Fay Jacobs
Hi, this is Bywater Books author Fay Jacobs here to continue the Bywater Books / Ylva blog tour.

Frankly, it’s my first online tour and I’m having fun reading the musings of all my wonderful colleagues

If you don’t know me, I’m a native New Yorker, now living in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, or, as I like to call it, Gayberry, RFD.

I got into the storytelling business because my father always said nothing is ever so horrible if you wind up with a good story to tell. And that turned out to be the best advice my father ever gave me – especially since the rest from that era tended toward “It wouldn’t kill you to wear a dress to your sister’s wedding” and “You’ll never find a husband if you buy a house with another girl.” – although he turned out to be right on both counts.

And, for a retiree, my life is suddenly going in all kinds of surprising new directions and I’m having a blast. First, last June I officially became a Bywater author. I brought my four published books of essays (As I Lay Frying, Fried and True, For Frying Out Loud, and the newest, Time Fries: Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach) to Bywater and they are in the process of re-releasing them all, with gorgeous covers by the brilliant designer Ann McMan. Time Fries is already available and the rest are on the way. Woo-Hoo.


The books were all originally published by A&M Books, a successor to the legendary Naiad Press. Readers of a certain age may recall that Naiad was formed in 1974, by four courageous lesbians. Two of the women, Anyda Marchant (a lesbian novelist who wrote under the name Sarah Aldridge) and her partner and editor Muriel Crawford, lived in Rehoboth Beach.

Naiad Press was the first and became, in its day, the most successful lesbian publishing company in the country. Of course, in the 70s you couldn’t even buy a lesbian novel in a bookstore. You had to mail order and it arrived like pornography in a plain brown wrapper. That’s how it was marketed – we’ll send it to you and nobody has to know. No wonder it took us so long to feel any pride.

In 1995, Anyda and Muriel left Naiad Press and, by this time in their 80s, founded A&M Books of Rehoboth. It was Anyda who suggested I compile my published newspaper columns into my first book.

Now I could do a whole blog about quirky and wonderful Anyda and Muriel, but for now, I’ll just say they were brave women and fierce feminists. Anyda and Muriel were Rehoboth’s Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. They loved each other, publishing and Scotch Whiskey, not necessarily in that order.

When Anyda and Muriel, a couple for 57 years, both passed away in 2005, I became owner of A&M Books. And I tried, best I could, to live up to their example… in literature and cocktails.

It was great, but not easy running a small independent publishing house – literally, it was my house. The shed was the Rehoboth book depository, my spouse was fulfillment manager, and my Schnauzer worked security. It was a lot of fun. But I’m thrilled that A&M has become part of Bywater Books so Anyda and Muriel’s legacy can continue to be celebrated.

With ISBN numbers, sell sheets and schlepping to the post office off my plate, I was free to do the second most exciting thing that has happened to me. At age 60-something, I have a whole new career. I’m touring with my oral memoir Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay. Reviewers have called the reading “sit-down comedy” as I tell some fun stories from my books and chart our LGBT march from the closeted outlaw days to marriage equality.

I just got back from doing the show on an Olivia Cruise, I’m headed to New Orleans for a performance at the Saints & Sinners Literary Conference in April, I’m already booked for a return to Women’s Week in P-Town next October to benefit Golden Crown Literary Society….and my favorite news is that I will be playing The Big Apple on May 7 at the historic Duplex Cabaret Theatre on Christopher Street in NYC. For this lapsed New Yorker it will be a huge thrill.

So please, check out my new Bywater editions and come see this “last coming sitting” if I show up in a venue near you. And remember, nothing is ever so horrible if it’s worth the story you can tell!

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