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!

 

 

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!

All the King’s Men Cover Reveal!

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Hello everyone!

I have a couple of announcements to make.

The first is, I just received my cover for All the King’s Men, and I am super excited about it! Check it out! All the King’s Men will be released July 27th, 2016 from Less Than Three Press.

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As usual, Less Than Three Press has done an excellent job, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. All the King’s Men is long enough to have print copies, so I will be getting four amazing author copies in the mail in the future with this amazing cover. I love having physical copies of my work.

The other announcement is that my story that I wrote for the Gay Romance Northwest Magic and Mayhem charity anthology has been accepted! I don’t have a title yet, so I’ll have to brainstorm one up. I’m also very excited that my short story was accepted, because that means I will be an Attending Author for GRNW 2016.

Other than that, I’m still working on the sequel to Far Patrol. I haven’t gotten my editing mitts on for Far Patrol yet, but I’ll probably be working on it over the next few months. I really need to plan out the series arc for this, which I’m finding challenging. I haven’t written a series before, so it’s certainly an interesting learning curve.

I accidentally started writing on a story that’s been kicking around in my head which is about a trans lesbian detective named Louisa and a bisexual prostitute named Maggie who are trying to solve the murder of Maggie’s best friend Beth. I say “accidentally” because I haven’t started world-building or planning out the story arc yet. It just couldn’t be contained. Oh well, now I have to go print out a map of Victorian London. I’m going to make the world greenpunk, which means that this world’s Britain started using sustainable green energy instead of steam and coal power.

Anyway, that is what I’m doing right now. I hope you’re all doing well on your current projects, whatever they may be.

Bothersome Background Noises

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When I’m writing, what noises are around me really affect my writing. I find that having just the right sort of noises can be very productive and get me into the writing zone, whereas others can completely ruin my concentration altogether.

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One thing I can’t stand at all is having the television going in the same room as I’m trying to work. Now that I live on my own, it’s not as much of a problem, but when I had roommates, it could be a huge issue. Sometimes, if I’m staying somewhere for a holiday, it can be a problem. It’s far too distracting, and half the time I’ll end up watching whatever show is on rather than writing.

Music is very helpful for a lot of people. I usually do very well with instrumentals or soundtrack music or theme music from video games. One of my favourites is listening to music from the Final Fantasy series, because a lot of video game music is mood-setting music. It helps set the tone of my writing to listen to it. I don’t usually listen to music with words, once again, because I get distracted – can you tell that I’m easily distracted?

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A couple of my favourite Final Fantasy XII themes – The Golmore Jungle and the Paramina Rift. I have to admit I have a whole Youtube list, but I won’t subject anyone to the entire thing.

Background noises can also be very helpful, both real life background noises and synthetic. I particularly like the background noise in cafes because of the low murmur of people’s voices which are usually low enough not to be intrusive. I’m sure there are many background noise synthesizers out there meant for writers, but one of my favourites is Noisli. It has a few different noises, such as rain, running water, wind, crackling fire, a cafe, and a train going over traintracks – no engine whistles, thankfully.

Strangely enough, I can’t stand silence. Silence is somehow just not stimulating to the mind.

What helps you concentrate on working? There are tons of methods out there that can get you in just the right kind of mood to be productive.

Greenpunk

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Well, now that I’ve done NaNoWriMo, I’m going to wait a bit to do edits on the finished novel myself for a while.

That means I’m starting on a new project. I’ve had a few ideas kicking around inside my head, and it’s starting to become more clear. It looks like I might combine two of the ideas that I had into one.

The first idea was to write a Victorian lesbian detective story in London. I’ve had a few different ideas regarding that, and one of them includes a trans woman private investigator who used to work for Scotland Yard. I haven’t really fleshed the idea out yet, but I was working on it.

The other idea was to write something other than steampunk. I love steampunk, and my NaNoWriMo novel is vaguely steampunk. However, I recently started researching environmental literature, and it gave me the idea to write about something I’m calling “greenpunk.” It’s the idea that using green technology started in the Romantic era and that the Victorians now have working green technology.

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I’ve decided to combine the two, and now I’m really excited to start the planning for world-building. I’ve started looking into current green technology and also looking into how some of it could apply to a world with a different twist on technology. It’s surprisingly fun coming up with all sorts of little details about this green world. To be honest, some of it won’t even make it into the book, but it’s fun making it up anyway.

If you know anything about London during the Industrial revolution, I’m sure you can imagine huge factories, lots of soot and smoke, and streets that were dirty and filled with literal crap. Can you imagine it all differently? I think it would be great. But enough about that for now.

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So for now, I’ve finished writing on my dragon novel, although I haven’t come up with a title yet. More on that process later, because I have fun making up titles, even though I’m not always the best at it.

I have one novel in the works for publication, although I don’t yet have a timeline on publishing for that. I got the first round of revisions back, and there will possibly be another one. 

So that’s what I’m up to for the next month or so. After all that time in the dumps with depression, I feel a bit like a dusty factory that’s finally starting to be cleaned up and used again. Go me!

Anyway, I hope you’re all having fun on your current projects (whatever they may be) because I sure am.

My NaNoWriMo 2015

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Hey all, as you probably saw from my last post, I started off the first half of NaNoWriMo while I was in the hospital. Because of this, I had to start writing my project by hand! My sister bought be a notebook, and I started writing in that. It’s been years since I wrote longhand, so it was a bit tricky. But I managed!

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It’s day 16 (as I’m writing this), and I have 25000 words so far. I’m supposed to be at 26667, so I guess I’ll have to get on that after I finish this blog post. (To those of you worried about my dates, I’m scheduling this for the 18th, but wrote it the 16th).

What’s happened so far? My characters are shaping up nicely, which is always good. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get a good voice for my characters without my notes that were on my computer, but I think I’m good on that front.

As for my plot, I’m generally a planner, but this year I had to do things a bit differently, so I’ve been using different tactics for my writing campaign. I’ve been planning only two chapters in advance, while the rest is all vague future plot points. It’s been working pretty well, even though I usually like making sure that I have the end plotted out. Who knows how this one will end!

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A few other people I’ve noticed are also doing NaNoWriMo, so a shout out to them, especially my friend Laurence who probably has twice the amount of words that I have right now. He’s been steamrollering through this thing. I’ll be happy to finish this with 50 000 words.

I’m so glad that I’ve been able to write again. I thought I’d forgotten how to.

I still have half a novel to go, but the first half is great. I created a pronoun for my dragons which doesn’t actually have a human equivalent, so that’s fun. I’m going to have a great time trying to find a symbol that looks dragon-y and inserting it there.

I think I’ve gotten a bit better at character’s emotions, or maybe it’s actually my own emotions I’m better at, and it’s translating into writing. Whatever the reason, it seems to be working out for me.

As for the story, it’s going to have quite the arc, because a small thing that I had happen suddenly decided to become a whole revolution while I wasn’t looking, and will probably end up being a civil war… by the end of this novel. So it looks like I’ll possibly have a series on my hands, which is exciting, since I’ve never had one of those before.

I’m actually kind of excited, because there’s lots going on in this novel. It’s slightly steampunk, but also with dragons, because they have steam and coal power which is made easier, thanks to dragons. 

I’m very excited, and I’m already looking for beta-readers to plot check it when I’m done.

If you want to follow my updates, I’m on twitter as @aa_powell

If anyone wants a short excerpt of this project (it’s unedited, so finished project might be a bit different) give me a page number in the comments or on Twitter and I’ll choose 50-100 words to post!