Sadly, it’s here—the end of The Assignment Blog Tour. I’ve had such a wonderful time visiting multiple awesome sites and bloggers, and getting to share so much with readers about writing the book, the characters themselves, behind-the-scenes, my writing style, excerpts, and a ton more. But don’t worry—if you missed any point on the tour, please do stop by the Official Tour Page and have fun visiting the stops we had along the way! I loved them all, though a few favorites included an in-depth interview with Xan West, an audio interview with Rose Caraway—in which I got to read an excerpt from The Assignment in her studio—a guest post on why I opted to write a BDSM series, a personal interview with my bestie and beta babe, Malin James, and also my thoughts on writing flow at F. Leonora Solomon’s place. I hope you’ll check out these and other stops, and that you enjoy everything you find!
If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can get news on future books and events for the Lessons in Control series before anyone else. You’ll also want to mark your calendars for a reading from The Assignment at the Dirty Old Women event at the Octopus Salon on January 24th at 7:40 pm. I’ll be sharing more info on that in early January.
And, finally, please be sure to pick up your copy of The Assignment today. I’m honored that readers are excited about the book, as well as the whole series, and I hope you get to enjoy it over the holidays!
Pick up your copy of The Assignment at:
I hope you and yours have a special season full of reading, love, and joy, and I’ll see you next year!
It’s that time of year—and Christmas is nearly here! Can everybody feel it? I don’t know how it is for other people, but living in the San Francisco Bay Area, we don’t get what one tends to call “winter weather.” I know many a Californian who will tell you it’s damn cold up here this time of year, however, having spent the first 13 years of my life in Nevada—Sparks, Reno, Gardnerville, and Tahoe, to be precise—I have experienced some actual winter weather. I was even quite the young snow bunny in my day (yes 21st place out of 250 kids is bad ass in my mind, thank you very much). But, since I’ve been here in California, I have to say I definitely don’t get that winter feeling at Christmas time anymore.
Truth, though? I don’t miss it. Not one bit! I’m a fair weather kind of gal, so I appreciate the sun and a little warmth outside making chestnuts not roasting on an open fire not a problem for me. Part of it is that I don’t connect winter weather to Christmas cheer. In fact, reflecting on what actually makes it feel like Christmas for me is a very specific and short list: time with those I love and cherish, the smiles on my niece and nephew’s faces during gift time, and, without a doubt, baking.
Yes—to me, Christmas translates into mad baking!
I’m going to go ahead and blame this one on my dad—he’s a brilliant cook and also the crafter of some wickedly delicious cookies, and I can’t tell you how many holidays I’d watch him take over a kitchen to bake cookies for a bunch of people at his work…and wouldn’t you know it? Somewhere in my twenties, this became a thing for me, too. Whenever Christmas time came, my brain automatically reprogrammed for a kitchen takeover in the form of insane baking sprees. And since I’ve always been an overachiever, I couldn’t just make one batch for each recipient. No, no, no, that would never do. I’d make at least five types of cookies (hitting as many as ten one year, I’m not even kidding) and then go and spread that love to upwards of two dozen people. I loved it…all the way through the entire weekend I’d spend living in an apron and considering eating nothing but cookie dough at every meal.
That is, until, I messed up a wrist and wasn’t able to bake one year. That was a funny experience—because all of a sudden, I learned out how calm my life got when I wasn’t making 8,000,000 cookies around the holidays. Go figure.
Still, on occasion, and for super special people, I’ll make a batch (or four). Today, in honor of Blissemas at my place, I thought that since I can’t exactly make a batch for you, I could at least pass along one of my favorite recipes. I got this easy one off the back of a butterscotch chip bag once upon a time, and have been using it ever since. Brace yourself. This is a good one!
Heaven Help Us We’re Going to Pay For It Devil’s Food Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies
(Aptly renamed years ago by me.)
One boxed package devil’s food cake mix
½ cup vegetable oil
One package of butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together cake mix, eggs, and oil. Add chips.
Plop those babies in tablespoon sized dollops onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Yum. Oh, I should make those right now. So easy, and so good!
