Eroticon 2014 – Thank You Notes

“If censorship is the answer, it was a bloody stupid question”

– Zak Jane Keir

I have to admit that, as I boarded the Bristol-bound train on Friday afternoon, I was a bit trepidatious about the weekend ahead. If only because after the rather duff year I’d just put behind me, I didn’t think I’d be up for socializing that much.

Gosh, how bloody wrong was I? Turns out, I needed it. (more…)

Eroticon Mark III – My Quick and Dirty Meet and Greet

Good grief, how time flies. In just five weeks, Eroticon 2014 is a thing that is happening. Clearly, it’s time for the annual delegates/speakers Meet And Greet post, which follows NOW.

What’s your name?
Jillian “Jilly” Boyd. Hi there.

What are you most looking forward to about Eroticon 2014?
Seeing my awesome gang again (because it’s been too bloody long) , hobnobbing with my lovely author friends, learning new things and being out of London for the weekend.
What are you most nervous of about Eroticon 2014?

I’d like to pretend that I’m a seasoned vet by now (as it’s my third time), and have no nerves considering any of it, but I’m just really fucking nervous about the logistics – getting there on time, checking in, and that. Oh, and I’m nervous about getting a cold in the run up to the weekend, as that’s exactly what happened last year!

What do you hope to get from Eroticon 2014?

On a professional level, I hope to come away with lots of new writing inspiration and a little bit of a boost for my work. On a personal level, I just want a lot of hugs from friends.

What is your bad erotica writer’s pen name?

Orangezina Zoneout, which sounds like the most awesome type of cough medicine side effect.


Have a little peruse through the other introductions on the Write Sex Right website. And maybe I’ll see you there?

Open. Shit. Up. – The Eroticon Diaries – Trois

So put another record on
Play it on repeat
Nothing really matters when we’re dancing
All you ever have to know, is what you do to me
And everytime we come this close, my heart skips, skips a beat

