All rightie, people! Hope everybody who celebrates it had a great 4th. Now, let’s chat about the GCLS (Golden Crown Literary Society) conference in Dallas this past weekend.
A quick note before we start — if you took my master class on setting, remember that your assignments (should you have chosen to do them) are due 15 July. That’s the 500-1000 word beginning to a piece incorporating a post-apocalyptic setting with the character you’ve decided to work with. You can reach me on my contact page here on my site or drop me a line on Facebook and I’ll give you my email again.
A further note about that — you don’t have to turn this into a short story or a novel. This is an exercise to get you thinking about setting and how your character interacts with it. If you’d like to turn it into something longer, by all means, do!
Okay. GCLS in Dallas!
Did I mention that it was over 100 degrees every day we were there until Sunday? No? Well, it was a bit roasty-toasty. But whatevs. We were there to do GCLSin’! Read on!
First, shout-outs to the GCLS and the GCLS organizing committee, including the women on the ground in Dallas who helped make it happen! And to the hotel staff, who not only had GCLS in-house, but several high school volleyball teams in town for a tournament. All the staff I dealt with were pleasant, efficient, and cordial. Thanks, all! And another shout-out to the Dallas Police Department, for their cordial and efficient assistance with security. And as Carleen Spry has posted, the officers did “Gangnam Style” at the Saturday after-awards dance. ROCK ON, DPD! Carleen’s got the photos; I thought she had put them on her FB page, but I can’t find them. So if any of you can, provide the link in the comments. Thanks. (Okay, try this link.)
Wednesday: Arrived in Dallas that afternoon. Already around 100 degrees F. WOOO! Got to the hotel and did some set-up on my vendor table, which was open to other authors and readers to use. Hanging out and promo materials totally welcome! My table was next to Sapphire Books, and I had the BEST time with the crew and authors! They included Isabella and her wife, Schileen, as well as the ever-bubbly and delightful Beth Burnett and the fab and droll Linda Kay Silva (along with her sidekick, Alan — those of you who have followed Alan’s tales know who I’m talking about). As an aside, I will be keynoting (along with the fab Linda Kay Silva) the Left Coast Lesfic Conference, organized by Sapphire books in October in Palm Springs.
I grabbed a sandwich at the hotel restaurant early that evening (hadn’t had lunch). I was able to chat with authors Renée Bess as well as Paula Offutt. Good to see you, everyone!
The GCLS meet n’ greet was Wednesday evening, and it included ice cream. I attended a Regal Crest Press gathering right after that and I was pleased to see so many RCE authors had made it to the conference.
Thursday: Went to a coffee chat featuring authors R.G. Emanuelle, Linda Kay Silva, and SY Thompson. The focus was on writing paranormal elements like vampires, zombies, and weres, moderated by the fabulous Lynn Ames who, much to her surprise and consternation, was
loaded down with given lots of moderating duties throughout the con. But she sucked it up like a trooper and took care of business. Lynn, you are my she-ro. I then caught the author readings right after that, which included K.G. MacGregor, R.G. Emanuelle, Isabella, Karen Badger, Ann McMan, Baxter Clare Trautman, M.E. Logan, Diane DeKalb Rittenhouse, Mary Griggs, and Lynn Ames. How’s THAT for a line-up? YOWZA!
That evening, the NM contingent (the Petroglyph Guild), I, and Lynn Ames met to discuss our upcoming event outside Albuquerque in September. YES, people! New Mexico! Authors Lynn Ames, me, Barrett, Karen Badger, Nat Burns, and Bett Reece Johnson are holding a reading/fun session in the mountains just outside Albuquerque. See this link for deets!
After that, R.G. and I decided to go out for Thai food, so we took a cab down to the Oak Lawn neighborhood (that’s part of the GAYborhood, y’all) then walked about half a mile to Sue Ellen’s Bar.
