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Sex Book
Secret Sex Lives in Chicago Tribune

“Fifty Shades of Grey”/”Secret Sex Lives”

With Fifty Shades of Grey grossing nearly $250 million in worldwide ticket sales in its first weekend, I guess it’s no surprise that there’s been renewed interest in Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality. To say I’m pleased with that is an understatement. I got my first hint of that interest when a photo journalist for the Chicago Tribune sent me an email that had “Love
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Cross-Dressing In The Red State of Texas

“Maybe I can find me a maid’s dress in there,” Bill said. His girlfriend laughed. They were driving to Target for dog food, but Halloween was nearing. “You couldn’t handle it if I wore a dress, pantyhose, and shoes,” he persisted. “I’d just laugh at you,” she replied. Bill didn’t say a word. He remembers too clearly his parents arguing, his mother loading him up and moving out of their house and then back in—repeated
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An Update on the People of “Secret Sex Lives”

I’m constantly asked about the people from Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality. “Are you still in touch with them?” “What do they think about the book?” “What happened to …?” So I thought Valentine’s week might be a good time to answer some of those questions. Yes, I’m still in touch with many of them. So far, I haven’t heard any direct complaints about the book, though through the grapevine
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Secret Sex Lives

Talking Sex — Writing, Teaching, & Dating

One thing I discovered through researching, writing, and publishing Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality is that people look at me through colored lenses when I tell them I research and write about sex. I have yet to figure out if those lenses are rose-colored or black. I do know they looked black on the day a former student insisted that I go up to his hotel room to talk with him about his w
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Suzy Spencer discusses

Comfortable, Finally

I asked a friend the other day to pray that I’d find the “right” book to write next. “I want you to write a book with purpose,” she said. I flinched. Every book I’ve written has had purpose, I think. Certainly Wasted and Breaking Point did. Wasted, the story of the murder of Regina Hartwell, allowed me to go into high schools and talk about drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and physical abuse. St
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10 Things I Never Thought I’d Do

A while back, I read a Tweet about 10 Things I Never Thought I’d Do as an Author. I thought that sounded interesting, so I clicked on the link only to learn that the 10 things were about self-publishing, building a website, building an audience through social media, etc. Man, that wasn’t what I’d expected, so I decided to write my own list of 10 Things I Things I Never Thought I’d Do as an Author. They are totally di
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I Don’t Want To Be This Way

Do you ever say to yourself, “I don’t want to be this way”? I said that a few minutes ago. And I’m saying it to myself now … again … and again … and again … as I cope with a bit of hurt and disappointment – hurt and disappointment that in the grand scheme of life is so irrelevant but feels like rejection from the one you love dearly. Here’s why: I recently received an interview request from one of my college alumni m
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“Secret Sex Lives” Goes to the Inauguration

I think many of you know that I love it when you send me photos of you with my books. Today, I got one that I just had to share with you. Yep, Secret Sex Lives went to President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. I have the best friends and fans in the world!
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Wildly Monogamous

Why was Ian such an amazing source? Because in nearly eight years of researching and writing "Secret Sex Lives," Ian was my only interview who was happily married AND monogamous.
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You Grill Me … Part 2

I answered some of your Secret Sex Lives questions in “You Grill Me …” Now I answer more of your questions in “You Grill Me … Part 2.” Jennifer: How do you handle or deal with the negative criticism the book has received? How do you respond to those who attack your “sex freaks?” That attack you? How do you really want to respond? So far, I’m not aware of criticism the book has rece
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Texas Book Festival: A Guest Post

Many of you have asked me about the Secret Sex Lives session of the Texas Book Festival. As I stated in my original post about the Festival, it exceeded my expectations but I’m not comfortable talking about it because it feels like bragging. So I asked the session’s moderator, Jodi Egerton, to tell you about it. So here is Jodi’s account of our 45 minutes, standing at a podium in the Texas State Cap
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Secret Sex Lives & the Military

Over the past eight years, I have traded almost 17,000 emails with men and women throughout the United States who have secret sex lives like that of former CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell and possibly Gen. John Allen and Jill Kelley, who received rebuking emails from Broadwell for her behavior as Kelley strolled MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, and FBI agent Frederick Humphries, who e
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You Grill Me …

When you decided to write something different and “fun” and decided to write about sex, what made you go to a place like Craigslist, AdultFriendFinder.com, Alt.com, etc. to do your investigation?
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Wish You’d Been There: Texas Book Festival

