GRNW Registration opens this Saturday + News!

GRNW_ButtonAvatarMark your calendars for those interested in attending the 2014 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up conference on September 20, 2014. Registration will open this Saturday, April 26, 2014!

(April 26 Edit! Aaaaand it’s open! Go forth and save your seat!)

How much is registration for GRNW 2014?

Early-bird tickets will be $17.50. That ticket price will go up to the final ticket price in August to $25.

What will happen at GRNW 2014?

GRNW 2014 will be a full day of events, starting in the morning of Saturday, September 20 with workshops, pitch sessions with publishers, and a reader meet-up with games and giveaways.

The main conference will start in the afternoon at 1pm with a keynote address and followed by three panel discussions on different aspects of the genre.

Like last year, after the conference we will have a book festival across the street at the Hotel Monaco. And following the book fest, there will be an after-party for more mingling and also short readings!

It will be a long, but very fun day. We hope you can join us! (And wear comfortable shoes!)

And like last year, we’ll have a free public reading event on the Friday night before the conference as well as more opportunities to meet with other attendees.

How big will GRNW 2014 be?

The main conference space at the Seattle Public Library fits 275 people, so that is our max.

Who is attending GRNW 2014????

Great question! Here are the more than 50 authors planning on attending!

  • Astrid Amara
  • Talya Andor
  • Eric Andrews-Katz
  • Cate Ashwood
  • David-Matthew Barnes
  • Laura Baumbach
  • Jove Belle
  • Heidi Belleau
  • Angela Benedetti
  • Sarah Black
  • Kade Boehme
  • L.C. Chase
  • Diana Copland
  • Adrianna Dane
  • DP Denman
  • Megan Derr
  • Kim Fielding
  • LE Franks
  • Stormy Glenn
  • Amelia C. Gormley
  • Ginn Hale
  • Dena Hankins
  • Daisy Harris
  • David Holly
  • Laylah Hunter
  • Amber Kell
  • Nicole Kimberling
  • Morticia Knight
  • Lori L. Lake
  • Emma Lanner
  • Belinda McBride
  • Sasha L. Miller
  • M.J. O’Shea
  • E.E. Ottoman
  • Samuel Jarius Pettit
  • Jordan Castillo Price
  • Radclyffe
  • Rick R. Reed
  • Devon Rhodes
  • Charlie Richards
  • Jeffrey Ricker
  • EJ Russell
  • Tara Spears
  • Andrea Speed
  • Draven St. James
  • Ethan Stone
  • Lou Sylvre
  • Anne Tenino
  • Karis Walsh
  • Sheri Lewis Wohl

 

Check out the GRNW Authors page for more info about all these wonderful writers!

mta-queerdetectiveIf there anything else going on beside the September conference??

OMG—tons! We have two events this month, more events next month, and more coming soon!

Please check our events page for more info about our upcoming Portland reader meeting on April 27, “The Queer Detective” reading event at the Seattle Public Library on April 30 with Nicole Kimberling, Lori L. Lake, and Lou Sylvre, an event on May 4 in Tacoma with Andrea Speed, the Lambda Literary finalists reading in Seattle with LC Chase on May 9, and more!

Geez, that’s a lot! What is up with GRNW? Are you guys bored?

GRNW is not so much one conference but more a regional movement to better connect local LGBTQ romance authors and readers to each other and to community resources and organizations.

There are so many great reasons why these wonderful books should have a higher profile within popular culture, and our role is to help shepherd these communities, events, readings, and convenings, so more readers can find these awesome works, and more writers can have their voices heard.

As always, GRNW is a completely volunteer-run initiative. Give us a shout-out if you would like to join the movement! We’d love to have you a part of these events! 😀

2013 Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead to GRNW 2014

It’s still January, so that tells us it’s not too late to do a wrap-up post about last year, as well as look ahead to 2014 and how we can further our initiatives and projects to better spread the love about LGBT romance fiction in the Pacific Northwest. 🙂

First, we wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported GRNW in 2013! Lots of things happened in our first year, and we’re so happy that you were there to be a part of it!

GRNW 2013 – Activities and Outcomes

GRNW_ButtonAvatar– We held our first Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up on September 14, 2013 at The Seattle Public Library with over 120 attendees, a keynote address, 3 panel discussions, and a hoppin’ book fest at the Hotel Monaco!

