I met Rachel Gold at the conference in Minneapolis in 2012. Again, not a lot of time to sit and chat with her – conferences are so busy – but she made a definite impact.
Here was this new author hanging around the Bella Books table, looking a little bit like a kid in a candy store and wearing a t-shirt that said “Being” on the front. It was later that I found out this new author was marketing her new novel! Genius!
I sat in on an author reading and Rachel happened to be participating. I listened to her read her excerpt and I was intrigued. Back at the Bella table, I picked up her book, made my purchase, and stored it away in my bag. Later, I would get her autograph. Sure, the blurb said it was a Young Adult title. That was okay…I’m always up for supporting a new author. Back at my hotel room later that evening, I read the summary on the back of the book and, honestly, started to feel a little uneasy. Okay, I knew that this was a book about a transgendered teen. Yeah, I’d heard the reading and I knew that people were talking about it. But there, alone in my room, I really began to think about what it meant. And I really began to think about what I didn’t know. So, yeah, I was a little uneasy.
After the conference I read the book and, subsequently, wrote a review (which you can read here). I won’t go into detail – you can read the review. But let me just say that Being Emily is, perhaps, one of the best books I’ve read. Truly.
Folks out there must agree with me, too…it’s a finalist for both a Goldie and a Lammy!
GCLS 2012 Minneapolis
I’m glad I’m a young adult author because I feel like an awkward teen when I go to conventions. It helped that when I showed up to GCLS I was hugged within the first five minutes of my arrival. That set the tone for the weekend.
Last year was my first GCLS and my first novel—all at the same time. I was lucky enough to have the event hosted in my home city of Minneapolis.
I’d been hanging out in the Sci Fi/Fantasy community and this was my first lesfic convention. Both SFF convention and lesfic have a few things in common: a profusion of friendly introverts, passionate readers happy to talk about their loves, smart presenters and the opportunity to find new authors and works to enjoy.
So what’s the difference? Well with lesfic you get fewer people in costume and you know all the romance readings are going to be the kind you like. Also at GCLS I felt a strong sense of support laced with a heavy dose of in-jokes and an undercurrent of bawdy humor, which is never amiss in a group of women.
Bella Books made copies of my first book available a few days before the publication date so that I had copies for the convention. If you’re an aspiring author who hasn’t had a book out yet, I highly recommend the experience of walking around a convention with a fresh copy of your first book. (Actually I recommend walking around pretty much anywhere like that: random coffee shops, grocery store, your office, your house, the houses of your patient and long-suffering friends.)
GCLS is a great conversation to bring a first book: there are a lot of opportunities to chat with other authors and with readers. Last year was a particularly good year for authors and readers of paranormal fiction with Jewell Gomez attending (author of the lesbian classic The Gilda Stories), D. Jordan Redhawk promoting her vampire novels with cool fang swag, and werewolf authors Catherine Lundoff and Allison Moon (not actual werewolves!).
To give you an idea of just a few of the ideas I got from GCLS, here’s a selection of the notes I took at the event. The first two are from the workshop with Jewell Gomez and the next two from Ellen Hart’s session and the last one – your guess is as good as mine:
- Tension creates an energy that draws things to it. It pulls the reader along.
- Think of the practical realities of creating something extraordinary or magical. Like the vampire living forever. Use those. This creates an internal, organic practical reality.
- De-leaf the forest so you can see the structure. What’s the reason for each scene?
- Best ending is when there’s a huge twist when you think it’s all wrapped up and it isn’t. I love that in a mystery because I love being fooled.
- Yeah, but would you want to cheat on a werewolf?
In addition to coming home with pages of good ideas, parts of scenes, inspirations, new friends and a much longer reading list than I went in with—I got one other completely unexpected delight from attending GCLS. I love when fiction feels like it’s happening right next to me in the world (this includes the fiction with werewolves, though the jury’s still out on the vampires). About a month ago, I was reading the latest Karin Kallmaker novel and suddenly about 1/3 of the way through a side character spills her drink on the protagonist and another says, “Look what you did, Watty!”
Wait a minute, I thought, didn’t I meet Watty at GCLS? Last I checked she was a real person. Maybe it’s a coincidence or Karin just thought it was a cool name. But the description sounds like her. Nah … Hang on, she’s with a woman named Carleen. Omg, these are the women I met at GCLS last year and they’re in this book.
And that is one of the very coolest features of GCLS—that it’s a place where readers can go to a charity auction and come out as part of a novel.
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: ISABELLA (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: BEV PRESCOTT (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: TRACEY RICHARDSON (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: ALI VALI (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: MJ WILLIAMZ (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: LYNETTE MAE (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: RACHEL SPANGLER (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: DILLON WATSON (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: ANN MCMAN (carleenspry.com)
- GCLS Author Guest Blog: POL ROBINSON (carleenspry.com)