GRNW 2016 Registration Now Open! (And it’s Free!)

GRNW_ButtonAvatar2016Registration for the 2016 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up that will held at the Seattle Central Library on September 24, 2016 is now open!

And what’s the big change this year? Registration is free!

What do you mean “free”? We mean it costs zero dollars!

Whoa!!!! Yeah, we know!!!

Wait…does this mean I should still register if it’s free? Yes! You need to register. Even if it’s free, we still have limited seating at the Seattle Public Library and will have an attendee cap.

Okay. I have to register still even if it’s free. Got it. But what’s the schedule? Who’s attending?

Great questions! We’ll be announcing panels and attending authors later this month, but for your planning purposes, here is the general schedule.

GRNW 2016 Schedule – September 24, 2016

12:00pm – 1:00pm – Registration, Attendee Meet & Greet, and free swag (Microsoft Auditorium)

Come grab your seat and your nametag/swag bag, and like in previous years, we’ll have some free books out for grabs. (First come, first serve.)

12:00pm – 6:00pm – GRNW 2016 Bookfest (4th Floor, Room 1)

Throughout the conference, the bookfest will be open, including a table hosted by the Portland bookstore Another Read Through that will be selling books by attending authors. Come check it out!

1:00pm – 2:00pm – Opening Plenary Session (Microsoft Auditorium)

Opening session and Keynote for GRNW 2016

2:00pm – 3:00pm – GRNW 2016 Panels (1st Floor and 4th Floor)

Join one of the concurrent panels that will talk about a range of topics related to writing and reading LGBTQ romance fiction.

3:00pm – 4:00pm – Character Type Love Match! (Microsoft Auditorium)

Now back for it’s third year! Join the popular GRNW game Character Type Love Match where everyone has a vote on which character types will move forward to form the ultimate “couple” for GRNW 2016. Who will win??? You decide!

2015 Winning Couple: Mage x Cyborg
2014 Winning Couple: Soldier x Tattoo Artist

4:00pm – 6:00pm – Author Signings at Book Fest (4th Floor, Room 1)

Meet GRNW 2016 Attending Authors, buy books, grab some free swag, and chat with readers.

Will there be other GRNW events that weekend?

Yes! We will have two other events that weekend:

Friday, September 23: 7pm – 9:30pm
(Hugo House, 1021 Columbia St, Seattle, WA 98104)

Come join for a free reading event at Seattle’s Hugo House that will feature GRNW 2016 attending authors.

Saturday, September 24: 6pm – Midnight: GRNW 2016 After Party
(Venue TBD)

After the conference festivities, come join the GRNW 2016 after-party, hosted by the podcast The Hopeless Romantic! (Food and drink will be available for purchase.)

Sweet! Looking forward to it! We are too! We’ll update soon about the panel schedule and attending authors, but until then, grab your seat! (It’s freeeeeeeeeeee!)

2016 Panel Submissions Now Open! Help Create the Program for GRNW 2016!

2015Panel_1The 2016 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up conference will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Seattle Public Library, and the big news this year is that the conference will be FREE to attend!

Submit a Panel for GRNW 2016!

For our fourth annual conference, and like last year, we are opening up panel submissions! We would love for authors and attendees to help co-create the programming for 2016.

  • Do you have a great idea for a panel?
  • Do you know others who could speak on that topic?
  • Do you share our interest in promoting voices from across the LGBTQ romance writing spectrum?

Then check out our 2016 Panel Submission Guidelines for info on what we’re looking for in a panel and how to apply!

Setting up a conference is actually pretty easy! What’s difficult is setting up the foundation for interesting and thoughtful discussions on LGBTQ romance, and we’d appreciate YOUR help!

Together, we can celebrate the awesomeness of LGBTQ romance and the many writers and readers who love it!

Due Date: Panel submissions are due by Sunday, June 26, 2016. Read the panel submission guidelines.

Call for Story Submissions: Magic and Mayhem GRNW Charity Anthology

CallForSubmissionsGRNW is excited to share the below announcement–a call for submissions for a new project, a charity story anthology based on the prompts from the Character Type Love Match game held at the 2014 and 2015 GRNW Meet-Up conferences.

