So, I attended GRL this year and found that compared to last year it was a 180 degree difference. Last year I knew 5 people … well, maybe ten… but in a crowd of 400 those ten disappear. I was reluctant and held back and withdrew enough that I might have seemed shy or introverted, I rarely approached people. I was intimidated by some from a glance, and I was overwhelmed when about 20 people approached me with books to get signed. ME…. you want me to sign your book? Why?
One year later… I was still overwhelmed.
But this time it was due to the fact that I knew so many people on sight. Overwhelmed by personal shock maybe. I could not believe how many people I knew by face or name, but I left knowing even more! I am also NOT an introverted person. Actually, I describe myself as an extroverted introvert. I DO keep much of ME close to the vest (as they say). I have opened up and trusted the wrong people and it has come back to bite me in the ass. (Kind of going on now with the one woman I should not have trusted with my heart.) But at GRL, I am not and was not SHY. No way! I'm the person that walks up and says, "Hello, person I don't know. I'm Wade Kelly." And then I attempt a conversation. Why not? I am more whole than I have ever been. I spent YEARS feeling like all the puzzle pieces of ME were scattered about in confusion. I am mostly put back together and I am trying to be myself and not apologize for it. So, this year I DID introduce myself to people I didn't know. Like Travis. "Hi Travis. You don't know me, but….." He was there last year AND this year, and probably next year. (comes with Mary and Randy) I can certainly say HI, right? So I did! I also danced with people I'd never met before and danced with people I had just met. And it was fun!
GO PAT BENETAR!
I also got a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people who wanted me to sign a book. (more than 20 this time.) I attend as a "supporting author" and for the two hour signing GRL scheduled, I had a LINE the entire time. WHAT?!?!?!?!? Yes, I LINE of people waited for me to sign something. I find that incredibly incredible to the Nth degree of incredibleness. Did not expect such dedicated and adoring fans. But you know what? I adore you right back! You validate the reasons I write. YOU motivate me to KEEP writing. I was told Names Can Never Hurt Me was brilliant. And not by ONE person but by many. Brilliant? BRILLIANT!!! Right there you show me that taking 14 months to write it was worth it. I composed a story worthy of the time. In all seriousness, I felt like a rock star. You know I love the song by All Time Low "Weightless". In it the lyrics say, "Maybe it's not my weekend, but it's gonna be my year…" Well, that felt like my weekend. And THIS is going to be my year! I have said that before, I know, but 2014 was the most balanced I have ever been in family life and writer life. I am hoping to improve my time management and be more consistent in writing because I can see now how many adoring fans I have whom I OWE great stories to. You wait patiently. You encourage and hang on until I publish the next one. I need to up my personal "bar" and write even more incredible stories and in less time. (Less than 14 months anyway!) I NEED to write the angst because it is how I express my pain and it is therapeutic to release it, but I also need to write comedy because it helps lighten the mood after getting raked through hell. hahhaa. I need breaks from emotional roller coasters just like you do.
I have MANY projects in my head. MANY. Some funny, some not so much. The ones that get written are the ones where the characters scream at me the loudest. I just finished the story of Misplaced Affection, but it is still in edits and needs to get polished. Details are missing here and there and I want a perfect story. It is very angsty, so I plan to write a lighthearted one next.
Highlights from GRL…. ONE HUGE ONE was hearing how NAMES was so brilliant it is used in a teaching capacity and handed out to people. I am being purposely vague because I don't know what I am allowed to disclose, but the woman who talks dot me at GRL made me cry. NAMES means that much to her! She saw into my meaning and depth to the point of using it to help other people and I was blown away by that!
Second, Karrie made me FAN ART! I have posted it before but I have to again. I am deeply touched that she counted JOCK among such lovely fan art and with so many amazing authors. Thank you so very much!
Third…. Someone (and I do know her name) told me she was "too star-struck to come up to me and say hi." ALL WEEKEND! Too Star-struck? Over ME? WHAT????? No way! I take that as a HUGE compliment and I tried to encourage her via FB chat that she should say HI next time. I talk enough for 10 people so there is no need to think you might say something dumb. I do all the time. I am surprised I can even write because my brain often gets confused int he middle of a sentence. I AM A HUGGY PERSON, so if you want a hug I am all for it!
And the person (couple of people) who told me they have followed my story and are praying for me and staring behind me in my struggles, THANK YOU! Your support means a lot to me!
Again I have to say that hearing the word "Brilliant" attached to MY WRITING was very very flattering and humbling and heartwarming. I work so hard to tell a meaningful story and I am glad some of you get the depth of meaning I shoot for. THANK YOU!
