A few years ago I wrote a novel under the pen name Charlotte Gatto. I may, one day, write another book but for now I don’t have plans to. I wrote the following after attending a writers’ conference in Las Vegas.
A couple of weeks ago, I flew out to Las Vegas for the Erotic Authors Association inaugural conference. It was inspirational and a little intimidating to be there among such well known and successful authors and publishers. I met some fascinating people and learned a great deal.
The two days of classes, panels, readings and activities were extremely well organized and included enticing topics such as Directed Erotic Visualization; Using Your Sex Life as Story Fodder; Sexy, Sexy Grammar and Hands on Kink. The difficulty was having to choose between the various panels, classes and workshops as I really wanted to do them all.
Many members who attended have written excellent articles and blog posts about the conference (partial list here). I will focus on what happened during just two of the classes I attended. And then what happened in my hotel room.
The following is all completely true.
Some of it.
My favorite workshops were Hands on Kink and Directed Erotic Visualization. What happened as a result of these workshops has stayed with me, and you’ll see why.
The Directed Erotic Visualization was fascinating. Essemoh Teepee explained to us that it is possible to be so relaxed, so comfortable, so in tune with our body and how it feels, that we are able to experience an orgasm – an extremely strong orgasm – while listening to his voice as he guides us through a story. I was rather skeptical. Actually, I was very skeptical. I can get excited and turned on very easily with the right stimuli, but I very much doubted that I could really climax just by thinking about it.
But I was curious, so I participated fully as he led us through a few simple relaxation techniques. My eyes were closed, my head was bowed, and I listened to his voice as he asked us all to think back to an exceptionally strong and incredibly wonderful sexual memory. An orgasm that was so good, so delicious, we will never forget it.
I could easily see the man in my memory. I smiled to myself as I began to feel very warm and pleasant inside. Essemoh’s voice continued and I began to remember more and more clearly how I had felt with this man, how his body looked, smelled and tasted; how he made me feel. Essemoh explained that he would count down to one and when he got there, we would orgasm.
“So, did you come?”
I was leaving the room, still feeling all nice and warm and relaxed, when the voice surprised me. I looked up to see a man with a cheeky grin on his face, waiting for my response. I smiled back, thinking how original and fun it was to be at a professional conference where it was perfectly normal and acceptable for a man to ask a woman if she’d just had an orgasm.
“Did you?” I replied, blushing slightly even though I wasn’t embarrassed. Perhaps I blushed because he was really cute and as I looked up at him, the thought flashed through my mind that I would very much like to have an orgasm with him.
“Hmm, well, as I asked you first, I think it only polite that you answer me before I tell you. Are you going to the Hands on Kink workshop next?”
“Excellent. I’ll see you there then. I just need to pop back to my room first. Pomegranate.”
He winked and was gone.
I felt flustered. And confused. Had I heard him correctly? It had sounded awfully like he had just ended his sentence with the word pomegranate. I must have misheard. Had he misread my name tag and somehow thought that was my name. Thinking back on it now, it seems so obvious, but at the time I just thought that asking him about it would be a good opening line next time I saw him.
I made my way to the conference room for the next workshop. I was very much looking forward to seeing Mr. Cute Smile, especially during a class where Gray Dancer was going to explain and demonstrate different ways to tie up and spank someone. I took a seat near the front; I wanted to see everything.
The class was riveting. There were some subtleties that I had never thought of before (such as leaving the hand in contact with the skin directly after spanking, as opposed to removing all contact) and it was fascinating to be watching, rather than feeling the action. Okay, I admit, I was feeling something too, despite my efforts to stay concentrated and detached.
Sharazade was a perfect model for Gray Dancer. With her, he demonstrated different ways to spank and flog; how to pull hair so that the sub’s movements are controlled; where to touch in such a way that the sub falls helpless to the floor; and the beautiful art of Shibari. (I highly recommend paying a visit to Sharazade’s website for an interview with Gray Dancer about this workshop. Plus there are photos!)
I enjoyed the class so much, I almost managed to ignore the fact that the guy with the cute grin was staring at me most of the time. I had seen him slide into the room just a few moments after the class had started. He was sitting on the same row as me but right at the end. Each time I glanced over towards him, he was looking at me. Or was he watching Gray Dancer and Sharazade? At that angle, I really couldn’t tell for sure, and maybe it was just wishful thinking and my ego. Maybe he hadn’t even noticed that I was there and had chosen his seat at random.
The class ended and everyone applauded. Some people milled around, asking questions or just chatting. I hesitated. Should I go over to him? Would he come over to me? I suddenly felt ridiculously shy. Then I decided that I was insane. This was a professional conference. I was an adult. He seemed to be an interesting man. I would go over and chat to him.
