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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:58am on 13/11/2016 under ,
Title: And Even Though It All Went Wrong

Author: Mary Griggs

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Miranda/Andy

Rating: G

Word Count: 1660

Summary: Miranda comes home to find Andy in meltdown.

 

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I'm just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.

 

The title of this work is from a lyric in the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah.” On Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon’s rendition as Hillary Clinton brought tears to my eyes – https://youtu.be/BG-_ZDrypec . After finishing the song, she turned to the audience and said, “I’m not giving up. And neither should you.”

***** 

 

Miranda let herself into the house after a long and exhausting day. It was the culmination of a week from hell, made longer and more exhausting by the miasma of grief and sadness permeating Runway’s floor and the city of New York itself.

 

After dropping her keys and purse on the side table, Miranda stirred her fingers in the cut crystal bowl filled with political pins. Her eyes stung with tears as she ran a fingertip over the cloisonné ‘I believe that she will win’ and the arrowed H’s and cursive, gold-wrought Hillary. She had to blink rapidly to clear her eyes to see the glass pin Andrea brought back from the Democratic National Convention.

 

“We cracked the ceiling but it didn’t break,” she murmured to the vase of flowers standing sentry in the silent hall.

 

She toed off her shoes and shivered a little at the chill in the marble floor. With a very unladylike grunt, she bent down to pick them up, her calves tight from wearing the heels for ten hours. Dangling their straps from her index finger, she carried them with her into the kitchen.

 

She gusted out a big sigh at the sight. There were dirty dishes in the sink and an empty ice cream container on its side on the counter, surrounded by a puddle of melted Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk. Beside it was jar of fudge sauce and an opened bag of Biscoff cookies with a trail of crumbs leading to an open canister of marshmallow fluff.

 

Resolutely ignoring the mess, Miranda started a kettle to boil water for tea. She used the heart shaped tea infuser spoon Andrea had gifted to her and filled it with dried passionflowers. Miranda hoped the herbal concoction lived up to its hype and soothed her anxiety and calmed her circular thoughts. To the hot water in her mug, she added a generous dollop of Tupelo honey. Leaving it on a clear spot on the counter to steep for ten minutes, she turned her back on the kitchen and trudged upstairs.

 

Thinking Andrea might be napping, she tiptoed through the darkened bedroom until she reached the light switch inside the walk-in closet. Glancing at the bed, her brow furrowed to see the bed empty. As she wondered where her partner was, she headed into the closet. Peeling off her day wear and tossing the items into either the dry cleaning or laundry bag, she gratefully shrugged off her bra and took a deep cleansing breath only to cough.

 

The underlying scent of the laundry detergent and her perfume was nearly overwhelmed by the smell burnt popcorn. Shaking her head, Miranda pulled on some stretchy yoga pants and super soft socks. Tonight was a night for comfort, she decided. Running her hand over the faded Northwestern University seal on a grey sweatshirt, she pulled it over her head and mused that a major benefit of her involvement with the younger woman was the increase of casual wear in her wardrobe. Andrea’s insistence that she clearly delineate between work clothes and non-work clothes had the added benefit of more relaxed and happier times at home.

 

Miranda went into the bathroom and washed her hands and face. After wiping the makeup from her skin, she rubbed in some Swiss lotion, focusing on the puffy skin beneath her eyes. With her skincare routine done, she decided to track down her partner.

 

Following the odor of charred popcorn, she climbed up the next flight of stairs to the entertainment room. From the doorway, she saw the blue flickering of a movie. She could just make out an Andrea shaped mound in the center of the couch.

 

Her younger lover had made a nest out of several comforters and even had one covering her head. Starring intently at the screen, she mindlessly fed popcorn into her mouth, dropping several pieces to join the pile of other kernels on her lap.

 

“Darling?”

 

Andy blinked and turned her head. “Miranda! I’m so glad you’re home.”

 

“Hopefully not just to do the dishes.”

 

“Huh?” Andy scratched her nose, not realizing she still had a handful of popcorn clenched in her fist. She dropped the kernels back into the bowl and wiped her hand on her shirt.

 

Miranda pinched the bridge of her nose. “Could you be more of a mess? You left the kitchen in a shambles!”

