BDSM Writers Con 2016 wrap-up

Conference swag

A reader-friend on Facebook (Hi, Beverly!) asked about the barrettes I’m wearing in some of the photos. They’re metal scales and rings in the shape of flowers. Here they are with some other goodies from the conference, including my program book full of notes and the lucky dice fellow author Elia Winters kindly let me keep.

Wow. Seriously, wow. BDSM Writers Con NYC 2016 was such an incredible experience that I’m still processing the wonderfulness.

The fun lasted all the way home, road-tripping with my bestie and finishing a pair of New York Times crossword puzzles in pen. (No, not the Sunday crossword, just Friday and Saturday.  We like to challenge ourselves, not launch into a frustrated screaming fit on the highway.)

When authors get together

Author Eden Freed and I chatted at the book fair and signing. Don’t you love her Cheshire Cat skirt? So adorable!

BDSM readers, writers, and practitioners are some amazing people — friendly, welcoming, and full of great stories. We spent three intense days together in sessions about everything from how to make our words leap off the page to how to properly care for some very delicate instruments (violet wand attachments, I’m looking at you!). Even a shy introvert makes friends with people pretty darn fast when they’re practicing their rope-tying skills on her wrists. 😉

For those who wondered: I did, in fact, wear a corset for the book fair, as you can see in the photos. It’s one of my favorites, a floral tapestry with a stiff enough structure to be snuggly without threatening to take my breath away.

 

The geekery

I have to give a shout-out to Elia Winters, my table-mate for the book fair. We geeked out over D&D — non-geek translation: tabletop fantasy role-playing — and I was completely ready to roll up a character with the swag dice she has. (Thanks for sharing, Elia!) If you’re a geek and a romantic, you absolutely must track her down at a signing and ask her about freezer dice.

And you know what made it even better? Elia was the second D&D geek I met because of the conference! Visiting New York City meant I finally got to meet my publishing team in person, and it turns out that my publicist at Kensington/Lyrical is also a dedicated geek girl. (Side note to Michelle: Totally sorry-not-sorry about digressing to tell stories from the current D&D campaign! A gaming night is a must the next time I’m in town.)

 

Discovering a new geek friend? Priceless.

I stopped by the Kensington Books offices to meet Michelle Forde, the gal who handles publicity for the Lyrical imprint. And then I completely derailed her day with talk of D&D and socks. Yes, really.

While I was over by the Kensington offices, I took a quick detour to walk through Bryant Park and stop at the New York Public Library to meet the famous lions. Is there an English major who doesn’t have that on her bucket list? I hope those stalwart guardians will have instilled a bit of their patience and fortitude in me, too.

Also, holy walking shoes, I learned that nine blocks in New York City is kind of a long way in the August heat. 😉

Patience

Here I am at the New York Public Library, hoping to obtain more patience by osmosis. (And yes, of course I got pictures with Fortitude, too. Mustn’t show favoritism, or the lions will eat you alive!)

 

The gratitude

Book signing

If you ever have the misfortune to ask me a question in person, watch out for my waving hands. I gesture when I talk. A lot.

Going to the conference was a gift to myself to celebrate Becoming His Master (Neighborly Affection #4) making it to finalist status in the Golden Flogger Award for LGBT writing. Henry and Jay didn’t win the award, but I came away from the conference a winner in many ways: new friends, new skills, and new book ideas. I filled my program book with notes — and those are just the daytime thoughts.

Every night since the conference started, I’ve awakened in a frantic rush to jot down a piece of dialog, a detail about a character, or the beginning of a plot point for a new book. The creative rush is immense and lingering.

And I’m grateful, every day, for how I got here.

I wouldn’t have been at the conference — wouldn’t have gotten a book published at all, let alone seven so far — without the support of three incredible women: my mom, who didn’t bat an eye when she found out her daughter was writing erotic fiction and now proudly tells everyone she knows; my editor, who consistently pushed me to go deeper into the characters; and my very best friend, who is always there for me whether I need a shoulder to cry on or a kick in the ass.

Signing books!

Sometimes I even manage to scrawl my name legibly!

