Best Women’s Erotica Reading Live – Tonight!

Hi everyone! I hope you were able to join us last week at the Dirty Old Women Read Erotica Event in Oakland. It was great fun! But if you weren’t, and you happen to be in the L.A. area tonight, then I have fantastic news—I’ll be reading live once more! Yes!

This evening, Skylight Books and Rachel Kramer Bussel are hosting a reading to celebrate the recent release of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2. You’ll be hearing readings from both volumes—I’ll be reading an excerpt from “Ophelia the Second,” my contribution to Volume 1, and you’ll get to hear Jocelyn Bringas, Melina Greenport, and Rachel Kramer Bussel herself read contributions from both volumes. So fun!Cover of Best Women's Erotica of the Year

“Ophelia” is a story I’m still quite fond of; I took advantage of my theatre past to write a little Shakespeare inspired erotic romance, and I’m tickled to get to share it with you again live. And, even though I’m reading something entirely different, I’ll be bringing along some swag for The Assignment if you’d like to grab it!

All of this is free to you—especially the best part: a live, sexy reading! We do so hope you’ll join us. Skylight Books is located at 1818 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, California, and the reading starts at 7:30 pm. Please come on out and say hi!

Can’t wait to see you there!

XX,
Jade

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Over to Visit!

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…

What would you say is the main thing you look for when selecting stories for an anthology?

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!

Cover of Rachel Kramer Bussel's Begging for It Anthology

About Those “Apple Thighs”

Like many women, I’ve long harbored nagging body hang-ups. I’ve heard we all have at least one thing we wish we could change—weight, breast size, hip width, nose length, belly roll, ass curve, etc., etc. I’ve certainly had my fair share of these “one things,” things I either wished to vanquish or worked ridiculously hard to at least adjust somehow. I remember a multi-year stint as a child convinced I would get a nose job when I was 18, but it turns out, I was destined to grow into the full-sized nose I had from birth. I hated my hips for the longest time because I was born with those, too (really), and I spent a lot of my teen years with bruises on them from bumping into things since I somehow didn’t grasp how wide they were. Both these features have since balanced out, and while they’re no longer issues, certain “one things” have persisted over the years. The big one, no matter how fit I am or what I do, is the hereditary trait most of the women in my family share: the “dreaded apple thighs.”

Apple thighs, I’m sure you’re thinking. What in the hell are those?

Apple thighs, you see, are very distinct in shape. They’re not quite like their oft-dwelled upon cousin, thunder thighs, but a round, fleshy version that tapers at the knee. This taper is what resembles—in some odd way that my mother explained to me when I was a wee little girl—an apple. And we of the women in my family are doomed (yes, doomed) to have these cursed apple thighs, no matter if we are thick or thin, short or tall, curvy or straight. Those fuckers just happen, and despite this, in my family, they get a lot of negative attention and commentary. As I have learned, apple thighs are bemoaned and bad, and as beautiful as one of us may be, we’ve still missed out somehow by having these big ass curvy thighs.

Now, I’m going to be extremely straight with you today: I’ve worked with some real body image issues over the years, which ebb and flow and for which I’ve even sought a little counseling to better deal on occasion. I’m all over the #allbodiesarebeautiful movement because I believe in it through and through, and though I have my wavers in spells, deep in my heart, I know these apple thighs are part of me and something that, most of the time, I’m okay with. But when I have my doubts—about them, or any other part—I have to think about the whole picture. I have to come to terms with who I am and love me just as I am.

That’s why, of all the stories I’ve released into the world, “Apple Thighs” is one of my most cherished pieces. It’s out now in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Begging For It: Erotic Fantasies for Women. I wrote it one night after a particularly grueling day having heard another family member snigger at those “pesky apple thighs”; I’d come home and taken a peek at them in passing, and I thought the poor things needed a break, once and for all. I’d already had a few years in the circus, where I loved to dress up wearing leotards, tights, and thigh-high stockings—which I intentionally used to flash my thighs—so I’d had a good wave of embracing them. I’d even discovered how handy they were in my pole classes (because grip, hello). Still, I felt like this positive acknowledgement of their existence needed to be more drastic.Cover of Rachel Kramer Bussel's Begging for It Anthology

I needed to write a character who recognized her body for what it was and not only accepted it, but learned to love it, right there in the course of the story.

From that, Cassie and her post-counseling bus ride was born…and I went one step further, too, not dooming her with my apple thighs—but giving them to her as a gift.

