I spent my weekend at Eroticon 13, a conference for writers of erotica and bloggers of sex. (I am not about to become one of the latter. Sorry if this disappoints anyone.) It was relatively cheap and took place not far from my 'hood, in Coin Street, so I thought I'd take a punt and I'm glad I did.
The crowd was pretty much what I was expecting: lots of women around my age, give or take a few years, though everyone who'd been in 2012 said the young man count was well up. I was afraid I wouldn't talk to anyone, but found a friend straight away as we teamed up to persuade the coffee dispenser to dispense some coffee, and managed to strike up several more conversations over the course of the weekend. Late on Day 1 I was asked if I knew slightlyfoxed, an acquaintance to which I proudly admit, and that's how I met Jacqueline Applebee. (She had been told to look out for someone probably wearing orange and, having exhausted those options, eventually found me and my bright red shirt.)
I enjoyed Saturday's editing talk, entitled "Let's Eat, Pussy", which included some examples of how not to write sex. Hint: don't use the phrase 'baby batter'. (On Sunday, someone told me that this had sunk into their subconscious, causing them to go home and make pancakes.) There were creative writing sessions and talks by publishers. There was a talk from Brook, the young people's advisory service, about the challenges and opportunities presented by including information about safe sex and consent in erotic writing, and one on self-publishing ebooks. I enjoyed the Anthologies panel, which not only suggested potential markets but made anthology editors human, rather than the faceless entities of my imagination who read my submissions and laugh cruelly.
The surprise hit of the weekend, for me, was Ashley Lister's poetry workshop. There were some good points about using the tricks and tools of poetry within prose, and the whole session was a load of fun. We had to write smutty haiku and limericks in five minutes each, and were picked on to read them out.
Here is my haiku. I was at pains to point out that it's a proper haiku as it evokes a sense of season:
Screeches in the night
Howling Spring-awakened lust
Those bloody foxes.
And here is my limerick:
A young electrician named Peter
Was asked to repair a gas heater.
"It's sooo hot in here,"
Moaned his client, "my dear!"
Said Peter: "And think of the meter!"
Neither of these is especially sexy, but they did make people laugh. Which pretty much sums up my career in erotic fiction to date.
When I reported to my associates that we'd been made to write poetry then read it out, they paled and expressed relief they hadn't gone. Later, some of them went to a hands-on session entitled 'BDSM: The Tools of the Trade', which had a similar effect on me.
BIG YIKES of the weekend: at the closing session I was the first name read out as a random prizewinner and had to walk up and receive my goodies in front of everyone. Luckily the prize was books, rather than something donated by sponsors Swan Vibrators.
Here is a photo of, L-R, Jacqueline Brocker, Jennifer Denys, and me, all wearing black lanyards to indicate our consent to be in photos. Don't we all look nice and normal?
I came away very pleased with my weekend's work. I have new people to follow on Twitter, new markets to pursue, and a couple of new ideas for writing, and I was home shortly after 6 on both days.
But what am I going to do with all these condoms?