Saints and Sinners

 

Okay, in social media terms it’s a bit late to post about an event that was held early last month, but as I’ve just made it home from an extended trip this morning, this is the first chance I’ve had to talk about the many fascinating GLBT writers I met as I took part in my first literary festival.

Sergei-Boissiers-book-launch-party

Sergei Boissier‘s book launch party

NERVES!

Two hours before the first function (a book launch for the 11th Annual Saints and Sinners Anthology), I sat having dinner while texting my partner back in Australia, admitting I felt a bit daunted. I even ordered a glass of wine to calm me, which is rare as I seldom drink alone.

But I met a fellow writer leaving my hotel with his friend at the same time as me. Although I’d checked where our first event was being held earlier that day, I still got us lost. A taxi saved the day.

MEETING PEOPLE IS FAB!

During that first full day of Master Classes, I was gaining good tips from my peers and chatting generally about bookish things. I began feeling like a real writer.

Edmund-White

Edmund White

What’s great about this festival is that every day there were talks and author reads, while every night there were social events. So while you learned and/or supported your fellow writers as the sun shone, after sunset you really got to know what made them tick.

And as an Australian with an American publisher, it helped me gain better insight into the market. Something that’s hard to do by just sitting idle in my home town.

AUTHOR READINGS

Bear-Squad

Bearnation book launch featuring Ron Suresha, Jerry L. Wheeler, Jeff Mann and Shawn Syms

I made it to a few of these as I wanted to enjoy first hand the various writing styles of those I was getting to know. The reading session I was part of was many shades of entertaining. It ranged from all out raunchy to the incredibly moving.

I admit that I rehearsed for my ten minutes of fame regularly for a whole month before I jumped on my Qantas flight, but it still didn’t stop my nerves as I read. I just kept them well hidden.

As a side note, watch out for Carol Rosenfeld‘s upcoming novel, The One That Got Away. Her reading had the audience in stitches as we lived through the pain of a lesbian late bloomer trying to make some sort of connection with others in a book store.

Romance-Panel-1024x347

Love In Literature Panel
Anne Laughlin, Kevin Klehr, Mary Griggs, Jeff Mann and Melissa Brayden

THE FINAL REVELATION 

During the last panel discussion I was taken aback by the last topic of conversation by some of the writers I got to know. They revealed how they look for each other when they come to Saints and Sinners. Why? Because like all writers, they’re shy creatures. They need familiar faces.

So I’m not alone in my social awkwardness with large groups of strangers. It comes with the territory.

HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS

Felice-Picano-KK-Mary-Celeste

Felice Picano, Kevin Klehr and Mary Celeste at final drinks

One regular high profile participant, Felice Picano, was very giving of his time. He went out of his way to meet me at a book store so I could get him to sign his latest work. Sadly, the book store was closed.

When my partner, Warren, joined me in the USA for the last drinks on Sunday afternoon, Felice described our long awaited meeting as a ‘Hollywood screen kiss’. Looking back, I guess he was right.

SO THE MORAL OF THE STORY

If you’re an author with something to offer, get yourself out there and meet your peers. Take a dip and get involved. I have to thank Saints and Sinner’s main organiser, Paul Willis. He was the first to spark my interest in making the long trip from Sydney. I’m so glad I did.

 

Blog by Kevin Klehr, author of the Drama Queens novels. READ THE REVIEWS

website_wilde_covers

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s