I have read a few authors perspective on the GCLS Con. I thought each of them were great in their own way! I am going to offer my views from a reader’s perspective. Thank you for taking time to read my little piece of the pie, so to speak. If I leave someone out, do not take it personally. It would take a whole book to describe everyone and everything.
My decision to go to the con was made over Facebook by conversing with someone who wanted to car pool. We chatted a few times and the decision was made and I registered. I had read all of the blogs and posts from last year and thought I would give it a go. It took the prodding of many of Facebook friends to make this happen. See the Con adventure story below.
The Adventures of Burnie and Dutch”, Beth Burnett and Mary “Dutch” Deutcher:
The adventure began when Beth arrived at my house very early in the morning on Weds. We threw her stuff in the Jeep. My daughter entertained her with a billion stories before we left all in the span of 30 minutes and we were on the road. I had never met Beth in person before this. The minute we got on the highway she zonked out. I can’t imagine why. She had only driven 12 hours to get to my house. Good thing I had the radio to keep me company. Well, to show all what my road trip with Beth started out like, here are the pictures:
We kept Pam and Cheryl up to date all the way while we were on the road with texts and pictures. When we arrived in Oklahoma, we stopped at the toll gate and the conversation went like this:
Toll Guy: Four Dollars. How are you?
Me: Great, how’s it going? Can you get the wind to die down a bit?
Toll Guy: You’re in Oklahoma….Deal with it!!!
Wow, he didn’t even crack a smile. Oh well, on to Texas.
We arrived at the hotel already famous or infamous!! We decided to enter the hotel looking like dorks. It was cowgirl hats, sunglasses, shorts and sandals! Yep, we embraced the tacky tourist dorkiness. First person we run into, Isabella then Linda Kay Silva! What really cracked me up is all the people who knew me and I didn’t know them….yet! We checked in and let the Con begin!
The first night was meeting people all around. I met Bev Prescott, Chris Paynter, The Lovely Miss Phyllis, Nikki Smalls and the list goes on. It was crazy fun. I had met most of these people on Facebook, but to finally meet them in person was really cool. The next “meeting” crew was Jeanne Magill, Donna Wells and Salem West. That was when the lovely picture taking began and never stopped. Within the first 10 minutes of being in the lobby, I was up in someone bed!!! It’s not what you think….or is it?
Guess who's bed I am in?
While at registration and meet and greet, my lovely daughter called. She is 20 and should be able to handle things while I am away. Apparently not. I called her back. The conversation is as follow:
Me: Katrina, I am in a room full of hot lesbians. What the heck do you want and why are you bothering me?
Katrina: Mom, don’t do that to me! I am at work and you are on speaker phone!
Needless to say, she never called the rest of the conference. Back to the meet and great. I guess I am totally like my Facebook persona because I met everyone I know and they said so. This could be good or bad. I am hoping it is good.
The lobby and the bar were “hang-out central.” I met some awesome people and people I have connections friends outside the GCLS with. There was also a group of MPs. It was there I gave Donna Wells my camera, gave her a quick lesson, and let her go crazy. It was photo bomb central and usually I am kind of shy, but I decided to let my hair down! If you believe that, I have a nice bridge to sell ya! She was an awesome photographer and a lot of fun Every time we took her picture she was laughing! She grabbed my camera on Karaoke night and at the Awards/Dance. Thanks Donna for taking all those awesome pictures!
Army Military Police (MP)
The classes, panels, coffee chats and readings are what filled our days. I enjoyed all of them and took something valuable from each. I appreciate what all these women do. Each author/writer has their own way and own personality. I found myself at ease talking to each and every one. There was always something to do an if you weren’t interested you could head out into the “dry” 100+ degrees of Dallas. I chose the Con activities.
The author autograph session was cool. They were willing to sign books that I had purchased over the years. That was the best part. The author with the largest stack for me was Gerri Hill. She was very kind and signed them all the while carrying on a conversation with me. That was too cool. I even got to sign an autograph for someone. Me, I am not famous!
