On Saturday the 23rd of July, charliecochrane, kayberrisford and I drove up to Milton Keynes without once getting lost, going round a roundabout multiple times or being eaten by a concrete cow.
We unpacked vast amounts of stuff and discovered that just about everyone had brought enough food to feed everyone else by themself. Ah, well...
We started off with introductions and questions, including the usual sticky ones of why straight women write m/m (except that of the non-cis-male attendees we're not all straight, we don't all write just m/m and some of us are gender neutral) and why some 'women' use male pen names (again, some of us are gender-neutral and most if not all of the non-exclusively-female names I counted around the room are definitely gender-neutral). Plus it's like clothes, isn't it? Some female-bodied people buy some/all of their clothes from menswear departments and some male-bodied persons buy clothes in the womenswear department purely for reasons of comfort.
Trickier to answer were the questions of why so few male writers of m/m andwhy so little f/f, although the latter may be a hang-over from a lot of lesbian fiction establishing itself well before eBooks were common.
Notable items after we attempted to Eat All the Food (and failed, although I recovered some of mine for later consumption) included Victoria Blisse on Beating Writer's Block, the lovely people from Total-E-Bound on publishing and charliecochrane, erastes and alex_beecroft on writing historicals. Notes are promised from all three, but Alex's are already up here.
[ETA:] All three historical notes now here.
clarelondon gave a very good talk on marketing too, and I really need to start doing more on that front.
After all that we had the drawing of the raffle (which I won -- and very excellent the prize was too), the signing of each other's copies of Tea and Crumpet (available here and here if you don't have one yet) and a very efficient high speed tidying of the room.
Having checked in and swiftly showered and changed, I tracked down the others at the Harvester for drinks and (eventually) dinner. Then there were more drinks in the bar and a not-so-early night. Leading to a general consensus the next morning that we should drive straight back to Hampshire rather than heading in a vaguely northerly direction to watch motor racing (maybe another time...).
All in all a fun weekend and I'm greatly looking forward to next year.