GRNW 2014 Wrap-Up and What’s Next??

GRNW_SignWow! 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!

GRNW 2014 Attending Authors, Speakers, and Special Guests

GRNW 2014 Attending Authors, Speakers, and Special Guests

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!

UBookstore1And 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

Keynote_4For 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.

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from 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

CalltoActionLike 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.

GRNW Writer Session, "Writing Diverse Characters - What to look for and what to ask?"

GRNW Writer Session, “Writing Diverse Characters – What to look for and what to ask?”

Gay City LGBT Library Book Drive – Thank you!

GayCityBookDriveAnd 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!

Panel_3GRNW Wrap-Up Posts

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!

Panel_1_1GRNW 2014 Secret Stories revealed!

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!

GRNW 2014 Dropbox

GRNW 2015!

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, 2014GRNW at GeekGirlCon!

ggc13_logo_375x74Join 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

Library_outsideGRNW, Gay City, and the Seattle Public Library are partnering together on a free reading event to highlight queer sci-fi and fantasy fiction at SPL’s Central Branch!

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!

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.

Onward!

Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Rose Christo

As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.

Below is a message from author Rose Christo. Rose was unfortunately unable to make it to the 2014 conference, but we were grateful to share then the piece that she had written.

Dear Rose,

Lending Light CoverHi.  Remember me?  I know we haven’t kept in contact over the years.  It’s just that we’ve never exactly seen eye-to-eye.  I had the chance to be a physicist.  You stopped me.  I almost ran away with the girl of my dreams.  You stopped me again.  Coexisting with you is like having teeth pulled, only there’s no novacaine, and the dentist is that creepy guy from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Consider this letter a dire warning.  Yes, this is the part in A Christmas Carol where the Ghost of Christmas Future points at Scrooge’s grave, right before she rips off her ragged cloak and ballet dances across the stage.  Catherine Batcheller is so cool.

I want you to realize that you are not the only person who has to live your life.  Everyone around you is living your life, too.  Your cousins.  Your grandparents.  Even that Cliff guy who works the deli with you but doesn’t utter a single word.  What you do or don’t do in other people’s presence will affect each of them for the rest of their lives.  You might never see the impression you’ve left, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

And so when you tell stories, remember that they aren’t just your stories.  Every story you write should be with the intention of making somebody’s life a little bit happier, a little bit easier to live.  I don’t want to meet with you again in another five years and find out you haven’t helped a single person.  I think I will strangle you with my bare hands.

You are lucky to come from a community that celebrates your differences.  You are Two-Spirit, they told you.  You are the Shapeshifter, like Ayas.  Most people are not as fortunate as you are.  Do you even realize that?  When you thought that you were ugly, you were taught that you were beautiful.  Many people have been tricked into thinking they are ugly.  It’s a giant, vicious conspiracy, and that it’s allowed to persist is the most aggravating mystery on this planet.  Show them it’s a conspiracy.  Show them that they’re perfect as they are.  Make them feel it in their bones, in their teeth, in the tips of their fingers and the backs of their skulls until nobody–nothing–can take it away.  If you can’t accomplish something so small, you might as well stop writing.

Wachiya,

Rose

Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Rose is a Cree from Box Elder, Montana. She majored in agriculture and minored in physics. She dreams of colonizing Europa (the moon, not the continent, yikes). She is the author of multiple novels, including the young adult series Gives Light and the novel The Place Where They Cried. Visit Rose’s website.

Write with Pride with GRNW Author E.E. Ottoman

As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.

Below is a message from author E.E. Ottoman.

Ottoman, EE_croppedThis is not writing advice.

Not for you, my future self, and not for anyone else.

I suspect that at this point you are a very different writer from me, who writes very different things. Just as I am a very different writer from the writer I was five years ago, ten years ago, fifteen years ago. That’s what happens when we get older, we change into different people, with different stories to tell. I hope that you write things that I cannot hope to write and that you look back with fondness at the stories I wrote ten years ago, five years ago — the stories I am writing now.

No, I’m not going to give you advice but I do have some things to say.

First off I hope you write what you love, what makes you happy, what come alive. Not because that’s what writers always say, that phrase that can sound so patronizing so naïve when you’re trying to get by on two hundred dollars every quarter.