*Olly Murs ft. Rizzle Kicks – Heart Skips A Beat*
Day two started with Ruby opening. She had prepared a talk titled “I’m In Love With Henry DeTamble”, referring to the lead character from The Time Traveller’s Wife. With her usual hesitant passion, she told us about how this book was completely impossible in real life, but worked because the characters were so strong. Story and characters need to be believable because otherwise the readers won’t be interested in what you’ve written. No-one is taking risks, pushing boundaries, because traditional presses seem quite conservative with erotica and don’t like to be challenged. It’s about carving out a niche and developing a voice. We as bloggers should be proud and push boundaries. Be different.
All I have to say about that is FUCK YES. That seemed to be the theme of the day, things that made me say FUCK YES.
And thus, the sessions.
Anthologies Panel – With Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Lucy Felthouse, Victoria Blisse
The first panel was the one at the top of my list, because it included four of the people I admire in the business. It was an excellent panel, proving a good insight into the different things editors tend to go for. I was especially amused by Maxim’s insistence on having his manuscripts sent to him by post, but I can absolutely understand that reading over a thousand submissions on a computer is not the most pleasant way to spend a month.
Anyway, I learned a lot from this panel. And if you want to try your hand at submitting fiction, check out the ERWA (Erotica Readers And Writers Association) website. Nearly all calls for submissions are up there. Otherwise, hunt on Facebook, Twitter and even Fetlife for something that might suit you. I’d add keeping an eye on several editors’ Twitter feeds, because they usually post their calls on there too.
Finessing Sex – KD Grace
Again, one of those people I am enormously biased about. I met KD at last year’s inaugural edition of Eroticon and since then, we’ve kept running into each other. Last October, I attended a reading at Sh!, where she was reading from her Lakeland Heatwave series. I had brushed up on my KD a bit, having read her insanely and weirdly hot story Vegging in BWE 2010 (seriously, the things you can do with a carrot) but that night, the woman herself got me on the edge of my seat, trying to control my libido as she read from Riding the Ether.
Yeah, I’m a fangirl.
So naturally, I attended KD’s session and, again, I learned an awful lot that I wouldn’t learn anywhere else. She challenged us to write a ten minute ficlet, the results of which I posted earlier in the day. It made me do the one thing I didn’t even dream about doing in my writing (other than resurrect Red) and that was to resurrect Elin and Jase from the Little Stories series. I gave them a quick make-over and let them “create chaos” (as KD said) and the result made me very very proud. I see KD as a sort of mentor (although we rarely meet). Through her books, I learn a lot about my own writing, and to learn from her own words was a joy.
Porn Challenge – Justin Hancock
If you’ve never met Justin before, he is instantaneously noticeable by the size of his beard. He’s also a pretty damn cool dude who knows a thing or two about sex education. If you’ve never heard of him, he’s the brains behind BishUK, a sex ed site for the under 25’s. I’m obliged (not really) to say that he’s got a book out soon, so go and get it when it’s out or he will eat yoooooo. (also not really).
It was a change in format of sessions, because this one had us sit in groups, brainstorming on how to make porn more inclusive. Our group ended up drawing out the story of a paraplegic man, sitting in bed, having his friends have sex in front of him. It also involved a male nurse giving out meds and a pizza guy who delivers pizza.
Storytelling And Sex – Alison Robert (Brook), Justin Hancock (Bish), Emily Dubberley (Cliterati)
Another brainstorming session, this time about how to include a positive, pleasure-focussed message in our writing. I must admit that I keep forgetting to do that, so I will keep it in mind in the future. This session was also notable for two things. One was the creation of the “Imagine There’s No Penetration” meme and two was me finally getting to meet Emily Dubberley, who I’ve been working with for a while.
The main message in this session was to keep sex real. Write the good, the bad and the ugly bits and don’t gloss over things. Do research, challenge oppression. Yeah, I like that.
Sex And The Media Panel – Zoe Margolis, Nichi Hodgson
Sex and The Media was without a doubt one of the best sessions at last year’s edition, so I was keen to see what this year would bring. I love Zoe and Nichi, so I wanted to know from them what was going on in British media. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most positive of sessions. Last year’s edition benefited from having more people on the panel, and although Zoe and Nichi are wonderful women in their own right, I wish they could have presented us with a more optimistic and less biased view of what we can do to challenge the perspective of the media. Having said that, lots of things were learned.
On a sidenote, I would love for this panel to keep coming back every edition. But I would like a more varied selection of speakers next year. Maybe someone working in the media, so we can get a lively discussion going?
Closing Plenary – Cindy Gallop
Cindy Gallop joined us live from her Black Apartment (which, do invite us all for a sleepover, plz) via Google Hangouts. She was a wonderful, natural speaker and ideal to lead us out. Also, I had no fucking clue she was British.
She talked about the power of the written word, how we should challenge the norm in business today and write our own business plan because there is no one way to do it. Shared values plus shared action is shared profits (or did I get this wrong?)
Open Shit Up (which appeared to be the message of the day) was her advice. And I am going to. I am going to blow shit up.
But please to let me recover from this weekend first?
All in all, Eroticon 2013 was a mind-blowing experience. Between this and last year’s edition, I feel like I’ve seen the light. I feel like bits of the old me are getting chipped off and I’m turning into a new person.
Thank you Ruby. Thank you thank you thank you. For everything.
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Bassline Junkie – The Eroticon Diaries – Deux

I don’t need no speed, no
I don’t need no heroin, no thanks
I don’t want no coke
You can keep your ketamine
I’m a bassline junkie, what?

*Dizzee Rascal – Bassline Junkie*

Welcome to day one of Eroticon 2013, or day two for the people who attended the little shindig at the Novotel the previous night. This included ILB and I, of course.

We arrived at Waterloo early, and therefore arrived at the venue way too early. As we stood outside, while the preparations inside blazed on, more people joined us. Rebel, wearing possibly the shortest skirt and highest heels known to man, tottered into view along with her husband. We were soon joined by Rose, Ian and a bunch of other people. At one point, the sight of about seven or eight erotica writing mavens (lead expertly by Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse) arriving at the same time had me in internal giggles. The fact that all of them promptly left again to go get food at the nearest Costa was equally funny.

Eventually, we were allowed in and were fitted with our shag bags (gift bags for the smuttily inclined) and badges. Immediately there was a reason for a small panic in regards to ILB’s badge, but he found a very clever way to solve the mistake made. Still…

As we mass-attacked the coffee and tea, people started to flood in. Hugs were handed out, business cards were at the ready.

Eventually, it was time for the opening plenary, for which we filed into the Max Nasatyr (or as Kristina Lloyd dubbed it, the “Max Nasty”) room.

