Because it was the very first one, it was a small gathering, but that was okay because it gave everyone involved in its creation the opportunity to get a feel for what worked, what didn’t work, what was needed, what wasn’t needed, and what needs to happen next time without being overwhelmed by a huge group.
There were panels, workshops, and readings, all held around the pool area of the Casitas Laquita hotel. Palm Springs itself is a gorgeous place, but within this chi chi town is this little lesbian oasis. Set in the desert, against the San Jacinto Mountains, Casitas Laquita is a grouping of one-story “casitas,” all of which open up around a pool and lounge area. There were palm trees, fountains, little flower and cactus gardens, and white lights to illuminate the evenings. I have to say, it was quite lovely.
How cool it was to attend the various events without ever having to leave the poolside! It was a writer’s event but it was also a vacation. Even those of us who “worked” (i.e., presented/talked/etc.) agreed that it was non-stressful and relaxing. There were many hilarious moments, a few bottles of wine, and some interesting personal and professional revelations from the speakers. I took lots of pictures of palm trees. I was a little obsessed.
It was a treat to hear from the special guest speaker, Amanda Kyle Williams. She spoke to us directly at La Casita but she also did a public speaking at the Palm Springs library, where she gave us a frank account of her rise to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. She has an honest, dry sense of humor that had us genuinely laughing, and despite being soft-spoken, she gave us a powerful speech in which she revealed that due to undiagnosed dyslexia, she didn’t read her first book until she was 23. Startling, considering her position now. She didn’t have her hit mystery/thriller series until her fifties. I told her afterward that her story was inspiring to me because I’m at a stage of my life where I question how it’s possible that I’m middle-aged and still haven’t found my place in the world. If a woman with the obstacles she’s had to face can do it, then there’s hope for everyone.
Isabella and Schileen did an amazing job pulling everything together (although, by the end of the weekend, they both looked like they could use a really big, strong alcoholic beverage). It must have truly been an overwhelming experience for them. But if the feedback from the congregation is any indication, it looks like there’s definitely going to be a second one. (That is, if the dynamite duo wants to go through it again!)
I’m hard at work trying to tie up the last strings on my novella, Add Spice to Taste, for its release on Amazon for Kindle. I received some good feedback on the excerpt I read at LCLC, so I feel a little better about it. Hopefully, it won’t disappoint.
By the way, the Kindle version of When the Clock Strikes Thirteen is available HERE. The print version will be out shortly. Great stories.
I hope to see everyone again next year, and those of you who couldn’t make it this time, I hope you can make it next year.