Wow, what a weekend it was. The Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual conference is always full of great opportunities to learn things about the craft of writing and the business, as well as meeting and having fun with people.
(Since I don’t want to poach anyone’s photos, you can go check out some of your favorite people’s albums on Facebook–provided you are their friend, of course: Lori Lake, Patty Schramm, Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers)
This was the first year that I was involved in the events, and it was quite a learning experience. Those of you who have been following this blog know that getting up in front of people is not something I look forward to. (At the awards ceremony, someone got up to describe the judging process and said, “This is an introvert’s nightmare.” That says it perfectly.)
But, from what I’ve been told, it gets easier the more you do it. So, I jumped on the chance to be on a panel, and do a coffee chat and a reading.
The coffee chat on Thursday was probably the easiest to do because it was a very casual gathering of three writers (Linda Kay Silva and SY Thompson were the other two). It was basically a Q&A. The moderator, the lovely Lynn Ames, did a great job guiding us through. Simple as that. (Well, I suppose it was simple for Linda Kay and SY. For me, it was a test to see if my brain would freeze up.)
The reading, right after the coffee chat, was a bit stressful for all the authors because we only had 5 minutes, and you’d be surprised how quickly those 5 minutes go. The author right before me was KG McGregor, who was quite funny and entertaining. I had to follow that.
I had to follow a funny KG McGregor. Can you believe that?
If that wasn’t stressful enough, I was trying to get through my entire selection so I was reading quickly, but I was told it was too fast. Oh, well.
Finally, on Saturday, was my panel: “Zombies, Vampires, and Fairies, Oh My.” This one was the worst for me because we (the authors) were up on a dais and it had a more “official” feel to it. On top of that, they left out my bio from the program and, as a probable consequence of that, I did not get a placard with my name on it for the panel. So I had to scribble my name on a pad and prop it up.
When I expressed concerns after the events, people were very gracious and told me that I had done very well, but however the events went, I’m looking at them as learning experiences. I now know a thing or two about doing these things that I hadn’t known before. I said hello to a few old friends but, mostly, I met new people this time and had a great time hanging out with them, talking shop, and just getting to know them.
Georgia Beers was hilarious as the keynote speaker, and she was as humble and gracious as always. Her video presentation of “A Day in the Life of Romance Writer” had us howling. She really got it spot on in a way that all writers can relate. (If you want to see it, go to her website HERE.) The awards ceremony had hints of sadness, too, as the women we’ve lost were remembered. I was amazed to learn about Marijane Meaker, who won this year’s Trailblazer Award and the Lee Lynch Classic Award. Meaker published Spring Fire (under the name Vin Packer) in 1952 and it’s considered to be the first lesbian pulp novel. Her career following that release has been amazing, awe-inspiring, and just inspiring. I’m glad that she was recognized for her work.
Cowboy Karaoke on Friday night was, I have to say, more fun than I had anticipated. Participants really got into their songs and people even danced. When Liz McMullen (host of the Liz McMullen Show) sang Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the entire room did a Wayne’s World-esque head-banging thing. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Karen Kallmaker head bang. No, really.
Things got a little crazy in there with the virgin ducks they were giving out (little rubber duckies given to con virgins), and you can see for yourself from my Facebook photo album HERE that I was not in a correct frame of mind. I had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, okay? Click on the first photo to start the slide show. (Warning: Contents of this photo album for mature audiences only. No duckies were harmed or exploited in the making. Well, maybe exploited. Just a little. But they liked it.)
Finally, the dance was a blast. This time around, the music was good and the DJ seemed to have no issues spinning tunes for a bunch of gay gals. (There were issues in the past with sucky DJs or DJ crews who were “dismayed” at having to witness a bunch of dykes dancing together. Although, people are still talking about how rocking Andi Marquette’s set was when she DJ’d in 2009.) I had a lot of fun dancing, and it was really cute to see one particular army sergeant, all done up in her dress blues, totally getting into the Electric Slide. Awesome.
And so that’s it. Overall, I thought it went very well. There will always be bits of rivalry or politics here and there, but in the end, we come together where and when it matters. We are a sisterhood and need to stick together. That’s what the GCLS con is about—recognizing and supporting each other. As Georgia Beers said in her speech, we are not in competition with one another. We’re all in this together.