As most of you know, I attended a few events at GayRomLit 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia this week. Since I live in the city commuting back and forth Friday and Saturday was easy. I had family commitments in the evenings, so wasn’t able to attend the nighttime gatherings. This will be the first posting of two planned about my experiences at GRL 2013.
The first author panel discussion I attended was Storyteller Spotlight – Thrills, Spills, Mystery & Mayhem, hosted by Geoffrey Knight, EM Lynley and JP Bowie where the authors discussed writing in the mystery, thriller and suspense genres with romantic elements. After all, GRL is focused on gay romance.
Attendees also got the opportunity to ask questions of the panel, which proved to be very focused on specific series penned by the authors and questions about future releases. I found it personally interesting when JP Bowie described while writing the books in his Portrait series of mystery and mayhem with protagonists Peter Brandon and Jeff Stevens, how secondary characters introduced later in the series grew larger than life and demanded their own series, thus Nick Fallon Investigations was created and now spans four wonderful novels.
One aspect attending GRL as a participant I enjoyed the most was being introduced to authors of the genre I enjoy reading the most; gay mystery, suspense/thriller novels. Though clearly the event’s main focus is gay romance, lots of sub-genres were featured. Already familiar with the works of Geoffrey Knight and JP Bowie, I was so excited to get an introduction into the romantic mystery/suspense novels written by EM Lynley. She shared her thoughts of writing the Precious Gems Series, which she describes as “Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone, only gayer!” The first novel is Rarer Than Rubies, the second Italian Ice and the forthcoming third book, Jaded. I plan to ask EM Lynley to participate in my weekly author interviews. One question I asked of the panel is how they feel about cliffhangers. All but one steered clear of their enjoyment of them. No surprise, author Geoffrey Knight loves to use them, as exampled in the wonderful mystery, suspense/thriller novel, “To Catch A Fox”, which he co-wrote with Ethan Day.
Another author panel discussion I attended Saturday morning was titled Storytellers Spotlight – Things That Go Bump in the Night, hosted by authors Ally Blue, Rick R. Reed and Marquerite Labbe, aptly asking “What makes your heart race and your pulse pound?” Is it Romance or horror…or both? It was interesting listening to the writers share their ideas of the genre, how they go about plotting out their novels (Rick R. Reed is a total pantster!) and how they feel about mixing gay romance in stories involving ghosts, werewolves, malevolent demons, ancient curses…that creepy house at the end of the lane.
All read from their books, each as thrilling and terrifying as the next. Reed read from his “The Blue Moon Café”, which is chilling tale about a serial killer werewolf let loose on Seattle’s gay men. He read from the novel where the werewolf is first introduced as he waits patiently for the perfect moment to taste blood. I can tell you from first-hand experience having read the novel, you will be chilled to the bone, as was the audience rapt in Reed’s soft, sexy voice as he read from his novel.
I can also attest to the scary prose author Labbe read from her novel “Ghosts In The Wind”; the discussion and subsequent reading of the terrifying “Jackal Wraiths that devour souls” almost sent me scurrying for the door, it was that scary!
However, I did manage to ask a question of those sitting on the panel; “Do any of your books scare you?”; all answered “no” and Ally Blue added (and I’m paraphrasing here) that knowing what is about to happen removes the fear, but she gets a thrill out of knowing “what” is about to happen, challenging her even more to build that suspense to a point of terrifying the reader.
In part two of my experiences attending GayRomLit 2013, I’ll share some of my personal thoughts about attending my first gay writers convention, my impressions of what seem to be selling most in the market today and of my experience volunteering behind the Wilde City Press table on Saturday during the Massive Author Book Signing.
And photos, lots of photos (once I figure out to resize them)! Stay Tuned…