As a newcomer to the world of conventions for the most part, I was a bit trepidatious to attend one where, although I know many people virtually, I had yet to meet most face to face. But, because I had heard so many wonderful things about GRL, or Gay Romance Literature Retreat, and there were so many wonderful authors and readers I knew were attending, I decided to go.
There was another issue. Deep down I am a very shy and private person. I may project an on-line, fun personality but put me in a room where I don't know many people and I am the last to talk. Even if I may have met you before, I might only smile because why would you remember me? It's not the way I want to be, but its how I am.
And I've always been that way. As a child, I wasn't in the "popular group"; I didn't get invited to parties or have boatloads of friends. I hung out at home with my books and wrote stories. I didn't want to be like that; but I didn't know what to do to change.
But in these last few years I woke up and realized just how much I'm missing out, so I forced myself to put aside my fears and introverted self and come out of my shell. What better place than at GRL?
I'm so thrilled that I did. I met the authors whose books made me thrilled to belong to a genre like MM: Amy Lane, Mary Calmes, Rhys Ford, Jordan L. Hawk, (and her amazingly nice and sweet husband, David). I hung out with Sylvia Violet, Carter Quinn and the incomparable artist, Catherine Dair. I met the best bloggers, like Lisa Horan from The Novel Approach and Dani from Love Bytes. My partners in crime C.S. Poe and Jenna Kendrick and I tried to stay out of trouble, but we hung out with a crowd that far & away were the most fun bunch of people I have ever met; my beloved Fanyon Family
For me, meeting readers and having them come up and tell me they are a fan of my books, or to meet someone who's taken the time to make fan art for a book was surreal and mind-blowing. People from all different backgrounds united at GRL for their love of books. It was inspiring and fabulous.
Was it perfect? Of course not. Is anything? There were still people I didn't feel comfortable approaching or talking to and so I didn't and I regret that. But I loved the experience and hope all of you who hesitate to go to any con will give one a whirl. Sometimes you have to see it yourself to believe it.
I had a cover reveal for my next book in the Breakfast Club series, Betting on Forever. In the book, Zach is brilliant, yet shy in social situations. However he decided when he is away at a convention, to step outside his comfort zone and see what life might bring him. It brought him Sam, a retired NYPD police officer battling his own demons, and an attraction to Zach he couldn't deny.