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

Writing Life: New Orleans Style

hotel-monteleone-new-orleans-hotel-exterior1-623x416Wow. What a time at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival.  In association with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, this New Orleans gumbo of LGBTQ writers, Saints and Sinners imagepublishers, publicists, teachers, and book sellers included craft panels, author readings, poetry events, awards, presentations, master classes, Saints and Sinners paneland book signings.

And, of course, steps from the fabulous Hotel Monteleone where most of the activities were held was music, food,red fish grill street strolls, bands, dancing…and cocktails. One of my favorite stops was the Red Fish Inn where I overindulged in white wine, gumbo, jalapeno cornbread, and chocolate bread pudding.

I was a panelist for a discussion about  the mystery genre with the fabulous New Orleans crime/mystery writers, Greg Herren and Jean M. Redmann; as well as award-winning authors, Ali Vali and Jeffrey Round.

Saints and Sinners panel

I also discussed historical fiction writing with Judith Katz, Vanda, Jeff Mann and Matthew Griffin. I was honored to be in the company of all these good writers of LGBTQ themes.  Judith and I both happened to wear turquoise that day.

Of course,I also indulged in meeting new friends and old, and that was the best seasoning of this amazing literary event.   Saints and Sinners, hope to see you in 2019!!