Is this your first GayRomLit? Are you munching on your fingernails, going over every detail the organizers have disclosed, and picturing yourself standing alone in a corner once you’re there? Or have you gone before? Did you realize that the fingernail-gnawing was a total waste of good nails; the plans didn’t really matter as you just went with the flow of people, events and your own mood at any given moment; and that you barely had time to stand alone in a corner? In fact, you were barely allowed to stand in a corner, because people you’ve chatted with online somehow managed to find you and you hit it off like you never did with other people in your life? Did you find it pleasantly odd how much you had in common, how freely you could discuss the function of a penis without anyone batting an eye, and how you suddenly found yourself up on stage singing karaoke after a couple of drinks?
Last year was my first GRL. To sum up the experience into one sentence it would have to be: I had a blast. I had such a blast that I decided to go again this year, even if it meant another long, expensive trip from Iceland and a way to figure out how to get from Washington to Atlanta. I’m doing it anyway, because I know it’ll be worth it.
I was extremely nervous about last year. Like many of you, I’m a shy, reserved person. My cousin and best friend, Thora, came with me. It felt good knowing I wasn’t going to be alone the whole time. I wouldn’t have to stand in a corner and my nails would make it through intact. However, upon arrival, I was approached by one person after another. I was meeting them for the first time, but it was like greeting old friends. My inhibitions fell away and suddenly I was talking to everyone, introducing myself, and generally mingling with the crowd. I may not have taken part in the karaoke, but I did dance up on a stage with a cowboy-stripper (man, he was hot!), dress up in a costume, join Edmond Manning’s impromptu party in one of the conference rooms, and walk around with a basket of Icelandic chocolates to offer people. I rarely saw people on their own. If I did, I talked to them, like so many others did, out of pure joy of being around like-minded people who shared my love of gay romances.
I’m bringing my cousin again this year. I know I won’t need her there, but I managed to twist her arm because I want her there. It didn’t take a lot of twisting; she also had a blast. She had no idea who any of the authors were before last trip. Now she’s hooked on M/M, has read tons of titles, and is all amped to go. Me? Last year was like a whirlwind of new experiences and I have since wished I’d done this or that. Well, I’m putting more emphasis on “this or that” this year and hope to get to talk to people I didn’t manage to sit down with (I only realized Cole was there on the last day!).
So, if you’re new, relax! If you’ve been before, you know it’ll be a blast.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
Twenty-three year old Jasper Jones fell in love with Dean McQueen at fourteen, but after a disastrous relationship, Jazz would like nothing better than to see the rock star choke on his own vomit.
After a catastrophic reunion, Dean seems bent on destroying Jazz’s life. It all started when an impromptu bar performance ended up on YouTube and Jazz became an internet sensation overnight. The name “Jazdean” keeps popping up in headlines and the paparazzi stalk his every move. To make matters worse, Jazz is about to end up on the streets for the second time in his life.
In a desperate attempt to keep his home, Jazz signs a deal with Dean’s band, Black Hurricane, to perform at a couple of concerts. It feels like one of Dean’s feeble attempts to get Jazz back, but painted into a corner like he is, Jazz has no choice.
Erica Pike online: