Finnian Burnett

Author, Educator, Cat Person

My favorite author.

My favorite author.

I crawled into bed with Linda Kay Silva. Sure, there were other takeaways from the Golden Crown Literary Society conference in Dallas this year, but let’s face it, there isn’t much that can top crawling into bed with Linda Kay. Sure,I flirted with Georgia Beers, traded quips with Andi Marquette, and almost knocked Lynn Ames over in the hallway, but those things were just icing on the cake.

I participated in a incredible panel that I, unfortunately, had to leave ten minutes early because of a migraine. The panel was fantastic, though. I remember people laughing and I think it was when I was actually saying something funny.

I danced ceaselessly. You have got to love a gathering of lesbians… even of woman of size doesn’t have to sit out a dance, not one. I slow danced. I fast danced. I danced in the dining room. I danced in my room. I had one short, but memorable dance in the elevator with a woman who prefers to remain nameless. I danced at the awards banquet. I dragged one woman onto the dance floor though she insisted she felt self-conscious and next thing I knew, she was out there doing the electric slide. I danced with everyone who wanted to dance. I even danced at karaoke.

And speaking of karaoke. I road tripped and roomed with Dutch, a woman who is so far beyond crazy, it will take the light from crazy seven point three billion years to reach her. On Karaoke night, Dutch came back to our room about an hour after I did. Thinking I would be interested in hearing every single little thing that had happened in that hour, she decided to recap. She was so enthusiastically reenacting her karaoke debut that she slid across the room on her knees singing, “You’re the one that I want.” Moments later, we got a call from the front desk telling us very politely to shut the hell up. Dutch made history, though, when she wore her Army dress uniform to the awards ceremony. It’s a reminder that gays and lesbians have made major leaps forward in the fight for equality, and the fact that an out lesbian can now wear her uniform to a gathering of lesbian literary people is huge.

I finally met my publisher in person and learned that I truly like her as a person. She is kind of like the Godfather…. “My loyalty is to the family.” (Picture Marlon Brando, only tall, slender, and sexy.) It feels good to be part of the Sapphire Books Publishing family; like I can point out someone who was mean to me and they’ll end up with a horse head in their bed. In all seriousness, though, when I broke my glasses on Liz McMullen’s breasts, the first thing I did was turn to Isabella with the two pieces and a pout and she took them and tried to fix them. When my migraine made me sick to my stomach, she showed up with a cool rag and a glass of water. After that, I kept referring to her as a nurturer… perhaps because of that, I felt comfortable enough to talk about personal subjects with her. And one of my favorite memories of Isabella was sitting in her room, telling her all about my love life (or lack thereof.) She gestured to herself, sitting cross-legged on the bed with her arms wrapped around her knees and said, “What about my body language says, ‘please share this with me?’”

I made contacts and I made friends. I networked, I laughed, I shared meals, I hugged most everyone. Some more than once. I signed autographs… lots of autographs, actually. Some of them were even requested. I met so many wonderful people that I can’t possibly begin to list them all. Schileen who kept coming out with zingers that made me spit out my drink. Aschleigh who for the first time got to see what it’s like to hang out with a bunch of lesbians. Jaynes who gave me a neck rub and cured my migraine… And yet…

My takeaway from this conference is that I crawled into bed with Linda Kay Silva. I’m not going to tell the story. First of all, the actual story is way more mundane than the first sentence. Second, I want to leave it to the readers’ imaginations. Perhaps they’ll write fan fiction about it. (If so, could you make me a tall, buff blond with large but perky breasts? And make sure to write a whole scene in which LK pursues me with panting ardor. Thanks.) Suffice to say, there I was, in bed with Linda Kay Silva, my hero, my mentor, my former professor, and now my dear friend. Linda has the distinction of being the reason I even wrote my first novel in the first place. She forced me to work and rework every line of every chapter. I spent several long days cursing her out as I labored over my (ALREADY) edited manuscript. She helped me put out a better product. Her online persona is that of a powerhouse who is larger than life. Her real world persona is exactly the same.

The reason I’m gushing over LK (I mean, besides the obvious fact that I have had a huge crush on her for many years) is that she said something in the acceptance speech she made for her award that I feel needs to be readdressed. She said that older and established authors should mentor someone. I can’t stress enough how much her mentoring did for my writing career. I can’t begin to imagine where I would be without that support, that teaching, that love. And I am going to carry that forward and mentor someone else. When a young writer asked me to read her manuscript recently, I thought about it for a second. I thought about working full-time, going to school full-time, trying to cram in time to write, and the sheer volume of time it takes to nurse my new and borderline unhealthy fascination with author Yvonne Heidt… I almost said no. I almost said, in the politest way possible, that I don’t have time to read someone else’s manuscript right now. And then I thought about Linda. She’s a full-time professor, a full-time writer, a friend to many, a turtle rescuer, a chronicler of the adventures of Alan, and a fastidious perfectionist in regards to  her own work. Yet, she still found time to offer me some really valid criticism of my first novel. She made time before we were even friends to encourage me to write and to keep encouraging me when the self-doubt started kicking in. She spent many hours on the phone, walking me through the ins and outs of being an author and putting out a great product. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I don’t believe I would be here, writing this blog, if it wasn’t for her.

So, I called my young friend back and I said that I would absolutely love to read her manuscript. In the course of the conversation, I was able to tell her some advice that I’ve now embraced since becoming an author. I spent a great deal of time offering suggestions and tips and yes, friendship. And I realized that my takeaway from Linda Kay is that as lesfic authors, it is our duty to care about and be willing to help other authors. And maybe someday, my young friend will be a published author and she’ll turn around and help someone else who wants to be a part of all of this magic.

Or maybe someday, she’ll be writing a blog about crawling into bed with me. A girl can dream, right?

15 thoughts on “Authors helping authors. The Golden Crown Literary Society 2013 Conference.

  1. Pam Sloss says:

    You rock Beth. I loved this. And I hope your dream comes true!!!!

  2. Great blog, Beth! Thank you for writing it. 🙂 And it was fantastic meeting you!

  3. Beth,

    A truly wonderful blog. I was also moved by LKS’s speech and, while I’m not an author, I’m always happy to do what I can for the community – review, interview, beta, or discuss. We are a true community, with ups and downs and cliques and all the rest, but, together, we can make it a better, stronger one.

    Meeting you was, honestly, one of the highlights of the Con for me. I’m so glad you semi-stalked me and that my wife is totally fine with other women flirting with me. You are awesome.

  4. Sheri Campbell says:

    Lovely review of the conference.

  5. Wen says:

    This is one of the best blogs I’ve read all year. Full of love, compassion, joie de vivre, and wisdom beyond years. Beth is a writer, a chronicler, a storyteller, a blogger – but most of all an amazing woman! All of those talents and qualities are exhibited in spades in this blog.

  6. Great blog, Beth. Reading this was a nice way to end the day. Peace~Love & Rock’n’Roll

  7. Yvonne Heidt says:

    Beth! Great blog – I was very surprised and honored to find myself IN it! Yay! Your love for life jumps off the page 🙂

  8. Barrett says:

    I’m so happy your first Con was a good experience! Your enthusiasm is what draws new members! Hope to see you in Portland.

  9. Awesome bog, Beth….looking forward to seeing you in Portland.

  10. Your enthusiasm for life in general and writing in particular shines forth in every line of this blog. You’re a gifted writer but beyond that you are a truly lovely soul. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know you a bit here on facebook. You brighten my days.

  11. Jan F Walsh DVM says:

    Love the blog, glad I’m getting it.

  12. Lisa Hurt says:

    Great Blog Beth,
    As a new writer myself, I agree completely, that it is the wonderful experienced mentors who have encouraged and helped me most. People like Kieran York and Wen Pederson have been so kind with their constructive criticism and positive feedback. Your writing is descriptive and funny. I was following peoples FB stories of the Con, but your Blog pretty much glued it all together. Thank you

  13. Liz says:

    Beth great blog…I loved seeing the con through your eyes, even though my breasts made it hard for you to see, though you promised my hugs made breaking your glasses on them was a non-issue. You have the best disposition…and I am happy to call you a friend.

    And for you folks reading this, specifically published authors and/or editors, GCLS has a Mentoring Program, and if you are interested in being a mentor please visit this link and fill out the form. There is also a mentee form, where you can sign up to be mentored. I oversee the Mentoring program, so if you have any questions about the program, please send me an email.

    Here is the link to the GCLS Education page, the links for both mentors and mentees are towards the bottom of the page.

  14. I plan on attending the con in Portland and if my first experience of it is half as good as yours I might die of happiness!

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