GRNW 2014 Authors Celebrate Queer Romance Month

QRM_Badge-2-300x300From October 1 – October 31, over 120 authors and readers came together to celebrate a new blog project, Queer Romance Month.

Throughout the entire month, contributors shared 3-4 essays posted daily that celebrated the many facets of queer romance fiction, and the many layers of being queer, of being an ally, of loving romance stories, and highlighting this rising supply of romance stories that represent and celebrate LGBTQIA lives and relationships.

Please go and enjoy the many wonderful and heartfelt posts and stories that share so much about love and desire, about sadness and loneliness, about separation and rejection, and about resilience and realization, hope and triumph.

(Not to mention some hilarious and fantastic posts about writing, about slash fanfiction, and about what it felt like to first discover the existence of queer romance books and their Happily Ever Afters for queer characters.)

Among the many amazing contributors, you will find posts by GRNW 2014 authors as well. Please find them listed below, but please also enjoy the Bounty that is the QRM library. It is reading not to be missed.

GRNW 2014 Authors Writing for QRM 2014

Title Hell by Astrid Amara

“So trying to find a title that’s catchy (UnderWere) , memorable (The Anus of Caesar), but not disturbing (The Anus of Caesar), captures the story (Disenchanted Angel Seeks Revenge on God), but doesn’t reveal the end (Balls No More) is a real challenge.”

Mambo Italiano and My First happy Ending by Heidi Belleau

“Mambo Italiano was my very first queer rom com. My very first queer love story. My very first queer happy ending.”

Shimmer by L.C Chase

“I don’t know how long we stood like that, gazes locked, bodies frozen, with five feet of marbled tile between us. He was the one who decided it had been long enough though.”

Love Is Love Everywhere, Everywhen, Everyhow by Kim Fielding

“Love is love, right? It’s one of the mottos of Queer Romance Month, and it’s a concept that I—and all the other authors featured this month—recognize as a basic tenet of our work. But I want to add three more words to the motto: everywhere, everywhen, everyhow.”

Well now what? by Rhys Ford

“I’d want someone—gay, straight, purple or polka-dotted—to be able to carry themselves through life without having to fight for the right to love or to live.”

9 stories and 10 links by Ginn Hale

“But we writers aren’t the only ones exploring expanding the definitions of romance. Numerous amazing creators are writing, illustrating and producing, (often completely at their own expense) brilliant web comics. And I’d like to share a few that stand out for me.”

What Organizing a Gay Wedding Taught Me About Being a Romance Writer by Nicole Kimberling

“For a lot of readers, venturing through any of the doors marked L, G, B, or T is going to be as confusing as the bride-free wedding was for my previous client. Even readers of G might never try and see what’s behind the door marked T. Does that make them bad people? Not at all. It just means they haven’t found the book that can translate the experience into terms they understand or are able to feel comfortable engaging.”

Why We Need Trans Romance by E.E. Ottoman

“I refuse to believe that I will always be alone, that being trans has doomed me to isolation and unhappiness. I refuse to raise another generation of trans children who believe that is true, that they are fundamentally unlovable because they are trans. Who live without ever seeing people like them portrayed as being in a happy, healthy relationship. Who never get to see themselves as the heroes of a story about love and being loved.”

Components of Gay Romance by Jordan Castillo Price

“I may not consider myself to be a romance writer. But whether the love interest in my stories functions as a contrast to the main character, or a liability, or an ally, I find the relationship subplot to be a critical component of the work I’ve written so far.”

Lesbian Romance — Becoming Visible with a Little Help from our (M/M) Friends by Radclyffe

“While we who write LGBTQ romance may have different audiences, we have a common theme, and what unites us is far more significant than what separates us.”

It’s All About Me by Anne Tenino

“Most of those people who’re freaking out, telling LGBTQ people that they’re going to burn in hell? They aren’t doing it to save you. They’re doing it because they’re afraid of being punished for not saying anything.”

Why Queer Romance Matters by LA Witt

“I would have given my right arm for some believable, realistic queer characters when I was a teenager. Maybe then I would have seen myself and learned that there’s nothing wrong with me. I might’ve even learned what in the world ‘bisexual’ meant before I realized it also meant ‘me’.”

And GRNW lead Tracy contributed an essay prior to QRM’s launch:

Working in your Community to get the Word Out about Queer Romance by Tracy Timmons-Gray

“You may think that building community awareness around queer romance fiction is limited to gaining social media followers or GoodReads friends, but there are actually a lot of ways to build awareness within your *real life* community as well, and in ways that can have a big impact for other local readers and writers.”

Thank you to the organizers and contributors to the Queer Romance Month project.

With still so much celebration to do, where will QRM go next? We look forward to finding out! 😀

And please share with us YOUR favorite(s) QRM posts, and what they meant to you!

Write with Pride with GRNW Author E.E. Ottoman

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

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

Ottoman, EE_croppedThis is not writing advice.

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes you just need to say fuck it.

And do it anyway.

I hope you still do that.

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

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

This is something that you did.

No one else made these stories.

Only you.

Only you could.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you are going to write.

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

I hope you are proud

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

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

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

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

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

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

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