It was a FANTASTIC first conference, and thank you to everyone who came out to participate. We know we came out of nowhere last year to celebrate all that is awesome about LGBT romance fiction, so we appreciate everyone who came out to join us. 😀

– We had a huge community of support for the inaugural conference:

10 GRNW Sponsors, including Blind Eye Books, Bold Strokes Books, Dreamspinner Press, Extasy Books, Harmony Ink Press, Less Than Three Press, Riptide Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Storm Moon Press, and Torquere Press!

And 11 GRNW Community Partners, including Gay City Health Project and the Gay City LGBT Library, GeekGirlCon, Hedgebrook, Lambda Literary Foundation, Pride Foundation, Queer Geek, Rainbow Romance Writers, Rose City Romance Writers, The Seattle Lesbian, and University Book Store!

We’re very grateful to all our partners and sponsors who took a chance on supporting a brand new initiative. Thank you for being part of this adventure!

– We had an amazing group of more than 30 LGBT romance authors that joined us for the first year’s event!

Thank you to all the writers that supported GRNW during our first year and beyond! This event would not have happened without your support, participation, enthusiasm, and your belief that this event should happen!

University Book Store Reading

University Book Store Reading

– We held three reading events at the University Book Store during July and September 2013 that featured 12 GRNW authors, including Ginn Hale, Anne Tenino, Megan Derr, Kade Boehme, and Andrea Speed!

For some authors, this was their first public reading event, and we’re happy to be a part of that experience. A big part of our mission is to continually promote opportunities to connect LGBT romance to the community, encourage more awareness of the genre, and celebrate the writers, readers, publishers, and fans who are pushing queer romance forward. Hosting public reading events is a great way to connect these works to the community at large.

– 12 GRNW authors participated in our first “5 Minutes in Heaven” reading at the 2013 GRNW Meet-Up book fest, including P.D. Singer, Amelia Gormley, Eric Andrews-Katz, Rick R. Reed, and Angela Benedetti!

Books for Lambert House!

Books for Lambert House!

– We hosted two book drives in 2013, gathering 240+ books for Gay City’s LGBT Library and 150+ Young Adult LGBT books for the LGBT youth services organization Lambert House!

Donating LGBT books is an excellent way to help spread awareness. We encourage everyone to look at LGBT community resources in your area that may be in need of new books.

– We launched our GRNW GoodReads group to share news and provide a place where authors, attendees, and fans can meet and chat.

– We did 12 interviews with GRNW 2013 authors, including Nicole Kimberling, Lou Harper, Heidi Belleau, and Devon Rhodes!

– 10 authors participated in our Secret Story event on GoodReads and shared short stories with readers, including stories by Morticia Knight, Pender Mackie, Sasha L. Miller, and Lou Sylvre!

– We held our first Seattle LGBT Romance Reader Group meeting in November at Gay City!

Hosting regional reader meetings were a direct result of the 2013 Meet-Up. Attendees had requested more opportunities to meet other local readers.

– We posted the GRNW keynote address by SPL’s Marlene Harris which shares information about how to work with libraries to expand LGBT library collections: How to get LGBT Romance Books into Libraries

– We were lucky enough to have multiple media mentions about the GRNW Meet-Up and our activities, includes pieces in The Seattle Lesbian, Seattle Gay News, Dear Author, and our own article in Lambda Literary about the conference’s mission: Seattle Conference Spreads the Love about LGBTQ Romance Fiction

– GRNW lead Tracy posted her wrap-up about the 2013 Meet-up: What I learned while running a Gay Romance Conference

– During the month prior to the September conference, the Seattle Public Library added more than 240 LGBT romance ebooks to their collections, including books by most of the authors attending GRNW!

And we got the chance to work with and meet so many wonderful writers and readers who, like us, love LGBT romance fiction!

THANK YOU for joining us and being part of such an amazing year!

Gaylaxy Quest2014 and Beyond!

So, we’re into 2014 and plans are in the making to make GRNW’s second year bigger AND better than our first year.

– We held our first Portland Reader Group meeting on January 11, and boy, was it a blast! Thank you to everyone who came out to join in! There WILL be more Portland meetings in the future!

– We have our next Seattle Reader Group meeting on February 1, again at Gay City! We hope you can join us for more chatting about your favorite books!

MORE AUTHOR EVENTS! We’re planning author reading events throughout the year. Our next two are Rainbow Valentine on Feb. 13 at the University Book Store and Gaylaxy Quest on Feb. 21 at Gay City. Each event will feature four GRNW 2014 authors reading their work!

And that’s just for February! We have more reading events planned for 2014, and our goal is to expand outside of Seattle to host more events across the Pacific Northwest!

Extending our Reach with Partnerships! GRNW is working with community partners, including Gay City and Queer Geek to help host LGBT fiction events throughout the year. We’re really excited to work with the community to better spread awareness of so many authors’ works.

– We started the GRNW blog here on the website to help encourage more dialogue around the genre and offer a platform for authors and readers to share their thoughts.

2014WinterCoverV2_small-231x300– The #2 issue of Old Growth Northwest’s literary journal POPLORISH includes five of the short stories from the GRNW GoodReads group’s 2013 Secret Story event. The whole issue is free to download.

– In January 2014, we started the first GRNW GoodReads Round Robin story project with 11 authors participating! Already, part 1 and part 2 have been posted!

GRNW_ButtonAvatarGRNW Meet-Up 2014!

And of course, we’re gearing up for the big event on September 20, 2014. Plans are still in development to make it even more awesome, but here’s a sneak peak of what’s coming:

– We have over 50 authors signed up to attend!

– We’ll be back at the wonderful Seattle Public Library in the middle of downtown Seattle in their Microsoft Auditorium. (Seats 275)

– The main conference will again be during the afternoon and will feature panel discussions with authors and publishers and a keynote address, along with Q&As with the audience.

– In the morning, we’ll be hosting workshops for writers, a special “Readers Rumpus” meet-up for readers, and author pitch sessions with attending publishers.

– After the conference, we’ll be back at the Hotel Monaco across the street from the library for the Happy Hour book fest where attendees can meet with authors and get books signed. (And free swag!)

MCWLib– We’ll be working again with Gay City on another book drive during the conference for the Gay City LGBT Library. (So save up your book donations! There will be prizes for donors!)

– And we’ll be hosting an after party that will feature more fun times and special readings!

– We already have a wonderful group of GRNW Sponsors on board for 2014, including Blind Eye Books, Bold Strokes Books, Decadent Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Extasy Books, Harmony Ink Press, Less Than Three Press, Loose Id, MLR Press, Riptide Publishing, and Samhain Publishing! (Let us know if you would like to come on board to help support GRNW 2014!)

– We have a fantastic team of GRNW Community Partners on board for 2014, including Gay City and the Gay City LGBT Library, Lambda Literary, Pride Foundation, Queer Geek, Rainbow Romance Writers, Rose City Romance Writers, and The Seattle Lesbian! (Let us know if you would like to join us as a Community Partner!)

September 20, 2014 will be a BUSY day, but we think it will be amazing, and we hope you can join us in sunny Seattle on that Saturday!

For those wondering about tickets, registration will open up in Spring 2014. Tickets to GRNW 2013 were $25 (and just $15 for the early bird rate!) Tickets to the 2014 conference will be around the same price, and yes, the tickets will include entrance to all the events.

And like in 2013, GRNW 2014 is a volunteer-run initiative. All funds raised, whether through tickets, ads, or sponsorships, go directly to funding the conference and related GRNW activities.

It’s going to be a great year! We hope you will join us in all these festivities and be a part of the celebration around LGBT romance fiction!

To 2014 and beyond!

What I Learned While Running a Gay Romance Conference

By Tracy Timmons-Gray, GRNW Coordinator

This is a re-posting of an essay Tracy wrote for the genre blog Reviews by Jesswave that was published on October 15, 2013.

On September 14, 2013, more than 120 attendees joined the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up at the Seattle Central Public Library, the first conference on LGBT romance fiction in the Pacific Northwest. The event was hosted by the Seattle nonprofit Old Growth Northwest, which focuses on fostering community and building resources for authors around the Pacific Northwest. I served as the event coordinator for GRNW (on a volunteer basis. GRNW is entirely volunteer-run. For the record, I’m speaking here as myself, and not for Old Growth.)

The conference itself was a one-day event–an afternoon with three panel discussions with authors, editors, publishers, and cover artists that talked about topics like writing gay romance, what publishers are looking for, and diversity (or lack thereof) in LGBT romance. Following the conference, we went across the street to the Hotel Monaco where attendees could meet with authors and readers, buy books, have books signed, and listen to short readings.

GRNW 2013 Attending Authors

GRNW 2013 Attending Authors

We call GRNW 2013 a success overall, especially for our first year.

