Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Rose Christo

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 Rose Christo. Rose was unfortunately unable to make it to the 2014 conference, but we were grateful to share then the piece that she had written.

Dear Rose,

Lending Light CoverHi.  Remember me?  I know we haven’t kept in contact over the years.  It’s just that we’ve never exactly seen eye-to-eye.  I had the chance to be a physicist.  You stopped me.  I almost ran away with the girl of my dreams.  You stopped me again.  Coexisting with you is like having teeth pulled, only there’s no novacaine, and the dentist is that creepy guy from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Consider this letter a dire warning.  Yes, this is the part in A Christmas Carol where the Ghost of Christmas Future points at Scrooge’s grave, right before she rips off her ragged cloak and ballet dances across the stage.  Catherine Batcheller is so cool.

I want you to realize that you are not the only person who has to live your life.  Everyone around you is living your life, too.  Your cousins.  Your grandparents.  Even that Cliff guy who works the deli with you but doesn’t utter a single word.  What you do or don’t do in other people’s presence will affect each of them for the rest of their lives.  You might never see the impression you’ve left, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

And so when you tell stories, remember that they aren’t just your stories.  Every story you write should be with the intention of making somebody’s life a little bit happier, a little bit easier to live.  I don’t want to meet with you again in another five years and find out you haven’t helped a single person.  I think I will strangle you with my bare hands.

You are lucky to come from a community that celebrates your differences.  You are Two-Spirit, they told you.  You are the Shapeshifter, like Ayas.  Most people are not as fortunate as you are.  Do you even realize that?  When you thought that you were ugly, you were taught that you were beautiful.  Many people have been tricked into thinking they are ugly.  It’s a giant, vicious conspiracy, and that it’s allowed to persist is the most aggravating mystery on this planet.  Show them it’s a conspiracy.  Show them that they’re perfect as they are.  Make them feel it in their bones, in their teeth, in the tips of their fingers and the backs of their skulls until nobody–nothing–can take it away.  If you can’t accomplish something so small, you might as well stop writing.



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

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Rose is a Cree from Box Elder, Montana. She majored in agriculture and minored in physics. She dreams of colonizing Europa (the moon, not the continent, yikes). She is the author of multiple novels, including the young adult series Gives Light and the novel The Place Where They Cried. Visit Rose’s website.

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.

Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Jordan Castillo Price

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 Jordan Castillo Price,

Dear Jordan,

Price Jordan CastilloI wish I could warn you that school is nothing like you thought it would be. You’re standing there with your shiny new diploma and it seems like you’re embarking on a grand adventure where you land a fabulous, secure job, rub elbows with interesting people and make cool things. Unfortunately, what’s ahead of you is more of a long slog.
I’m not sure if it’s the recession, or your personality, or simply a matter of wrong place, wrong time. You’re not going to find a job you like. Ever. I hope you’re not too crushed upon hearing this—I’d actually like to encourage you to relax, because this day-job thing doesn’t last forever.

Something called the Internet is coming, and that something is really big. Nowadays it’s made of cat pictures and porn. When you first see it, though, it’s mostly text. Photographic images will take forever to load, line by line, and trying to stream a video at those speeds would be ludicrous. Even so, having access to any information you care to find is a massive game-changer.

The Internet only evolves from there. Connections improve. Pretty soon most people start communicating via email, which leads to special interest groups on Yahoo and Google, which then give way to MySpace, LiveJournal, Twitter and Facebook.

So what does this mean for you?

Early on, you’ll stumble into a group of women who write fanfiction. Not only will writing with them teach you the mechanics of writing, but it will train you to be able to write sex scenes without flinching away, and in fact you will learn to infuse meaning in every groan and thrust. Sex and sexuality are an important part of the human experience, and being able to handle gender and sexual identity fluidly, without apology, will put you exactly where you need to be when gay romance becomes the hot new genre. And here you were willing to write it for free.

Have faith, it doesn’t happen overnight. Initially you will send out numerous submissions to mens’ magazines where they either go unacknowledged, are returned unread, or are even occasionally berated. Erotica is probably not the place for you anyway, though I think it’s as good a place as any for you to start making sense of the writer’s market.  Keep practicing and develop your voice. One of these days, the gatekeepers will begin publishing you. And a few years later, once you figure out what’s what, you can set up shop for yourself and reach your audience directly, thanks to the Internet. Yes, your audience is out there, people who want to read about bent heroes who, up until now, were only allowed a tragic ending.

So don’t beat yourself up for not learning more useful things in school to set you up in a rewarding traditional career. You’re learning how to interface with other people, to communicate and to present yourself. Besides, the genre you’ll be writing in doesn’t actually exist yet. The method for delivery isn’t yet accessible to the public, and the devices people will read the stories on won’t be around for several years either. Do your best instead to observe your human experience as you navigate the roller coaster ride of your life, friends and enemies, loves and losses. The learning never stops. And every experience has the potential to make your stories that much richer.

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

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Radclyffe

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.

Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.

With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again. Visit Jordan’s website.

Write with Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Rick R. Reed

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 Rick R. Reed.

Dear Rick,

Reed, Rick_2Remember when you used to write horror? Gruesome stuff that made people, when they met you, wonder how someone so soft-spoken and mild-mannered could come up with such awful stuff?