Cassie is a bit down on her luck when we meet her, but on her bus ride—with the perfect co-passenger—she has that moment I think all women with that “one thing” need: the epiphany in which we realize that yes, we are who we are, and yes, we are just perfect as is.

So without further adieu, I’m delighted to share an excerpt of “Apple Thighs” with you:

Cassie pressed her palms onto her thighs. She’d been blessed with smooth, unblemished skin most of her life, so even stocky as they were, her thighs had the consistent, unmarred fair coloring that covered the rest of her body. As the bus continued its roll down the city streets, the flesh of her thighs shook. She had thin calves and narrow knees, but above them her legs curved out to a substantial width. In truth, she had a lot of muscle in those thighs from years of dancing and running, but they were definitely the outliers from the rest of her body.

She pursed her lips and ran her hands back and forth, grazing her skin. She could rest on her tiptoes to keep her legs up so that her thighs didn’t appear so wide, like two sturdy pancakes smashed out on the seat. But she kind of liked the way they looked. They carried her. They made her womanly. Plus, she was able to outrun all the women in her former running group—big, strong apple thighs and all.

Cassie fanned her fingers over her thighs and rubbed her palms along their length again, sighing. Her skirt caught on her wrists as she glided her hands up, crumpling it at the top of her thighs. She peeked at the seat across from her. Two older women sat there, the one by the window staring out and the one on the aisle reading a book. They didn’t notice her. No one in front of her would see what she was doing, either. She turned her head, checking out the seat behind her at a diagonal. No one there.

But the man behind her cleared his throat.

Cassie flattened her skirt and shoved her hands to her knees, her face burning as she whipped it forward.

Oh, fuck.

Had he seen what she was doing, mindlessly stroking her thighs?

More importantly, was she insane, rubbing her thighs like that in public?

As if in answer, the man lifted himself in his seat. Cassie held her breath. The entire bus was frozen in time, the driver watching the road, and the other occupants reading books, listening to iPods, or chattering about the news. But this man slid around the seat and sat beside her, not a word coming from his mouth as he peered forward.

She turned her head slightly, examining him from the corner of her eye and realizing she’d seen this guy before. She’d even smiled at him once, the last time she’d been stuck on this bus. He was handsome, his face peppered with the tiny hairs of one who didn’t shave everyday, and he had hazel eyes that shimmered thanks to the sun streaming through the window beside her. When she saw him a few days ago, he’d been wearing a baseball cap—but now his sandy blond hair was loose around his ears, making him look a tad older than he once had. Mid-thirty, late thirties…Cassie couldn’t tell. But she could tell that he was some sort of painter, his tee shirt and jeans always speckled with dried paint. Today he wore a spot of fuchsia on his right thumb and a streak of red along his left wrist.

She straightened her head again, her nerves on high. Had he seen what she was doing?

She felt his scrutiny on her then, and a chill fogged her body. When he spoke, his voice came out a deep bass that prickled her skin.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

Cassie shook her head, her fingers latched around her knees. Her legs suddenly felt hugely exposed, though she did choose to wear this skirt in public, and apparently had no problem touching her thighs a minute before.

Idiot.

“It’s a better view,” he said.

Cassie bit down on her tongue.

Maybe he meant the window. Or being one seat closer to the front of the bus.

Or maybe she really was an idiot.

“Yeah,” she said, her heart racing. “Sunny outside today, isn’t it?”

The man raised an eyebrow and smiled. Cassie broke out in goose bumps. She hadn’t made an ass of herself on this bus, had she?

She willed herself to look back at him, wondering if her thighs had turned as crimson as her face—because wow, was she blushing, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. The sensation ran the entire length of her body in under a second.

“It is. But that’s not what I was talking about.” He gazed directly at her thighs, then back to her face. “Please don’t stop on my account.”

Cassie didn’t move.

The man kept grinning at her. She was surprised she didn’t find it uncomfortable, or awkward. In fact, she shifted slightly on the bench, keenly aware of how hot it was at the apex of her apple thighs.

“I…uh…”

Cassie pinched her lips together. Great, now she sounded like an idiot, too.

The man scooted forward in the seat, enough to block her from the view of any other passengers. He was tall, and with the muscles in his arms alone, it was clear he was strong beneath his jeans and tee shirt. She could do whatever she wanted right here in this seat, and no one would be the wiser.

Cassie shook herself. Was she actually thinking about this?

The man put both hands on his thighs, then tilted his head toward her legs before dragging his hands in an upward motion.

