Magic & Mayhem is now available!

MAndMMagic & Mayhem, GRNW’s first anthology, is ready for download! 

You can grab your copy from Amazon and Smashwords!

What is Magic & Mayhem about?

Everyone deserves to see themselves in stories, to see themselves get a happy ending. For the past few years, Gay Romance Northwest (GRNW) has helped to see those stories reach more of the LGBTQ community, and gain traction in libraries and beyond.

Furthering that goal is this collection of new fiction and essays, including information on how to get LGBT books in libraries, letters from authors sharing their personal reflections on writing, essays about why positive and happy queer books are so important, and short stories about tattooists, soldiers, mages, and cyborgs that span the LGBTQ spectrum and show that love has no bounds.

This anthology includes never-before-published short stories by Josh Lanyon, Karelia Stetz-Waters, Ginn Hale, Megan Derr, Dev Bentham, Alex Powell, EJ Russell and Austin Chant. Contributed essays include works by Radclyffe, Rick R. Reed, Jordan Castillo Price, Rose Christo, and EE Ottoman.

We welcome you to join the celebration and Read with Pride with us!

Our Deep Gratitude

THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this book a reality, from Nicole, Sam, and Amanda for leading the charge, to all the wonderful contributors for providing their stories and essays, to all the GRNW attendees who played Character Type Love Match and inspired this volume, and…

To all you readers for reading! Thank you!

The GRNW Anthology Magic & Mayhem now up for Pre-Order!!

MAndMSeats are moving for the upcoming 2016 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up (come grab your free pass!), but in between all this registration madness, we’re delighted to announce that GRNW’s first charity anthology MAGIC & MAYHEM is now up for pre-order!

Set to release on September 6, 2016, MAGIC & MAYHEM is an anthology that is a mix of both fiction and nonfiction. The anthology will feature 8 new stories by a group of amazing LGBTQ romance authors. Along with these stories, the anthology will feature the past keynotes from GRNW 2013-2015, as well as some new essays.

Want to Pre-Order?

Come find M&M on Amazon and Smashwords!

Who is part of MAGIC & MAYHEM? Check out the list below!

MAGIC & MAYHEM

STORIES:

“Broken Art,” by Dev Bentham
“Caroline’s Heart,” by Austin Chant
“Demonica,” by Megan Derr
“The Hollow History of Professor Perfectus,” by Ginn Hale
“Fade to Black,” by Josh Lanyon
“Charmed By Chance,” by Alex Powell
“Sun, Moon, and Stars,” by E.J. Russell
“Slack Tide,” by Karelia Stetz-Waters

ESSAYS:

“Romance for the Rest of Us,” by Jessica Blat
“Sad Queer Characters and the Revolution of Joy,” by Austin Chant
“Dear Rose,” by Rose Christo
“How to Get LGBT Romance Books Into Libraries” by Marlene Harris
“So What is “Character-Type Love Match” Anyway?” by Nicole Kimberling
“My Road to Romance,” by Susan Lee
“To My Future Self,” by E.E. Ottoman
“What I’ve Learned,” by Jordan Castillo Price
“Dear Len,” by Radclyffe
“A Letter to My Former Self,” by Rick R. Reed
“Five Things We Learned Running A Queer Romance Event (and the One Thing We Still Need to Do)” by Tracy Timmons-Gray

Proceeds from the anthology will go to support future GRNW programming, like the GRNW Meet-Up conference and more free public reading events and resources for LGBTQ romance readers, authors, and publishers.\

Pre-Order now: Amazon and Smashwords!

Publisher Spotlight: What’s in the works for the new DSP Publications? (Plus Giveaway!)

dsp-twitter-profileThis fall, Dreamspinner Press launched a new imprint DSP Publications, that will focus on LGBTQ genre fiction. This is super exciting news, so we wanted to chat with DSPP and see what their plans are for the coming plans, as well as what does this new imprint mean for books previously published under the Dreamspinner imprint.

(And don’t forget to check out our ebook giveaway at the end!)

GRNW: It’s exciting to see the launch of DSP Publications. Why the new imprint? And how is DSPP different from Dreamspinner Press or Harmony Ink Press?

DSPP: Over time we recognized that some of the stories we’ve published through Dreamspinner Press are more strongly focused in a specific genre than on their romantic elements, and the authors would be better served by our marketing them to the appropriate genre communities. The goal of DSP Publications is to present compelling stories in genres such as mystery and suspense, science fiction, fantasy, historical, horror, and urban fantasy which feature LGBTQ+ characters but do not necessarily focus on a primarily romantic relationship.

