I took the train in from Connecticut early in the morning of the reading and DL King met me at Grand Central. We took the subway to her place in Brooklyn and hung around for a bit, talking writer stuff. She showed me her toy cabinet, which was quite impressive. Then we headed back into the city and went shopping at Purple Passion on West 20th. She was looking for a new flogger and liked a few, but lamented that there was no way to test them out. Being the pal that I am, I turned my back to her and said, "Go for it." My favorite moment - after using the second flogger on me, she said, "Too bad you have on a top, or that probably would have stung." Probably? Trust me, the shirt didn't absorb that much of the blow. The cross dresser in the back of the store darted back into the dressing room when I caught him watching us, which was too bad. I should have told him how great he looked in the blue corset, but he seemed to be avoiding us after he changed back into his khaki dockers and blue shirt. So anyway, my back stung a bit for the next hour, but it was a nice sting. (I have a small bruise on my shoulder blade - my NYC momento.)
I hung out at Union Square and people watched while DL was in a meeting. Lots of nannys with their charges. Some young lovers. *awww* One steriod case strutting around in tight black pants and no shirt. He looked like a Chippendale's dancer who aged out. Some squirrel antics, including one that stared me down while he peed. Such an attitude!
Everyone warned me that NYC was going to be hot and muggy. Not true. Weather was
perfect. Mid-eighties, not too humid. The subways were a bit stifling at first, but again, not too bad, and not very crowded. And despite their bad reputation, I found the people in NYC to be perfectly nice and helpful.
We got to the Happy Ending Lounge around 7:30. Jolie du Pre and Radclyffe were already there. Met up with Stephen - another of the Erotica Revealed reviewers - Chris, Chris's not-a-date-but-not-not-a-date friend, and Scott (who is one of the few people I know who can wear lime green. It helps, I suppose, if you're gorgeous.) The place was packed. People stood in the hallway and sat on the floor.
The first reading was actually a DVD of Peggy Munson reading from her Lambda Award nominated, Project Queer Lit winning, novel. I've wanted to see this reading ever since the SCANDAL in San Francisco. Someone should record the audience as they watch the reading so that Peggy can see how the audience reacts to her words. (the Happy Ending Lounge was far too dark to do that.)
Rachel read a bit from her cross dressing story. She had us all laughing.
Too bad we only had 10 minutes each, because I was ready to hear more of JD GLass' story. She's another Lambda Award nominee, so I was in seriously great company.
Then it was my turn. I didn't have a contributor's copy of Hot Cops with me,
because the release date has been set back to mid-July. Too bad. I would have
liked to have shown the cover.When I got up to the podium, I was so glad that I went to Amie Evans and ToniAmato's master class on readings while I was at Saints and Sinners. They said to print out a copy of the story in a big font, which was helpful,because the lighting was so dim. Also, my copy had all these nice stage cues so I knew when to slow down my pacing and what tone of voice to use for certain passages. I practiced it a lot, but it was nice to have the crutch in case my mind went blank. My legs trembled the entire time I was in front of the crowd, and I choked up where I knew I'd choke up. *sigh* But I'm so glad I did it.
During the break, I gave away every business card I had on me. People said some very nice things about my piece. Being a praise whore, I ate it up.
Jolie du Pre read part of her story from Iridescence, which I look forward to reviewing for Erotica Revealed for August. Jolie and I have been running into each other a lot this year at various cons. I so enjoy talking to her. She's vibrant and smart and beautifully feminine and cuts through the bullshit like no one else I know.
Following Jolie was Michael Luongo, who read from his novel The Voyeur. If I would have had space to carry it, I would have bought a copy from him. The two passages he read were fascinating and funny. Give it a read.
The last reader of the evening was Radclyffe. Rachel mentioned that she could always count on Radclyffe for a great story, and I can see why. It was fantastic, fun, and very sexy.
After the reading, we went out for Indian food with Jolie and her sister, Chris and his friend, DL, and someone we met at the reading (I didn't catch his name. I think he was a friend of Michael Lungo's.) The company and the conversation was great. Chris's friend creates cover art for books, so of course we had a lot of questions for him. (Yes, he reads the books he designs covers for.)
By then it was past midnight. DL and I caught a cab back to Brooklyn. I'm not sure what our cabbie did, but he got pulled over by a cop who took forever to write the ticket. I told DL that this definitely wasn't a Hot Cops kind of story. We were bored out of our minds. And the cop? meh. We never get to see the hotties. *sigh* I picked up my stuff at DL's place and grabbed a cab to my hotel. He got lost. (Dude, it's on 140th. We're on 130th. How hard can it be to drive 10 more blocks? But I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get dumped in the middle of Queens at 2AM. Those could have been fireworks that went off down the street in three short bursts, but it sounded like gunfire. Apparently mycabbie agreed, because he pulled a fast U-turn in the middle of the street and went to a well-lit gas station to call for directions.)
The air conditioner didn't work in my hotel room, and it was scorching. I dozed
between fits of grumpy wakefulness. A couple hours of that, and I was almost glad for my wake-up call. I dragged my butt out of bed, and headed to the airport for my flight.
I'm glad to be home, but it was a great experience. It couldn't have been too traumatic, because I'm willing to do another reading.