He was modeling what he wanted from her.

Her stomach knotted but her heart thumped in her ears. His smile was so sweet, so warm. So encouraging.

She slid her hands up her legs, halting them mid-thigh. Her fingers were shaking.

Now the man cupped his thighs, and Cassie did the same.

Beneath her panties, her groin swelled with heat. The flush running through her body was like a teasing caress, and she gripped her thighs again. He met her eyes and nodded.

“May I?” he asked.

***

I hope you enjoyed that teaser of “Apple Thighs,” included in Begging For It, Erotic Fantasies for Women. You can find out more about this anthology from Cleis Press on its Tumblr Page. It’s edited by the fabulous Rachel Kramer Bussel, and is available now in paperback and in a few more days on Kindle. I hope you’ll please check it out!

Happy reading, and may you love your apple thighs, too. 🙂

XX,
Jade

Cover for Ophelia the Second by Dayv Caraway

“Ophelia the Second” – Featured on the Kiss Me Quick’s!

Cover for Ophelia the Second by Dayv Caraway

Cover art by Dayv Caraway

There is something extraordinary about hearing one’s own stories read aloud. It’s an opportunity not just to know that your story has been read and heard, but to understand how a reader might translate what you’ve written. In grasping that—for just a second—you can almost relax into your words, listening to them as though they’re not your own, potentially savoring them in a different way than what was experienced when you had the pleasure of writing them.

That’s why today, I’m tickled to share that the fabulous Rose Caraway has once again honored me with a narration of one of my stories. This time, she’s featured “Ophelia the Second” on The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast, and she does a tremendous job of it, too. This particular story is part of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1—and while I had the opportunity to read it live myself back in January, hearing it performed by the incredible Rose has made it twice as special for me. Extra bonus: Big Daddy’s sexy ass intro totally made me blush. 🙂

So, I invite you to please hop on over to The Kiss Me Quick’s to listen to “Ophelia the Second” with your own ears. It’s a sweet little erotic romance that’s got a lot of my theatre background worked in, and it still makes me smile. If you’d like to know more about the spark that ignited “Ophelia the Second,” please feel free to check out my Q&A with our incredibly talented editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel. You can also grab your copy of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 right here.

Cover of Best Women's Erotica of the YearAnd finally—since I know you’ll love Rose’s rendition of this story—please indulge yourself in more of her fantastic readings of my work. Rose has honored me with previous readings of “The Doll,” “The Flogger,” and “Soundscapes”—an exclusive for The Kiss Me Quick’s Podcast.

Oh, and that delicious podcast? It’s something you should regularly indulge yourself in, too. 😉

Happy listening!

XX,
Jade

 

Cover of Best Women's Erotica of the Year

“Ophelia the Second” is Out in Best Women’s Erotica!

New year, new sexy…and today I’m delighted to share that Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 is out! Woo hoo!

To celebrate, I have some news for you.

Cover of Best Women's Erotica of the Year

First, just look at that sexy cover. *Swoon!*

Then, our wonderful editor Rachel Kramer Bussel has been hosting some behind-the-scenes Q&A’s about our stories in the anthology. My story, “Ophelia the Second,” is a sweet little erotic romance set in the theatre world—specifically, the Hamlet backstage theatre world—and since I have my own past theatre experiences, I thought I’d put them to use for some inspiration. I hope you’ll head over to the book’s Tumblr page to find out more about what sparked this story.

I’m also thrilled to tell you that we’ll be having a live free reading of a few stories in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 in San Francisco on Tuesday, January 19th. It will be in the Antique Vibrator Museum in the Good Vibrations on Polk Street—which, I have to tell you, is a fabulous space for a reading! I do hope you’ll join us, since I’ll be reading alongside Rose Caraway, Amy Butcher, Dorothy Freed, and Rachel Kramer Bussel herself! Be sure to find out more about this event right here.

And finally, what more to whet your appetite for this book than an excerpt?

Here’s a taste of “Ophelia the Second”:

“We always end up on a couch together, have you noticed?”

I laughed, trying to ignore the delicious smell of his post-show sweat, and the way the couch dipped under his sturdy, muscular body, almost pulling me into his side. He’d changed after curtain into jeans and a button-up shirt with the fanciest of shoes, and he looked even more impressive in his modern garb than he did in his lace-up leather doublet and boots.

“Guess so,” I said.