If you’re loving the prompts, “Soldier x Tattoo Artist” and/or “Mage & Cyborg,” we hope you will consider submitting a LGBTQIA romance story for the anthology. We’d love to build a magical experience that shares the awesomeness of queer romance to GRNW readers and beyond in 2016!

MAGIC AND MAYHEM: A GRNW Charity Anthology

Now Accepting Submissions!

For the past three years, Old Growth Northwest’s Gay Romance Northwest initiative has brought LGBTQ romance authors and readers to the Pacific Northwest to celebrate the genre. Panels, discussions, and books abound—as well as Character Type Love Match. Character Type Love Match is an interactive crowd favorite where attendees vote to advance their favorite character type, and the two left standing form a happily-ever-after pairing. In 2014, the winners were Tattoo Artist and Soldier. At 2015’s conference, the winners were Mage and Cyborg. Magic and Mayhem: A GRNW Anthology is taking those pairings out of GRNW attendees’ fertile imaginations and letting them run wild on the page.

GRNW enthusiasts and authors of queer romance in general are invited to submit their stories about mage/cyborg or tattoo artist/soldier in love for publication in Magic and Mayhem. Proceeds from the anthology will benefit the nonprofit and volunteer-run Gay Romance Northwest initiative so that they can continue to put on excellent programming, facilitate hundreds of book donations to the Seattle area, and keep being awesome without a profit margin.

As this is a charity anthology, contributors will not retain any money from the sale of Magic and Mayhem. Potential authors should keep this in mind when submitting.

Free Entry into GRNW 2016 AND 2017 as an Attending Author: All authors whose works are part of the published anthology will receive a free registration to the 2016 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up conference on 9/24/16 in Seattle, WA, and will be included in the conference program as an official GRNW 2016 Attending Author. Anthology authors will ALSO be included in GRNW 2017 as an attending author. That’s right! The next TWO years of conferences.

Story guidelines:

  • Stories should be 2,500 to 20,000 words in length.
  • Stories must be LGBTQIA. We encourage authors to submit stories from all over the QUILTBAG spectrum: trans (including genderqueer), asexual, bi romance, and beyond.
  • Any sub-genre is accepted, but it must suit the pairing of either mage/cyborg OR tattoo artist/soldier.
  • As this is a romance genre anthology, a happy ending for the couple, whether it’s HEA or HFN, is strongly preferred.
  • Any heat level is accepted, but as this is a charity anthology for a nonprofit organization, please avoid instances of rape and non-consent for these stories.

Submission guidelines:

  • Deadline is March 31, 2016.
  • The anthology publisher will retain the rights to the stories for two [2] years.
  • Send your submissions to with MAGIC AND MAYHEM – SUBMISSION in the subject line.
  • The file must be attached in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format.
  • Include a short (no longer than 200 words) summary of the story in the body of the email, as well as the pairing.
  • Stories should be formatted as follows: Times New Roman size 12, double-spaced, paragraphs indented (.25″). Include a cover page with the title, author name, and word count.

Anthology Organizers – Who we are:

  • Nicole Kimberling, Amanda Jean, and Samantha M. Derr are editors brought together in support of GRNW. We’re the organizers and editors of this anthology. Please contact us at if you have questions (or contact Amanda on twitter: @amandahjean and Samantha: @rykaine).
  • To read more about Old Growth Northwest, please visit

Thank you for your support!

GRNW offers our deepest heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Nicole, Amanda, and Samantha for leading this amazing project, and thank you to all the authors who are interested in submitting a story to this anthology and who wish to help support Gay Romance Northwest activities.

Thank you so much! We can’t wait to unveil all the magic (and mahem) next year!

GRNW 2015 Podcast: The Evolving LGBTQ Romance Genre – Where Do You Want the Genre to Go?

The Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up, the LGBTQ Romance Fiction Conference of the Pacific Northwest, held it’s third annual conference on September 26, 2015 at the Seattle Public Library.

We are sharing podcasts from several of this year’s panels, including:

The Evolving LGBTQ Romance Genre – Where do you want the genre to go?

