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Naughty Novelists News and Giving Creativity a Hand

Naughty Novelists

For those of you who haven’t already heard me shouting it on Facebook or Twitter, yesterday’s Daily Express ran a lovely article called We’re the New Naughty Novelists, in which I got interviewed along with two very big hitters, Janine Ashbless and Primula Bond. I was chuffed to be in such talented company. The topic of the piece was our ordinary lives. Of course all of this is in the wake of the Fifty Shades phenomenon. The article is very positive and supportive and I don’t know about my two esteamed colleagues, but I had great fun when the make-up artist and photographer came to take some shots of me being ordinary.

However, just for the record, we aren’t actually NEW naughty novelists. We’ve all got track records, as it were. Granted I’m the newby in the midst of such lovely naughtiness, but even I have three novels, a novella, multiple short stories, and more of all to come. I think we might actually be the Experienced Naughty Novelists, but the publicity is great, the article was fun to do, and if you missed the print version with all the lovely piccies, here’s the link with the lovely Janine Ashbless multi-tasking as only a naughty novelist can.

More Masturbation Month Mischief

If you haven’t been celebrating National Masturbation Month, it’s not too late to start. If you try real hard, I’ll bet you can even make up for lost time. In keeping with the spirit of self love, I’ll be passing on tidbits and little self-love excerpts from my novels and short stories from now until the end of May, so here’s a little gem of information worthy of a good hand.

As a novelist, who writes erotic romance, I’m proud to be a frequent masturbator, and I’m always a bit surprised that anyone could be ashamed of such a powerful creative force.

The ancient Egyptians believed masturbation was a creative act in its own right. In the Heliopolis creation myth, the god Amen rises from the primeval ocean, Nun, and masturbates the divine son and daughter into existence, and they populate the world. Even if I look at the Judeo/Christian myth in the first two chapters of Genesis, where God speaks the world into existence, I am still looking at a solo act.

Eric Francis on Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross’s Sex Information Online site writes, ‘Masturbation is the most elemental form of sexuality, requiring only awareness and a body.

Awareness and a body. Masturbating the world into existence. It happens all the time. At the risk of offering too much information, my understanding of sex, my deepest understanding of my own sexuality, comes from awareness and my own body. That’s what I have to work with. My understanding of writing, my deepest understanding of the creative forces in me also comes from awareness and my own self.

I’m astounded that in a world where solitude and the meditative tradition is a part of almost every religious discipline, we shy away from the very concepts that could have well given birth to it, awareness and Body. Can there really even BE awareness without a body? And how can we possibly understand the boundaries and the limits of either without the two rubbing up against each other. Our act of one-ness, our proto-sexuality, as Eric Francis calls it, I suggest is by its boundary-exploring nature, also our proto-creativity.

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And now, here’s a very nasty,  not-for-the-delicate-flowers, Self Love Excerpt from my naughty novella, Surrogates. (Heavy breathing is allowed)

Excerpt:

‘You were with her, weren’t you? You were with your wife,’ she said reaching a gloved hand to deposit a handful of weeds in the trug next to her, an act which made the skirt ride up even further, an act which made him breathless.

‘What? No! I wasn’t. I promise. I had a meeting with my accountant that ran long. I swear it, Francie, darling. I haven’t seen Bel since I got home. Besides she’s staying over at her sisters this evening. They’re having a girl’s night out. Sweetheart, you know if I were with her, I’d tell you. Haven’t I always been above board about what goes on between Bel and me?’

She knew he had. Not that there was much to tell, but on the odd occasion when Bel had had too much wine with dinner and demanded he do his husbandly duty, or when she was feeling morose about her advancing years, all thirty-four of them, and needed to be shown she was still sexy, he never lied about it. It didn’t matter what sex acts he’d had to perform to please his wife, when Francie asked for details, he gave them. A part of him hated that she always asked. Surly she knew it would be easier if she didn’t know, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. And he didn’t hold back anything, even though he was always careful to remind her that it was thinking about her that made him come when he did his duty where Bel was concerned.

