Wow! It’s been a week since everyone joined us at the Seattle Public Library on Sept. 20 for the 2nd annual Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up conference, but it doesn’t feel that long since we’ve gotten a chance to meet with so many amazing readers, writers, publishers, and fans of LGBTQ romance!
We wanted to say THANK YOU again to everyone who joined us for the event. Whether you were local to Seattle, or you were driving across county or state lines (or country borders, for our Canadian attendees!), we were so happy you were a part of the event, and helping make it a truly awesome day.
With 200 attendees, 8 publishers, and over 50 LGBTQ romance authors at the event, 2014 was definitely bigger than 2013. Programming-wise, it was a full day of writer discussions, panels, pitch sessions, a keynote address, and a boisterous reader meet-up with hundreds of free books and a super-fun game of Character Type Love Match. (We are DEFINITELY playing that again!) And then also the post-conference book festival at the Hotel Monaco (OMG, so much swag!), and the after party at the Rendezvous Bar that featured 10 awesome readings by attending authors. What a day!
And a big THANK YOU to all the publishers and authors who donated hundreds of free books to give away to readers. That was one of our favorite moments about the event—seeing readers go up to the free book table and see that yes, they really can have all these great books!
And we were happy once again to co-host a reading event the night before at the University Book Store, and it was thrilling to see the huge crowd of people that attended. Thank you for coming out and celebrating LGBTQ romance with us! It’s because people come to events that helps show places like bookstores and libraries that MORE events should be happening to highlight these books and their amazing authors.
Write with Pride Keynote Address
For this year’s keynote, we asked five attending writers if they would share a short message with attendees, one that they’d write if they had the chance to send it to their past or future self. The messages were beautiful, funny, bittersweet, inspiring, and honest, and we’re happy to share all of them here.
Unfortunately, Rose Christo had to cancel her Seattle trip a few days before the event due to unforeseen circumstances, but she shared with us her keynote message, and we were grateful to read it at the conference, alongside participating authors E.E. Ottoman, Jordan Castillo Price, Radclyffe, and Rick R. Reed.
Thank you to all the authors for sharing these messages with us. And our hope is to share more of these “Write with Pride” message as part of GRNW in the future.
GRNW 2014 Call to Action
Like in 2013, this year we also emphasized a call to action, or more simply, a call to “asking”. As we discussed in our conference remarks and in Lambda Literary recently, so much of what we’ve accomplished this year has been because we asked or advocated for things, whether it was asking Jeff Bezos at Amazon to add Gay Romance and Lesbian Romance to their main Romance storefront page, by asking a library to purchase a book, by asking a bookstore to hold a reading, or by asking attendees to come to an event.
We are at a point in our evolution as a genre that we still have to intentionally ask for inclusion, representation, and visibility. Some are happy to oblige our requests and very much see the need to do so, while others do not feel the same. But no matter how discouraging those dismissals are, whether they are based on literary elitism (aka anti-genre fiction) or anti-LGBTQ rhetoric (or both), we still have to keep trying and asking (or demanding) if we think it’s valuable to publicly celebrate these books, authors, and readers, and demonstrate why LGBTQ love stories are an important and necessary part of popular culture and public narrative.
If you also enjoy celebrating these books and authors publicly, and shining a light on how awesome they are, we welcome you to join us in all this asking. It could be asking Jeff Bezos to include LGBTQ books in Amazon email recommendations (something that now is mysteriously absent, even if you purchase many LGBTQ books…) Or it’s something like asking for your local library to add LGBTQ books to their collections. All of these requests have power and can have real, long-term impact.
Gay City LGBT Library Book Drive – Thank you!
And THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our 2nd annual book drive for the nonprofit Gay City LGBT Library! This year, donors gave over 220 books to the library, which is amazing! (171 books JUST on Saturday, Sept. 20!) Thank you to everyone who donated. Your contributions are helping expand free community collections of LGBTQ romance books!
Seattle Library Collections!
Speaking of expanding library collections, in September, the Seattle Public Library system also add more than 100 new LGBTQ romance books to their collection, including books by many of the 2014 Attending Authors.
For those who are part of the SPL library system, you can now find (and borrow!) books by these authors!
