GayRomLit 2013 – Experiencing My First-ever Gay Writer’s Con in Atlanta

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(Volunteering at the Wilde City Press table during the Massive Book Signing Event)

Let me first say, my experiences attending my first-ever GayRomLit 2013 convention in Atlanta are by no means comprehensive. Many more author readings, sponsored evening dinner and party events, and discussion panels took place during the four day event, but I tended to concentrate my time with the gay mystery, thriller and suspense sub-genres. After all, the con was dedicated to Gay Romance.

I spent most of my limited time at GRL utterly star-struck and often forgot to have photos taken with many of the writers I sought out to meet, like T.A. Webb, author of the incredible City Knight gay romantic mystery/suspense series set in my town, or that of native Atlantan Max Vos, who writes mostly gay and erotic romances, but his latest P.O.W., is an a gay military romance, dramatic thriller novella from MLR Press; or Anel Viz, whose tome The City of Lovely Brothers, (which I just had to purchase and get autographed) is an old west, historical family saga chronicling the lives of four brothers who own the Caladelphia Ranch, the youngest of whom has a love affair with Nick, one ofJP Bowie and me_GRL 2013_A the ranch hands; or Lloyd Meeker, whose latest release with Wilde City Press is Enigma (A Russ Morgan Mystery), already queued up on my iPad.






(L-R; Meeting author JP Bowie)

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(Fans crowding around featured authors for autographs)

And how ‘bout them authors of the super-hot, mega-hit Zombie Boyz? When I say hot, I mean HOT; mega chills, thrills and sizzling gay zombies, the perfect read for this Halloween season. The writers of the collection of three novellas (penned in pairs) had folks standing in long lines at each of their tables; the writing teams are Ethan Day & Geoffrey Knight, Eric Arvin & TJ Klune, Daniel A. Kaine & Ethan Stone (unable to make the event); needless to say, the print-books were snatched up well before the Massive Book Signing Event was over Saturday afternoon. In fact, as I walked up to the table to purchase the novel from the only author who had a copy of Zombie Boyz lefZombieBoyz_bk_cvrt, Daniel K. Kaine was signing the last one. I should have purchased a copy earlier in the day, but just got too busy with finally meeting people I’ve known for years online but never met face-to-face. Judging from the event, I’d predict print novels will be around for a very long time.

Speaking of the Massive Book Signing Event, the three hour affair featured seventy registered authors perched behind tables with their wares; books, swag and eager pens, awaiting the long line of excited fans for the door to finally open, a reported four hundred and fifty attendees (including writers who came as patrons). The scheduled authors were spaced throughout a large ballroom and surrounded on the perimeter by the sponsoring publishers; Samhain Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, MLR Press, Totally Bound, Wilde City Press, Extasy Books, Riptide Publishing, Stiff Rain Press and supporting publisher, Dark Hollows Press.

I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer my time and help out at the Wilde City Press table during the booking signing event. As you may know, I currently have an erotic thriller novella (co-written with Alex Morgan) out from Wilde City Press, Switch Hitter, and a forthcoming full-length mystery/suspense novel releasing Nov 2013, Pretty Boy Dead. For an introvert like me, this chance presented the perfect forum for

SwitchHitter_cvr-FINALmeeting new people, readers and writer’s alike. I found it incredibly exciting when buyers approached the table with wide eyes and excitement seeing the print books available for purchase, at a discount no doubt. Also thrilling for me personally was when someone recognized my name which hung around my neck, all attendees wearing the badges to identify each other. I was recognized more for moderating the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense group on Facebook and for the weekly author interviews I’ve been posting to the site, which I’m excited about as it shows my efforts for self-promotion are starting to make an impact. For a relatively new writer on the scene, the overall experience was immeasurable.

Several members of the Facebook Group I moderate (Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction) had asked me to share my thoughts upon attending the con what was “selling”, what readers seemed to clamor for and/or what were readers looking for they were challenged to find at the event. Clearly Gay Romance was in hot demand, but when looking even closer within the niche market, I noticed a great deal of interest in all things sexy, erotic and zombie! That’s right, anything and everything that featured zombies and/or demonic plots with gay romance was in great demand based on my unscientific analysis upon attending the Author Signing. The Zombie Boyz collection from Wilde City Press clearly sparked the delight in many, as well as Bad Idea from Damon Suede, and most mainstream gay romance, such as Jordan Castillo Price’s very popular PsyCop series and gay erotica, which made up a significant portion of featured authors.

One affair close to my heart was the charity event to benefit Lost-n-Found Youth, Inc, an Atlanta-based nonprofit corporation whose mission is to take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths off the street and transition them into more permanent housing arrangements. The event was the body-painting of authors who graciously displayed their nearly-naked bodies as canvasses for fans and other writers to “create” and to help raise money for Atlanta’s LGBTQ homeless youth. If you would like to support this critical organization (of which my partner and I support through donations, volunteerism and monetarily), this year Featherweight Press published Lost & Found, an anthology of stories about gay teens and young adults that will tug at your heartstrings, but ultimately end in HEA; where writers donated their royalties for the compilation to benefit Lost-n-Found Youth; the donating authors were Dakota Chase, DC Juris, Jeff Erno, Tabatha Heart, Caitlin Ricci, Diana Adams, DH Starr, Michele Montgomery, MF Kays and T.A. (Tom) Webb.

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(L-R; Geoffrey Knight and Ethan Day, Wilde City Press)

I would be remiss without thanking my gracious WCP hosts while volunteering my time at their table for the event. Thank you so much Geoffrey Knight, Ethan Day and Dolorianne for making my experience not just a great time, but also fun.

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(Author, Publisher Geoffrey Knight)

WCP Table_Author Signing

(L-R; Lynn of MANtastic Reviews, Dolorianne Morris & Geoffrey of Wilde City Press)