Opening plenary – Brook/FPA- XES- We Can’t Go Backwards

After Ruby’s housekeeping announcements, it was time for the opening to our conference. We were introduced to the XES – We Can’t Go Backwards campaign, which you can read about on the Brook website.

It’s a very noble cause, and I urge you to contribute in any way you can (I’ve asked Alison from Brook if I could possibly become a volunteer, and I was told they are needed). But it was a very heavy way to open a conference about writing sex. Still, very good cause and we need to help make the change Brook and FPA are striving for, lest we indeed go totally backwards.

Creative Writing 1 – Kristina Lloyd

Now this lady, I like.

I am embarrassed to admit that, although I know of Kristina and have the infamous Asking For Trouble in my book collection, I have never read a spat of what she has written. That didn’t stop me from admiring her hugely and therefore, I was keen to hear what she would bring to the table in her session.

I am pleased to say I did not have a disappoint.

In the run up to Eroticon, I noticed a tweet from her saying that “her sex machine” was ready to go. And indeed it was, her sex machine being an Excel spreadsheet, with blocks in many different colours. We were asked to fill in each block with various things that made no sense at first. Example.

Name four things that sparkle –

  • Glitter
  • Musical theatre
  • Diamanté
  • Ballroom dresses

Yes, this is where my head went.

But it was incredibly helpful and inspiring, weirdly enough. Kristina covered a lot in her 45 minutes and I left with a renewed zest for the written word. And, by my side, an ILB who has promised to write more erotic fiction. I think that’s a big tick, non?

Editing/Let’s Eat, Pussy – Cressida Downing

Upon arriving in the room, we were presented with THIS THING THAT CAN NOT BE UNSEEN.


It set the tone for one of the most hilarious sessions I attended, as Cressida explained the what’s and what-nots of editing your work. Interspersed with some choice… ehm… yeah, snippets of godawful erotica, she elaborated on the mistakes, the forms of editing and what you need to think about when you’re writing. Cressida was amazing, full of natural dry wit (my favourite, don’t cha know) and love for her profession. When I ran into her later on, she seemed absolutely lovely, despite being stricken by a lurgy (as were most of the delegates, it seems). Very awesome session, this.

Creative Writing – Eroticism and Romanticism- Remittance Girl

Holy hellfire was this ever a session to make you think. RG had A LOT to say and it was hard to take it all in at first, but having had a few days to let it simmer (and the advantage of having her own notes to look over) I have to say that it all made sense in that way that RG makes things make sense. The first time I met her, she took me out to Pizza Express, down the road from my hostel. I came away from that night with a wisdom that isn’t much bestowed on someone who was that green behind the ears at the time.

Same here. Although I don’t always agree with what she says, her presentation made me want to insert slivers of transgression into my work. I’d like to be a bit more edgy in my writing, although not as edgy as RG and her peers are. This helped. A lot.

Pitching To Publishers – Hazel Cushion

I have to say that I kinda wish they had invited more representatives from different publishers to be present at this session. Not that Hazel isn’t a capable speaker (she totally is), but I would have liked to have gotten more points of view. My own editor was in the audience, sitting right behind me, and I would have loved to have heard her points of view.

Having said that, I loved this session. Hazel is incredibly funny and knows what her company wants. She explained the absolute no-no’s of sending in a manuscript, what Xcite is looking for and how fast the story needs to take the editor in if you want it to be chosen.

Erotic Podcasting – Sam Sparrow and Lea Rice (The High Tea Cast)


I am absolutely biased to the tits about these girls (I LOVE THEM), so I will keep it short. It was a very lively and colourful session, and made me want to get experimenting with audio. Also, it made me never want to go to The Hummingbird Bakery again. Also, lollipops!

After the last session, Ruby closed us off by talking about how sex bloggers should grow up with our blogs. And I can’t agree more.

Later in the evening, the readings we missed out on last year would take place at a bar in Kennington. But between this and that, there was my personal highlight of the whole shebang.

Dinner with the gang.

Lady Pandorah, ILB, Blacksilk, me and Emma Whispers, sat at a table in a hotel, eating and shooting the shit, realizing full well that we don’t get to see each other often and that the next time we see each other as the full group could be months away. It made me wistful, and later in the night, during the readings (titled Aural Sex, which is ace) I had a very funny turn, which caused me oodles of horror in my head. Nevertheless, the readings were ace. KD Grace taught us that sex on a Harley is perfectly do-able, Ashley Lister Sr. (because there were two) regaled us with anecdotes about swinging and blow up dolls, Janine Ashbless made troll sex less icky and Kristina Lloyd made anal the new black.

