A Low-Key Book Launch

by | November 27, 2021 | General | 1 comment

Today I officially launched my erotic novel, Prairie Gothic: A Tale of the Old Millennium.

A local independent bookstore, the Penny University Bookstore, in the main street in the Cathedral Neighbourhood (the “Greenwich Village” of my small prairie city) offers local authors a chance to hang out on Saturday afternoons and interact with customers, or to plan a more formal event in the evening, which carries a fee because the store owner has to pay her staff extra to work outside of normal business hours. I chose the Saturday-afternoon slot, and I was delighted when a few of my friends showed up. My loyal spouse was there too.

The bookstore owner, who previously ran a downtown coffee shop which occasionally hosted a pop-up bookstore, offered us free tea or coffee. I sat in the comfortable green armchair that I thought of as Author’s Seat, having attended someone else’s book launch several weeks ago. My friends bought copies of Prairie Gothic, I autographed them, and I read the opening scene in Chapter One, which is relatively work-safe. The owner made a video of my reading, and I hope I won’t find it cringe-worthy when I see it.

I really hope that such small, cozy independent bookstores never die out completely, although their numbers have been shrinking for a long time. The convenience of shopping for books (including digital and audio versions) on-line has almost eclipsed the pleasure of shopping for actual books on shelves in stores that host author events and book club meetings. This trend seems parallel to the gradual disappearance of the kind of community-based LGBT bars that I describe in my novel. Now, in the 2020s, people of all sexual flavours seem to find dates on-line, despite the danger involved in meeting total strangers outside a social context of shared work, shared hobbies, political causes, or friends. I’m not sure if recurring lockdowns due to the pandemic have accelerated this process, but I know that many human transactions have been moving on-line since the era of my novel (1999), when communication usually took place in-person.

I hope all you writers here can find a welcoming real-life place to share your writing with actual readers.

Jean Roberta

Jean Roberta once promised her parents not to use their unusual family name for her queer and erotic writing, and thus was born her thin-disguise pen name. She teaches English and Creative Writing in a university on the Canadian prairies, where the vastness of land and sky encourage daydreaming. Jean immigrated to Canada from the United States as a teenager with her family. In her last year of high school, she won a major award in a national student writing contest. In 1988, a one-woman publisher in Montreal published a book of Jean’s lesbian stories, Secrets of the Invisible World. When the publisher went out of business, the book went out of print. In the same year, Jean attended the Third International Feminist Book Fair in Montreal, where she read a call-for-submissions for erotic lesbian stories. She wrote three, sent them off, and got a letter saying that all three were accepted. Then the publisher went out of business. In 1998, Jean and her partner acquired their first computer. Jean looked for writers’ groups and found the Erotic Readers & Writers Association, which was then two years old! She began writing erotica in every flavor she could think of (f/f, m/f, m/m, f/f/m, etc) and in various genres (realistic contemporary, fantasy, historical). Her stories have appeared in anthology series such as Best Lesbian Erotica (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, Volume 1 in new series, 2016), Best Lesbian Romance (2014), and Best Women's Erotica (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006) from Cleis Press, as well as many others. Her single-author books include Obsession (Renaissance, Sizzler Editions), an erotic story collection, The Princess and the Outlaw: Tales of the Torrid Past (Lethe Press), and The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella (Lethe, also in audio). Fantasy stories by Jean include “Lunacy” in Journey to the Center of Desire (erotic stories based on the work of Jules Verne) from Circlet Press 2017, “Green Spectacles and Rosy Cheeks” (steampunk erotica) in Valves & Vixens 3 (House of Erotica, UK, 2016), and “Under the Sign of the Dragon” (story about the conception of King Arthur) in Nights of the Round Table: Arthurian Erotica (Circlet 2015). This story is now available from eXcessica (http://excessica.com). Her horror story, “Roots,” first published in Monsters from Torquere Press, is now in the Treasure Gallery of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association. With Lethe Press publisher Steve Berman, she coedited Heiresses of Russ 2015 (Lethe), an annual anthology of the year’s best lesbian speculative fiction. Her realistic erotic novel, Prairie Gothic: A Tale of the Old Millennium, was published by Lethe in September 2021. Jean has written many reviews and blog posts. Her former columns include “Sex Is All Metaphors” (based on a line in a poem by Dylan Thomas) for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association, July 2008-November 2010. The 25 column pieces can still be found in the on-site archives and in an e-book from Coming Together, www.eroticanthology.com. Jean married her long-term partner, Mirtha Rivera, on October 30, 2010. Links: www.JeanRoberta.com http://eroticaforall.co.uk/category/author-profiles

1 Comment

  1. Lisabet Sarai

    Hello, Jean,

    Congratulations on your long-delayed release. My copy of Prairie Gothic is still sitting in the U.S., waiting to be shipped to me by my mail forwarding service.

    I wish I could hang out with you and have you autograph it.


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