I chose the title of this post partly because people googling '50 Shades' might end up visiting our blog but also because in virtually every conference session it got a mention. Publishers seemed very excited (if you'll excuse the accidental pun!) about the current erotica trend and are unsurprisingly very open to having the next '50 shades' submitted to them.
However, if you can't write the word 'naked' without blushing, fear not - the overall message of the publisher talks I attended was 'what we can do for you' as opposed to the 'what you can do for us' of previous conferences. They are actively acquiring in all sorts of areas and are open to something 'new'.
One of the highlights of the conference for me was Julie Cohen's talk 'Learning story structure from Pixar films'. Although she made us cry by showing the prologue to "Up", the lessons she taught about circular story structure, repeated motifs and character arcs as reflected in external conflict were invaluable and will hopefully help me write better stories.
Jane Wenham Jones also had us in tears with her talk 'What a way to earn a living' but this time it was tears of laughter. Her stories were wildly entertaining and I don't think I've ever laughed so much.
That brings me to my favourite part of the conference - meeting lots and lots of friendly people (including Sally and Romy Minx and the lovely Susan Wilson :-), having a great time and going home excited about writing again.
If you attended you might have noticed the Minx contingent - we were carrying Minx bags (see photo) and were the ones acting like goofy idiots whenever we saw India Grey. And yes, she is just as lovely as she seems, not to mention glam and…okay will stop there before I embarrass myself again.