But because your life is too short not to be proud of yourself, not to come alive, and be in love with something that you have created. Not because anyone wanted you to but because you wanted to, and you were enough.

Sometimes you just need to say fuck it.

And do it anyway.

I hope you still do that.

Mostly I hope you are still in love with writing, with telling stores, with the process, the craft. With the long days measured in sentences and cups of coffee. The editing while trying to balance your laptop on your knees on a moving train. Those moments when you could be walking done a street, sitting in a coffee shop, standing at the front porch in the very early morning watching the fog roll in and you know, completely and profoundly that you have done something amazing.

Know that you do make things that are beautiful, and powerful and hold that knowledge in a secret place, the hollow of your chest where no one can take that away from you.

This is something that you did.

No one else made these stories.

Only you.

Only you could.

I hope you are still loud without apology and you speak your mind. I know sometimes it can feel like everyone’s sick of hearing the sound of your voice and wouldn’t you just be quiet already?

And there are the days when you’re sick of your voice too and every word feels like hypocrisy and tastes like poison and self doubt.

But this is who you are and what you believe in. I know for a fact every time you speak there are people who listen and people who care.  And every time you speak you learn to be a little stronger, a little kinder and a little more sure that you have something to say worth saying.

And while we are on that I hope you are learning to take up space, not just for you but for your words and the stories you create. You who were taught to be small, to be quiet. That your stories and the stories of people like you did not matter, were meaningless, worthless. That there was no room for them on bookshelves, in libraries and in bookstores. That characters who were like you would never live interesting and remarkable lives, never do heroic and unusual things, never fall in love, never be happy, never not be alone.

This was the story you were taught from birth, to be small, to be quiet and to not bother looking for things that would not be there.

But this story it is a lie. You know that.

And you made a promise a long time ago to the child you once were that you will not be small, that you will not be quiet and if someone goes look? There WILL be stories there to find.

So if there isn’t room for you or those stories you are going to make room. On those bookshelves, and libraries and bookstores. You are going to demand it, as loudly as you have learned to be.

And you are going to write.

Because this is who you are and what you love and how you are powerful.

I hope you are proud

Of your books, especially the smutty ones, and the ones that scared you more than a little bit to write. The books that came easy and the one were writing felt like crawling through a tunnel filled with wet sand. The books that got good reviews and the ones that didn’t.

I hope that you are proud of the person and the artist that you have become.

I know I am proud of you and I haven’t even met you yet.

Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

E.E. Ottoman is a geek and a gentleman. Zie spends zier time mostly in libraries doing research, and sometimes, when there is no one else there, dancing in the aisles. E. has always adored speculative fiction, especially paperback fantasy and science fiction. Zie loves a good ghost story and thinks every story becomes automatically better if you add tentacles. Overall, though, zie just loves a story that is fun to read. E. is especially fond of writing and reading stories with geeky, queer people doing awesome and sexy things.

When not writing, E. loves cooking, knitting, cats, coffee, and looking dapper in menswear. Zie is actively trying to change the world (and maybe the past) one novel and work of history at a time. Visit E’s website.

Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Jordan Castillo Price

As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.

Below is a message from author Jordan Castillo Price,

Dear Jordan,

Price Jordan CastilloI wish I could warn you that school is nothing like you thought it would be. You’re standing there with your shiny new diploma and it seems like you’re embarking on a grand adventure where you land a fabulous, secure job, rub elbows with interesting people and make cool things. Unfortunately, what’s ahead of you is more of a long slog.
I’m not sure if it’s the recession, or your personality, or simply a matter of wrong place, wrong time. You’re not going to find a job you like. Ever. I hope you’re not too crushed upon hearing this—I’d actually like to encourage you to relax, because this day-job thing doesn’t last forever.

Something called the Internet is coming, and that something is really big. Nowadays it’s made of cat pictures and porn. When you first see it, though, it’s mostly text. Photographic images will take forever to load, line by line, and trying to stream a video at those speeds would be ludicrous. Even so, having access to any information you care to find is a massive game-changer.

The Internet only evolves from there. Connections improve. Pretty soon most people start communicating via email, which leads to special interest groups on Yahoo and Google, which then give way to MySpace, LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook.

So what does this mean for you?