Lynda Aicher, Talya Andor, David-Matthew Barnes, Laura Baumbach, Jay Bell, Jove Belle, Heidi Belleau, Diana Copland, Megan Derr, Charley Descoteaux, Kim Fielding, LE Franks, Stormy Glenn, Amelia Gormley, Cat Grant, Dena Hankins, Daisy Harris, David Holly, Amber Kell, Morticia Knight, Emma Lanner, Pearl Love, Sasha Miller, E.E. Ottoman, Alex Powell, Jordan Castillo Price, Radclyffe, Rick R. Reed, Devon Rhodes, Jeffrey Ricker, Andrea Speed, Ethan Stone, Anne Tenino, Karis Walsh, and L.A. Witt!
Looking for more about GRNW 2014? Check out these great wrap-up posts!
GRNW and Beyond by Talya Andor
It’s called Karma by Kim Fielding
Home again, Home again… by Cat Grant
GRNW was Amazing! Can’t wait for 2015! by Morticia Knight
Back from the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2014 by E.E. Ottoman
Gay Romance Northwest 2014 by Alex Powell
The Awesomeness of Seattle by Jordan Castillo Price
Finding Happily Ever After in Seattle by Jeffrey Ricker
Have we missed a post? Let us know!
For the second year of our Secret Stories event on GoodReads, authors contributed short fiction, but posted them anonymously. And then two days before the conference, we revealed their names!
Three Goats by Megan Derr (2,800 words, fantasy)
Three Wishes by Kim Fielding (5,900 words, fantasy)
Floating in Space by Dena Hankins (1,200 words, sci-fi, explicit content)
Batkyn Brinks by David Holly (3,700 words, historical, explicit content.)
The Darkling’s Kiss by Charlie Richards (4,700 words, fantasy, explicit content)
Sailing the Seas of Stars by Andrea Speed (979 words, sci-fi)
For those who read the stories before, were you able to guess who wrote what???
And THANK YOU to all the authors who participated this year! The Secret Stories event is always a great way to share writings with readers! :-D
GRNW 2014 DropBox of Stories
To continue the theme of free stories, GRNW 2014 attending authors have also contributed stories to our DropBox, all free to download!
And thanks to authors Heidi Belleau, Megan Derr, Charley Descoteaux, Kim Fielding, Lauren Gallagher (otherwise known as L.A. Witt), Amelia Gormley, Laylah Hunter, Jeffrey Ricker, Andrea Speed, and Riptide Publishing for these stories to share!
We’re pondering dates for GRNW 2015! What we know now is that it will be back at the Seattle Public Library in September 2015. We’ll let you know once a date is finalized.
What we do know for next year:
- In order to remain affordable and accessible to attendees, GRNW will be a short event, a day or day-and-a-half at most.
- We’re going to take panel submissions for 2015, and will release panel submission guidelines later this fall.
- After panels are submitted and finalized, we will open up attending author slots. This is planned for late 2014.
If you are interested in submitting a panel discussion, you can start pondering now. We recommend looking at our programming and writer sessions for this year to get an idea of what kinds of content we cover. For us, a lot of our mission is to promote dialogue around LGBTQ romance fiction, so we recommend panels that focus on that.
Also, one of our priorities is representing voices from diverse backgrounds and across the queer romance writing spectrum, so panels that reflect that priority will be what we are most looking for.
We will be releasing the panel submission request in mid-October 2014, with a due date of late November 2014.
What’s next for GRNW?
Even though the big event for the year is done, we still have loads of activities coming!
Oct. 11-12, 2014 – GRNW at GeekGirlCon!
Join us at GeekGirlCon 2014! GRNW, Gay City, and Queer Geek have partnered together on the panel “Gaylaxy Quest: Exploring Queer Sci-fi and Fantasy Fiction” that will be held at 2pm on Sunday, Oct. 12 at the Seattle Convention Center.
Authors participating on the panel are: Astrid Amara, Amber Dawn, Ginn Hale, J. Tullos Hennig, Langley Hyde, and Nicole Kimberling.
GeekGirlCon is always a great time, especially for fans of geek culture. Come join us!
Nov. 17, 2014 – Guardians of the Gaylaxy Reading Event
The reading will start at 7pm and will be in the Microsoft Auditorium. Featured authors will be Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale, Laylah Hunter, Langley Hyde, and Nicole Kimbelring.
December 5, 2014 – Presenting Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt!
Join GRNW and Gay City for this free event with LGBTQ romance authors Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt for an evening of readings, Q&A, and book signings! The event will be at Gay City’s Calamus Auditorium at 7pm.
And more events to come, including our first Portland reading event on Feb. 14, 2015!
We hope you will join us at our upcoming events and reader meet-ups and at GRNW 2015!
Thank you again for being a part of this journey with us in helping spread the love about LGBTQ romance stories. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you, and we look forward to seeing how much further we can go, together.