In the past, GRNW’s last panel of its annual conference examined diversity and how the genre is growing, and this year, we’re “evolving” the evolving panel, keeping the theme around where *you* want the genre to go, but taking it in new directions, and the content will be built by the audience during the opening session. Come find out what everyone voted on, and see how you want the genre to grow and prosper!


Gunner Scott (Program Director, Pride Foundation)


  • Austin Chant: (Author, Silver and Gold)
  • Laylah Hunter (Author, Gabriel’s City, Resurrection Man)
  • Alex Powell (Author, Rangers Over Regulus, Sky Knights)
  • Karelia Stetz-Waters (Author, Something True, Forgive Me if I’ve Told You This Before)

Panelists (Left to Right): Austin Chant, Laylah Hunter, Alex Powell, and Karelia Stetz-Waters


The GRNW 2015 Wall, made up of attendees responses to questions posed earlier in the day, including “Where do you want to see the genre grow?”

Listen to more podcasts from GRNW 2015

GRNW 2015 Keynote “Read with Pride”

Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance

Traditional or Self-Publishing? Which Route to Choose?

GRNW 2015 Podcast: Traditional or Self-Publishing? Which Route to Choose?

The Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up, the LGBTQ Romance Fiction Conference of the Pacific Northwest, held it’s third annual conference on September 26, 2015 at the Seattle Public Library.

We are sharing podcasts from several of this year’s panels, including:

Traditional or Self-Publishing? Which Route to Choose?

Self-publishing is the latest gold rush but is everything that shines gold? Especially, within the narrower market of LGBTQ romance it’s vital for authors to make the right choices when publishing their work. This panel will discuss the pros and cons of various modes of publishing.


Susan Lee (Blogger, Boys in Our Books)


  • Lou Harper (Author: Spirit Sanguine, Dead in L.A.)
  • Nicole Kimberling (Editor-in-Chief, Blind Eye Books, and author, Turnskin, Primal Red)
  • Sandy Lowe (Senior Editor, Bold Strokes Books)
  • Jordan Castillo Price (Owner, JCP Books and author, Among the Living, The Persistence of Memory)

(Left to Right) Moderator Susan lee and Panelists Lou Harper, Nicole Kimberling, Sandy Lowe and Jordan Castillo Price

Listen to more podcasts from GRNW 2015

GRNW 2015 Keynote “Read with Pride”

Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance

GRNW 2015 Podcast: Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance

The Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up, the LGBTQ Romance Fiction Conference of the Pacific Northwest, held it’s third annual conference on September 26, 2015 at the Seattle Public Library.

We are sharing podcasts from several of this year’s panels, including:

Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance Fiction

The focus on this panel is to highlight and celebrate underrepresented main characters in LGBTQ romance fiction, whether it is characters of color, and/or of diverse abilities, religions, sexuality, gender, gender identity, economic background, etc. This panel discussion will examine, both amongst the panel members and with the audience, the different ways to authentically represent underrepresented characters and to elevate their stories within the genre.


Tracy Timmons-Gray (Gay Romance Northwest)


  • CJane Elliot (Author, Serpentine Walls, Sex, Lies, and Video Games)
  • Lane Hayes (Author, The Right Words, Better Than Good)
  • Chris Muldoon (Acquisitions Editor, Riptide Publishing)
  • J. K. Pendragon (Author, To Summon Nightmares, Ink & Flowers)
  • Yolanda Wallace (Author, Murphy’s Law, Month of Sundays)


Listen to more podcasts from GRNW 2015

GRNW 2015 Keynote “Read with Pride”

Traditional or Self-Publishing? Which Route to Choose?

GRNW 2015 Keynote Podcast – Read with Pride

The Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up, the LGBTQ Romance Fiction Conference of the Pacific Northwest, held it’s third annual conference on September 26, 2015 at the Seattle Public Library.

The 2015 Keynote, “Read with Pride,” explores the impact of reading LGBTQ love stories. We hear from readers Jessica Blat, Susan Lee, and Austin Chant, with opening remarks by GRNW director Tracy Timmons-Gray.

Listen to the full keynote address

(If for some reason the podcast player isn’t showing up, just hit refresh on your browser.)

