Monday, December 9, 2013

Blog Tour: Interview, Giveaway, & Review w/ Rachel Kramer Bussel!

Hello my lovely followers. I hope your week is off too a good start, and that you're not busting your hump TOO much with finals finally being here. I'm so excited and honored to be a part of this blog tour! Today I get to present to you an interview with Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories. She was awesome enough to answer some of my questions about the erotica genre, and of course about the book! I am a huge fan of her work, and of Cleis Press, so if you're new to her work- you're in for a treat. PLUS, Cleis Press is being generous enough to offer a copy up for a giveaway! Be sure to thank both for this post today! Be warned- adult content to follow.


When did you discover that you had a talent for writing erotica?

I was in law school in 1999 and had been reading a lot of erotica, so decided to try my hand at wirting it. That first story, “Monica and Me,” got published in Starf*cker, a book of celebrity erotica edited by Shar Rednour, and Best Lesbian Erotica 2001, edited by Tristan Taormino. That early success was so exciting—I still remember holding Best Lesbian Erotica 2001 in a bookstore, one that actually no longer exists, that has since closed and having tears in my eyes to see my name in a book in a store—that it inspired me to keep writing. My early stories were largely inspired from my own life, and sometimes they still are, but nowadays there’s a lot more variety and creativity to how I approach my story ideas.

Was it hard to come forward and tell your friends and family what you were writing about?

Not really; it was small at first, a story here or there, and then editing my first anthology, but those were pretty under the radar. As I grew more confident and later started writing a sex column in The Village Voice, which has an international readership, I knew I had to embrace being out as someone who writes about sex. I didn’t think much about it in the first flush of publication, because I was so proud and thrilled, and while occasionally I envy writers who work anonymously, I feel like if people reject me because I write erotica—which has never happened amongst someone I’m close with—then they are not someone I want in my life.

Is there a particular kink that you find is your favorite to write about?

Probably spanking; it’s something I’ve enjoyed in my personal life for a long time and find there’s so much variety when it comes to spanking stories. They can be light and playful or intense and can cover a gamut of emotions, not to mention settings and implements and levels of kink. You’d think I might get bored with the topic after editing 5 books of spanking erotica and writing who knows how many stories, but I haven’t yet. I find there’s always some new angle and way of approaching it that keeps it fresh.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever gotten when it comes to writing and publication?

Read the publication you want to write for; if it’s erotica, read some of the editor’s previous work. If it’s a website or magazine, read it heavily before submitting. It not only gives you a sense of what the editors are looking for, but may spark an idea you hadn’t considered. That’s how I broke into writing for Salon for their mortifying disclosures section with a piece on hoarding ( So be familiar with the genre and types of writing in it, whether you plan to write in a similar way to what’s been published or try something experimental, and then make it your own. I often recommend that erotica writers try to incorporate anything they have special knowledge about, the way, say, KD Grace does with gardening. I once wrote a story about chess playing for Alison Tyler’s anthology G Is for Games, because I knew what it felt like to sit across a chessboard from another person I thought was hot. This doesn't mean everything or even anything you write has to be literally true, but the more verisimilitude you can bring to the action and emotions, the more readers and editors will appreciate your story.

If you had a chance to sit down and have coffee with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Monica Lewinsky, partly because she was the inspiration for my first erotica story, and I still feel sorry for her in that her life became so public and there was no real way for her to take it back, yet she weathered that scandal gracefully. I’m fascinated by her and would love to find out what she’s doing now. I’m not saying we have a zillion things in common, but I think we have enough to make for a good conversation.

I've heard of some writers that need to have a favorite pen or to be drinking a certain kind of pop while they write to channel creativity. Are there any methods or quirks that you have while you're writing?

I don’t have any specific rituals, though coffee definitely helps me get my bearings on a given day. I love writing most when I have the spark of a new idea and just run with it before I let all my internal censors tell me why it’s a bad idea. So, basically, caffeine and a good title or opening line or image, and I’m ready to go.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an author? What led you to this career path?