Early on, you’ll stumble into a group of women who write fanfiction. Not only will writing with them teach you the mechanics of writing, but it will train you to be able to write sex scenes without flinching away, and in fact you will learn to infuse meaning in every groan and thrust. Sex and sexuality are an important part of the human experience, and being able to handle gender and sexual identity fluidly, without apology, will put you exactly where you need to be when gay romance becomes the hot new genre. And here you were willing to write it for free.

Have faith, it doesn’t happen overnight. Initially you will send out numerous submissions to mens’ magazines where they either go unacknowledged, are returned unread, or are even occasionally berated. Erotica is probably not the place for you anyway, though I think it’s as good a place as any for you to start making sense of the writer’s market.  Keep practicing and develop your voice. One of these days, the gatekeepers will begin publishing you. And a few years later, once you figure out what’s what, you can set up shop for yourself and reach your audience directly, thanks to the Internet. Yes, your audience is out there, people who want to read about bent heroes who, up until now, were only allowed a tragic ending.

So don’t beat yourself up for not learning more useful things in school to set you up in a rewarding traditional career. You’re learning how to interface with other people, to communicate and to present yourself. Besides, the genre you’ll be writing in doesn’t actually exist yet. The method for delivery isn’t yet accessible to the public, and the devices people will read the stories on won’t be around for several years either. Do your best instead to observe your human experience as you navigate the roller coaster ride of your life, friends and enemies, loves and losses. The learning never stops. And every experience has the potential to make your stories that much richer.

Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again. Visit Jordan’s website.

Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Rick R. Reed

As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.

Below is a message from author Rick R. Reed.

Dear Rick,

Reed, Rick_2Remember when you used to write horror? Gruesome stuff that made people, when they met you, wonder how someone so soft-spoken and mild-mannered could come up with such awful stuff?

Yeah, you remember. Some magazine even dubbed you the Stephen King of gay horror.

Yet now, most of your writing focuses on love stories. You have Rick bright and dark. And I wonder why you changed.

I don’t wonder much, to be honest. The truth is your life changed and your writing reflected that. See, for a time the one thing you wanted from life was to find love, to find a family to call your very own.

And you worked at it. God knows you did. A marriage to a woman. A series of boyfriends, three of them live-in, that never lasted more than a couple of years. All of these left you feeling unsatisfied. They all started out pretty, like a birthday cake, and then ended up like a birthday cake dropped on the floor, still traces of sweet, but with dirt, grit, disappointment and heartache mixed in with buttercream frosting.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. And you know how that relates to writing horror. You understand that the heartbreak and fear of loneliness and being alone drove you to create troubled characters, people who were out of control, people who were desperate and who feared that the worst could—and sometimes did—happen.

People like you. And your love life that never worked out. In retrospect, it made sense that you wrote horror.

But then, about twelve years ago, something changed. You answered an ad online and, contrary to most of those tenuous web-based connections, there was something there when you started e-mailing this one guy. He made you laugh. He got you. You talked. It was enough to make you want to meet in person after a couple of weeks.

You did. And you remember that first sighting of this guy when you went to pick him up, sitting on the steps waiting for you. He was wearing jeans and a blue pinstriped T-shirt. And with just one look, you fell in love.

It was scary. Even though things were good right from the start, you had too many scars to believe that, maybe this time, you’d be lucky. Maybe this time, he’d stay. So you resisted and clung desperately to what you told him you needed—your independence.

That lasted for all of three or four months.

You couldn’t help it. It was too true. You were in love, real love this time and it felt like more than just the heat of passion, it felt like the beating heart of family, in the truest and best sense of the word.

So you went on and nested and, unlike all the other relationships that had crashed and burned, you never once questioned your decision to be with this man. You still don’t. And now you’re legally married and looking forward to growing old with this person you never thought would cross the threshold into your life.

And to my younger Rick or Ricky, I would say, embrace both your dark and light, in both your writing and your life. But be thankful to fate, god, whatever force brought you to this man you call husband, soul mate, family…because he made it possible to be a romance writer.

And that really means something.

Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

About the Author

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation, and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” In his spare time, Rick is an avid runner, loves to cook, and reads voraciously. Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Visit Rick’s website at http://www.rickrreed.com or follow his blog at http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/. You can also like Rick on Facebook or on Twitter. Rick always enjoys hearing from readers and answers all e-mails personally. Send him a message at jimmyfels@gmail.com.

