Held in Bristol, UK it was only a short drive for me, though it has to be said there were plenty of people there who had journeyed considerably further, including across the Atlantic to attend.
I arrived in time for a cup of tea and a Danish pastry before the day kicked off. Perfect after my drive and even better because I got the chance to catch up with the forever lovely Miss Rebecca Bond and meet Siren author Jennifer Denys.
The venue was Armada House,
The building itself was old with high ceilings and thankfully very comfortable seats. The food throughout the day fantastic, and the heating on to ward off the cold, damp weather outside. But what made it really special were the delegates, speakers and the awesome sessions available.
I joined my regular partner in mischief Lucy Felthouse and adorable new friend Josephine Myles for a session on self-publishing, which was very insightful and given by the vivacious M K Elliot. After just that first talk my head was spinning and my notepad covered in scribbles. She was so generous with sharing her experiences and tips, and I have to say completely lovely with it. (I had a little shoe envy going on, she wore the most adorable pillar-box red stilettos.)
A quick coffee and a natter with Victoria Blisse and I found myself drawn to Maxim Jakubowski's writer's workshop.
I know Maxim well and have contributed to his anthologies. He always has a laugh at how when I first went to read at a launch party for him in London I took a friend as my back up plan, just in case nerves got the better of me at the last minute and I needed her to read for me - turns out a glass of champers took care of those nerves and once I started I was off.
It is always a joy to listen to Maxim's thoughts on writing and hear about how erotic literature has developed over the years. The hour he spoke for went by in the blink of an eye. Loved his Nicole Kidman story too!
Then it was Josephine's chance to talk about writing outside of your experience. She writes M/M and along with Aisling Weaver, a lesbian writing M/F, they prompted a very colourful discussion on getting into the head of the opposite gender and exploring kinks you may not have as a writer but want your characters to have (yes, believe it or not, we are not all a bunch of sex crazed perverts). However the session did include several members of the audience being tied up and blindfolded! Not me though, I sat at the back with Janine Ashbless and Lucy munching Tic Tacs!
Next was lunch, yum, I was starving, all that information absorption had made me hungry. I had the great pleasure of dining with Hazel Cushions, owner/publisher of Xcite. I have several short stories with them, so to be able to put a face to her name was great. The lovely K D Grace joined us and brought us up to date on how her new book The Pet Shop is doing, and Kay JayBee and I had a much needed gossip :-)
After lunch Lucy and Victoria took the stage for a chat about marketing - a time consuming but essential business. And also set out a call for submissions for their new anthology Smut By The Sea. Oh yeah, sounds fabulous! I then managed to get to the publisher panel and find out what UK erotic publishers are looking for in particular - odd fetishes and Victorian spanking apparently!
With another cup of tea in hand, every delegate was ushered into the largest conference room for a display by the London Faerie.
This is what he says about himself - "Those who truly know themselves are happier, kinder, more abundant beings. My mission is to inspire and enable people (including myself) to heal and grow, allowing us to live, love and fuck in glorious shame free technicolour. I do this by holding safe spaces where transformation can happen; through the darkness into the light. My tools are intuition, community, shared vulnerability, wisdom and whips. All followed by a nice cup of tea."
I wasn't sure what to expect, but I did know that his friend Lori had offered her 'peachy behind' for the practical demonstration.
After a brief introduction about Sacred Pleasure, BDSM and an explanation about endorphins, the lights were dimmed, the True Blood theme tune (I Wanna Do Bad Things) filled the room and a spanking demonstration began. At times it was soft and loving, other times, the audience winced with Lori. There were more songs and more spanks with a variety of instruments. The practical part of the session went on for the best part of half an hour, and afterward there was a very passionate, revealing, intimate discussion by everyone, including a very happy, and dreamy Lori, on what had been learned/gained.
By this time I was ready for a glass of wine, yay, and as I sipped a chardonnay we were entertained by a slip of girl in the most amazing outfit, (nipple covers to die for) as she danced a beautiful Burlesque.
The fabulous Ruby Kiddell, who planned and organised the whole event, took to the stage to draw the raffle - very unusual prizes that included sex loungers, vibrator holders and books, books and more books. Fabulous. All I can say Ruby is 'when can I buy my ticket for Eroticon 2013?'
As the day came to an end I had a quick catch up with Scarlet French and then headed in search of an evening meal with Maxim, Lucy, Jacqueline Brocker, Victoria, K D Grace and Josephine. After a walk along the wonderful Bristol waterfront we found a great burger bar and carried on with our non-stop chatter about rude writings.
Finally it was time to say farewell to some as they headed to hotels and the train station. But not for myself, KD, Lucy, Victoria and for a little while, Josephine. Still high on the day and the sheer excitement of being around friends who completely 'got you', we retired to the hotel bar (accompanied by wine, vodka and rum if I re-call) and continued our gossip until the most indecent of hours!! I vaguely remember a conversation about deadly sins?!
All in all Eroticon 2012 was fun, informative, inspirational, shocking, delicious, dirty and as I write this my head is spinning with new ideas, plots, plans and most of all words!!
A big thank you to all my old and new friends for making the day so wonderful for me. Perhaps I will be tempted out of my cave more often.