Wonder Boi Writes

GCLS Part Deux: Friday and Saturday

So it seems I have become a bi-weekly blogger instead of a weekly blogger. Sorry about that, but I’ve been writing a lot on my new novel.  I hope you’ll forgive me.

Anyway, we have been reliving the GCLS for just about as long as I realistically can. It’s time to wrap this thing up.

Friday morning started early with the membership meeting, and this is the part of the recap where I get to gush.  This board of directors is awesome.  For the first time in G-d knows how long the GCLS is in the black.  Yup, that’s right, the finances are in order.  Not only are our bills settled up; we actually made money.   On top of that amazing news, we also had 35 new attendees, lots of great plans for the upcoming year, and a truly stellar conference, all thanks to these amazing volunteers.  I am in awe of them!

After all that good news it was time for Karin Kallmaker to take the floor for a special address, and special is the perfect word for it.  I bow to Karin and her ability to work a metaphor beautifully and with humor to teach a broad audience so very much in so little time.   She is one of the best in the business, and it is always a privilege to learn from her. On a lighter note, when she waved to me before the  meeting, I looked behind me wondering who Karin Kallmaker was saying hello to. I did that “Who me?” thing and got a little giddy.

After the general session we broke out into smaller groups, and I followed Karin and Georgia (shocking, right?) to their coffee chat with Dillon Watson.  The coffee chats, for those of you who don’t know, are really informal sessions where two or three authors get mic’d up and then talk about whatever comes to mind.  I really love the coffee chats. I’ve yet to be to one where I didn’t learn something, and this one was the best one yet.  These three covered a wide range of topicsand had a great rapport with each other as well as with the audience.  There’s just something about getting to listen in on a conversation with smart, driven, talented writers. I was captivated (and it looks like MJ was too).

We got a quick break for lunch, and I gave Susie a break while Jackie and I snuck off for some quality time for a boi/boy lunch. We split a pizza and he filled me in on the really important things I missed at Downtown Disney and the pool while I was off being all writerly.

After a good grounding hour of mommy time, I got the little prince down for his nap and it was show time for me.   I gave my big conference presentation titled “Talkin Bout My Generation: Millennial Readers and the Future of Lesbian Fiction.”  You’ll have to poll the peanut gallery as to how they think it went.  The discussion got lively at times, but I got some very positive feedback and lots of requests for copies of the presentation.  I will say from the pictures it was at the very least a good hair day 😉

After my session (and the ensuing discussions) I headed over to the autograph session, which was mostly another chance for me to shoot the bull with some of my favorite authors and readers.  Good times were had all around.

By this time my parents had arrived in Orlando and taken over on grandparent duty, spoiling my son and allowing Susie to join me for a while.   We ran in to the great Lee Lynch and her lovely partner, Lainie, who invited us to tag along to dinner with them and Renee Bess (recent guest blogger here on Wonderboi Writes), her wonderful partner, and the ever funny Fay Jacobs.  When you get an invitation like that, you take it!

After dinner it was date night for the Spanglers.  We headed downtown to see Jennifer Knapp in concert.  If you follow this blog at all, you know I’ve been a big fan of Jennifer’s for over a decade now, and it was a real treat to see her live.  It was also a great venue, and we were really close to her.    Seriously, close enough to touch her . . . but I didn’t.  Still, it was a very cool night out for us.

Saturday morning seemed to come very quickly for some reason, and since Nana and Pawpaw had Jackson and my wife was all warm and cuddly beside me, there was only one person in the world I could see getting me out of bed before noon, and that person just happened to be giving a keynote address downstairs.  I may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I do know that when the great Lee Lynch talks, I listen.  So I dragged my sorry butt downstairs, and I didn’t regret it for a second.

As far as I’m concerned, Lee Lynch is a national treasure, and the history she shared with us all during her keynote address was proof of that.  The things Lee has done over the course of her career is absolutely astounding.  She didn’t just witness our history; she wrote it.  Listening to Lee talk about how far we have come, and the blood, sweat, tears, laugher, camaraderie, and passion that went to that progress was so inspiring, I’m not ashamed to admit I got a little misty a time or two.

The second half of the morning was spent on the author auction.  While I have given you a very detailed account of the conference so far, that stops now.  You see, what happens at the author auction stays at the author auction.  We have to have some secrets, don’t we?  If you want to see if it’s as wild as you’ve heard it is, then you’re just going to have to come see it for yourselves 😉  I was auctioned off, and my first dance was purchased by the lovely Rosa Moran.  Beyond that, you’ll get no details out of me. Let’s just say a good time was had by all.

After lunch I went to a panel on promotions with Lynn Ames, KG McGregor, Lee Lynch, Ellen Hart, and facilitated by Mary Griggs. This session was really informative.  I think promoting our work is one of the hardest parts about being an author.  I struggle with self promotion, and even when I do  sell myself, I’m never sure how many new readers I’m actually reaching.  A few of the tips I picked up were to cross promote, work with my fellow authors, and get interactive.

Lest you worry that I was being too serious on Saturday, I assure you I did take a break from all this learning and mature growth as a writer to stir up some mischief.   Clearly Kate and I are really enjoying this moment, and don’t let Georgia fool you, she was eating it up too. This kind of thing only happens to me at GCLS.

And the best part about this picture is one that you can’t see.  To outside of the frame Joan Opyr and Bett Norris are tying my shoe strings together.  Yes, lots of work going on here.

That evening after a few hours with my family (I really missed Jackie during the day) it was time to get ready for the big awards ceremony and dance.  I had the honor of presenting the Goldie for mystery to my fellow BSB author Ann Laughlin.

It was also a real treat to see Ellen Hart win the Trail Blazer award.  I happened to be sitting at her table, and everyone of us had quietly discussed that fact that she should win the award, but Ellen was honestly shocked by the honor.  It was really a wonderful capstone to a great ceremony.

After the awards ceremony finished it was time to start the dance, and we kicked off with the auction winners getting the first dance with their authors.  I was doubly blessed, not only did I get to dance with Rosa Morgan, who had been honored with the Director’s Award, but I also got to dance with Karin Kallmaker, who’d also been purchased by Rosa.  It was pretty awesome!

I have tons upon tons of pictures from this night.  There was line dancing and table dancing and lot of hugs from friends new and old.  I gradually shed my clothes. First the jacket came off.  Georgia Beers stole my tie, which has become the tradition, and I kicked off my shoes while sharing a bottle of wine with Karin and MJ.  We partied until they turned the lights on and unplugged the sound equipment, and then we lingered to chat some more.  Its always hard to let go of those moment we’ll cherish forever since they will have to sustain us for a very long year until we all meet again.

There’s no graceful way to sufficiency conclude a post like this, I feel my heart aching to return to that ballroom even as I write this. So rather than let my emotions get the better of me, I’ll choose to leave you with one more picture from that night, the one that whisks me back to that night, grounds me to the present, and fills me with hope for a bright future.

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July 17, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Rachel, Thanks for being such a great historian and reporter.

    Elaine

    Comment by Lainie | July 17, 2010 | Reply

  2. Rachel,

    Thanks for the final recap. I always enjoy reading about the con and seeing all the great pictures.

    Beth

    Comment by Beth | July 19, 2010 | Reply


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