And all the while he told Francie what he’d done to Bel, told her details that made him blush, details that made his cock stretch and arch towards her, she listen while her cunt got slick and fat. Even as those details made her angry and unhappy, she asked for them. And while he told her, she played with herself, fingers darting furiously in and out between her heavy slippery folds, hips shifting and grinding as she asked him in clipped breathless words for more details. What did Bel’s pussy look like? How did she smell? Could he taste the wine she’d drank or the spices from Cook’s currey when he ate her out? How hard did her nipples get? Did she talk dirty when he pushed into her? Jesus, having sex with Bel, even though he knew it hurt Francie, was almost worth it to watch the way Francie took the pain, twisted it, turned it, reshaped it and came on it, came in lovely gushing female squirts at what she had made of it in her filthy little head.

Of course she didn’t like it that someone else got his cock while she only got to watch him wank. He didn’t like it either, but there was nothing for it at the moment. As much as he wanted Francie, as much as he dreamed of riding her raw, he was still married to Bel, and he would stay faithful until he got the balls to ask for a divorce. No matter how badly he wanted Francie, he could never behave towards Bel the way his father had towards his mother.

So why was he such a coward? People got divorced every day. Lots of people. Hell he knew people who had already been married and divorced multiple times. It was a simple thing to ask for a divorce these days. And yet, here he was like a damned adolescence begging for a peek under a girl’s skirt. ‘Please, darling, he said. ‘I don’t have a lot of time, and I want to spend what I do have with you.’

He saw the sigh shiver up through her body, and he knew he’d been forgiven. She raised on her knees enough to take off the gloves she wore, then with one hand she eased the skirt up over her hips and wriggled slightly to open her legs a little wider on the mat where she knelt.

He pressed his thumb to the head of his cock. The urge to come at the sight of her all engorged and open was nearly overwhelming. The pearlescent sheen on the inside of her pouting labia told him he wasn’t the only one who needed to come. As she arched her back downward and forced her bottom even higher, her clit came into view looking like a heavy swollen marble at the apex of her pussy. ‘Oh, Francie –’ he breathed ‘– touch it for me.’

 

Getting My Hands Dirty

The mini greenhouse all clean with new covers. Seedlings in the first one.

I drive myself crazy writing sometimes. I’m tunnel-visioned, and I don’t always know when to call a halt. I’ve kept my head down for the first three months of this year. I’ve written hard, and long, and lots — plus the PR. But there comes a time when a girl just has to get her hands dirty before she can write another word. This is that time!

My husband and I spent a good chunk of our day working in our veg patch – well our future veg patch. At the moment there are only a few over-wintering cauliflower and broccoli plants remaining, and a strawberry patch sorely in need of cleaning. At the moment the whole of 2012’s veg garden can be contained in two large draining trays and part of one mini greenhouse, all zipped in for extra warmth. But in a few months, my-oh-my, you won’t recognize the place. We’ll have sweet corn higher than our heads, tomato plants ladened with a dozen different varieties from all over the tomato growing world; we’ll have tee-pees of climbing beans and peas, vines of yellow and green courgettes and multiple varieties of brassicas. That’s not even counting the soft fruit and the dwarf root stock apple trees. I know, I know! Now I’m just bragging!

We’ve got trays of seeds planted and sitting on water bottles in the kitchen (our low tech, unorthodox

Newly planted seeds all toasty on their water bottles.

system to speed up germination.) What has already germinated has had a week or two to grow on in the house and was transplanted today into our mini greenhouses, which are now soaped, scrubbed and sporting new plastic covers. My husband has potted eight large pots of seed potatoes (with our limited space, we grow spuds in pots), and the dreaming and scheming of what will go where is well under way.

As we scrubbed and planted and labelled seed trays, the resident blackbird made short work of any worms that were uncovered as we cleaned the patio and did a bit of weeding in the main bed. He and the Mrs are feeding chicks, so he came and went, each time filling his beak full to overflowing. When he wasn’t hunting and gathering, he was perched in the ash trees above our garden singing loudly just in case any other blackbird should doubt this this nice piece of real estate, where he gets fed currents and meal worms on demand, belongs to him. I hope my timing is good. I hope that by the time the chicks fledge I’ll have large courgette leaves and tee-pees ladened in runner beans for them to scurry about underneath and hide.

Ready to go to the greenhouses

The whole back garden is alive. There are three starling nests in the eaves and a nuthatch coming and going on a regular basis, as well as tits and doves and wood pigeons, who brazenly nip at the leaves of the cauliflower plants whenever they feel like it.

