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Annual LGBTQ book festival returning to Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS -- Page-turners of the gay and lesbian romance novel type are in for a big treat next weekend, when Bold Strokes Books holds its sixth annual LGBTQ Book Festival in Palm Springs.

The book festival begins Thursday, March 1, 2012 and runs through Sunday, March 4.

Once again partnered with Casitas Laquita Resort, the four day festival will feature 30 authors reading from their latest releases, signing copies of their many books and conducting interactive panel and round-table discussions with attendees.

Bold Strokes Books (BSB) was founded in 2004 by Len Barot, author of over 40 books and anthologies herself, under the pen names Radclyffe and L.L. Raand.

BSB's mantra is "quality and diversity in LGBTQ literature."

In 2007 BSB received the distinction of being the first LGBT publishing house to be recognized by the Romance Writers of America.

But romance is not the only name of the game at BSB; other LGBTQ-themed genres can be found under their imprint.

Those genres include: Young Adult, Crime/Mystery, Intrigue/Thriller, Action/Adventure, Erotica, Romantic Fantasy, General and Speculative Fiction, and, the Paranormal.

They also have dozens of titles in all genres available for e-readers.

BSB sponsors book festivals twice per year, one on each coast. The east coast festival is held every October during Women's Week, in the gay mecca known as P-Town (Provincetown, Massachusetts).

The majority of author-reader events at this book festival will take place at Casitas Laquita, a lesbian resort located at 450 E. Palm Canyon Drive. Several other events will take place at the Palm Springs Public Library, and the The Tool Shed Bar is also being used for a reading.

An author's dance event is scheduled for Saturday night at Mango's, 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive.

Palm Springs has a flourishing LGBT community and is the ideal place to relax or roam when not at the festival, with its spectacular views, fine dining options, abundance of spas, ample recreation options, a host of galleries, plenty of shopping, and history galore.

You will also have no trouble finding ways to support the local LGBT community with your personal spending habits. The LGBT community in the greater Palm Springs area is quite prolific.

In a marketing video (available below), Barot summed up the weekend.

The event in Palm Springs is geared towards audience participation, question and answer, introducing who we are, what we write and asking readers what they would like from us, as well.

I like to ask readers what they want. It's great for an author to hear what it is a reader is looking for in a book when they pick it up.

The casual atmosphere of the festival allows the authors to mingle and directly connect with their readers in between the scheduled events.

"Palm Springs is the perfect venue for a GLBT book festival -- warm, welcoming and full of fun," Barot recently said.

Longtime BSB author Kim Baldwin will be attending the BSB Palm Springs book festival for her fifth year in a row.

"This is a 'can't miss' event for me every year," Baldwin told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. "Not only do I get to exchange the cold snow of Michigan for warm sunshine and beautiful mountain views, but the laid-back venue at Casitas Laquita is absolutely ideal for interacting with readers.

"All events are free, and there's ample time between readings for authors and readers to chat poolside about their favorite books!"

In 2010, Baldwin held a fundraiser for a local San Diego woman who was battling cancer without insurance, by auctioning off some of her own books. Baldwin had heard of the woman's plight through a mutual friend.

Within days of the story regarding her good deed hitting the interwebs, over a dozen other BSB authors had decided to join her. Ten authors from other publishing houses soon also donated to the cause.

A few weeks later, after a total of 26 different auctions covering over 20 authors and 75 book donations, approximately $7,000 was raised for the ailing San Diegan.

Such generosity proved these authors not only have the passion to write, but the compassion to help others in need. Their readership and their community are why they do what they do.

Many of the authors who participated will be attending this book festival.

If You Go

The Sixth Annual Palm Springs Book Festival begins Thursday, March 1, 2012, and runs through Sunday, March 4.

There is no cost to attend any of the book festival sessions or events.

Author books will be available for purchase on site.

For a full schedule of events at the Sixth Annual Palm Springs Book Festival, click HERE.

For more information about the festival's main venue, Casitas Laquita, visit their website at casitaslaquita.com.

Accommodations for the weekend may be necessary if you are traveling to the area from another location. Although Casitas Laquita is sold out, there are many other accommodations nearby to choose from.

Several nearby options are:

More About Bold Strokes Books

Bold Strokes Books offers a diverse collection of LesbianGayBiTransQueer general and genre fiction.

Their print books are conventionally produced and available worldwide through their online webstore, Amazon, Baker and Taylor, Bella Distribution, Ingram, and national/international wholesalers. All titles are also available in digital form and sold through their online webstore, Amazon, Barnes&Noble.com, and other third party retailers.

BSB's editorial focus is on author development and in creating works that define the benchmarks in LGBTQ publishing.

To keep up with BSB's events throughout the year, sign up for their email newsletter. You will get excerpts from new releases, links to new titles, interviews with authors, and their full calendar.

Sign up free at their website.

Follow Bold Strokes Books on Facebook or also on Twitter.

For information about their summer book festival in the UK, click HERE.

See Barot's comprehensive video explaining the 2010 event, below:

Photos, top left: The grounds of Casitas Laquita; middle: BSB Founder Len Barot (Radclyffe); bottom: BSB author Kim Baldwin poses for NO H8 campaign.