I just received my program for the 5th annual Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave (Oct 31 – Nov 02, 08) here in Manhattan, KS, and there it was, my name in black and white. How exciting is that? Not only is it my first conference, but it’s my first public appearance, complete with author signing and panel.
If you’re a reader, writer or fan and you live in the area, please feel free to stop by the Holiday Inn at 17th & Anderson Avenue. I’ll be there Friday night and most of the weekend. If you already have a copy of The Protector, it’s okay to bring it with you for me to sign. If not, there are some copies available for purchase. Author signings are on Friday, Oct 31, 5:30-6:30 pm, and at Saturday, Nov 1, 5-5:45 pm and after the banquet, 8-10pm.
Naturally, I know exactly how this is going to go down. I will show up on Friday at the gala reception looking ten pounds lighter and five years younger. I’ll be at a table with witty, clever writers whose books I’ve read. At least one of the people attending the reception will have read my book and gush over my beautiful, tropic setting, while absolutely adoring the sexy cover of the book. He or she will have their dog-eared copy ready for me to sign. I’ll take a few photos (looking ten pounds lighter and five years younger). I’ll have a great time and not worry at all about the panel I’m sitting on on Saturday morning. The panel itself will be well attended. My co-panelist, Norm Ledgin, and I will have the crowd spellbound. There will be plenty of audience questions and generous interest in our take on “Why We Write Mysteries.” The rest of the weekend will be filled with intelligent conversation, humor, the occasional great insight and adoring fans at the author signings.
In truth, I’ll probably look about the same I do right now (at least five years younger) and no one will whip out wallet-sized photos of their last vacation on Guam. The panel will be just fine. I’m going to be horribly nervous, wondering if I shouldn’t have invested in prescription strength deodorant versus the regular strength, but only the people in the front row will notice my nervous tick. Most of the people stopping by my table during the author signing will not have read my book or any other gay fiction. I’ll have the great opportunity to introduce and represent a new genre to these readers. A few might even be intrigued enough to give this new author a try.
You bet I’m going to spend all my spare time between now and then practicing my clever one-sentence pitch. If you’re an author and you thought writing a one-paragraph description of your novel in a query letter is difficult, try coming up with an interesting one-liner.
Wish me luck :-)