So I am home from GRL 2017 and as always, I am kind of shell shocked at the whirlwind blur it all is. I have been lucky enough to attend six GRL retreats and each one is amazing and special in its own way. I have met some of my very closest friends at GRL and each year I am lucky enough to expand my circle even wider, while still getting a chance to connect with folks I adore and sadly only see once or twice a year.

For folks who have never been, it is hard to explain what GRL is like. I lead the newbie event most years and one of the things I always say is that what is magical about GRL is that these are your people. Regardless of what you may have in common with them in the big picture, each person here is at GRL because they love the same things you do. In our real lives, most of us probably have few people who really understand our love for romance in general and GLBT romance in specific, even if they know about it. But at GRL, these are our people. These are folks who spend their time and money to come to a conference because they feel just as passionately about this as I do. And there is something just magical about that shared love and shared experience that makes GRL an amazing place to be.

I have also been lucky enough to meet so many fabulous people over the years. My very first GRL I ended up at dinner the first night with some ladies who are now among my closest friends and I speak to them almost daily. Each year I have met more wonderful friends and each year it is like coming home. Someone said it is like summer camp, those deep, intense friendships made over a short period that sustain you over the long year until you see them again. And that is totally true. It is amazing how quickly you can bond with folks you just met, but I am lucky to have so many wonderful people I can call true friends. As always, my informal posse of Leigh Logan, Lindsey Woolsey, Kyle Christian, Joel Leslie, and Rich Najuch are the absolute best group of folks you could ask for. I seriously adore them all. But there are so many people who make this experience amazing. My ladies Devon Rhodes and TA Chase who I love and feel like I never left each time I see them. The Florida gals Poppy, Charlie, Amy and Sue, who are incredible and so much fun. The amazing audiobook narrators who didn’t run away when I fan girled all over them: Joel, Michael Lesley, Derrick McClain, Greg Tremblay, and Nick Russo (who I basically intercepted late one night and introduced myself because I had been dying to meet him all weekend). My “blog wife” Lisa Horan from Novel Approach who is always there for me for support and advice. The incredible authors whose works sustain me and give me such joy. And so much more. Honestly, I can’t even name everyone because I am far too blessed with such amazing and wonderful friends. You guys mean so much to me and it is just incredible to see everyone.

So I did post recaps every day(ish) of all the goings on at my FB page. For those of you who missed them, here are the links. I have many (MANY) pictures on those posts, so if you all want to see the fun, or just enjoy pictures of me looking bleary eyed, be sure to follow the links to check them out. (PS you may have to FB friend me in order to see these)

Also, I did two live videos for Jeff and Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast while at GRL. The first was the Featured Blogger Panel on Wednesday that was a QA with all the Featured Bloggers. And second was an informal Blogger roundtable we did with Lisa, Dani, and Christine where we talk about books and GRL.

Ok, that is all for now, but here are some of my favorite pics I’ll leave you with…


Saloon girls at the costume party

Saloon girls at the costume party


With my “blog wife” Lisa Horan from The Novel Approach


Narrator Joel Leslie and his husband (and my arm candy) Rich Najuch. I love these two so much!


Some of the best times at GRL are those casual moments where you are hanging out with friends (TA Chase, Devon Rhodes, Kyle Christian, Taylor V. Donovan, Lindsey Woolsey, Leigh Logan, me and Dave Woolsey)


Some of my awesome GRL people: Leigh Logan, Lindsey Woolsey, Amy DiMartino, and Kyle Christian


Fabulous lunch dates: Leigh Logan, Joel Leslie, Wade Kelly, Derrick McClain, and Rich Najuch


We had such a fabulous time at Red Rocks (with Mike Sulken, Tim Faul, Cindi Sulken, and Leigh Logan

Until next year!

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FILED UNDER: Jay's Thoughts
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