Survived my first release party

The Stellarnet Rebel release party was January 5 at Tir na nOg Irish Pub, the inspiration for “Aileen’s Pub” in the novel. We had live traditional Irish music from Kilcarragh, including songs mentioned in the book, and I gave away promotional swag — goodies from Carina Press, nagyx “soul stone” necklaces based on the book, stickers, chocolates, and autographed book cover cards. Annie Nice (the inspiration for Aileen herself) presented me with this really cool and terribly delicious cake.

It was my first public reading as an author. I’ve taught classes, given presentations, led workshops, emceed events, acted, sang, chaired meetings, and read other people’s books during storytimes for children, but this was the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever had to do.

Almost as difficult as the reading itself was deciding what part of the book to read. I considered several excerpts. Some exciting, some funny, some set in Aileen’s Pub… but I couldn’t make up my mind. Being a thriller, it seemed like too many of the excerpts either had spoilers or involved some piece of information the reader would need to know from a previous chapter. Or the excerpts involved too many expletives. Granted, it was an Irish pub, so what word hasn’t been said there before? But it’s also a restaurant, and I didn’t want to offend any casual diners who might be within earshot.

I settled on the prologue, which was sufficiently short, dramatic, intriguing, and self-contained. And no questionable language.

As an author, how do you feel about public readings, and how do you decide what part(s) to read? As a reader, do you enjoy hearing an author read their work, and what parts do you want to hear?

J. L. Hilton



  1. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, I feel you should probably share the part of the story that will give some insight into one of the characters, or highlights a pivotal part of the story. Make us feel SOMETHING for one of the characters and you have us!

    1. Thanks! The prologue was a good choice, then. It doesn’t get any more dramatic than someone’s mother dying in their arms, and then trying to escape a prison ship in the middle of space! 🙂

  2. Congrats on the release! I haven’t done a public reading and fear I would totally flub it : P

    1. Shawn Kupfer (47 Echo) gave me some great advice: Just wing it. Put your head down and start reading… and drinking helps. 🙂

  3. Congrats on the new release, and surviving the release party 🙂
    I recently did my first reading, and it was harrowing. I have a LOT of potentially offensive words in my books, so yeah, it’s tricky. I know a lot of people who actually read sex scenes which I couldn’t do, AT ALL. And yeah, you don’t want spoilers, but you also need something that isn’t going to confuse the people listening, either. I didn’t have a prologue my book, but I ended up reading a chunk out of chapter one, where my two main characters meet.

    1. Oh, no, I could NOT read a sex scene in public! It’s bad enough I have to endure my friends and acquaintances reading Stellarnet Rebel and giving me the wink-wink nudge-nudge and “Gee, we know a few things about YOU now, don’t we?” I think some heads will explode if (when) I ever write a SF-erotic romance. lol

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