 

Big brown eyes starred up at her. Andy sniffed. “Sorry, Miranda.”

 

“What’s up with you?” Miranda asked. She stepped into the room and nearly stepped on a laptop. “What the…”

 

“Oh, I had to get that away from me.”

 

“Why?”

 

“My newsfeed was filled with so many triggers. I’ve had to unfriend so many cousins!”

 

“You aren’t the only who is developing election related PTSD.” Miranda set the computer on the coffee table. “Did you go into work today?”

 

“No. I tried but I just couldn’t face it.”

 

“All right. What are you watching?”

 

“Harry Potter.”

 

“Which one?”

 

“All of them.”

 

“Really? Why?”

 

“I…I had to. I had to see with my own eyes.”

 

“See what, sweetheart?”

 

“Voldemort can’t have won!” Andy wailed. “I keep watching to try and see where we went wrong.”

 

“You do realize that the election happened in real life and, as talented as JK Rowling is, she wasn’t prognosticating.”

 

“Yeah, but…” Andy wiped tears from her eyes. “I still don’t understand it. I can’t wrap my head around it and I want someone to blame!”

 

“Is finding fault really helpful?”

 

“I guess not but it might help me wake up from this nightmare.”

 

“Darling, it is a sad truth that our country has just elected a man who has used racism, bigotry, homophobia, and misogyny to ascend to the highest office in America.” Miranda sighed. “Even worse, the Vice-President-Elect is easily one of the most anti-LGBTQ and anti-woman politicians in recent history and will likely have a strong voice in Trump’s administration.”

 

Andy wailed and started rocking back and forth. After a moment or two, she asked, “Doesn’t it bother you? I can hardly function – I’ve stress eaten my weight in junk food!”

 

“Of course it bothers me. Right now, I’m grieving for what might have been and sickened by the thought of the progress we may lose.”

 

“I keep crying,” Andy said as she wiped her eyes with the heels of her hands.

 

“I do, too.” Miranda sat down on the couch and pulled Andy into her arms. She picked off a couple of stray kernels of popcorn. “We still have each other to lean on, even here amongst the rubble.”

 

“Sorry about the mess. I’m so out of sorts. I haven’t managed to do anything productive since they called it.”

 

Miranda thought back to that long Tuesday night and the way acid had churned in her stomach as Florida and Ohio and North Carolina had been called for Trump. By the time Wisconsin had been called, she had been a nervous wreck. She squeezed Andy tight. “It is going to be hard.”

 

“So hard,” Andy mumbled.

 

“Two to four years of hard.”

 

“Two?”

 

“There are the midterm elections coming up.”

 

“That’s right!” Andy sat up. “All 435 seats in the House and 34 of the Senate seats are up for re-election plus 34 of the states elect governors!”

 

 “Exactly. However, to get things done, we need to take care of ourselves first.”

 

“What do you have in mind?”

 

“Let’s go run a bubble bath. We can soak together in some soothing lavender.”

 

“That sounds lovely,” Andy said as she leaned back into Miranda’s arms and snuggled close. “And then?”

 

“Take time to mourn.”

 

“No-one died…yet.” Andy sniffled. “I was so scared that those protests against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would turn deadly.”

 

“I’m even more frightened for our non-white, non-Christian friends who are trying to raise children in this poisonous atmosphere. We have heard their plan — mass repeal for everything from food stamps for the very poor to Obamacare to marriage equality.”

 

“Don’t forget mass deportations of immigrants.”

 

“Yes. The most vulnerable in our nation are in the crosshairs. So many haters have been emboldened by his election.”

 

She smiled when Andy wiggled around in her arms so she could return Miranda’s hug.

 

“Love trumps hate.”

 

“It has been hard to believe in the power of love these past few days.” Miranda brushed a lock of hair from Andy’s forehead.

 

“Some of that is on me – I’ve had a hard time connecting with anyone since...well, you know.”

 

“You’re not alone, my darling. It is going to take a while for us to get past this feeling of profound loss to the action stage.”

 

“There’s going to be some action?” Andy asked, waggling her eyebrows.

 

Miranda laughed and then kissed her fiercely. “I wasn’t talking of lovemaking, although I shan’t be saying no to that, either.”