Speaking of right now, the holiday is a fine time for some new reading and book buying, in my opinion. While my new release, The Assignment, doesn’t take place during Christmas, I can tell you that you’ll find some holiday cheer in the next installment of the Lessons in Control series, The Discipline. For now, though, I thought I’d leave you with a spicy excerpt to complement the sweet recipe above, and after, a chance to win your own copy of the book. How’s that for Christmas spirit? 🙂
Let’s start with an excerpt from The Assignment:
I fetched two glasses and the pitcher of water I kept in the fridge, and Dean followed. He remained quiet as I poured the water and replaced the pitcher on the shelf, but when the fridge door shut, he sidled behind me. It took less than a second, the heat of his chest jolting my core.
He wrapped his hands around me, bearing against my stomach and pulling me back into him. The thick bar of his crotch nudged high on my ass. Most of the near-orgasmic haze I’d felt in the restaurant bathroom had subsided in our ride, but Dean roamed his hands up my belly and over the silk covering my chest until my body filled with need. He cupped my breasts, and after pinching my nipples through the fabric, he wedged me against the fridge.
“Your reward has two parts.” The words came out a rumble through the strands of my hair, and he yanked the skirt of my dress up around my ass. The stainless steel of my fridge fogged with my breath, and I shuddered when he guided his hand between my thighs. Having handed over my panties, I had no barrier to stop the greedy search of his fingers. Dean slid his fingertips along my crevice, and I gasped. “Christ, you’re wet.”
I bowed my head, the thrum of excitement pounding through me. He took away his fingers and left me empty. “Dean—”
He whipped me around and slammed me back against the fridge. I cried out in surprise, but he dropped to his knees. He hitched my dress up with both of his hands, his eyes glazing as he buried his face in my cleft.
I moaned, my pleasure racing back with the hungry licks Dean made at my folds. I dropped my hands to his head and closed my eyes while he licked at me then sucked hard. My legs began to shake. It was impossible to stand in my heels and I sank down, desperate for his tongue all the way in.
Dean responded. His fingers slipped deep to reach the bundle of nerves inside me. He stroked in and up, his tongue wild and skilled, bringing me ever closer.
“I’m going to come,” I growled. Dean pummeled me with his fingers, lapping at my juices. “Oh, God!”
I fisted his hair when release tore through me. He groaned as my spine bowed, his mouth latched on to me no matter how vigorously I bucked against his face. I shrieked, my legs threatening to give, but Dean didn’t cease. He swiped at my clit with his tongue, his fingers working through the contractions inside me.
“Stop, please.” I peeled open my eyes, my body heaving. The denial at the restaurant, the tense hold on the dance floor—all of it had brought such intensity over me that I started to collapse.
Dean shook his head, his tongue gliding back and forth. “That was part one,” he said.
I tried to scoot away but he nibbled on my clit. I shoved back his head. “Stop!”
“Feisty girl.” Dean leaned away, his face bright with amusement. “Too much sass for one girl.”
My breathing wavered. I squinted to clear my vision, my body too overstimulated for him to continue. “I need a break, please. I can’t.”
Dean planted one last kiss on my mound, then tongued the crease. The moment I thought he’d pull away, he sucked my clit back between his teeth and murmured, “Your break is as long as it takes me to set up part two.”
Mmmm. Feeling your naughty and nice yet? I sure hope so!
To pair with an extraordinarily easy cookie baking recipe I am naturally providing an easy way for you to win a copy of The Assignment for the holiday. You’ll simply need to comment below with your favorite type of holiday treat by the end of the day (December 16, 2016, 11:59 pm PST), being sure to leave your email when you register the comment. Do that, and boom! You’ll be entered to win. I’ll put the email addresses of all comments received in a hat (Santa hat, even?) and draw one winner for a mobi file copy over the weekend. It could be you!
So, after scribbling down the recipe above that I know you’re going to try for yourself, please be sure to comment below with your favorite holiday treat. I will announce winners in the comments after the contest has closed and will be notifying this person as soon as I draw.
However, if you’re itching to get your hands on The Assignment today, please do so at any of the following locations:
Until then, thanks so much for stopping by my site for Blissemas, and please keep on following the fun right here.
Hi everyone! Today is a special day—it’s the release day for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2…a fantastic anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel! I have been fortunate to work with Rachel on a number of occasions, which is why I couldn’t be happier to have her over for an exclusive interview today. Yes!
