My First Signing, My Tribe and the AfterGLO

You know, nothing scares me more than the thought of being in a room full of people. Being an introvert and having social anxiety means I don't do crowds well.

With one exception.

After years of knowing some of my online friends, readers and fellow authors through social media, I had the honour of meeting quite a number of them face to face for the first time last weekend at the inaugural Bookmarked & Sexy signing. And what a beautifully welcoming bunch of people they were! It's great when you get to spend time with people who make you feel like you're not so weird after all, and who get you when you talk about your passion for the written word.

And though I was freaking out a little at the gravity of the entire event (mostly about the fact I had to fly, negotiate the airport with 3 heavy suitcases by myself and expected to hear the sound of crickets once the event began), I had nothing to worry about.

My PA, Sarah, was there to not only get me to my hotel from the airport, but ferry myself and a few other attendees around to see the sights. There the whirlwind of meet-ups, emu avoiding (no bird should be taller than a human) drinks, dinner, and some of the best conversation I'd had in an age began. And everyone, I MEAN EVERYONE was so wonderfully supportive and encouraging!

Though my poor old bladder protested, I was thrilled to discover that on the day of the actual signing, I would not have time to pee let alone check out other authors' tables and maybe even squeeze in a bit of reading. (I even considered bringing the laptop to write, and would have, if I hadn't already brought way too much luggage lol).

Not that I'm complaining one bit! Nosiree!

How could I, when we had such a fabulous turn-out? Readers were enthusiastic, and so awesome. Then the other authors who were there - Max Vos (my neighbour) and Sloane Kennedy (my corner mate), Nic Starr, Cherry Shepherd, N.r. Walker, Ann Grech, Eden Finley, Ann Mickan, Nora Phoenix all made the day all that more memorable. Such a fab representation of LGBT romance authors - around 1 in 5 which is fantastic!

Through this experience, I've made many a new friend, hugged and laughed with ones I've known for years (and never met). I've also gained a new appreciation of  what an amazing job organisers as well as volunteers, helpers, PA's, makers of all things swag, fellow authors and each and every wonderful reader does to make signings such as these so successful.

Writing is a lonely business for the most part. Yes, we interact online each day, but preparing a manuscript for beta reads and several rounds of edits is something one tends to do alone. Meeting people I consider some of the best friends I've ever known have afforded me the opportunity to feel part of a tribe I knew would remain a significant part of my life in the years to come.

As I sit here, adding to EliXXir, my newest addition to the Men of NY series, I can't help but feel an added sense of excitement. And it's all due to one of the most memorable weekends I've ever had.

Thanks to Sassie for organising this little shindig, and to Imogene and Belinda for helping me out with all my questions.

To Kristy from Kristy's Kreative Nook? You created some of the most popular swag ever! (Like I said, not one of the lip balms was left for me to steal lol).

To Jessica, creator of this beautiful blog as well as my logo, I thank you so much! Many commented on how much they loved the swag!

To Tammy for all my covers, and to my lovely editor RE Hargrave and beta reader extraordinaire, Kaye P Hallows, if it weren't for your encouragement I'd have never done this. To Mich, a special thanks. It was seeing you go to signings that encouraged me to take the plunge. Then to the gang in MM DreaMMers - thanks for all your daily chats and unending support. You all rock!

Congrats again to Lisa for winning my raffle, and to Doc, NR and Barb for putting up with me at the zoo (and Sarah for getting us there). And to Nic Starr who made that Friday lunch nice and chill. To Lauren and Max and Dawn, and Debbi who made my weekend by joining me, and and to all of you I met - Pat, Colleen, Kaz (Vegas baby), Sandy (who I sat next to on the flight up!), Mia, Kylee, Karen, Pauline, Parida, Jacci, Helena, Erin, Sheridan, Belinda, Tania, Jennie, Pat, Katie, Karen, (PS it was confusing at dinner when the waiters kept bringing out another meal for Karen! haha), Amor, Kenzie, TA, Jody, and so many others!

So many memories crammed into such a short space of time.

And the best part? Through all this, an idea was born... one that is sorely needed in Australia. I give you GLO - Gay Lit Oz, an exclusively LGBT Romance event for authors and readers near and far, to be held in Sydney, Australia on 12th/13th March 2021.

Expressions of interest are now being sought, so if you'd like to be an attending author, please fill in the form here.


GLO - Gay Lit Oz said...

It was so great to meet you Lisa and thank you so much for the support already ❤️

kazbar65 said...

Vegas Baby! I’m going to hold you to it.