Rainbow Weekend Intensive (for those identifying as LGBTQIAP+)

Event Type:
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Times: 5:00 PM Thursday - 11:00 AM Sunday
$925 lodging, $725 local

Amy Rose Capetta, Jim McCarthy, Cori McCarthy

Class Size:
10 lodging, 6 local

Join popular YA authors and Rainbow Box Creators Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy and Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Vice President and agent Jim McCarthy for the FIRST EVER weekend intensive designed and created for LGBTQIAP+ writers of young adult and middle grade, for a weekend of lectures, connection and workshop.


BUILDING BETTER WORLDS with YA author Amy Rose Capetta

In the past, the definition of what a “gay YA” story could be was extremely narrow, focused on a single type of contemporary coming-out tale. In the past few years, we’re finally seeing traditionally published LGBTQIAP stories that expand this definition. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to craft such stories with limited (or nonexistent) blueprints, and mostly cishet gatekeepers. The possibilities are both exciting and daunting. How do we, as LGBTQIAP writers, move past the expected narratives and give our readers real worlds of possibility?

This lecture will focus on narrative construction and worldbuilding–whether you’re writing SFF, contemporary, historical fiction, or a story that blends or bends genre. We will explore the unique considerations of writing and publishing queer fiction in our current moment, and the craft practices that help us create stories that smash barriers.


I’m Here, I’m Queer, I’m a Writer; Now What? with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Vice President and agent Jim McCarthy

Every author faces some of the same questions: How do I write a query? How do I sell a book? But for authors writing within LGBTQIAP+ identities, there are other questions to consider: How open is the marketplace to queer fiction and nonfiction. No, really? Is it as open as people claim, or is it still considered niche? How do I find an agent who enthusiastically represents queer content? If I write a queer book, will it constrain my career? Will it limit how many schools and libraries I can visit? Will I be forced to only stay in my lane, writing my own identity, or can I go broader? How far has the industry come over the past 10-15 years? How much further does it still have to go? Are their types of queer books that have become overdone? If I write intersectionally, is that more limiting? What sections of the LGBTQIAP+ map are most or least represented?

Join agent Jim McCarthy as he does his best to answer these questions and more and helps attendees learn how to navigate the sometimes tricky, but hopefully rewarding waters of the current marketplace with a very specific eye on LGBTQIAP+ voices, issues, and concerns. Learn why what worked yesterday might now work today…and why that’s often a wonderful thing. Dive into a discussion of what literature is out there, what areas most need coverage, and how best to guide your own career forward in the current marketplace.



Reaching young readers with stories is what we’re here to do…only that’s not really how it works. Your stories must first reach an agent—a predominately cishet field. Then it must reach one editor in a serious way and possibly many other editors at the same publisher in a strong way. Then it must survive the acquisition process—and the marketing plan must survive the ridiculous notion that “only queer people read queer books—it’s a niche audience, you know.” And then the book gets made! And then it has to get past cishet gatekeepers and survive Kirkus. And if it makes it all that way? Your story reaches young readers.

Okay, when I put it that way, it sounds impossible. But it is not. I repeat: IT IS NOT. And the glorious affirmation of this is that books containing LGBTQIAP main characters are emerging in rainbow bouquets. Publishers are realizing that young readers need to see other identities represented as much as they need to see their own identities. Even more, publishers are hungry for #ownvoices stories—stories enriched by the firsthand account of the writer’s particular identity journey.

In this lecture we’re going to talk about the two important ways you can strengthen your novel’s reach, so that it blasts through the variety of checkpoints in publishing and makes it all the way to young readers’ ready hands.

First we will discuss the power of the universal identity story. Everyone has one—or several. Being aware of what elements of your story resonate with all identity journeys will help you reach readers (and agents and publishers!) outside your representation. Secondly, we will discuss the power of the unique identity story. No one has the exact same story or family situation or coming out experiences, and enhancing your story with your original heart will help your writing and characters stand out.

Throughout the lecture, we will engage writing exercises and craft tricks that will help you recognize and draw out these universal and unique emotional elements, so that your book has its best chance of being emotionally satisfying…and published.

Who Should Apply for the Rainbow Weekend Intensive?

  • Writers pre-published, published and/or agented identifying in the LGBTQIAP+ spectrum ONLY; this is an inclusive, in-community event. We welcome LGBTQIAP allies to spread the word of this event and to apply for other Writing Barn intensives.
  • LGBTQIAP writers looking to have a weekend devoted to deep study; craft and conversation; and receive critical and creative feedback in workshop.
  • LGBTQIAP writers who are members of the SCBWI or other writing organizations.
  • LGBTQIAP writers who have attended other Writing Barn Weekend Intensives.

