Friday, August 7, 2009

My visit with the Lady Jane's Salon



I didn't know what to expect when I got the invite to read at Lady Jane's Salon but the reading group's name, its focus on romance, and the setting, the Madame X lounge in SoHo, intrigued me. I had to make the 224 mile drive from Boston to NYC and meet the Lady Janes.

Last Monday night, I arrived at the Madame X lounge, the most colorful setting I ever had a reading in. The bar was draped with red curtains and matching plush sofas and chairs. It felt like I was in a New Orleans saloon where cocktails and good conversation flowed hand in hand. A good time to be had with friends and new friends.
The darkly lighted room set the stage for the monthly Manhattan gathering of romance authors and their readers.

(photo of me from www.bizurban.com)
I was an invited reader (the group's first male author...bravo!) to do a reading and I was honored to be there along with fellow authors Anna DePalo who read a lively sensual kitchen scene from her book, The Billionaire In Penthouse B. She was followed by Delilah Marvelle, dressed in a white formal Georgian dress, as she read with a charming faux British accent from her novel Lord of Pleasure. Both readings offered brief escapes from August's hot breath, which enfolded the city like a second skin.

Each author explained what drives her to write, despite rejections from agents and publishers. Yet they personified how perserverance paid off. One author said she had written 40 manuscripts and faced 200 rejections alone. Their readings entertained, engaged and inspired the audience of about 40 women. (I counted three other guys there, not including myself.)

The group was founded by romance authors Hope Tarr, Maya Rodale, Leanna Renee Hieber and book blogger Ron Hogan to give readers and their authors a forum to share in their love of romance literature, a genre that is often frowned upon and overlooked by mainstream media for book reviews and coverage when it should be celebrated and highlighted.

In keeping with the theme of the group, I read a scene from Beantown Cubans where Cuban-American newspaper reporter Tommy Perez bumps into his ex-boyfriend Mikey at their old meeting place, Barnes and Noble in Braintree. In this scene, Tommy is nervous and excite, his old feelings are stirred as he faces his ex. Overall, I had a wonderful time at the reading and I made some new author friends - and readers. (Thank you ladies for buying all my books there.) (And thank you to Cary, the lovely librarian, for walking me to Sixth Avenue and pointing the way back to Chelsea when I felt a little lost.)

Below is a video that Ron shot of me before the reading. Here, I talk about how gay and women readers often enjoy sharing the same kinds of books.