Read 2015 GRNW Keynote Remarks

Read with Pride by Jessica Blat

Read with Pride by Austin Chant

Read with Pride by Susan Lee

Listen to more podcasts from GRNW 2015

Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance

Traditional or Self-Publishing? Which Route to Choose?

GRNW 2015 Keynote: Read with Pride by Susan Lee

Part of the 2015 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up Keynote, “Read with Pride”.

j-r-ward-lover-at-lastI grew up in a very religious home. When I say this, I mean Pentecostal, hands-in-the-air, “holy spirit come”, type church. I’m finding that this is not in and of itself an original story. But what was a bit different for me was where the church hurt a lot of people by telling them what they could and could not do or be…my experience was being the one pointing the finger, heading up the lynchmob-exoricism-prayer meeting. I was preaching by the time I was 16 and a missionary by the time I was 20. I hated anything “of the world”…and everything that wasn’t considered holy was leading you, yes you (whoever my finger point could reach), to hell.

But deep down, I hated myself the most. I lived in constant judgment of myself. I was a sinner when I masturbated. I was a sinner when I thought of any romance/relationships outside of marriage. And I was a sinner because I was not saving enough people.

My journey led me to San Francisco…for a job that I couldn’t refuse. I didn’t know a single soul. But, I was giddy…because SF was a den of sinners, gay sinners, and I had all this opportunity to save them. And then one night on a prayer walk in the Castro district with my new church, I witnessed two of our church members, one a pastor, physically beating up a gay couple they were trying to preach to. There was blood everywhere, there were cries for help, and I turned tail and ran.

I got back to my apartment, completely in shock, fell to my knees and for the first time, had no idea what to say…what to pray. And I had one of those epiphanies…one of those life-altering moments. It was clear as day, something settled in my heart. God is not about judgment. God is not about doing right. God is love. Period. I’m not here to preach, but I wanted to share that in that moment, this message changed my life…saved my life even.

I started opening myself up to people. Talking to anyone and everyone about stuff not bible-related. I started experimenting with living. I started forgiving myself. And I started reading romance novels. Well, chick lit at first, then romance, then full-on erotica. And at some point, I stumbled upon a Black Dagger Brotherhood fanfic which opened up my world of reading to m/m romance, and then more.

What has reading done for me? I’m learning every day…with each new book, with each new conversation within the community, with each new interaction with someone I would have completely shunned years ago. I used to think drag/cross-dressing/and trans were all the same thing. The concept of asexuality I would have declared “a blessing from god” to avoid temptation. I cringe at my small-mindedness in the past. But the fervor with which I hated so many years ago, I use to try and learn, to grow, to experience, to do better, to be better.

Romance opened up my world. LGBTQ romance broadened my horizons. Reading was my portal to exposure and learning. I read with pride because reading is who I am.

Quick story: I recently interviewed for a new job. In every interview, the question is asked: “What are you reading?” Here I am, interviewing for the VP of Human Resources role. I should say something important. I should say something meaningful. I should say something that would show exactly the kind of HR executive I could be for them. So I did. I replied, “I am a voracious reader of romance books. I particularly read mostly LGBTQ romance.” The CEO looked at me, smiled, and said “Unexpected, but I love the honesty”. I got the job.

GRNW 2015 Keynote

Read with Pride by Jessica Blat

Read with Pride by Austin Chant

Listen to Read with Pride

Podcast: GRNW 2015 Keynote “Read with Pride”

About Susan

Susan is a Human Resources executive by day and a voracious romance reader by night (and any other free minute she can get to read!) Having made the journey from “chick-lit” to erotica to m/m and finally getting more and more exposure to ANY book about LOVE, her life has literally and quite drastically been changed through reading. She loves to talk about books, may become a little too attached to characters, and wants every book she reads to have a happy ending. Susan is a member of the Boys in our Books blog team, where she was able to publish last year’s anthology, ”Another Place in Time” which raised over $10k for charity, and this year’s upcoming charity anthology “Wish Come True”, releasing December 1, 2015. 

GRNW 2015 Keynote: Read with Pride by Austin Chant

Part of the 2015 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up Keynote, “Read with Pride”.