My husband has convinced the people who run the canteen at his office to save him their coffee grounds. All winter long, several times a week he came home bearing a large yellow plastic bucket full of coffee grounds, which he spreads over the garden. We joked about the worms being hyped up on caffeine. And I still smile to think about my husband, the very dapper business man, walking to and from his office several times a week carrying a large yellow bucket.

Tonight I feel better. Tonight I feel more like my writerly self again. What is it about

I'm anticipating

getting my hands in the earth that is so healing? Perhaps it’s a different kind of creativity, a kind in which I’m really only a facilitator. I can make sure the conditions are right. But what it takes for a paper thin, nearly weightless, not much bigger than the head of a pin, tomato seed to grow into a chest-high plant ladened with heavy, meaty, luscious fruit, well that’s something else altogether, and something that astounds me and amazes me every single time it happens. A new season is just beginning. The process is just getting started, and I’m like a kid at Christmas time, just waiting for it all to unfold again.

 

Artist Fuschia Ayling talks Sexuality and Creativity

Fuschia and me at the BTR launch

I’m sure you’ve already seen the pictures of the paintings and heard me rave about the fabulous artists who each volunteered to illustrate a different excerpt of my novel, Body Temperature and Rising, for my launch party a couple of weeks ago. As I’ve gotten to know these very talented young artists and seen a bit more of their work, I knew I had to have them on my site and give my readers the chance to get to know them a little better and have a look at a few images of their wonderful work.

Fuschia’s stunning scene depicting voyeuristic bliss on the fells from BTR

The very talented Fuschia Ayling is my guest today. Fuscia chose the opening scene of Body Temperature and Rising to paint, and on her blog, teased us all with sneak peeks of the work in progress. I’ve been following her blog ever since just to see what she gets up to. Welcome Fuschia! It’s a pleasure to have you on A Hopeful Romantic.

KD: Fuschia, have you always known you’ve wanted to be artists? What inspired the choice?

Fuschia:I have always been driven creatively, ever since I was a very small child – I suppose I was always happiest when I was up to my elbows in paint, mud or playdough. When I was small my father owned a gallery and studio in St. Ives, and his success and talent as an artist – along with my immersion in the Cornish art scene – meant that I was given all the encouragement I needed to continue exploring my interest. As I grew up I continued to enjoy expressing myself visually, but I

‘My Not So Secret Garden’

viewed it more as therapy – there were always things which I couldn’t explain to others, things that I could only really exorcise in my journals. I studied Art and Design at college and then took an extra couple of years to really develop my work and distance myself still further from what seems to be a very Cornish expectation – that as an artist one should paint landscapes and seascapes to order. I am thankful that being an artist is a viable career option – I can basically devote my life to healing what is, unfortunately, a slightly damaged brain.

KD: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

“Bang Bang” is to do with sexual experience and confusion, the way all the things that we experience leave traces, tangled and in some ways unable to be separated. It is also to do with my feelings for my own body, my femininity, my role as a woman – as explored through the use of embroidery.

Fuschia: I am 20 years old, currently studying at Kingston University for a BA in Fine Art. My work is always confessional, often sexual and sometimes a little shocking. My work deals with my own personal experiences and opinions, and in that way it is like an ever growing and expanding diary of my life. I often deal with issues that, although still current, are perhaps best described as scars from childhood. I have been called a feminist artist, although this isn’t a label I particularly identify with, I think my work deals with what could be deemed “Feminine Issues” merely because I am by gender a woman. I enjoy writing, drawing, sewing and painting – I like to mix and match materials and processes.

KD: Why did you choose to make sexuality the central theme in your artwork?

Fuschia:I suppose sexuality is a central theme in my work because it is a central theme in life – sex

‘Open Wide’

is, after all, the reason why we are all here. I am very interested by human nature, especially when it comes to sex, and I think that this interest fuels part of my obsession. Like many people I have issues with my own sexuality, I find that exploring these unspoken things in my work comes naturally to me. I have produced a lot of work in the past about being a rape victim, and I probably will continue to do so in the future, it is something which I kept secret and shamefully hidden for so long that having the freedom to express it, to work through it and to, hopefully, help other people in similar positions to myself is hugely healing to me. I think also that in my work I wanted to make a distinction between sex and rape, because rape is not sex but it is violence and sex is something beautiful – no matter how hard you’re fucking it is always consensual. Sex is wonderful – I want to celebrate that.

