GRL 2012 is over but it still resonates with all of us who attended as we relive every.single.moment. It’s as if we don’t want to let it go, and who can blame us? It’s the rock concert of all rock concerts with your favourite group, and you get to join them on stage. Awesome!!
This is the premier event for our genre. Sure, there are other cons throughout the year but from all the comments from participants they are nothing like GRL which is about family. GRL embraces the best of our genre – the huge community of readers, authors and publishers as if it were one big family unit. How great is that? I don’t know what last year’s celebration was like in New Orleans except second hand, but
by all accounts it was outstanding. GRL 2012 exceeded all of my expectations which were pretty high to start. I wanted to bring you the sights and sounds and feelings of the attendees but it’s impossible to replicate that in print so I’ll quote from a post written by author Blake Deveraux last year who I tried to find at this year’s celebration but to no avail. Here is part of what Blake said so eloquently after GRL 2011
“As I sit here contemplating life, family, happiness, or the fairly frequent lack thereof, and the exquisite, sheer joy of those moments when all things are ‘right’, I find myself overcome with emotion.
I recently attended a writers/readers retreat in New Orleans, La : GayRomLit. To say I enjoyed it would be a profound understatement. “
You can read the rest of Blake’s moving tribute here. I won’t try to top what he said when I talk about this year’s GRL because I can’t. Authors, readers, yes, even publishers (strange but true ), seem moved to meet friends and colleagues and readers in an atmosphere that lent itself so easily and non-threateningly to expressing our emotions.This year, according to those people who attended both
events, seemed to be better in many respects mostly because everyone has learned from and improved upon last year. Not that there was anything wrong with last year’s big bash. :) You may remember the phrase “the moon aligned with the stars” or something like that – well that’s what this year’s Retreat seemed like to me, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration or hyperbole to use this analogy. M/M romance is many things to different people but to me it’s like a new baby (even though it’s been around for almost ten years since Torquere first rode its horse into town with cowboy boots and hat – [okay, my first M/M book is Bareback by Chris Owen] and decided to try something different in the romance genre). And it’s great that we’re still trying out different things, which is what makes the genre so special. Innovation and new ideas are critical to our growth. This year’s GRL reflected all of those things as everyone who attended spoke about how incredible the genre was. The organizers outdid themselves and I don’t know how they will top this year when the event moves to Hotlanta. Let’s also not forget all of those volunteers who worked hard when the rest of us were playing and kissing all the guys (and I have the pictures to prove the kissing) The publishers also come in for their share of praise. They hosted some exceptional functions but I won’t describe them because those of you who weren’t there would kick my ass for boasting.
In the midst of all the frivolity, Shawn (B A Tortuga) of Torquere who started it all with Lorna (Julia Talbot) announced that she was resigning as President of Torquere Press to devote her time to writing. I think we should all raise a glass to Shawn for coming up with such an original idea that other publishers have run with and expanded. In case you were wondering, Kristi Boulware is the new Torquere General Manger and Submissions Editor.
Ethan Day, Carol Lynne, J.P. Bowie, Lynn Lorenz, Heidi Cullinan, Teresa Emil and Damon Suede who did such an outstanding job organizing this event, take a fricking bow. You guys were awesome and I think you deserve a medal for your hard work and imagination, something we all appreciate and I got to kiss the guys to show my appreciation. Let’s not forget William Neale who pitched in from the very beginning and I hope he was looking down at us, checking out all the fun. Thank you William – you’re the best.
The fun never stopped last week. Many of you were so anxious to get started WAY before the official celebrations began that you arrived on Sunday. The tribe from Texas took over the 4th floor of the Hard Rock Hotel and it was party central. John, who is from Texas, never invited me and I have no idea why. It’s not like I don’t know how to partay (BTW that’s not a spelling error.
On a personal note I wish that I could have thanked half of the people at GRL who were so kind to me but I couldn’t because I ran out of time so I’m doing it here. It seems that whenever I started talking to someone I forgot that we didn’t have all day or night. A few people deserve special mention - Kathy Branfield who took pity on me and a few other stragglers and drove us to Santa Fe because we woke up after the 6.15 A.M. scheduled bus pick up time to catch the train to SF (I had just met her and I swear I didn’t beg her to do this). Such a kind woman who also loves bullriders, yes that’s right, bullriders ; Dee, love you – you’re delightful – best wishes on the job. Rhys Ford and P.D. Singer who unfortunately were like my beacons for chats about books - sorry ladies; Pam, thanks for the dream catcher which is now hung in its rightful place – over my bed. To Clare London, fun personified – I’m not sure if she’s that funny when she’s sober, but who cares. Love the technicolour wig Clare. Val Kovalin, a charming writer who I dragged to lunch to talk about books and I sprayed her with food while talking with my mouth full. What an elegant lady. What in hell was she doing with me? Z.A. Maxfield, a wonderful author who burst my kink bubble because she will
never write twincest. To Marilyn, a reader who for some reason loves new author Carter Quinn and defends him to the death. WHY??? He said she’s his muse. Does she like his book because he’s
a babe? Marilyn baby, I have a tip for you – hot guys are a dime a dozen. Carter, I love that you’re left handed but what you do with that hand could get you arrested. ewww! I’ll remember when next I meet you to shake your RIGHT hand. Thanks also to the wonderful Tracy Ward who very generously gave me a coupon for the balloon ride, which was an awesome gift. She saved me $150. That’s only one example of how generous everyone was. Treva Harte you’re a wonderful person and you’re not as tough as you like to pretend – sorry Treva baby to let your little secret out. Geoff Knight, your reading of passages from Paperboy was incredibly funny and broke me up – you’re sure this book was not autobiographical? To the beautiful Ariel Tachna, you’re as delightful in person as you are in the many emails that we exchanged. Kris Piet don’t forget that we have a date in January; Brien Michaels, it’s always a pleasure for me to meet a brand new spanking author (sorry about the spanking – it sort of slipped out).
