Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor



GayRomLit retreat meets in Chicagoland
BOOKS Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Lauren E. Childers

This article shared 7 times since Wed Oct 29, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

Authors, publishers, and readers alike convened in Bloomingdale, Illinois, for the fourth annual GayRomLit ( Gay Romance Literature, or GRL ) retreat Oct. 16-19. LGBT romance consumers and creators gather each year to find a safe space to discuss their publications and current projects, and they return for the familial atmosphere the retreat provides.

"In a lot of the romance world LGBT writers are kind of pushed to the side, but here [at GRL] that's what it's about" said TA Chase, a well-established contemporary romance author who dabbles in many different subgenres.

GayRomLit is a retreat that "brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance, according to the GRL website. Packed into one weekend are numerous workshops for authors, author readings, author Q&As, formal and informal booksignings, opportunities to meet the authors, and other events. The intent of the retreat is to facilitate interactions between authors, publishers and readers to create a conversation and community around the LGBT romance genre.

"You get a little lost in the shuffle at some of the general romance conferences, but here people will come up and literally cry when they meet TA [Chase] because her books have meant so much to them" said Stacey Birkel, editor with Totally Bound Publishing.

Carol Lynne founded GRL in 2009 and organizes the event each year. The retreat grew from the first gathering in 2008 after collaborating with other authors allowing the attendance for readers and authors to grow. Now, Lynne has put into place an attendance limit to maintain the familial atmosphere of the retreat.

Lynne organizes the event 11 out of the 12 months of the year as a volunteer. With so much work year round in addition to writing full-time Lynne explained to fight getting burned out, "my favorite thing to do is to sit in the lobby [at the retreat] and watch people come in to the hotel—sitting there seeing screams and runs and hugs… and it kind of fills me. And then I'm know this is why I do this." Lynne describe the retreat as a family reunion of sorts.

Bestselling author in gay romance, Lynne primarily writes male-male ( MM ) gay romance. Lynne explained that when she reads male-female romance novels that she has the tendency to put herself into the position of the female character; instead of enjoying the story she compares herself to the woman and feel's she "always comes up lacking."

"Looking at love through the male-male perspective, for me, it's making me heal. I think a lot of women are kind of the same. We've just been burned," said Lynne. "And when you read a male-male book you don't have to put yourself in that book, because you have no chance with these men. So you can just truly enjoy the love and their relationship."

As a divorced woman and single mother, Lynne writes full time—working through her past hardships through her characters. Lynne has been criticized for writing "insta-love" books in which the characters fall in love in the very beginning of the story.

"In my opinion it's easy to fall in love with someone, it's hard to stay in love with someone," said Lynne. So Lynne writes stories that capture the hardships of love versus the moments leading up to falling in love.

"My favorite thing is to give people that are damaged, people who think they don't deserve the happily ever after, I want to give them someone who accepts who they are," said Lynne. "I have characters in wheelchairs, and I have blind characters, and I have characters with schizophrenia. ... I do try to focus on the characters that aren't always seen as 'sexy.'" Lynne explained how these characters helped her to work through her own tethered view of love.

In Lynne's most recent publication, The Brick Yard, the final scenes of the story mirror some of Lynne's past. "For me, that book opened wounds that had never healed," she said.

Lynne ended to book where her own healing ended. She plans to write a sequel for herself and for the main character, Lucky, to finish healing.

The Brick Yard was the first full-length novel published under Totally Bound's new all-LGBT imprint, What's His Passion? The imprint was launched this summer starting with a six short story anthology from some of Totally Bound's top authors. What's His Passion? intends to raise the profile of the genre which remains a mostly niche genre.

Totally Bound and other MM romance publishers recognize that their readership are largely straight women. What's His Passion? Is part of a greater project to bring about accessibility to its readers, beyond e-books and per-demand publishing, by including itself into the mainstream.

"Interestingly, 50 Shades of Grey brought [interest] to the fore, but people didn't know where to find those sorts of book" said Nicki Richards, publisher at Totally Bound.

The CEO at Totally Bound, Claire Siemaszkiewicz, explained their hopes for the imprint. Currently, they are in discussions in the United Kingdom to include their books in main retail bookstores and expect to make that happen in the United States within the next year.

"We won't stop now until our books are in mass market" said Siemaszkiewicz.