I sipped the bourbon. It was hot going down, warming me more than I already was sitting in Philip’s apartment with him staring at me with those heavy Hamlet eyes. I attempted to ignore the fight of my heart. I was usually so strong at resisting these terribly silly impulses around him, but it was impossible not to want him, not to imagine Hamlet speaking to me, or Philip taking my hand, pining for my love like his character did later on for Ophelia.

I suddenly felt like her—a naïve girl caught in the throes of some wild vision. It wasn’t madness, though it felt like it as he surveyed me.

“Good show tonight, huh?” I asked, needing yet again to get out of my head.

“Yeah. Tammy was on fire.”

I propped my elbow on the back of the couch and frowned. He knew I didn’t want to hear about Tammy or her wonderful efforts playing Ophelia—I’d confessed it over brews a month ago when he took me out to celebrate a five-star review from one of the most critical journalists in the business. For some reason, Philip had been more surprised at the review than my frustrated comments with Tammy’s rude backstage behavior.

“But it makes sense—whenever she’s a maniac off stage, she’s prepped for the role.”

I snickered, a loose spiral of my hair falling in my face. Philip caught it in his fingers and brushed it back, and I stared at him, surprised.

“We should have been on stage together,” he murmured.

I shrugged.

“Robert’s going to come around, Nat. Hopefully with the next show. You’ve got the talent.”

“You’re sweet,” I said. I took another swallow of my drink and placed the glass on his coffee table. Philip caught my hand.

“I saw you in the wings tonight.”

I froze. I’d been subtle, and he’d been so into his role I couldn’t imagine how he’d seen me.

“You know I see you there, right? Mouthing the lines, both mine and Ophelia’s.”

He clasped my hand in his and a fire sparked deep in my belly. Had the bourbon gone to his head?

Had it gone to mine?

“I’m convinced my best moments on stage are with you watching.”

“That’s silly,” I said, but Philip nodded enthusiastically.

“You should have been Ophelia. You’re perfect for the part. Your hair, your face. Everything about you, Nat—so charming and lovely.”

I trembled in his grasp. Like Ophelia, I had to be going mad. Philip brushed back my curls, lifting the hair on the nape of my neck.

“Let’s run lines for you.”

“Why? Tammy is Ophelia, and she’s never going to miss a performance. Remember?”

“Tammy is a terrible Ophelia. And one night, she will.” He tapped my nose. “Come on. Let’s practice.”

“I need a script.”

“No you don’t,” he said. He shoved back the table and crawled to his knees, ushering his husky off to his bed along the wall.

And then he started running lines, beginning with Act III, Scene 1, right when Ophelia meets Hamlet. He said his first line seriously, as if we were actually on stage, and I shook my head at him.

“You’re crazy.”

Philip frowned. “I’m trying to prove a point. You’re an actress, let’s go. Play along.”

I’d been on the stage many times. I’d graduated with a theatre degree, after all, but my parts at Esquire had been minimal with Tammy being the star she was. Sometimes, her rants backstage and constant insults made it easy to forget that I was once a big part of productions, too.

“Well?” Philip nudged my leg and took my hand again, and I tried to ignore the peal of my heart.

“Fine,” I said.

We ran through this scene, Philip’s hand clasped around my shaking fingers the entire time. He was theatrical and gorgeous, his brow furrowing and his nostrils flaring at all the appropriate moments. When he peered into my face, I witnessed the same brooding depth he cast over the audience each night, except this time, it was directed at me.

This time, he was Hamlet—and I was Ophelia.

It was easy to fall into the part. I knew the lines, and he was brilliant, drawing emotion and depth into my voice that I could never do when I practiced on my own in my apartment. Not without someone acting against me, getting as into the role as he did. He was magnificent. When we finished the scene, he stroked his fingertips across my palm with an encouraging nod. Then his lips turned up to form the incredibly charming grin the audience never got to see.

“Lady, shall I lie in your lap?”

I giggled. “Okay, I get it. Great scene. We can stop, though, I know the lines.”

“See,” he said. “You are the perfect Ophelia.”

I rolled my eyes and Philip leaned closer, the movement catching my breath in my throat. Both of us were quiet as he crouched on the carpet. For some reason, the way he’d touched my cheek at his front door crossed my mind. Then the way he’d grinned at me at intermission, and all the times we’d hung out backstage when he’d told me he loved talking to me. My pulse raced a little quicker.

Had I missed something in my Ophelia obsession?

Philip curved his hands around my knees, increasing the pace of my heartbeat.

“And what a fair thought to lie between this maid’s legs.”

