Eroticon, Part 1

by | March 31, 2018 | General | 1 comment

I’m home from EROTICON, an annual weekend conference for sex writers, bloggers,  educators, and fans of sex toys (which all need to be tested and reviewed – someone has to do it). It was held in London, England, March 16-18, in Arlington House in Camden, an historic shelter for homeless men which provides resources for the residents to find jobs and regular housing. The building has conference space, and every organization that rents the space is helping to support the shelter.

(My spouse Mirtha, a board member of Carmichael Outreach in Regina, Saskatchewan, brought home a full sheaf of brochures from Arlington House as inspiration for coping with poverty.)

I’ll try to sum up the experience of attending Eroticon for those who weren’t there.  In the lead-up to the event, Resonance Press (one of the sponsors) put out a call-for-submissions for attendees to send in short works of fiction or non-fiction on the theme of sexual truth or honesty. My new story, “Rendezvous,” was accepted. Truth, edited by Zak Jane Keir, was available for sale at Eroticon. The cover image was by Tabitha Rayne, who was also at the event.

Attendees were welcome to read their work during the dessert-and-readings session on the Sunday. I read my very short (under 1K), very Canadian story about staying indoors and masturbating to recover from a breakup, “Hibernation.”  I was amazed at the variety of flash-length stories that were read, including one about body acceptance, and one about a male-on-male encounter which was clearly still raw for the writer. He got two rounds of applause.

On Friday, March 16, there was a meet-and-greet in the Holiday Inn at Camden Lock, very close to Arlington House. (I tried to get an on-line reservation there for Mirtha and me, but by the time I did this in January, it was already full.)

The event was held in the Glass Room, which offered a dazzling view of a canal which reflected the lights of the city by night.

Service at the bar didn’t live up to the view, but the Eroticon crowd was friendly, and we had some interesting talks about sex-blogging as a goal in itself, not simply as a means of promoting  print publications. We met up with Remittance Girl, formerly of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association, who gave two talks during the weekend. (Read on.)

I would have liked to figure out the public transportation system, or even walk through Regents Park to Arlington House from the Danubius Hotel in St. Johns Wood, where we were staying. There just wasn’t enough time. We learned that London taxi drivers identify neighbourhoods by post code (e.g. from NW1 to NW8, or vice versa).

Plus the weather didn’t encourage leisurely walks. We went from the snowy streets of the Canadian prairies to the snowy streets of London.

Stay tuned for my post on the events of Saturday, March 17. (Note: I wore green for St. Patrick’s Day, but apparently this is not a tradition in England. I should have guessed.)

Jean Roberta

Jean Roberta once promised her parents not to use their unusual family name for her queer and erotic writing, and thus was born her thin-disguise pen name. She teaches English and Creative Writing in a university on the Canadian prairies, where the vastness of land and sky encourage daydreaming. Jean immigrated to Canada from the United States as a teenager with her family. In her last year of high school, she won a major award in a national student writing contest. In 1988, a one-woman publisher in Montreal published a book of Jean’s lesbian stories, Secrets of the Invisible World. When the publisher went out of business, the book went out of print. In the same year, Jean attended the Third International Feminist Book Fair in Montreal, where she read a call-for-submissions for erotic lesbian stories. She wrote three, sent them off, and got a letter saying that all three were accepted. Then the publisher went out of business. In 1998, Jean and her partner acquired their first computer. Jean looked for writers’ groups and found the Erotic Readers & Writers Association, which was then two years old! She began writing erotica in every flavor she could think of (f/f, m/f, m/m, f/f/m, etc) and in various genres (realistic contemporary, fantasy, historical). Her stories have appeared in anthology series such as Best Lesbian Erotica (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, Volume 1 in new series, 2016), Best Lesbian Romance (2014), and Best Women's Erotica (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006) from Cleis Press, as well as many others. Her single-author books include Obsession (Renaissance, Sizzler Editions), an erotic story collection, The Princess and the Outlaw: Tales of the Torrid Past (Lethe Press), and The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella (Lethe, also in audio). Fantasy stories by Jean include “Lunacy” in Journey to the Center of Desire (erotic stories based on the work of Jules Verne) from Circlet Press 2017, “Green Spectacles and Rosy Cheeks” (steampunk erotica) in Valves & Vixens 3 (House of Erotica, UK, 2016), and “Under the Sign of the Dragon” (story about the conception of King Arthur) in Nights of the Round Table: Arthurian Erotica (Circlet 2015). This story is now available from eXcessica ( Her horror story, “Roots,” first published in Monsters from Torquere Press, is now in the Treasure Gallery of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association. With Lethe Press publisher Steve Berman, she coedited Heiresses of Russ 2015 (Lethe), an annual anthology of the year’s best lesbian speculative fiction. Her realistic erotic novel, Prairie Gothic: A Tale of the Old Millennium, was published by Lethe in September 2021. Jean has written many reviews and blog posts. Her former columns include “Sex Is All Metaphors” (based on a line in a poem by Dylan Thomas) for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association, July 2008-November 2010. The 25 column pieces can still be found in the on-site archives and in an e-book from Coming Together, Jean married her long-term partner, Mirtha Rivera, on October 30, 2010. Links:

1 Comment

  1. Jean Roberta

    This is very frustrating. I’ve tried to upload photos, with no success.

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