Sheesh! Another author that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet! Well, there are a lot of them. So I guess I can’t be expected to know EVERY author in GCLS. Catherine and I have passed each other at conferences. But, quite unfortunately, I’ve not yet had the opportunity to attend a panel or reading in which Catherine has participated. There’s always so much to do at Conferences – it’s too bad we can’t be in more than one place at a time.
What I have learned about Catherine through email groups and other Social Media venues is that she’s a very open woman…willing to participate in a discussion, open to offering advise or an idea.
An example of Catherine’s openness and generosity – she said “yes” when this random person (namely, me) asked if she would write a guest blog. (She doesn’t know me from Adam – or Eve, as the case may be.)
Here, Catherine shares with us some experiences at her first Conference.
“A Weekend of Firsts”
My first GCLS was the one in Phoenix in 2008. I came home with my first Goldie and some new friends. Best. Weekend. Ever. That’s just in case you were wondering. 🙂
I met Ellen Hart at the airport by virtue of trotting up and introducing myself (seeing as I’m known for being shy and retiring). Ellen was gracious and amiable, as always, and we chatted, and went to lunch together when we got to the hotel.
This set the tone for the rest of the weekend. I was promptly taken under the wing of the other wonderful folks from Minnesota and shown the ropes. I got to do a highly memorable coffee chat with Lynn Ames. <g> I’m sure we talked about some terribly deep topics, but I mostly remember the outfits (hers involved leather). I got to have lunch with Jess Wells, a former editor of mine. I’d never had the chance to meet her before, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity. Jess and Lee Lynch also did a terrific coffee chat that weekend, which I hope is recorded somewhere.
Amidst all the socializing, I moderated a panel on anthology editing and did an erotica reading (I distinctly recall making Georgia Beers blush a little :-).
And I met more other writers and readers than I can list here. I don’t think I spent more than a few minutes on my own, unless I was looking for solitude. GCLS members are a friendly bunch.
And then, of course, there were the Awards. I got to give an award to Catherine Friend, in absentia, which very cool. Then, there I was, sitting with friends and burbling away about how nice it was that my collection, “Crave: Tales of Lust, Love and Longing” was a Goldie finalist for Erotica.
And then they called my name.
It was all pretty much of a blur for a minute or two. The beaded shawl I was wearing got stuck in my chair. Then I had to get unstuck and dash up on stage before anyone could change their minds. Fortunately, they didn’t.
I babbled my way through an acceptance speech in which I thanked a lot of people, possibly even my mom and my second grade teacher.
Then I picked up my Goldie and trotted off, glowing. I got a big congratulatory hug from Ellen backstage and big hugs from everyone at my table. That was one of the best parts, really – getting to share the joy with so many new friends. Well, that and getting a trophy and calling home to tell my wife I’d won.
But I can’t take winning the Goldie out of the context of the convention as a whole. It was all one big adventure and I was truly glad to have the opportunity to experience it. There’s nothing quite like GCLS. I’ve been back 3 times since that first one and every time is different. If you haven’t been to it before, try and go this year. Make your own memories.
Catherine Lundoff is the author of 3 collections of short fiction, 1 novel, editor or co-editor of 2 anthologies and winner of 2 Goldie Awards. Http://www.catherinelundoff.com