What is the initial plans for the next year for DSP Publications?

infected-epitathOur production schedule for the next year is already completely booked. Some of these will be rereleases of previous Dreamspinner Press titles, such as Greenwode and Shirewode by J. Tullos Hennig or the Wolf’s Own series by Carole Cummings. There will be new books in existing series – like Andrea’s Speed’s Infected: Epitaph and Infected: Paris, as well as several more books in the Wode series. We’re also publishing new books such as Rick R. Reed’s Third Eye and John Inman’s Willow Man.

We’ve heard that DSP is targeting a more “mainstream” audience. What does mainstream mean to you?

The marketing focus is not so much mainstream as it is genre-specific. For example, we timed rerelease of the first books in the Wode and Wolf’s Own series to coincide with the 2014 World Fantasy Convention and featured advertisements in the convention materials. Similarly we will be marketing specifically to readers of mystery and suspense, science fiction, and other genres. We want to get DSPP books into the hands of readers within the appropriate genres who are not necessarily looking for romance titles.

Dreamspinner Press has really been leading the way with both translations and converting books to audio. Will we see a similar direction with DSP Publications as well?

We want to establish a base of print and eBook releases first, but yes, we do plan to offer translations and audiobook versions of DSP Publication titles over time.

We won’t lie—we’re nervous romance readers and appreciate that Dreamspinner has often labeled their books, including using the “bittersweet dream” tag to help alert readers that a work may not have an HEA or a Happily Ever After.

Will DSP Publications still be geared towards books with hopeful endings or should readers come in with an understanding that the endings may be more varied?

Because the focus of DSP Publications is not romance, it’s possible not all releases will end with a “happily ever after.” Some will continue to include an element of LGBTQ+ romance, but not necessarily every book will.

ReawakeningIf books previously released by Dreamspinner are now being moved to DSP Publications, will there be a window when they’re not available to purchase? (I’ll use an example of a stellar book that we highly recommend, Amy Rae Durreson’s fantasy Reawakening, which we heard will be moving to DSP.)

As books near their release dates through DSP Publications, any previous Dreamspinner Press versions will be taken out of print. This will usually happen about eight weeks prior to the new release date.

Will DSP Publications be accepting submissions? (If not now, will they in the future?)

As our publication schedule is currently full for at least the next year, we are not currently accepting submissions for new titles, but we will be doing so at some point when we can realistically schedule them for release.

What books can readers get excited about for the DSP Publication’s first year?

the-last-grand-masterWe’ll be continuing a number of existing series, such as the Blessed Epoch by August Li, Champion of the Gods by Andrew Q. Gordon, Desert World by Lyn Gala, Dreamlands by Felicitas Ivey, and Flesh by Ethan Stone.

Readers can also look forward to the Little Goddess series by Amy Lane and new urban fantasy from Rhys Ford (The Four), new horror from Rick R. Reed (A Demon Inside) and John Inman (Boys on the Mountain), a steampunk novel from Carole Cummings (Blue on Black), fantasy from Connie Bailey (The Bastard’s Pearl), and spiritual fiction from Greg Hogben (My Daughter’s Army).

Our website is live at www.DSPPublications.com and features new and upcoming releases, author biographies, news, and events. Books purchased on the site can be downloaded directly to readers’ Kindles or smartphones for immediate gratification and enjoyment.

Thank you for stopping by! It sounds like it will be a fantastic first year for DSP Publications! 😀

******GIVEAWAY TIME**** 😀

DSPPLeave a comment below and  you will be automatically entered into a random drawing to win a “prize pack” of new DSP Publication ebooks written by GRNW 2014 authors J. Tullos Hennig, Rick R. Reed, and Andrea Speed!

The contest will run until December 31! Happy Holidays, and thank you to DSP Publications for their generous gift!

The Story Behind the Project Fierce Anthology + Ebook Giveaway

By Megan Derr

projectfierce400Project Fierce began quietly, as these things usually do. Less Than Three has always wanted to get more involved with charity work. We’ve done small things here and there, auctioning off prompts for disaster relief, or selling short stories of our own and donating the money. Community and helping each other means a lot to us. LT3 wouldn’t be where it was without all the support and help we’ve received from family and friends over the years. My family has always believed strongly in teamwork, helping others, never leaving someone to suffer alone if its within our power to help. And everyone, everywhere, deserves to have a home. If it’s within our power to help fix a problem, we always want to try.

When Piper Vaughn approached us about doing something to help Project Fierce Chicago, which is an amazing cause, it seemed the perfect start we needed that we kept putting off. At the end of the day, LT3 really didn’t have much to do. The behind-the-scenes details are easy enough when you do it all the time. The bulk of the work went to the authors willing to donate stories, many of whom had never worked with LT3 before but were willing to throw in for the cause. Many many thanks also go to the editors who were willing to donate their time and talent to help us. Also much love to the reviewers and other bloggers helping to spread word of the anthology, and of course the faithful readers so crucial to the entire process 🙂

We wound up with twenty stories in all, from authors old and new, all of them engaging and well-fitted to the theme. Everyone involved worked hard to bring it all together, and the results have been fantastic. They’ve also been inspiring, and LT3 is very much looking forward to doing more such volumes in the future.

