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Back to Business

So now it’s all over, most of us are home and back at work and we’re feeling that horrible post-Meet tristesse that follows the best weekend of the year. I’ve been at home for the week catching up on housework, being a taxi, getting rid of books!!, ditto old paperwork and trying to recover from a whole weekend of unaccustomed company.

I’ll write up a few thoughts about it in a bit but first I have a book to give away!

Every few days throughout May and the beginning of June I featured interviews and excerpts with authors who had contributed stories to the Not Quite Shakespeare anthology from Dreamspinner Press. I also invited comments, promising to enter all commenters names into a draw to win a copy of the anthology.

And the winner is …. Petronella Ford, who I will be emailing forthwith.

So the Meet. *sigh* I always love the Meet. Friday to Sunday I can find people who want to talk about LGBT fiction. Sometimes I even find people who want to talk about LGBT history! I get more hugs on that one weekend that I do the rest of the weekends of the year put together. It’s a really happy place for me and I look forward so much to seeing friends from all around the world. I know Meet time has arrived when I get my first hug from Charlie Cochrane, followed, if I’m lucky, by one from Blaine Darden! Both ladies are superb huggers as well as all their other accomplishments.

This year we were graced by some wonderful overseas visitors. Belinda MacBride made a delightful keynote speaker for Saturday, telling a tale of triumph over adversity and offering good advice about how sometimes it’s okay to give yourself permission NOT to write but to do those things that recharge creative batteries instead. Jordan Castillo Price led some informative panels on demystifying publishing and how to avoid a mid-novel crisis. Susan Lee shared her marketing expertise. We had bloggers, publishers, reviewers, readers and authors from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, the USA, Belgium and a few places whose flags I don’t recognise. We had Brits returning from homes abroad. We had the usual suspects coming in by road, rail, air, bus and, for all I know, llama cart from every part of our fair land.

High points? In no particular order, ‘kay?

I was so excited to meet K J Charles that I couldn’t think of much to say other than ‘hi’.
I was a little more coherent by Sunday when I saw Harper Fox and tried not to gush at her too embarrassingly.
I was able to hug Aleks Voinov – a much looked forward to once a year event – and was blown away with everyone else by his Sunday keynote speech – NEVER be ashamed of what you read or write struck a particular chord for me, as did his comments about writing what YOU want to write and ignoring what the market seems to be demanding.
I was delighted to spend some time with Elisa Rolle and am excited to hear that she has written a non-fiction book due to be released in December!
I hugged Marc Fleishauer, who is doing so much to promote gay literature on his review blog.
I met Hendrick DeJong, writer of stupendous sci fi, and bought his book.
I met Julie Bozza! Author of The Definitive Albert G Sterne and The Apothecary’s Garden, which actually made me cry dammit! Way to go, Julie, and I can’t wait to see you again.
Monique Lehane, wicked lady, discovered she could make me blush to order!
Mark Wills – thank you sweetheart.
I kept missing Susan Lee! I saw her on panels and across the room but we never coincided. Hugs next year then, sweetie.
I was kissed on the cheek by a handsome young man with a bare bottom, which startled me so much that I bit my cheek and it bled for an hour. But I think I can say it was worth it. 🙂
The Aleks Voinov/Lori Witt double act was as good as ever.
I loved getting to know luminaries like Sarah Granger, Sam Evans, Jay Northcote, Annabelle Jacobs, and finally getting to meet Rebecca Cohen.

Oh this list is so long and I know I’ve left people out. It’s really not intentional – my memories of the weekend are just a whirl of colour and kindness and happiness.

Thank you all so much and millions of thanks and hugs to the organisers. Charlie, Clare, Jamie, Jo and Liam, ably assisted by Cathy – you made the event supreme. 2015 can’t come soon enough.

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