I’ve always written, but never thought I could truly be a writer. I still don’t feel I’ll be able to consider myself a writer in the sense that I want to be until I author a book with my name on it. But it was through failing at law school and working administrative jobs and writing on the side that I fell into this mishmash of a career, and I’m grateful for all the twists and turns it took me to get to this place. I love that every day is different and that I always have the outlet of the blank page at my disposal, wherever I am, whatever the hour. To me that is the greatest joy of being a writer. Doing it for a living has forced me to mine my own life and the world around me for ideas. I’ve discovered that the more I do that, the more the ideas come to me.

Here's my final question: What makes The Big Book of Orgasms the best title yet?

I truly think it has something for almost every reader. The characters range in single and coupled (and more than couples), from varying points of view and sexualities and genders. They get off in different ways and each story is unique, from coming from being spanked to going commando with a tight pair of jeans. They are short enough that you won’t get bored and can explore a range of authors and writing styles. I know many people read on e-readers, which I encourage and do myself, but the print version to me is so sensual and gorgeous, from the cover to the size. I am just over the moon for this book and consider it my best work and the highlight of my erotica editing career, and I think it’s perfect for new erotica readers as well as those who’ve read tons of erotica.


I definitely have to agree with you there, Rachel. I LOVED this anthology! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Now, to those who want to know my thoughts on the matter, here's my opinion on why you ought to read Rachel's new collection!


Title: The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Format: Paperback,
Pub. Date: October 15th 2013
Source: Rachel Kramer Bussel


Five stars.

The Big Book of Orgasms features 69 erotic short stories that get the reader's motor running time and time again. With each new story, a different kink or passion is explored, drawing out the reader's attention and keeping it from from foreplay, to climax, to post sex snuggling. Either read one at a time or as one solid novel, this book has something for everyone.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Rachel and Cleis Press's anthologies. The one thing that puts these collections at the top of my list is the diversity of the stories. The Big Book of Orgasms is absolutely no exception. Though there are sixty-nine stories to read in this book, each one offers a unique story. One won't get bored reading this, that's for damn sure!

There is a story included in this book for everyone. Every combination of male, female, in between, and groups of the above are written about. Kinks such as BDSM, spanking, exhibitionism, you name it, Rachel's made sure to include it in her longest, sexiest anthology yet.

Of course, though the whole book is one that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys a bit of naughtiness in their reading, I still had my favorites. As always when I review one of these anthologies, I'm going to spotlight my top three stories (which was a lot harder to narrow down this time around, now that I had nearly seventy to choose from!). The following are in no particular order.

Hellfire by Valerie Alexander features a Domme and a BDSM party where she meets one of the most high in demand Dom males in the local scene. She doesn't want him to see how his presence effects her, until they meet again in much sexier circumstances. This was a tease of a story, and I'd love to read a longer book featuring this plot line. (Please Valerie? Pretty Please?)Pushing Boundaries on Public Transport by Victoria Blisse is a story starring a couple that has a bit of risque fun on a bus, which elevates to a new level when they notice someone's eyes on their every move. This was well written and left me wanting more. And finally, The Morning After by David Salcido is a lusfful account of a newly married couple that adds one more to their morning rendez-vous.

If you're a fan of any type of erotica, this is not an anthology to be missed. Obviously this material is for adults, so there's mature language and situations.

Thank you to Cleis Press and Rachel for my chance to read this.


Now, here's your chance to win a copy of The Big Book of Orgasms!

The Rules:
-This giveaway will run from December 9th, 2013 to December 16th, 2013.
-This giveaway is open to those 18+ and is USA ONLY.
-It is open to anyone over that age who can legally enter, receive, and use their prize.
-One (1) winner will win a copy.
-This giveaway is sponsored wholly by the publisher.
-This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity.
-Winner will have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter.
-Invalid entries will be removed, so please don't cheat.
-Void where prohibited. Odds will vary. No purchase necessary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I love reading your reviews of Rachel's books, I always want a copy of them for myself! I can't wait to see if I win!

  2. You know, the more I read erotica the more I kind of want to write an erotic book too.

    Loved the interview.

    1. I have wondered if I'd be any good at writing it myself, to be honest.

  3. I enjoyed the interview and review. Thanks for the giveaway!