I can't believe I've not mentioned this yet. I'm reading my story The Corrective Tender, alongside the wonderful Jonathan Kemp (London Triptych), Joe Lidster (Torchwood, and more) and Rupert Smith (among other things, Man's World). It's this Friday evening - that's right, almost upon us! Do come along!
We'll all be reading from a new collection edited by Paul Magrs, Shenanigans: Gay Men Mess WithGenre. I'm sure you've got a copy of it, already, what with its assortment of unusual and unnerving characters: tipsy lady sleuths, angry vigilantes, and of course, the beautiful agents of the Corrective Tender itself...
The details of Friday's reading are on this website:
It's run by the Gay Humanists Association, but you don't need to be a member to attend, and it's free - so you have no good reason not to come. It'll make a wonderful start to your weekend.
You can also lend me some moral support. I haven't read my fiction aloud to strangers for nearly a decade! Last time, it was at a local writers' Open Mic in Brighton, one chilly evening, upstairs at the lovely Marlborough Hotel. I hadn't told anyone I was going, and as the room filled with people, I began to wish I'd stayed at home. We read onstage in a big armchair with a microphone hidden somewhere in one of its wings, and I did a story called In Love With The Starry Eyed. It was about a woman who has a fling with a man whose car takes them back to Brighton in the 1950s. It wasn't that good, but I still like the title very much.
Unfortunately, I hadn't timed myself beforehand, and I began to overrun my slot quite badly. I could see Simon, the burly chap who ran the night, sighing and tutting and looking at his watch, and I began to read faster and faster, cutting out lines that I thought weren't necessary, and then having to improvise when I realised I'd missed an integral bit of story.
There was a lovely reaction, and back on my little cabaret-style table, a lady with bobbed silver hair and big lapels told me I had to get an agent, don't take any rubbish, go and get an agent, and tell them how it needs to be. She wouldn't let me get a word in edgeways, unfortunately, and there was even a young woman who came up to me and said nice things, but was suddenly subsumed under my rather tiddly companion's rant about publishers and agents who had done her wrong.
It was exciting, though, and even though I'm feeling nervous about Friday, I'm also really looking forward to it (and I have timed myself this time, don't worry).
I'm only sorry we can't have everybody there for Shenanigans at the Conway Hall: Paul the editor, Stuart the publisher, and the authors of some of the other creepy, funny, clever stories in the book. And most of all, Mark Manley, whose gorgeous cover art is like a window onto an extraordinary hostelry of soft lights and crossed genres, a funny, sexy celebration of the queer imagination.
Will you be there?