There are many things that can be said about Bev Prescott. Yes, many things…by many people. Here is what I have to say about this woman: Bev Prescott is on my “Top 5 List of the Nicest People, Like, Ever.”
I’ve had the opportunity to meet Bev at GCLS Conferences – she even signed my copy of “My Soldier Too” with a lovely inscription. Quite unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to sit and talk with Bev all that much. She’a pretty popular woman! It was rare that she wasn’t surrounded by adoring fans and friends. (But, I’ll tell you this, when it’s your turn to get a book signed, in Bev’s eyes, you’re the only other person in the room.) I have gotten to “know” Bev a bit more on Facebook – everything she posts is full of kindness and wisdom and humor.
And have you SEEN her biceps?!?!
“Just do it.”
“Just do it.” That’s what I told myself in the months leading up to the 2010 GCLS in Orlando. It was April and I’d recently finished a first draft of my manuscript for “My Soldier Too.” At the time, I knew pretty much zero about lesbian fiction publishing, the GCLS, or how much I needed to learn about writing fiction. It’s one thing to engage in legal writing on a daily basis for work, but the realm of writing fiction is quite another. Needless to say, I had a lot to learn and still do.
What initially sparked my interest in going to the GCLS was the opportunity to pitch my manuscript to various publishers. At the time, I was aware of Bella and Bold Strokes because their books were the ones that always filled the one shelf dedicated to lesbian fiction in the back of my local Barns and Noble. I hadn’t yet entered the world of e-books, Facebook, blogs etc. Not only did I have much to learn about writing fiction, but the lesbian fiction genre in general. My first GCLS in 2010 gave me more than the opportunity to pitch my manuscript. It revealed that the world of lesbian fiction is so much larger than that one shelf in the back of the bookstore, which by the way has since closed. Times change, but that’s a story for another blog.
Going back to that June of 2010, I arrived at the hotel in Orlando late on Wednesday night after the Meet and Greet had ended. Women were still milling in the lobby. Holy wow, what an awesome feeling to step into a room filled with so many smiling lesbians. That alone was worth the cost of the trip. I’m pretty sure that I recognized KG MacGregor surrounded by a group of women. Who wouldn’t? She’s beautiful, charismatic and very cool.
The next morning I attended my first session. I’d recently finished Amy Dawson Robertson’s novel, “Miles to Go.” Her book was and still is one of the best I’ve ever read. So, imagine how excited I was when she sat down at the table behind me. She’s brilliant and lovely. Not only am I grateful to have met one of my favorite authors, it’s also now a privilege to call her my friend.
Then there was the day that I met Georgia Beers. I was sitting outside catching a little alone time. She approached me on her way to the conference center. As she came closer I mustered the courage to say “hello” and tell her how much I enjoyed her books. I don’t remember much of the conversation because that little voice inside my head kept shouting, “you’re talking to Georgia Beers. OMG, you’re actually talking to Georgia Beers.”
As for the pitch sessions, I very much enjoyed the opportunity to chat with various publishers about my writing and manuscript. Since then I’ve done my best to incorporate all of the advice that I received from those gracious publishers. I still have the handwritten notes of advice made by Karin Kallmaker in the margins of that first draft of my manuscript. I treasure all of the help and guidance I received from these kind women. The nutshell remainder of the story is that I found a home for “My Soldier Too” at Blue Feather Books. When I stepped into the room with Emily Reed and Jane Vollbrecht I knew that I’d found my publishing home.
I’m glad that I “just did it.” Not only did I accomplish my goal of finding a publisher for “My Soldier Too,” I made many great new friends along the way. The GCLS is about so much more than the books. All these wonderful women who write books that move, entertain, keep us company, make us laugh or feel included attend the conference. It’s a privilege to meet and learn from so many women who have inspired me over the years with their work.
But, the most valuable thing about the GCLS is getting to spend a few days with women (authors and readers alike) who are funny, smart, lovely, kind and share the same love for lesbian fiction. So, if you’re on the fence about going, just do it. Whether you’re an author, aspiring author or reader, the GCLS has much to offer, including that it is great fun. I can’t wait to see my old pals and meet new ones at this year’s GCLS. Peace and I hope to see you all in Dallas.
Bev Prescott shares her life with her beautiful partner of 23 years and their clever calico cat, Lilliput. They live at the edge of a meadow in New England. When Bev isn’t working as an environmental attorney, or writing stories about everyday lesbian heroines who make a difference, she’s picking berries or flowers from the meadow, hiking in the woods or playing on the water.