KD: Where to you get your inspiration?

Fuschia:I am inspired predominantly by my own history, but also materially – by patterns, colours, chance events. I am really interested in

surface decoration, the little details which make up the skin of an object. I also have a fascination with craft – embroidery, needlework, knitting, upholstery, beading – things which were traditionally a woman’s work, I enjoy bringing a new vitality to them when they are placed in an altogether different context – For me, a cross stitch of a pretty house is impressive, but a cross stitch of a vagina is sheer brilliance.

‘My Cunt is a Crime Scene’

KD: What’s the hardest thing about being an artist?

Fuschia: I think that, for me, the hardest thing about being an artist is also one of the best things – Being self led. On the one hand the freedom is wonderful, the ability to just get up one day and say “Today I shall make a wall-hanging entirely out of cotton wool…” – that is a fabulous feeling when you have total monopoly over your practice. On the other hand, however, is awful days of total creative block, despondency, failure… It is about having the ability to be your own critic, but also to know when to stop beating yourself up over your short-comings.

KD: Who inspires you, as an artist?

Fuschia: In the art world my greatest influence has to be Tracey Emin, I discovered her work aged 14 and have been in love ever since. I admire her ability to let the viewer in but still keep hold of the reigns. For me she is somebody who is very real, very human and also very good at what she does. I also admire Sarah Lucas, Elke Krystufek, Nan Goldin, Annette Messager, Ana Mendieta and Francesco Clemente among others. I have also been inspired greatly by the work of author Mervyn Peake. I would also like to take this oportunity to say a big thank you to Sarah Berry for her ongoing support!

KD: What are you working on now?

Fuschia: I am currently working on a project which is far more feminine in appearance, I have become really interested in floral prints and patterns. I have just completed part of this – a large square painting titled “My Not So Secret Garden”, which was inspired by my unease with the common pornographic pose which involves spreading ones pussy lips with ones fingers, I was interested in the dual meaning of the gesture – whether it was an invitation, a sign of vulnerability in exposing our softness – or whether it could be an aggressive gesture, a blatant display of sexuality as something threatening. By combining the image with soft floral shapes and pastel colours I am trying to play with the connotations the familiar pose has…It is work in progress!

KD: What are you working on now?

Fuschia: I am very excited at the moment about our (The Vagina Atelier) nomination for the Erotic Award’s Erotic Artist of the Year, and the possibilities for making new contacts. I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings…

Fuschia’s blog: http:/www.fuschiaayling.blogspot.com

Thank you, Fuschia for giving us a chance to get to know you a little better and to sample a little bit of you stunning art. It’s been a real pleasure you to have you! I wish you all the best in your creative pursuits.

 

A Very Long Walk for a Very Good Cause

Nick and Lucy stopping for lunch in East Texas

When Raymond was in the States in January, he sent me a link from the Monroe Louisiana paper about a couple who were walking across the US for charity. Being a walker, I was outrageously impressed, and knowing the lack of public footpaths and right aways for walkers, I knew that Nick and Lucy Russell were going to be facing some serious challenges. This lovely couple is sort of dear to my heart because not only are they taking on an amazing challenge for a great cause, but they’re from the UK! Well, I just had to email them. To my surprise and delight, they agreed to let their feet rest a bit while I interviewed them. And they even sent lots of cool piccies! Please welcome Nick and Lucy Russell, from somewhere in the deserts of West Texas.

Our starting point on the beach at Tybee Island

KD: Of all the things you might have done to raise money for charity, what inspired you to walk across the USA? Why this walk? Why this charity?

N&L: We disagree as to whose idea it was in the first place to walk across America. One of us originally suggested trying to walk across Russia (we only ever seem to take our holidays in Russia, for some odd reason), this was quickly dismissed as being far too difficult! So, America seemed a much shorter option in the end (ah for the benefit of hindsight).

KD:Could you give us a basic description of your route, from where to where? Why this

Pecan trees in the morning in Georgia

particular route? How long do you think it will take you?

