Thursday, October 25, 2018

GRL 2018 ~ My Experience

GRL 2018 in Portsmouth, VA was the very first time I attended this retreat. I have blogged, written, promoted, and reviewed for this genre for 6+ years but had yet to make it to a retreat, until this year. I was always the person sitting behind the screen watching it pass year after year, slightly green with envy. But I made it this year and let me tell you, it was worth everything to be there.

Through the years we have heard good and bad elements of GRL, I am a firm believer that I have to see it to believe it. So here's my take on GayRomLit form this girl.

Where I went right was with my roommates. I feel that's the beginning and most important facet of making this go the best it can for you. I roomed with Jenn Gibson, Annabella Michaels, and Jaclyn Quinn. We planned this from the beginning and this was how it started to be wonderful. We clicked. I had talked to Jenn for years but this was the first time I got to meet her. Jaclyn for the last year, and I met Annabella in New York earlier in the year but we spoke so briefly I wanted more. Luna David and Jen Barton were next to us and they basically were our roommates as well. These ladies were a safe zone. Because of them I was never alone, awkward, or afraid. And I got to chill with my collab partner JM Dabney for DAYS!!! It was exciting!

I seem extroverted and I sort of am but I was introverted at GRL because I didn't know what to expect and I thought if I held my shield up I wouldn't get hurt by all those things people said would happen. Guess what? Nothing bad happened and it wasn't because of my shield it was because this genre, as a whole, is amazing, supportive, loving, and powerful.

In the brief moments I was alone someone would stop me and there was a spark of connection. We are all here for the same purpose. We are in a zone of non-judgement. I saw people being themselves and the relief on their faces was beautiful.

I met authors I admired, met new ones, crashed into my own readers and fans which just blew my mind and humbled me to no end.

What I never experienced was hate of any sort. Everyone was respectful, kind, helpful, and family.

If you can swing it you should do it. You may arrive alone but you won't stay that way. You may come afraid but you'll leave sad longing to return. You may arrive lonely but you'll leave knowing you have a family.

I have no bad memories. No one over stepped or was cruel. I believe what I see and what I saw was love. Reunions from people who hadn't seen each other for months or years. First time greetings that consumed you for all the days.

I got to hang with amazing people like Michael Bailey and Morningstar Ashley, two of my reviewers. Rod Batterman smelled amazing and I bought that cologne for my husband and I love how when he did anything everyone said "It's Rod, no one will say anything."

I even saw some of my boozy brunch crew, Felice Stevens, Hope Vincent, and Jenna Kendrick. It was so much When Worlds Collide!

So, very long story short, don't believe everything you hear GO experience it for yourself and see. I can't wait for 2019 and for more amazing memories.


  1. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, Meredith! I'm so glad you decided to give GRL a chance. This was my 4th in a row, and each has been full of love and acceptance. Already looking forward to next year!