect and second chances.

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.

EXCERPT: Sex on the job erotica from sexual fantasy book Begging for It

23 Jul

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

In lieu of the usual Lady Smut Sexy Saturday Round-Up, today we are running a very hot erotica excerpt. Hope you enjoy it!

Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women

Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women

Blurb: What would you give — or give up — to fulfill your most cherished sex fantasy? In this Cleis Press collection, erotica editor Rachel Kramer Bussel brings us femme fatales and shy women, women on a mission and women opening up to new worlds of discovery: women who know what they want and are not afraid to beg for it! Let yourself go with these 20 tantalizing tales of tortuous longing and release.

~~~~~

I edited my new anthology Begging for It: Erotic Fantasies for Women with one goal: to showcase the wide range of women’s sexual fantasies in erotic short story form. Of course, a single anthology cannot cover the extremely wide range of our naughty imaginations, but I love the way all 20 authors took that theme and ran with it. Below is an excerpt from a story in which a woman is granted a wish by her husband of anything she wants for her birthday. What she picks, furtive public sex at the Fix It Depot where he works, is hot hot hot. Check out this steamy snippet below.

From “Morning’s Come” by Sommer Marsden in Begging for It:

My fingers were shaking and it was making tying my shoes damn near impossible.

“Morning’s come,” Riley said softly in my ear. “And soon so will Meg.”

I blushed. The heat in my cheeks made me feel light-headed.

“What if we get caught?”

He shrugged. “We’ve never gotten caught before, but if we do…”

I waited, watching him as he laced up his work boots.

“Then I find a new job,” he laughed.

I smiled. I’d feel awful if that happened, but this fantasy was a craving, a craving that seemed to go right down to the core of my bones. “I’m excited.”

He kissed the top of my head. “Me, too. Happy birthday, baby.”

The drive to work took forever.

“Good news is, we’re short staffed, today,” he whispered, leading me down the wide cold aisles of the store. Overhead, no-nonsense steel shelves towered, holding everything from plumbing pipes to bug spray to lightbulbs. The store was big and impersonal and perfect.

In his section, there wasn’t a person to be found. But every so often, from the maze of aisles, came a random customer. And that was what got my blood flowing fast.

“The one I was telling you about is right…here.” Riley pulled me around the corner and we stopped together, right there, in front of a spectacular gray-speckled marble shower display. The doors were open but when he pushed them shut they were thick, textured glass.

My mouth popped open in surprise and awe. I loved it. Riley laughed, and pushed my mouth shut. “You’ll draw flies.” Then he stepped inside and pulled the doors shut. I could see him…but not. He was a figure there behind the textured safety glass. Clearly a person but not clearly identifiable, not even by gender.

He pushed the door open and winked at me. “Coming?” Then he laughed at his own joke and said, “Well not yet. But soon. However”—he put a hand out to me—“that will only happen if you join me.”

“Are there cameras?” I asked, reaching for his hand. My shaking had turned to a more significant tremor as adrenaline flooded my system. My nipples peaked, stiff and tender inside my bra. My panties grew damp from arousal that had built from the moment I awoke. I was having trouble drawing a deep breath.

He tugged me into the shower stall and pushed me to the smooth, cold wall. “Yes. There are. But they aren’t at an angle where they’ll pick this up. Not even us entering the display.” Riley popped the button on my jeans, drew down the zipper. “Speaking of entering. I’d l like to enter you very soon, birthday girl. Slide into that wet, slick cunt of yours.”

I hummed softly, so turned on I was reduced to noises and not words. I pushed my hand down into his jeans and wrapped my fingers around his cock. I started a slow, easy stroke until he said, more than a little breathless, “Take it out.”

We warred with each other and our clothes until I found myself laughing. But then Riley pushed his fingers inside me and started to thrust and all the laughter died on my lips. I arched my hips, with my jeans pooled around my legs, and met every single stroke of his fingers.

“Hurry,” I said, my pussy slick and swollen from wanting him.

Riley was there too—at that sweet spot where desire met need. Turned on, scared, worked up. He nodded and said nothing. I noticed he hadn’t shaved and pulled him down for a kiss. The kiss turned fierce, his stubble scratching my face until it burned. He had his jeans down, his cock out and his hands on my hips, pinning me to the wall.

Voices drifted from far off, licking at my ears, amplifying my pleasure.

“—Anyone working in this section?”

And an answering voice: “Guess not.”

I bit my lip to keep from laughing. “Turn around,” Riley growled. “Put your pretty hands up on that wall while I fuck you.”

A shiver marched up my spine, and I obeyed him. Putting my hand with my wedding rings on top of my other hand, I braced myself as I pushed my ass back toward him, teasing him. Tempting him to enter me.

His fingers breached me again, one fingertip finding my clit. He kept me there, heart pounding, suspended in pleasure just a heartbeat away from coming.

I hiked my top up and pushed my upper body to the cool marble for a moment as he ran the tip of his cock along my drenched slit. His other hand came around to the front to stroke and tease my clitoris.

“Hello?” someone called outside the shower stall.

“Hurry,” I gasped, my cunt pounding in time with my heart. This wouldn’t take long. Not long at all.

People were circling his department. It was only a matter of time before someone found us. Or saw us through the pebbled glass. The realization forced a wave of breathtaking excitement through me.

*****

Begging for It is available now in print and ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local independent bookstore and for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