N&L: We started out at Tybee Island (just east of Savannah, Georgia) and will (hopefully!) finish in San Diego, California. We chose a Southern route mainly because it allows us to avoid the colder weather further north and mountain ranges (it’s also a slightly shorter route, which is always welcome). It also takes us through parts of the country which we wouldn’t have otherwise visited. It should take us 6 months to complete…injuries and bad weather permitting!

KD: Tell us a bit about Nick and Lucy. Who are they now and who were they in their previous life (Before the walk began)?

Road sign for Hiway 80, which we followed the first 1000 miles

N&L: Neither of us were particularly keen walkers at all! We might go for a short walk round London on the weekend or whilst on holiday, but nothing more than that – so this represents a big change from our regular routine. We grew up in rural Lincolnshire, but both lived and worked in London for a few years before starting the walk (and are planning to return to do so again once done walking); Lucy for a charity and Nick as a civil servant. It was perhaps a case of finding something as different as possible from sitting behind a desk all day that prompted us to start walking.

KD: After months of walking, you must have your routine down by now. Could you tell us a bit about a day in the walking life of Lucy and Nick?

N&L:We generally start walking between 7.30 and 8.00am, when it starts to get light. An average day is usually 20 to 25 miles in all, although these distances are getting longer now the further west we head. We try and walk for about three to four hours in the morning before having our first rest; we find that if we stop beforehand, we’ll then need to stop every hour or so throughout the day. Talking to

A quieter road away from the main highway

each other really helps pass the time, as does listening to music; quieter days definitely drag much more than the ones which we can talk. We try and stock up on as many calories as we can whilst walking, so we survive on a pretty unhealthy diet of trail mix, protein bars and chocolate whilst walking. We then walk either to the nearest motel or, as has been the case more recently, until sunset and pitch our tent – then it’s time to collapse! Our routine has changed slightly over the past few days, we recently got a trailer to push our food, water and bags. This has taken a lot of weight off of our backs, which we’ve definitely enjoyed.

KD: What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve had to face in your walk so far?

N&L: Probably the boredom. When all you do each and every day is just walk, it can be difficult to get enthusiastic about doing it all over again the next day. That’s why we try and keep our minds a little occupied and not solely focused on walking.

KD: What has surprised you the most in your walk?

Our bridge across the mississippi and into louisiana

N&L: I think it’s how little parts of America are set up to facilitate walking. In many of the towns or cities we’ve been through, pavements are either missing, lead to nowhere, or in a state of disrepair. It’s a much more car focused country than we’re used to. This leads to us looking a little out of place at times when we try walking along roads which clearly weren’t designed for pedestrians!

KD: What have you enjoyed the most so far?

N&L: Probably the little things…like when it’s really hot and a car pulls over and hands you a cold drink, or a comfy bed and nice meal at the end of a long day (especially pecan pie, something we’ve really enjoyed). We’ve also had some really spectacular sunrises and sunsets along the way, which are always nice ways to begin or end the day.

KD: Do you feel this walk has significantly changed you as people? If so, in what way?

N&L: I think we’re still the same people as we were when we began; we’ve perhaps grown a little crazier, and have a greater appreciation of chairs and remaining sedentary, but we haven’t had any epiphanies as of yet! Given all the hospitality we’ve received along the way, it does make us think that we too should become nicer to strangers once we return – as people have been to us.

KD: How did you train for walking all the way across the US?

N&L:We both started walking into work, instead of taking the tube or bus. Lucy walked there and

Dallas, the biggest city on our route

back each day (around 8 miles), Nick’s walk in was around 5 miles. We also started doing some weekend walks around London, generally up to 20 miles in length (these were pretty tough going, too!). Finally, we went to the Peak District for a week, partially for a bit of a summer holiday, but also to get some more practice in. We definitely didn’t enjoy the hills!

KD: What have been your outstanding impressions of the America you are seeing as walkers and its people? What has been their response to a couple of Brits walking across the US?

N&L: We’ve been more taken aback by people’s support than anything else. We’ve been stopped on a near daily basis for people to offer us lifts (which we politely turn down, of course), food, water, kind words and even a place to stay for the evening. We’ve found that people are much more open here than in England, and much more willing to stop and offer help. When we get into what we’re doing, people think we’re a little crazy (and they wouldn’t be wrong), but always offer support. Our accents also make us stand out, especially compared to the Southern and Texan accents around us.

