Gay Romance Northwest 2016

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Hello all,

Bringing to you today the events from the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up that happened yesterday. 

The event started off with everyone registering for the conference and finding the people they knew. I found the trans panel contingent as well as some other friends, such as Kelly Haworth, a Riptide author.

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Then, we started off with an intro from the Seattle Public Library, which was hosting the event. Then Tracy Timmons-Grey, our lovely and dedicated organizer said a few words.

Then, we moved on to the terrifying part, which was the keynote speeches. Richard Compson Sater went first, and he talked about being a young man and falling in love with some of the non-queer characters in books, such as Atticus Finch. Then I went, and I talked about being young and not being able to find queer characters in books to reflect who I truly was. Then Tobi Hill-Meyer went and talked about trans issues in the queer community. Our speeches will be posted on the GRNW blog as well as the recordings of the speeches.

Then, we moved right along to our panel, which was Trans Authors on Characters, Stories, and Industry. The moderator of our panel was Austin Chant, and our panelists were Tobi Hill-Meyer, Laylah Hunter, E.E. Ottoman, J.K. Pendragon, and myself. We had a great time with our panel, and some of the questions asked were things such as how being trans affected our writing and what were our experiences with publishing as trans authors. I felt like some of my answers were more basic while other panelists such as Tobi had more in-depth answers. But I still had fun with the panel, especially talking about our favourite tropes.

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After that, we went to the Erased no More: Bisexual Characters in LGBTQ Romance panel. The moderator was E.J. Russell, and the panelists were Dev Bentham, Charley Descoteaux, CJane Elliot, Amanda Jean, and Morticia Knight. I’d wanted to check out the panel about writing a series, but that discussion was full. The bisexual panel was still fun, touching on issues such as stereotypes, pushback about writing bisexual characters, and the gay-for-you trope, which Amanda suggested should be changed to the bisexual revelation trope.

We went to the bookfest on the 4th floor after that, which was fun. I got to talk to a lot of people, sign some books, and give away some swag. I was sitting next to J.K. Pendragon and E.E. Ottoman, so we got to talk a lot. During the last part of the bookfest, I went and bought some books, The Mechanical Universe trilogy by E.E. Ottoman, and The Admirer, a murder mystery by Karelia Stetz-Waters which I got signed by the authors.

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Then we went to the Rendezvous for the after party. Last year we missed the after party because we were so tired. There were several readings, and I went up and read from Rangers over Regulus, which was an impromptu reading. 

And that’s all folks! We had a great time and were exhausted afterwards, but I think this year’s Gay Romance Northwest meet-up was a great success.

TransFics and Love Bites!

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Hello all! I just got back to the hotel after the TransFics and Love Bites readings at Hugo House! We had a wonderful time, and J.K. Pendragon and myself did readings, as well as everyone else on the Trans Authors panel.

Austin Chant went first, and he read from his trans retelling of Peter Pan. We got to hear a lot of witty banter between Peter and Captain Hook, who are lost together. It was a very funny reading, and there was a bit of (one-sided???) sexual tension near the end to entice us to read more.

Next up was Tobi Meyer Hill, who read from her upcoming anthology Nerve Endings. It featured a very interesting sex party in which the main character was uncertain and nervous about being there. It all ended happily for her in the end, however.

Then Laylah Hunter read from a military fantasy novella work in progress in which the main character has lost his memory after a crash-landing, and one of his comrades came to his rescue. Were they more to each other or not? We’ll have to read it when it comes out to find out!

E.E. Ottoman read from their novel Documenting Light in which one of the characters takes a long walk in the park and has an intense inner struggle after having a fight with his lover. It was very angsty, and it really made you feel for the poor character!

J.K. Pendragon read from Witch, Cat & Cobb, a trans lesbian fantasy novella starring a runaway princess, a talking cat, and a reluctant witch. They read a section in which the princess wakes up to the witch yelling in the garden right after she had stayed the night after running away from the castle to escape an arranged marriage.

Lastly, I read from Charmed by Chance, which is in the charity anthology Magic & Mayhem. I read a section from the very beginning of the story in which the main character Merritt meets Verity, who is the mech mage who helps to fix his prosthetic hand. I chose the mage x cyborg pairing for my story, as you can probably tell.

We had a short break, and then we went right on to the Love Bites readings!