I wish you’d been with me at the Texas Book Festival. I had such a grand time. Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess and the author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, spoke at the Paramount Theater and had me stomping my feet with laughter. That’s not an exaggeration. If you ever have the chance to go hear Jenny, do it! I intended to race from Jenny’s session to hear Yael Kohen, author of We Killed: The
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“Katie” and Kinsey

I never thought this girl from Lufkin, Texas, would be sitting down with Katie Couric to talk about sex. And I certainly didn’t think that prior to that conversation I’d be talking to a professor from the Kinsey Institute, listening to her tell me that she’d read Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality, loved it, and would be putting it on her recommended reading list for her students. But on Tu
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(Editing) Phone Sex at Schlotzsky’s

Warning: This post contains language that some readers will find offensive. As many of you know, I spend of a lot of my life in fast food restaurants. In fact, too much of my life. I like to write in them. Well, I like to write in some of them. The ones that I do like to write in perfectly balance lighting, temperature, table height, seat comfort, clientele, staff, and management. The ones that I don’t like? It
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Secret Sex Lives by Suzy Spencer

Pensive? Happy? Or Just “Secret Sex Lives”?

I stared at my computer screen, then out the sliding glass doors and through the dark winter leaves of the live oak trees. I’d spent the better part of the last ten years writing “true crime” books about real-life murder, sitting with the grieving friends and family of homicide victims, listening to their stories, memories, regrets, loves, and rages as they talked about the ones who had passed on too soon.  I proclai
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Let’s Talk, Openly

Today I got the following email from “Neil,” one of my sources in Secret Sex Lives: Hi Suzy, Geeze, we’re all waiting for a blog update. Busy, doing well? Neil   As I told Neil, yes, it’s busy. Last week I started a new blog post but didn’t get it finished because my time is split and scattered. While preparing for the October 2, 2012 publication of Secret Sex Lives, I’m trying to make sure that I finish t
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Fasten Your Seat Belts: It’s Still Crazy ‘Round Here!

Secret Sex Lives is racing toward its October 2, 2012, publication date and life seems to be getting crazier and crazier and bumpier and bumpier. In my head, I keep hearing the Bette Davis quote from All About Eve: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” Okay, more accurately, I keep hearing the revised version of that quote, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” B
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Crazy ‘Round Here

I’m speeding down the road. I’m about to hit something. What? Hell if I know. I can’t see it. All I know is that I’ve got to hit the brakes NOW. I try. I can’t. My foot is stuck under the floormat. I can’t edge my foot forward. I can’t slip it backwards. I can’t turn it left. I can’t turn it right. Then, I wake. That’s been one of my recurring dreams lately. Maybe I dreamed it this past weekend because I was at the T
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“Secret Sex Lives” — The Beginning

I’m a little bit dumbfounded that I can get nostalgic about writing a book that hasn’t even been published, yet. But the other day I was glancing through some old files and came across a photograph of my previous office, the place where I began writing Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality. As I stared at that old photo and was reminded of those first days of research, I got verkle
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Regina, Kim, Justin and “Wasted”, Again

Apparently Investigation Discovery network has aired again the Deadly Sins episode about Regina Hartwell, Kim LeBlanc, and Justin Thomas, a love triangle that resulted in murder and was the focus of my book Wasted, because my blog is being slammed with hits due to searches for Regina and Kim. After the first airing, I promised to provide you with additional photos, which I’ve failed to do because I’ve gon
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If I Could Accomplish One Thing in 2011 …

Today’s the day after Christmas. It’s a day I should be writing my year-end blog where I tell you what wonderful things happened in 2011 and how joyous and grateful I am. And for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with me through Twitter or Facebook (since I haven’t been very good at blogging this year), wonderful things have happened in 2011. In May, I finally finished the sex book. In July, my publisher
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The Sex Book & Mr. Cool

As you may have noticed, I’ve been more than lax in my blog posts since last spring.  At first I was too busy with the sex book to think about blogging.  Then, after I turned in the manuscript on May 1, I was just plain all “wrote out.”  The book took everything I had to give, emotionally and physically.  More than three months later, I’m still all “wrote out.”  I can barely tap out a word.  But I feel I owe you a fe
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The Embarrassing Truth

In 2001, when I first started covering the story of Andrea Yates, the Houston mother who drowned her five children, I read every article on the case I could find.  I thought the most touching writing came from a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. I contacted her to tell her how beautiful and emotional her work was.  If I recall correctly, I told her she should be the one writing the Yates book, not me.  Her writing
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Writing the Life I Live

When I wrote fiction, the life I lived became my writing. A hometown visit with my friend Paula Sue inspired my short story My Sweet Sheri Sue, which you’ll find here and was published in a slightly different form in the anthology Red Boots & Attitude: The Spirit of Texas Women Writers (Eakin Press, 2002). Another short story (that I now find embarrassing) was inspired by an obsession, and a regrettably lost shor
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Sex, Beach, Tears & Rainbows

