In an odd conflation of life events, jury duty on the federal court in Little Rock, Arkansas beckons just as my book's big release is set to become a reality. As I write this, it's Sunday, September 21, and in a few hours I make a call to a Little Rock number to find out if I must show up for duty on Monday morning. If so, let's hope it's a quick and easy case! In the meantime, I eagerly anticipate Island Fog becoming available to order on Amazon any day now. The official release date is, and has been, October 1, but my publisher Lavender Ink will likely make it available this week to satisfy demands for early ordering. (In any case, one can already order the book through the Lavender Ink website.) To top it all off, in the week of September 28-October 4 my university hosts two major visiting authors as well as a host of other speakers as we launch our first ever festivities in honor of National Diversity Awareness Month. I am one of the co-organizers--and thus co-administrators--of the festivities. Talk about a lot on your plate! It's all good, but it's all huge too.
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Pre-release reviews and other online activity seem to pop up every day or so. At the end of last week I was notified of a review on the Oh My Bookness blog as well as the publication of a short "Books by the Bed" segment I was kindly asked by writer Cheryl Olsen to submit to the website We Wanted To Be Writers. (The idea is to talk about what books are next to your bed or just were or will be shortly.) She has also kindly agreed to review my book in the next couple of weeks. Thank you so much, Cheryl.
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Forgive another obnoxious reminder--maybe my last one!--that a Goodreads giveaway contest for Island Fog is still ongoing. The end of the contest is imminent, however. You only have until the last day of the month to enter. Click this link for a chance to win one of three giveaway copies.
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I can't know what jury service will look like or how long it will last, but I hope to write you next week with more details about UCA's weeklong festival in honor of National Diversity Awareness month. The bad news is that both the idea of a Diversity Awareness month and our on-campus activites are long overdue. The good news is that we have a fantastic lineup planned. This lineup includes world-class creative talents like fiction and nonfiction writer Bernard Cooper (The Bill from My Father, Guess Again, Truth Serum) and poet Jericho Brown (The New Testament, Please); also, the exhibition of a segment of the AIDS Memorial Quilt; a lecture on the origin and turbulent history of Conway, Arkansas's Pride Parade; artifacts from and a lecture on the late gay novelist Peter McGehee and his dark comedies of manners; the screening of two landmark documentaries about LGBT culture: Paris is Burning (1990) and The New Black (2013); a first ever reading put on by members our campus's LGBT organization, Prism; and a reading organized by Sibling Rivalry Press, a renowned and deeply respected publisher--located right here in central Arkansas, by the way--of many gay and lesbian writers. If you're in the area the week of September 28-Oct 4, check it out! If you're just interested in finding out more, contact Dr. Gayle Seymour (GayleS@uca.edu) or Joshua Miller (JDMiller@uca.edu) in the office of the Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, University of Central Arkansas.