Since I’ve long admired Rachel’s work in both editing and writing, I had a lot of fun picking her brain on the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series and much, much more. The anthology itself is bound to be another hit, so you’ll definitely want to grab your copy on Amazon in either print or ebook form. You can also find out more about it on the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year site. And, bonus, we’ll be doing a reading to celebrate its release on January 31, 2017 at Skylight Books in L.A. I’ll be reading an excerpt from my story in BWE Volume 1 alongside some wonderful authors with stories in Volume 2—you won’t want to miss that, so be sure to check out the events page and mark your calendars!
For now, I hope you enjoy all the details I got from Rachel about her work, her books, and her style. I know I did!
Welcome Rachel! I’m so excited to have you here today, and to get to ask you a bunch of questions about your work. Thank you for joining me! I hope it’s okay—I’m going to dive right in with my first question…
Variety. I consider each story individually and gravitate toward the ones that grab me, the ones that are different from others I’ve read, that I think my readers will like, and then I make sure they all work together to create a diverse, varied whole. Something I tell my erotica writing students is that I want to know why the people in the story are having sex, and why now. I want to feel that immediacy and urgency in every story. I never want to feel like the characters are just going through the motions; I want to get to know them, not just their sexual desires, but them as people and how their history informs their sexuality.
So it’s tough to point to any one aspect, but I like having a mix of settings, eras, writing styles and of course a wide range of characters when it comes to sexuality, sexual orientation, race, age, country of origin, location (I appreciate stories that aren’t all set in big cities, and where the action doesn’t always take place in a bedroom) etc. I also look for different points of views and tenses, because I think that makes for a more pleasant reading experience. So that’s a lot to balance and not something I can always control for as an editor, but I try my best. I’m planning a slight twist for the call for submissions for Volume 4, which I’ll be posting in 2017, which will have some sub-themes that I think could make for really interesting plotlines.
Ooh, that’s interesting. I can’t wait to hear more on that! Speaking of…now that you are editor of the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series, what would you say is different about working on this series than other anthologies? How?
Knowing that I have several volumes behind me and right now two more ahead of me (Volumes 3 and 4) is a wonderful gift, because I know that each time I have the opportunity to reach more readers and more writers from around the world. Picking up a series that’s been edited incredibly well by two previous editors is a challenge but one I am honored to get to play a role in. I try to build a sense of community among all the BWE authors and also try to keep the books different so that readers who enjoyed one will also enjoy the others and never be bored. In general, I try to push myself with each anthology I edit to find new ways of reaching audiences and seeking out new writers, and I’ve been doing my best to do that with this series. I hope to publish work by authors from countries that haven’t previously been represented going forward. Otherwise, as an editor I often have to simply wait and see what kinds of stories arrive in my inbox and that helps dictate what kind of tone each anthology will have. I also can incorporate feedback from readers into how I shape and craft future volumes, which I can’t do with one-off anthologies.
You know, I love reading your stories in the anthologies you’ve curated. Do you usually write your piece at the time of posting the call, or after you see the selection of stories you have for the anthology?
In the past, I’ve done it both ways. Sometimes if I found I didn’t get a certain type of element, I would try to fill it in. Or in the case of Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, where I wanted each story’s sex toy to be different, I wrote about a set of metal claws, since they have always fascinated me and nobody else had covered it. One thing I’ve changed with the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series I’m editing is in order to make room for more authors’ voices, I’ve kept each book limited to those who weren’t published in the previous BWE of the Year books, which includes me, so Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 is the first anthology I’ve edited that doesn’t include my own fiction. I think that’s fitting and am very proud to be moving into more of a curatorial role. Any plotlines and scenarios I had wanted to include in a given volume but didn’t get to due to space or lack of story submissions, I try to make up for in the next volume.
That’s a clever approach. What is your favorite step or part of being an editor? Why?
For me the best part of being an editor is getting to work with hundreds of authors from around the world, all of whom are writing the kinds of pieces I could sit in front of my computer for thousands of hours and never come up with. I especially publishing writing by authors who are new to the genre because that’s where I was not that long ago and an editor taking a chance on my work was such a wonderful opportunity and I’m thrilled to be able to pay that forward.