 

“What kind, then?”

 

“We must move fiercely forward to protect what we achieved. We must support our allies and empower marginalized communities.”

 

“How?”

 

Miranda glanced around the room. “I’m afforded many privileges, from my skin color to my wealth. I can donate to community organizations doing the lobbying, public advocacy and education.”

 

“My schedule is flexible. I could donate time and be a volunteer.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“They may slow us down but they will never turn us back.”

 

“Exactly,” Miranda said as she held Andy close. “We’re stronger together.”

 

 

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Title: Pantsuits, Glass Ceilings and Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Author: Mary Griggs

Fandom: DWP

Pairing: Miranda/Andy

Rating: G

Word Count: 1500

Summary: Miranda spends some time on Facebook the night before the US Presidential election and wakes Andy up.

Author’s Notes: Lauren Weisberger and 20th Century Fox are the owners; I'm just letting the ladies play in my sandbox for a while.


*****

Andy Sachs rolled over and blinked tiredly. There was an odd glow filling the bedroom. She glanced at the windows. With the blackout curtains closed, not a single beam of light was getting through. Turning her head, she looked at the nightstand clock – four twenty in bright red numbers. Not time for anyone to be up – not her, considering she had gotten in at midnight from covering a late-night Port Authority appropriations meeting and not her girlfriend, who had to be up at five o’clock in the morning.

 

Her lips quirked at the thought of being able to call Miranda Priestly her girlfriend. Even after two years of near-blissful cohabitation, she still got a thrill when thinking of finding her way back into her ex-bosses good graces and into her bed.

 

Squinting a little, Andy tried to focus on the woman she loved. Miranda was leaning back against the headboard with her phone held close to her face. She was biting the tip of her tongue and typing furiously with her thumbs.

 

“What are you doing? And why aren’t you wearing your glasses?”

 

Miranda startled and nearly dropped the phone. “Oh, darling. I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”

 

“The screen is a little bright.”

 

“Yes, I know. Remind me to call Tim Cook about improving the night time functions of his phones.”

 

“Right, right. I’ll get right on that,” Andy said as she rubbed her eyes. “But, what are you doing now? At four-freaking-thirty in the morning?”

 

“I was invited to this secret group on Facebook and it is marvelous.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I’ve been reading for hours now. All these women sharing their stories.”

 

“Lots of secret groups out there. How’d you find this one?”

 

“Oh, I was added without my permission by someone already in it. I went to take myself out when I started reading.” Miranda reached over and grabbed her reading glasses. She sat up a little more and waved her phone. She said, “There is definitely no enthusiasm gap among these women.”

 

“So I see.” Andy murmured.

 

“Grandmothers talking about their experiences as the first or only women in their fields. Mothers talking about their fears for their daughters. All these women, dreaming of a different future for themselves. Quite amazing, honestly.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Indeed. It is like an oasis. A refuge of support and encouragement in a world that feels so hostile to those of us supporting Hillary.”

 

“I can get that. What’s it called?”

 

“Pantsuit Nation.” Miranda turned her phone slightly. “Other than the name, it is inspiring.”

 

“What is wrong with the name?”

 

“Glorifying pantsuits? I mean, notwithstanding the garment’s practicality, it is an insipid fashion choice.”

 

“Every woman I know owns one. Heck, even Beyoncé put her backup dancers in pantsuits for that Clinton fundraising event the other day.”

 

“Just because you are a woman in politics or business doesn’t mean you can’t be daring.”

 

“We are already being judged by our looks. You want more attention focused on our clothes?”

 

“Don’t be naïve. The judging is happening. We just can’t let it keep us from reimagining what a woman leader looks like. She need not be neutered by her clothing or choose the boring uniformity of a man’s suit.” Miranda sighed. “There is such beauty in a woman with power.”

 

“Don’t I know it,” Andy whispered to herself as she squeezed her legs together. Her memories of Miranda in her A-line pinstripe suit were all that sustained her in those dark days after she quit in Paris.

 

“What was that?” Miranda asked.

 

“Uh, I was just thinking that so many women thought leaders find the subject of fashion to be a distraction from their message.” She cleared her throat. “I know used to think that serious people didn’t waste time choosing belts.”