Look....I am famous
I was honored (I guess that’s the word) when I was invited to dinner with Isabella and the group from Sapphire. It was lots of laughs and it was great to get to know everyone. When we got back to the hotel, one of my friends asked how I scored dinner with Sapphire. I said, “I got it like that!” Not to mention, my traveling buddy is one of their authors too!
Karaoke was a total trip. Usually I just watch everyone sing. Not this time. I was determined to “perform”. I did a stunning duet with Liz McMullen which I relived hours later in the hotel room prompting a noise complaint from the front desk. Dance, OMG, I danced. The best dance, on the dance floor, was with Sherri Campbell. She had some medical issues and was unsure if she would be able to dance at the Con. Well, when I first walked into karaoke, she was the first dance for me. After that things got wild. There was a lap dance which was recorded and some incredible shaking of things on the dance floor. The Con Virgin Ducks also had quite the evening! They were well photographed in various poses. It was an incredible evening. I closed the bar with some incredible ladies and didn’t even have a drink!
Schileen and Isabella
The one and only....Dutch
Before the awards banquet on Saturday, I got to eat dinner with four amazing women. The service in the restaurant was amazing Andre was the coolest server. After dinner it was a rush to get dressed. I chose my Army Service Uniform or my dress uniform. I don’t know how to dress up in anything else, so that is what I chose. I walked into the reception and the room pretty much went quiet and then the oooohs and ahhhhs started. It was just another day in uniform to me as it has been for almost 25 years. The camera flashes started and I felt like a celebrity. Thanks ladies.
Liz McMullen and Me
Beth Burnett and Me...in a serious moment
The awards banquet was awesome. I sat with Isabella, her wife Schileen, Beth, Andi Marquette, Linda Kay Silva, RG Emanuelle and a couple others. At the beginning of the ceremony, the MC, Pennie, mentioned my name and service and gave a shout out to me and other women veterans. That prompted a standing ovation. Holy crap! When has that ever happened for lesbian veterans! It was a moment like none other. I stood proud and waived. It was not my intention to have that done when I chose my attire and I thank Pennie and all the women in attendance for their support to the military and our veterans. Ok, enough about that, on to the awards part. When Linda Kay Silva won her award, our table went wild!!!! Alan, most know who Alan is, went wild too! Her acceptance speech was awesome. I even got my picture with her! We also went wild when Gerri Hill and Chris Paynter won. Chris’ speech was so heartfelt that there was not a dry eye in the place. Congrats to all the winners!!!! As they wrapped things up, it was time to dance.
With Linda Kay Silva
I don’t think I have ever danced so much while in uniform. I danced with everyone and had a blast doing so. I was totally honored when Bev Prescott asked me to dance. That was too cool. She is a great dancer by the way, don’t let her fool you. I sat out the last couple dances to visit with Chris and her wife The Lovely Miss Phyllis. They are the most adorable couple. You can see the love in their eyes. Two amazing people that I am so happy to have finally met. I was having such a good time I didn’t want the evening to end, but I did need to sleep eventually. Once again, I relived the dancing experience with my roomie. No noise complaints this time.
Chris Paynter, Me and The Lovely Miss Phyllis
There were no real goodbyes the next morning. Just a lot of laughs and reliving some of the fun. Most of what we said was, “See you in Portland, if not before.” The ladies I met at the GCLS Con were amazing. The amazing thing is that not all of them were there and I will get to meet many more at other events and at the next Con. The best part is….I am no longer a virgin!!!!
One last note. I spoke with my mother in the morning before we left and she had these words for all the ladies of the GCLS:
“To all the wonderful members of the Golden Crown Literary Society; I hope you all enjoyed your conference. You are all beautiful, talented ladies. Keep writing, the world needs your voice.” Dutch’s Mom, aka The Kick in the Pants
As a final note: All my pictures appear on my Facebook. Take time to take a look.
Ps: Bren Miller….are you packed yet?