I Came, I Saw, I Kicked Ass
This year, I was lucky enough to go to my first ever GayRomLit Retreat in my second home of Atlanta, Georgia. To sum it up in one sentence? OMG IT WAS SO TOTALLY WICKED AWESOME!
I was pretty nervous that no one was going to know who the hell I was. But I was okay with just going to have a good time. I was pleasantly surprised at my signing, people walked up to my table, and they may have not known my name, but they knew the Checkmate covers!
I was just as jazzed to meet people who were excited to meet me. It took off a lot of pressure to try to “sell myself” among bigger names. It was pretty validating, you know? Also daymn I was over-prepared with swag! I had a ton left over. Which is good news because I was worried I’d have to scramble to restock for Pensacon.
My bestie Cate Ashwood had a moment of brilliance for the 30 Supporting Authors to toss our money in a pot and have sampler books of all our work.
Those of us that made Cate’s deadline are:
- Simone Anderson
- Cate Ashwood
- Heidi Belleau
- Lex Chase
- Jacob Z. Flores
- M.C. Houle
- A.J. Kelton
- Venona Keyes
- Pearl Love
- Edmond Manning
- Anna Martin
- Rowan McAllister
- S.A. McAuley
- Madison Parker
- Tali Spencer
- Lily Velden
- Lynley Wayne
All in all, it was an awesome collection of works, and we honestly couldn’t keep them on our tables. They flew from our hands into the hands of eager readers.
In all the rush to clean up after our signing, I happened to travel home with four copies. They’re unsigned, but I have excellent plans for them to be giveaway prizes as well as my epic piles of swag!
I’ve made good friends, and made new good friends with all sorts of people. It was refreshing to find these people who I’ve only known through email in the last year and a half were indeed as genuine as they are in text. Jake Wells had complimented me on how I was the exact same person I was between online and person. I might have grinned a bit like a dope.
But that was the thing with me. Lex Chase is no different from “Real Me.” There is no possible way I could have logically pulled off any writing persona and not broken character with some doofy joke. I’m nerdy, dweeby, easily excitable, and in a state of stunted emotional growth because I go to college with kids upwards of 12 years younger. There is no way, none, I could pull off the “Badass Author Tude” or the “Mysterious Author” or the “Super Sexy Author.”
I had given it a lot of thought until GRL. Just who is Lex Chase? Who was Lex Chase supposed to be? If I was supposed to make an author persona, I failed horribly, because I am very much what you see is what you get.
The highlight of the trip was actually how kind and caring everyone was. The ironic downfall was how huggy everyone was. While it feels great in the moment, we’re all nursing the creeping crud. Even my voice is a croak, and my throat is like sandpaper. I tried to escape the crud, and dammit. It found me.
I’m totally hyped to go next year in Chicago. Airfare rates are looking like I can expect to spend 400 to 500 dollars. Yikes. D:
In closing, I’m giving a few shoutouts to Pearl Love and Rowan McAllister, for our sudden banding together like a group of DSP Misfits. To Lily Velden, for being just as adorable in person as she is online. She amused my Mom with stories well into the morning. To Tali Spencer, for the completely inappropriate unicorn horn hand soap. She’s a good friend now and forever. To Charlie Cochet, and all three-foot-nothing of her, for being a big ball of adorable. To Cate Ashwood, who I didn’t see often enough, but glad I got to put a face to the name. To Shira Anthony, for her epic amounts of sass. To Venona Keyes, for her awesome granola and encouragement about my weight loss. To Deanna Wadsworth, for being on some magical substance called herself where she is a complete energizer bunny. And our love of Sleepy Hollow and Ichabod’s ichabody. Awww yeah! ;D To the Live Your Life, By The Book Crew and all their insanity.
To Heidi Cullinan, for being extremely gracious and being as attentive to us noobz as to the Big Kids.
To Geoffrey Knight, for bringing me orange juice. That’s a gentleman, ladies.
To Damon Suede, for much to my surprise, knowing who I was and enjoying the Checkmate series. (I still haven’t quite finished flipping out about it. Again. EPIC FAIL of keeping it all inside.)
For everyone that was such a good sport about posing with my Hogarth doll, I know you’ve made my superfan’s day even if she couldn’t go. You can see who Hogarth had met along the way, at this page of Garth’s Excellent Adventures.
See you next year!