GCLS Recap – Day 1
My trip to this year’s Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual conference was a complex one that started very early in the morning. After a tearful goodbye to my wife and son, I got to the airport check-in counter and realized I didn’t have my wallet. After frantically dumping out my bags on the front sidewalk, I sat down and resolved to miss my flight. However, my wonderful wife got back to the hotel and saw my wallet sitting on the front seat of the car (it must have fallen out of my pocket) and rushed it back to the airport in time for me to make a mad dash through security and collapse into my seat less than an minute before they closed the gate. This should have been a sign to me of things to come, but alas, I’m not quick on the uptake.
When I arrived at the conference via a ride from the ever dependable Lara Zielinsky, I was still feeling frazzled but was immediately enveloped in a hug by none other than KG MacGregor. I remember thinking, “Oh yeah, this is why I put myself through this.”
Within minutes I was snuggled up between two amazing femmes (Georgia Beers and Lynn Ames) and listening to the very funny and talented guest speaker Elizabeth Sims, who spoke about research and illustrated her points with hilarious stories. I learned quite a bit. For instance, many women suffer from the problem of crippling tact. I am not one of those women, but I do, however, share their absurd reluctance to just pick up the phone and call someone. Good to know I’m not alone in that problem, but even better to actually work through it. I hope Elizabeth will be happy to know I have placed a couple of phone calls to senators over the last few days.
After Elizabeth’s speech we got right down to the author auction. I was once again on the block, though this time without my trusty chaps, which no longer fit (too small), and I didn’t even have time to change out of my flight clothes, but the very kind Liz Coit took pity on me.
But the auction wasn’t over yet. Just because I’d been bid on didn’t mean I was done with my duties. You see, I have a long-standing tradition of bidding on Georgia Beers despite rules established by her wife, Bonnie, forbidding me to do so, since what she doesn’t know won’t cause her to hurt me, but this year Bonnie was actually at the conference.
We were all set for an epic showdown, both of us ready with our hands poised to shoot up and start the bidding, but our awesome auctioneer Lois Glenn wasn’t even through with Georgia’s introduction when the bidding was opened at something like $200, and Bonnie and I both froze. Oh well, the best laid plaids often fall away when lesbians with deep pockets enter the room.
After the auction we headed off for the day’s first round of break-out sessions, and I chose the marketing workshop conducted by the fabulously funny Fay Jacobs. Aside from being endlessly entertaining, Fay had some great tips for marking your books. A few of my favorites were putting publication announcements in local papers, finding unconventional connections (i.e. sending press releases about LoveLife to life coaches), and keeping your website updated at all times (more on this in the coming weeks). I especially liked her advise about setting up interviews with friends and other authors, which is something you can expect more of from me in the coming months, too.
At lunch Georgia and I walked out to the pool, where I saved her life. We were walking along looking for Bonnie when a rather large back snake slithered across the path in front of us. I stopped walking, but Georgia was looking up and didn’t see it. She was about a half step from stepping right on it when I lunged forward, catching her in one arm and grabbing the snake by the tail and flinging it out of the way before it could bite either of us.
Okay so not really, but I did manage to stammered G-G-Georgia ssssstop, sn-sn-snake! At which point she jumped back and clutched my arm while we watched it slither into the bushes, and then we both congratulated each other on not screaming like little girls. There was lots of shuddering throughout our 25 minute wait for my $12 salad, and even more rehashing during our lunch with SX Meager and her wonderful wife, Carrie. I love those two. They are fellow Illinerds transplanted to New York, and we always find lots to talk about.
After the our harrowing brush with death and expensive food, we rushed back inside for my coffee chat. This is an event I was really looking forward to. As I mentioned in my last post, I really love the coffee chat format. Its fun, its casual, and its very interactive. This time I say down with (from the left) Marcia Finical, Elizabeth Sims, and Fay Jacobs. Our wonderful moderator was Lynn Ames, who filmed the session for an upcoming edition of the Lynn Ames Show.
We talked about everything from writing process to the future of lesbian fiction and with the help of Georgia’s smart(er than me) phone, we even addressed the questions you folks sent in to the blog a couple of weeks ago. All the participants complimented my wonderful commenters on their great questions, and I proudly stated that I have awesome blog readers. Thanks for making us all look good up there.
There was one more session after ours, but I was exhausted, and Lynn Ames was on one of her very few breaks for the entire conference, so we both rushed over to Downtown Disney for a quick ice cream fix. We found out we are both completely compatible in our ice cream tastes and placed the exact same order. Hot fudge sundae with cookie dough ice cream, but Lynn ate hers more enthusiastically than I did mine.
We then hauled ass across several lanes of traffic to make it back for the author autograph session. This session is always fun because its like a herd of lesbians milling around in one big room. You get a chance to talk to a lot of folks, and I was lucky enough to find a spot at a fun table with Sara Marx and Pol Robinson. No seriously, we had a great time getting to know each other a little better, lots of joking and laughter, despite what our expressions in the picture may suggest.
I’d left my pants in Georgia Beers’ room(I’ve always wanted to say that) so I went looking for her. Instead I ran into two of my favorite people, Barrett and Marianne Martin. We ended up sitting in the vendors’ room shooting the breeze, talking about writing, and networking, and our great lesfic community all the way up until it was time to go surprise our dear friend Elaine Mulligan Lynch.
Lainie is one of the true gems of the lesbian fiction community, and we tried to show her a little love by giving her 50 toasts for 50 years. I think she enjoyed it.
After a quick break from the festivities to skype with Jackie and Susie, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Marianne Martin, Barrett, Lynn Ames, and Lynn Pierce. We had a great time talking sports and writing at a sports bar in the hotel, but that’s where everything started to go wrong. I’ll save you all the details, but within about an hour and a half of eating my chicken sandwich, I ended up here:
And that is where I stayed all night. 😦