The Ninth Annual New York City Rainbow Book Fair is coming up: Saturday, April 29th 12:00 – 6:00 PM at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (524 W. 59th Street). I’ve booked a spot on the 3:30 PM Reading Panel, and I’ll be around and about Bold Strokes Books’ exhibit table, talking up The City of Seven Gods, which is a 2016 Foreword INDIES finalist, in case you hadn’t heard. 🙂
The Rainbow Book Fair has a special place in my heart since it was the first venue where I did a public reading. That was back in 2013, seven months before my first novel The Seventh Pleiade came out. Eager to start doing some publicity, I answered my publisher’s call for readers, got an early run of promotional bookmarks with the cover art, and invited a bunch of my friends. Then the panic set in. What had I done? Willfully scheduled the most terrifying experience of my life? I had overcome my fear of public speaking by then, grown quite comfortable with it actually as an adjunct professor, but reading my own work was a lot more personal, sharing something I had created, in my own, less than smooth and arresting voice, in a room full of literature afficiandos. The situation brought back the horror of having to sing in front of people in sixth grade chorus and play cello solos in orchestra. Neither of those artistic pursuits panned out for me by the way.
When the day came, it was far less scary than I had pictured. One thing that makes readings a hell of a lot easier than other kinds of performance is that no matter how petrified you are, you can’t forget the words, the notes to hit, since they’re right there in the book you’re holding in your sweaty, shaking hand. Unless the panic strikes you blind. I guess that can happen. But it didn’t happen for me. I gave a well-articulated, stilted reading of one of my favorite scenes from the book, and people clapped politely while my awesome friends cheered and congratulated me. Afterwards we went out for drinks to celebrate. It turned out to be one of those great days you remember forever, and I was so proud to be part of the LGBT literary community.
Now, with that kind of personal endorsement, how could you not check out The Rainbow Book Fair this year?
I’ll be on the 3:30 Bold Strokes Showcase which includes three lesbian authors (Jean Copeland, Maggie Cummings, M. Ullrich), and gay horror author and my good pal David W. Kelly. Before or after that, you can catch me at my publisher’s exhibit table or hobnobbing around the floor. The Fair is a good place to discover lesser-known LGBT titles, both fiction and non-fiction, children’s, young adult and adult, and with the shrinking number of brick and mortar LGBT bookstores, how often do you get a chance to physically browse books these days?
I hope to see you there!