A street of buildings at dusk with several cranes in the distance, red lights glowing at their tips

Eroticon or bust?

Oh gosh… Eroticon

Well in the immediate aftermath of arriving home, I did write up a post about things I brought home from Eroticon, but really it’s about so much more than that. I mean, it started *months* ago! I couldn’t afford to go to any big cons last year, so when the news came through to my inbox that Ruby was looking for someone to take over the reins, and there might not be one in 2017… well, I did let out a little “meep!” of disappointment.

But then! Molly and Michael and Girl on the Net took over and said there would be a 2017 Eroticon! Yay!
…in London.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stranger to London. I’ve got family in Surrey and lived in Oxfordshire for a while, so I’ve done a lot of day-trips and traversing it on the tube. Even did a fair bit of work down there the other year – and I realised when I was on my way down that it’s 20 years since I first went running round central London on my own (I’d gone down for a Women in Science & Engineering event when I was in 6th form). But still. It’s expensive. And big. And scary. And – mostly because of the stupidly high number of tourists – not as friendly as other cities like Bristol or Sheffield can feel.

But I went! I did lots of prevaricating, then leapt for a ticket on the last day of signing up to the payment plan, and found myself an affordable deal for a room at a Travelodge. A week before, I even remembered I’d need train tickets, and managed to get a really good deal on them too. Wow!

None of which tells you anything about the actual event! Or why I think it’s so brilliant.

Instead I’ll tell you a bit of a story about my past: in my second year of University, I fell in with a wonderful group of friends. Rather on the geeky side, a lot of them goths or glammys, and pretty much all of them friendly, open, and about as non-judgmental as young folks get. I’m still in touch with most of them now and, even though I don’t see them anywhere near as much as I’d like to, when we do meet up it’s all relaxing and as huggy and snuggly as I could wish for. There’s teasing, but there’s also love, and respect, and that feeling of ‘we might take the piss out of each other, but if someone outside the group dares to take the piss out of even one of us, they’ll have all of us to deal with’. Friendship, in other words.

And that’s what I found at Eroticon. That feeling of “these are my people, no matter how different we are”.

As for the conference side of things? Couldn’t ask for higher quality sessions. My list comprised:
– opening panel ‘Sex in the Mainstream Media’: gave me a few inklings of ideas to possibly propose as articles. Will have to ponder more & do research first though
– ‘Sex Blogging as Feminism & Social Justice’: really empowering, lots of audience interaction
– ‘From Zero to Hero’: double-length session going through how to set up a WordPress website. We didn’t get as far as planned due to wi-fi issues (and gossiping), but I’ve made some tweaks to this site already and will continue to do so over the next while.
– ‘Plotting the Erotic Story’: I was a little late to this session, and everyone was busy writing 6 word stories. I failed at that, but the other writing exercises have given me an idea for a sequel to ‘Man of War’, my story in the Austen-themed ‘A Certain Persuasion’ (which means I’ll have to re-read it. I haven’t since the book was published because everyone else’s stories are so brilliant I got all worried that mine’s not up to scratch…)
– KinkCraft workshop! The lovely, wonderful, always smiley Pixie & Andrew of KinkCraft ran two brilliant workshops over the weekend: making a collar on Saturday and making a cane on Sunday. I made both and found them just as fun as the handcuffs I made in 2015.
– ‘Tips for Getting your work into Print’: the lovely Anna Sky led this session about publishing your work in dead-tree format. I’ve worked with CreateSpace to get Under Leaden Skies into print, but the files were all provided by Manifold Press (part of the way the licensing agreement with them works) so it was very useful to hear about the stages I’d not had to go through.
– ‘Alternative Endings’: I originally struggled to decide which session to attend in this timeslot, but then I read the speaker’ bios in the back of the programme and realised that I’ve heard Rachel speak before, under a different name. I’m so, so glad I chose this session. She is a truly inspiring person. Very upbeat, and also the topics we discussed made me remember my early fandom days, when I wrote for fun and to play around with ideas with my friends; and yes, I’ve made a conscious choice in recent years not to delve too dark in my writing, but perhaps I’m ready to go back there again.
– ‘How to use your blog to educate’: with a 3 person panel, this session covered a whole heap of ground. As with everything else, I came away full of thoughts and ideas. Yes, this blog is primarily here for me to have a presence on the interwebs and act as a place to point people to which gathers my thoughts and *cough* links to books you can buy; but that doesn’t mean I can’t, in my own small way, add in some information to help people understand where my writing comes from.
– and of course, the weekend finished with a ‘Readings’ session. I’d put my name down to take part, and planned to read from Under Leaden Skies. I was asked if I was ok going first, so I did, and that was great because I would have felt really inadequate following anyone else; but it was also a bit of poor timing because the heavens opened, and the rain on the skylights sounded like hail… and stopped just as I did. Ah well, better luck next time :-)

And then went to the pub! And I got lots of hugs!
(and I’m going to warn you now, people who’ll be there next year, if I am too: I’m actually a very huggy & tactile person. Now that I feel I know you more than just as names on a screen, expect more hugs!)

PS We also had 2 evening do’s: simple ‘meet & greet’ in a bar on the Friday night, and an evening of entertainment on the Saturday. Both were fab.

Also, it being in Camden, I did take a little time out to wander along the canal. I also got a little burst of geeky joy every time I passed the cranes pictured above (please blame the rain & dusky lighting conditions for the lack of clarity in the photo!)

Many, many thanks for a wonderful weekend to the organising team, the speakers, and of course the sponsors:
Godemiche, Hot Octopuss, Doxy, Freedoms Shop, The Rabbit Company, The Ruby Glow, Ceramic Pleasure, Chaturbate, and Fuck.com

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