Women In Lust

 

Welcome to the blog tour for Women in Lust, Rachel Kramer Bussel’s latest sex-filled anthology from Cleis Press.

I’m fairly open about the fact I write erotica under a pen name.   I don’t generally share what it is because I feel some of the subjects I write about are on the edge of societal norms, and I have children who don’t want to be associated with a mom who writes ‘that kind of stuff.’   One day I was at church—yes, church—and I said something oblique about my pen name.   A friend of mine gave me this look and said she had a pen name, too.   Hers is ‘Brandy Fox,’  and her first foray into erotica is published in Women In Lust, the latest anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

When I raised my internet hand to host the blog tour for the new book, it seemed that interviewing my friend was the obvious thing to do. 

 


CC:  Brandy, you told me this is your first ever attempt at writing erotica.   I’d like to offer my congratulations at making it into an anthology of this quality the first time out the gate. Why did you decide to try your hand at erotica?

BF:  Thanks! I am delighted to be included in RKB’s anthology. I’ve written and published for many years under my real name—mainly essays, poetry and young adult fiction. The idea of writing erotica, however, was the last genre on my mind. I hardly ever read erotica and I’m pretty shy when it comes to sex. But there are certain similarities between myself and Brooke in Unbidden, one of them being that when I hit forty, my libido went a little wacko. Okay, that’s putting it mildly. Around ovulation time every month, I would think about sex 24-7. Being a busy mom of two young boys and married to a man whose libido was not accelerating the way mine was, I found this a bit distracting. I confided in a friend and she suggested I write some erotica to channel the energy. At the website for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association,  I found a long list of calls for submissions. It was great to have a specific theme to write to, as well as a deadline. The writing was clunky at first, but after reading a lot of erotica—for research, of course—I got in the groove and found myself enjoying erotica more than any other writing!

 

CC:  Brooke, the main character in your story, is almost out of control with her sexual desire.  What made you have her stop the scene in the bathroom?  Was it to send a message?  If so, what is it?

BF: I set out to write a complex story about a middle-aged woman’s lust that would turn me on, not to write a story that would send a message. Brooke’s fantasies about being with another man turned me on. Ending up in a bathroom at a party with a man she’d always found hot turned me on. But ultimately, the advances of a stranger turned me—and Brooke—off, and the thought of her husband’s trust and utter devotion turned both of us on. For me, love and lust and trust are inseparable. My favorite stories in Women in Lust are the ones where the partners have developed trust, such as Guess by Charlotte Stein and Queen of Sheba by Jen Cross. The stranger-connections are hot, but just don’t turn me on personally. I know that for many, this isn’t the case.

Emerald put it well in her review of Women in Lust. She explains that while in some of the stories, lust was an overwhelming motivator, sometimes it wasn’t. “…and there was nothing less hot about those times. On the contrary, these were complex characters, so the story was often not just about unconsidered obedience to a sexual drive—Women in Lust included discerning, aware choosing where lust was concerned. To me this was epitomized in Brandy Fox’s Unbidden.”

 

CC:  In another stop along this blog tour, Flightless says, “There’s even one story (“Unbidden” by Brandy Fox; do we think that’s her real name?) that ventures wonderfully into seldom-charted territory — this reader can remember only one other story, by Michael Chabon, that dared to do this: it describes hot, intimate, passionate sex between two people who are married — to each other.”   Did you know you were being daring by having hot sex between married people?  What’s your take on that?

BF: My first reaction to this quote is, Uncharted territory?! Are you serious?! But here’s what’s scary: “Flightless” is absolutely correct. Now that I’ve read a lot of erotica, I see the gaping hole where sex between married partners should be. My goal is to fill that hole, no pun intended. As a matter of fact, I have written a story where a married couple not only has hot sex, but has it in the same room as their two young kids who are so hypnotized by a movie they have no idea it’s going on. Their sex is playful, and very much influenced by their immersion in the world of raising kids, but that doesn’t make it any less erotic. I would not call myself daring. Again, I’m just trying to write unique stories that turn me on, and that includes long-term, committed partners making sex a priority.

By the way, I’m completely flattered to be compared to Michael Chabon. From what I’ve read, he and his wife Ayelet Waldman have made sex a high priority in their relationship. Hot hot hot!

 

CC:  One of the things I found interesting is that Brooke has gone through some effort to tighten and firm her body and to become more ‘attractive’ physically.  What effect do you think this has on her vs. her husband and then her sex life?    Do you think the story would have changed significantly if she hadn’t gone through the transformation?  And, how does her mental transformation parallel that of her physical?

BF: Research—and my own experience—shows that there is a connection between weight loss, physical activity and increased libido. In Unbidden, the attention Brooke gives to her appearance and her sex drive excites her husband. I think anyone whose spouse feels more confident and sexy would be attracted to that. For Brooke, her transformation at age 40 lifted her out of the post-baby-raising slump many new parents fall into. Once out of that slump, feeling sexier than she had ever felt before and therefore acting sexier, she was more likely to attract people to her and end up with a near-stranger’s knee pressed seductively into her groin.  So yes, I think her story would have been different if she hadn’t had that transformation. Different in what way? I’m not sure.

 

CC: Now for the image that had me laughing in conspiratorial glee…The carrot.  I know I have grown a few Italian Zucchinis that had me wanting to pop a condom on them. The notion that anything remotely phallic shaped would send a woman into lustful overdrive is not likely new to women, but the fact you actually wrote about it the way you did is something I haven’t seen before.   I think many women aren’t going to mention stuff like that over coffee at Starbuck’s or while out to dinner with friends.  Why did you include it in the story? 

