"Although I had a good working knowledge when I applied for the Program, I was paired with a tremendous mentor who helped to show me the areas which I could improve my writing. She did this while encouraging, inspiring me and offering praise on my strengths. I would recommend the Program to any writer who wishes to improve their knowledge and take their work to the next level. It doesn't matter if you are new to writing or an old hand, it's a good way to benefit from the experience of others. I would highly recommend the Program, the GCLS education team are friendly, always ready to assist you and just make it all so easy."
- Jody Klaire, proud GCLS member and author with Bedazzled Ink.
"The GCLS Mentoring program provides three solid months of one-on-one attention from some of the best lesfic writers in the business. My participation in the program catapulted me into the ranks of published author. Thanks GCLS; I couldn’t have done it without you! "
-Catherine Lane (see below for full testimonial)
"For ten years I have sat down at my computer, well many computers, and written multiple stories. I have attended many GCLS conferences in the past and at the conference held in Dallas I was encouraged to apply to the GCLS Mentorship program. Up till that point I had found it difficult to find people willing to help hone my craft. I had read a few books to try and improve my writing but a book can only take a person so far. I was accepted into the program and was paired with two authors who were masters in their field. The day I received the email that said I was to be paired with Lee Lynch and Ann McMann I actually did a happy dance in my seat. I could not believe the talent that I would be working with and I was not disappointed. In the months following that initial email I knew I had struck gold. Ann and Lee were able to help in places that I had been floundering. They were gracious to answer any question I asked and gave me feedback on places I didn’t know that I was lacking. I took many pages of notes on their suggestions and was able to go through the rest of my manuscript and make the needed changes. I polished the book and sent it off to a publisher and now I’m happy to say that soon everybody will be able to read my story.
I cannot thank the two women who mentored me for those few months. Even though the time was short I was able to gather so much knowledge from them that I feel I had been working with them for years. They did not only tell me where I needed to make improvements but they were encouraging me in ways that kept me wanting to write and strive to be where they are.
I am forever grateful to have been accepted in the mentoring program and if anybody were to ask me if they should submit something I would not pause in telling them yes. It is a wonderful program and the mentors are very knowledgeable and masters of the craft.
I want to thank the GCLS and all the mentors who are a part of this program. Thank you."
- Nicki Wachner writing as Sandy Dugger, Author of "Editing Life"
"I had the opportunity and pleasure to have Fran as my GCLS mentor a couple years back, while I was working on the revisions for my first novel, “Saving Morgan.” I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Mentor program, and it was my first experience with the GCLS. I was hoping for a little constructive feedback, and maybe some encouragement.
What I got from Fran was the whole package. She was encouraging, but she was also, as she put it, “a tedious taskmistress.” In other words, she suggested, she edited, she pointed out the bad and the good. We continued to work together after the mentor program, and she helped me to turn an unwieldy manuscript into a more streamlined and clean story.
She wasn’t afraid to pick my words apart, and because she was encouraging as well, I honestly appreciated that she took the time to shred my stuff. She helped me learn not to fear the changes, and not to fear ripping pieces out that really didn’t need to be there.
Most importantly, she helped me to “see” those things that make a manuscript less professional, less “finished.” She helped me to see flow, overused words and phrases, point of view breaks—all those things that make a manuscript read more smoothly, paint more accurate pictures and hold the reader inside the story.
Fran is a great teacher, and has a true love for the art of writing. I highly recommend her as a mentor, and I’d work with her again in a minute."
- MB Panichi, Author of "Saving Morgan", Winner of the 2014 GCLS Literary Award for Science Fiction
Catherine Lane’s Testimonial (Long form):
"My name glittered in big, sterling silver letters on the bottom of my first, stand-alone cover. Frankly, I had to pinch myself when I opened the e-mail from my publisher to see the mock-up in all its glory. I immediately called my family over to see it, and we all stood around the computer in the kitchen “oohing” and “ahing.” Even my son said it was “really cool” before he was lured away by the Pokémon TV show still playing in the next room. I was still looking at the cover long after they all left. For me it represented a dream come true, a lot of hard work, and months before, the best click of my computer mouse I have ever made.
When you zoom around the GCLS website, the Mentoring Program looks almost too good to be true. If accepted, new writers get paired up with seasoned professionals who are unbelievably willing to donate their time and energyundefinedall for free. I remember thinking at the time that I wasn’t ever going to get a better chance than this. But still I hesitated, my mouse poised over the submit button on the application. Up to that moment, I had only shown my writing to a select group of friends and family. They loved me; I loved them, and that’s why I couldn’t trust them when they said my novel was great. In order to know what I really had, I had to venture into the real world. I wasn’t emotionally ready for the harsh world of submissions to publishers and the inevitable rejection letters, but if the GCLS delivered on only half of what they promised, the Mentoring Program would be a risk-free way to step through that door.
I hadn’t even submitted the application before I realized into what caring hands I had fallen. There was something wrong with the submission processundefinedtotally my fault as it turned outundefinedbut I couldn’t get the application to them. With the deadline looming only hours away, I dashed off a frantic e-mail, and two different people from the GCLS responded, trying to troubleshoot. I wasn’t even in the program yet, and already they had my back.
My mentor was everything the GCLS had promised: a terrific, bestselling, award-winning author of lesbian fiction. As it turned out, she was also a very patient teacher and an honest critic as wellundefinedattributes that were far more important to me. My novel, as I suspected, had weaknesses. She gently pointed them out, and together we worked hard to remedy them. Where she found the time and energy is still beyond me. She is a successful and prolific full-time writer and a sought-after editor as well, and yet, she carved out time to mentor me in all aspects of the craft. We discussed content and how to make better stylistic and plot choices. We pored over the first three chapters in my novel, and she even made line edits in my text, a fact that still blows me away. Quite simply, she was a wealth of knowledge, and she generously shared all of it. By the end of three months, those three chapters were in far better shape. But more importantly, her attention had greatly elevated my craft and had given me the confidence to put myself out there.
The novel is still unpublished (and by the way some of the rejection letters were really nice and encouraging), but with what I learned from my mentor, I wrote a short story and submitted it to her publisher for their most recent Halloween Anthology. I’ll never forget the joy of that first acceptance letter. I still have it tacked up by the computer in the kitchen. Long story short, her publisher is now mine as well since they have bought several more pieces. I have no doubt at all that my connection to my GCLS mentor is what got me a real first look from this incredibly supportive publishing house. As I said, submitting to the GCLS Mentoring Program was the best mouse click I ever made."