KD: Tell us a bit about the charity you are raising funds for and are there any ways we who aren’t walking can support you and keep track of your progress.

Setting up camp in the desert of West Texas

N&L: The charity we’re raising money for is close to our own hearts…as we set it up! It’s called The Pamir Trust and works in the remote Pamir region of Tajikistan (just north of Afghanistan), to support small scale community led development projects. We’re working with individual villages to identify what small projects we can support that will make a big difference to the village. We will then fund the project and let the village take it from there – after all, they know best! We wanted to set up the charity after visiting Tajikistan a couple of years ago and being humbled by the generosity of the people there, despite it being a very poor and remote corner of the world. There are more details on both the charity and the walk on our website, including where we are at the moment, www.walkamerica.co.uk. People can also follow us on Facebook
www.facebook.com/walkusa, Twitter @walkusa or donate through our fundraising page https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/walkamerica.

KD: Thanks for being my guests, Lucy and Nick. Wishing you a safe and interesting onward journey and much success with your fundraising efforts. You two are truly amazing!

 

Eroticon Rocks Bristol

Apoligies from the photo staff: for the lack of pictures of the event. Without my trusty hubby there to egg on and facilitate picture taking, I sometimes get caught up in the event and forget. Sadly, or happily, depending on how you look at it, this was one of those times. So you get mostly WORD pictures. Those I’m better at.

I love writing conferences! I’ve never been to one in which I’ve not had a wonderful time and walked away enriched by the experience. The very first ever, long awaited Eroticon, which took place Saturday in Bristol, was no exception. It was the first, but I’m sure all of us who attended are hoping it won’t be the last.

I met Ruby Kiddell in Las Vegas at the EAA Conference last September. Little did I know what that event would set in motion, for the lovely, creative Ruby. Six months later, the woman had somehow, almost as if by magic, put together an amazing event in an amazing city, with amazing guest speakers attended by amazing folks who like to write sexy amazing stuff – online or in story.

For me, the event really started on Friday when I hopped the train to Bristol, my head still spinning with the final details of Riding the Ether. I arrived in Bristol early afternoon and took a taxi to the hotel room. The day was sunny and bright and the air was filled with the promise of spring, which was enough to drive me into the streets, as soon as I was settled in the hotel room, to take in the city. I suppose it’s the walking genes, but I’m a firm believer that in order to really know the soul of a place, it has to be explored with soles – one foot at a time.

I walked in the sunshine along the waterfront. A busker played an accordion and gulls called overhead. My first priority was to find Armada House, where Eroticon was to take place the next day. It was an easy ten minute walk, even playing the shutter-snapping tourist. Once I was sure of the route to the venue, I explored College Green with its fountains and Cathedral, and then walked down past Queens Square, where the first blackbird I’d heard for the season seriously sang from a nearby tree. Back at the waterfront, I settled in for a pint and a salad for dinner while I worked on the read-thru for Ether.

The next day, I arrived early in typical KD fashion, never wanting to miss anything. I’d barely gotten in the door before I met the lovely Jilly Boyd, whom I only knew online. Just then Janine Ashbless arrived. What a delight to see her two weekends in a row. She was followed shortly by Kay Jaybee, Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse. When Rebecca Bond showed up, it felt a bit like a reunion from last week. And there was a whole room full of new people to meet and old friends to get reacquainted with.

After Danish and coffee and a chance to network, the day began with panels, classes, and discussions enough to spoil us for choice (link to courses) The only real problem was that it was impossible to be in two places at once.

The first panel was Identity Ethics and Sex Blogging, which was full of thought provoking insights. Though my blog is not a sex blog, most of what was said and discussed on the panel resonated with anyone who writes sex, whether it’s self-help, personal experience, poetry or fiction.

One of the most eye-opening statements came from Zoe Margolis, AKA Girl with a One Track Mind, who said. ‘It’s a sad state of affairs that we can’t be open about sex. Outside this room, people would think what we’re doing is saucy, perverted.’