BF: One of the things I love about writing erotica is that so many of the stories are about just that—stuff you don’t mention over coffee at Starbucks. (Although writing erotica has definitely made me more comfortable talking about sex, even in Starbucks). I included the carrot “scene” in the story for two reasons: 1) Precisely as you said above, it is hardly a new thought to women, yet it’s somehow shocking to say it out loud; 2) To illustrate Brooke’s “unbidden” libido. She’s so horny she can’t even stay away from phallic-looking vegetables as she cooks for her family.

 

CC:  My husband is very selective in what he will read when it comes to my erotic writing.  I know his taste well enough to not show him the things that will squigg him out.  Does your husband read your erotica work?   What’s his reaction to it?

BF: Just to illustrate how shy I used to be about sex—and in many ways I still am—I’ll tell you that it was a HUGE deal to show my husband my first erotica story, which was Unbidden. I waited to show him when we’d have some private time together, assuming it would turn him on so much he’d attack me right then and there. Well, it turns out a story about a woman getting hit on by a man who is not her husband doesn’t turn him on. Since then, I’ve shown him other stories that are easier for him to read, but they never get him immediately horny or anything. I write erotica for women, so the stories just don’t do it for him. One huge benefit to writing erotica, though, has been an increased comfort in communication about sex with my husband. As expected, it’s improved our sex life immensely.

 


Women In Lust is easily available in print or on Kindle at Amazon.  

More about the editor, Rachel Kramer Bussell, can be found here.

How to Use a Condom–Tips from My Teen

 

I can state emphatically and with pride that my seventeen year old knows all about the proper use of a condom.  Every teen should be so lucky, but I’m not the one who taught her how to use them.  She learned the Ten Steps To Condom Use a few years ago in her junior youth group at church as they went through the Our Whole Lives curriculum.  As a junior in High School she is in the midst of the High School portion of the curriculum.  A couple of weeks ago, one of the leaders casually challenged all the youth to go procure their own condoms during the week– preferably that they purchase them and not pilfer them from parents or friends.

My daughter took the assignment with her usual positive aplomb and approached a girlfriend after school to head over to a local drug store after school.  Mind you, my daughter attends school in the down town of a fairly large city and the local drug store for her really amounted to one of those somewhat sleazy mini-marts with two choices of condoms.  She and her friend linked arms, picked the cheapest package–their only criteria–and she bought her first pack of condoms.  On the bus ride home, her friend admitted to never having seen a condom before. 

My daughter, being who she is, opened the package of two and handed one to her friend, right there on the bus, and then she proceeded to give her a brief lesson in proper condom usage.  I don’t know what the other adults on the bus saw or might have thought about this exchange, but I for one, would have been listening in.  No one ever gave me the ten steps to condom use.  I had to learn about things hit and miss.  When I was eighteen, I relied on condoms in spite of lack of proper knowlledge and relying on my partner to do everything right.  Knowing Step Number Nine could have saved me a half hour of fishing around my cervix looking for a seemingly lost condom and several weeks of stress.  (Yes, certain lessons are hard learned, but I’m glad my kid knows some of the rules ahead of the hands-on experience.)    It’s interesting what kids bring home these days.  I can guarantee I’m listening.  

Deadlines, NaNoWriMo and More

I saw an author I respect recently say something about how she’s always writing a novel so NaNoWrimo has no meaning for her.  I think that’s awesome for her.  And, I hope to get to the point, some day, that I can dismiss NaNoWriMo entirely from my life as something quaint and of the past.  I can see what she’s saying though. An artificially imposed month for writing a novel is something for amateurs, for people who do it for the fun of it once a year without any pretense at publishing other than maybe some lofty dreams.  For people who are attempting to make a living at writing professionally, it does seem  superfluous.  Shouldn’t you always be writing, if you are a writer? 

I’m still a newb when it comes to this whole author thing.  I’ve submitted work under this name and my “real life name” and have yet to make any money at it.  I have one story that is tentatively accepted for an anthology under this name, and a few others “out in the world under consideration” by various publications and editors.  The waiting process can feel excrutiating.  The latest periodical I sent a story to said that it could take between 184 and 368 days to respond.  Seriously?  Thankfully, most places are cool with multiple submissions.  Frankly, I WANT my story to appear in THAT periodical though, so I will wait to send it elsewhere.  It’s okay to have it sitting out there in the interwebvoid for a while.  They promise they will respond, and I’ve already received their online confirmation, so I can be patient.

I have a list of deadlines for erotic anthologies that I am working my way through, I’ve promised a review for a book I am still reading, and am going to host the blog tour for a new Cleis anthology at the end of this month.   So, why, if I’m pretty busy writing, do I “do NaNoWriMo,” particularly when I have plenty of unfinished novels waiting for my attention?  Simply put, it’s training.  I’m not very good at keeping up with schedules and daily writing. Oh, I try.  And I do write every day, but I am easily distracted by things.  For example, instead of working on my novel, I am blogging.  I am doing this simply because I didn’t know a fact that I was trying to write about and turned away from the story for a diversion. One thing led to another, and I though, “Oh…blog post.”

I’m going to concentrate more on the novel this year.  It turns out that I stumbled onto a pretty solid plot-line, and I’ve started to fall in love with my main character.  It’s not an erotic novel, though, so I won’t be talking much about it here.  Just know that my next blog post is likely to be the book tour post on November 30th.   And, now, back to some focused writing on that NaNo thing.