In a summer filled with various author and reader conferences, I had to pick and choose which one I felt best fit my current path in publishing. I chose a conference called GCLS, Golden Crown Literary Society, in Denver, Colorado. Not many people outside this little niche genre group know about GCLS, so I wanted to be the bridge between them and the horror community.
If you’re unfamiliar with this literary society, GCLS is a community comprising readers, writers, publishers, editors, audiobook narrators, and enthusiasts who are dedicated to enhancing the variety, availability, excellence, and prominence of literature centered around Sapphic relationships and women-loving-women themes. Like many others, I thought it would be a book club for lesbians, but it is far from that.
The association was formed in 2004, each year bringing fans and authors of Sapphic literature together. Each convention provides workshops for authors, readings for fans, and an awards ceremony, called The Goldies with nineteen categories, including horror. This year was the first time they have given away cash prizes to the winners of these categories, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Aronson-Besthoff Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
The Sapphic reading community is growing by leaps and bounds, and they are open to not just chick-lit, but to a vast ocean of genres including thrillers and horror. While the horror category is still relatively new to this readership demographic, the titles out there are very well written with the main protagonists being Sapphic characters. My hope is to bring even more awareness of the growing need for more horror featuring strong Sapphic leads.
Sapphic literature, which spans all genres, really began to take shape in the late fifties and early sixties with Ann Bannon’s pocket books, although publishers tended to market them as pulp fiction to entice male readers, who held the biggest share of the buying market. Problem was, Bannon’s books were relationship based, not the erotically charged themes at that time. It did bring out the still taboo lesbian community, who ate up the books because they saw themselves within the characters. Now, sixty-some years later, the LGBTQ+ community is looking for even more representation in genres other than romance.
This opened the door for everyone, not just lesbians, to write stories and hit an even wider market by including Sapphic characters. The GCLS community welcomes all writers with open arms, not only lesbian authors. In 2008, Victor J. Banis was nominated for a Goldie. In 2010, Gemini by Geonn Cannon won one featuring lesbian characters, and in 2015, Jacob Anderson-Minshall became the first openly transgender author to win an award. As another transgender author, I am hoping to slash open the untapped horror market in the Sapphic world with new material and bring new voices that can represent the horror community’s diversity too.
If you are an author with Sapphic characters and would like to find out more about the Golden Crown Literary Society, you can visit them at http://www.goldencrownliterarysociety.org.