I know. I know. GRL has been over for a month and I’m only now getting around to writing about it.
In my defense, I went on a three week holiday straight after GRL, flying to the UK to collect my daughter, who I haven’t seen for nigh on two years, and meeting some friends I’ve made through writing.
My adventures with my daughter in the UK, Germany, and Italy are for another post, but I will say, finally being able to hug, share a drink, and a giggle with people I’ve been corresponding with for up to four years was wonderful. The subsequent goodbyes, not so much, but I’m determined to think of them as ‘see you soon.’
I arrived in the States earlier than necessary because I wanted to be able to spend a few days in New York and also attend Atlanta’s Pride Parade.
While in New York, I took myself on a mini tour, a la Jaxon and Liam in The Race is On, Book 2 of How the Light Gets In.
I had brunch at Caffe Reggio.
The staff were great about letting me take photos.
And theirs was the best coffee I had in New York!
Their Mimosa wasn’t bad either…
Hmm, do I admit to having more than one???
Let’s just say I saw NY through mimosa coloured glasses LOL
I played chess with Daryl, AKA ‘Spider’ in Washington Square Park.
And, yes, before you can ask, he whooped my arse – about three times in twenty minutes… okay, fifteen minutes.
He told me I had some ” interesting strategies”
LOL. Strategies? What is this thing of which he speaks???
For anyone interested in playing chess with Spider, I give you fair warning – he earned his nickname because he sets traps for his opponents!
I wandered 5th Avenue, visited the Gay Liberation Monument, and viewed the city from the top of the Empire State Building.
Then it was on to Atlanta!!!
My friend, Skylar, who’s from Chicago, met me at Atlanta Airport. Now that was fun… two ladies who didn’t know the airport at all, plus a driver from the transfer service who was also new to the city. We chased each other around Atlanta Airport for about 30 minutes! Everyone’s mobile phones got a good workout!
On Sunday Skylar and I took to the streets for Atlanta’s Gay Pride Parade.
Best word to describe it???
Blowing us a kiss!
The Firies were on hand to put out any fires….
What can I say, Atlanta, other than you have PRIDE!!!
Monday saw Skylar and I visiting the home of Coca Cola!
We tried taking our pics at the bubble machine thingy….
Next it was on to the Aquarium!
My fave was the Beluga Whales – so, so beautiful.
Then it was a ride on Skyview, overlooking Olympic Park.
One thing I will say, is look for a scene set on Skyview in Happily Ever After; Book 3 of How the Light Gets In… and you can blame Skylar for it!
On Tuesday, despite our feet having been worn down to stumps, we went to visit Atlanta’s Zoo. It would be rude, after all, not to visit some of the ex’s relatives while I was in town…
These pics of a rhino are for a certain Curmudgeonly friend of mine who shall remain nameless…
OK, enough of my sightseeing and onto GRL!!!
Firstly, I met so many wonderful people over the course of the retreat.
I want to thank you all for the welcome, encouragement, and enthusiasm you extended toward me. You made me feel like a writer!
I’m scared to name you all in case my blondeness puts in an appearance and I forget someone!
Secondly, I hardly took any photos… I know, I know, my bad.
Madison Parker, author of Play me, I’m Yours, however, took hundreds! Here’s the link to her terrific compilation of happy snaps from the retreat.
Thank you to all the people who stopped by the Supporting Authors signing on Thursday morning. I know I’m not the only newbie author who was glad that there was a person or two who wanted to chat and maybe get something signed!
When it came to my doing a reading on Friday morning from The Race is On, I was beyond nervous – I hadn’t slept the night before, I couldn’t eat breakfast, I broke out in a hives rash on my arms, and I couldn’t stop shaking. Poor Skylar had her hands full just making sure I didn’t pass out!
Depending on how you look at it, I was either very fortunate or unfortunate to have been paired with such highly regarded authors as Heidi Cullinan and Jordan Castillo Price.
In the lead-up, as I sat there convinced I was trembling so hard that the local weather man would probably think Atlanta was experiencing an earthquake, I didn’t feel fortunate. I was convinced no one would be interested in hearing something from little ole unknown me, when two such luminaries within the genre were also slated to read.
Both Heidi and Jordan, as well as out moderator, the one and only J.P. Barnaby, were beyond encouraging. Thank you all, Ladies. Your reassurance was greatly appreciated (an needed LOL)
I’d originally decided to read an emotionally charged scene from Same Page, but at the last minute, I chose a humorous passage from The Race is On instead – when nervous, I laugh even more than usual and had visions of myself cracking up at an inappropriate moment during the angsty scene. At least, in a funny scene if I lost it, I had a good reason!
I’d like to thank everyone who attended that reading. You were all so warm and welcoming, and got my offbeat sense of humor and laughed in all the right places! You guys ROCK!!!
I must admit most of the retreat passed in a bit of a blur – there was just so much on and so many people to meet and chat with. I attended readings done by Damon Suede, Heidi Cullinan, Angel Martinez, Anna Zabo, Kate McMurray, and Jordan L.Hawk.
I was enthralled by the Storyteller Panel hosted Rick R. Reed (R stands for Romance!), Marguerite Labbe and Ally Blue with the theme: Things that Go Bump in the Night!
For the first time ever, I got to participate in a podcast – thanks WT Prater for asking me! And don’t worry guys, your secret confessions are safe with me… cowgirl/boy thingy and all…
I got to hang out with Lex Chase, Elisa Rolle, WT Prater, Kade Boehme, Lynley Wayne, Angel Martinez, B.G. Thomas, and Rick Reed, to name but a few.
And, of course, there was the book signings, cocktail parties, masquerade ball and dinners.
Perhaps, best of all, I got to meet dozens upon dozens of passionate readers of M/M fiction – JoAnn, Bonnie, Sarah and so many others that my jet-lagged brain is unable to pull all the names from the recesses of my mind. Ugh, I knew this would happen!
LOL, all I can hear inside my head, running on a loop, is that old song The Old Grey Mare She Ain’t What She Used To Be!
And last, but not least, somewhere in all helter skelter that is GayRomLit, Lex Chase organised for a group of us to go out for lunch to this great little cafe she knew, and I ended up confessing to B.G. Thomas and Rick R. Reed, I’ve never done a wombat…