In July I’m attending the GCLS Conference in New Orleans. This is a first for me in a number of ways.
I’ve never attended a literary event as a published author. The events I’ve been to as a reader are few and far between. In 1985 I went to a Science Fiction festival in Toronto. My main objective was to see Ursula K LeGuin read and I still have a precious signed copy of The Left Hand of Darkness. The only other event was the Hay-on-Wye festival held each year in a small town on the Wales side of the Welsh/English border. The main attractions at that event were Ruth Rendell and Beryl Bainbridge – back in the mists of time, I can’t remember the year, but I think it was the late eighties. We couldn’t get near Ruth Rendell, but Beryl was sitting at a corner table of the pub we went into, and I was too shy to go over and talk to her. I wish now that I had plucked up the courage.
Doing a public reading is another first. I’ve only ever read bits of my work in the safe environment of creative writing classes. This is going to be nerve-wracking as I’m in very prestigious company – the other authors reading on Friday morning after the break are: Pat Cronin, Lee Lynch, A L Duncan and Riley Adair Garret. So, wish me luck, folks.
Being on a panel – not just one, two! (When I volunteer, I go all the way!)
The first is on Thursday afternoon. I hope I’m well over any jetlag by then. The topic is “Do I have to go outside? Research at the Desk and in the Field.” Again I’m in august company with Stacia Seaman as moderator and fellow panelists Cheyne Curry, Rachel Gold, Sandra Moran and Justine Saracen.
The second panel is on Saturday afternoon when a group of debut authors get to talk about their books. The title of the session is “So, I had this idea…” Our moderator is Karin Kallmaker, so I may well have fainted before it’s my turn to speak. The other panelists are: Kris Bryant, C d Cain, Sandy Duggar, A L Duncan, and Laina Villeneuve.
Visiting New Orleans is also a first. My forays into the US have mainly been in the northern parts as I lived in Canada for many years. The furthest south I’ve been is probably Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara – and that was in winter. All advice welcome for someone used to cooler summer weather. I’m not sure how I will cope with the sizzling heat. Probably by staying inside with the aircon.
My publisher will also be at the conference. So it’s a chance to meet the members of the Affinity team in person for the first time as well.
A little over six weeks to go before it all kicks off. I’m looking forward to meeting the many wonderful people I’ve met via Facebook, and nerves about public speaking aside, the opportunities offered by the conference to expand my horizons both as a writer and a reader.
This photo represents what I will look like – either before or after the reading and panel sessions. (And when I will no longer be a con virgin!)