Last Monday, I wrote about my preparations for GayRomLit in Atlanta. Today’s post picks up with Thursday morning — the first full day of the retreat — before I really knew what I’d gotten myself into. What an experience!
First thing Thursday morning, the organizers offered an orientation session for newcomers. All the newbies got cherries to wear on our name tags and an informative overview by the energetic and enthusiastic Jay from Joyfully Jay Reviews. Later, I also got to meet Becky of Mrs. Condit Reads Books, a number of women who are reviewers for other review sites, and quite a few readers who came for the chance to meet their favorite authors.
After the orientation session I wandered around the hotel and ran into Charlie Cochet. We struck up a virtual friendship about a year ago, and she’s been a HUGE help as I’ve transitioned my blog to an author’s web site. Meeting her was great, and I ended up hanging out with Charlie and her roommates for most of the weekend.
My new friend, Lex Chase, who I’m sure will turn up as a guest here sooner or later, sent a message out about authors with Dreamspinner Press getting together for lunch on Thursday. She expected maybe a dozen, and was shocked when more than thirty signed up to go. A cavalcade of taxies transported us from the hotel to the restaurant and back. They seated us at five tables, so I didn’t get a chance to meet everyone.
By the time we got back to the hotel, a diverse crowd was milling about in the corridors around the meeting rooms. There were quite a lot more women than men, including a scantily clad gay porn star (Charlie Harding) who I couldn’t help but notice. I mean, I’m only human, though I am somewhat proud to admit I didn’t know who he was and, until I Googled him, had never seen any of his films. Not that there’s anything wrong with gay porn…
MLR Press, publisher of After Christmas Eve, hosted a reception around dinner time with heavy hors d’oeurves and cocktails. We all received seven free drink tickets for the weekend, assuring a good time would be had by all. A shortage of bartenders leading to very long lines for drinks is one of two glitches in an otherwise extremely well-organized event.
The second booboo revolved around the black-light jukebox party. Organizers were late getting the room ready, and, inside, had no idea of the havoc the delay caused on the other side of the door. The little corridor between two banks of elevators filled up fast, and then all the elevators were crammed full of people with no place to go. I managed to cram myself onto an elevator before the worst of it and got off on a lower floor to wait for the crowd to thin, which put me at the end of a line of about 400 people waiting for drinks.
Okay. Those are my only complaints about GayRomLit. Aside from the persistent shortage of bartenders (which did seem to get better from day to day), everything else went off without a hitch. I was especially impressed with the ability to download Guidebook on my phone to see all the program and other details instead of having to lug a paper copy around with me. Did I mention we got seven free drink tickets?
Back to the black-light party. Though I never really got a good look at his face, I fell in love with DJ Neon the GlowGoBear on sight. Nearly naked DJs are new to me, but I liked it… a lot. If I had a chest like his, I’d never wear a shirt. He was so hot, I barely noticed the go-go boys who danced around the room and on a platform in jockstraps and thongs. Charlie Harding took a few turns on the platform too. Believe it or not, I didn’t get any pictures of them. Honest.
Meeting authors I’ve either heard about or corresponded with via email, Twitter, and/or Facebook was the highlight for me. I got to meet Z. Allora, Shira Anthony, J. P. Barnaby, Poppy Dennison (whose latest book, Accidental Alpha, features porn star Charlie Harding on the cover), Jeff Erno, Jacob Flores, Andrew Grey, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, Venona Keyes, Pearl Love, Angel Martinez, Zahra Owens, Carter Quinn, Rick R. Reed, P.D. Singer, Tali Spencer, Damon Suede, Lily Velden, Aleksander Voinov, Lynley Wayne, Nicole Forcine, and many more. They’re all really nice people. I was especially glad to meet some of the folks who’ve appeared on my blog.
Next Monday, I’m having a special guest — my new bestie, Charlie Cochet. She’s got a new book coming out that I can’t wait to read! Part Three — the cocktail party — will appear on the 25th.