With the drama of the big move over, whatever will I talk about in my weekly blog? How about highlights from GCLS? I should probably wait until the end of the conference…nah what’s the fun in that? Footnote: I started this two days before the end of the conference and finished it on the plane as I headed home.
The conventional advice that after you jump over the hurdle of your first reading, it gets easier, did not necessarily hold true for me. I fretted for several hours before I read and no amount of encouragement eliminated the hand tremors and nausea I experienced, especially since the first reader on our group was Melissa Brayden who has a theater background…enough said. It was a blur and I’m told I did well (of course I was told that by my wife, fellow authors and supportive friends and they may have embellished more that me).
Since last year’s conference, I’ve written four more books and collected a few more readers so the sales have been respectable versus pitiful compared to last year as a completely new and unknown author. In addition, I completely broke out of my self-imposed shell and signed up for two panels and a spotlight reading. After the Lonestar Lesfic Festival and the two panels I sat on there, I convinced myself…I can do this! If I can survive sitting on a panel with Radcliffe who was incredibly nice and encouraging, I can muddle my way through the Panels at GCLS.
The panels, the readings, the sales are all great, but they are not the highlights to the conference. The highlights for me were meeting the writers and readers that I’ve conversed with over Facebook over the past year and oh…I guess… winning a Goldie!!!! Every single one of the writers and readers were an absolute delight! Thank you Gail, Anya, Karen, Suzie, Darla, Charlene, JL, Julie, Nancy, Liz, Caren, Laine, Lisa, Marie who I met for the first time at GCLS. I’ve loved meeting and talking with each and every one of you. I’ve loved reconnecting with others I’ve met in the past. Beth, Andi, Jove, K’Anne, Carol, Tonie, Nat, Laydin, D Jackson, Sheryl, Robin, Liz, Melissa and so many more than I’ve definitely failed to mention. I apologize for missing anyone important because I have a terrible memory!
I was talking with Velvet at the Affinity table and expressing my difficulty with the use of commas and the she advised that a comma was used as a pause and that was an easy way to remember when to use that particular punctuation. Just read out loud and when the pause occurs, put in a comma, she advised I had to confess that this trick does not work for me because in my youth I had a terrible stuttering problem. The way I learned to overcome this was through theater and frequent pauses as I slowed down my speech. It’s been many years since I’ve stuttered, but I do struggle with smooth speech. Theater also helped with my crippling shyness through high school and I lean on those teachings when I am propelled into events that require a more extroverted personality (hopefully I succeeded in fooling everyone).
As I opened the envelope to announce the 2nd winner in the Mystery category, I realized after looking around for the winner and saw no-one approaching that there was a second paper in the envelope and oh crap I needed to read a speech. Could things get any more terrifying for me? Nope. Lee Winter wrote a beautiful speech and I only hope I did it justice, but alas Lee, you got the short straw when they handed envelope two to me. On a positive note after reading the beautiful speech, I plan on buying your book…so you made another sale!
To say I loved every minute of my experience at my second GCLS would be an understatement. I even embraced the terrifying moments because I had so many Facebook friends sending notes of encouragement to me (including OMG, Robin Alexander-how cool is that) as I confessed my insecurities over the Internet (always one for TMI-that’s me).
My wife gave me one piece of advice that I know I need to take to heart….”You’ve got to stop referring to your work as crap, because it’s not and now you have a Goldie to prove it.” That is why I love my wife.
I don’t know if winning will bring more people to check out my books or not, but feel free to do just that…the links are below!