Florida in March: Family Affairs

I had a whirlwind trip to Florida for writing events, and family visits.  My 90-year old mother and two brothers live in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and I can’t really travel to the Sunshine State without time to feel the warmth of family.

florida-tampa-city-view-and-cloudsThe primary purpose for my Florida long weekend was to attend, and participate in, the celebration of writing education that is the annual Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference.  This year held in Tampa.  This 5-day gathering of 12,000 writing students, teachers, lovers of books and writing, and writing luminaries is an immersive experience.

The panel I participated in: “Nothing Happens Nowhere” was a Friday afternoon discussion about setting and the Siren’s call to home in LGBTQ writing. Moderated by author/teacher: Paula Martinac (The Ada Decades) and including panelists/teachers Serkan Gorkemli, Amy Hoffman, and Carter Sickels.

It was an interesting conversation about the intersectionality of themes when LGBTQ AWP caucus logofocusing on the craft of setting in LGBTQ writing.

I also attended the LGBTQ Writers Caucus, and the room was abuzz with energy and good ideas for increasing the presence of LGBTQ-themed panels for the 2019 AWP conference.

On Sunday in St. Pete, I joined five other lesbian writers to read from our varied works at the fabulous Queen’s Head restaurant/bar.  The other authors were Stefani Deoul, Gale Massey, Elizabeth Sims, Alison Soloman, and Rachel Spangler. The event, hosted and moderated by Tiffany Razzano of Wordier Than Thou, a Florida super supporter of all thiWordier Than Thoungs book related,  was well attended by a group of attentive readers on the Queen’s Head patio and was a laugh-filled, collegial gathering of old friends and new.  Fellow Bywater Books author, Stefani Deoul worked with Tiffany to organize our time together.

The two reading events were the perfect writer’s life bookends to the dynamics of family.

Come to think of it, I’m very grateful to both my biological and writing families.

 

The Big Apple, Good Books, and the Holidays!

It’s always a pleasure to visit New York City in December. I do it almost every year. NYC feels like the backdrop of so many of my childhood Christmas memories, starting with my wide-eyed viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and movies like Miracle on 34th Street.

I’m heading to NYC again this year, and I’ll take in the sights of the decorated department store windows, the ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza, the light displays on Fifth Avenue, and the hustle and bustle of Holiday shoppers.

But the main reason for this December visit to the Big Apple is to support a handful of fine writers who will be reading from their works in the anthology: our-happy-hours-graphic-small Our Happy Hours. 

This book, published by Flashpoint Publications, and with cover art by Ann McMan offers the reminiscences, essays, poetry, and short fiction of 40+ gay and lesbian authors (I’m one of them) about the impact of the bar scene on our lives.  The book’s curators: Lee Lynch and S. Renée Bess were inspired to launch this project after the horrific hate crime at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016.

Happy Hours book cover

Proceeds from the sale of the anthology will benefit the LGBTQ youth programs at the Ali Forney Center in New York City, and the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia.

I hope you have safe, joyful, fun-filled Holidays. And don’t forget, books make wonderful Holiday gifts for family and friends!

GCLS-We are Vegas Bound!

In case you didn’t know.what

There is an organization dedicated to the recognition, support and education of writers and readers of lesbian literature.
The non-profit, Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS), has amazing resources for emerging and established writers, Writing Academyincluding a Writing Academy with master teachers, mentors and one-on-one consultations.

Additionally, the GCLS Conference…known affectionately as the Con.. is an amazing annual event, held in various locations across the U.S., where lesbian writers, readers, publishers and reviewers gather for workshops, panels, socializing and Madcappery.

You’ll get to meet all your favorite LesFic writers up close, buy books, get books signed, flex your reading or writing muscles, and join your fellow fangirls.

Next year’s Con (July 4-8, 2018) will be held in, wait for it….Las Vegas!!!

GCLS Vegas

Keynote speaker will be award-winning author, Lucy Jane Bledsoe (Bio); and Special Guest speaker, award-winning, young adult fiction author, Rachel Gold (Bio)

To register for the Con, or to get more information, try here.

Come join us. Because, you know, what happens in Lez Vegas doesn’t necessarily have to stay in Lez Vegas.

Lammy Finalist

I had a good time at the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards gala.  BMWIDCMMM

My book, Bury Me When I’m Dead, was a finalist in the Lesbian Mystery category.    I didn’t win this time, but honored to have my book recognized.

Thank you, Bywater Books, and the Lambda Literary Awards Board and Staff.

Someone Tell Me to Remove my Name tag.

Someone Tell Me to Remove my Name tag.

Make America Great, Please.

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In the span of two days, this week in May of 2017, two incidents of racial hatred demonstrate that America’s race problem is far from solved.

On the brink of the NBA Finals, basketball superstar LeBron James’ home was spray painted with a racial epithet.   The very next day, authorities find a noose among the artifacts and exhibits at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Lebron James responds:

“Hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day.” 

Response from the National Museum of African American History and Culture:

“Today’s incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face.”

~ Lonnie Bunch III Founding Director

Catchy Title?

Book Titling is the funnest part of writing a book.   Working on the title for upcoming books.   I have 44 choices.  BTW  Is “funnest” a word?

book title
Give Me a Good Reason
Keep Me From The Dark
Hold Me When I’m Bad
Kill Me With Your Kisses
Bring Me to The Precipice
Ignore Me At Your Peril
Protect Me in The Corridor
Trust Me to Save You

NMAAHC’s Letter to Black Americans

Dear Black America:
It was good to have you visit, and to lay eyes on you and give you a wide-open embrace. I love you in all your hues, and do’s and views.
I admire your tenacity, creativity, and innovation. I remember you, and I celebrate your valor, swagger, intellect, and style. You have done all of us honor, and made our country greater than it might have been. I am proud of you.
I hope you can see, from the care we have given in preparation of your visit, that we deeply appreciate you.
It is our privilege to welcome all visitors. But your company is especially cherished. NMAAHCPlease, don’t let too much time pass, before I see you again.

With all, due, fondness,
National Museum of African American History and Culture.