*****

Sommer Marsden (sommermarsden.blogspot.com) is a professional dirty-word writer, gluten-free baker, sock addict, fat wiener dog walker and expert procrastinator. Called “one of the top storytellers in the erotic genre” by Violet Blue, Sommer’s the author of numerous erotic novels including Lost in You, Restricted Release, Restless Spirit and The Accidental Cougar.

*****

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) is a New Jersey-based writer, editor, blogger and erotica writing instructor. She’s edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1; The Big Book of Orgasms; Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica and others. Find her @raquelita on Twitter, at her blog Lusty Lady and at eroticawriting101.com.

We’re All Kinky Monsters. Yes, We Are.

22 Jul

By Elizabeth SaFleur

I have no frickin’ idea how to start this post, except to tell you the truth. I was minding my own Internet business doing research when I came across  this Psychology Today blog post talking about how fetishes aren’t so, well, fetish-y anymore. It’s a fascinating short read in which I learned in some parts of Japan you can find vending machines that sell used school girl panties. Ya know, to satisfy that on-the-go panty fetish urge.

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But after reading said post, a question arose. Are there any sexual taboos left? Any more sexual proclivities one wishes to keep secret? Like not out in public via vending machine where anyone with a phone can snap a pix of you burying your snoz in a girl’s thong?

Let us review. A decade (or two) ago, being gay was considered scandalous. Five years ago (okay, maybe ten), most people were aghast at BDSM. The Fifty Shades phenomenon cured that last one — sort of. So now? I ask, in my best Carrie Bradshaw voice, are there any sexual activities left that cause scandal? Or have we all woken up to the fact we’re all kinky monsters at heart?

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According to Psychology Today, fetishism is “sexual attraction to objects, situations, or body parts not traditionally viewed as sexual.” This definition did not help at all in discovering who might fall into the kinky camp.  I turned to the diagnostic criteria for 302.81, a.k.a Fetishism, from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, Copyright 2000, by the American Psychiatric Association. (We at Ladysmut like to be all official-like with our references.)

Criteria, by the Big Bad-Ass Psychology Community, for being a fetishist:

  1. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the use of nonliving objects (e.g., female undergarments).

Does a vibrator count? Because that pretty much puts most of the female population on this list.

  1. The fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Well, that depends. Define impairment. Like think about it all the time? Wouldn’t that put most males between the age of 12 and, oh, 70 in that category because they have sex on the brain?

  1. The fetish objects are not limited to articles of female clothing used in cross-dressing (as in Transvestic Fetishism) or devices designed for the purpose of tactile genital stimulation (e.g., a vibrator).

So, I guess dressing up as a woman if you’re a man and using a vibrator isn’t a fetish? And if I’m a woman who worships her vibrator like the God-given-best-thing-man-ever-invented-since-fire miracle that it is,  I’m off the hook, too? But if I throw in some stuffed animals (plushophilia) or other objects, I’m a deviant? What about foot fetishes (podophilia)? They’re human (partly) and not an object. (I’m not gonna lie to you, I want to do Alexander Skarsgard’s abs as seen in Tarzan like nobody’s business.)

Further research only confuses things. You  can find reams of studies that show kinky sexual fantasies are super common, how some kinks (such as cuckolding) are growing in popularity, and  how even the Big Bad-Ass Psychology Community has been re-assessing its viewpoints on BDSM (not considered a kink by many, but close enough for our purposes).

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Bottom line, there seems to be a growing acceptance that if something turns you on and you’re not hurting anyone (including yourself), have at it. Okay, then. Carpe the fucking diem out of that turn-on.

Yet perhaps something even more important is going on. We’re growing to become more of who we really are and not society’s version of who you should be?  Sorry for the Dr. Phil moment. But, really, addressing your desires, even the dark scary ones that some Big Bad Ass Psychology Community has deemed “not normal” can be empowering and healthy (once again provided it’s safe, sane and consensual). In fact, many new studies have shown people who engage in BDSM are happier and healthier than most people. Why? Because they’re being themselves.

Psst. In case you’re absolutely convinced you’re 100 percent vanilla, I don’t want to burst your bubble. But if you are turned on by hot men (or women) pictures you might fall into pygophilia, the love of buttocks. Or, perhaps you love muscles? You have sthenolagnia. Sicko. Then, of course, most males would fall into having mazophilia, which is worshiping breasts. Geez, get out the straight jackets.

Personally, I think we should all adopt erotophilia: Positive attitude to sexuality (opposed to erotophobia). Here, let us help:

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Follow Ladysmut. We don’t mind if you’re kinky. We love eeeeeverybody.

Speaking of which, check out Rachel Kramer Bussel’s latest anthology, Begging For It.

What would you give — or give up — to fulfill your most cherished sex fantasy? In this Cleis Press collection, erotica editor Rachel brings us femme fatales and shy women, women on a mission and women opening up to new worlds of discovery: women who know what they want and are not afraid to beg for it! Let yourself go with these 20 tantalizing tales of tortuous longing and release.

*****

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get a little graphic about it  — “it” being the smex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. She also is super proud of her erotophilia and sthenolagnia.

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