1. From all the amazing events, what was the one thing that surprised you most about attending GRL?
My lunch with the readers on Saturday. Clare London and I decided to team up and take our two scheduled groups of readers out to a big sit-down and then we sort of doubled our number by osmosis. Before we got there we had both been worried about the logistics of coordinating folks and pleasing everyone’s palate…and in the end it was probably my favorite event. We all arrived at a fabulous restaurant with very LGBT-friendly staff that basically gave us the entire courtyard for a couple hours, chatting and laughing. Amazing conversations about books and issues and our families. I loved having that unrushed time. Also, a couple of our waiters were gay and everyone was kind of “into” the idea of gay romance. Hell, the manager bought our books while we were eating and became a fan! LOL
2. I HATE flying, but since I’m going to be coming from Michigan I have to. YIKES! Where will you be traveling from and who will you be bringing with you? Do you like to travel?
I’m coming on my own from Manhattan. Very stoked. :) I love to travel, except for the bureaucratic nonsense at the airport that doesn’t protect anyone from anything. But it’s very much worth it. Taking a break from my desk to splash around with fans and colleagues kind of gets me primed to do better work once I’m back in the trenches.
3. What was your favorite part of GRL last year?
Definitely the impromptu conversations with the readers. I love gabbing with folks and being able to hunker down with the gay romance tribe and talk about the stories we love felt like such a gift. I learned things that have stayed with me as a writer and reader. So many friendships forged around the hall of the Bourbon Orleans that have burst into flower the past ten months. It truly felt like finding a family I didn’t know I’d been missing. For that matter, the GRL team asked me to become an organizer a few months back so my love for the event has become a major part of my work week!
4. If you learned one thing from the event, what would it be?
You can never plan carefully enough! People tease me about being so compulsive about prepping for professional events, but last year all my lists and kits and plans just made it possible for me to surf the crazy energy of the weekend. When I first arrived, I didn’t eat for 36 hours and barely sat down because I kinda got sucked into an M/M vortex. I didn’t even realize it had happened until someone asked. In the year since GayRomLit I’ve been invited to a bunch of other romance community events and every time I get better at staying afloat and taking the occasional breather so I don’t wig out. That’s a must. For readers and authors, planning helps you take a breath and get the most out of the experience.
5. What advice can you give those who will be attending GRL for the first time?
Don’t feel nervous. You will literally be meeting with the LGBT romance tribe and you are already a member. Last October, I arrived with all kinds of anxiety about being a stranger, a newbie, a loon…and in about 10 minutes it just melted away in the face of the warmth and generosity GRL provoked. That’s the thing: GRL really feels like a retreat because everyone there just wants to share their passion for great reads. Most of the attendees share many of your interests so you will find rooms of friends that you simply haven’t met yet. One other thing: at the urging of attendees, the GRL organizers have scheduled a “GRL Virgins” event on Thursday morning to help break the ice for folks who want to dip their toe before the event kicks off fully. :) We’ll have more info available about that shortly for the newbies. Cherries ahoy!
6. Is there anything you didn’t do at GRL last year that you wish you would have? Anything you would have done differently?
Not really. Last year’s GRL ended up being the best convention I’ve ever been to on several levels. I had such a fabulous time and I made so many real and lasting friendships. It seems crazy now to think how many people I met there for the first time, with whom I’d only interacted in passing but now call weekly or even daily. Actually, GRL made me braver about jumping into mainstream romance events, and in turn interfacing with the larger romance community has been astonishing, personally and professionally. Meeting these huge new audiences has put my writing in an awful lot of fresh hands. In a strange way, my entire career path has been shifted by my experience in New Orleans last fall.
7. I heard the Gentleman’s party was a riot! Did you attend? Did those sexy boys make you blush?
Well…I was one of the hosts and so I probably have a skewed sense, but I’d say we kicked off the weekend in style. The Juke-Joint was jumpin’, the drinks were liberal and the boys beefy! Lafitte’s totally went out of their way to make us feel welcome: the bartenders and staff couldn’t have been cooler (or sexier), the dancers were very –uh-- generous with their junk. I remember some pretty raunchy shenanigans and a lot of whiskeys stirred with calloused fingers and other manly protuberances. LOLOL I don’t think I blushed exactly, although in good conscience I probably should have.
8. What was interacting with the readers and other authors like?
The best thing. Hands down. I think it’s really easy for the LGBT romance community to forget just how robust and diverse we really are until we stand next to each other. So much mojo gets generated by those imaginations rubbing together. Being gathered in one place, sharing stories and swapping anecdotes made us more powerful. GRL transformed LGBT romance and the effects continue to ripple outwards. Our books are treated differently now than they were a year ago. Feel that fact! The more we emerge from the gay romance “ghetto” and stand in the light the better off we all are. As our RWA chapter says, we are “changing minds, one heart at a time.”
9. They say what happens at GRL stays at GRL, any naughty stories you would like to share?
Hmmm. I think I scarred Ethan Stone permanently by publicizing his ample assets. LOL Heidi Cullinan, Marie Sexton, and I snuck off and killed a couple quarts of hooch over warstories that I won’t repeat :D Then there was dancing at Oz with our gang while the strippers watched over us like greasy angels. Oh, and tilting my kilt for Poppy Dennison sorta got me booted off Facebook for a couple days….which (as it turns out) is a perfect transition into—
10. And because I’m just naughty that way, I’ve always wondered what men wear under their kilts. Did you personally find out what Damon Suede wears under his?
Every future has dirty roots.
Marooned in the galactic backwaters of the HardCell company, colonist Runt struggles to eke out an existence on a newly-terraformed tropical planetoid. Since his clone-wife died on entry, he’s been doing the work of two on his failing protein farm. Overworked and undersized, Runt’s dwindling hope of earning corporate citizenship has turned to fear of violent “retirement.”
When an overdue crate of provisions crashes on his beach, Runt searches frantically for a replacement wife among the tools and food. Instead he gets Ox, a mute hulk who seems more like a corporate assassin than a simple offworld farmer. Shackwacky and near-starving, Runt has no choice but to work with his silent partner despite his mounting paranoia and the unsettling appeal of Ox’s genetically altered pheromones. Ox plays the part of the gentle giant well, but Runt’s still not convinced he hasn’t arrived with murder in mind.
Between brutal desire and the seeds of a relationship, Runt’s fears and Ox’s inhuman past collide on a fertile world where hope and love just might have room to grow.