“That’s not the line,” I whispered. The look on his face was different—not Hamlet. Not Philip. It was sweet and smitten, like the one I’d seen him wear as Romeo last year. I swallowed the lump in my throat as he inched his mouth closer to mine.

“You’re right. It’s not.”

*

Intrigued?

Please be sure to check out the book’s Tumblr page and order your copy now on Amazon. Thanks for checking out the inspiration for “Ophelia the Second,” and I hope to see you at the reading!

XX,
Jade

My personal optimist motto pencils, a gift from Alison Tyler

Looking Up

Up until about a month ago, things over here were—oh, how to put this?—really fucking cray-cray in the brain department. There was a lot of good going on (and more I’ll get to shortly), and I tried to center my online attention to that—but offline, I was a wreck. This has all passed now, thank god, but things were pretty dark for a bit there.

I talked in a previous post about the sensory migraines that took over my life—but what I stayed pretty quiet on was the adjustment to the medication my doctor prescribed. Once it kicked in, it helped tremendously—but the month-long adjustment period was torture. My brain was definitely not my own for that wild ride, and, honestly, if you and I had a conversation anywhere in that month, I probably have no solid recollection of what we talked about. On top of that, other than one flash piece inspired by my migraines and a couple poems I scribbled in brief moments of clarity, I wrote little (coherently, anyway). It wasn’t until after I signed off of Skype from my interview with the wonderful Rose Caraway about my story in Libidinous Zombie that I realized how wildly out of my head I felt. Yikes!

Fortunately, my doctor turned out to be a genius. After that month of adjustment—and practically overnight—everything turned…well, normal. My migraines damn near disappeared, and all the side effects I was experiencing completely vanished. I keeMy personal optimist motto pencils, a gift from Alison Tylerp describing it as the way the sky looks after a storm, when the clouds pull back to reveal a clear blue world—but I kid you not, it’s what my head felt like after that period passed. My spirits soared, and my usual optimist Fuck half full, I have a glass! self was ready to go screaming from the rooftops about how damn amazing I felt.

And that’s where I’ve been cruising for almost a month now—appreciating all the awesome things going on, and enjoying having my brain back to participate in them! Woo hoo!

So, let’s move along to the good department, shall we? First, some book news—I’ve been cruising away on edits for The Assignment, book one in my forthcoming Lessons in Control series. We had to do a few schedule adjustments, but I’m pleased to announce that it will be released in December 2016—and hey, you can already pre-order it on Amazon! 🙂 There’s no cover or blurb up yet, and I believe it might still say it’s coming out in June, but that’s soon to be fixed. I have much more to tell you about this book and the entire series as we get closer to publication, but let’s just say that as I’m working on edits, I’m getting really excited. It doesn’t hurt that I landed Rhonda Helms on this project, who is possibly the most enthusiastic editor on the planet and making me squeal. A lot. (Okay, and I admit—I’m one of those weird authors who loves editing almost as much as I love writing, so I’m having fun in this process either way.) A picture of Jade's manuscript

Meanwhile, I’ve still been keeping up on my poetry, and even wrote a piece loosely inspired by a scene in The Assignment. In the short story world, I got confirmation there will be a San Francisco reading for Best Women’s Erotica, Volume 1 on January 19th at 6:30pm at the Good Vibrations Polk Street location (mark your calendars!). My BWE story “Ophelia the Second” is one I’m rather fond of, and I can’t wait to tell you more about the it and to hopefully meet you at the reading!Cover of Best Women's Erotica of the Year

Speaking of reading…back in July, Rose asked me in my first KMQ’s interview what I’d be doing if I wasn’t a writer—and I told her I was looking into voice over as a future day job. Since then, I’ve taken a couple weekend workshops and learned all sorts of intriguing things, and decided this little dream will need to become a reality over the coming years. I even set up a recording space, which I officially used for the first time to record “Longing” in honor of the release of Coming Together: In Verse (a smokin’ erotic poetry anthology)! This voice over adventure is on hold while I work on books 2 and 3 in the Lessons in Control series…but it’s on my radar!

Finally, since it’s nearly Christmas, I couldn’t possibly skip mentioning my always free holiday short story, “Office Santa.” It’s about an office superstar named Kristi who has a major thing for the Santa suit—especially when it’s worn by one of her very favorite colleagues. Kristi was a character I had way too much fun writing, so I hope you’ll please check out her adventures. Also free for the holidays is a new flash piece called “Missing You,” hosted over at Tamsin’s Superotica as part of her hot annual advent calendar—please be sure to check out both my story and the others on this holiday countdown!