Our next charity project will likely be something much closer to home for LT3: working with Cape Fear Equality right here on the coast of North Carolina.

Much love and thanks again to everyone who helped make this happen, and all our best to Project Fierce Chicago and the youths they help.

~Megan, Sasha, Samantha

ABOUT THE PROJECT FIERCE ANTHOLOGY

Nobody deserves to be without a home. In collaboration with several authors, Less Than Three Press offers up an anthology of stories about young people who find that home and family are not always where you expect to find them.

All proceeds from this charity anthology will be donated to Project Fierce Chicago.

Project Fierce Chicago’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and comprehensive support services to homeless LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and civic engagement through cooperative living and youth leadership development.

Participating Authors: LT3’s Project Fierce Chicago charity anthology includes 20 short stories from Aeris, Vicktor Alexander, Talya Andor, C.J. Anthony, Blaine D. Arden, Kayla Bain-Vrba, Sophie Bonaste, Kenzie Cade, Jana Denardo, Alessandra Ebulu, Dianne Hartsock, Leta Hutchins, Caitlin Ricci, Lor Rose, B. Snow, Rin Sparrow, Andrea Speed, Piper Vaughn, Layla M. Wier, and Xara X. Xanakas.

FREE GIVEAWAY!!!

LT3 is offering one free copy of the anthology (the cost of it will still be donated), to be given to a randomly selected winner. To participate, just leave a comment below. 🙂 The winner will be chosen on Thursday, July 24.

To see more of Megan, Sasha, Samantha and Less Than Three Press, join us at the 2014 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up on Sept. 20, 2014 at the Seattle Public Library!

Size Matters with Jordan Castillo Price + Meatworks Giveaway!

Size Matters: Novels vs. Novellas, Standalones vs. Series

Price Jordan CastilloBy Jordan Castillo Price

“Chunking” information is a method we use to recall things. Recalling a random seven-digit number might be difficult, but when we add a dash after the first three digits, it becomes easier. (And have you ever had anyone giving you a phone number pause for breath at the wrong part of it, like after the first five digits? Talk about confusing!)

While chunking is a short-term memory phenomenon, conceptually I chunk my stories in 15,000-word increments. For me, unfolding a story in a series of novelettes is absolutely the perfect way to go. I think that having a single, focused mini-crisis and resolution happen in 15-20,000 words, while maintaining a longer series crisis until the last story, feels exactly right. Because more and more of us are consuming our fiction on e-readers these days, we’re no longer bound to the size constraints inherent in traditional paper publishing. We can create works that are just as long or short as they need to be.

Unfortunately, there are considerations that go far beyond format. Pricing ebooks is tricky anyway, but generally readers don’t want to feel like they’re being strung along with crumbs of a story to inflate the price of the series. If each installation of a series is novel-length, fine. But break up that same story in 20,000-word chunks and it begins to feel like an attempt to milk the market. Even if that’s not the author’s intent at all.

There’s also the matter of resolution. I’ve discovered that many readers in M/M want all conflict to be resolved at the end of a book, even if there’s a followup planned. As a storyteller, this is distressing to me, because when everything’s resolved in one book…that’s a standalone. Trump up a new conflict for the subsequent book and it feels contrived.

It’s a catch-22 situation. Series sell better. Readers want to fall in love with characters and watch them develop and unfold over the course of many, many scenes. Yet often readers are vocally dissatisfied if conflict isn’t entirely resolved.

For writers, I don’t think there’s any good answer for this. Once all conflict is resolved, there’s no reason to continue the series. You can try introducing new conflict, but eventually you’ll jump the shark—and no one wants to hear “…and this is the book where the series started to suck.”

Meatworks was a story that took me several years to write, and originally, I planned it as a novelette series. But then I decided I’d be shooting myself in the foot if I didn’t give my Meatworks characters a big ol’ resolution. Now I see this was a good choice. I was already pushing a lot of limits by making the main character a total bastard. I think stringing out the story over the course of several novelettes would have made it even less palatable, since the lightbulb doesn’t go on for my protagonist until the very end. Also, when I combined the novelettes, I realized that there was some resolution I’d built into the middle that would actually work much better at the very end. So the structure then shifted. Without the need for mini-resolutions, I was able to plunge the story even deeper into the black pit of conflict and despair.

So Meatworks became a standalone. And while my series are far more popular than my standalones, I’ve already had a few new-to-me readers say that this will be their gateway JCP novel.

They’re in for a wild ride.