Thus ended day one.

Part three tomorrow.


Burn/Afterburn ~ The Eroticon Diaries- Un

Are you ready for this?
Have you come adequately prepared for this?
Did you consider that this might be something you’d have to plan for?

* Tim Minchin – Ready For This*

I am never ready for this.

Of course, I was raring to go on Friday night, after a week filled with anticipation, pain, fatigue and death. I wanted to go out and get to Molly’s drinks thing as fast as.

We went out for dinner at what has to be the poshest Nando’s there is. Somewhere between rushing in from the cold and feeling the burn of the spicy chicken on my tongue, excitement set in the pit of my belly. Excitement and pure, burning angst. Last year, Eroticon made me feel like a tiny fish in… like the biggest fucking ocean you could think of. Seriously, I was that unprepared for all the things I would learn.

But that didn’t quite matter at the moment.

What mattered was seeing our gang again. Rose was present, tall and smoulderingly dangerous (as always). She had followed my instructions to bring stroopwafels over from the continent and presented us with four bags of the buggers. And yes, I’m still munching away at them. I even gave some to two semi-drunk dudes on the tube who were most amused. Everyone should eat stroopwafels *and wear sunscreen.

But enough about my blatant stroopwafel-related agenda.

Marie Rebelle and her husband (both spoke Dutch, to my excitement) were also present, which was wonderful because I’d never met either of them. Remittance Girl and Harper were there, radiant and ever-knowledgeable. Of course, Molly and Dom were overseeing the proceedings, as they did last year (when about twelve of us ended up at Bella Italia at ten at night). Molly looked every inch the Molly she is, wearing sparkly hotpants, as you do. Ian Jade (the new kid in town) who I became mates with last year, was also there, with longer hair and a kind of weariness that I couldn’t place. He’s on the Twitters now, after being pushed into it with mild persuasion by… well, all of us.

But fuck.
Fuck, was it ever lovely to see the gang again.
I already mentioned Rose, but I had equal delight in meeting Emma Whispers, who is lovely and, yeah, fucking sexy to boot. Lady Pandorah turned up looking worn out from late nights at work, and eventually Blacksilk found her way to our meet-up. We chatted for a hundred years, about things like TS3’s (tall-short-threesomes, courtesy of Tease Matt), life in general and what we were planning that weekend.
It wasn’t a very good sign that most of our gang (including me) looked about ready to heave…
After we finally made it home that night, I had trouble sleeping, both from being ill and overly excited for the two next days.
And then the alarm went off. 6.30, Saturday morning. Game time.
Part two follows tomorrow.

Eroticon 2013 – Towards A New Landscape

(Note – It’s been pointed out to me that there were indeed more male bloggers and writers present than I assumed. Which is great news! But I still stand by my words and hope that, next year, even more men will show up. And I would like to thank the likes of DomSigns, Mario from Someone Once Told Me, Justin Hancock, Guy New York (who wasn’t there physically but still managed to do his sessions via Google Hangouts) and every other wonderful dude who attended for attending and being awesome. You guys ROCK.)

It’s officially The Day After Eroticon 2013 Weekend. Now, I’m not a fan of day afters, especially days after a particularly excellent weekend. When we finally got home yesterday, I felt like I was going to collapse in a heap of dead Lady. But this morning, I feel alive. I feel more creatively alive than I have ever been, and that is due to the fact that I learned so much this weekend. I am raring to go into the next year (between this and Eroticon 2014) with more ambition and inspiration than ever before. Of course, there will be low moments where I will want to never get out of my bed again, but you take those moments and live them until they have worn their course and you can move on to the next good thing.


One of the things I was looking forward to this weekend was hearing businesswoman and founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, Cindy Gallop, closing the conference. She did that incredibly well, and I was very pleased that she took the time out for us to do so (in fact, I really hope she comes over to the UK for next year’s edition). Now, I am a shameless fangirl when it comes to her. I think that she has a fresh look on the landscape of pornography and, to put it in a way she might agree with, knows her shit. I ate her words up like the stroopwafels Rose gave me at the start of the weekend.

But then this morning I woke up, having processed her words. And I felt that there was some case for arguing. I do not mean ill on Ms Gallop, but I do want to address some things she said in her plenary.

