It’s recently been Valentine’s day and we all looked for something special to give to our loved ones. Sometimes though Valentine’s gifts last for no time at all, flowers wilt, chocolates get eaten, champagne drank. How about treating your other half to a great day out by the sea with extra added smutty fun?
Well, we’re offering Smut by the Sea tickets for £7.50 from now until 25st February 2013. This is a 25% off the usual price. This ticket will get you in to the Smut by the Sea Book launch with free nibbles and a glass of something bubbly plus readings that will get you in the mood for some seaside good loving.
Smut by the Sea takes place on the 22nd June at Scarborough Library. The event runs all day with readings and an erotic marketplace during the day (10am-4pm), featuring top authors like KD Grace, Janine Ashbless, Victoria Blisse, Lucy Felthouse, Tabitha Rayne, Lexie Bay, Slave Nano and Ruby Kiddell. And then the evening will showcase Smut by the Sea volumes 1&2 between 6-9 pm.
KD: I’m so excited! The second annual Eroticon is coming up soon! This year it’ll be in London, and this year it’ll be twice the fun because it’s two days instead of one – March 2-3. Make sure you have those dates down. I elbowed my way right in to make sure I had the chance to interview the founder, and the heart and soul of Eroticon, the astounding Ruby Kiddell! Welcome, Ruby! It’s lovely to have you here again.
Other than the double the fun, can you tell us what major differences people can expect at this year’s Eroticon?
RK: Hi KD, thank you for having me here again to talk about Eroticon, two days, I must be mad, but you all wanted more so you’re getting more!
The main difference this year is a greater breadth of content to include sex education, sex work, pornography and to hear voices from different communities.
I also wanted to have a very strong creative core for the conference, so this year there are five creative writing sessions and two photography sessions.
KD: Is there anything about this year’s Eroticon that you’re particularly excited about?
RK: I am very proud to have extended our relationship with the sexual health charity Brook to have them as our charity of the year. They will be presenting the opening plenary and will have staff on hand to talk with delegates about their work and how people can support it via their blogs and in their communities and a donation of £2 from every ticket sale will be going to the charity.
KD: Ruby, I asked this question last year, but I know my readers will want to know, what exactly inspired Eroticon? And could you give us a brief history of that spark of inspiration until now, especially after last year’s phenomenal success.
RK: Eroticon was originally inspired by Cybermummy, a conference for parent bloggers founded by Sian To (@geekisnewchic) I knew that Molly (@mollysdailykiss) was going along with a few other bloggers who wrote erotica or had adult orientated blogs as well as family blogs. I just put those two ideas together and felt that there needed to be an event where people could come and discuss the craft of writing and blogging without fearing judgment of their content.
KD: With one Eroticon under your belt and the second one promising to be even more fabulous, what lessons have you learned? What will you NOT do again, and what is a definite MORE, PLEASE?
RK: The main thing I try to focus on is delivery great content. It is nice to have a fantastic venue and interesting sponsors, but to create an event that people want to come back to year after year requires delivering outstanding content from inspirational speakers.
Future plans include Eroticon USA as well as looking at doing shorter regional workshop days and perhaps some retreats.
KD: Ruby, I know you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the blogging world as well as the sex writing world, fictional and otherwise, what major changes have you noticed, if any, since last year?
RK: Ah you flatter me, I like it! There has been a massive surge of interest in erotica and sex toys over the last year due to the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and a lot of products lines and imprints have been launched to ride that wave and to reach out to the “new” mainstream audience.
Companies have reached out to bloggers in other communities to review sex toys and books which has been great for people feeling more comfortable about writing and talking about sex.
The avant guarde have also responded with new independent presses being launched with a focus on literary fiction.
In the next year or so I think we’re going to see more adult companies investing in blogger outreach which means sex bloggers are going to have to become more aware of legal issues around advertising and promotions.
KD: I hate to ask, but I feel like I have to under the circumstances, what effect, if any, has the meteoric success of Fifty Shades of Grey had on the planning and scheming of Eroticon 2013?
RK: In some ways Eroticon is immune to it, last year Eroticon 2012 happened just before Fifty Shades really impacted in the UK and by this March the fuss will have mostly passed. It has made it easier to talk to mainstream publishers about the conference however their eye is on the mainstream audience of readers rather on those of us that already know how brilliant and fun erotica is.
KD: What surprised you most about the response to Eroticon 2012?
RK: That people felt such a powerful sense of belonging and ownership of the conference. I had worried I’d invented the need for it and no-one would turn up or that people would come and not enjoy it. Fortunately the response was overwhelming and that proved that there is a need for this event, which was very humbling.
KD: What do people who are interested in participating in Eroticon 2013 need to do, and what can they expect?
RK: If people want to come, they need to buy a ticket. Day tickets are £90 and weekend tickets are £150, this includes all refreshments and lunch.
The venue is a closed venue which we have to ourselves for the full weekend, this is to protect those that wish to attend anonymously and it means we can relax and be ourselves.
They can expect an amazing weekend of inspiration and fun. It will be hectic, challenging and exhausting. There will also be sex toys!
If anyone has any questions about tickets or the conference they can email me at email@example.com
KD: Anything else you’d like to add.
RK: Only my thanks for having me to visit again and that I’m looking forward to seeing you and all the other Eroticon-ers in March!
KD: Thanks so much for stopping by, Ruby. Always a pleasure to have you. I’m very much looking forward to Eroticon 2013, and for anyone who doesn’t yet have tickets, you know what to do. See you there!
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.
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.
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.
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!