Brokeback_MountainToday I want to talk about Brokeback Mountain—but more on that in a minute.

When I was growing up, there was no “reading queer literature” as far as I knew. Every so often I would come across a story with a minor gay character in it, or—more commonly—a cartoonish villain who was designed as a caricature of queerness. This feeling of queerness being freaky and wrong and tragic even permeated many ostensibly queer-friendly stories I read as a young person.

I loved all those sad queer characters, because even early on I could recognize that I had something in common with them. But I’d be lying if those characters didn’t make me believe some terrible things about myself. Picture a child feeling that he has more in common with campy Disney villains than Disney heroes. When the only examples you see of queer people are evil, tragic, comedic caricatures, dead, or simply treated as unworthy of having their stories told… it doesn’t lead you to expect that you, the little queer kid, are a good person. Or even a person with a future.

Which brings me to Brokeback Mountain. I love Brokeback Mountain, but I wish it were a romance novel. Or at least I wish there had existed, in 2005, a popular romance equivalent. Because when I first watched Brokeback Mountain, I was still young enough that seeing any film where two guys kissed was a total rarity, let alone one that depicted such an intense, passionate, romantic love between a same-gender couple. But then, as I watched this film for this first time, I started to get scared.

I wanted so much for it to not be a tragedy, but I knew it was going to be. Because that is what queer stories were to me—stories about unrequited love, homophobic abuse, transphobic violence, death, tragedy, death. And I didn’t want another story like that. I didn’t want something about the evils of the human condition, the cruel horrors of how we treat each other.

I wanted a love story. Specifically, I wanted a story that told me that I could be loved. I didn’t want to watch these people who I identified with suffer and die like I always watched the people I identified with suffer and die.

So—imagine with me—what if Brokeback Mountain were a romance novel? We know what would happen, right? Jack and Ennis would have their meet-cute on the mountaintop and there’d be some raunchy sex scenes, some gut-wrenching twists and turns and moments where it all seemed bleak and hopeless—but in the end, we’d see two people fall in the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, and we’d see that love triumph and find a way. We, as romance readers, would know from the start that this was a story destined to end happily. We would know with certainty that Jack and Ennis get what they deserve: joy, forever.

I’m not saying that stories like these always end happily in real life; we know that they don’t. But stories of enduring love and happiness, stories of safety and joy and recovery, are so valuable. So true. And so important. Quite honestly, they are undervalued, but they might be more important—and to me, growing up, they would have been revolutionary. I didn’t read queer romance as a young man, when I was questioning both gender and sexuality, but I wish I had. I wish I had picked up the kinds of books I read today.

Because when I read a queer romance novel, I know I won’t be martyred at the end. I won’t be left alone and heartbroken, the victim of a cruel world. Instead, I’ll be loved. And that’s actually pretty revolutionary. Telling different kinds of stories about queer people is revolutionary, and romance narratives are very different. Romance narratives promise the opposite of tragedy, and let us reclaim ourselves from stories about deviance and shame. Romance says: we deserve to be loved; we deserve to have our stories uplifted. We deserve a world where our partners respect and care for us, where we get the help we need, where we succeed in loving each other the best we can. Where we are beautiful, sexy, and desirable, and safe.

Here’s another example. Do you know how often, since I came out as a trans man, I’ve had people tell me that Boys Don’t Cry is a must-watch for me now? In case you’re unaware, Boys Don’t Cry is a film about a trans man being murdered. What if, instead (or at least in addition), people valued and recommended stories where trans men are respected, loved, protected, and adored by their partners? Give me Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz or A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde or A Matter of Disagreement by E. E. Ottoman—all romance novels released in the past few years that have made me feel touched, blessed, and loved. These stories make me feel as though the authors see my potential—for love, for success, and for joy. These stories are fantasies for those of us who desperately need to dream.

If I’ve reached any personal conclusion, it’s that we must keep reading, writing, and sharing queer romance. We must keep telling these stories. And we must keep loving and valuing each other as best we can—with our words, with our actions, and maybe most of all with books.