At a certain point, she asked if she could make the assumption that the crowd was evenly split, gender-wise. I looked around, but already knew the answer. Cindy then went on to say that all industries are dominated by men at the top. We should harness the power of women and let gender diversity drive innovation. Women challenge the status quo because “we are never it”. A 50/50 gender divide is the future of porn and sex. There is a huge amount of money to be made from taking women seriously.

(note – The bits in Italics are quoted verbatim from my trusty notebook)

I genuinely agree with all of that. It is incredibly disheartening to see so few women at the top of major companies, in life as in porn. The power of a female voice should be harnessed because we have a hell of a lot to bring to the table.

My problem, however, is that the right words were pitched at entirely the wrong audience.

As I said, when I looked over the audience in the Max Nasatyr room that afternoon, I knew the answer to her question. The audience at Eroticon is predominantly female. It was last year and it was this year and it will probably be so in the years to come if change doesn’t happen.

Sex writing, erotica writing, sex work, sex education,… the people that are willing to have some visibility among the community are mostly female. I of course did not get the chance to speak to everyone I wanted to speak to, but I’m willing to bet that the only active male sex blogger in the building was coincidentally the one I share my life and bed with. Similarly, Justin Hancock, of BishUK, was one of the few, if not only male sex educators in the building. The rest appeared to be (and correct me if this wasn’t so) interested spouses, the odd speaker and a collection of journalists.

What I am trying to say (and I hope I said it well) is that the sex writing/sex work business seems to be one of the very few businesses dominated by women. Which I applaud with all my heart because God knows….

But I think that Cindy’s words should be take into mind (albeit the other way around, gender-wise). Why are there so few male sex writers/workers/educators speaking out about their job? Why are there not more male sex bloggers? I mean, I do know a couple but that pales in comparison to all the women I know who are out there, being proud about their sexuality online.

Maybe it relates to the point that was made in the Sex and The Media session. There are not enough privileged white, straight men willing to come out for their sexuality (be it in a safe anonymous environment online or in real life). They have a responsibility to speak up, because minorities speaking up have a lot more to lose than they do.

Or maybe it doesn’t.

Either way, I absolutely lament this fact. Men have shit to say about sex too. They do not all have the same standpoint (that of a sexist, anti-feminist,…) that the media is more than willing to attribute to them. The men I know are smart fuckers, in both ways. They have Things To Say and they have their own completely valid points of view. Not all men are shits.

If we can reach that 50-50 equality that Cindy talked about, with more men going into sex ed/writing/and the likes, maybe the sex writing industry can be one of the few industries that has a perfect gender balance.

I’m not saying this will happen. I’m not saying that we can indeed blow the spectrum open and change the entire world through sex. But what I am saying is that it is my humble wish for more men to speak out. Maybe next year, we can have a whole bunch of ass-kicking men in the Max Nasatyr room, speaking about how they are going to rock the world.

If you don’t agree with my views, that is absolutely fine. These are, after all, my personal views, written on a Monday morning after one of the busiest and most exhausting weekends of my life. But I hope that you may find some sliver of agreement in here. Feel free to challenge me, but please do it in a polite way.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have writing to do.


Eroticon 2013 Meet and Greet

Eager beavers have noticed that it’s now officially less than a month until Eroticon 2013 descends on London.

I bloody loved Eroticon last year. It was such a positive day in my life and I learned a hell of a lot (I keep my notebook with my notes from that day close by). This year, the action is spread over two days, so double the fun. Which means it’s time to reintroduce myself, because double the people.


Name: Jillian E. Boyd

Twitter id: @JillyBoyd

Must attend Eroticon 2013 session: Sex And the Media with Zoe Margolis and Nichi Hodgson, all of the Sex Ed panels, Pitching to Publishers with Hazel Cushion, the podcasting session with The High Tea Cast… (I quite like all of them, to be honest….)

Bloggers you’d like to be trapped in the lift with: Emily Dubberly, Lori Smith, Zoe Margolis.

Erotic writer you’d like to write dramatize your life story: KD Grace! I’d totally let her magic up my life story.

Expected biggest fangirl / fanboy moment: Toss-up between Rachel Kramer Bussel on the anthologies panel and Cindy Gallop doing the closing plenary.

What keeps you awake at nights? Insomnia.
See who else is coming to Eroticon 2013 in the Meet & Greet link up


And now to finish on a random pic. And yes, that is the Actual Tom Baker.