Writing about dominance and submission delights me because the lovers must be willing to be completely honest with their partners. They must expose all of themselves, the beauty and the darkness. No blinders — just raw, honest, sometimes painful truth.

In embracing their desires, they accept themselves on a level some people never reach in their lives. And they have a partner, or partners, who love them for who they are.

Dominant or submissive, each partner must be willing to say, “I see you, all of you, and you are beautiful. Amazing. Mine.”

Those are the feelings I hoped to get across in sharing Henry and Jay’s love story in Becoming His Master. I’m thrilled that readers see them clearly — and love them as they are.

A trio of authors

I met a bunch of wonderful people at the conference, including founder/organizer Dr. Charley Ferrer, center, and fellow author Julie Shelton, right.

The generosity

The conference featured fantastic presenters who were so generous with their talents. On the writing side, authors Sierra Cartwright, Cecilia Tan, Cris Anson and Lise Horton shared tips on craft and career. Talking craft with other authors is such a hoot — no gaffe is too embarrassing to share when the inevitable response is, “You think that’s bad? Let me tell you what my editor said when I sent her this doozy.”

More beautiful in motion

Yes, we actually got to handle some whips and floggers at the conference. No, we didn’t get to take them all home.

And the BDSM practitioners who demonstrated their skills? Hoo-boy. Never in my life will I forget those moments of intense connection between the players in a scene. Intimate, engrossing, and unbelievably powerful. It’s a privilege to witness something so beautiful. A work of art, as Henry might say.

Special thanks to presenters Andrew and AJ, Eric and Tara, Bo and his girls, and MaryAnn and the Traveling Fool for providing an honest look at what it means to build trust and truly take care of one another in a power exchange relationship, whether for a night of pickup play or a lifetime. And much gratitude to Ramon and Jinx of TES.og for their wonderful hands-on demonstration of rope play (Pull with authority!) and to Dr. Bob for turning the most innocuous objects into potential plot points. 😉

And I can’t forget to thank fellow author Jillian Verne for her genuine friendliness and guidance. Many thanks for volunteering to help me out, Jillian. Practice makes perfect!

Hats off to Dr. Charley Ferrer for organizing and building such a wonderful network of resources to demonstrate the reality of practicing BDSM, including the laughter and tenderness that don’t always make it into the fiction written in the genre. The camaraderie and care at BDSM Writers Con are two things I will always treasure.

I hope to see everyone again next year!

Nope, didn't get to keep these, either.

Flog like an Egyptian! (Admit it, you have the song stuck in your head now.)

M.Q. Barber

M.Q. Barber is the USA Today bestselling author of the Neighborly Affection contemporary romance series. She's also an inveterate, unrepentant scribbler of ideas on whatever's handy.

8 Comments:

  1. Hi MQ

    It was such a pleasure to meet you live. I really enjoy your books. I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed the conference and all our presenters. Do so love your Egyptian picture. It would make a great holiday card. grins.

    Look forward to seeing you next year!

    Live with passion,

    Dr. Charley Ferrer
    BDSM Writers Con

    • Thanks, Dr. Charley! I suspect my mom would be absolutely delighted if I sent out that photo as my holiday card, so I might just have to do that. 😉

  2. Hi, M.Q., it was a pleasure to share time and space with you at the BDSM Writers Con. I agree, it was a terrific conference. Everyone had a blast. Kudos to Dr. Charley and her assistant, Rose C. Carole.
    And I too loved your corset!
    Hugs,
    Cris

    • Hugs back, Cris! You had some fabulous outfits yourself. 🙂

      And I have no idea how Dr. Charley and Rose kept us all on track — wrangling writers is harder than herding cats! We’re so easily distracted by shiny new ideas.

  3. This is a wonderful post, reflecting what a great con this is. Thank you so much for writing it. Going to share it on my FB now. :>

  4. Hey MQ! What’s good? It was great finally putting a face to the name and I’m so going to stalk you, in a friendly book fiend type of way. You and all the other authors really inspired this newbie and I hope it won’t be the last time we connect.

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