But he was gone. The smile I had all ready to greet him vanished as I realized that he was nowhere to be seen. He had left the room. Shit. I was so annoyed with myself. I was acting like a teenager and he had probably gone off to talk to someone who wouldn’t blush and giggle while discussing rope bondage.
I went up to my hotel room and tried to focus on how interesting the classes had been and how amazing the conference was. I tried not to think about the cute guy. After all, I’d no doubt see him again at one of the other workshops, panels or readings later that day and if not, surely he’d at least be at the closing cocktail party in the evening.
The afternoon classes were excellent. Laura Antoniou taught us about writing a series and it was well prepared and extremely interesting. She stayed with the theme of the class and taught us a lot about writing, even when our questions and chat would veer off topic. I really appreciate it when a teacher does that.
I met Remittance Girl which was such a treat as I’ve been a fan of hers ever since I read her book, Gaijin. It’s rare for me to find well-written non-consensual erotica and I admire RG’s talent for taking the reader inside her characters’ heads. I am still annoyed that I missed having breakfast with her, thanks to not figuring out how Twitter works on my phone.
I had a wonderful conversation with Nik Havert, one of the relatively few men at the conference. He had read an excerpt from one of his stories the day before but hadn’t had time to finish. I really wanted to know how the story ends so he said he’d email it to me. (He did, and I wasn’t disappointed.)
I met some of the authors and editors from my publisher, Renaissance EBooks, which was a thrill. If anyone reading this is looking for a publisher, I highly recommend submitting to them!
I had a brief but very interesting conversation with Ruby Kiddell who told me about the conference she was organizing in the UK next year. Oh, I really hope I can make it possible for me to go.
And I can’t forget meeting Dayle Dermatis who is not only an awe-inspiring author, she’s also a really fun person to spend time with.
But the highlight of the afternoon, was a chat with a fascinating and very knowledgeable man who answered a question I had asked in class the day before. I bumped into Wade Heaton again and we started talking. We exchanged business cards and I sincerely hoped we would stay in touch.
Yes, the afternoon was good. But no yummy guy with the cheeky grin. Ah well, hopefully at the cocktail party.
So I returned to my hotel room to get ready for the party. It was only forty-five minutes after the last class and that’s not much time for me to get ready! I retouched my makeup and changed into a sexy dress, grabbed my purse and dashed out the door.
And ran smack into him.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” I said, not even sure if I had collided with a person or a thing.
“No, I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
It was Mr. Cheeky Grin.
“I’m fine, thanks. I didn’t know your room was on this floor too. Are you going to the party? I was just heading there myself. Want to walk together? Unless of course you were heading back to your room.” I stopped babbling.
He just smiled at me and then frowned as he squinted at my face. “You’ve something just under your eye. A black smudge. I hope I didn’t do that to you just now. Pomegranate.”
I blinked. He’d said it again and this time I was sure that I hadn’t misheard.
“Oh, it’s probably mascara. I’ll just pop into the bathroom. I won’t be a minute. You don’t have to wait. But you can if you like.”
I looked in the bathroom mirror and couldn’t really see a smudge. But perhaps my eye makeup was a touch too heavy so I removed some eyeliner and left the bathroom, ready to ask him why he kept calling me Pomegranate.
He was standing inside the room, leaning against the door. The closed door. Maybe I had made an impression on him after all.
“Are you in a rush to go to the party?” He asked.
“Well, no, I guess not. Um, why?”
“Well, we need to discuss what you thought of the Directed Erotic Visualization and Hands on Kink workshops. You looked enthralled.”
“Ah, so you were staring at me! I knew it!” I forgot all about pomegranates.
“Actually, most of the time I was staring at Sharazade.” Oh. I blushed again. This time I was definitely embarrassed. “I wanted to make sure that I would know how to get it right when I tried it out on you.”
He stared at me. No smile, just a steel stare, fixing me to the spot. I waited, suddenly very conscious of my breathing. I frowned, staring back at him, waiting for the grin that should have accompanied what he had just said. As he made one step toward me, my eyes darted to the door for just a second, but it was long enough for me to see that he’d pushed the lock across. My eyes widened. Of course, it was still easy for me to open and unlock the door, but it would take me a few moments longer than simply pulling the door open and it meant that no one from the outside could come in. Most importantly, it meant that he had planned that we both stay in the room.
I stepped back. He advanced toward me and I moved back again. The back of my calves touched the bed.
“Okay, so what did you want to try first? I hope you brought some rope and floggers!” I said, then laughed as I tried to sound casual and relaxed.
But he didn’t laugh. He didn’t even smile.
“I’m serious, Charlotte. I am going to tie you up and do everything to you that you were fantasizing Gray Dancer would do.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, annoyed now. “I was not! I was paying attention to what he was doing and saying, that’s all.”