 

Miranda’s lips twitched into a smirk. “Even after the cerulean lecture?”

 

She was grateful for the darkness in the room to hide her blush. “Not so much after, as you well know. And, definitely not so much after I spent time in the industry. But, you still have to admit it is harder for women to be taken seriously at work and clothes have a big role to play in that.”

 

“If that was the case, let’s just give up and wear the burqa.”

 

Andy snorted. “Yeah, I just see you sitting still for that.”

 

Miranda dropped her phone into her lap. “If we’re not careful, there are some in our country that would have women out of the public sphere entirely. They want us silent and powerless. Just look at the language used by some of the tea party evangelicals or alt-right personalities supporting Trump.”

 

“That can’t happen here.”

 

“No? Those who impose Sharia law in other countries are close ideological cousins to many of those legislating women’s lives here in America. Everything from marriage equality to reproductive freedom to equal pay are being assailed by these homegrown extremists under the justification of their sincerely held religious beliefs!”

 

Raking a hand through her hair, Andy muttered, “I can’t believe we’re discussing Sharia law at this hour of the morning.”

 

“I can’t help it if you’re so easily drawn off topic.”

 

“What was the topic again?” Andy asked.

 

“Pantsuit Nation.”

 

“Right. Why are they hiding in a secret group?”

 

“You should read what some of these women are hearing from their friends and family and coworkers against Hillary. It is especially the case for women in the Red states or in rural areas. They just don’t feel safe.”

 

“I get that. This election has made me really aware of how dissent is expressed and when and where I can express said dissent without being trolled.” Andy sighed. “I hope they feel brave enough when they go behind the curtain to vote.”

 

“Yes, there is lot of voter encouragement. I think there are many who will be surprised by how many are finding their power and their voices.”

 

“Cool that women are supporting each other.”

 

“Exactly! Too many try to divide us and pit us against each other, as if the needs of a refugee mother is so different from that of an inner city single mom or a Quiverfull mother of twelve.”

 

“Sisterhood is powerful.”

 

Miranda arched her eyebrow. “Don’t mock it, Andrea. The original concept was incredibly empowering and continues to be a benchmark of radical, feminist thought.”

 

“Sorry. It is just so early,” she whined. Perking up, she drew her finger down Miranda’s arm. “Can’t we do something else if we’re both going to be awake in bed at this hour?”

 

Miranda smiled at her and placed her phone on the nightstand. As she took Andy into her arms, she asked, “You didn’t early vote, did you?”

 

“No, I couldn’t get free.”

 

She frowned and released her hold. “Well, consider this bed as cold as Lysistrata’s until I see an ‘I voted’ sticker.”

 

“Say what?”

 

“From the play by Aristophanes.” At Andy’s continued blank look, she elaborated, “Lysistrata called upon the women of Greece to withhold sex until the men ended the Peloponnesian War.”

 

“Hey, I didn’t have anything to do with nominating that bloviating orange nightmare!”

 

“But you can have an impact on the changing of the culture that legitimizes his agenda. You have to vote and you have to make sure all your friends are getting out there and voting, too.”

 

“Of course, I’m going to vote. Probably after work.” Andy shrugged. “Maybe at lunch.”

 

“Make a plan now.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Find out where your voting location is and put it in your phone.”

 

“Don’t I have the same one as last time?”

 

“Maybe not now after moving in here with us.”

 

“Oh, right.”

 

“Also, the lines could be long and things may delay you. If you make a plan, you’re much more likely to stick with it long enough to help break one of the most enduring glass ceilings on the planet.”

 

“That makes sense.”

 

“Do you know about the other candidates and other initiatives on the ballot?”

 

“Mostly, yeah.”

 

“Honestly, Andrea, you need to know better than mostly. This is our future and not something one can just wing.” Miranda sighed. “You can get a sample ballot from the Secretary of State’s website to know exactly what’s on it and can use your voting time most efficiently.”

 

“I can do that.”

 

“If you have questions about candidate positions try going to the local League of Women Voters website.”

 

“Okay. I will.”

 

“Good girl.” Miranda leaned over and kissed her thoroughly before climbing out of bed.

 

Andy blinked dazedly up at her. “Hey! You can’t just leave me like this!”
 