Write With Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Radclyffe

As part of the GRNW 2014 conference keynote on Sept. 20, 2014, we asked five writers to share the messages they would send to their past or future selves. We are happy to share these messages with you.

Below is a message from author Radclyffe, who you may also know as Len Barot, President of the LGBTQ press Bold Strokes Books.

Dear Len –

RadclyffeRadclyffe here – your writer self, the one you never thought could ever be real. No one told you when you were growing up that girls could be all the things boys could be – like cops and firefighters and mailmen and doctors. No one for sure ever mentioned being a writer – if you were a boy or a girl. That was something people a lot different than you became. So you looked around and tried to see where you might fit, but you couldn’t find yourself anywhere in the kids and families and grown-ups you saw. You looked ahead and couldn’t see yourself, only what you couldn’t be.

Then you read that book, remember? Doctor Kate it was called. You were ten maybe and you knew that was it. You wanted to be a doctor and do something that mattered, just like Kate. It all started with a book. So many books, but for so long, none about girls like you.

Remember the play you wrote about the astronaut? You made the leader a girl, because why not? Why couldn’t that happen? You were eleven. You wrote lots of stories about girls who did the things you wished you could do after that. But you never once thought of writing as anything other than a place to put your secret wishes and dreams.

Then for a long time you were too busy to think about much except becoming a doctor, until I popped up again a couple decades later and wrote some stories about women like the one you had become. Women who loved women and were happy about it. Lesbians who lived full and satisfying and noble lives. For a while you and I shared space pretty well – you worked days, I worked nights.

And then something extraordinary happened – we found a place to share our stories with other people, pretty soon, lots of people. And you discovered that writing matters, too, and not just for you—because what we write and what we read and what we share has power. The power to teach, the power to learn, the power to create community.  The power to say we have the right to love and live as we choose – come celebrate with us.

So, I am glad you finally figured out that the thing you never thought you could be has turned out to be what makes you whole. You, me and a book. Just like at the beginning.

See you soon, Len – we have another book to write and so many more to read.

Rad

Read more of the 2014 GRNW Keynote, “Write with Pride.”

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Radclyffe has had a lifelong passion for the importance of affirming and validating literature for the LGBTQ community and brings more than twenty years experience in both writing and publishing to Bold Strokes Books, one of the world’s largest independent LGBTQ publishing companies. She is a retired surgeon and full time author-publisher, she has written and published over forty-five novels as well as dozens of short stories, has edited numerous anthologies, and, writing as L. L. Raand, has authored a paranormal romance series, The Midnight Hunters.

Visit her websites at www.llraand.com and www.radfic.com. For more information on Bold Strokes Books visit www.boldstrokesbooks.com.

GRNW 2014 – What to Expect and Where to go??

Library_outsideWow! We are two days away from the second annual Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up at the Seattle Public Library on September 20!

We want to provide some up-front info for attendees wondering about the event, especially if it’s their first time. Below is some frequently asked questions (and also please feel free to share your own questions in the comments!)

Can I buy tickets online still? Yes. You can purchase a conference pass for $25 at Brown Paper Tickets.

For all tickets purchased before Friday at 5pm, we’ll have a name tag printed for you at registration. Tickets purchased after that, we will have a blank name tag to fill in.

Can I buy a ticket at registration? Yes, you can purchase a ticket for $25 at registration. Cash, check, or credit cards are accepted.

When does the library open? It opens at 10am. If you are planning on joining the morning sessions, especially the first writing session at 10:15am, we recommend arriving at 10am.

What is the dress code? Seattle is suuuuuuuuper casual, so it’s wear what you want. Most of the conference is in the Seattle Public Library, which is also a pretty casual place.

Are there activities before Saturday? Yes! As listed in our program schedule, we have a couple meet-ups and a book store reading on Friday night, September 19.

  • 5pm – 6:45pm: Meet-up at Flowers Bar (corner of 43rd and University Way NE)
  • 7pm – 8:30pm: Reading at the University Book Store with E.E Ottoman, Jordan Castillo Price, Radclyffe, and Rick R. Reed. (4326 University Way NE, Seatte, WA 98105, half black from Flowers bar)
  • 8:30pm – 10:30pm: Meet-Up at The District Lounge (4507 Brooklyn Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98127, a block and a half from the University Book Store.)