Yeah, you remember. Some magazine even dubbed you the Stephen King of gay horror.

Yet now, most of your writing focuses on love stories. You have Rick bright and dark. And I wonder why you changed.

I don’t wonder much, to be honest. The truth is your life changed and your writing reflected that. See, for a time the one thing you wanted from life was to find love, to find a family to call your very own.

And you worked at it. God knows you did. A marriage to a woman. A series of boyfriends, three of them live-in, that never lasted more than a couple of years. All of these left you feeling unsatisfied. They all started out pretty, like a birthday cake, and then ended up like a birthday cake dropped on the floor, still traces of sweet, but with dirt, grit, disappointment and heartache mixed in with buttercream frosting.

Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. And you know how that relates to writing horror. You understand that the heartbreak and fear of loneliness and being alone drove you to create troubled characters, people who were out of control, people who were desperate and who feared that the worst could—and sometimes did—happen.

People like you. And your love life that never worked out. In retrospect, it made sense that you wrote horror.

But then, about twelve years ago, something changed. You answered an ad online and, contrary to most of those tenuous web-based connections, there was something there when you started e-mailing this one guy. He made you laugh. He got you. You talked. It was enough to make you want to meet in person after a couple of weeks.

You did. And you remember that first sighting of this guy when you went to pick him up, sitting on the steps waiting for you. He was wearing jeans and a blue pinstriped T-shirt. And with just one look, you fell in love.

It was scary. Even though things were good right from the start, you had too many scars to believe that, maybe this time, you’d be lucky. Maybe this time, he’d stay. So you resisted and clung desperately to what you told him you needed—your independence.

That lasted for all of three or four months.

You couldn’t help it. It was too true. You were in love, real love this time and it felt like more than just the heat of passion, it felt like the beating heart of family, in the truest and best sense of the word.

So you went on and nested and, unlike all the other relationships that had crashed and burned, you never once questioned your decision to be with this man. You still don’t. And now you’re legally married and looking forward to growing old with this person you never thought would cross the threshold into your life.

And to my younger Rick or Ricky, I would say, embrace both your dark and light, in both your writing and your life. But be thankful to fate, god, whatever force brought you to this man you call husband, soul mate, family…because he made it possible to be a romance writer.

And that really means something.

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

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Radclyffe

About the Author

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery, and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation, and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” In his spare time, Rick is an avid runner, loves to cook, and reads voraciously. Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Visit Rick’s website at http://www.rickrreed.com or follow his blog at http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/. You can also like Rick on Facebook or on Twitter. Rick always enjoys hearing from readers and answers all e-mails personally. Send him a message at jimmyfels@gmail.com.

Write With Pride with GRNW 2014 Author Radclyffe

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 Radclyffe, who you may also know as Len Barot, President of the LGBTQ press Bold Strokes Books.

Dear Len –

RadclyffeRadclyffe here – your writer self, the one you never thought could ever be real. No one told you when you were growing up that girls could be all the things boys could be – like cops and firefighters and mailmen and doctors. No one for sure ever mentioned being a writer – if you were a boy or a girl. That was something people a lot different than you became. So you looked around and tried to see where you might fit, but you couldn’t find yourself anywhere in the kids and families and grown-ups you saw. You looked ahead and couldn’t see yourself, only what you couldn’t be.

Then you read that book, remember? Doctor Kate it was called. You were ten maybe and you knew that was it. You wanted to be a doctor and do something that mattered, just like Kate. It all started with a book. So many books, but for so long, none about girls like you.

Remember the play you wrote about the astronaut? You made the leader a girl, because why not? Why couldn’t that happen? You were eleven. You wrote lots of stories about girls who did the things you wished you could do after that. But you never once thought of writing as anything other than a place to put your secret wishes and dreams.

Then for a long time you were too busy to think about much except becoming a doctor, until I popped up again a couple decades later and wrote some stories about women like the one you had become. Women who loved women and were happy about it. Lesbians who lived full and satisfying and noble lives. For a while you and I shared space pretty well – you worked days, I worked nights.

And then something extraordinary happened – we found a place to share our stories with other people, pretty soon, lots of people. And you discovered that writing matters, too, and not just for you—because what we write and what we read and what we share has power. The power to teach, the power to learn, the power to create community.  The power to say we have the right to love and live as we choose – come celebrate with us.

So, I am glad you finally figured out that the thing you never thought you could be has turned out to be what makes you whole. You, me and a book. Just like at the beginning.

See you soon, Len – we have another book to write and so many more to read.


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

A Message from Rose Christo

A Message from E.E. Ottoman

A Message from Jordan Castillo Price

A Message from Rick R. Reed

About the Author

Radclyffe has had a lifelong passion for the importance of affirming and validating literature for the LGBTQ community and brings more than twenty years experience in both writing and publishing to Bold Strokes Books, one of the world’s largest independent LGBTQ publishing companies. She is a retired surgeon and full time author-publisher, she has written and published over forty-five novels as well as dozens of short stories, has edited numerous anthologies, and, writing as L. L. Raand, has authored a paranormal romance series, The Midnight Hunters.

Visit her websites at www.llraand.com and www.radfic.com. For more information on Bold Strokes Books visit www.boldstrokesbooks.com.