So, all in all, I’m thrilled to say things are looking up. WAY up.

Just in time for the start of a brand new (and super exciting) year, don’t you think?

XX,
Jade

Malin and Jade with BBOO

One Year Ago Today…

Today is a very special day. It’s an anniversary of sorts, one I can’t let pass by without a mention of its significance.

See, a year ago today, Rachel Kramer Bussel gathered nine writers together to read The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories at a Good Vibrations store in San Francisco.

I was ecstatic. It was my first ever reading of my first ever published story, a little flash piece called “The Flogger” that I practiced over and over again in my living room (in yoga pants and heels, no less). I have a theatre background, so while I was slightly nervous, I wasn’t too terrified. I just wanted to put on a good show and make sure not to turn beet red should I make eyes with a cute stranger while I said the word “cock” out loud. And more importantly, I really wanted to meet all these other cool authors reading from the book with me.

One of them was a lovely lady named Malin James. She wore really sexy boots and seemed to stand eight miles taller than me, despite my five-inch heels. She was ever so nice, and when she read her story “Hard Knocks”—one of my favorite from the collection—I could tell she had a theatre background, too. She was so damn good, I had to talk to her more. We ended up exchanging email addresses, and within a week we started spilling our guts to one another. A few weeks after that, we discovered we’d lived nearly parallel lives. We had so much in common it was less like we were sisters than we’d actually been conjoined twins separated at birth, and we both recognized immediately that we might well have found that one friend that gets everything about you, and who will support you no matter what, flaws and all, and love you till the end. It was, quite frankly, one of the coolest friendships I’d ever formed in my entire life.

Malin and Jade with BBOO

With our book while out for one of our monthly lunches! March 2014

Since that first reading, so many wonderful things have happened. I’ve met and worked with more amazing authors and editors. I’ve written bunches more stories. I’ve signed on with an agent for my books. I’ve also read more in public (watch out if you’re in my eye-line when I say “cock” now). And then of course, there’s the other dear erotica writer Malin and I know, the talented Tamsin Flowers—the three of us talk all the time, sharing insight, opinions, trials, and laughter, whether it be via Skype, email, or in one of our Pillow Talk Secrets sessions. Sure, the writing aspects are fantastic, but it’s the connections and friendships I’ve formed in this last year that really ice the cake. It may have taken a third-of-a-life crisis to figure out that erotica was what I wanted to write for real, but it was the reading on November 6th that made the true magic happen for me.

Cover of The Big Book of Orgasms

“The Flogger”

So today, I just want to pay homage to the juggernaut that was The Big Book of Orgasms and the amazing Rachel Kramer Bussel for taking my writing into the world of publishing. Without that, none of this would have happened. I also want to say I adore all the connections I’ve made throughout this year—in particular, the mighty friendship I share with Tamsin Flowers, and the bond I’ve formed with someone I openly refer to as the platonic love of my life, Malin James.

In short? Best anniversary ever! 🙂

XX,
Jade

 

The Big Book of Submission Blog Tour Logo

The Big Book of Submission Blog Tour is Here!

The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Stories is out now from Cleis Press, and I have to say, I’m thrilled to be part of another of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s super sexy flash fiction collections. The stories in here are shorter—1,200 words or less—which means the anthology is packed full of stories from writers I’m proud to share pages with, each one providing a new take on submission.

My story in the anthology is called “Others,” and I previously posted an excerpt here—so today I want to focus on the story itself as well as share a somewhat hilarious behind-the-scenes tale. Let’s start with the story. “Others” is the first time I ventured from the lighthearted and playful stories I started with into a darker, heavier style. The bulk of this was that I wanted to experiment with a tone I used back when I wrote speculative fiction, but another part was approaching themes I gravitate to both as a writer and a reader—submission, exhibitionism, and m/f/m dynamics. The first, submission, has always intrigued me; I’m captivated by the trust involved in surrendering to someone else, as it’s an entirely different level of intimacy that I find intensely powerful. The second theme, exhibitionism, is dear to my heart—I’ve confessed on an alternate blog tour stop that my first orgasm with another person was under a third person’s watchful eye, and thus the concept has long been one I like to explore in my work. Finally, there’s the m/f/m dynamic…well, let’s say this fascination sparked the night I walked into my senior prom with not one, but two dates on my arm. Ah, memories…

The Big Book of Submission Tour LogoAll right, moving along…now that we got the deep dark part of this out of the way, I need to flash my lighter side (for those of you of the astrology ilk, I am a Gemini, through and through). See, I have a somewhat ridiculous and embarrassing behind-the-scenes story for the creation of “Others”—and since so often there’s seriousness in our back stories, I figured this goofy tidbit needed to be shared.