Faculty Bios:

Amy Rose Capetta is the author of the YA novel Echo After Echo, a f/f love story wrapped in a murder mystery set on Broadway. Previous books: Entangled and Unmade, a YA space duet. Forthcoming: The Brilliant Death, (Fall 2018) an Italian fantasy with a queer femme MC and a many-gendered love interest, and The Lost Coast (Spring 2019), a tale of queer teen witches in the California redwoods.

Amy Rose holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the co-founder of Rainbow Boxes, a charitable initiative which raised enough money to send a box of LGBTQ fiction to community libraries and LGBTQ centers in all 50 states. She lives in Vermont, a land of happiness, hiking, and good cheese, with Cori McCarthy and their exuberant five-year-old.

Amy Rose believes we’re about to enter a golden age of LGBTQIAP YA–and that middle grade isn’t far behind! You can check out her featured blog series about it on Cynsations. She loves the collaborative magic of connecting with other writers and is eternally excited about the future of queer books. Find out more about Amy Rose at AmyRoseCapetta.com

Jim McCarthy interned for Dystel, Goderich & Bourret while studying urban design at New York University. Upon graduating, Jim realized he would much rather continue working with books than make the jump (as he had originally intended) to the field of city planning. 18 years later, he remains at DG&B as a VP and agent. As an avid fiction reader, his interests encompass both literary and commercial works in the adult, young adult, and middle grade categories. He is particularly interested in literary fiction, underrepresented voices, fantasy, mysteries, romance, anything unusual or unexpected, and any book that makes him cry or laugh out loud. In addition to fiction he is also interested in narrative nonfiction whether it be memoir, historical, science, pop culture, or just a darn good polemic. His list includes New York Times bestsellers Richelle Mead, Morgan Rhodes, Victoria Laurie, Livia Blackburne, Juliet Blackwell, Suzanne Young, and Robin Talley among many other successful and established authors.

Cori McCarthy—no relation to Jim McCarthy!—is the author of four young adult books. The Color of Rain and Breaking Sky are sci-fi thrillers, respectively tackling human trafficking and queer teen fighter pilots. Her third book, You Were Here, is a mixed format contemporary novel about urban exploring containing graphic novel sections and word art poetry. You Were Here made the 2017 Tayshas reading list and Bank Street Book’s list of Best Children’s Books. Her fourth novel, Now A Major Motion Picture, releases April 2018 and chronicles fandom and first love colliding in Ireland on the set of a Tolkien-styled fantasy movie adaptation. She has a few other books under contract, and you can find out more at CoriMcCarthy.com

Cori holds a BA in Creative Writing (poetry and memoir) from Ohio University, a post-graduate certificate in screenwriting from UCLA, and an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Like Amy Rose, Cori is the other co-founder of Rainbow Boxes and a freelance editor. She also plays guitar, draws, writes poetry, and gleefully lives with Amy Rose and their five-year-old son, Maverick, in Vermont.

Cori believes in fighting for stories that are so true and deeply personal that they live on the page like a blindfolded naked dance. Admittedly that sounds horrible, but it will be her goal throughout the retreat to help you see the immense value of pouring yourself unabashedly and unapologetically into your fiction.

WORKSHOP with ONSITE LODGING: $925, includes:

  • Lodging provided Thursday through Sunday am on The Writing Barn grounds at The Book House in one of five bedrooms: Pulitzer, Booker, Printz, Newbery, and Caldecott. (No single occupancy rooms if the event sells out. The Pulitzer and Booker have two full-sized beds, all other rooms have two single beds. Each bedroom has a private bathroom. If you and a friend are both applying, please specify your roommate request on your application form.)
  • Please see HERE for pictures of the rooms and grounds.
  • One dinner, three breakfasts, and two lunches. All vegetarian. (Three additional dinners not included in the price of the workshop will be off-site at local Austin area eateries/food trucks.)
  • Unlimited snacks and beverages, wine and beer included.
  • Airport shuttle to and from The Writing Barn for those traveling to Austin, at pre-arranged times.
  • Up to ten pages workshopped by Amy Rose, Cori, Jim, and the group.


ADD ONS:12249874_954153107956648_1604373908775625636_n

  • If you care to extend your stay at The Writing Barn or Book House to retreat/write after the event, please inquire about discounted stays.
  • If you wish to have a Writer Massage in your room, during an evening, with one of Austin’s top massage therapists, the cost for an hour, full body massage is $100.
  • If you wish to schedule a headshot session with Author Headshot Photographer, Sam Bond of Sam Bond Photography on the arrival day, please contact her at shropshiresam007@gmail.com.
  • APPLICATIONS: Applications are taken on a rolling basis. To apply, fill out the application form here. Deadline to apply is February 15, 2018.