I love Lynn Ames.  Not in a creepy, stalkerish kind of way.  No, really.  Though it may seem like it sometimes, I’m not a creepy stalker.  (Um…why am I being handed a restraining order?)

Seriously, I do.  I love Lynn Ames.  It all started when I was first introduced to The Price of Fame.  I thought, “Now, this is some good reading!”  Since that time, I’ve gotten to meet Lynn and I’ve found that we have a lot in common.  

Believe (Katherine Jenkins album)
Believe (Katherine Jenkins album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 (Not the least of which is our fascination with Dancing With the Stars and addiction to Katherine Jenkins.) 

Lynn is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  I know I’ve said this about others who have contributed to the GBP, but I really do mean it.  And that’s one of the treasures of GCLS – it’s chock full of so many fabulous people.  

Truly, she is such a good person.  Did you know this about Lynn?  If not, then you haven’t been paying attention.  

Lynn was one of the very first authors to respond to my call for contributors to the GBP.  And she was one of the very first authors to send in her blog to me.  (Thus, her positioning so late in the schedule is totally on me…I was saving it. 🙂 )

A past member of the Board of Directors, Lynn takes her commitment to GCLS very seriously.  She’s always at the Con.  She’s always promoting the Con.  She’s always having fun.  She’s always making sure others are having fun.

If you’re going to the Con in Dallas, you’re sure to see Lynn – full of energy, full of light, full of fun.

For weeks I have pondered what to say about the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) convention to entice y’all to run scurrying to secure your conference registration, book rooms and transportation, and find just the right outfit for the GCLS Awards Gala. What could I possibly offer that hasn’t already been said? How could I top the testimonials? The enthusiasm? The heart-felt love every author who has come before me in this assignment has so vividly shared with you?

The task is daunting. Daunting, I tell you. The weight of it has reduced me from a starting height of 6’2” to 5’ 1 ½”. I know! Pretty soon, if this keeps up, I’ll need a booster seat just to drive my car. I’ve paced, I’ve pontificated, I’ve plundered the refrigerator. And now I’ve run out of “P” verbs. Sigh.

Then I did what I do best—I ruminated. I come from a great line of ruminators. It’s a skill. Don’t try this at home. Unless you’re me, in which case, by all means, knock yourself out. And so I did…ruminate, not knock myself out. Are you still following this? You are? Whew! Okay. Stick with me. I do have a point, and I’ll be getting to it any second now.

In my cogitation, I found myself going back to the beginning. Not because I’m THAT old, and not the beginning in the biblical Adam and Eve sense. I went back to my first involvement with the GCLS. And that, coincidentally, dates back to the very beginning of the organization in 2004. In those heady early days, we were deciding who and what the GCLS was, and dreaming about all it could be. Because my area of expertise was public relations/image/branding, I was tasked with drafting the organization’s mission statement and an action plan. I still have all the original documents and discussions as we worked together to dream big and make it all happen. (Yes, I know. This either makes me a document hoarder or a digital pack rat. I’m sure there’s an app for that.).

And then we held that very first convention in June, 2005, in New Orleans. We didn’t know if anyone would come. We didn’t know a lot of things. But we sure found out in a hurry. They came. Lots and lots of them—lesbians as far as the eye could see. Lesbians who wrote and read and cherished lesbian literature as much as we did. Lesbians from around the country and around the world. Lesbians who spent four days basking in the glow of community and togetherness, laughter and love. It was a beautiful thing.

I made so many valuable, lasting friendships as a result of that virgin con. It was an experience I’ll never forget. And every convention since then (yep, I’ve attended every single one) has reaffirmed that early vision, that belief that this conference, this event, would/could be unlike anything this community had ever seen, anywhere.

Home is where the con is and the con is where my heart is, surrounded by so much love, generosity, laughter, friendship, and understanding. Once a year, this convention provides us all with a home and a family of choice, a place and a time where readers, authors, publishers, editors, supporters, and fans of all of the aforementioned gather as a family to celebrate all the things lesbian literature has to offer. More than that, we gather to celebrate each other.

Eight years have passed since that first con. I’m grayer than I used to be. I’m shorter too. And my wardrobe is chock full with seven shades and styles of cocktail dresses. But some things haven’t changed and I know they never will—the friendships I’ve forged at the GCLS conventions, the sense of community I’ve experienced only in this environment, the feeling of love and warmth that comes from knowing that we all appreciate one another so much, and the knowledge that, once a year, I get to come home and be with my family of choice. I get to be with all of you—those whom I’ve met at past conventions and befriended, and those of you who, I hope, are now scurrying off to register for the con, book travel arrangements, and join the rest of us for this unique, uplifting, incredible experience. See you in June! I can’t wait!

Lynn Ames is the best-selling author of The Price of Fame (which was short-listed for the first annual Golden Crown Literary Society award in the category of lesbian romance),
The Cost of Commitment, The Value of Valor (winner of the 2007 Arizona Book Award for Best Gay/Lesbian Book), One ~ Love (formerly The Flip Side of Desire a finalist for the GCLS 2007 Ann Bannon Best Popular Lesbian Fiction Award), Heartsong (short-listed for the 2008 GCLS award for best lesbian romance), Eyes on the Stars (winner of the 2011 GCLS award for best historical romance), Beyond Instinct (winner of the 2012 GCLS award for best mystery/thriller), Above Reproach, and one of five authors of the collection Outsiders (winner of a 2010 GCLS award).

Ms. Ames is the founder of Phoenix Rising Press (www.phoenixrisingpress.com).

She is also a former press secretary to the New York state senate minority leader and spokesperson for the nation’s third-largest prison system. For more than half a decade, she was an award-winning broadcast journalist. She has been editor of a critically acclaimed national magazine and is a nationally recognized speaker and public relations professional with a particular expertise in image, crisis communications planning, and crisis management.

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