Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Very Different Book Launch

Just back from the Launch of my book Bokassa’s Last Apostle and fellow Paradise Press author Elizabeth Lister’s book My Life Outside at the Wibbly Wobbly Floating Bar in South-East London.

To be honest, I was rather anxious about the outcome. Only two ‘maybes’ from facebook and some ‘no’s from the Paradise Press crew and, crucially, no confirmed attendances apart from Elizabeth. In the morning I hit the bookshops. Gay’s the Word want to put ten copies on the shelves and see how they go. Clone Zone in Old Compton Street only had smut on the shelves and I decided not to bother them. Prowler Soho’s book buyer was ‘on the phone’ and I was asked to leave my number. He hasn’t called back. Foyles LGBT book buyer hasn’t yet been replaced and the person who is looking after that department wasn’t there. Waterstones on the Strand, which had looked like it was closing down last time I passed by has re-opened after what must have been a re-fit. The only difference I could make out was that the Lesbian and Gay section had disappeared. Hummmmmm.

Later that afternoon I made my way to the Wibbly Wobbly with a Sainsbury’s Bag For Life weighed down with 7kg of books, and got there at 6.15. No one was there, so I got myself a coke and sat down at the back of the saloon. Elizabeth turned up at 6.50 with her daughter and a friend, complaining about the long walk around the dock. In my defence I didn’t know she had sustained another Morris Dancing injury. (Yes, it apparently really is that dangerous!) We made our way to the pontoon moored alongside the boat which serves as an outdoor smoking area and enjoyed a pleasantly balmy early evening.

I needn’t have worried, as time passed, most of the Paradise Press gang turned up, fashionably late. Some later than others, because they had gone the wrong way around the dock. (How can ‘keep the water to your left’ be made less ambiguous?) Anyhow, by now there was a sizable Paradise Press presence filling up most of the pontoon, spilling over several tables. Just a few locals grouped in twos at the fringes of our large and rather noisy gathering. After a while, Elizabeth put her teacher’s hat back on, stood up and announced our intention to read from our books to the few who had not come there to listen and asked if they’d mind. A couple of guys at the far end said they wanted to hear, and we were off.

I must admit, I was impressed with Elizabeth’s short but well-prepared presentation about how she came to write her trilogy, and its basis in fact with the shocking death of her mother-in-law, who jumped to her death from a bedroom window. Although I was relieved to hear that the rest of the book is fiction. I read the first chapter of my book. (Something I’m getting quite used to, as I’ve read it to quite a lot of audiences now.) And then we just spent a very congenial evening floating on the calming waters of Greenland Dock.

The surprise was to come later on. Although, as it turned out, it wasn’t ours. I had quickly realised I probably wasn’t going to sell any books as, apart from us, the boat was only sparsely populated with people who weren’t gay. But the male couple might just … We were discussing the possibility when they came up and congratulated me on my book. YES, they were gay. Australians, actually. One was visiting the other, who lived nearby and wanted to show his friend an interesting place to have a drink. They had watched us amassing, and said they had felt the gay and lesbian vibe, but were astonished to find themselves in the middle of what turned out to be an impromtu lesbian and Gay literary salon. So, for them, it really had turned out to be an interesting place!

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