Additionally, Totally Bound recently signed a deal that will introduce its backlist books to all libraries that the company connects with, which will allow access to the company's books at approximately 5,000 libraries. Eventually, Siemaszkiewicz said that if What's His Passion? continues to thrive, it will branch off as its own publishing house to be more comprehensive in terms of subgenres included, such as young adult, and to have a greater impact.

This article shared 7 times since Wed Oct 29, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: World AIDS Day, 'Benedetta,' books, wine in a can 2021-11-26
- —World AIDS Day event at Belmont Harbor: —The Chicago Parks Foundation will hold a World AIDS Day event on Dec. 1, 9-10:30 a.m., at the Belmont Harbor Yacht Club. Antonio King, LGBTQ health and outreach liaison ...

Gay News

Designer and entrepreneur Kiki Bryant discusses future of 'Lollipop Lola' 2021-11-26
- On Jan. 21, 2021, Kiki Bryant set a $2,000 fundraising goal on to launch a children's doll based on her original book character, Lollipop Lola. The goal was met that same day. "That was a ...

Gay News

Missouri district returning LGBTQ+ books to high school libraries 2021-11-23
- In Missouri, the North Kansas City School district said it would return two books exploring LGBTQ+ themes to its high school libraries following public outcry, The Hill noted. The district announced its plans to reshelve All ...

Gay News

Downers Grove parents complain about LGBTQ books 2021-11-16
- Continuing a battle that's been taking place in several other states, parents in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove say they want publications they call "pornography" removed from the high schools' libraries, according to WGN-TV. At ...

Gay News

ATTRACTIONS 'The Dr. Seuss Experience' at Water Tower Place 2021-11-12
- It's certainly a time and place to be immersed in nostalgia. The family-friendly attraction "The Dr. Seuss Experience" is running through Jan. 2, 2022, at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave. It's certainly hard to ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Pump Boys and Dinettes 2021-11-12
- Title: Pump Boys and Dinettes. Playwright: Book, music and lyrics by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann At: Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page Auditorium. Tickets: $45-$74; ...

Gay News

Lambda Literary executive director stepping down 2021-11-12
- Lambda Literary Executive Director Sue Landers announced that she is stepping down. In an open letter, Landers stated, "On December 1, I will step down as executive director. Maxwell Scales and Cleopatra Acquaye-Reynolds will join the ...

Gay News

Actor Kal Penn discusses coming out, acting journey, systemic racism during tour 2021-11-09
- Following the publishing of actor Kal Penn's memoir You Can't Be Serious, he stopped in Chicago on Nov. 6 to discuss his Hollywood and White House careers—and the news of his coming out. Co-founder of Vice ...

Gay News

Bisexual youth tell their identity stories in new book 2021-11-04
- While Zoomer (Gen Z) and millennial young adults are increasingly rejecting traditional sexual labels, Ritch C. Savin-Williams explores the topic of bisexuality in his newest book BI: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Christmas Dearest' Nov. 27-Dec. 31 2021-10-31
- Hell in a Handbag Productions will continue its 20th-anniversary season with the return of one of its most popular holiday musicals: Christmas Dearest, featuring book and lyrics by Artistic Director David Cerda; music by Cerda and ...

Gay News

BOOKS Twelfth (and final) 'Boystown' cover revealed 2021-10-17
- Boystown author Jake Biondi has revealed the cover of the twelfth book of his series—while simultaneously sharing that the next installment will be the final one. Boystown: Season Twelve: The Final Season will be released in ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Activist Peter Staley's Memoir 'Never Silent' is a real-life thriller 2021-10-13
--From - "Attention must be paid to such a man." — Arthur Miller Peter Staley's much-anticipated new memoir, Never Silent, opens with almost unbearable nail-biting suspense, sweeping us into the behind-the-scenes machinations of an ACT UP takeover of ...

Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation 2021-10-11
By Max Lubbers - Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/Bumerán, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation 2021-10-10
- LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. ...

Gay News

Book about musician Tori Amos' works coming out 2021-10-07
- The book Tori Amos: every album, every song—by rock journalist Lisa Torem—will be out in the United States on Friday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Sonic Bond Publishing. In 1992, Amos—an acclaimed singer, pianist and composer—achieved fame ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.