Happy Sunday! Today we have Ann Aptaker with us and she’s doing a fabulous giveaway! The first three people who leave a comment will get her choice of book from the Cantor Gold Crime Series.
The last several weeks have been exhausting. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, there was the punch-in-the-gut election result, the energy rousing Women’s March (it was thrilling to be with 400,000 sisters and brothers here in New York!), the constant phone calling to members of congress to urge resistance to the dangerous buffoon occupying the White House, my book launch for “Genuine Gold” at The Mysterious Bookshop, a quick trip to Philadelphia for a reading event at Giovanni’s Room bookstore with the wonderful Kati Jazzy Gray-Sandler, and then three miserable days of a tummy bug which good taste compels me to resist describing here. Plus, the weather in Gotham has been crummy: cold or rainy or snowy or sleety. Generally blech-y.
All of this wrung me dry, taken up a lot of my time, and set me far behind in my writing.
So I’d better do the responsible thing and knuckle down to work, get more written in the still untitled book four in the Cantor Gold crime/mystery series. But today there was a miraculous pre-Springtime Saturday of sunshine and 60 degrees here in New York, a temptation forcing me to abandon all sense of responsibility and get the hell outta the house (okay, studio apartment), clear my head of its burdens, and not give a single thought all day to writing.
The city and its adventures await!
The Fates had my back from the start: I got a seat on the subway! While the weekend crush—thickened by tourists and the bridge-and-tunnel crowd getting on at various Midtown stops—got to know each other more intimately than they’d like, I sat more or less comfortably squeezed between two other lucky seated souls. When the train pulled into Fourteenth Street, I got off. I don’t know why. I just did.
Emerging from the subterranean precinct of the subway, breezy air wrapped around me like a soft hug. Sunshine was everywhere, spilling all over everybody, turning hurrying, purpose-driven New Yorkers into happy amblers. I maneuvered through them and walked from the hubbub of 14th Street to the surrounding residential blocks. The Gold Coast neighborhood (those blocks of beautiful old townhouses and apartment buildings from 13th Street to Washington Square, Seventh Avenue to University Place) was luminous, as finely articulated as a painting. I felt better already.
A yellow doorway on 12th Street caught my eye. Wow! Hmmm…I daydreamed about what kind of life was lived behind that Gothic door. Merry or malevolent? Maybe monkish? A 12th Street medieval mystery.
Well, if one is on 12th Street, one simply must drop into Strand Books. Four floors stacked with the thoughts of the world; the musings, adventures, love affairs, crimes or triumphs of everybody ever, even in faraway languages. Like a library, but better, because no one tells you “Shhhh.”
After a leisurely and salivating browse, and resisting with all my might not to buy (ahh…the tyranny of a tight budget), it was time to move on. After all, the sunshine was on the street, not in this temple of print.
Walking, walking, and on into Union Square, fulfilling its heritage as a catchall for every cause. There was a placard carrying group protesting actions in Venezuela; a group marching for animal rights; a large knot protesting the buffoon in the White House (yeah, I raised my fist and my voice); and some guy banging a drum hung with a sign proclaiming “100% Garbage.” Sure, whatever you say, buddy. Hmmm…and by the way, what’s your story?
The window of a dancewear shop on 20th Street stopped me in my tracks, triggered a bittersweet nostalgia. Two mannequins costumed and posed like ballerinas advertised Freed’s ballet shoes. Freed’s, an English brand, makes peach-colored toe shoes, unlike the more familiar pink. I know this because she wore Freed’s, my high school crush, my first serious crush, a ballet student at the city’s American Ballet Theater school. I wonder if she knew… I wonder where she… I wonder what she… Hmmm, YA love story…
Puh-leeese…get the hell out of the wallow, kiddo. Right. Moving on, I spotted mood- altering salvation in a Mister Softee ice cream truck at the north end of Madison Square. A caramel sundae oozed me out of the past and back into the beautiful sunshine-y present through the magical and transporting properties of sugar. My mood was sweet and easy once again as I sauntered up Fifth Avenue, until a window in Bergdorf Goodman’s—that clothes closet for the One Per Cent—sparked a fevered dream. Center stage in a snappy display was a helluva dress, a black-and-white striped number. Very sexy. Very retro. Hmmm…Cantor Gold would definitely date the woman who’d wear that dress.
I lolled around in Cantor’s dreamy state of mind as I walked across town to Columbus Circle. After my all day hike of more than fifty blocks, a lurching ride home on the subway beckoned. And whaddya know: I got another seat!
And then home, back upstairs to my cozy corner of the city, relaxed, refreshed, and I didn’t think about writing all day. Riiiiiggght.
Ann Aptaker’s “Cantor Gold” crime series celebrates her favorite themes: dangerous women, crime and mystery fiction, New York City’s fascinating history and its rich pre-Stonewall outlaw LGBTQ culture. Her debut novel, “Criminal Gold,” book one in the series, was a Goldie Award finalist. The series’ second book, “Tarnished Gold,” was both a Lambda Award and Goldie Award winner, the only book in the Mystery category to win both awards. “Genuine Gold,” book three in the series, released in January 2017 from Bold Strokes Books. Ann resides in her beloved hometown, New York City.
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Publisher – Bold Strokes Books www.boldstrokesbooks.com