We hope you can join us for the book store reading and meet-ups! It should be a fun time. :-)

What times do things start on Saturday?

It depends on what you’re planning on doing:

Writer Sessions: The first set start at 10:15am. The second set start at 11:10am. Check out the Writer Sessions for descriptions of the program. These are all on the 4th floor of the library.

*Writer session attendees should go directly to the 4th floor and skip registration until later. The elevator is SLOW so it’s better to go to the sessions first.

Visit the 4th floor info table to grab a simple name tag to use for the morning.

Reader Meet-Up: This starts from 10:30am and will go to 11:45am in the Microsoft Auditorium (first floor.) We recommend arriving earlier to register and also, so you can start perusing all the free books we have to give away!

Author Pitch Sessions: These will go from 10:30am – 12pm. Pitch sessions with the seven attending publishers are by appointment. (Make an appointment)

Afternoon registration: Is from 12pm – 1pm at the Microsoft Auditorium. After 1pm, the main doors close and the main programming starts.

Because registration is within the auditorium where programming will be occurring, we strongly recommend arriving before 1pm so you don’t have to come in via the side door.

Main Conference Programming: 1pm – 5pm in the Microsoft Auditorium. There will be ten minute breaks before the end of each hour. At these break times, the main doors will be open. (See Programming Schedule)

Book Festival: 5:30pm – 8pm at the Hotel Monaco (across the street from the library at 1101 4th Ave. The festival is downstairs in the Paris Ballroom.

The festival is FREE to enter, so come and enjoy!

1st Bus going to After Party: 7pm in front of the Hotel Monaco

2nd Bus going to the After Party: 8pm in front of the Hotel Monaco

After Party: 8pm – 11:00pm – Rendezvous Bar/Jewelbox Theater (2322 2nd Ave NE, Seattle WA 98121, Belltown area, around 20 blocks from the Monaco.)

“5 Minutes in Heaven” Readings – 8:30pm – 10:00pm at the Jewelbox Theater. (The theater is in the Rendezvous Bar.

The authors reading at the After Party are:

  • Amelia Gormley
  • David Holly
  • Z.A. Maxfield
  • Kate McLachlan
  • Charlie Richards
  • Jeffrey Ricker
  • Tara Spears
  • Lou Sylvre
  • Jay Vaughn
  • L.A. Witt

And that’s the end of the day! :-D

What should I expect at the free book festival after the conference?

The book fest will feature:

  • 50 LGBTQ romance authors to meet and chat with (See author list)
  • The University Book Store will be selling books by attending authors
  • Book Fest Bingo – with chances to win gift certificates to the University Book Store table
  • Loads of free author swag!
  • Free appetizers
  • A cash bar (For real- it’s cash only.)

What can I expect at the After Party?

The after party will be a very casual setting where attendees can decompress from the day, order food and drinks, chat, and also check out the short readings in the theater.

Where do I pick up my swag bag? You can pick it up at registration.

I hear there will be free books at the conference? Yep! We have loads of free books that you can just grab and take with you. Enjoy!

Is there still a book drive for Gay City going on? Yep! We are also gathering book donations for the Gay City LGBTQ library. Every book donated will get a raffle ticket, and a chance to win some prizes! Books can be donated at the Gay City table at the conference and book festival.

Where can I park? The Seattle Library has parking all day for $7, but it ends at 7pm. Downtown also has some nearby lots. Street parking becomes free after 8pm.

What other questions could we answer? Let us know! :D

GRNW 2014 Secret Stories – Guess the Author!

QuestionMarkAs we gear up for the Sept. 20 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2014 at the Seattle Public Library, we thought it would be fun to do another Secret Story Event in our GRNW GoodReads group! (Similar to our 2013 event.)

What is a Secret Story Event?

Popular especially in fanfiction communities, Secret Story Events are about posting a story first but not listing the author.

This is a fun way to go in “cold’ into a story without any preconceived notions of style or previous works. Then later we unveil the authors, and you can see how close your guess was! (And maybe even discover a new author who you hadn’t read before.)

2014 GRNW Secret Stories

We have six awesome secret stories to share this year, all contributed by GRNW 2014 Attending Authors!

Names will be revealed Thursday, Sept. 18! But can you guess before then who has written each story???

