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2018 Panelist Application - Due March 17
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Commitment to Diversity and Opportunity

The GCLS strives for diversity of viewpoint and experience on panels from both a literary perspective and a societal one. To this end, we will strive to meet these goals on all panels first and foremost.

Secondly, we strive to maximize the number of people with the opportunity to be seen and heard on panels, but not at the expense of the quality of our panels.  

Panelist Expectations

  • Respond to emails from the Moderator in a timely manner, as she has deadlines to meet.
  • Participation in pre-conference planning conference calls or emails.
  • Show up and come to the panel prepared with opinions, answers, and information on the topic
  • Be involved and engaged during the panel
  • Be considerate of fellow panelists by sharing the time equitably
  • Be respectful of other panelists, audience members, and the Moderator


Below are some of the selected panels for the 2018 GCLS Conference. This is not the complete list - these are the panels that are in need of panelists.

Please read these descriptions carefully. You will be asked to choose up to THREE panels on which you would like to serve. This is not a guarantee of being placed on all or any of the panels. Much will depend on the number and qualifications of people who apply to be a panelist for each chosen panel. This is not a guarantee of being placed on all or any of the panels; however, you increase your chances by selecting more than one.

If you have questions, please contact Ann Roberts ( who will share your question with the selection committee and get back to you with an answer.

If you would like to serve on one of these panels, please fill out the application found at the bottom of this page.

Due March 17

The Accidental Detective: Finding Trouble with a Capital “T”

Amateur sleuths abound in Lesfic mysteries, but creating a believable one is a tricky proposition. How do they juggle detecting and their “day job?” How do they interact with law enforcement? Often these sleuths appear in a series. How does trouble keep finding them? Join these authors and readers as they discuss memorable accidental detectives and the side job that takes over their lives.


All the Beautiful Lesbians

Shimmering hair, high cheekbones, a figure that won’t quit, and muscular calves… Are these real people? Presently many Lesfic heroines could be fashion models. Is that what readers want, or can we inject a dose of reality and still write books that will sell and receive critical acclaim? Should our characters be a reflection of us or what we wish we could be?   


Destigmatizing Mental Illness Through Literature

Representation matters. As mental illness comes out of the closet, some writers are creating characters with depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, alcoholism, and so much more. This panel brings together those authors to talk about the joys and challenges of writing mental illness. 


Down the Rabbit Hole: Research and Building New Worlds

Every world an author creates is important, regardless of genre, era, or location. Being able to see, smell, and touch the world means a better experience for the reader. Developing that world requires a whole bag of tricks. What does it take to build worlds readers can immerse themselves in? What research goes into creating a place for characters to roam? How much research is needed, and when do you have enough? This panel will explore the different ways authors construct engaging and believable environments that make the reader want to be right beside the character. 


Four Lesbians of the Apocalypse and Eco Fiction: a Hot New Genre for Readers

From Karin Kallmaker’s Warming Trend through Laurie Salzler’s Right Out of Nowhere to Justine Saracen's Dian's Ghost, nature themed stories have been working their way into our lesbian fiction for years. There's a name for this hot new trend, Eco Fiction. And as the impact of climate change becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives, the environment will take on a more prominent role in our stories. This panel will discuss the subject and importance of our rapidly changing environment across all genres of lesbian fiction. Whether it's a romance, mystery, or adventure, Eco Fiction is about what our stories have always been about—finding love, hope, resiliency and humanity in the best of times and the worst of times.


The Good, The Bad, The Gorgeous: Creating Exciting Secondary Characters

Secondary characters are often as important as main characters. As fully formed personalities, they can help move the story along, give it depth, and act as foils for the main character. Memorable "seconds" can make romance happen or get in its way, help solve a murder or be a murderer. They can be the surprise you never saw coming or the hoped for salvation of a story. The panel will discuss how authors strike that delicate balance between making seconds memorable but not scene-stealers.


How to Play the Plot Machine

What are tropes and why do readers love them? This panel features authors and editors discussing how to give readers the tropes they love with winning originality, fresh takes, and unexpected twists.


Intersectional Books and Writing Across Racial, Sexual, and Gender Boundaries

This panel discussion includes authors and readers of lesbian novels across genres discussing how they're working to include characters outside their comfort zone. What does it take to get these characters right? Why should we write characters that cross race, sex, gender, or economic boundaries and how do we do it right? What research should go into creating characters you don't "know" in real life? How are writers creating characters in lesbian novels who are queer, trans, gender non-binary and why that's become important to include. Plus: Policing "lesbian" in fiction and how to avoid identity backlash that sometimes happens today from critics, fans, or social media trolls alike.


Inclusivity and the Expanding Lesfic Alphabet

As authors write more inclusion & diversity (LGBTQA, race or faith/ spirituality) into their stories, what is the impact on readers as they absorb potentially new terminology, or the use of language that has been hijacked by conservative organizations? This panel will include authors discussing how they incorporate the changing vocabulary into their stories, and readers who will discuss what it means to their purchasing decisions in the future. 


Independent Authors: The Naked Truth About Going it Alone

The number of independent authors continues to grow, changing and challenging the established world of lesfic. Join this group of “indies” as they discuss the joys and pitfalls of creating their books from start to finish.


New. Now. Next.

What are the trends in queer literature? What is the lesfic that is breaking the mold, or changing the form? Who is writing the work that blends, bends, and rends what we thought we knew, and liked, about lesbian characters? We’ve invited a group of readers and writers to illustrate the freshest and flashiest trends in lesbian/queer books-including graphic novels, zines, poetry, and comics.


Reader Triggers - Legitimate Concern or Creativity Inhibiting?          

It is not uncommon to read a book review and see the words, "I did not like this book because I was triggered by..." A trigger can potentially be any subject arising in the course of a novel that causes or “triggers” a reader to feel upset or disturbed, possibly from a previous experience or fear. In this panel, we explore the trigger phenomenon and discuss what, if anything, should be done. Do writers, editors, and publishers of lesbian fiction have a responsibility to build in protection for readers from unpleasant surprises? Should reviewers always alert to such scenes, even at the risk of revealing spoilers? Must we consider “trigger risk” a legitimate concern and include standardized warning labels on books, alerting readers to upcoming topics such as violence, abuse, or self-harm? Or should we resist creating a “nanny state” of bookselling and leave readers to proceed at their own risk?


Writing for Your Life

Writers have control of the fictional world. In reality, we have very little control of our lives. The events that have battered or bruised us often factor into the fictional world where authors can explore alternate resolutions. This panel will explore how authors use writing to cope, perhaps in creating a town in which they would rather live or a political climate they would prefer. Writing as a way to exorcise the ex? Writing as a way to fix the unfixable? Come listen to writers discuss how personal experiences have contributed to their stories.


Xena to Lexa: How Fandom Influences Queer Literature?

Some of Lesfic’s best writers cut their teeth on Xena fan fiction, and that tradition continues with the fan frenzy that has revived and propelled the queer characters from The 100 and Clarke and Lexa into a new form of community building. Driven by social media, fan fiction has created the intersection of media and writing that may entice entertainment gatekeepers to respond to the demand for quality LGBTQ representation in all forms of storytelling. Join in for a lively discussion (and cosplay) by readers, writers and fans of current Lesfic characters to discuss what could be next in fandom. 

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