MEATWORKS EXCERPT

meatworks-600“You’re here for the meeting? It’s supposed to start at seven. And you are?”

“Me? I’m Desmond Poole.”

“Hi, Desmond. I’m Pam Steiner. Come in, make sure you close the door behind you.”

Nah, I figured I’d just let it rain in. I forced a smile. Baring my teeth probably wouldn’t fool anyone, but I couldn’t afford to make a new enemy.

My hostess Pam, a thirtyish chick with sandy, blunt-cut hair and a painfully earnest face, smiled in return. Her smile looked as forced as mine felt.

“I can take your coat. Shoes go there.” She took my wet jacket and pointed to a pile of shoes beside the door. Most of the shoes were in pairs. But a few of them were single.

Gah. I knew the support group was a shitty idea. “I’m gonna leave my shoes on.”

“Oh, is it an issue with your prosthetic? I thought it was your arm, not your leg.”

How she could say the P-word without gagging on it was beyond me. My arm felt like it was full of lead weights. Even though the thing stuck to the end of it supposedly weighed less than my original arm had.

“No, it’s an issue with my…socks.”

“I’m sorry. I just had the hardwood floors waxed last week, is all.”

Pam stood, blocking the doorway from me and effectively trapping me in the front hall until I relinquished my shoes, which would mean being stuck in my socks—and that meant no quick getaway. I considered grabbing my jacket away from her and sprinting out the door. But this was my last chance to prove I’d done the mandatory “sharing” that would help me “heal.”

Like I’d ever heal.

Unfortunately, my social worker said if I kept cutting class, Social Services would stop cutting checks.

Pam clutched my jacket harder. I could wrestle her for it, but half a foot shorter, thirty pounds lighter or not, it was a good possibility that she had a robo-arm too. I didn’t know that for a fact, since one of her hands was currently hidden, with my leather jacket draped over it. But come on, why else was Gimp Group being held at her house? If she did have a robo-arm, it’d be just as strong as mine. Plus, she’d probably have a lot better control over hers than I did, given that for the past three months, I’d been doing my best to pretend the hunk of junk on the end of my stump didn’t exist. Meanwhile, she’d been hanging balloons off her porch light, dusting off the folding chairs, and laying out a spread of stale cookies and decaf.

I bent, untied my combat boots with my real hand, and slipped them off. Pam was smiling harder when I straightened up. “Okay, then. You’re the last one on the list. Shake hands with the housebot and we can get started.”

“I’ll take a pass.”

Pam looked at me like I was nuts. If I didn’t “shake” with the housebot, how would it be able to add my temperature preferences to those of the group and adjust the HVAC system accordingly? And the lighting system? And the music mix? While my own preference for old school punk usually resulted in some bizarre selections when I mingled with a group of more conservative folk, and the housebot averaged our musical taste into something that all of us could snigger at…I’d been less than enthused lately about baring my soul to just any old piece of machinery. “If you don’t scan in,” Pam said, “your social worker won’t know you made it to the meeting.” She gave a little nervous chuckle.

“Besides, if you don’t scan in, you could be anybody, and I wouldn’t know the difference.”

Did I even know anyone who’d be willing to pretend to be me? Maybe someone from the gin mill who wouldn’t mind an easy twenty bucks. Too bad none of ’em were gimps. “I’ll show you my I.D.”

“Theoretically, I mean. I don’t actually think you’re lying about who you—”

“Couldn’t you just call him or something?”

“Call your social worker? On the telephone? I don’t think I even have his number.” I did, but I was busy convincing myself I’d forgotten it. Pam hugged my jacket to her chest as if by doing so, she could vicariously comfort me. She lowered her voice so that she sounded very confidential and concerned, and said, “Is it some sort of phobia?”

“Something like that.”

A muscle twitched in my neck, and my robo-arm flung its fingers wide, like it was so happy to meet Pam it wanted to slip her an exuberant wave whether or not my shoulder chose to get into the act. I ignored it.

“Don’t worry,” she said, “it’s totally safe. There are no moving parts in the scanner. Not one. And I just upgraded a few months ago. It’s very fast. You’ll have your hand back before you know it.”

I would not have my hand back before I knew it. I would not have my hand back, ever. It was an effort not to say as much. Hell, it was an effort not to scream it at the top of my lungs. But I couldn’t take the chance that Pam might decide to actually figure out how to use her phone and tattle on me to my social worker if I started acting like a prick, so I kept my mouth shut and let the fucking housebot scan my remaining hand.

It wasn’t that I was afraid of the dumb thing—I’d repaired enough of them to know there were no moving parts—it was the principle. Can’t a guy go somewhere without being read? What if I want to sweat for a change—or shiver? What if I’m in the mood for some country and western? What if I want to tell my social worker where I’ve been and have him take my word for it?

meatworks-facebook-bannerMEATWORKS E-BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free ebook of Meatworks! Drawing to be held on Sunday, July 20! 😀

Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.

Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.

Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.

Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?

See more of Jordan at the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up in Seattle on September 20! Until then, you can visit her at her website: http://jcpbooks.com/

Tips on How Authors Can Work with Local Libraries

Speed_AndreaBy Andrea Speed

At last year’s first inaugural Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up, Marlene Harris gave a talk on how to get your books into your local libraries. I am a huge proponent of libraries. I grew up reading books from my school libraries and community libraries, and I still visit my local one once a week. I really wanted to do this.

So I followed Marlene’s advice. I brought a copy of one of my published books into the library, and talked with the head librarian, giving her the copy, and also mentioning that it won a Rainbow Award. Because it did, and it never hurts to mention any awards you’ve won or been nominated for. She had to pass the book on to someone higher up, in charge of book acquisitions, and it took a couple of weeks before I heard anything back.

InfectedPreyBut the news was very good. Not only are there physical copies of some of my books in the system now – and e-copies! – but I was approached about doing a local author event. I am doing that May 4th, and they’ll have some of my books available for check out for people who

The advice works well, and I can’t encourage enough authors to do it. Now I realize that for right now, this only applies to authors who actually have physical copies of their work, but times are changing, and the fact that they added e-copies of my books as well feels like a step in the right direction.

Libraries are fantastic. You can find a whole lot of new readers there, and they just encourage reading in general, which we as authors should always support. Because if no one was reading our stories, why publish them at all?

So if you have a local library and haven’t visited it in ages (or ever), I encourage you to stop by. Who knows, cultivating a good relationship now could pay off in the future.

But above all else, keep writing, and keep reading. And visit GRNW too. You never know what you’ll learn.

UPCOMING EVENT – May 4 – Andrea Speed at the Parkway/Spanaway Library

2:00pm – 3:30pm – 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma 9844

Local author Andrea Speed discusses her popular paranormal fiction series, Infected. She shares what inspired her to become an author, her experiences with the writing and publishing process and her other works of fiction.

Books will be available for checkout, purchase and signing. Visit the site to read more.

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. She’s the author of the Infected series for Dreamspinner Press, the Josh of the Damned series for Riptide Publishing, and has a bunch of non-series stuff as well. She makes up stuff, just to be an ass. In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution! Visit Andrea’s website.

Creating Audiobooks with Less Than Three Press + A Giveaway!

Untitled-1In 2013, Less Than Three Press started releasing audiobooks, with the fantasy novel Prisoner being the first release. We wanted to ask them about the process and what they learned during it. We talked with Megan Derr and the Less than Three crew about what the audiobook process was like for them.

(Check out the end of the interview for a LT3 audiobook giveaway!) 😀

What drew LT3 to develop audiobooks?

It was something I’d always wanted to do, mostly. I’d been hovering around the idea, and periodically looking more closely into it. We’ve been asked about them before by readers, too.

What did the process entail for LT3 to get into audio and to produce these books?

There actually wasn’t much to it. The hardest part was looking into the various options to see what was available. We landed on Red Planet Audio because they do pretty much all the work, and they’re very good at what they do. After we settled on them and signed the contract, we pretty much just gave them the books, told them what we wanted for each, and they took it from there.

What was it like choosing a voice for your different releases? Were there any difficulties in finding the “right” voice?

The voices were fun. I don’t know how the voice actors do it, but it’s crazy cool. All we do is tell Red Planet the kind of accent and all that we want, and they come up with a few samples. We listen and pick one. So far it’s been pretty easy. I heard the sample for Prisoner and went YES THAT’S PERFECT.

DanceWithTheDevil_audioWere there any challenges that you faced during the process that you hadn’t known about before making audio books?

Only a silly one – you don’t realize how many things in fantasy you just know how to pronounce (because you made the words up) that are not as readily apparent to everyone else. So you have to come with whole lists of how certain words are said. Like ‘arcen’ in Prisoner. People often assume it’s pronounced ar-sen, but it’s pronounced ark-en. Otherwise, the only hard part was deciding which books went first.

Do you have any tips to share with authors and publishers who are considering making the leap to audio?

Saving Liam_audioAuthors – make sure your contracts give you plenty of say in the matter. You don’t want to sign over all the audio rights and then find out well after the fact that your book was put in audio and you completely hate the voice actor and they say half the names wrong. If your publisher doesn’t do audiobooks but you’d like that to be an option for your readers, make sure you retain those rights.