So, yeah, big HIGHLIGHTS for me included meeting fans (and some fans who are authors too) who I have met online and now got to hug! YAY!! Karrie, Paul, Katie, Tracy (She is so pretty!), Anya, Sandra, Bonnie, Danny (she gave me Gummy Bears!), Laura, Shirley (my dance partner), Elaine, Tame Anna, Hans, Tams (hopefully Lucien one year!), KAZY, Dani Maas, and I know there were many more! And scrapbooking with people in that event was lovely, I have to say. I do not remember all your names because a couple of you who visited me were very quiet. but I remember the faces. I loved the more intimate setting. I am all for scrapbooking next year!
Meeting JASON was a huge highlight. He is so fun. He and his husband David were lovely people to meet and hug (David did hug me!), but also meeting Crissy was wonderful too.
Talking with Erica Pike… I really really like her!! So sweet. So kind. I am glad this year we talked a title bit and maybe next year will be even better!
Formally meeting William Cooper. Now I know why JP adores him. William is a wonderful person! Really really liked hugging, meeting, and talking to him for a couple days! I look forward to seeing him again!
Smelling Jared Rackler. OMGosh, he has the best cologne, whatever it is. Last year I saw him from afar but didn't approach because I was being all shy. He looked shy or standoffish and I didn't know what to say. Okay, this year I was a different person and just walked up and said "HI, can I have a hug?" He is a huggy kind of guy and did not mind at all. Plus, bonus, every time I hugged him I got a lungful of delicious Jaredness. Jared is not standoffish at all. He is very friendly and smiley and sweet. I look forward to getting to see him again at future events!
I SPOKE to Daniel Kaine. Last year, I think I scared him when I said hello. This year I tried at a conversation again and he was very sweet and soft spoken. I was thrilled to meet him! Plus, he has some pretty awesome T-shirts!
Seeing Alex again was fun! So freakin adorable she is ;)
TJ KLUNE said HI to me! I don't know that it was the BEST of the weekend, but I was moved to tears. (I know--shocker.) But it thrilled me to no end when we passed in the hall, he said hello, and then did a double-take, stepped back and waited for me to put my bag down to hug me. Last year I had dinner at his table and he did talk to me, but it was more in that formal setting of what you do at the "dinner with the author" setting. He was with 6 other people and you make conversation. It was informal and I wasn't doing backflips over it, I was just talking. YES, I was thrilled I sat with TJ and Eric, but talking to TJ last year did not feel the same to me. THIS YEAR, his eyes said he recognized me and that made me feel very special. I spoke with him a few times, but I didn't crowd as I don't feel overwhelming a person with "hurricane Wade" is a good idea. (Venona called me a whirlwind, lol!) So, THANK YOU TJ for making me feel special. I think about you, and pray for you, all the time.
And seeing and hugging and talking to Elisa Rolle again this year was wonderful. She is a very classy lady!
I KISSED Zathyn Priest! Oh wow! That is more like star-struck! :) All the way across the world, and he comes to GRL and I get to meet him! I felt honored. He and Sam are really great people. :) I hope to get to meet them again sometimes, although Australia is VERY far away!
Oh, Australia… I met Toni Griffin! Whoot! Whoot! VERY lovely woman. I only wish we had more time to spend together!
Of course, no small thing indeed was seeing people whom I count as friends and miss all year and then got to hug again. Some of those people will make me emotional simply thinking about. Jeff posted a picture of himself and Will at the airport and I cried just thinking about seeing them the next day! Michael and Anthony live positively too far away (5 hours) and I NEVER see them enough! (SO VERY PROUD of Michael for the success of his new book!) I LOVE my sweet Heather who lets me pet her hair and chats with me. I miss her and I was glad to spend time with her on Casino night fake-gambling. We had fun! Sara York is always on my list of must-have hugs! She is special to me. And JP Barnaby was wonderful to get to know a little bit more. At RT in new Orleans we sort of "met" for the first time, although I had met her in Atlanta. We met in RT and this time actually talked. She makes me cry and fusses about me tearing up. (lol, I can't help it and she knows it!) She is one of the most warm, loving people I've met. (*flying monkey tackle hugs* right back at ya!)
I know I missed people in my accolades. I don't want to hurt feelings or anything by NOT mentioning someone. Sorry if that applies to you. I am thinking off the top of my head! And if I see you more than twice a year I may have skipped those "mentions", so no offense is intended.
Next year is on San Diego. I am looking forward to that. I'll get to meet BETH!!! YAY.
For those who want to know, you can join the Wade Brigade on Facebook for current updates or subscribe to my blog.
I took zero pictures as my camera didn't work. I am relying on others and when they upload the ones with me in them, I'll post some. (Like this one below)
I love and adore you all. Thank you so much for making me feel special and loved.
PS: People I still WANT to meet (besides Beth) are Kage Alan, and MATT BOSTON! (Brad, Sam and Rick included!!!)