And what about the hardest part?
Sending rejections. When I finally quit editing anthologies, it will be a huge relief to no longer have to send rejection letters, which, even though they are part of the job, always make me feel like a horrible monstrous person. I know I’m not and I know by the numbers, there simply isn’t any way to include all the stories that are submitted to any given anthology even if I loved each and every one, but it still is an awful feeling because I know everyone worked diligently on their stories. I’m heartened though by the fact that a writer who believes in their work will take a rejection as an opportunity to find another home for their words and so far I’ve been lucky enough to always have a new anthology to edit. I try to point to a new call for submissions of mine when I do send rejections to encourage authors to keep submitting.
That’s fair. And authors should keep submitting, too—rejection is just part of the deal. I’m curious about another thing I imagine is an editor woe: what is your least favorite grammatical error (or the most annoying one to you) to catch and/or fix in stories? Has this changed for you over time, aka are there grammatical things that have stopped “bugging” you over the years?
Probably the most challenging to fix is when the tense changes throughout the story. I’ve done it so I know how annoying it is to redo, and I also know that sometimes an author can see a story existing in multiple tenses, and eventually you just have to pick one.
Eek. I’ve done that myself in the past! Okay, another question—what is your most favorite story that you’ve put in an anthology, of all time? (Or, if you’d rather not specify a story, how about a theme or subject that came up in an anthology?)
It’s hard to say because I have so many to choose from but I especially love stories that surprise me. One story I have read at numerous readings and truly adore for its ingenuity is “Remote Control” by Logan Zachary from The Big Book of Orgasms. It’s the perfect combination of sexy and funny and makes any reader wonder just what they would do if they were handed the title object. That’s a lot to do in less than 1,200 words but he somehow did it. You can listen to it on The Kiss Me Quick’s Podcast, read by Rose Caraway, who narrated the audiobook. I also have a soft spot for “Daddy’s Girl” by Teresa Noelle Roberts in Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. It’s such a vivid and hot story about role-playing, and what I especially love is that it makes it perfectly clear that they are indeed engaging in beloved roles that turn them on. She manages to mix the fantasy and reality elements of the story so it doesn’t lose any of its hotness but makes that delineation clear. I’d love to publish more edgy stories like that in my anthologies.
One of the things I’ve long admired about you is your desire to include as many new authors as possible in your anthologies. (Heck, this is how my first published piece, “The Flogger,” happened in The Big Book of Orgasms, and I can’t say thank you enough!) What is something you’re looking for in a new author for future anthologies?
Mainly I’m just looking for fresh ideas or new insights into sexual desire, passion, love and lust, and how those all fit in with the rest of our lives and what’s going on in the world. There really isn’t any one specific thing, though I am always pleased when authors approach a subject, even if it’s one that’s been written about plenty, and finds a way to make it feel as if it’s brand new. I’m often far more interested in the psychological twists and turns sex can take than a recitation of the physical machinations of sex, so that’s something I’m always interested in. Beyond that, I just look for pieces I think my readers will marvel over and want to reread again and again.
That’s a good plan. Now, when you’re writing, do you find that your editor side kicks in and causes you to edit while you draft? Or, are you able to separate your two roles and write freely before you edit?
Usually if my editor side kicks in when I’m writing, it’s a sign that I’m approaching a given piece incorrectly. I do my best to let go and simply write until I feel I’m at a natural stopping point, and then go back and edit later.
Smart. Okay, here’s an off the cuff one: you are given the choice of editing or writing, for the rest of your life. Only one. Which do you choose? Why?
I’d have to say writer because I started writing (outside of erotica) far before I ever considered being an editor. But I would certainly miss the joy of working with other writers if I couldn’t do it anymore.
We would miss that, too! I wonder…some writers revisit themes, or particular scenes that keep coming back in their work. Do you have such a repeated element in yours (that you recognize)?
I’m probably the opposite in that the part of writing I like the most is creating a new piece, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction.
So then, would you ever write a sequel to one of your stories, and if so, which one? Why would you like to bring it back?
I’ve long wanted to write a sequel to my oral sex restaurant story “Secret Service” from Best Women’s Erotica 2010 edited by Violet Blue, looking at the fellatio equivalent to my cunnilingus restaurant. I think it would be a fun twist on a story that already took its origin from a real-life Brooklyn restaurant that sold cocaine in the back.
