Speculative Brunch

As you likely know (and will soon likely be tired of hearing), I was at Naked Heart last weekend, and it was freaking amazing. Part of said freaking amazing was being on a reading in the very first timeslot on the first full day of the festival. So, at 10:30 in the morning on a Saturday, Steven Bereznai, myself, David Demchuk, J.M. Frey, Stephen Graham King, Michael Lyons, and James K. Moran got up to do our thing.

Here’s the thing about readings—you’re always, always sure no one will show up, and then half-way through reading you’ll burp, barf, or have some sort of massive nosebleed. (It could be that’s just me, but I have it on decent authority that at least half the people at this reading were feeling at least the jitters, so let me have this.)

Another thing about doing a reading is you’re often sitting in the first row, and you arrive early (of course, all the better to fret) and stare at a display of books.


Bless you, Glad Day Bookshop, for this bounty that my Mountain of To-Be-Read books is about to receive…

When the event actually begins, it’s not until you get called upon to stand up and face the audience that you realize…

Oh. Look at that. The chairs are full.

(For the record, that’s an incredible feeling, and far, far more often the reality is ‘Oh! Good! I’m outnumbered by audience! Win!’)

That’s what happened. That it happened at the first slot on the first day, opposite workshops on getting an agent and on writing craft, was stunning.

That Samuel R. Delany and Felice Picano were there in the audience? Well, let’s just say that the whole burp-barf-nosebleed thing felt like a very real possibility. It didn’t happen, but it sure felt likely.

I read from Triad Blood, the very short opening scene with the three guys at the table. I like how it shows their relationship(s), and it lets me drop in the first geeky Curtis Firefly moment, which—to my great relief—garnered laughter in the way it was supposed to. It was a spec fic reading. One assumed there would be Firefly fans in attendance.


The traditional, if fuzzy, group selfie shot, courtesy of Michael Lyons.

Steven Bereznai‘s book, I Want Superpowers, sounds awesome (hey, you all know how I feel about superheroes, no?) David Demchuk—who pulled double-duty as host—read a really chilling piece complete with witches dining on the flesh of children. J.M. Frey read from her second book (soon to release!) in The Accidental Turn series, which involves characters who pop in and out of our real world from a book not unlike a George R.R. Martin epic. Stephen Graham King treated us to a sneak-peak from the next Maverick Heart book, Gatecrasher, which follows up the awesome Soul’s Blood. Michael Lyons read from his story in an Egyptian steampunk anthology that blended Lovecraftian horror with steampunk and it was creepy as all get out (watch out for the anthology, Clockwork Cairo). And James K. Moran gave us a scene of despair from his haunting Town and Train.

The audience was friendly, the readings were lively, and the anxiety was done right off the bat. Who could ask for more?

I cannot express thanks enough to Glad Day Bookshop, and everyone who volunteered and organized the Naked Heart Literary Festival. It was amazing. If you’re considering going next year, please let me be a voice telling you you should.

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