RainbowCon, Tampa’s first literary conference for QUILTBAG authors — that’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and everything in between, if you haven’t heard the term before — kicked off yesterday and runs through the weekend.
The folks from Riverview-based Storm Moon Press, which publishes GLBT and alternative lifestyle erotic fiction, organized the all-inclusive convention to focus on the writing rather than fraternizing they’ve encountered at other events.
Kris Piet, SMP’s marketing director, has been to a number of gay literature conferences, retreats and workshops over the years, but was dismayed by their party atmospheres.
“They were a lot of fun, but not the cerebral experience I would like to have when I go to a con,” she said.
And often, they’d leave a conference wishing there had been panels on certain topics. So when the founders of the small press decided to organize their own event, they thought about what they’d like to see at a literary convention.
“We wanted to make it more cerebral and engaging on an academic level,” she said. “What we’re really doing is bringing people together to have some fun discussing topics that impact the reading, writing and reviewing of GLBT topics in literature.”
This year’s guest of honor is Australia’s Geoffrey Knight, author of Why Straight Women Love Gay Romance and Scott Sapphire and the Emerald Orchid. Piet also said more than 75 authors signed up for the event, in addition to vendors and other small presses from around the country.
This first RainbowCon is fairly low-key, held at the Embassy Suites near Busch Gardens. But Piet anticipates a much bigger event next year. She’s already booked the Holiday Inn at Westshore for July 2015 and plans on including multi-media panels, artists and authors in addition to topics that will appeal to fiction and non-fiction authors. Guy-on-guy web comic creator Alex Woolfson, and Adam DeKraker, who’s behind The Young Protectors, will be the conference’s guests in 2015.
Tampa is ripe for such a literary event, Piet said.
“The Bay area itself is a really diverse area. Not just Tampa, but St. Pete as well,” she said. “There’s a really strong GLBT presence here. I knew of all the places we could go, it would be welcome to such an event.”
Piet teamed up with husband and wife Saundra and Roger Armstrong to form Storm Moon Press in 2010. They created the publishing company so they could carefully put out selected material each year.
“The whole point behind Storm Moon Press was being a small press dedicated to quality over quantity, which was pretty new because most publishers in the LGBT romance genre are about a lot of authors churning out a lot of books throughout the year,” Piet said.
For more information on RainbowCon, go here.