Thank goodness for all the photos GCLS attendees posted on Facebook to chronicle our five days in DC. If I had to rely only on my memories, the entire conference would be nothing more than a blur of hugs, laughs, shivers, buffet lines and ominous signs telling us our time was up. With the GCLS con coming as it does on the heels of the Lammys in New York (and our annual board meeting), it’s no wonder I felt physically and mentally drained when I finally dragged myself home.
But after a couple of days’ rest, I began to process the week we spent together in our nation’s capital. I’ve got a reading list a mile long thanks to the Author Spotlights, Goldie Awards and great displays in the vendor room. We all know however the best way to find out about good books is word of mouth,and there was plenty of that too. And authors may not realize how important this is — certainly I’m not the only one who feels this way — but when you show up for a panel and it’s obvious you’re smart and engaging and well prepared, it makes me want to go read your books.
Speaking of those panels, I’ve now got dozens more gadgets in my writer’s toolbox that I’m dying to use. That includes tips for making my sidekicks memorable, writing diverse characters, and sustaining tension and chemistry throughout a book, whether it’s romance or intrigue. And while I’m writing, I’ll have Rachel Spangler in the back of my mind, reminding me that these aren’t just stories — that our books are documenting lesbian history, leaving words and portraits of life that will be here for all time. And the hilarious Fay Jacobs will be there too, sharing her special window on history with Anyda Marchant (aka Sarah Aldridge), and challenging me to hold the proud ground our foremothers won.
So yeah, I came home thinking I was running on empty and realized my tank was actually filled to overflowing. I can’t wait to get back to work. (Publisher Linda Hill is probably saying the same thing about me.) It’s a good thing most of the events at GCLS were recorded, and let’s hope they’ll be posted soon so we can go back and experience it all again.
And does this ever look fine on my shelf! You can read the whole list of winners on the Golden Crown website, and it includes T-Minus Two for Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure. It was a special honor to be recognized alongside the other winners in the category: Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou for One Last Thing, and Carsen Taite for Reasonable Doubt. What you missed if you weren’t present for the awards ceremony were the acceptance speeches, where authors had a chance to shine a light on all the people who helped turn out their winning books. I was lucky to have so many of those folks in the room on awards night — the GCLS judges who gave so much time to evaluate our books; editor Katherine V. Forrest; publisher Linda Hill and all the great women at Bella Books; and of course Jenny, who still insists she won’t come with me to Mars if I should happen to be selected.
Finally, if I still have your attention, let me tell you about a couple of events I have planned for this fall here in North Carolina:
— Saturday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville: A reading, Q&A and book signing with Karin Kallmaker, who’s coming all the way from the Bay Area to meet the vibrant lesbian community in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
— Sunday, September 25, 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the LGBT Center in Raleigh. This one’s bound to get raucous, because it’ll have Karin Kallmaker, D. Jackson Leigh, VK Powell, Ann McMan and Rebecca Swartz.
If you’re in the neighborhood, I hope you’ll come out to join in the fun. It’ll be like taking GCLS on the road.