I would love to say I’ll be doing a reading at GRL this week in Kansas City, but I’m not. I didn’t get one of the available time slots. I wish I had, because I LOVE (love, LOVE, love) reading my own work aloud.
There’s something incredibly playful about doing a reading. If I were doing a reading locally, I would bring a sword and wear my barbarian gear. Readers might find me laughable, but that’s part of the fun, seeing me act out Vorgell the barbarian from Thick as Thieves while brandishing a sword, or sputter and snark as Madd while wearing a cloak that hides his love collar. I did as much while writing the characters. It’s true, I pranced around my writing room brandishing quipping out loud. But air travel rather makes bringing swords and extra costume items impractical.
While authors may not always be the best readers of their own work—for audiobooks, readers prefer male voices by far and, alas, many authors are female—they may do the best interpretations. As the creator of the work, the author knows about unwritten things that go into the character or world.
For my first published novel, I gave a reading at WisCon that had readers rolling in the aisles because they simply hadn’t quite grasped the full absurdity the situation: a man getting too much sex at the hands of an alien female who couldn’t understand why he hadn’t died yet (because that was what males of her species did). I had a field day as the alien queen as she woke up to the realization that now she could have sex endlessly. And the human when he realized what was happening. It was great fun—and expanded reader understanding of the characters and story.
A story is not a static thing. Fiction has movement, cadence, poetry, humor, pathos, passion and a hundred other nuances to work with. Different passages can be read to different purposes. An amusing passage is usually a good bet, because humor doesn’t need a lot of supporting information. Sex scenes are similarly popular, though risky because there might be minors in the audience. If I’m pretty sure the audience is suitable, I like to read a bedroom scene for some books. Dangerous Beauty, for example, has a scene wherein Endre, who has never had sex with a man, asks the hot alpha male Arshad to just take him already.
Sometimes I have my books stacked in front of me and ask readers if there’s a scene they want me to read. I’m game. Seriously, I’ll read anything and put on a show. Readers come up with some delightful choices. Petal the baby basilisk (she doesn’t speak, but I hiss convincingly). Yanni the pissed off courtesan telling Arshad exactly why he thinks Endre is a complete prig. Rimmon kissing Melkor upon an icy mountaintop. Scenes of magic. Battle. Love.
Readings are also a good time for introducing a scene from an upcoming book. “Do you want a sneak peek at these two in their next adventure?” Most often the answer is yes, but be ready with a backup plan.
If you catch me at GRL, maybe at one of my two Author Lounges, and want a (very short) reading, feel free to ask. I will oblige.
See you at GRL, or see you later!
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Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.
Tali’s books include the Pride of Uttor series: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, Adored, and Victory Portrait, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often publishes in anthologies, and puts up free stories and excerpts on her blog.