GRNW 2015 Keynote

Read with Pride by Jessica Blat

Read with Pride by Susan Lee

Listen to Read with Pride

Podcast: GRNW 2015 Keynote “Read with Pride”

About Austin

Austin Chant is a bitter millennial, passable chef, and avid reader and writer of queer/trans romance. He lives in Seattle with his partner in crime, a pleasant collection of game consoles, and an abundance of tea. In the regrettably large amount of time he spends not writing romance novels, he attends college and works as a game designer. His first publication is “Coffee Boy” in the Silver & Gold Anthology from Less Than Three Press (October 2015). He’d love to exchange words with you on Twitter (@AustinChanted), and his website is

GRNW 2015 Keynote: Read with Pride by Jessica Blat

Part of the 2015 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up Keynote, “Read with Pride”.

Tipping the VelvetI was a voracious reader when I was growing up. I still am. However, I didn’t read much romance -at most a few novels. You see, my sister went through a period where she thought she’d pursue romance writing so I read a few that she had on hand. In truth the shirtless heroes and fainting damsels on the covers, did not capture my interest much. What I inferred from that small sample as the standard formula of “Boy meets girl, girl hates boy generally for pretty good reasons, boy seduces girl, girl somehow redeems boy, end of story” seemed uninteresting at best and offensive at worst. I didn’t see myself in these characters. I didn’t realize there were other options in the genre. At that time –and I’m actually going to date myself here because I think the timeline is relevant– around the turn of the century, which seems ancient when you phrase it like that but actually wasn’t that long ago, there really wasn’t that much queer romance that I could easily have found as a kid in the suburbs.

Fast forward a few years. I was out, I was in college, and I went to the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. They were screening a free viewing of Tipping the Velvet – were any of you there? Cinerama was full to capacity, mostly with lesbians. The show starts, gets to a climactic moment where our protagonist realizes she has been betrayed by her lover, and the credits roll. Almost 600 people myself included, gasp in shock – we need to know how it’s going to turn out!  You can’t roll credits! The story has to have a happy ending – we understand that in our hearts. Turns out it was a miniseries and they did go on to play all the parts. As you might have guessed since I’m talking about this at an LGBTQ romance event, Nan, our protagonist, gets the girl. Happy ending. 600 lesbians and friends leave Cinerama elated.

That night there was also Q&A with Sarah Waters, the author of the novel they’d adapted for the screen. I don’t remember most of what she said though I do remember thinking, my god, someone is writing books like this. And they’re getting turned into TV on the BBC.

It certainly wasn’t the first queer book I’d read (I did go read it after watching the movie), but it was one of the first where the protagonist didn’t die or have some other tragic ending even if things were a bit dicey in the middle. And that’s really the magic of romance, after all, right? The key genre definition – it must have a happily ever after, or at least a happy for now, which is what makes it so powerful. Watching the explosion in the last few years of LGBTQ romance has, to me, been watching the growing acceptance that we can have happy ending too. As the genre (and our society) has matured in recent years, we’re also seeing that those happy endings don’t necessarily have to be in spite of being LGBTQ. In other words, we’re not  quite there yet, but I’m looking forward to gayness as a source of underlying conflict driving the will they/won’t they-either due to internalized fears or external homophobia, being entirely relegated to historical romance.And I’m thrilled for the kids of today and tomorrow that, thanks in part to many of the people in this room, they’ll be able to find so many more kinds of romance than I did as a youth in the suburbs -romance not precisely confined to exactly one shirtless guy and exactly one fainting damsel. Thank you.

GRNW 2015 Keynote

Read with Pride by Austin Chant

Read with Pride by Susan Lee

Listen to Read with Pride

Podcast: GRNW 2015 Keynote “Read with Pride”

About Jessica

Jessica Blat sits on the board of Old Growth Northwest and has volunteered at Gay Romance Northwest every year the meet-up has run. She has been an avid reader of lesbian romance since she discovered that a genre existed with happily ever afters that were relevant to her interests. She has a particular weakness for romance grounded in speculative fiction and also coming of age stories. Jessica currently works in publishing, which she came to via a circuitous route that wended through a computer science degree and financial systems consulting. She is a Seattle native that never left for more than a few months at a time, and lives with her wife and two cats.