“Don’t be dramatic, Andrea. I’m merely letting you get an early start. The polls open at six, you know!”

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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 06:05pm on 05/07/2016 under ,
11828583_1605559089708114_2398618113482835871_n

I'm very excited that I will be hopping on a train at the end of next week to take me to Washington, DC and the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Annual Conference.

While there, I will be catching the 4th of July fireworks, seeing the White House and getting a tour of the Library of Congress. However, I'm most looking forward to the horde of literary lesbians who will be descending on our nation's capital.

I've waxed lyrical before on what the GCLS means to me; suffice to say I can't wait to catch up with all those readers and authors and publishers whom I'm honored to call friends. And buying books. Lots and lots of books!

If you want to catch me at the conference, I'll be doing the following:

I will be moderating a panel discussion on Sci-fi and Social Justice on Thursday, July 7th from 9:30am to 10:20am. My panelists include: Jewelle Gomez, Elizabeth Hodge, Lise MacTague, MB Panichi, and Tiffany Shamaly. Since speculative fiction allows a reimagining of the universe, we'll be looking at just what is the writer's responsibility for creating diverse, inclusive, and just worlds as well as discussing how we as readers and writers use science fiction to organize for social change.

I will be moderating the Author Spotlight on Thursday from 4:40 to 5:30pm with the following authors: Julie Blair, Jessie Chandler, Bev Prescott, MJ Williamz, and Sheryl Wright

On Friday morning at 8:30am, I will on the panel titled Blood and Gore I. The moderator is Justine Saracen and my fellow panelists are Ann Aptaker, JD Glass, Elizabeth Parmer and Allison Solomon. This panel will focus on violence in the setting of the lesbian novel.

At 9:30am, I will be participating in the Author Spotlight alongside these great authors: Lynn Ames, Marie Castle, Fay Jacobs, Susan X Meagher and moderated by the marvelous Melissa Brayden. I will be reading from my latest novel, Bitter Heart.


I will be signing my books (and anything else a person could want signed) during the author autograph session at 4:30 on Friday afternoon. This session is open to the public so come on down!

Rise early and join me at 8:30 on Saturday morning for Blood and Gore II. Moderated by Alison Solomon, my fellow panelists are: J.L. Gaynor, Laydin Michaels and Justine Saracen. This panel will focus on violence with the protagonist or in the relationship of the lesbian novel.

I'm also looking forward to the always funny and insightful Fay Jacobs who will be delivering the Keynote Address at 10:40 on Saturday morning. Later that night, we'll all get dressed in our finery for the GCLS Awards Ceremony.

I can't wait to see y'all there!
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 10:52am on 06/03/2016 under ,
 The 2016 Saints and Sinners Festival is scheduled for Friday, April 1 through Sunday, April 3 in New Orleans.

The Festival was founded in 2003 as an innovative way to disseminate HIV/AIDS prevention messages via the writers, thinkers and spokes-people of the LGBT community as well as to bring the LGBT literary community together in celebration.

I will be giving a reading from my new book, Bitter Heart, and will be on a panel. Info for my appearances is below:

Saturday, April 2 @11:30 AM
SAINTS AND SINNERS READING SERIES: WRITERS READ
Authors Rich Barnett, Jameson Currier, Jewelle Gomez, Mary Griggs, J.D. Horn, and Gregg Shapiro share their latest works in our annual reading series. Enjoy a mix of Festival favorites and promising new voices.
Hotel Monteleone, Cabildo Room
Sponsored by The John Burton Harter Charitable Trust.

Saturday, April 2 @1 PM
CREATURES OF THE NIGHT
If writers are supposed to “write what you know”—how do you create supernatural beings like vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my? Can you make up your own rules, or do you have to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before? Join us as we talk about redefining the field of paranormal fiction, and the difficulties LGBTQ writers face as they work to get their voices heard.
Panelists: N.S. Beranek, ‘Nathan Burgoine, Mary Griggs,
Jerry Rabushka, and Jeffrey Ricker.
Moderator: Candice Huber.
Hotel Monteleone, Royal Salon C

The book fair for both Saints and Sinners and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is located on the mezzanine level of the Hotel Monteleone. Tubby & Coo’s Book Shop is the 2016 Saints and Sinners book seller.