Investigate your options for audiobook. We went with Red Planet but there are other options out there (ACX is another good one, and allows more flexible choices). Audiobooks are expensive, but I think they’re a good option for publishers and authors. They’re increasingly popular, and people are always on the go, moving around. Not everyone has the time to sit and read, but plenty of people have time to kill on commutes and such. They’re definitely worth looking into, even with the costs.

cover6Less Than Three contributes to the Overdrive Library, which is the resource for ebooks and digital materials for public libraries across the U.S. Do audiobooks go into the Overdrive system as well?

Yep, the audiobooks are available through Overdrive. If you can’t afford/just aren’t inclined to buy, you can ask your local library to obtain them (same with the ebooks and print, and LT3 is always happy to donate to libraries that can’t afford to buy).

Are there more audiobooks on the horizon that fans can look forward to?

The current list of forthcoming books is Honour (A.F. Henley), The Party Boy’s Guide (Piper Vaughn & Xara X. Xanakas), The Missing Butterfly (Megan Derr), Love You Like a Romance Novel (Megan Derr), Signal to Noise (Talya Andor), A Shadow of a Dream (Isabella Carter), Dreamer (Julia Alaric), Midsummer set (Megan Derr), and Imaginary (Jamie Sullivan). After that, we’ll compile a new list :3

Thanks for the great interview, Megan! It was so cool to hear more about the process!

GIVEAWAY TIME! 😀

Leave a comment on this post and you will be in the running to win a LT3 audiobook of your choice! The drawing will be done on Sunday, March 30.

Eulogy for a Gay Romance Fan Collection

Last summer, while we were gathering books and promoting the Gay City LGBT Library book drive that would be held at the GRNW 2013 meet-up, someone contacted me about an older friend’s book collection. Their friend had passed away recently, and he had left a large collection of gay romance books, and they were trying to find a good home for it. We directed them to the Gay City library and the collection was donated to them.

Table_of_booksFast forward six months to March 2014. I got to see this fan’s gay romance collection at the recent book sale at Gay City that was held to raise funds to support the library.

DonatedBooksThe collection is GIANT, over 150 gay romance and erotica books, with books by many authors that fans would be familiar with. Josh Lanyon, Jordan Castillo Price, Damon Suede, Heidi Cullinan, Alex Beecroft, Z. A. Maxfield, Amy Lane, Marie Sexton, J. L. Langley, among MANY others.

From a fan’s point of view, it was like looking at a treasure trove. So many wonderful books, even books that are hard to find now, like a print copy of Tamara Allen’s Downtime or early print editions of Lanyon’s Adrien English series.

What was also interesting was that this fan had re-covered all the books. Meaning, he placed sticky contact paper over the covers, and printed out his own labels that provided the title of the book, and also a description on the back.

Books_frontIt’s not totally understood why he covered all the books with new covers, but as someone said at the book sale, it was like he made each book its own piece of art to celebrate it. The covers are a rainbow of prints and colors, with just their titles on the side, or sometimes, the title of the series they are a part of.

What mostly I see with this huge collection and all these covers is one fan’s expression of love for these books. Looking over the table at them, it was amazing to see how wide of a selection it was, and also, from a fan’s view, how extremely valuable.

Not from a money point of few (although Downtime is quite expensive now), but just from a book lover point of view. It was stunning.

It also made me really think about a few things.

1- It made me wonder about this fan.

Books_backDid he have someone to share his love of books with? Did he talk with other readers online? He was a HUGE fan of gay romance, and I wondered if he preferred to enjoy them on his own, or if he connected with others, like online. Or if he knew he could connect to others.

Looking at his collection, I wished I could have talked with him and asked him about his favorite books. Some of the books in his collection were my favorites too, and it would have been great to have known him and talked with him about them.

2- It made me think about how often niche readers are islands.

For us who enjoy reading LGBT romance, it is often only online where we connect with other readers. Often times, these books are not found in book stores, can be hard to find in libraries, and there isn’t a lot of public allowance to chat openly about loving these books. There’s a lot of shame and stigma attached to romance books in general (treated often with diminishing words like “trashy” or “guilty pleasure”, so liking them is often seen as a *bad* thing) and LGBT romance is still often segregated, with less exposure or connections to the “mainstream” romance field. (Although that’s changing…slowly.)

20140308_160706Looking at this large physical collection of books by a fan who is no longer with us, it made me really ponder our connections to each other, and how we can better connect.

Fortunately, online communities like the M/M Romance Group on GoodReads do a wonderful job of connecting fans from all over the world, so no matter where you are, you still have a place where you can express your love over these books.

But how can we strengthen those connections, diminish the shame or fear of reading these books publicly, and provide other readers with a safe, warm, welcoming place to connect and feel part of inclusive community of fans?

With GRNW, we’re trying to increase these opportunities through regional reader meetings, public authors events, etc, but seeing someone’s love of books laid out over a table really honed in a feeling that, “We need community. No one should feel like an island alone.”

How we can better build that community, both online and offline, is something we think about a lot.