KD: I’m very excited for the chance to interview the brains, and I reckon the majority of the energy behind the much anticipated Eroticon happening on March 3rd in Bristol, the amazing Ruby Kiddell. Welcome, Ruby!
As I look down through the Eroticon website, and the exciting list of guest speakers who are on the yummy menu, I can’t help but get butterflies in my stomach when I think of what putting such an exciting event together must entail, Ruby. Let me just say that you are AMAZING!
What exactly inspired Eroticon? And could you give us a brief history of that spark of inspiration until now.
RK:Thank you, that’s a kind thing to say, all I know is that I’m VERY busy at the moment.
The inspiration for Eroticon came out of the blogging conference Cybermummy which was aimed squarely at the parent, primarily mum, blogger market.
Although I have blogs and businesses that are family orientated I got sponsorship to attend Cybermummy via my Erotic Notebook blog from Sex Toys UK.
This sparked a lot of interest from the other delegates and I found out just how many of my Erotic Notebook readers also had dual Twitter identities.
Just before Cybermummy I thought “hey there should be a sex bloggers version of the conference” and on the day, when I met Molly from Molly’s Daily Kiss and other sex bloggers and writers I was more convinced that we needed an event where as writers we could discuss our craft and the content openly and without fear of judgement.
KD: I’ve already mentioned being in awe of the time and energy it must have taken to organize an event like Eroticon, what has been the most difficult part of putting together such an event?
RK:Time! I’m a lone parent to a very energetic three year old and I also run my own craft business and that’s before we get to my writing and blogging interests. This means time is at a premium and it has been hard to find the time to develop all the aspects of the conference I would have liked. This means there are some things I would have liked to include that aren’t happening.
KD: As you look forward to the event, what excites you most?
RK:In terms of the schedule, though I think they all look fantastic, you’ll definitely find me in the sessions with Zoe Margolis, because I remember her Girl With a One Track Mind blog when she began it, John Tisbury because as an ex-dancer I love his ballet shoe shots, Maxim Jakubowski’s writing session and London Faerie’s “It’s kink Jim…” session.
I’m also looking forward to meeting everyone I speak to on Twitter, those I’ve met before and those I’ve not and the wine and readings at the end of the day.
KD: Eroticon is billed as the UK’s first sex bloggers and erotic authors conference. As someone who came into blogging to promote my fiction and stayed on for the fun, I’m curious as to how important you see blogging for erotic authors, and what you think is the most important thing an erotic author should know as a blogger?
RK:Finding the time to write our work should come first, but for new and aspiring authors, blogging can be incredibly useful as it is a great way to build an audience, test drive new writing, promote your work, find inspiration and share ideas.
For an erotic author, probably the most important thing to know is how to make a link to your Amazon page! I’m only half joking, I think the most important thing is finding your blogging voice, just as it takes time to find your author’s voice it can take some time to work out what you want to say on your blog and how you want to say it.
KD: Ruby, I’ve seen your blog and heard you read some of your fantastic fiction when were in Las Vegas together for the EAA conference, could you tell us a bit about your journey to sex blogger and erotic author.
RK:I started writing sexy fantasy scenes for a man I was dating, the fiction lasted, he didn’t. So I put my writing on a blog and got on Twitter, fast forward a few months and the very talented Raziel Moore, who tweets as @_monocle_ introduced me to his editor at Republica Press who signed me up.. My first book, Anthology One, is an anthology of pieces from my blog. That all happened very fast, but it took me another year to get my second book, Normal, finished and released.
Needless to say my current work in progress is taking a back seat at the moment.
KD: Your top advice to sex bloggers?
RK:My top advice to sex bloggers is much the same as for authors, take time to find your voice. I had a confessional sex blog for a few months. It went from being public to password protected and eventually I took it down, simply because I wasn’t comfortable with that level of intimate exposure online. What is right for one person isn’t right for another, we all have different ways to express ourselves and finding what we are comfortable with should come before what we think will be popular.
I would also caution people to never post anything on the web that they aren’t completely willing to own up to or willing to lose control of, with sites like tumblr it is increasingly easy for images and content to take on a life of their own outside of the publisher’s control.
KD: Your top advice to erotic authors?
RK: Write first, blog second and don’t let social media eat your time!
KD: What’s been the most rewarding experience so far in the journey to making Eroticon an exciting reality?
RK:Other people’s enthusiasm for it, it is all very well me thinking it is a good idea, but until speakers started saying yes and I sold the first ticket and got the first sponsor then it was all a little intangible.
KD: What do people who are interested in being a part of this ground-breaking event need to do, and what can they expect?
RK:They need to buy a ticket and get to Bristol for 3rd March 2012
Delegates can expect a day packed full of great workshops and inspirational speakers. A chance to meet other writers and blogger, to exchange ideas, inspiration and blog addresses.
Writers will get a chance to meet publishers, ask them questions and to sell themselves and their writing to them.
Everyone will get bags of sexy swag from our sponsors, as well as a £50 voucher to spend on sex toys at Lovehoney.
An amazing demonstration of kink by London Faerie, readings from the hottest purveyors of smut and perhaps some burlesque too
There’s food – breakfast, lunch and hopefully rude chocolate brownies. And there’s wine, because all that sexiness is bound to make you thirsty!
It would appear that our Ruby just can’t get enough of a good thing. Not content with the big pile of Oh My! that is Eroticon on March 3rd, she’s spreading her wings and organising an evening or reading and chat in London.
Graciously hosted bySh! Women Erotic Emporium, Portobello this will be a fun and friendly evening of erotic readings and sexual confessions as well as a chance to meet other delegates, speakers and Ruby, herself.