Sexy. I am looking forward to this sequel! But let’s say you weren’t in the word industry. What would your next career be?
Maybe a bingo caller, because I love playing bingo, but I’m not sure if that would ruin the fun for me.
I like it. That’s fun. 🙂 Which leads to a fun last question…you can go anywhere, free of charge, for as long as you want. What would be the most romantic and/or dream place for you to write?
I love hotels, so probably any really luxurious hotel where I could get anything I needed at the press of a button.
Fabulous. Thank you so much for being here, Rachel!
And there you have it! A peek inside the brilliant mind of Rachel Kramer Bussel. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2 on Amazon, and we hope to see you at the reading on January 31st!
A giant thank you to Rachel for joining me today!
It’s almost here! Tomorrow is the official release day of my debut novel, The Assignment—and I couldn’t be more thrilled!
As you may have caught on, there have been a lot of events leading up to today. The blog tour kicked off about a week ago, and it will continue for almost two weeks more. Yes! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to find out about the book through guest posts, behind-the-scenes reveals, interviews, and other ditties along the way. Tomorrow, in fact, I’m scheduled to be stopping at not one but THREE fabulous sites! That’s right, you’ll be able to find a smokin’ hot excerpt of The Assignment at Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Lusty Lady blog, a guest post I’ve written about BDSM over at Underneath the covers, and also a review of The Assignment at Books Reviews Etc. Whoa! Will that be triple the fun, or what?
Speaking of extra fun…in celebration of the release of The Assignment, I’m offering a special deal. Anyone who purchases my debut novel within the first three days it’s available (so by 11:59 pm EST December 15, 2016), will get a free, never before published short story of mine. Hurray! I’m super excited to share it with you, too…all you need to do to get your hands on it is…
1. Buy your copy of The Assignment (by the above deadline) and
2. Email a copy of your receipt to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that easy! You can find the book at the following locations:
Once you grab it, don’t forget to email me your receipt. I’ll be sending the story out to you by the end of the week.
Have you already pre-ordered the book? You are awesome—and it’s no problem. Just email along your receipt showing you’ve made the purchase, and ta-da! This short story will be available to you, too. It’s a thank you for your support!
In the meantime, please keep an eye on the Official Tour Post so you can follow along and check out all the stops. Don’t forget to visit past stops, either—my favorite so far was a super fun interview with Rose Caraway (which included a sexy snippet read by me in-studio!). Good times! But there’s definitely more to come…you won’t want to miss a thing. 🙂
For now, thank you so much for joining me on this fantastic journey, and in advance for picking up your copy of The Assignment.
Happy reading to all!
PS Want my “autograph” for your ebook? Be sure to request one on Authorgraph if you do! 🙂
Oh my goodness, everyone, I’m so excited. Today it begins—the official blog tour for The Assignment! Yessss! I could not be more thrilled not only for this tour to start, but for The Assignment to be in your hands in eight short days when it’s released on December 12th. Woo hoo!
You may recall Rose Caraway interviewing me on The Sexy Librarian’s Podcast before, and she’s even narrated some of my short stories…but now, she’s paid me the honor of launching the tour with an interview in her studio! We shared such a fun time at her place yesterday, starting with Rose surprising me with treats and wine to celebrate the book’s forthcoming release—such a sweetheart!—and then moving us into our in-studio interview. Rose asked all sorts of questions about The Assignment and the Lessons in Control series as a whole, and I am so glad you get to listen in on it. Plus, Rose’s stop is extra special because she gave me the opportunity to record a sexy snippet of The Assignment, right there in-studio! That’s right—you’ll get to hear our interview as well as me reading a scene from the book. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed participating!
To listen, please hop on over to The Sexy Librarian’s Podcast. And, as we continue the tour through December 23rd, filled with back info and details on the book, interviews, guest posts, excerpts, reviews, and giveaways, please keep checking back to the Official Tour Page to find each stop along the way.
For now, enjoy stop one—an interview between the fabulous Rose Caraway and me about The Assignment! I hope you enjoy it!
Be sure to pick up your copy of The Assignment, available for pre-order at…