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!

 

 

Magic and Mayhem release date!

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Hello everyone,

Today is the release date for the Magic and Mayhem charity anthology which benefits the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up!

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The anthology includes my short story Charmed by Chance, which is a cute little story about a cyborg who meets a mage and is instantly smitten. I’m really excited about this story because it features a genderqueer character and a bisexual character. It’s supposed to be short and sweet, so I hope it delivers! 

You can buy the anthology on Amazon or on Smashwords.

Cyborg characters

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I’m writing this blog post because in just a few days, my story Charmed by Chance is coming out in the GRNW charity anthology Magic and Mayhem.

The theme of the anthology was based off the character matching game from past GRNW meet-ups. The pairings for the stories in the anthology were to be either mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist.

So, spoilers, but I chose the pairing of mage/cyborg.

The reason I wanted to talk about cyborg characters is that I find them very interesting. I’ve written characters with cybernetic enhancements before, but not exactly in this way. In this story, my character has a prosthetic arm which he finds himself without the use of as the plot moves forward.

It brings me to this: technically, a cyborg can be counted as a character with disabilities. I haven’t really written a disabled character before. My other character, who is technically a cyborg, is mostly cybernetically enhanced, and those enhancements are used in the line of duty. He doesn’t find himself without the use of his enhancements, and can’t really be separated from them anyway.

My character Merritt, on the other hand, does find himself without the abilities that the arm brought him. He’s back to the point at which he lost his arm in the first place, which shows that cyborgs can only count on their enhancements to a certain point.

I don’t think most people think of cyborg characters as disabled, because their enhancements are superior to the flesh and bone that humans are born with. The enhancements that they are given put some of their abilities ahead of a normal person’s. I think that people don’t like to think of a physically disabled person’s abilities as superior to a person without them.

I tried to explore the idea of characters with cybernetic enhancements in sync with a character with a physical disability. I hope that I did it well in spite of the shortness of the story.

Any thoughts on cybernetic enhancements, cyborgs, or physical disabilities? Feel free to voice them in the comments!

Charmed by Chance

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Hello everyone!

I’m really excited, because my short story Charmed by Chance is coming out in September! September 6th, 2016 to be exact, for the Gay Romance Northwest charity anthology Magic and Mayhem, which can be preordered here.

Look, here’s the cover!

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There are going to be seven other authors who wrote stories for the anthology, as well as essays from past conferences. The theme for the anthology was either the pairing of mage/cyborg or soldier/tattoo artist, which were the character match pairings from previous years at the GRNW meet-up. It should be a great anthology. Here’s the line-up for the anthology:

STORIES:

“Broken Art,” by Dev Bentham
“Caroline’s Heart,” by Austin Chant
“Demonica,” by Megan Derr
“The Hollow History of Professor Perfectus,” by Ginn Hale
“Fade to Black,” by Josh Lanyon
“Charmed By Chance,” by Alex Powell
“Sun, Moon, and Stars,” by E.J. Russell
“Slack Tide,” by Karelia Stetz-Waters

ESSAYS:

“Romance for the Rest of Us,” by Jessica Blat
“Sad Queer Characters and the Revolution of Joy,” by Austin Chant
“Dear Rose,” by Rose Christo
“How to Get LGBT Romance Books Into Libraries” by Marlene Harris
“So What is “Character-Type Love Match” Anyway?” by Nicole Kimberling
“My Road to Romance,” by Susan Lee
“To My Future Self,” by E.E. Ottoman
“What I’ve Learned,” by Jordan Castillo Price
“Dear Len,” by Radclyffe
“A Letter to My Former Self,” by Rick R. Reed
“Five Things We Learned Running A Queer Romance Event (and the One Thing We Still Need to Do)” by Tracy Timmons-Gray

That’s all I wanted to announce! Have a good day everybody!

Pre-Conference Shenanigans

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So I just arrived back to Chilliwack from Seattle, so I’m going to tell you all about the fun that J.K. Pendragon, Laurence, and I had at the GRNW meet-up this year. There’s a lot to tell, however, so we’ll have to break this up a little for pacing.

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I think I will begin at the beginning, as stories often do.

I drove down from Prince George, my hometown, to Chilliwack, which is where J.K. Pendragon and their boyfriend Laurence live. It’s a seven hour drive, so it’s quite a trek to make. I will have to do it again tomorrow on the way back. At least the drive is scenic, if isolated, as there is nothing but Canadian wilderness and intrepid pioneers in between towns in the north.

From Chilliwack, the three of us made the epic journey across the border into Seattle, and the border guard let us into the States with three bags of grapes (he didn’t even ask about them). Navigating Seattle without any phone data was a bit of an adventure, but eventually we made it to our hotel.

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We stayed at the Moore, which is apparently haunted. Also, as we found out upon checking out, we were staying in a room that has had ghost sightings. We didn’t see any spectres whatsoever, so I suppose that’s a good thing. We went exploring our hotel, which was very old and had a lot of interesting little nooks, including a tiny door on the 7th floor that looked as if it had come from Jane Eyre and came with a madwoman in the attic.

The world reknown Pike Place Market was only a few minutes away from our hotel, and so we spent a lot of the day wandering around and getting lost, as tourists often do. We ate delicious seafood while we were meandering – I think you’ll find food is a very common theme in my ramblings about this trip.

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Alex Powell (me)

Then, we get the the actual pre-conference reading #LoveWins and 5 Minutes in Heaven. I was one of the readers at #LoveWins, and I read J.K. Pendragon’s favourite scene from Rangers Over Regulus in which my main character Liberty plays a very intense game of cards with Rory in the midst of a saloon filled with vagabonds.