“I saw the way you reacted when he showed you the move you asked him for.”
“That was a legitimate and professional question! The beautiful rope binding he was demonstrating was very impressive, but Sharazade was a willing partner. I write stories where the partner is anything but willing and I wanted to know of a way to go from innocently talking to a girl, to having her helpless enough to easily tie up.”
“And you loved it when he did!”
“Yes, okay, so what? He’s a good looking guy and I get turned on by what I write. I suspect many erotica authors do! I just want to make it as authentic and correct as possible. What’s wrong with that?”
“Hey!” I cried out as he shoved me hard against the shoulders and I fell back onto the bed with a thud. He stood in front of me, between my legs that were now dangling over the edge of the bed.
“So, you still haven’t answered my question. Did you come during Essemoh’s workshop?”
I stared up at the man. Was he crazy? Had he really followed me back to my hotel room and scared me half to death just to find out the answer to a question I hadn’t answered?
“Yes. Okay, I did. Are you happy now? I think we should go to the party.”
I pulled myself up onto my elbows, ready to kick him if necessary. Suddenly, the room spun and I felt the bed covers against my face. The man held both my wrists tightly in his fist.
“Of course, the move that Gray Dancer showed you works very well when the girl is standing. The move that I asked him to show me after the class, works better when the girl is already lying on the bed.”
I whimpered. I had felt him reach around my back and grab my wrist, but hadn’t had time to react. He had then been able to easily flip me over onto my belly and grab both my wrists. He now held me very tightly but I was still more surprised and angry than really afraid. And, yes, just a little bit turned on, too.
But I reminded myself that this was far from an ideal situation. I didn’t know this guy and we hadn’t decided on a safe word. We hadn’t even agreed to play!
“Okay, you need to stop now. This is not funny and it’s not nice. You’re very attractive, you seem to know exactly what turns me on and I’d very much love to skip the party and have kinky sex with you. But, you’re scaring me a little bit too much. Can you just smile or nod or something to reassure me that we’re playing and you’re not intending to hurt me? Just one little smile or a quick nod. Then we’ll go right back to the role-play.”
I twisted around as much as I could, straining to see his face. I was trying not to get too turned on. That sounds crazy; I should have been terrified. But I guess I’m just too naive because I somehow couldn’t believe that this man would really rape me. I was more than willing to have sex with him and I’d just told him so. Why would he need to rape me? He could do whatever he wanted to me and make me do whatever he wanted to him. But if he didn’t give me a signal, if he didn’t let me know he was playing, it would ruin everything. It would somehow turn hot, kinky sex into an ugly memory I would try hard to forget and forever blame myself for allowing to happen.
“A smile or a nod. That’s what you want from me? And then you’ll be able to enjoy what I have in store for you?”
I nodded frantically.
“What if I don’t want you to enjoy it?”
I had no idea what to say. But now I was scared. Now I really started to wonder if I may be in serious danger. I wanted out and I began struggling hard. He held me fast.
“Stop squirming, the rope will dig in more if you don’t stop moving around.”
I realized that he had begun to wrap a rope around my wrists and was pulling it tighter. He flipped me over onto my back and stood back, looking down at me.
“Very nice.” He raised an eyebrow as he looked over my body.
I looked down and realized that in the struggles some of the buttons that ran the length of my pale blue cocktail dress had come undone. The lace of my bra and panties was clearly visible.
I blushed yet again and stopped struggling for a moment, not wanting to further undress myself.
I stared up at him. Should I beg? Should I fight? The rope dug in uncomfortably.
“Look, if you don’t untie me and let me go, I’ll start screaming so loudly they’ll send the police.”
It was a pathetic threat and it made me sound like a teenager, but it was the first thing that came into my mind.
“I’ll be on top of you before you even make a sound. Then I’ll gag you so that you can’t make a sound. Which would be a shame, because if you’re gagged, how would you use the safe word if you need to?”
I stared up at him, confused. “But we don’t have a safe word.”
“True. Oh well, guess you can’t stop me anyway then. Especially now you’re all tied up and stuff.”
I drew my legs back ready to give him a huge kick in the knees, but he saw me and jumped back to a safe distance before I could even make contact with his legs.
He stood staring at me for a moment, as if thinking what to do next. I waited, trying to decide if I should attempt to stand.
“I need to pee. Pomegranate.”
And he disappeared off into the bathroom.
I was so surprised that I just laid there for a moment, wondering what he meant.
Then I realized. Oh, I see! I almost laughed out loud but I’m very glad I didn’t because that would have ruined it. Mr. Cute Grin was playing a very dangerous game, and I would warn him that he ran a high risk of one day ending up in prison for rape. But I’d tell him that after we’d had mind-blowing sex.