The book festival at Amelia Island was fantastic! I was there for the expo, and for a reading at Slider’s Seaside Grill. The event was sponsored by GCLS for the Southeast Region. Several of my fellow writers were present: Ali Spooner, Renee MacKenzie, Alison Solomon, Mercedes Lewis, C.D. Cain, Liz Bradbury, Gwen Mayo, and Sarah Glenn. SW Andersen was also in attendance!
Location, location, location
Amelia Island itself is a lovely little place. It is not on the beaten path, but not too far off. You can drive to the island, or you can fly into Jacksonville International Airport, rent a vehicle, and get there in about 30 – 45 minutes. The month of February is ‘off season’, so the island is not overcrowded, but the weather and beaches were still beautiful. The Amelia Island Book Festival is held in the local Fernandina Middle School. There were over 100 writers in attendance, representing everything from children’s books to thrillers. Part of the fun was networking and meeting many mainstream writers that I had not heard of before.
We attended the Expo during the day. We had the best table in the place, just inside the door, right next to the Partners In Crime table! People had to pass us coming and going. This was the first time the GCLS(Golden Crown Literary Society) had a presence. May people stopped by to talk, purchase books, and find out more about our organization. The fact that we represented lesbian literature was well received.
Later in the evening we did readings of some of our work at Sliders Seaside Grill. As with any first-time endeavor, there were challenges, but we managed to rise about them. Once we worked out the sound issues (there was no mic, and we were competing with a band downstairs), we were well on our way. Thank goodness for modern technology, and (MacGyver) lesbians who know how to work stuff out! LOL We set up a microphone using a cellphone and some speakers, and I warmed up the audience for the rest of the gang with poetry.
My poetry was actually well received. Many people stopped by after to compliment me. They really enjoyed it, could relate, and many said they had a new appreciation of poetry. No one left. In fact, even those that said they needed to leave early stayed for all the readings. It was great! At the end of the evening, the city commissioner and previous board members of the AIBF invited, and insisted we come back for the event going forward! It is heartwarming to feel so welcomed and accepted.
Also, I have read my poetry in public before, but this time if was different. My birthday was the day before, and my publisher contacted me to let me know that my book went to the printer that morning.
Happy birthday to me! For the first time, I actually felt as though I was reading from a book. MY book. It was awesome. And, I just went on Amazon, and the book is listed there!
Now for the swagfest! lol