It’s a great bar, for those of you who get into that. Here’s an interior shot (not mine — it wasn’t busy at all when we were there):
Two stories, nice dance floor, upstairs bar/stage/balcony, downstairs patio. And a super-delish key lime martini. The bartender on duty said her specialty was “dessert martinis” and she was right. I stuck to Shiner Bock (I like to drink local), but R.G. let me taste the martini and YUM. We promptly told everybody else there to order one. I’m sure the bartender was all, “why the hell are all these people ordering key lime martinis all of a sudden?” Cuz they’re GOOD, gurlfriend! 😀
We grabbed another cab back to the hotel and hung out a bit in the lobby, which bunches of GCLSers were doing. That seemed to be the central place to meet between and after events and after hours.
Here’s a view of the lobby (sans people):
Do you see the bar there to the left? Yeah. That was a good place to find conference-goers, too.
FRIDAY: Carsen Taite was the morning speaker (note to GCLS: 9 AM is just a little early for talks. . .perhaps you could revisit that?). She and VK Powell later tried to steal my Sugar Daddy candy, that I’d gotten from R.E. Bradshaw. I was all, WHUT? THIS IS MINE! I ran screaming, but secretly, I was guiding them to R.E.’s table so they could get their own.
The author auction cranked up, and AWESOME-NESS! Over $8,000 came in for the GCLS scholarship fund. That is all kinds of neato. This day was sort of busy for me, because I had to get stuff ready for my master class on setting. To get people to think about it differently, we worked in post-apocalyptic landscapes (with images). Sometimes, you need to get extreme to really see your surroundings and think about how a character interacts with it and how it, in turn, influences character actions and reactions. Hopefully, attendees took something away from that for their work. 😀 After the class, I mostly hung out in the vendor room chatting with readers and other authors and signing books. I wandered to the bar, where I ended up chatting with authors Sandra Moran, Barrett, and then Georgia Beers and her wife, Bonnie. Somehow, I ended up with a bottle of beer (good local stuff from St. Arnold’s Brewery)
The author autograph session was Friday evening, and clearly, both authors and readers were having a great time. Perhaps they were getting geared up for karaoke. . .oh, and shout out to Bedazzled Ink, for the great tees. And to the BI crew, for our new cheer: “TIP OF THE SPEAR!” (bless our hearts)
R.G. Emanuelle and I went to dinner with the Sapphire Books crew, who are AWESOME. We took a hotel shuttle to Maggione’s, this chain Italian restaurant that actually isn’t bad food. We had a BLAST. It was super fun getting to chat with Isabella and Dutch (Mary Deutscher) as well as Beth Burnett and Schileen. Linda Kay and Alan were on the other end of the table, but we did manage to chat a little bit back and forth over GIANT PLATES of ravioli, chicken, salad, and a variety of other dishes that came family style.
Then we all headed back to the hotel for karaoke night, and I gotta tell ya, that turned out to be a blast. Would somebody PLEASE get Pennie J. Hancock a singing contract? Cuz that woman can BELT. Damn, Pennie! Keep it real! Liz McMullen did a fab rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which R.G. Emanuelle noted got EVERYBODY going for the head-banging, including Karin Kallmaker. And R.G. herself decided that it was important to do a duck art installment (little rubber duckies were circulating — handed out to “con virgins”). It had Liz and me laughing so hard we practically fell out of our chairs. You must see it. R.G. graciously posted it to her Facebook page. Check it here. It’s a sequential story/slideshow called “Saga of the Rubber Duckies.” And. . .um. . .some of it may not be suitable for young viewers. LOL
Saturday: Yep, I definitely saw some folks dragging Saturday morning after the wild Friday karaoke. Georgia Beers gave a wonderful keynote (again, GCLS — why are these at freaking NINE AM? We got a little too wild at karaoke!), emphasizing the community spirit that we have and should continue to carry forward. She also showed a super-cute video demonstrating her “Day in the Life of a Romance Author.” See it here. I went to a panel afterward about the paranormal in writing and how authors try to develop new ideas within the genre. Participants were R.G. Emanuelle, Linda Kay Silva, Isabella, Ali Vali, and Diane DeKalb Rittenhouse. Nat Burns moderated.
OMG I totally forgot! Here I am, back, putting in the coffee chat I participated in on Saturday afternoon about science fiction and overall spec fic, moderated by Lynn Ames. I am super-honored to have been on the panel with fellow authors Erica Lawson, MB Panichi and D. Jordan Redhawk. I think we were all a bit punchy by that time. Poor Lynn. But she handled us with aplomb as we discussed sci fi topics, fielded questions from the audience, and got into a spirited discussion about why science fiction doesn’t seem to appeal to lesfic readers. Chime in if you have answers, folks.
