October 22, 2013 – My first day!
I have so many stories to share. I’m going to start from the beginning. ARE YOU READY! *deep breath, flexing fingers* We packed like we were going on a month long sabbatical to Alaska. I KNOW, but Dress Barn was having a buy one get one sweater sale. I love Dress Barn, so we stocked up because at that point in time, they were expecting this weeks cold front, last week. YEAH!
Now picture this, we have all our luggage packed full of sweaters, slacks, and socks, tugging them through the Atlanta Airport where its roughly 105 degrees. Give or take 20 degrees.
But all bad finds good and our good comes in the way of a slow personal driver. He sees us and takes pity. He loads are 10000000 pounds of sweaters into his badass car and drives us to the hotel, and I didnt charge us more than the taxi ride! HOW COOL IS THAT? Love him. I’ll be giving you his name soon! Awesome guy!!!
So we get to the hotel, get our room and go in search of food. The concierge sends us to Poor Calvin’s – OMG! I’ll tell you our meal soon. So we are walking outside, trying decide about walking to the restaurant because our nice hotel is clearly in the hood. As we stand there and debate, I see Marie Sexton. MARIE FOREEKING Sexton! I couldn’t have been anymore excited if I had met Brad Pitt right there! I also met Carter Quinn, but I was too fangirled-up about Marie Sexton to register any part of it. And she was nice. And she was normal! Swear.
I didnt have my camera. I KNOW, but I did get pictures later. After I gathered myself, we took off walking. I was only asked for money about 300 times on the way to the restaurant. When I gave the excuse about only having credit cards, one guy actually pulled out an iphone and said he could process a cc payment… I’m kidding. We arrived at Poor Calvin’s and my goodness was it a cool place. The food is a Southern Thai fusion kind of place. You ever get to Atlanta, its worth the stop. The food was perfect. They had this lobster fried rice deal with large chunks of vegetables. Crab wontons with a berry sauce and sprinkled with caviar. AND it wasnt too expensive. Or filling. Now Roy Gleason might be able to do better, but he didnt come because he’s selfish!
We walked back to the hotel. Even at night it was 85 degrees with 100% humidity – GO The South! Not – and walked inside the hotel to see a full lobby of gay fiction authors. Dreams do come true! But I was too scared to approach them. I KNOW! And to top it off, Scott Burkett wouldn’t answer his phone because he hates me! So we went to the room, and went to bed. I KNOW! But just wait until I tell you about the next day!
Here are some little tidbits. Aleksandr Voinov has a way of looking at you as if he is looking right into your soul. He’s got the best eyes and kindest smile I’ve ever seen. My writing partner spent more time with him and LA foreeking Witt. I even asked her if she told him about my Kindle, but she didnt. He’s just that nice to look directly at you and smile. I loved that.
And Sandrine Gasq-DIon Author is just as fun, nice, kind and easy going as she seems on her page. Plus she’s so pretty! She deserves all her success. I hope she has it forever.
Last, TA Chase has the coolest tattoo on her back. From the first minute we met her until we left, she was always willing to offer help and explanation. Thank you!
I forgot to tell you about a major life changing event from when we got to the hotel. So we get there, get our rooms, head up the elevator only to have ANDREW GREY come on the elevator with us! AND HE HUGGED US! AND HE PRETENDED TO ACT LIKE HE KNEW WHO WE WERE!!! He’s a nice guy too! Very nice. Okay, I’m done for tonight!
What do you think?
GRL Day 2
The event officially kicked off on Thursday morning. For some reason we thought it started at eight. It didn’t. So we were downstairs ready to go, no coffee, yet still excited and virtually all alone when ANDREW GREY rounded the corner. He actually stopped and hugged us both – HE REMEMBERED US from the elevator! He’s a seriously nice guy.
He stayed with us a few minutes, telling us what to expect from the day before he guided me to Reese Dante. Reese is my cover designer and an organizer of the event. She did my Double Full cover – well all myself self-published book covers, but I’ve never met her in person. I think my heart stopped when I saw her. She’s totally beautiful and I love her. That was a great personal moment for me. Everyone take a minute to think of that great moment. *deep sigh*
So yes, you’re right. I have no filters or decorum and did totally interrupt her working – with others talking to her, but it was worth it and killed a few minutes while we waited for nine o’clock to roll around. In line to get our badges I whined about not connecting with Scott Burkett yet. I’m not sure the turn of the events, but someone told me he had just taken the escalator down. I left Kindle 2 and dashed down. I loved that moment too. He got a hug and a kiss and I was back upstairs before we ever got our badges. I’m efficient that way. FYI: Scott is nice and hot and kind and missed Greg and I loved all that! Wait until I tell you when he finally figured out he was hanging out with Sandrine Gasq-Dion. That’s funny.