Shortly after I saw Rachel Kramer Bussel’s call for this anthology, I had a morning to write before a late afternoon chiropractic appointment. I was so inspired I planned to write all the way up until I had to leave—but I’d only gotten a few paragraphs in before the receptionist called and asked if I’d be able to come early due to some sort of emergency meeting.

I like being helpful, so of course I packed up and set out…but the story was burning a hole in my brain and I couldn’t let it sit for hours (my chiropractor is almost 45 minutes from me). I decided that this was the day to try dictation. Why not? If I could write erotica, I could certainly talk it to myself while driving, right?

Um, kind of.

So there I was, dictating away…but I have a theatre background, so I admit I was getting carried away with the lines. I was doing voices and everything, which got me a bit worked up over the whole thing. Still, I was doing okay. I focused on the road. I could manage this. I was cool. And then a few minutes later, right in the middle of a majorly heated part…

Some asshole swerved and almost hit me.

Naturally, I did what you do—I flipped the fuck out and screamed some obscenities he couldn’t hear through my closed windows. It took me a good minute to settle down (we’re talking two inches away going 70 on a freeway, guys), and then I attempted to continue my narration. I arrived at my chiropractor ten minutes later rather pink-cheeked—partially over the near-hit, but also over the story narration—and my doctor even said so.

“Good day today, Jade? You look…happy.”

“Oh, I am. Was just…uh…fleshing out a story, you know…”

Yeah. So when I left, I decided I’d had enough dictation for the day and opted to work the tale around in my head until I got home, where I sat down to listen to my recording and type it all up.

Now, narrating erotica is one thing. Listening to yourself dramatically narrating a hot story is an entirely different matter. Sure it was funny because I was over the top, on one hand, but on the other, I was getting a little hot under the collar (I’m an extremely aural person). I remember thinking, Jesus seriously? I just recorded this driving? This scene is getting really intense…wow, why, WHY did I act it out? Is it hot in here? Theatre people should not be allowed behind a mic with erotica like EVER. Ever!

And all of a sudden, I heard…

“Holy shit, asshole! Learn to drive! Oh my fucking god!”

Then, after a brief pause, the recording striving for an Erotica Oscar segued right back into more naughtiness.

I am sorry to say I deleted this recording (because why would I ever play that for anyone, ever?)…but I assure you I laughed pretty hard. I finished transcribing and then continued the story with a big fat amused smile on my face. And after that, I decided dictation was maybe not my thing—especially not while driving.

So there you have it! A little humor behind “Others,” my [not at all funny] story in The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales.

Want to get your hands on this sexy book? You can pick it up right here.

Be sure to continue on the virtual tour for more back stories, reviews, excerpts, and more. The stops are listed right here.

Thanks for joining me on this stop! And, er…be safe on the road, folks…

XX,
Jade

 

Cover of Hungry for More edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Hungry for More: Excerpt of “The Sleeper’s Beauty”

Great news! Hungry for More: Romantic Fantasies for Women is out now on paperback through Amazon!

Hungry for More cover

I am quite excited about this anthology, one of the first from Cleis Press’s new Tempted Romance line. And as our fabulous editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, says: “I don’t think the cover accurately conveys just how perfectly daring and wondrously taboo these stories are.” The line-up is exquisite, and the stories are definitely going to break some boundaries…which means you can bet it’s going to be a hot one!

So today, I’ve got two goodies to share with you. First, Rachel Kramer Bussel is running a killer opportunity to win if you prefer the Kindle edition, which is scheduled to release August 12th—if you pre-order it, you could win a $100 Amazon gift card! Wow! Details about this easy contest can be found on the book’s Tumblr page right here.

The second goodie is in celebration of the paperback edition being out and available right now on Amazon. That is…it’s time for an excerpt of my story, “The Sleeper’s Beauty”!