How do we reinforce that reading these books is not shameful, and that fans, the novels that they love, and the writers that write them deserve not to be in the shadows, but to stand proudly in the sun?

3- It made me ponder the legacy of our books and our love for them.

My small library

My small library

With the ebook boom, many of us are building vast digital collections—folders of epubs, kindles full of mobi files, phones and ipads bursting with novels.

What was also striking about looking at this fan’s massive, beautiful collection was how physical it was. It was a hold-in-your-hands celebration of all that is gay romance, from the saucy to the angsty to the romantic to the groundbreaking.

It made me ponder how I would leave my love of these books. If I got hit by a truck tomorrow, there is no notice that says, “Please pass my Tamara Allen mobi files to my buddy Jerina, who will surely appreciate the gentle historical goodness of them. And please pass my Channeling Morpheus files to the lovely ladies over at Boys in our Books, since they would all appreciate the hot vampire love…”

I’m not saying we should start adding our ebook libraries to our wills, but it made me ponder how easily and quickly our legacies will disappear, and how the things we love so dearly as book fans will often times not even be understood by those who are left to sort through them later. My crowded beloved folder of XMFC fanfics on my laptop is really just a treasure hoard that I understand, and it will have no place once that truck comes.

But then, as fans, how do we leave legacies about the books we care so much about? Is it through physical home libraries? Donating to public libraries? Participating in communities, both online and offline? Sharing reviews? Recommending reads? Buying a book from a favorite writer?

Advocating for large system changes that allow LGBT romance to have more exposure and access, so even if that metaphorical truck hits us, that legacy is still driving forward, introducing itself to new fans every day?

None of the above? All of the above?

4- The transience and solidity of book love

After the truck, these go to Jerina.

After the truck, these go to Jerina.

I didn’t think a table full of romance books would make me ponder death as much as it did, but I was left wondering about how we treasure what we love during our life, and what happens with that love after. Is there is a place for it? Does it matter?

And I found that, as I watched some knowledgeable fans comb through the collection and snatch up some amazing treasures, it can matter. For those who love them, it does matter.

Jerina, if you’re reading this, you can have my (admittedly small) physical book collection when that truck comes.

For everyone else, please enjoy your treasures, whether they be digital or physical. Please know that you’re not an island. Please know that there are others who feel like you.

Please know that your love has value.

And even if we haven’t accomplished that large system change yet, with our love and our communities and our constantly building legacies, it will be possible.

We can- we will read under the sun.

Publishing Works in Translation – An Interview with Josh Lanyon

JoshLanyon_iconMore and more LGBT romance writers are working with overseas publishers and having their work translated and sold to non-English speaking markets. We thought this was really fascinating and wanted to learn more about the process.

We talked with author Josh Lanyon, who has had several of his novels translated, including recent translations in Japanese.

Josh, you have multiple works that have been translated and published overseas. We’d love to learn more about the process of working with overseas publishers and what that entailed for you.

What was the first book of yours that was translated? What was this experience like? Did the publisher contact you?

fatale_schaduwenThe first book that actually went into translation was Fatal Shadows. MERC, a Dutch start-up publisher contacted me and asked for translation rights to the Adrien English series. The publisher admitted at the outset that he was inexperienced and there would probably not be much financial reward — and this certainly proved to be the case — but I was excited about the idea of reaching readers in the Netherlands. So as far as that goes, the experiment was a success. I’ve seen a number of reviews on Dutch blogs and I’ve been contacted by a number of readers from the Netherlands.

But there were also problems I didn’t anticipate.

Since that publication, what else has been translated and published overseas? Has the process differed between different companies, or has it overall been the same?

I’m working with a small French company called MxM Bookmark. It’s very much the same set up as MERC — a start-up company without a track record or a lot of experience. No advance. But they have passion, enthusiasm, they aren’t holding my rights very long, they did send my author copies, they do stay in contact. I haven’t made a penny, but I feel like this one is a success.

lombreOnce again, the idea in getting translated was not to make a bunch of money in the short term. The idea was to find new readers — this is what we authors are always moaning about. Where can we find new readers? So I’m agreeable to taking a certain amount of risk.

I also tried to commission my own Spanish translations, but that has not been successful. A major part of the failure can be laid to the difficulty of marketing translations if you don’t have the infrastructure of an overseas publisher. How do you advertise and market in a language that is not your own?

It’s made me hesitant to partner with indie translators because A – I’m hesitant to tie up translation rights in case an actual publisher comes along, and B – How are we going to successfully market this translation?

sombras_fatalesSince your work has begun to appear in translation, have you seen an uptick in sales overseas? (And more international fans?)