The first reading was by Karelia Stetz-Waters, who read from Slack Tides, which is also in the Magic & Mayhem anthology. She chose the soldier x tattoo artist pairing for her story. She read a steamy scene between her main character, who is surprised and pleased to find that her lover is as skillful in bed as on the battlefield.

Next up was Richard Compson Sater, who read from his upcoming novel, Rank. His main character is the aide of a very handsome General, and in the section he read, the main character and the General share a very suggestive dance. 

Isabella read from her story involving a lesbian yakuza gang leader who sees her ex-lover at a club trying to catch a new lover. Her character doesn’t like this, and she moves in to take charge. Luckily, her former partner isn’t as adverse to this as you might think. Bring a fan to this one, because it is hot!

Cora Walker read from her lesbian urban fantasy novel, which is coming out from Less Than Three Press! She read a section in which her two characters, a detective and a templar have some down time.

CJAne Elliot read from one of her novels, in which her main character has just been caught in a compromising position with a professor and a player by the guy he likes. He has to chase after him and explain what happened. Will he get his man, or won’t he? Those of us who attended the reading know!

Jeff Adams read from his novel Hattrick, in which his main character shares a room with one of the other boys on his hockey team. He not only had to navigate the treacherous waters of teen romance as well as tackling the issue of being gay. 

Dev Bentham read a funny section from her story from the charity anthology One Pulse about a bisexual character who runs into a teacher of his daughter’s at a LGBTQ meeting. The two share a second meeting, and the main character awkwardly and hilariously stumbles through a greeting.

That was the end of the readings. We had a great time, but I am tired now, so I am going to go to bed. Hopefully I see some of you at the conference tomorrow! 

Catch you all later!

 

 

Winner for ATKM giveaway!

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Hello everyone, I’d like to announce that the winner for the mini blog hop giveaway for a gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market and a signed copy of All the King’s Men is:

Shirley A.

Thank you to everyone for participating in the giveaway.

The blog hop stops, if anyone wants to check them out are as follows:

Joyfully Jay

My blog

Hearts on Fire

Love Bytes

Prism Book Alliance

Thanks for reading everyone, and have a good day!

All the King’s Men release day!

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Hello everyone!

Today is an exciting day, because it is the release date for All the King’s Men!

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All the King’s Men is now available on the Less than Three Press book market! Check it out!

Also, don’t forget to check out the mini blog hop going on right now for a chance to win a signed copy of All the King’s Men as well as a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three Press book market! All you have to do is comment on one of the blog posts and then enter the Rafflecopter draw. There is a stop on my blog here if you want to enter, and today’s stop is at Hearts on Fire!

All the King’s Men blog hop stop

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Hello everyone, and welcome back to the mini blog hop celebrating the release of All the King’s Men, happening tomorrow! I’m glad you could join me today to talk about cyberpunk stories and romance.

My novel is a cyberpunk science fiction romance. I know, it seems like those genres might be at odds with each other, but I wanted to prove that they’re really not.

Science fiction that is cyberpunk usually takes place in cyberspace, a reality of the mind that is connected to other minds or has a theme of technologically enhanced humans. Cyberpunk also usually has a theme of dystopia, in which darker themes are explored, such as government oppression, and what makes a person human. Some other examples of cyberpunk are the movie The Matrix, the novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, the anime Ghost in the Shell and the TV show Dark Angel.

All the King’s Men takes place in the mindnet world of the Cerebrum, a place much like the internet. A person projects their own idea of what they look like using the power of their mind, and they can travel the Cerebrum with a simple thought.

My main character, Fox, describes the Cerebrum this way:

Some said that traversing the Cerebrum looked different to everyone, and that made sense to Fox. Every individual who linked into the mindnet thought differently. To him, it looked blue, with bright points of light and wispy interconnecting trails of mist. Apparently, psychologists could tell what type of person you were by the way you described it, but he couldn’t understand how his psyche could be interpreted like that. Then again, he was literally looking at his own thought process, so maybe what they said was true.

Cyberpunk can be a very dark genre, so I think it’s important to introduce the theme of love and romance. Sometimes, I think that gritty realism goes too far, and leaves the reader with nothing to uplift them.

Fox and Seven both have a hard journey ahead of them, and it seems like it would be impossible for love to blossom in a place like the Cerebrum. But somehow, they struggle their way towards it.

Thanks for coming to the blog hop and reading about the Cerebrum! Don’t forget to visit the next stop on my blog hop at Hearts on Fire!

