…and audience favorite is: Mule

I really worked hard on polishing a piece of micro fiction I’d written almost five years ago to read in my inaugural appearance at DC’s Noir at the Bar.  The story, a criminal’s descent into madness is dark, troubling, a bit macabre.  I wanted to flex my writing muscles by creating a story outside of my usual subject matter, and tone. I think I succeeded.  I have come to love this story, and am thinking about building it into something more.

But, here’s the good news.  That story won the Noir at the Bar Audience Favorite.

And I won a dagger…perfect for this crime-writer’s habit of peeling fruit. Ha Ha.  I don’t think it will get much more use than that.  Photo of dagger will come later.

Oct. 12, 2019 Noir at the Bar

Oct. 12, 2019 Noir at the Bar

Thank you to Ed Ayamar for organizing, and hosting, the event.  Thanks and admiration to the other presenting writers: John Copenhaver, Erica Wright, David Swinson, James Grady, Art Taylor, Alan Orloff, Kathleen Barber, and Ed.

Visit to Allentown

Allentown, PA is the home of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBTQ Center where I read with a half-dozen other writers from the anthology, Our Happy Hours: LGBT Voices From the Gay Bars. Happy Hours book cover The book-which calls attention to the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando-includes four dozen short-stories, essays, and poems about the role gay bars have played in building safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.  Proceeds of the book’s sales support LGBTQ youth-service programs.  Shout out to writers: Renee Bess (also the story collector for the anthology), Rae Theodore, Karen DiPrima who also read their pieces from the anthology.

Located on Maple street in Allentown, the center recently participated in a street name change and now resides on Bayard Rustin Way. Rustin is a hero of mine. See my bad photo of the street sign, below.

Bayaard Rustin SignMet one of the owners of indie bookstore, Let’s Play Books, in nearby Emmaus

The visit inspired me to listen to Billy Joel’s song. https://youtu.be/BHnJp0oyOxs

 

March Book Madness: In and Out like a Lion; or at least a Saint

Wow. March. Loved you, but you wore me out.

I started out the month doing final edits to my fourth book in the Charlie Mack Motown Mystery series.  That book: Judge Me When I’m Wrong will be published in October 2019.  It’s the first time I’ve had two books published in one calendar year.  Excited!

I did a sensitivity/beta read for an author friend.  It was a romance novel. I don’t read a lot of romance, but this book’s story was quite charming, and dare I say it.  I enjoyed racing through to the ‘happy ending’.  Then it was off to Pittsburgh to work with the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Board to check out our host hotel for July’s GCLS Con.  The beautiful Wyndham Grand in Downtown Pittsburgh, sits at the convergence of the city’s three rivers and will be an excellent site for the gathering of our 300 GCLS members this summer.

A week later it was off to Chicago for the Murder and Mayhem conference. I sat on a fun panel of cozy mystery writers (I’m not cozy) and they made me feel very MWA-U presentationcomfortable. The day after the conference, I taught a class (with Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter board member, Mia Manansala) called: Character, not Caricatures: Writing People Who Aren’t Like You.   Mia and I swirled through a PowerPoint presentation and engaged the paying audience in a series of writing exercises.

The following week it was on to New Orleans for the Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival where I ate gumbo, 20190330_111610moderated a panel of radical, lesbian, feminist writing luminaries (Judy Grahn, Blanche McCrary Boyd, and Dorothy Allison), participated in an interview with New Orleans mystery writer, Jean Redmann, did a reading of my new book, Catch Me When I’m Falling, read the poetry of 55939417_320058308711348_6479406736695361536_nAssotto Saint in a author’s remembrance (including Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Cunningham) of writers who had passed away of HIV/AIDS, and, wait for it- was inducted into the SAS Fest Hall of Fame.

20190403_185405Oh, and did I mention I met Grammy-winning, extraordinary musician, Ani DiFranco?

AniDiFranco