So, last weekend I was in Seattle (though not sleepless) for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up for readers and writers. It was fantastic: a day of workshop discussions, panels, and lectures with writers from all over the Pacific Northwest and, in the case of people like me, beyond. There was also a free book fest at the end where people could come in and buy books and chat with authors and get them signed. The evening rounded out at a club called Rendezvous with a series of short readings, “Five Minutes in Heaven,” where I read a bit from the first chapter of Detours.
Although it was only the second year for this event, the turnout at the Seattle Public Library was fantastic, where attendees filled up the auditorium to hear panel discussions on connecting with the community, the evolving queer romance genre, and the publishing landscape.
I remember when I encountered queer characters in literature for the first time. I don’t recall how it came to my attention, but the first book I remember was The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst. I was around 18 or 19. It was eye-opening and not just because of the frank depictions of sex. (Okay, maybe mostly because of that, but it was also a really good book.) From there it wasn’t long before I found Edmund White and Armistead Maupin, and off I went.
Those first books I read wouldn’t be called romances, of course; in fact, most of the time love didn’t work out for the protagonists in those stories. There’s something reassuring, though, in picking up a book where happily ever after is possible for people like yourself. So seeing all of the people who turned out in Seattle because they love happy endings for queer characters was fantastic.
And a special shoutout to Tracy, who was the fantastic ringleader/driving force behind the event. It was definitely a group effort, to be sure, but she just radiated passion and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to next year’s event!
I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures at the Meet-Up, but I did get a few:
On Sunday we were down in Olympia at Orca Books for a reading organized by Dena Hankins, whose novel Blue Water Dreams is out now. I’m currently reading it and really enjoying it. David Holly and Eric Andrews-Katz also took part, and the reading was small but a lot of fun.
As you can imagine, I didn’t take many photos. But! I did get this picture of the audience:
Michael also took some photos. Here’s one of me reading. That’s Dena on the right.
I miss the Pacific Northwest already….