1- The event went great, with only a few hitches (e.g. like us at registration forgetting to give out swag bags for the first 60 attendees. It was a hilarious scramble as conference volunteers ran up to pass out bags to the audience members.)

2- Due to writers, publishers, and attendees’ generous donations, both before and during the conference, we gathered more than 240 LGBT books in our book drive for the Gay City LGBT Library, a nonprofit library in Seattle that’s open to the public.

3- As seen in Marlene Harris’ earlier posting about working with libraries, during the month prior to the conference, the Seattle Public Library purchased 240 LGBT romance ebooks for the library collection, including books by most of the attending authors. We were very proud that SPL took such great and immediate measures to expand their collections.

(It’s just coincidence that the number of Gay City book drive donations matched the number of SPL additions, although we’re very happy that in total almost 500 LGBT books were added to the Seattle community this summer.)

GRNW Panel: Megan Derr, Astrid Amara, Stormy Glenn, Daisy Harris, Ethan Stone, and Anne Tenino

GRNW Panel: Megan Derr, Astrid Amara, Stormy Glenn, Daisy Harris, Ethan Stone, and Anne Tenino

Thinking Ahead to GRNW 2014

We got a lot of positive feedback as well as wonderful suggestions from attendees for next year (and yes, there is a next year—GRNW 2014 will be back at the Seattle Central Public Library on Sept. 13, 2014.)

After running this event, I learned a lot of things. If I had to step back in time to talk with April 2013 Tracy, which is when this event idea was born, these are some of the things that I would share:

Writers, Sponsors, and Partners will get on board

Lou Harper, Nicole Kimberling, and Devon Rhodes

GRNW authors Lou Harper, Nicole Kimberling, and Devon Rhodes

Prior to this event, we did not have connections with any of the authors, sponsors, or partners. All connections were made in those five months. The hardest thing was to reach out and ask them to join. (It’s kind of scary—asking a stranger if they’d like to believe in your idea.) But everyone was so positive and enthusiastic to be a part of this, even though we were not a known entity or part of the industry.

So, I say this to anyone who is interested in doing something similar—push past your fear of asking. Some will say no, and some will ignore you, but most of the people you will talk to are wonderful, caring, creative, and positive people, and they will be a joy to work with.

Partnerships are valuable, even if they can’t support you financially

GRNW authors Heidi Belleau, Kade Boehme, Ginn Hale, Rick R. Reed, and Andrea Speed

GRNW authors Heidi Belleau, Kade Boehme, Ginn Hale, Rick R. Reed, and Andrea Speed

GRNW and Old Growth Northwest worked with 11 community partners on this event, from the geeky convention GeekGirlCon to the prestigious Lambda Literary to two RWA chapters, the Rainbow Romance Writers and the Rose City Romance Writers. These kinds of partnerships are great for outreach, building connections, building awareness, and tying your fiction event more into the community.

There are so many great reasons to spread the love of LGBT romance fiction, and connecting your event to local LGBT, arts, and writing nonprofits is a great way to extend your reach and build awareness of the genre.

Independent bookstores vs. independent presses

GRNW_Panel_1_AudienceOne of our partners was an independent bookstore which handled all the ordering and bookselling for the event. The bookstore was wonderful to work with, but we definitely ran into conflicts, and it’s one of those, “it’s no one’s fault” kind of issues. Both independent publishers and bookstores have policies in place, and they don’t always work together. For example, some presses don’t allow returns. Book stores will only buy books that can be returned. Both sides are in a financial standing where one can’t overcompensate for the other without losing money.

This isn’t the fault of the independent press. They’re putting themselves out there and taking a big risk by being independent. Nor is it the fault of the store. As we can see by the dwindling numbers of brick-and-mortar bookstores, they can’t afford to take on financial risks either.

We plan on continuing to work with bookstores and holding bookstore author events. (This year we held three store reading events that featured 12 GRNW authors.) It’s part of our mission to keep working with bookstores and libraries to highlight authors, because LGBT romance authors should be spotlighted at public author events just as other genre authors are.

But our goal for next year is to continually look for new ways to make the process easier—for stores, for presses, for authors, and for readers. Because even though the majority of the market is ebook-driven, there is still real joy in being able to flip through these books at a store. Our goal is to see how we can make that even easier.