Fox is a mindnet hacker, and works for the mysterious man known only as King. He spends his time uncovering dangerous secrets and releasing them to the public.

But those who cause trouble are bound to attract it, and despite their precautions King is taken prisoner by an unknown government. And if Fox is going to save him, he’s going to need help—help that comes from the very last place he expected to find it.

Alex Powell is an avid writer and reader of sci-fi and fantasy, but on occasion branches into other genres to keep things interesting. Alex is a genderqueer writer from the wilds of northern Canada who loves exploring other peoples and cultures. Alex is a recent graduate of UNBC with a BA in English, and as a result has an unhealthy obsession with Victorian Gothic literature. Alex has been writing from an early age, but is happy to keep learning to improve on their writing skills. Feedback and comments as well as any questions are appreciated! You can reach Alex at aa.powell.author@gmail.com and at their website alexpowellauthor.com.

Comment below for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to the Less Than Three book market and a signed print copy of All the King’s Men! The draw will take place on July 31st. Please note that the draw includes all posts on the blog hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release date for ATKM

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Good news everyone!

I have a release date for All the King’s Men! It’s July 27th, which I think is a great time for a book to be released, during the height of summer. I’m obviously really excited to have something to look forward to in the future.

My cover art for ATKM is coming next month, so I can share that with everyone soon. I’m always really happy with cover art from Less Than Three Press. LT3 has some pretty amazing artists.

In other news, I’m still slowly working on some other projects while also getting the hang of the bookstore business. If you hadn’t already heard, I now own a bookstore, and I have a new kitten who will be my bookstore kitty. He’s already gotten in a lot of trouble knocking over stacks of books and climbing tokitten1 the top of racks. (I’m also shamelessly going to include many kitten pictures in this post.)

I have one mini project in the works, which is the anthology for Gay Romance Northwest. Their call for this anthology is called Magic and Mayhem which is a charity anthology to help GRNW with their various programming and book donations. The call is for either stories with a pairing of mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist. For those of you who’ve attended the conference in the past, this is from the fun Character Type Love Match game that readers played during the last two years.

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I’m going with mage/cyborg, mostly because I’m a fantasy and sci-fi writer generally. I’m just about 8000 words into it, and it probably won’t be more than 10k words long. That’s due March 31st, so I will be working on that until the end of the month.

My tentatively titled “Far Patrol” ace aro dragon novel is still out on beta. I expect that to take a little while because the novel is almost 60k words long. It’s a pretty hefty one for me, my longest novel to date. The sequel to that is on the back burner while I work on the Magic and Mayhem story.

 

kitten3As usual, I have plot bunnies running amok, and there’s all sorts of story ideas going every which way. But I’m glad to be back to churning out the writing.

 

GRNW 2015

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I had the best time ever this year for the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up 2015 and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

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We had an early start, but luckily, we had planned breakfast at the Sazerac, which was right across the street from the library. We had a huge table of authors and friends, including LT3 authors J.K. Pendragon and Austin Chant, LT3 editor Amanda Jean, Riptide author Heidi Belleau and various friends and writers.

Once we got to the conference, it was non-stop fun and action.

The tireless Tracy Timmons-Gray opened the conference by speaking about “What we Suck at.” A few of us laughed, but Tracy made some very good points about progress that still needs to be made in getting the words out about queer romance. What Tracy talked about, including getting the attention of Amazon, inclusive space for trans people, and getting more LGBTQ+ romances in our libraries, was an all-encompassing topic for the rest of the conference.

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Next, we heard three amazing keynote speakers, who talked to us about “Reading with Pride.” Jessica Blat, Susan Lee, and Austin Chant all had different views on what it really means to “read with pride,” what it meant to each of them personally, and what it should mean to the rest of us.

Jessica Blat

Jessica Blat

Susan Lee

Susan Lee

Austin Chant

Austin Chant

 

 

 

 

 

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This year, the conference kicked off with a little activity, which I particularly enjoyed, and I hope other attendants did too. We were given three questions to ponder, and then answer. We wrote what we thought on sticky notes, and then they were collected and sorted out into categories so that the last panel of the day (my panel) would address these issues. I loved that the audience could participate and voice their own opinion on what was needed in the genre. The questions were: 1) What do you like best about the LGBTQ+ genre? 2) What do you think is missing? 3) How do you want to see it grow?