I hope to see you there!

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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:12am on 19/02/2016 under
I've got a story in the Women in Sports Anthology coming out soon!

Hot. Sweaty. Tight shorts. Sports bras. Six-pack abs. What sparks your imagination? Muscular legs? Hands that are strong and sure? Baseball, soccer, hockey, track and field...does it really matter? She's sexy, she's incredible and she’s all yours. Sit back, relax and enjoy some wonderful tales from this group of talented authors. Women in sports--does it get any better than that? 
 
This amazing collection of romance and erotica includes stories from: Lee Lynch, Jessie Chandler, Mary Griggs, MB Panichi, Tonie Chacon, Kate McLachlan, A.L. Duncan, Jeanine Hoffman, Erica Lawson, Sharon G. Clark, Nann Dunne, Pat Cronin and Verda Foster.
 
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:35am on 15/12/2015 under
I'm proud to report that I've gone through the edits and author proof for the January 18, 2016 publication of my next novel -- Bitter Heart.

bel-bitterheart

Pretty, isn't it? Thanks to Judy Fellows for the cover art!

What is it about you ask?
When her home planet is invaded by the Babwe, royal daughter Julian escapes aboard a trade ship. She must get to the Unity planet and persuade the system government to intervene before all of her people are slaughtered or enslaved. Julian discovers more allies than she expected but her choices have deadly consequences back home. With the fate of her people in the balance, can Julian work fast enough to save them?

You can pre-order it from Bella Books, your local bookseller or, even, from Amazon.
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 11:07pm on 27/08/2015 under
Turning on the television or radio these past few days has meant an inundation of media coverage of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. There are memorial services, art shows, documentaries, public speeches, political theater and lots and lots of pictures. Pictures of suffering and loss, of courage and quiet dignity, of humor and protest, of life and death. I don't know about the rest of you but it is triggering my PTSD.

I'm not ungrateful that the world has not forgotten the result of the post-hurricane levee breaks that devastated New Orleans -- 1,800 dead, 1 million people displaced, 1 million homes damaged, 250,000 homes destroyed, and a cost of over $150 billion. It is the almost pageantry of the events surrounding this anniversary that raises my hackles and sinks me further into depression.

I'm going to do my mourning in private and use this blog post to talk about books and how their loss (and what I gained) led to my recovery.

Just a couple of months before the storm, I attended the inaugural Golden Crown Literary Society conference, held at the Renaissance Hotel along Tchoupitoulas Street in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. It was amazing to sit in the same room as many of the authors who not only had entertained and enlightened me but whose books helped me come out.

That might have been all it was except then came the storm.

I evacuated ahead of landfall, expecting to be back in my house in a few days. As it was, it took a month before my neighborhood opened for me to make a trip over there to see for myself what the floodwaters had wrought.

My house is raised up three feet off the ground, so I only had a few feet of water inside. It was enough to wreak havoc on my books, though. You can see in the first picture the water level in this area of the house was recorded in the wood of the bookcase itself.

Den 5

As the books soaked up the water, the pressure pushed on the sides of the case, dropping shelves of books that were above the waterline into the water (as seen on the left of this picture).
Bkcase Den Center of Wall

Mold covered the books that escaped the waters or the falling. Paperbacks were the hardest hit, with some of the mass market paperbacks almost melting away.

Back Hall BedroomI couldn't help the tears. And, let me tell you, crying in air mask is not recommended by the manufacturer or fun for the wearer.

There was a citywide curfew, so my Dad and I took only pictures and left only footprints before closing up my home and making the three-hour trip back to their house to regroup.

Sitting in what would be my temporary home for the next ten months, I saw that someone from GCLS had forwarded me an announcement from the board. It read in part:
In light of the truly devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the board of the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) has established a special GCLS Relief Fund. This fund, to be administered by the GCLS Advisory Board, will take donations from the public on behalf of all those authors, publishers, and supporters in our community who have been affected by the storm.

I found out later that in less than 48 hours of the relief fund being set up, they raised $7000. I don't know the final numbers of monies dispersed but I was a grateful recipient. I want to thank all who donated because those funds were crucial to my rebuilding.