I met the guys who used to review for the site and I had a ball with their balls. Oops. If they will permit me I might post some of their pictures on the weekend – no, not their balls you pervs. The only one who I didn’t get to photograph is Cole which is a pity because he is a really snazzy dresser. :) Love the scarf Cole. I didn’t photograph most of the male authors because it was difficult to find them when they were sober. Obviously I don’t want to embarrass them – you know that’s not my style. hmmm…. Here’s one picture to get you going. In case
you’re wondering, these two guys never wrote a damn review for the site but they always managed to show up to check out any reviews on their books. To those authors and readers that I did meet, thanks for stopping by to chat with me. I’ll also remember several authors and an artist who told me that the site helped establish their careers, which meant the world to me personally. A review site gets so much criticism, and to hear authors say that we actually helped their careers by profiling them or their books on the site was heartwarming. Thanks guys, you know who you are and I won’t embarrass you by naming you here.
One of the things that was most refreshing was the total acceptance and warmth shown by everyone lucky enough to be at GRL 2012. I enjoyed meeting so many of you – the elegant Rick Reed who was so kind and chatted with me for quite a while, even forsaking free drinks to do so; Rick I absolutely LOVED your reading. The lovely Ally Blue, who was on crutches but wasn’t going to let that stop her from attending, was as charming as I thought she would be; Great to meet you Frances and I hope you won the Iron Man competition; Kris Jacen who was the moderator for the author Q and A sessions (my favourite, sorry Kris) - love you too. Anel Viz, a delightfully funny author who suggested that I use my earring as a fork when I wasn’t given one quickly enough at breakfast – damn you Anel. BTW Anel, you have to stop writing M/M books with ladybits.
Everyone will write about their own reflections of GRL and I know that we will all have great memories. Some of my memories are of Erika Pike serving contraband liquor from Iceland at 1.00 A.M to get us all drunk and EM Lynley egging her on. The scoundrels!! BTW I don’t touch alcohol and anyone who says I do is lying. !! Loved B.G. Thomas’s outfit. I want one just like it. He’s such a nice man but he keeps asking me for hairy Friday Guys. Stephanie Hecht and Reese Dante – you rock – both of you are a credit to your professions. James Buchanan is a true legend in our genre and I spent some time talking to him about books and life in general. James you’re my hero and don’t forget you owe me a blog post. Love you!!! Smooches!! To Stephanie Grober from Riptide - it was wonderful to meet you and talk about books; Looking forward to continuing our discussion next year. Eden Winters who was exactly as I pictured her, however Eden you have to do
something about that potty mouth, it’s unseemly for a nice southern gal to swear like a trucker. (Of course you know I’m kidding about Eden. She probably doesn’t even KNOW a curse word.) Kris Piet I didn’t forget that we have a date in January.
If I didn’t mention you in this post it wasn’t that you were not memorable but as usual I ran out of time as this is way longer than I intended. As Tj says, it’s as long as those pamphlets that I love to read – maybe 2K. Where the hell were you TJ? You’re my only guy who was missing.
On a more serious note, the city of Albuquerque is a center of Native American culture and the architecture reflects its heritage. On the first evening of our stay we were serenaded by members of a Native American tribe who gave a concert in honour of our stay in their city.
Special appreciation to all the authors and publishers who gave away what seemed like hundreds of print books. I was a beneficiary of their generosity.
Last, the hotel was absolutely marvellous and the staff were fabulous and SO attentive – they catered to our every need. If you ever have a chance to visit Albuquerque I highly recommend
that you stay at the Hard Rock Hotel.
See you guys next year when GRL will be bigger and BADDER.
To comment on GRL 2012 Heidi Cullinan just sent out a survey link – here it is
Additional photos - mine and some of yours will be posted on Sunday. DON’T FORGET TO SEND ME YOUR PHOTOS if you want them included.