The day after I emailed my sex book to my editor in New York, I had so much I wanted to blog about.  Ideas and words kept popping into my head.  But I wouldn’t let myself write them because I felt I needed to take the day off.  The previous four months had been long, hard, and stressful – editing and rewriting my own work under a tight deadline, along with editing and coaching others, teaching, prepping for and going
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Swinging at the WB

I’m sitting in Whataburger trying to work on my sex book.  I’m editing a chapter in which I meet swingers – lifestylers, partner-swappers – through Craigslist.  But I’m having trouble concentrating because there’s a lifestyle group meeting in my neighborhood this weekend.  Part of me, a large part of me, wants to be at their party watching and reporting.  Since I can’t, since I need to write rather than report, I cam
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The Reporter and the Ginger Farmer

Who would have ever thought that researching and writing a book on sex in America would result in a life-changing business trip to China?  Certainly, I wouldn’t have, but it did.  Alas, I don’t have time to tell you about it right now because the trip put me severely behind in my sex book rewrite.  In fact, it’s nearly 10 o’clock at night and I haven’t met today’s minimum page coun
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Forgive Me, Friends — Hiatus

Dear Friends, I barely got this blog going (meaning posting regularly), when I got hit with sex book deadline, teaching, freelance work, and business travel.  Forgive me, but I’m going to take a blogging hiatus for the month of June.  I know my limits.  I know I’m not a great multi-tasker.  And I know the quality of my writing here has suffered due to my inability to multi-task.  In 2005, I swore to mysel
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Notes on Napkins

I love writing notes on napkins.  I think it makes me feel important because when I was a little kid in East Texas, only important people jotted notes on napkins – at least that’s what I thought.   When I moved to New York City, it seemed like people bragged about doing deals on a napkin.  And when I lived in Los Angeles, I felt like everyone exchanged phone numbers on napkins.  It helped me remember where I met them
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Going to Bed with My Work

For those of you who know I’m writing a book about sex, get your minds out of the gutter.  When I say I’m going to bed with my work, that’s not what I mean. For those of you who regularly read my blog, you’ll know exactly what I mean.  I’m climbing into bed with my research.  Well, that doesn’t sound right either. What I mean is that I’m so bogged down in my work that I’m finishing late at night and need to go to sle
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Mixed Emotions. Then What?

I saw something the other day that caused mixed emotions in me.  It was a hardback book, spread-eagle in the middle of the parkway, its pages flapping in the wind as cars drove over it.  Now the cars weren’t smashing it with their tires, thank God.  They were straddling it.  (Yes, I know, there are lots of sex puns there.  They’re not intended.) My mixed emotions came from the fact that I was so thrilled that someone
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The Shakes, Spilled Drinks & Broken Toes

I’ve got the shakes.  On top of that, I just knocked over a glass of water and a large cup of Diet Coke, both spilling onto my cream-colored carpet.  The carpet is only two years old.  I don’t want it stained, so I just spent 30 minutes or so standing on towels trying to soak up the mess.  It’s now 1:32 PM and I still haven’t started work.  I thought I was starting work when I knocked over the glasses.  Now I’m writi
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The Big News

As many of you know, the making of the sex book has been a long and trying process.  I started the book in December 2004.  For the next year and a half, I researched, reported, wrote, rewrote, rewrote, and rewrote the book’s proposal.  The research continued through 2007.  During those years, I traveled from Texas to New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico to Florida, Jama
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Dreaming of Strip Clubs

The other night I dreamed I was in a strip club.  It was a great dream.  I woke rested and happy for the first time in … I can’t remember when.  But the dream, oh, that I remember.  I was working in the club.  I don’t mean stripping.  I was reporting and researching.  From afternoon to well past dark, through shift changes of day strippers to night dancers, I was there … out front, watching and talking with bot
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Root Dirt

As I sat there staring at my fingernails, I thought about my sex book.
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"Sex. Sex. Sex, right, sex."

Some people have to force themselves to not think about sex. I have to force myself to think about sex.
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Rapping, Tapping, Raven

Hear that tapping?  It’s my fingers … as I wait … and wonder … when my editor is going to call.  This is what it’s like for writers … waiting.  Even published writers.  Wondering.  Maybe it’s not that way for writers like Nelson DeMille.  But for those of us in the middle, it’s tapping fingers … anxiously waiting … maddeningly waiting. My editor was supposed to call me on February 1.  She didn’t.  I let it slide.  Pr
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