Wonder Boi Writes

CGLS Day Two

Day two of GCLS started early, or maybe it just felt that way given how late we’d all been up the night before.  Thankfully the first session of the morning was the conference keynote address by J.M. Redmann, so there was no chance of me falling asleep.

6375_1128697229096_1577163382_308408_7175487_nI had never met J. M. before, and I was absolutely blown away by her speech.  I took three full pages of notes and have had a hard time narrowing down my favorite lines, but here are just a few of them.  1) There is an extraordinary kinship among those who read and write. 2) Love is the most influential aspect of our life. 3) You become a writer in those moments when you are alone with the words. 4) Writing is work, but all the work in the world cannot guarantee a good book. 5) I am writing to change the world, not in a flash, but like water wearing away stone. 6) And finally, “The 40 years since Stonewall is a short span in history, but we’ve created a revolution. There are now too many of our books for them to burn them all.” 

I was so inspired that I wanted to go write that very moment, but I didn’t dare leave the room because the next session was a coffee chat moderated by Lori Lake featuring Karin Kallmaker, JM Redmann, and Missy Good.

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After a brief discussion of shoes, the panelists settled into a fascinating discussion of digital literacies and how emerging technologies are changing the way we produce, publish, and consume books.  Most of the conversation on the future of lesbian fiction, and I have to say, watching those women interact, I got the feeling that the future is wide open.

After the coffee chat we all had lunch.  I gave Susie a little break because she’d been on mommy duty all morning and I was missing Jackson.GCSL MC 047

The two of us split a hot dog, and then he ran me ragged all over the room.  He was having the time of his life making friends with all the conference-goers.  By the time lunch ended we were both ready for a nap, but only one of us got one. 

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I was quickly on to Georgia Beer’s presentation on “The Art of Romance.”  I sat in the very front row for this one and once again took tons of notes.  Besides being a good friend, Georgia is also one of my very favorite writers, and I wanted to soak up everything she had to offer.  GB promised to put all her slides on her website (www.georgiabeers.com), so make sure she follows through on that one, but in the meantime here are a few of the highlights.

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1) To romance writers: “You are an artist, no different than a painter, sculptor or photographer, don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently.  2)Your readers aren’t stupid; don’t make your characters stupid, either. 3) The ordinary can be interesting. 4) There’s nothing wrong with a happy ending.  5) And most importantly, she talked about internalized-romance-o-phobia and how we as romance writers should never apologize for what we write.  I was totally inspired and once again left with a serious urge to write.

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Alas there was no time for writing as I had to go kiss Lynda Sandoval.  Wait, wait, no, I mean I had to go read.  I read a selection from Trails Merge, but the real highlights of the session were my fellow readers.  My good buddy Gabe read from Paybacks and said “clit” twice.  Andi Marquette, whom I finally had the pleasure of meeting in person and can say she is every bit as fun as she seems online, read from Land of Entrapment, and finally Lee Lynch read from Rafferty Street.

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I just love to hear my friends and colleagues read from their work because after all, I was a fan long before I was an author.  It’s always an extra-special treat to hear Lee Lynch, who is an outright inspiration to so many of us.  I am just in awe of her, which made it easy to follow through with my kiss assassin mission on behalf of Ms. Cate Culpepper.

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Lee was a good sport about it despite her initial attempts to run when I mentioned Cate.  She was even willing to pose for a few more pictures with me, including this one of us making a bridge between generations of lesbian authors.  I am going to frame it and put it on my desk.

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After the reading I got to stick around for a coffee chat featuring Lee Lynch and Renee Bess.  As I mentioned above, I am a fan of Lee Lynch, but until this event I hadn’t had the chance to meet Renee.  As you can see from the picture a) I’m a big cheese ball, but more importantly b) I was just giddy about getting to hear this conversation.

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I loved hearing both of these amazing women talk about what drives them to tell their stories and the way their own experiences have shaped their writing. I didn’t want it to end. I could have listened to them all day long.

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Still, the session did have to come to an end, and not a moment too soon for Jackson, who was eager to get back to the Magic Kingdom. Jackson had a very important date with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  He didn’t have it in him to actually speak in their presence, but as soon as we left he looked at us in awe and said “Mouse!” P7242333

From there we droves the race cars and shot lasers with Buzz Lightyear.P7242334

The big highlight of the evening, though, was our final ride, the Jungle Cruise.  Jackson just went nuts because 1) he was on a boat and 2) there were animals all around him.  He could hardly contain himself when some hippos came out of the water by the boat.  His astonishment was almost palpable.

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That night back at the hotel I thought I was going to get some rest.  There was a lot of lightning in the area, so I decided to forgo the pool party and was on my way back up to my room with the very best of intentions when I noticed a group of rabble rousers in the bar.  Never having been one to pass up a social situation, I stopped to say hello and ended up spending the next several hours getting to know Cheyne Curry, Tracy Bricker, Mavis Applewater, Kate Sweeney, and a few others.

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I laughed until I had tears running down my face, and still Kate would not let up.  She said so many things I can’t even remember them all, but they come back to me at odd moments and leave me laughing uncontrollably at the post office or during Jackson’s swim lessons. Needless to say I did not get to bed until late again, and I quite literally had an ache in my side the next morning from laughing so hard.

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August 1, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

3 Comments »

  1. Wow, this was very informative. I wasn’t able to attend all the days of the conference, and it seems like J. M. Redman brought a powerful message. I would like to have listened in on Georgia Beers presentation, although romance isn’t my forte. I prefer mystery, but hey every story has to have some semblance of romance and I would have enjoyed it. Thanks for the post. It was wonderful.

    Comment by JLDillard | August 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for posting these, they were fun to read and your enthusiasm for your fellow authors and readers shines through. The family events are always so cute and Jackson could make a million bucks with that smile!

    Comment by Beth | August 1, 2009 | Reply

  3. I adore your blog, Rach. Mine was much simpler and smaller than yours last year. What a detail on the workshops and panelss. Great.
    Did you get the photo from the Buzz Lightyear’s place? I did and bought a Buzz’s frame too. Grin.

    Comment by Carmen Altuna | August 2, 2009 | Reply


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