I would like to thank Carol Lynne, author and GRL Organizer, for stopping by with our first GRL Featured Author guest post. She is talking with us today about what goes in to GRL from an organizers perspective. This is the first of 14 or so GRL Featured and Supporting authors that will be visiting us here on Prism Book Alliance between now and October. #TeamPrism also has something really cool cooking up for GRL, so stay tuned for that announcement. Don’t forget to tell Carol Lynne how much you love her books and appreciate all her hard work on GRL. All commenters will be entered to win a copy of her latest release, Grave Diggers MC: Solo.
The Hows and Whys of GRL
By Carol Lynne
Planning for the 2014 GRL Retreat is well under way. Actually, we started working in December, taking November off to recharge our batteries and catch up on all the work we pushed aside in September and October. No, that’s not right either. I guess we officially started the planning for 2014 in 2012 when we researched and chose the Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale. So, let’s start there.
People ask all the time how the organizers choose a location. The first step is the city/state. We try to move the retreat each year in an attempt to ease the travel burden for pockets of authors and general attendees. Believe me, that really is the main reason. I think our favorite location has been Albuquerque. The hotel was perfect, and the staff unbelievably hard working and friendly. I think we organizers would be happy to go back every year, but I digress. After choosing several options of cities or states, I start the search with the help of C-Vent. We have very specific needs for GRL, which a lot of hotels don’t offer. It’s amazing how many hotels, even large hotels, don’t have the meeting space we require. Once we find that a hotel has enough meeting space and rooms to accommodate us, we get down to the finer details. Is there an international airport close? How much does it cost to fly into that airport? (I usually research flight costs from about five major cities to get an idea.) Is the hotel big enough but not too big to hold the retreat? This is an important one. If we’re a small fish in a big pond, a hotel is not going to give us all the meeting spaces we need, so it’s important that we pretty much take over the hotel. What are the room costs? What is the minimum food and beverage costs the hotel makes us sign a contract for? Another important one. Just to give you an example, most hotels want at least $50,000 spent on catering for food and beverage only. This does not include DJ’s, decorations, lighting, sound equipment for the spotlights and parties etc. One thing I always look at is how much does a hotel charge for a gallon of coffee or tea. It’s freaking crazy what hotels charge for these simple items.
Okay, once the perfect storm of all of the above comes together and we narrow our choice down to a city, we usually use room prices and f&b as determining factors. We also like to find a hotel that has either a nice lobby with lots of seating or areas of the hotel where our attendees can gather and enjoy each other. This last item was one of our determining factors for the Indian Lakes Resort. The hotel is older, but the meeting spaces are fantastic and the social areas incredibly abundant. By the way, we did search in Chicago, but the room prices for what we need were all over $200 a night. Once the location is agreed upon, we visit the hotel, check to make sure the pictures weren’t taken twenty years ago and sign the contract. The moment the contract is signed, GRL is responsible for not only the $50,000 min. food and beverage, but the hotel rooms. If we secure a block of 200 rooms, we are responsible to reimburse the hotel for 180 of those rooms if they are not rented. That’s huge. Carry that number over 7 to 8 days and you’re talking a LOT of money.
Do we always make the perfect choice in destinations? No. Do we spend hours trying to see into the future to what our needs will be two years down the road? Yes. It’s not always easy to know that the air conditioning won’t be satisfactory in the meeting/party spaces or that the staff at the hotels won’t be on par with what we’re used to, but we really do try.
Once the hotel is set, we continue to work on the retreat that we’re supposed to be working on instead of one two years into the future. Okay, the work. Jeez, I don’t want to bore you with details, but imagine planning six weddings in a single year, oh, and three days worth of business meetings for 450 and you can get an idea of the number of hours it takes to pull off GRL each year.
Since I started working as an organizer for GRL, my income has been cut 50%. Yep. There simply aren’t enough hours in my day to write like I used to while still organizing. So, not only is GRL a labor of love, it’s a very costly retreat for me to plan. Still, I do it because I want that safe haven for all of us once a year. I do it because I freaking love to see people laughing and having a good time. All the hours and the lost income become worth it when I see people hugging friends that they wouldn’t get to hug without a gathering like this.
Every year at the end of September and first of October, I tell myself I can’t do another year, but then I see those hugs and hear that laughter in mid-October and it all becomes worth it.
Hope to see you all in October.
Grave Diggers: Solo Blurb
Sam“Solo” Braun lives by one truth, the Grave Diggers Motorcycle Club above all. The creed has served him well, giving him the only real family he’s ever known.He would die for his brothers and them for him, but they don’t know he prefers men over women. Coming out to a group of men who fear no one isn’t high on Solo’s priority list, especially because he’s never indulged in more than one night stands.
Everything changes after one night with Eric James. For the first time, Solo can’t stop thinking about a single night he’d spent with a man. When fate intervenes, Solo comes face to face with his blue-eyed obsession only to find out Eric is a cop. Solo hates cops, and so do his brothers in the club. However, Solo decides to gamble everything and spend more time with Eric under the guise of getting information.
Falling in love with a cop is a very dangerous proposition for a man in Solo’s position, so why can’t he walk away?
About the Author
An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. These days, you can usually find Carol either cleaning jelly out of the carpet or nestled in her favourite chair writing steamy love scenes.
Upcoming Prism stops on the GRL Blog Tour
|5/23/14||J. P. Barnaby|
|9/11/14||Jamie Lynn Miller|
Don’t forget to tell Carol Lynne how much you love her books and appreciate all her hard work on GRL. All commenters will be entered to win a copy of her latest release, Grave Diggers MC: Solo.
Contest ends 20 April 2014 at 11:59pm CDT. Must be 18 or older, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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