I went with All Male Romance, a group of 25 M/M romance writers whose goal is to support and encourage writers and readers of our little niche, and hopefully help to make it a not-so-little niche in the years to come. (Special thanks to the AMR team, btw, from whom I've gacked all these photos.)
|The AMR table. Isn't is shiny?|
Sadly, the fair was spread over two rooms--a very large main room and a much smaller side room which nobody seemed to know about. Guess where we were? :-( Throughout the day, our room was always 9/10ths empty, while the main room was so crowded you couldn't make it through the aisles. *glares at Dreamspinner Press with their seventy bazillion awesome authors attending* ;-p
|Dreamspinner Press: Blocking Traffic Since 2007|
Despite being shunted to the side room, we had lots of company from readers, curious passers-by (the Fair was in the Village and probably got some reasonable street traffic), and other writers. And the organizers--lovely, helpful people all, who deserve many a cookie--announced that next year, the Fair will be spread throughout the whole building. It could really use the space. I'm excited for next year.
For me, the highlight of the show was finally meeting other M/M authors face to face. This is the first event I've ever attended as a published author, or even as a reader of M/M romance, and it was delightful to finally put some faces to all the people I've been chatting with on Goodreads and Twitter and author loops and the like. Especially delightful was meeting Damon Suede, who, yes, is as cute in person as he is in his Goodreads photo, and who is also the first person ever to go, "OMG are you Rachel Haimowitz?" We can all use a little ego boost every now and then, eh? ;-) Plus I passed the ego boost on; I totally did the same thing when I met Clare London, who was as delightful in person as you could ever have imagined her being. Also I totally love her accent :-)
|From L to R: Clare London, Lovely Girl Whose Name I Apologize Profusely for Forgetting, Damon Suede, and me. The reason I'm laughing is because I'm totally grabbing his ass, and he's totally fine with it.|
I also had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Grey (my second ass-grab of the day, and he got me right back), who was such a sweetheart and a gentleman that he kissed my hand when I went to say goodbye to him; Felicia Watson, whose book I picked up because I'd heard so many wonderful things about it and then realized, after I'd said that, that the woman I said that to was her (the best possible kind of oops!); Linda Reilly, who manned the AMR table with me and was such a delight to spend the afternoon with; J.M. Snyder; and no doubt others whom I'm forgetting (I'm sorry, others!). I was hoping to meet more erotic romance publishers, but the only ones there I really recognized were DSP (a delightful bunch of folks!), JMS Books, MLR (who were giving out free books at the end of the day so they wouldn't have to carry them home, yay!), and Phase.
On the plus side, TLA Video was giving out free gay porn. I was on that like a condom on-- You know what? Never mind :-p
As for the fans and lovers of gay erotic romance, oh my, what fun it was to speak with them! It's the first time ever for me to be in a room with a bunch of people who would all knowingly nod their heads when you talked about certain writers, artists, and presses. It felt a bit like coming home, if you know what I mean, and I can't wait until the next conference so I can do it again. I also had some very long chats with Linda Reilly and Damon Suede (who graciously volunteered to be the "Male" for a while in our female-staffed All Male Romance table), where we discussed the ins and outs of marketing, how many people we'd blow to get an Anne Cain or Cris Griffin cover, favorite writers of the writers, and what to do with our vast piles of royalty money once we've bought a private island an a 60-foot yacht to get us there (*snort*).
I also answered the question "How/why do so many women write gay romance?" more times than I think is strictly safe for sanity. How come nobody ever asks female writers of het romance how they can write a convincing male character? One, two, five and a pony . . . it's really not that different. From people's responses, it seemed that nobody had thought of it that way. I was glad to be able to advocate a little for all the female writers of hot male smexins out there :-)
All in all, it was a fantabulous day. I picked up some swag--Dreamspinner was giving out yummy chapstick and AMR had some fancy pens made that I'll be shipping out to swag winners in the future--some free books, some free gay porn, and a whole bunch of new and exciting friendships. Can't wait to see everyone again!
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And now for something completely different--a little moment of thanks, if you'll indulge me. I met a lovely lady on Twitter a couple weeks back (@firebird_55) named Melissa Moir, and it turns out she's an absolutely brilliant glass artist. We got to talking, exchanged some great emails, and what do I find on my porch this morning? Why, a present from Melissa!
This stunning fused glass tile is about 4 inches by 10, and is currently gracing a plate stand on my dresser. The whole thing was so lovely--not just the gorgeous tile but Melissa's kindness and generosity--that I felt quite compelled to plug the ever-loving crap out of her wherever I could :D So, follow her on Twitter--she's hilarious! Check out her website--she's brilliant! And thank you, Melissa, for being so, so awesome.