You will run into bigotry, prejudice, and elitism

Focus on the good parts and all the positive people that you’re working with. So when someone tells you that they don’t serve “those kinds of customers” or tells you derisively that they don’t “read those kinds of books,” you can respond professionally back to them. It will happen, because not everyone is at the table with LGBT, romance, or LGBT romance.

Just smile and tell them that there will always be a spot at the table for them when they want it.

What more can be done – GRNW Call to Action

GRNW_ButtonAvatarOne of the main points we made at the conference was that there are so many little things that readers and writers can do to help boost awareness of the genre, and part of our purpose was to live by example and show how one can engage to make things happen, whether you’re  a reader or a writer.

These things include:

Requesting your library to purchase LGBT romance books

– If your library has books already, borrowing them. (That’s one of the best ways to show a library that there’s demand.)

Donating books to community LGBT libraries. A lot of cities have them, whether they are a formal library or at a community center. Donating books is a great way to spread the love.

Working with book stores, libraries, and related nonprofits to host author events. (This is especially easy in urban areas where you can gather multiple authors for one event.)

Attend local LGBT romance events in your area. (Getting attendees at events is how more events happen. Nothing shuts down an initiative faster than a visible lack of interest.)

Participate in conventions and events—whether it’s the genre flagship event of GayRomLit, this spring’s RainbowCon, this summer’s UK Meet 2014, the LGBTQ track at RT 2014, next fall’s GRNW 2014 or Yaoicon 2014, or organizing an event or panel with your local RWA chapter, nothing stops silence more than going out there and publicly celebrating.

Celebrate. Celebrate lots and lots. Because whether you’re a writer or a reader, you’re worth it, and so are these books.

One of the last points we ended GRNW was this:

We don’t need to wait for mainstream publishers to tell us that these books are valuable.

We can do that ourselves.

With all these little ways, we can announce with our actions about the books that we love and the authors that we admire.

Request. Borrow. Lend. Buy. Donate. Review. Recommend. Attend.

Read. Write.

Celebrate.

Love.

We’ll be right there doing the same. We’d love for you to join us.

Tracy Timmons-Gray has a background in nonprofit project management, development, and communications, and is an avid LGBTQ romance reader.

JOIN US FOR GRNW 2014!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 2013 Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up!

SAVE THE DATE! Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2014 will be held on SEPTEMBER 20, 2014. We hope you can join us!

More than 120 attendees joined Old Growth Northwest on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the Seattle Central Public Library for Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2013, the first conference in the Pacific Northwest to focus on the rising genre of LGBTQ romance fiction. The conference featured discussions and panels with LGBTQ Romance authors, publishers, editors, and cover artists from around the region as well as Q&As with the audience. Following the conference, there was a post-event “happy hour” book festival at the Hotel Monaco for author signings, author readings, giveaways, and more mingling and chatting.

Read the GRNW 3013 Keynote: How to Get LGBT Romance Books into Libraries by Marlene Harris (Reviews by Jesswave, 10/4/13)

Read the GRNW 2013 Wrap-Up and Call to Action: What I Learned While Running A Gay Romance Conference (Reviews by Jesswave, 10/15/13)

Visit Programming to see more photos from GRNW 2013!

To get a sneak peek at who is attending GRNW 2014, please visit our GoodReads Group!

Visit our Events page for info about upcoming meetings, readings, and events.

Stay tuned for more updates from the 2013 conference, including conference videos!

GRNW_AuthorsThe authors involved in GRNW 2013!

Schedule of GRNW Events for September 14, 2013

Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up
(Seattle Central Public Library, 1000 4th Ave.)

Registration: 12pm-1pm, Microsoft Auditorium
Panel Discussions: 1pm-5pm, Microsoft Auditorium

View the full Programming Schedule.

Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up “Happy Hour”
(Hotel Monaco, 1101 4th Ave.)

Happy Hour: 5pm-8pm, Paris Ballroom
Author Signings and Meet & Greet: 5:30pm-6:30pm, Paris Ballroom
Author Readings: 6:30pm-7:30pm, Paris Ballroom

Select titles were available for sale during the Meet-Up and Happy Hour courtesy of the University Book Store.

Registration and Admission

Registration for the GRNW 2013 was $25 and admission included both the GRNW Meet-Up at the Seattle Central Library and the Happy Hour book fest at the Hotel Monaco.

Stay tuned for our announcement for GRNW 2014 registration, coming Spring 2014!

To learn more about GRNW 2013 authors, click here.