Batkyn Brinks by Anonymous

After his arrest for charges of “indecent” behavior, Lord Hindstone is brought before the judge for a ruling. What happens when this judge is an old friend who knows what really happened? (3,700 words, historical, explicit content.)

The Darkling’s Kiss by Anonymous

An unpredictable thief and a wizard on a mission. What will happen when these opposites meet? (4,700 words, fantasy, explicit content)

Floating in Space by Anonymous

“Have you ever been naked in vacuum?” She is naked and I already want her so badly that my breathing hitches. (1,200 words, sci-fi, explicit content)

Sailing the Seas of Stars by Anonymous

Ahoy, there! Is that…? It is! Space pirates! (979 words, sci-fi)

Three Goats by Anonymous

One lonely troll has his hands full watching over two rambunctious young goats. And then there’s the rumor that their older brother is returning home… (2,800 words, fantasy)

Three Wishes by Anonymous

A soldier at war finds a genie who will grant him three wishes. What will he choose for love? (5,900 words, fantasy)

Guess the author!

Can you guess which GRNW 2014 author wrote what? And feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and guesses! All will be revealed on Sept. 18!

GRNW 2014 Writer Sessions, Reader Meet-Up, and Pitching to Publishers

GRNW_panel_3_barWe’re excited to announce the schedule for the writer sessions that will be held on the morning of GRNW 2014 in Seattle on September 20!

Six 45-minute discussion sessions will be held on the 4th floor of the Seattle Public Library from 10:15am – 12:00pm

it’s an AWESOME line-up of discussion exploring different topics related to queer romance writing, from working with libraries to world-building to how to market your work.

Check out a quick view of what’s going on below, and see the full description for all the morning writer discussion sessions, including panelists and topic descriptions.

10:15am – 11:00am: Writing Discussions Series 1

  • Ask a Librarian!
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing and Author Persona
  • The Wonders of World-Building!

11:10am – 11:55am: Writing Discussions Series 2

  • Writing Diversity – What to look for and what to ask?
  • All the Things you wanted to ask an Editor (but were afraid to ask)
  • The Mystery Panel! Writing Mysteries and Suspense

View the full descriptions for these sessions.

But that’s not the only programming for the morning! (We’re going to busy!)

10:30am – 12:00pm: GRNW Reader Meet-Up!

Join us in the Microsoft Auditorium on the 1st floor of the Seattle Public Library for a rollicking meet-up as readers gather to gab about their favorite books and authors. This meet-up will include time for meeting new people, LOTS of giveaways and free books, games, and more!

(You won’t forget the awesomeness that will be the Character Type Love Match! Who will be the top couple to win???? Come find out!)

10:30am – 12:00pm: Pitch Sessions with Publishers

Have a story to pitch? Come pitch at GRNW! We are hosting seven publishers who are accepting appointments to hear pitches from authors. Publishers participating are: Bold Strokes Books, Decadent Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, eXtasy Books, Harmony Ink Press, Less Than Three Press, and MLR Press.

Please visit the GRNW Pitch Sessions page for more info and to make an appointment. (Appointments are required to participate in the pitch sessions.)

Time slots are still available for pitch sessions! Come grab yours now. :D

And there’s more???

That’s right! GRNW is a full day of activities, and you won’t want to miss the afternoon programming. Come visit the 2014 Programming page to get the lowdown!

Free Reads Spotlight – Love’s Landscapes

LoveLandscapesLogoEvery summer, the M/M Romance Group on GoodReads puts on an amazing event where writers submit 150+ free short stories and novellas (and even a few novels), all written based on group member prompts, and released every day from June 1 through August. It’s amazing and a treasure trove of stories.

A number of GRNW 2014 authors have already had their 2014 stories published. You can check them out below (and all have ebook versions for downloading!)

Better Than New by Charley Descoteaux (Contemporary)

Guarded by Kim Fielding (Fantasy)

The Raven’s Luck by Laylah Hunter (Urban Fantasy)

Souring Past Death by Morticia Knight (Dystopia/Sci-Fi)

Wet Dreams and Adult Revelations by Tara Spears (Contemporary)

Villains by Andrea Speed (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Expect the Unexpected by Lou Sylvre (Contemporary)

What more stories will come out? We’ll find out! Until then, happy reading!