 

 

 

Also reading for #LoveWins were GRNW Attending Authors Edmond Manning, Radclyffe, Anne Tenino, and Yolanda Wallace.

Edmond Manning

Edmond Manning

Edmond Manning read from his book King John, the 4th book in the Lost and Founds series. The excerpt he read takes place at Burning Man, and the scene is one in which the main character takes in an argument between a couple and helps to reconcile them, not only resolving the argument, but bridging a gap in understanding. The scene which begins with a certain humour ends with an emotional reconnection of lovers.

 

 

Radclyffe

Radclyffe

Radclyffe read from The Price of Honour, which is the 9th book in the Honor series. In this excerpt, the main character and her dog meet a member of the press, during which both women find themselves strangely drawn toward one another. The tension between the characters is delicious, and as usual, Radclyffe was a delightfully fun reader.

 

 

Ann Tenino

Anne Tenino

Anne Tenino read a hilarious excerpt from Frat Boy and Toppy in which her jock main character has to explain to his roommates that he’s gay after he’s caught the morning after leaving the vehicle of a gorgeous graduate student. One of the best coming-out scenes I’ve ever read, and definitely the most laughter-inducing.

 

 

 

Yolanda Wallace

Yolanda Wallace

Lastly, Yolanda Wallace read an excerpt from her historical novel Breaking Point, which takes place in 1937 and features a tennis player who wakes up to an unwelcome visitor in the form of an FBI agent. The intense scene left us all wondering what kind of choices she would need to make, all against the backdrop of pre-WW2 America.

 

 

 

The 5 Minutes in Heaven readings were short, spicy-sweet glimpses of writing from some of our favourite authors. There were hilarious commercials for Catholic condoms, a Kavka-esque scene with an orgasmic ending, a cute first date between a movie star look-alike and a film nerd, a fun and hilarious blowjob scene with amazing banter, mysterious admirers and even more mysterious letters, sex rituals, the zombie apocalypse, delicious food porn, and cozy domestic bliss. And of course, as usual, the wonderful Tracy Timmons-Gray organized the whole fabulous event. Thank you, Tracy!

Austin Chant

Austin Chant

Heidi Belleau

Heidi Belleau

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed

Tracy Timmons-Gray

Tracy Timmons-Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the reading events, a few of us (including some of our GRNW Attending Authors J.K. Pendragon, Heidi Belleau, Austin Chant, and Amanda Jean (LT3 editor), plus many friends and J.K’s boyfriend Laurence) went on a late-night adventure to Seattle’s mystery coke machine that gives people mystery pop. Surprisingly (or not? Because it was a mystery machine) not a single person got the same soda.

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Also, we intrepid Canadians experienced Dick’s for the first time (I’m sorry to say there were a lot of penis jokes made).

Thus we came to the end of our two days in Seattle before the beginning of the GRNW meet-up.

I will fill you all in on the amazingness which was the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up of 2015 in my next post!

 

Conference Prep

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Hey everyone, there’s two weeks to go, and I’m still doing some last minute preparation for the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up. So while I was at it, I decided that I might as well put up a blog post about preparing for writing conferences, tell you some new announcements for GRNW, and tell you about the events I’ll be participating in for the conference.

Getting ready for GRNW

Getting ready for GRNW

My preparation for GRNW started ages ago. I’m Canadian, and the conference is in Seattle. That meant I had to renew my passport so that I could cross the border. Also, the friends I’ll be traveling with, J.K. Pendragon and their boyfriend Laurence are also Canadian and needed passports. Luckily, my passport came several weeks ago.

I also needed transport and hotels. I arranged us transport, but it won’t be anything too fancy. We’ll be taking the Beast, which is a 1995 Chevy Silverado. It’s twenty years old and still running well. Also, it seats six people, which is kind of ridiculous, but should fit 3 people, all their stuff, plus merchandise fairly easily. It runs on diesel, so hopefully I can find gas stations along the way that have diesel fuel pumps.

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I also had to order merchandise far in advance. Publishers are only too happy to help authors out on the book front. I also have postcards and posters that I have leftover from last year as well as business cards and magnets I ordered brand new for this year.

GRNW also offered authors the option to donate free giveaway books, which my friend J.K. did, as well as swag giveaways for the gift bags.

This year, I’m taking part in a couple of different GRNW activities.

I’ll be one of the readers for the #LoveWins reading event at Hugo House. I’m really excited about this one, because it’s my second ever reading event. My first one was the Read and Write with Pride event in Edmonton. This time, I will be reading from my novel Rangers over Regulus, as I will be selling it at the Book Market after the conference. The other readers will be Edmond Manning, Radclyffe, Anne Tenino, and Yolanda Wallace.

#LoveWins- Celebrating LGBTQ Love Stories_banner

I’ll also be on the last panel of the day at the conference itself, the Evolving LGBTQ Romance Genre. This one promises to be very interactive and dynamic. What is going to happen is that at the very beginning, everyone gets to write down what they think about where the LGBTQ romance genre should go in the future on a sticky note. The wonderful GRNW volunteers will organize your thoughts into themes, and then the last panel of the day will discuss your ideas! This is going to be a really fun panel, and I’m really glad to be part of it!

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My fellow panelists will be Austin Chant, who is one of my fellow LT3 authors and also one of the GRNW keynote speakers, Laylah Hunter, and Karelia Stetz-Waters. Our moderator will be Gunner Scott, the Pride Foundation’s Director of Programs.

I’m still preparing for all the events! Discussions with my fellow panelists are still taking place, and I haven’t yet decided what section of Rangers over Regulus I’m going to read from yet.

I might be able to fit a new haircut in before I have to drive to Seattle.