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Next came the panels! During the morning, there was the Celebrating and Elevating Underrepresented Characters in Queer Romance Fiction panel, which was the panel I attended. The moderator was Tracy Timmons-Gray, and the panelists were authors CJane Elliot, Lane Hayes, J. K. Pendragon,Yolanda Wallace, and Riptide acquisitions editor Chris Muldoon. What the panelists discussed is that the default character for queer romance is a cis gay man, usually white. These panelists discussed how they each branch out from that in their fiction, whether it be writing about a character who is a person of colour, or one of the lesser known queer identities such as ace or trans, or older queer characters. Chris Muldoon pointed out that many publishers would love to include more diversity in what they publish, but that Riptide can only publish what is submitted. The vast majority of submitted work is about cis gay men, and publishers cannot lower their standards just to include a work with a more diverse character. It was my friend J.K.’s first panel, and they did very well answering some very tough, complex questions, as did the rest of the panelists.

Kink panel

Kink panel

Then, J.K., Laurence and I headed upstairs to find the Loving Kink, Hot Kink panel to add some spice to our day. The fourth floor, which is where the panel took place, had bright red hallways and floors, which set the mood nicely.

The panel included moderator Charley Descoteaux and authors Grace R. Duncan, Amelia C. Gormley, Morticia Knight, and Joseph Lance Tonlet. The panel discussed how much responsibility an author has for portraying safe, sane, and consensual sex in kink, and how much to take into account what the reader audience understands about both the kink and BDSM community. The book “That Shall Not Be Named” was brought up to highlight many points, but especially the portrayal of bad BDSM practices as being morally okay, which might lead the audience, which was mainly a vanilla audience that has no previous experience with BDSM, to think that abusive behaviour of doms to their subs is an acceptable practice. The panelists also discussed portrayal of abusive or morally grey actions in novels and how it might fit into world-building, while also addressing that those actions are fine in fiction, but not acceptable real life practices.

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During lunch, the GRNW volunteers put the sticky notes up on the wall to create categories for the panel that I was on, The Evolving LGBTQ+ Romance Genre.

My panel, which was the last one of the day, was moderated by Gunner Scott, and also included my fellow LT3 author Austin Chant, Laylah Hunter, and Karelia Stetz-Waters. This was a great panel to be on, and I’m so pleased that there were such amazing topics brought up. Gunner made his questions by looking at the categories put together from the audience’s answers to the questions asked at the beginning of the day. Just so you all know, none of us had any idea what questions Gunner had come up with, so we had to think on our feet! I felt that we panelists also did very well working together in our discussion, it was a lot of fun.

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What did the audience have to ask us?

We talked a lot about diversity, which is certainly a hot topic in LGBTQ+ fiction right now, as well as the community. It’s very easy to default to writing about gay white guys, but it’s not an accurate portrayal of what the world is really like. Everyone needs to be able to see someone who is like themselves portrayed in fiction, to know that they can do all the same things, can have all the same adventures, and that their narrative is not reduced to their struggles as a minority character. We also discussed the marketing facto

GRNWmypanel2r, which is that if readers don’t buy something, then authors won’t write it, so the best thing that readers can do is buy fiction with diverse characters.

Then, the readers took part in a fun event, in which stock characters (like nurse, firefighter, police officer) went head-to-head with one another in order to choose the final couple, which ended up being mage and cyborg! I wasn’t there, but I heard it was fantastic. I was setting up my table at the Book Fest.

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Luckily, J.K. and I are next to one another in the alphabet, so we shared a table. I had a lot of fun at the book fest, because it was great to meet readers and other authors alike. J.K. and I had a bit of a learning experience while at the book fair this year. Last year, the university book store supplied books, but this year, we had to do it ourselves. What did I learn about book fairs?

First of all, don’t bring so many of the same book. Secondly, readers love anthologies. I had no idea readers loved them so much, so next year, I will bring more (I have tons of my stories in anthologies). Third, bring more postcards with book covers on the front and a blurb/link on the back for my ebooks so that readers can find them. In any event, I think we drummed up some business for our books, so go us!

That was the end of the GRNW meet-up for this year! Sadly, we didn’t go to any of the events afterward, because after valiantly carrying on through the whole conference while feeling sick, J.K. wholly succumbed to the plague. They were very brave.

So that was GRNW 2015, and I hope to see everyone again next year! I have documented my experiences of the conference on Twitter and have posted all my photos on Facebook.

Also, I love social media, so check the hashtags #GRNW and GRNW2015 to see what everyone else at the conference was up to!

See you all again!