January 10, 2011 – Orlando, FL
The day started early. First up on the agenda was the presentation by the Special Speaker for the conference – Elizabeth Sims.
Now, I have to be honest here…until this conference, I’d not heard of Elizabeth Sims. I know, I know…bad reader.
However, after listening to the presentation – which had a primary focus on conducting research for a novel – I’m definitely going to check out her works. Those who have read Ms. Sims’ writing say it’s really quite wonderful. So, I will definitely need to check that out.
After a short break, it was on to the Author Auction! I love this event. As a way to raise scholarship money for GCLS – which allows people who, financially, are unable to attend the convention on their own, to join in the celebration – authors put themselves up for auction. The highest bidder wins the first dance at the awards celebration with that particular author. This year, the authors raised over $2,300! That’s pretty awesome! Sometimes things get a little silly, but it’s all for a great cause and we have a good time just having some fun. Many of the authors will “sweeten the deal” by including books or an offer to look at someone’s manuscript. I can never afford to bid high, but I did throw out a $100 bid for Karin Kallmaker right off the bat…just to get things going. 🙂
Mom and I took a break after that by going back to the room and just hanging out until we needed to be at the next panel. We sat in on a panel called “So I Had This Idea…” which was moderated by Karin Kallmaker. The panelists included Laurie Salzler, Layce Gardner, Saxon Bennett, Pol Robinson, and Amy Dawson Robinson (who is one of my favorite people). What a fascinating panel! it’s so cool to hear where the ideas come from when these authors write their novels…or what they do with all of the ideas flitting around in their heads. Layce Gardner really put a fire under our asses by telling us that there is no such thing as writer’s block! Basically, she said that writer’s block is bullshit and if we use that as an excuse then we are just being lazy. Go Layce!
We then attended an author reading in the afternoon. Honestly, I’m not sure who everyone was…the authors’ names on our list didn’t quite match who was actually there. And, I started to get this catch in my throat that caused me to have to leave the room for a while. However, Ruth Perkinson started us off with the beginning of her forthcoming novel, Mystic Market. It sounds interesting!
Speaking of Ruth Perkinson…I was finally able to get Ruth to autograph her books for me. After waiting for so many years, it was something that I just could not pass up! No way, no how! KG MacGregor also autographed her novel, Out of Love for me. And I was able to ask Karin Kallmaker to autograph Substitute for Love – the very first lesbian fiction novel I ever purchased and read.
The night festivities began with a surprise birthday party for Elaine Mulligan in the lobby bar. Boy was she surprised, too! Her wife, the incredible Lee Lynch, enlisted the help of a few folks to plan out the party. Since it was a party for Lainie’s 50th birthday, there were 50 toasts in her honor. I had the privilege of giving one of the toasts.
We rounded everything out with some karaoke. This is a well attended event. Boy, do we have a good time! There are some really talented women in this organization, let me tell you! I was going to see if there was a song that I could do, but it was getting late and time – an my nerves – just weren’t in my favor. Maybe next year.
Tomorrow, look for a recap of Saturday – keynote speaker KG MacGregor and the Goldie Awards presentation.