Summer 2017 Updates

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Hey all,

Just wanted to update you on what my current projects are looking like.

I finished my dev edits on “Yaliana.” I’m currently looking for an alternate title for this one and am debating with myself over which one is best. I might go with “The Jungles of Harr” because that one was most popular when I did my poll. I haven’t received the line edits back yet, but I expect them to be a little while. This one is well on its way to being published, however, so I’m looking forward to working more on it!

dragon_wallpapers

Links to original page

I have one book draft written in a series of three that I need to revise. This is my ace/aro dragon series which seriously needs to get finished. I’ve had the draft of the first novel written since November 2015, which I did for Nanowrimo. I have a solid plan to finish the other two books. I have three chapters written for the second novel. I plan to finish the draft of the second novel in July for Camp Nanowrimo. Then, I plan to finish a draft of the third book in November for NaNoWriMo. It’s getting finished!

 

Lastly, I just need to revise Rangers over Regulus to resubmit it. I think I should only need minor revisions for it. I’m also going to do huge amounts of revisions on Across Borders and resubmit that one as well.

I just received the rights back for Insanity Girls as well, and with the encouragement of a few different people, am planning on self-publishing it! It’s only 15k words, so it’s not too long. But I think maybe it could do well. I’ve asked my sister if she will do the cover art for it, and she has agreed! I’m excited about it!

Those are my current projects, I just hope that I will be able to keep up, especially with grad school taking up so much of my time.

 

GRNW Panel Podcast

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Hey all, great news!

Just a quick, quick announcement so that everyone knows that there is a podcast available for the panel I took part in. 

So without further ado, the Evolving LGBTQ+ Romance Genre panel featuring myself, Laylah Hunter, Karelia Stetz-Waters, Austin Chant and moderated by Gunner Scott!

PODCAST LINK

 

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.

GRNWbrekkie

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.

GRNWopeningGRNWgrowthGRNWinclusive

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

 

 

 

 

 

GRNW3questions

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?

GRNWunrepcar4

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.

GRNWnotes

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.

GRNWmypanel

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.

GRNWbookfest

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.

GRNWcrab GRNWdoor

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.

GRNWvendmach

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!