Last weekend, after months of nerves, I attended my very first conference as a published writer – Eroticon 2012, the first conference for erotic writers and sex bloggers.
I drove down to Bristol the day before, since the thought of driving for four hours first thing in the morning was enough to give me hives. As it was, I had to pull over twice for a catnap, the second time after I nearly slid under a lorry, so frankly I was grateful to be there in one piece. Thanks to the miracle of satnavs, I made it to the Premier Inn easily and spent the night serving as proof positive of their Good Night Guarantee. :)
I can honestly say that, even though I knew precisely nobody, I felt welcome from the moment I arrived at the conference venue. I had been worried about what I would wear for some time – should I go daring, artistic, professional? Fortunately, the array of different outfits that surrounded me, ranging from corsets and stockings to T-shirts and jeans, meant that nobody had the chance to feel uncomfortable, and in a room full of erotic writers and bloggers it was clear from the start that everyone was completely comfortable in their own skin.
I joined Liz Simpson and Jennifer Denys for the first workshop, which was “Identity, Ethics and Sex Blogging”. Mina Lamieux, Molly Moore, Lori Smith and Zoe Margolis led us in a fascinating session on the implications of sex blogging both for the blogger and those they blog about, something that has often crossed my mind when writing for Erotic Diaries.
I then headed upstairs to “Taking Your Writing Beyond the Page”. Scarlet French led us through an unusual session on mindful eroticism and collaboration with sex practitioners, opening with five minutes of deep breathing which left me relaxed and ready to sink into my chair.
Next was “Convincing Queer”, where Aisling Weaver and Josephine Myles showed us how to write beyond our experience, something I’ve done several times (much to my husband’s chagrin when it came to writing threesomes). I wasn’t one of those blindfolded or tied up, but as I was sitting at the front I was quite glad Aisling didn’t pick me to demonstrate the flogger!
The afternoon Publishers’ Panel (Hazel Cushion, Maxim Jakubowski, Monique Roffey, Richard Eadie and Paul Andrews) was my last session, as unfortunately I had to drive another four hours back home. Topics discussed included the recent PayPal censorship debate, which fortunately hadn’t affected any of the publishers too badly, although Hazel Cushion of Xcite noted that a novel involving a threesome with twins had been pulled. Someone also asked what kinds of stories publishers wanted, and all were in agreement that good, well-written stories were always welcome, preferably with a new twist – although Hazel Cushion provided more specific requests: no stories involving a married couple pretending to be having an affair, and more Victorian spanking!
All in all it was a great day – apart from those already mentioned I got to meet Lady Cave, Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse, and still managed to arrive home with time to mess around with the goody bag we were given and not collapse from exhaustion. Roll on Eroticon 2013!