But that wasn't the end of it.

I missed the next conference as I was across the country, in California. When I made it to the 2007 conference, many of the friends I made the first year remembered me and remembered New Orleans.

Some of those folks went beyond simple hugs (although those were nice, too). Lee Lynch and her then partner (now wife) Elaine Mulligan donated books from their private library to help me rebuild mine.

I cried when I opened the box and saw books that I hadn't been able to find because they were out of print or the publisher no longer existed. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, lesbian novels aren't easily found in used bookstores. I had despaired finding many of the books which marked milestones in my life. I have always been a voracious reader and much of my development from questioning teenager, to baby dyke, to fully fledged lesbian activist can be attributed to the possibilities I first glimpsed between those pages.

Lee and Lainie weren't the only ones who opened their hearts (and, sometimes, their libraries) for me. I received other boxes but, even more importantly, I gained the great gift of friendship from so many of the participants and attendees at that conference and every subsequent one since then.

I was so pleased to be able to be a part of bringing the 2015 conference back to New Orleans. I hope those who came caught a glimpse of the mystique of New Orleans which endures despite the tragedy of the post Katrina levee breaks.

It is the spirit of a city and its people that makes a city what it is. A disaster cannot kill the creative spirit, the zest for life, or the abundance of hospitality that makes me proud to call this city my home.

And it is that love and spirit that embodies so many of the members of the Golden Crown Literary Society. It is why I am proud to be a member and why I would encourage anyone who cares about lesbian literature to become a member and to attend the conference as you are able.

I hope to see you next year in Washington, DC from July 6 to July 10, 2016. Until then, don't be a stranger!

Originally published on my blog - https://marygriggs.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/katrina10-and-how-gcls-helped-me-recover/
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posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 07:50am on 29/07/2015 under ,
gcls_crownI really love the Golden Crown Literary Society's Annual Literary Conference. I attended my first one in 2005 (also their first one) and have only missed one since (the first Atlanta conference when I was still homeless after the post-Katrina levee flooding destroyed my city).

It was like finding my tribe when I first walked into one of the conferences and the feeling has just gotten stronger for each subsequent one. I do a lot of political work and I get to hang out with lots of passionate queer folk and that is amazing. It is something else, though, to be surrounded by these literary lesbians. To be able to talk for hours about lesbian fiction; to discuss reading and writing with other book lovers is like a balm to my thirsty soul. GCLS_NO_color_h This year's conference came back to New Orleans (the first one was also held here). I was on the ground committee and I worked with the GCLS Executive Director, Liz Gibson, and the event coordinator, Judy Comella, to make this one of the best conferences ever.

While I was still on the GCLS board, we were able to secure Dorothy Allison as the keynote speaker. I'm so very glad we did. She exceeded every possible expectation. She is irreverent, charming, poignant, funny, profane and I am in awe. I was in the room when she read from Bastard Out of Carolina and had chills. I was in tears during her speech and the standing ovation she received lasted for more than five minutes. I was also beyond lucky to get to have lunch with her and the recipient of the this year's Lee Lynch Classic Award, Rita Mae Brown, the author of Rubyfruit Jungle.

I helped the Bella Books crew get the many boxes of books up from the loading dock to the conference. The hotel was trying to charge $2 per box, so we liberated a pallet jack and moved them ourselves. The freight elevator did smell like it had been transporting dead bodies but we made it up in one piece. At the vendor room, a number of folks then helped bring them the rest of the way. It was great to see so many people step up to do what needed doing but that is pretty typical for GCLS.

While I wasn't able to attend every panel or reading I wanted, I enjoyed being on the Dystopian panel moderated by SY Thompson with fellow panelists Linda Kay Silva, Jane Fletcher and Liz Hodge (who later won a Goldie for her poetry). We talked about hope and fears and the importance of writing the books you want to read. The special speaker this year was Ali Vali and she gave a funny (and scary) talk on her writing process. She knows she's on the right track when her wife walks away muttering, "What is wrong with you?" Not my process but funny to hear hers.

