Cocktails & Conversations with J.R. Dawson

Come one, come all!  Join us for a night at the circus with popcorn, prizes, and an exploration of a great adult fantasy book with its author, J.R. Dawson. The First Bright Thing follows several characters who are outcasts due to their magical abilities, but these misfits create a found family through their traveling circus in the years after World War I, making it their goal to provide a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top even as threats from the past and future close in around them. Between our lovely author discussion and show-stopping cotton candy mocktail, we aim to provide a night of enchantment as well. You’ve never been to a Cocktails & Convo quite like this!  Registration required — the ticket is the price of the book and includes a fun Q&A with the author, a hardcover copy of the book, and the opportunity to have it signed.

Date: Tuesday, June 13               

Time: 7 PM           

Location: Dog-Eared Books Main Floor

The Book:

Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top.

But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

J. R. Dawson (she/they) has published shorter works in places such as F&SF, Lightspeed, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. She lives in Omaha with her spouse and three dogs in the middle of a city park. Having earned a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul and an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast, Dawson works at Nebraska Writers Collective and other Midwestern nonprofits that teach kids the power of performance and storytelling.