“The Sleeper’s Beauty” is about a woman who’s never fully understood why her friends are so darn excited over anal sex when she’s had some less-than-stellar experiences—but she wants to more than anything. And one night, her curiosity piqued, she finds herself in just the right circumstances…

Excerpt of “The Sleeper’s Beauty”:

Tonight, Carrie decided, things were going to be different. She was determined to make it happen. She couldn’t take one more Friends episode thinking about the hard slide of his dick all the way up inside her until she cried like the girls said she would, and she’d be damned if a fear of a little ass play was going to keep her from knowing all the pleasures she could have.

Knowing Andrew would catch onto her eager glances and deter her yet again, Carrie made him his favorite meal—a pot roast slow-cooked in his preferred beer and sided by a lump of mashed potatoes and two glasses of wine. He’d devoured the dish with that twinkle in his eye that managed to say “You’re wonderful” and “I love you” all at once. After dinner, she walked him to the bed and stripped off her clothes, running her hands all over herself in the most provocative ways she could think of until he chuckled and pulled her down on top of him.

“What is with you, lately?” he said. He wrapped his hands around to cup her ass, then tugged her against the bulge in his boxer briefs. “I mean, seriously. You’re talking anal and attempting strip teases. Settle down, Carrie.”

She sighed, helping his motion with a long grind that made him groan. “I’m trying something new here. I’m adding spice! Is it really that bad?”

“God, no. But you don’t have to do these things you don’t want to do.” Andrew took her hands between his and lifted them to his lips so he could kiss her fingertips. Then he shifted his hips up and rubbed against her. “I love having sex with you as is. And I’m tired, hon. Let’s just do it normal.”

Carrie snatched back her hands. “I want to try something new! What kind of man complains about getting what he’s been asking for? Suck it up and enjoy it already!”

With that she scooted low on his legs, running her kisses like she usually did all over his belly and chest. Andrew clicked his tongue, the belittling sound urging her on, and Carrie grumbled before yanking off his underwear. She admired his cock at full alert, then wrapped her mouth around his crown.

“Oh, babe,” he uttered. “That’s perfect. Just perfect.”

Carrie worked his shaft, running her tongue along the base as she knew he liked, then teasing his balls with both of her hands. This was only a precursor in her mind, because she’d already grown wet at the thought of what was to come.

And dammit, she was ready.

Carrie licked and sucked her husband, running her mouth along his length while sneaking one hand back to touch herself. He was too preoccupied to notice, and when she slid her finger inside her slick opening, images of him filling her special, secret hole crept through her head…

***

Please be sure to order your copy of Hungry for More at any of the locations below…the paperback is available now on Amazon, and everywhere else (with the Kindle version) on August 12th. And don’t forget your chance to win through Rachel Kramer Bussel if you prefer the Kindle version!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek!

XX,
Jade

ORDER YOUR COPY AT:

AMAZON        BARNES AND NOBLE        AMAZON CANADA       

 AMAZON UK        THE BOOK DEPOSITORY        BOOKS-A-MILLION 

INDIEBOUND        CLEIS PRESS        POWELL’S

Cover of Hungry for More edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Hungry for More Pre-Order Sale—2 for 1 Books for a Limited Time!

Happy Sunday!

The fabulous Rachel Kramer Bussel is offering a killer deal today, everyone! If you pre-order a print copy of Hungry for More on Amazon and forward her your receipt, you’ll get a free book!

The deal is only good for the first fifteen pre-orders, so you’ll need to act fast. You can find out more about the process right here. Don’t miss out on this great deal!

Need a little more inspiration? Here’s a reminder of the super sexy cover and the table of contents:

Hungry for More cover

Submissive Jacqueline Applebee
Happy Endings Giselle Renarde
Craig’s List Greta Christina
Bringing the Heat Tiffany Reisz
Madam Secretary Jaye Markham
Kitchen Slut Olivia Archer
Just Once Jocelyn Dex
Boat Rocking D. L. King
The Sleeper’s Beauty Jade A. Waters
Upstairs at the Ava DelovelyOlive
Organically Grown Brandy Fox
The Room of Guarantees Jessica Lennox
Redrawing the Lines Bren Emile
Tickle Day Jeremy Edwards
Relief Katya Harris
Jailbait Torch Song Valerie Alexander
Red Lipstick Erzabet Bishop
Something Sleazy Elizabeth Coldwell
The Instructor Rose de Fer
My Pillar-Box Red Cock Tilly Hunter
A First Time for Everything Rachel Kramer Bussel

What a list—and with a book all about female fantasies, it’s sure to be hot!

You can find out more about the book on the Tumblr page, and please order it up so you can take part in this smokin’ deal!

XX,
Jade