Read & Write with Pride 2017

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Hello all! 

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I’m super excited to tell you about the reading event Read & Write with Pride that took place at Audrey’s Books last night.

We had five readers: Ruby Swanson, Heidi Belleau, Marina Reid Hale, Rob Browatzke, and myself. We were hosted by Sheldon L’henaff, who did a great job of keeping us all on track.

When I first arrived, I was nervous that a) I would say something really dumb (which happens at times) and b) that no one would show up.

I was nervous for absolutely no reason, because not only did lots of people show up, but for the first time, I managed to do an intro to my reading which made complete sense, and I didn’t forget anything. This is a good thing.

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So, I read fourth, and I read from my yet-to-be-released story with the place title “Yaliana” but which will soon have a proper title. I asked earlier on Twitter whether I should do an action scene or a sappy scene, but found, to my dismay, that most of the scenes I could choose from were all action scenes. I tried to include some light banter before all hell broke loose, so I hope I succeeded.

Ruby Swanson read first, opening up out little gathering. She read from her book A Family Outing which is about her and her son, who comes out to her as gay. It was a very poignant piece, and I think that a lot of people were touched by the scene where she and her son sit in her office at the U of A and talk.

Heidi Belleau read next, and she read a section from her novel that she co-wrote with Sam Schooler, Dead Ringer. She read a rather intense scene between the two main characters Percy and Brandon, who are discussing Brandon’s grandfather James Ringer and his sexuality.

Then Marina Reid Hale opened with a bang, reading from one of her slam poems about female bodies and male entitlement. She performed several more poems from her book of poems titled These are NOT Love Poems.

Lastly, Rob Browatzke read from Wonderland. The section that he read from is a flashback from his childhood and younger years about all the times that he has been bullied for being gay. It was also a rather intense reading. He also read a short section on his own experiences, which was a deeply personal piece to read to us. 

All in all, we all had a good time meeting and greeting people afterwards as well as doing the actual readings. I had a lot of fun, and I will hopefully be back next year for more of the same.

Giveaway 1

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Hello all!

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I’m just writing a very quick blog post to announce the winners of the June 10th draw for the print copies of All The King’s Men.

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I wrote down the number of comments on a piece of paper, flipped them all over and mixed them up before drawing three numbers which correspond to the comments on the blog in order from earliest to latest.

The three numbers were 19, 17, and 3.

Those numbers corresponded to comments by Toni, JenF27, and Reiko Meyers. 

Congratulations on your win! Please email me at aa.powell.author@gmail.com and give me an address which I can mail your print copy to.

The next giveaway will be held on June 17th! All of those people who commented previously are still in the draw to win either a print copy of Damsels in Distress vol 2 or A Loose Screw vol 2. 

Anyone can still enter my draw for next week by commenting on my 5 Year Anniversary post!

Thanks everyone for entering!

5 Year Anniversary!

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Hey all!

So, it’s my five-year anniversary for signing a contract with Less Than Three Press this month! It’s also Pride Month! Woohoo!

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Five years ago this month, I signed a contract for Across Borders, which is one of the novellas which is no longer in print. I’m going to do some major revisions on it and resubmit it! I’m very excited about this project.

Also, I want to hold a giveaway to celebrate my 5 year anniversary!

So, here are the details!

On June 10th, I will hold a draw for my book All the King’s Men. I will pick 3 people to receive a print copy, shipping included, to anywhere in the world.

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On June 17th, I will hold a draw for the anthology A Loose Screw vol 2 or Damsels in Distress vol 2 (out of print). I will pick 3 people to receive a print copy and you can choose whether you want A Loose Screw volume 2 or Damsels in Distress volume 2. 

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On June 24th, I will hold a draw for a $30 gift card and a $15 gift card to the Less Than Three Press book market. I will pick 2 people, the first person will be the winner of the $30 gift card and the second person will be the winner of the $15 gift card.

So, how do you do get into the draw?

All you have to do is comment below, and your name will be added to the draw. I will be using a hat to draw the names the old fashioned way. I will be using the same group of names for all the draws, so you don’t have to comment again to be entered again. Also, I will also be counting only one comment per person, so even if you do comment again, you will only be entered once.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you share this post and link me to proof that you have done so in the comments, I will send you a FREE EBOOK COPY of Rangers over Regulus, which is no longer in print.

If you have any questions about the draw, please ask in the comments or email me at aa.powell.author@gmail.com

Good Luck!

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!

 

 

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

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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!

 

GRNW 2015 is coming!

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It’s that time of year again! Officially less than a month away from the Gay Romance Northwest conference in Seattle!

I always make a big deal out of this, because I love going to this conference. It’s only in its 3rd year running so far, but already, the Gay Romance Northwest meet-up is growing and changing. I’m so glad to be a part of this conference about LGBTQ+ romance and fiction. 

As usual, there will be a pre-conference meet-up the evening before and a book reading at Hugo House! Last year was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to meeting everyone there! Once again, the conference is at the Seattle Public Library, which has hosted for the previous two years as well. There’s going to be lots of fun panels and activities for readers and writers, including a Pitch session with publishers and a reader meet-up!

Afterwards, there’s going to be a book festival at Hotel Monaco

This year, I’m an Attending Author and have been invited to be on a panel. I’ll be driving down with my friend J.K. Pendragon and their boyfriend Laurence. J.K. is also going to be on a panel this year, which is exciting news for both of us. We’ll both also have booths at the book festival, so come visit us! I think we’ll be sitting at the same table, so it will be easy to visit us both at the same time.

If you love LGBTQ+ romance, then you’ve got to check out all the other Attending Authors as well! There’s lots of amazing authors attending, as well as publishers, editors, and cover artists! 

Gay Romance Northwest has opened registration already, and their early-bird deal is on until August 31st, so hurry and register early for the best deal! I’m ready to go, and there’s still a month till the conference.

Hope to see you there!