Afterward, I hung out in the vendor room again chatting. Radclyffe arrived around 2 to do book signings starting at 3. I didn’t get a chance to say hi to her because, well, you know. It’s Radclyffe. I didn’t want to take time from the readers who were so excited to see her. Next time, I’ll try to introduce myself to her formally. We’ve chatted via email, but never really face to face. Radclyffe did attend the awards ceremony, and she was able to accept awards for a couple of Bold Strokes authors who were unable to come.
The Sapphire Books crew let me and R.G. tag along to dinner (see what happens when your table ends up right next door to a crew like Sapphire?) prior to the awards ceremony. We all went and got gussied up then ate dinner at the hotel restaurant before heading over to the pre-awards reception. I live-Facebooked the ceremony, so you can check my timeline for that, but Mary Griggs compiled the list of winners at her LiveJournal. Can I just say that Pennie J. Hancock, you are a fabulous MC. And you look excellent in top hat and tails. Anyway, you can find the list of winners here, Part 1 and Part 2. CONGRATS TO ALL! And it was SO GREAT to see Vin Packer/Marijane Meaker honored as both the Trailblazer and the Lee Lynch Classic award-winner. She is truly a pioneer in lesbian fiction. More on her HERE.
I was finally able to meet Yvonne Heidt in person after the ceremony. I totally jumped up and down for her when she won for best paranormal. She is a delight, and it was great that she and her wife, Sandy, were able to attend. If you haven’t yet, read her thoughts on winning here. You’ll see why we are all so excited for her.
And then, of course, it was time for the after-awards dance, which was a lot of fun. The DJ (who also did the karoake the night before) was this older dude who liked to wear a bandana on his head while he worked. He had these thick glasses, too, so he looked kind of like what would happen if a biker group met in a library. Bookish and sort of ol’ skool open road. Cracked me up. He seemed cool with a bunch of women dancing with each other, so kudos to him not batting an eye and playing a decent mix of disco and newer stuff as well as some slow stuff for romantic dancing. I had a nice glass of wine, danced a few, and then had to retire a bit early because I had to get all packed up to leave the next day. I hate that part of these things. Packing up and getting ready to go home. BOO! Plus, R.G. and I were rooming together and she had to catch an 8 AM shuttle to DFW Airport. Bless her heart.
SUNDAY: Waited outside with R.G. for her shuttle. The coffee provided in the hotel rooms (you know, the little coffee packets and the coffee maker) was actually pretty good, so we were fueling up on that. And YAY the temperature had dropped. Nice cool breeze and it was pleasant to be outside. I had my stuff all packed, so I went and got it after R.G. left and stashed it at the hotel desk. I didn’t have to get my shuttle ’til 1, so I had some lag-time.
The wrap-up meeting was actually pretty well-attended and everybody expressed excitement about next year’s GCLS, which is in Portland, OR. WOOO HOOO! (I have a bias; I love Portland). Other important news: Patty Schramm has stepped down as GCLS director. Lizz Gibson is interim director, and though everybody was sad to see Patty leave her post, good luck to her (she’d like to do more writing, too!), and thanks!
Then, for those conference-goers who had stuck around, GCLS provided a buffet brunch. Linda Kay Silva and I got hold of Beth Burnett’s phone while Beth was off being the social butterfly she is. MUAH HA HA! Some of you may have seen the results of that on Beth’s Facebook timeline. . .
I caught Isabella and Schileen and Beth and Dutch before I left to thank them for a wonderful time. I’ll be seeing them in October in Palm Springs, but still. I hate leaving a conference like that, where I’ve had so much fun catching up with people, meeting people in person, and being fully engaged with the writing and reading world. So though I was exhausted when I got home, I was still sad to leave.
So, to everyone I met/chatted with, THANKS for a great conference. To the GCLS and various organizing committees, THANKS for a great conference. To the hotel staff, THANKS. And to the Dallas PD, THANKS.
Hopefully, I’ll see some of YOU in New Mexico in September!