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! 😀

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!

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!

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!

Free Read Spotlight – Library Pirates Round Robin is now COMPLETE!

Library_outsideThat’s right, with the last chapter published by Megan Derr, GRNW’s crazy six-month Library Pirates round robin (started in January, ended in June) is now finished!! 😀 And you can now read the whooooooooole thing! Check out the parts below!

The story! Baxter is new in town, and stops by the huge Seattle Public Library to use their internet, but soon things quickly turn to the weird as the oh-so-normal library setting changes around him, and what’s with those hot pirates running around? Is this some kind of…performance? Baxter doesn’t know what’s going on, but suddenly, getting out of the library without getting blasted by a cannon first becomes his newest priority!

Part 1 by Kim Fielding

Part 2 by Andrea Speed

Part 3 by Talya Andor

Part 4 by Jeffrey Ricker

Part 5 by Tara Spears

Part 6 by LE Franks

Part 7 by Sam Schooler

Part 8 by Morticia Knight

Part 9 by Sasha L. Miller

Part 10 by E.E. Ottoman

Part 11 (Final) by Megan Derr

The Back Story! This round robin was set up on our GoodReads group. After the group voted, the theme “library pirates” was chosen, and things got started.

The participating authors’ parameters? Each author would write a section of the story, and each section could only be the length of one GoodReads post (12,000 characters or around 2,200 words.) With no control about what happens before their piece, and what happens after, how did our our gaggle of awesome writers do? You decide! (But as as a very biased reader, I thought they did a smashing job!)

THANK YOU to all the wonderful authors that participated in this round robin! 😀 With their creativity, inspiration, and a whole lot of sexy humor, they pulled together an awesome (and always surprising) story of Baxter and his poor, hot-library-pirate adventures!

Read on and enjoy!

And yes, that pic is the Seattle Library where it’s all set! (This is also where GRNW is held!)

New Library Pirates chapter by Sam Schooler

Library_outsideThe new chapter of the GRNW Library Pirates round robin on GoodReads is now up, thanks to author Sam Schooler!

This time, Baxter and his hot pirate cohort are faced with an angry librarian, who reveals that these crazy happenings might not be so strange for Seattle (ha!), and then…more peril!

What will happen next???

Check it out! Part 6 by Sam Schooler

Read from the beginning: And visit the Round Robin folder on GoodReads to read the story from its adventure start, including chapters by Kim Fielding, Andrea Speed, Talya Andor, Jeffrey Ricker, Tara Spears, and L.E. Franks!

More Library Pirates! New GRNW Round Robin chapters!

Library_outsideThe GRNW Round Robin is continuing on GoodReads, and BOY, are things heating up between the stacks at the Seattle Public Library!

Check out the latest adventures of poor Baxter and his sexy pirate mates as they try to allude villains and the lurking danger that can be found at the top of a library escalator…just waiting for you!

Check out the new installments!

Part 5 by Tara Spears

Part 6 by L.E. Franks

Read from the beginning: And visit the Round Robin folder on GoodReads to read the story from its adventure start, including chapters by Kim Fielding, Andrea Speed, Talya Andor, and Jeffrey Ricker!

Free Reads Spotlight: Contemporary Romance

So, we were going to do these on Fridays, but that was a few Fridays ago! 😀 So, we’re going to do regular spotlights instead to highlight all the awesome free reads by GRNW authors.

This time, we’re looking at some free contemporary romances!

BridgesBridges by MJ O’Shea

With names like Dallas and Brooklyn they could’ve either been best friends…or worst enemies. The war started in third grade, with a surprise punch to the face, and lasted until the summer after high school when Brooklyn and Dallas are stuck working at the same store. At night. Together. It should’ve been a recipe for disaster. But instead of outright combat, they slowly start to notice that not only do they not hate each other, but perhaps they have more in common than either of them knew. Soon, amidst unexpected laughter and camaraderie, Dallas realizes that maybe the guy who used to be his number one enemy could actually be his perfect match.

Download a free ebook of this story on GoodReads!

On the Dock by Kade Boehme

Erik was a lonely small town boy who had always done what right, but after years of that life which had not turned out at all like it was supposed to if he had followed the rules, like he was told, he met Will. The world became a different place when they met that day on the dock.

Download the free ebook on GoodReads!

Wanting by Piper Vaughn

Jonah Beckett has been in love with his older brother’s best friend, Laurie, since he was thirteen-years-old. When his boyfriend, Dirk, breaks up with him for refusing to put out, Jonah uses his heartbreak over the situation as an excuse to ask Laurie to teach him all about sex before he starts college in the fall. Problem is, he made Dirk up, and Jonah has no idea what will happen when Laurie finally finds out the truth.

Download the free ebook from GoodReads or ARe!

Swept up in Blue by Pender Mackie

When Tait goes out for drinks after work he meets Jude from Sales. Tait’s more than interested, but he’s sworn off coworkers. Can Jude market himself as an employee benefit?