Reese came back around the corner, met Kindle 2 and then proceeded to take us around the event and introduce us to everyone! I had that camera flashing like crazy. In a span of fifteen minutes we met TJ Klune, Ethan Day, TA Chase, JP Barnaby, SDJ Peterson, Lori Toland, Raevyn – MM Romance, Amy Lane, ZA Maxfield, LA Whitt, Aleksandr Voinov, and Damon Suede all before we ever went to the book signing room! It was like my birthday, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas for the next ten years all rolled into one fifteen minute period of time.
At this point, I’m completely overwhelmed and the conference can just be over.
Yet we decided to continue. Everyone knows I have history with my writing partner. We live close by one another. She’s my bff. I refer to her as the sympathy whisperer, she’s just good people. I value her beyond reason, BUT I learned something new about her. She likes free stuff. No, not like normal people like free stuff, SHE LOVES FREE STUFF!
The swag room opened and she becomes something I’ve never seen in the thirteen years I’ve known her. I was given swift exact instruction to go one way, she would go another and she was gone! There was a maze of tables and I walked past things, picking her up stuff and she met me on my side. I had one little bag about a quarter of the way filled (because I’ve done marketing for years – I’m past done with the giveaways). She had several bags completely filled, elbowing people to get out of the way. I actually felt like I let her down when her eyes saw my bag. Her first words to me were, ‘Where is the rest of your stuff?’
But her obsession becomes your gain. We have so much stuff we are giving away to you guys. OMG. When the time comes, you will love it. (I have pictures!)
Immediately following the swag room, we had a author book signing event. Again, it was author overload. I got a book signed for you guys. In my mind, the stand out authors were SA McAuley, MC Houle and Jacob Flores, but I’ll think of more and post them.
Now, I can’t decide if I should lie here or not. I’m generally pretty honest, but OKAY I’LL TELL THE TRUTH! Get off my back! I didn’t attend any of the breakout sessions on day 2. I COULDNT HELP IT! I had to work the blog tour for Double Full. It would have been rude of me to leave the whole thing to Brenda Wright. And the internet sucked in the hotel. I mean SUCKED! SO I spent hours in the room posting blog tour post. I HAD TO! But that just meant Kindle 2 got to get you more free stuff for future giveaways!
That evening, we went to the opening ceremonies. Interestingly enough, not one person carried a torch, or ran in and set the stage on fire. That night was hosted by MLR I think and Ethan Day spoke. He’s a hottie. I liked him a lot. When I grow up I want to be just like him. I know what you are thinking and dont say it. No one needs to hear that he’s younger than me.
The interesting points of that dinner were squarely centered into meeting SARA YORK! She sat between us and Jake Wells – You’ll hear all about him soon. And yes she was normal. And yes, she got smart and moved out of Dallas. *high five*
Then came the black light party. Now I’ve been very clear how excited I was the entire day. I met the royalty of this genre. But I’m a self-published author, and this event was mainly centered around publishers and their authors. The event was the traditional ways of book writing. I don’t really know that world. I do all my own everything. So at the black light party I was snapping pictures, hot guys dancing, and from out of nowhere, my writing partner went nuts next to me. She was immediately in a hug and they turned to me. It was foreeking Sandrine Gasq-Dion hugging her neck. It became a group hug.
OMG! We all clicked immediately. I love her! For the rest of the conference, we spent our time with her. She is everything she appears to be on her page. That is her real name and we call her Sandy, because it’s a hard name. If you haven’t read her, you need too. SHE IS AWESOME! And will be a lifelong friend. We’ve already planned hooking up for next year. She’s so wonderful, we even left the hot guys dancing and went to talk downstairs. Love her!
And that ends day two. I was exhausted. I slept like a baby! AND a giant thank you for keeping an eye on Double Full! You guys totally held it in place!!!! *high fives all around!*
Day three tidbit: Jacob and Bruce. Already a fan of Jacob’s, but I like Bruce – I’m a total fan. He is a good, good man.
Highlights: And for the record, Scott Burkett didnt hang out with me this day, but the man in the picture dancing with the guys is him.
When I was walking into the signing room, I had the first of many experiences I wasnt prepared for. It was so impactful to meet my social media friends. You guys mean so much to me. Liz was sitting out front, volunteering and I walked up to her trying to place her. She connected it for me and I snapped her picture. It happened again and again throughout the day. I met Jackie McKenzie of The Novel Approach and she is so cool! Snapped that picture! At the black light party I met Melissa Leach and I love her! Snapped that picture. This same thing happened over and over for the next four days. I won’t be able to remember everyone, but as soon as I download the pictures, I’ll tag. That might be the best part of the entire conference.
Sara York is like your best friend. After meeting her, there wasn’t a time she didn’t stop and talk to us. We had her leaving her table and stepping out to take a picture – she had no problem with that. She remembers names, and acts just like a normal person. She has a smile for everyone she meets. I’m so impressed by her. Please read her – she’s worth it.
Jake Wells has his debut book releasing Oct 25. All royalties from this release are going to be donated to the Homeless Youth Project at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. Please check him out. Sara York introduced us to him. https://www.facebook.com/jake.wells.16568?fref=ts