You know, I don’t think a lot of publishers realize there is a global audience for M/M fiction. Just as our mainstream publishers here have been a bit slow to catch on, well, so are overseas publishers. But my audience has always been surprisingly intercontinental. Now that might have something to do with the fact that my original publisher was British, but right from the beginning I was hearing from readers in Germany, Holland, Italy, France, and Sweden.

Along with Fair Game and Don’t Look Back, the first two volumes of Adrien English have been translated into Japanese. (And I hear vol. 3-5 have been picked up as well!)

Japan has a very developed m/m (or Boys Love/BL) novel market, and has been publishing m/m novels for decades. Since it has an active market, do you see this as an effective avenue for m/m writers outside of Japan to explore? Did you find it very difficult to enter the market?

fair_game_japaneseI’m really happy with my Japanese translations. Shinshokan is one of the largest publishers in Japan. They know what they’re doing. They pay a decent advance, they send author copies, and I have definitely seen an uptick in my Asian market sales. And let us not forget ARTWORK. I love those covers and those inside illustrations!

In this case I was contacted by an agent rather than the publisher or translator. The publisher had contacted the agent, the agent contacted me, and we went from there. So far they’ve contracted for five novels, one novella, and two short stories. Nobody is making a fortune, but the books are doing well enough to justify continuing to publish more of them. So I’m really thrilled.

I do think M/M and Japan’s Boy Love market is a good marriage. A natural meld.

What has surprised you the most about working with overseas publishers and seeing your work translated?

fatal_shadows_japaneseIt’s really fun to see the new covers, and there’s no question that it seems like a coup to have your work translated. But honestly, it still feels really new and I have no idea how it’s going to play out. I’m excited by the possibilities.

Also…if there is a test of storytelling, maybe it’s surviving translation. If an audience who doesn’t even speak your language still enjoys your story, surely that’s a good sign?

What would you recommend to writers who are interested in having their works published overseas?

I think the market for translation — right across the globe — is only going to get bigger and better. Now is the time! But the problem is…you want and need a professional, high quality product — and you want and need a distribution channel and a means of marketing and promoting your high quality product. I don’t think you can do it without all the pieces in place. Or at least I’m not able to.

That said, Amazon sells everywhere and if you can get your work translated and uploaded onto Amazon, well…you have access to Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, India, etc.

a_dangerous_thing_japaneseYou should work with experienced professionals. Having said that, this is a young genre and we’re working in a DIY publishing environment. Just as a lot of authors are learning their craft, a lot of translators are learning their craft too. This is another growth arena in publishing. So really…as  long as everyone has realistic expectations, maybe it’s okay to experiment with getting your work translated.

I would say this — use contracts and get those contracts vetted by someone who actually IS an experienced professional. You don’t want to accidentally sign over exclusive rights to future works (which was one of the original clauses in my Dutch contract)!

Oftentimes the titles for a work will change in translation. Do you have a favorite translated title from your works? 🙂

The translated titles are always fun, but I especially love the Japanese translations. Fatal Shadows is translated to Shadow of an Angel. A Dangerous Thing is Whisper of a Ghost

Thanks for stopping by, Josh! 😀

A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. Learn more at Josh’s website.

Thank you, Dreamspinner and Harmony Ink!!

DSP/Harmony Ink crew at AWP 2014!

DSP/Harmony Ink crew at AWP 2014!

On Saturday, GRNW stopped by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2014 book fest (which was in Seattle this year), and we got to meet the wonderful crew from Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press!

It was a true pleasure to meet the amazing people behind DSP and Harmony Ink! (And it was awesome to see their AWP 2014 table with its array of amazing titles!)

DSPbooks_March2014_1Not only was it great to meet everyone, but after the book fest, Dreamspinner donated over 200 books to us to give to the awesome nonprofit Gay City LGBT Library!

(Here’s a pic of GRNW’s Tracy and Gay City library volunteer Karen sorting through the many boxes of books!)

THANK YOU, Dreamspinner and Harmony Ink, for your wonderful donation and for helping expand Gay City’s library! The library is a true resource for anyone looking for LGBT fiction and nonfiction books, and is open to the public for free borrowing. With over 6,000 books, it’s a real treasure for the Seattle reading community.

Book Sale and Reader Meeting this weekend!

Join us on Saturday, March 8 at the café at Gay City at 1pm for the next meeting of the Seattle LGBT Romance Reader Group! We’ll be there chatting about books! Come and join us! (And just look out for the table marked GRNW.)

AND Gay City will be holding their Library Surplus Book Sale all that weekend, so it’s a great time to stop in and check out what’s for sale.

So many awesome DSP books!

So many awesome DSP books!

(And about a 100 of those Dreamspinner donations will be part of the book sale to raise money for the library, so definitely check out all the fantastic titles. So many new books!)

We hope to see you on Saturday at Gay City! Check out our events page for more info about the meeting.