I was stunned. I write erotica and surround myself with others who also write erotica and people who are comfortable with their own sexuality and allowing others the space to explore theirs. But Zoe’s statement was a powerful reminder of what we’re up against, as bloggers and authors, and what needs to change before sexuality can be embraced and celebrated for the important part of the human experience that it is.

Armada House, home of Eroticon 2012

Scarlett French, who later led a course of her own called, ‘Taking your writing beyond the page,’ asked the thought-provoking question: Do we perpetuate the segmenting and separating of sex from the rest of life by blogging under a pseudonym?

The answer was a resounding yes, but sadly there didn’t seem to be a real solution for the problem.

Zoe then commented about a blogger’s tea party in New York, which was by roughly an equal number of men and women. When asked. The women blogged under a pseudonym because they feared being judged. The men, however, blogged under a pseudonym only because they wanted to keep their private life separate.

I don’t have the time nor space to talk about all the panels and workshops, however, I felt that the first panel set the tone for the rest of the day and was so full of food for thought that it alone would have made the day worth it. Please check the link for more details on the events and for some wonderful posts from the participants. And there were so many fabulous people there. I could name-drop all day.

Another fabulous encounter, for me, happened when my lovely, publisher, Hazel Cushion, from Xcite Books, who was there for the panel of publishers, quietly directed me to the Lovehoney Sex Toys booth to meet the wonderful, Alice Little in her sassy cherry-print frock. Lovehoney sells and promotes my novels, and Alice is a fan of The Initiation of Ms Holly. Lovehoney have been fabulous supporters and seriously good sales rep for my work. It was a pleasure to meet the people behind the lovely toys and equally lovely book sales. Joined by my dear friend and fab author, Kay Jaybee, we talked writing and books and sex toys. Lovehoney were one of the sponsors of the event, and Alice was very happy to talk us through the range that Lovehoney had brought to display. I’ll be placing an order …

We spent a happy few minutes thumbing through the amazing prints of fabulous photographer, John Tisbury, chatting with Jade Whisk about stories the prints sparked for us and the pitfalls of getting published. After that, I split the next session between the Northern Birds, Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse, who were running a workshop on promoting, marketing and blog tours, which was, in typical Felthouse /Blisse fashion, informative, sassy and fun. Then I rushed downstairs to catch the second half of the panel on blogging and the press.

The evening was topped off by a stunning demonstration of spanking by London Faerie and Lori Smith of Bitch Buzz, and a gorgeous burlesque performance. Sadly, for all of us authors, who came prepared to read, there was not enough time for the readings. Too many wonderful events, not enough time.

The day ended with dinner with Maxim Jakubowski, Jacqui Brocker, Josephine Myles, Lily Harlem, Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse. After

Hazel Cushion presents the 2012 Xcite Award to Alice Litte representing Lovehoney, who won the Best Sex Toys Shop award.

burgers and chips and much conversation about – you guessed it – writing and sex, we all headed to our respective hotels. As it turned out Lily Harlem, Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse were staying in the same hotel as I was, and Josephine Miles had an hour to kill before catching her taxi to the train station. AND our hotel had a quiet bar.

Five smutters, a good supply of drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, and as you can imagine, it was filth time! By the end of the evening we had schemed future anthologies, nasty stories, and had filthy discussions of the ones that got away and how glad we were they did. Oh, and did I mention, we talked writing? As fabulous as the event was, what these events do that’s the very best part for me, is give writers, who are by nature, solitary creatures, who seldom come out of their caves unless they HAVE to, a chance to celebrate their craft with other writers. I know, I know, it’s called networking, but that word is so business-like and cold. I’m kind of toying with the word smutworking. When sex writers get together, it’s not so much about what we can do for each other. It’s more about a common experience shared and made somehow deeper and more celebratory for the being shared by a bunch of introverts.

The view across the square to our hotel, where much creative smuttery happened

I had quality time with fabulous people – some who were my heroes before I spent time with them, and many who certainly were AFTER. Gathering for a weekend with other sex writers, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or blogging, makes me realize just how important what we do is. Sex writers are at the forefront of the boundary pushing that needs to happen for sexuality to stop being the nasty that’s hush-hush and separate from the rest of the human experience and become the vibrant, integrated celebration and perpetuator of life that it truly is. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but wow, are we in good company!

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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