The hot and humid summer months suggest short blogs are better than long ones. It should take less time to read one of these short essays than it takes to eat a popsicle. So…saunter to your fridge, pluck out an ice pop, and enjoy its cold sweetness while you read this article.

I used to attend the Golden Crown Literary Society’s conference every year. For several reasons, I’ve become an every-other-year attender. The span of twenty-three months between conferences allows me to notice changes that have occurred, usually for the better, and to make my reunions with friends more meaningful than they might be if we see each other more frequently.

What follows are my “take-aways” from this last Con, held in Las Vegas, from July 4th to the 8th.

The easy exchanges of smiles and hugs continue. New acquaintances, FB friends, publishers, writers, editors, GCLS Board members all exude friendliness.  Strangers  exists only until you extend your hand and introduce yourself.

Learning persists. During this Con I absorbed information about: how to set up my website, the value of destigmatizing mental illness when we write our stories, why one should remove the “D” from the acronym, PTSD.

I took in advice about the copious amount of research that’s involved in writing historical fiction, and the wisdom of omitting researched material that doesn’t belong in your book, lest it clog the narrative with unnecessary details.

I learned about Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s incredible bravery when, as an adolescent growing up in Portland, Oregon, she incited the birth of high school girls’ organized basketball.

I listened to the power of Dorothy Allison’s rhetoric. Her fire-filled oratory was as compelling as the hard-edged truths laid bare in her books. I acquainted myself with the concept of “readers’ triggers,” and then debated (internally) the pros and cons of using back cover material to warn potential readers about any plot or character issue that might trigger a negative  reaction.

This year I shared conference spaces with more women who looked like me than ever before. Consequently, I felt heartened, affirmed, and convinced of the sincerity of the GCLS’s  Executive Director’s promise to prioritize the membership’s diversity and inclusion. Kudos to Mary Phillips and to the Board of Directors. They’re traveling down a long road, one with centuries old twists and turns, one where folks at both ends evince cautious timidity.

Finally, props to the female TSA agent at McCarron Int’l. Airport who asked me to explain the whys and wherefores of the beautiful glass trophy she removed from my carry-on luggage and then inspected. On hearing my explanation, she grinned, said it “was wonderful,” and asked me if I had a promo card. She wanted to post it in her colleagues’ break room.

“We have a lot of people working here who’d appreciate knowing about this,” she said.

This blog is not summertime-short, is it? By now, dear readers, you’ve consumed two popsicles, haven’t you?

To quote my 2nd, 5th, 7th and 8th grade teacher, Ms. Kelly, “I’m sorry I didn’t have time to make this shorter.”



36769272_2067138253550193_3913874366789582848_n                                                  36901625_10216259604460123_7513883879481016320_n                                                                                  Renée Bess is the author of five novels, and along with Lee Lynch, the co-story collector of the 2018 Golden Crown Literary Society’s Best Anthology Award. She blogs here the fourth Thursday of the month. Her website: http://www.reneebess.com



  1. Renee, It was wonderful to spend time with you and the other story collector and aurhors of Our Happy Hours! What a fabulous Con it was, indeed. Thanks for sharing your memories of it.


  2. It was good to see you again, Renee. It was a fantastic time of learning and fellowship. And, I hope to one day have to explain a Goldie in my luggage! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mercedes, I suspect you WILL have to explain the significance of a Goldie in your luggage. I wish every writer who contributed to OUR HAPPY HOURS, LGBT VOICES FROM THE GAY BARS could have received an award.


  3. Congratulations on your Goldie! I read this with great interest and laughed all the way through. Why? Because we both enjoyed the con immensely though, other than our time with Dorothy Allison, we took entirely different paths. You focused on craft and I focused on branding and marketing. There truly was something for everyone.


    • Thanks for reading my post, Anne. Isn’t it terrific that the Con offers such a varied menu of topics and presentations?


    • Thank you so much, Fiona! I always enjoy reading about your adventures d’outre mer! Are you still in Spain?


  4. Calm, measured and uplifting blog, Renee. The director and crew are amazing. I hope you were able to follow up with the TSA woman. What a wonderful exchange that was!


    • Lee, I agree with you about the GCLS’ Director and Board. They do a tremendous job organizing the conference each year. Their outreach efforts are yielding results. The presence of so many newbies will help grow and sustain the organization.
      As for the TSA officer…Her friendliness was unexpected. Her request for a card stunned me. As Viv and I started our trek toward the departure gate, we saw her waving the two promo postal cards in the air, smiling broadly and saying “Thank you,”


    • The reason you weren’t stopped at the airport and questioned about your trophy is NOT about a lack of caring in D.C. Those who care didn’t cross your path that day. Trust that they will cross your path in the near future.
      Congratulations on winning a Goldie!


Comments are closed.