Download the free ebook from Amazon or ARe!

Feel free to share what free reads YOU would like to recommend to us! 😀

GRNW Round Robin part 4 by Jeffrey Ricker

Image by ObsessionDesign on Zazzle.

Image by ObsessionDesign on Zazzle.

The next part of the Library Pirates saga continues in part 4 of the GRNW GoodReads group Round Robin!

This episode is by GRNW 2014 author Jeffrey Ricker, and here we find poor Baxter escaping down waterfalls and kissing hot pirates as he searches for a book that might help get them out of this mess. Only what he discovers just adds more to the mystery!

Check it out! GRNW Round Robin part 4

And if you’re just coming into the story, you can catch up easily still to the earlier parts of Baxter’s library adventures:

Part 1 by Kim Fielding

Part 2 by Andrea Speed

Part 3 by Talya Andor

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Free Reads Friday: Contemporary Romance

Another installment of Free Reads Friday, and another chance to share some free reads by GRNW authors!

CottonwoodCottonwood Memories by L.C. Chase

For Brandon going home isn’t easy, but in order to move forward with his life with Zach, he needs to pay a visit to his first love, Avery.

This free short story was sparked by a photo prompt from a dear friend. In the photo, a young man is sitting by a window wearing nothing but a pair of superhero underwear and glasses. In his hands is a ragged teddy bear. I wondered, what is he thinking, and what does that little bear remind him of? And so began Cottonwood Memories.

Visit L.C.’s site for the free download!

Delivery with a Smile by Megan Derr

Jack worked hard to obtain a normal life. He might not love it, but it’s better than the criminal life he left behind—even if it cost literally everything, and he really does hate being a damned delivery man. On the bright side, his route includes a friendly old lady who makes the world’s best cookies and regales him with tales of her hot, jet-setting son. Normalcy definitely has perks.

Then he walks in on her and her son arguing with men at gunpoint.

Visit Less Than Three Press for the free download!

Whitetail Rock by Anne Tenino

Nikhil “Nik” Larson is a snarky, dark-skinned adoptee from India who grew up in the Whitest Town in America. Back to visit his parents Nik meets Trooper Jurgen Dammerung, a blond, butch motorcycle cop who’s so hot he leaves a con trail wherever he goes.

Jurgen is the epitome of everything Nik hated about growing up the lone Indian boy among a town of white people. But Jurgen surprises him rather (ahem) pleasantly, in spite of — or because of — Nik’s attempts to needle him. By the end of his visit, Nik realizes he likes Jurgen. But Jurgen’s so not the relationship type.

Right?

Visit All Romance Ebooks to download it for free!

And you can visit the GRNW Free Reads shelf on GoodReads to find even more free reads!

Free Reads Friday! Paranormal Edition

The War at the end of the world_BelleauWe want to highlight some fantastic free works for readers, especially if they’re looking to sample work by authors attending GRNW 2014. So, we’ll be featuring (hopefully weekly!) selections of free reads that you all can check out. 🙂

The War at the End of the World by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane

September, 1941.

War correspondent Joseph Byrne has been cheating death all his life, ever since he spent two years in an iron lung as a boy diagnosed with polio. In the years since, the Fetch, a strange being charged by Death with collecting Joseph and transporting him into the unknown, has been condemned to watch and wait.

Now, with Joseph working in a Finland caught in a tug of war between Nazi and Soviet forces, it seems a foregone conclusion that the Fetch’s sentence is at its end and Death will have Joseph for her own at last. Joseph, an openly Jewish American, has no doubt where his allegiance lies, no matter the danger. But after all these years at Joseph’s side, watching him overcome adversity to grow into a brave and principled young man, the Fetch has come to realize that there are forces stronger and so much sweeter than even the purpose you were made for.

Visit Storm Moon Press to download it for free!

Red by Belinda McBride

After a decade, Stephan is back in town, his brutal hunter’s gaze searching for prey. When he runs into Red in a bar, Stephan is mesmerized. Years ago, Red had been a skinny boy, doing his best to protect himself from the big bad creatures of the city. Now, he’s all grown up and has been waiting a very long time… for Stephan.

Visit the M/M Romance Group’s site to download it for free!

Deadman and the Lustful Spirit by Lou Harper

Denton is a necromancer and his boyfriend Bran is a witch. It’s not as exciting as it sounds. They don’t even get to dress the part, unless it’s New Year’s Eve and they’ve been invited to a costume party. Denton is happy to let his hair down, but coaxing the reclusive Bran out of his shell is hard enough without a demonic spirit crashing the party.

Convincing the spirit to return whence it came from will call on Denton’s special skills, but not in necromancy.

Grab it for free at Smashwords.

Shy Hunter by Ginn Hale

Since being assaulted, David must struggle to control the beast within. But the killer stalking David’s lover may leave him no choice but to embrace his dangerous nature.

Visit Ginn’s site to read the full story.

And you can always find more in our free reads shelf in the GRNW GoodReads group!

Happy reading! 😀