I was also honored to receive a volunteer recognition award at the annual membership meeting. The meeting is live streamed here, if you want to watch it. You will not see me, as I unfortunately had to run to Baton Rouge for work and missed it! volunteer award The awards ceremony was hilariously MC'd by Lynn Ames and Ann McMan. I have already posted a list of the winners (here) but I want to congratulate all the finalists and winners. I also want to thank all those whose hard work made it possible - the awards committee, the judges, the presenters and the behind the scene tech folk that kept it all moving smoothly. The night was magical - many people were dressed to the nines and the energy was high and the enthusiasm that greeted each announced winner was gratifying to hear.
Marie Castle, winner for her paranormal novel, The Devil You Know and I at the Goldies. (Picture by RJ Layer)
Marie Castle, winner for her paranormal novel, The Devil You Know and I at the Goldies. (Picture by RJ Layer)

Speaking of thanking folks - the GCLS board puts in many, many hours throughout the year for not only the conference but also to make the organization itself successful and sustainable. This is an all volunteer organization and they do it all for love not money. I'm very proud of the job they do.

I'm very much looking forward to next year's conference in DC (actually Alexandria, VA) from July 6 to 10th, 2016. I can't wait to reconnect with old friends, make some new ones and recharge amongst other readers and writers. Please consider joining us!
marygriggs: fleur di lis tattoo (Default)
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The schedule is out for the GCLS Annual Conference in New Orleans from July 22 to 26, 2015.

The special speaker this year is Ali Vali and the Keynote speaker is the incomparable, Dorothy Allison!

I will be on a panel at 9am on Thursday called Dystopian Novels - Who Writes Them, Who Loves Them, Why Are They So Popular?
The moderator is S.Y. Thompson and the other panelists include Linda Crist, Elizabeth Hodge and Linda Kay Silva. Here is the description: Dystopian novels are filling the shelves faster than ever before. Why are these dark thrillers so popular? Are they a precursor to a new genre or a flash in the plan? Hear some of the best discuss their approaches to writing the great dystopian novel!

On Friday at 10:40am, I will be reading from my forthcoming book, Bitter Heart. Other authors in my time slot include Melissa Price, Elizabeth Hodge, Baxter Clare TrautmanAndi Marquette and Anastasia Vitsky

Come and see me at the Author Autograph session on Friday from 4:30 to 6. This is open to the public, so for all you fans of lesbian literature, even if you can't come for the conference, come for the signings!

I will also be hanging out a lot in the vendor space and around the Bella Books and Distribution table (they are the official bookseller of the conference).

You can pre-order books for pickup at the conference. Here is my author page at Bella Books.

Can't wait to see you there!

Oh, and keep up the Golden Crown Literary Society on Facebook by liking their page!
marygriggs: fleur di lis tattoo (Default)
posted by [personal profile] marygriggs at 08:10am on 28/03/2015 under
2015programcover

Saints and Sinners Literary Festival is beginning this weekend and I'm very excited.

Not only is it fun to have the city of New Orleans play host to so many talented LGBT authors but I'm getting to hang out with old friends, make new ones and generally talk about books and writing and food for several days running!

This year, I'm participating in a panel and reading from one of my books.

Saturday, March 28
10 AM
SAINTS AND SINNERS READING SERIES: WRITERS READ
Festival authors debut their latest works in our annual reading series. Expect to be entertained, engaged and thrilled by the written word read out loud by authors Marie Castle, Joel Gomez-Dossi, Russ Gregory, Mary Griggs, Richard Natale, and Ken O'Neill.
Hotel Monteleone, Cabildo Room

Saturday, March 28
11:30 AM
A FINE ROMANCE: ROOM FOR LOVE TODAY?
In the era before legalized gay marriage and mainstream LGBT pop culture icons, gay romance was taboo. LGBT novels (€”literary and popular) €”provided a literary refuge. Now that it's (mostly) normal for us to have white picket fences and baby carriages, is there still a need and place for the gay romance novel? If so, who's reading them, and who's writing them? Join this panel for a chat on the state of intimacy and relationships in the contemporary LGBT romance novel.
Panelists: Lewis DeSimone, Felice Picano, Cindy Rizzo, and Mary Griggs.
Moderator: Jerry L. Wheeler
Hotel Monteleone, Royal Salon D

Check out their web site at www.sasfest.org for a complete listing of all events and speakers for this fabulous event.

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