Stacy's Place on Earth
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009:
Chicago spotlight: Julie James & Beth Kery a.k.a. my new best friends

Okay I have to tell you that I really love where I live. (Well, except during our miserable winters). Chicago is an incredible city, blending midwestern sensibilities with a more sophisticated urban flavor. But being a total suburbanite, I don't take advantage of all there is to offer as much as I'd like to. However this week, I was uncommonly brave and for one of the few times ever, drove into the big, bad city.


Michigan Avenue

(click on pictures to make them bigger)

Anyone who knows anything about me is very aware that I have a horrible sense of direction and can get lost in the grocery store, but putting my fate in Mapquest's hands actually turned out to be a good thing. Go figure. I managed to find my way, no problem, and only had to circle around once to find a decent place to park. My day was off to a good start.

And it only got better. I had left the scary yet familiar surroundings of the suburbs to meet some very cool people for coffee: Chicago authors Beth Kery and Julie James. Yet another reason to love where I live. And where else could we meet but at one of the places that has been the recipient of thousands of my hard-earned dollars - the bookstore.


Location, location, location

This is the wondefull 3-story Borders on Michigan Avenue where we met. Though I was very sad when Julie told me that this store would be shutting down, quite possibly later this year. How awful! One of the worst things in the world for a reader to hear. My heart aches at the thought.


Beth & Julie, looking ultra classy

These ladies are both just as friendly as they look. Though with those pearls and sweet disposition, you really wouldn't think Beth would write something as erotically steamy as "Wicked Burn", but she did, and am I ever so grateful for that *g* And maybe she's on to something because pearls certainly play a significant role in one very sexy scene. Obviously inspired ;)

I have definitely added Beth to my auto-buy list. I just really love her style and how she digs deep to tell a genuinely moving story. She had me at Vic.

Now I certainly can't forget about Julie, who wrote another of my favorite books of 2008. She writes such snappy, smart dialogue, which sadly, you just don't see a lot of these days. One of my favorite things about her characters is how much they actually converse, matching wits and challenging each other every step of the way. She has some intriguing ideas for future stories and I really hope she's given free rein to tell them. If you take her experiences as a lawyer, and blend those with her exotic travels, I think they would be interesting and different and really fun and engaging to read about. So editor/publisher/agent/manager/husband of Julie, please let Julie write what she wants, because her fans want to read it!

Happy news: both Julie & Beth are going to be attending Lori Foster's & Dianne Castell's June get-together! Yeah baby!

Naturally we spent the afternoon discussing lots of books and authors, past and present. I was, obviously, the voice of knowledge and experience, what with my 25 years of reading experience (Okay, I just like to talk about me *g*). At one point Julie brought up Nalini Singh's newest, "Angel's Blood", which prompted some talk about angels and vampires, demons and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", that is until a quiet young woman came up to our table, having overheard part of what we were saying and somehow she thought we were talking about real-life demonic attacks. Huh. I think we truly burst her bubble when we just stared at her in disbelief and told her we were talking about books. Maybe she was just as horrified at the thought of romance readers as we were of demon possession. Easy mistake.

Once we got our voices back, Beth admitted....okay, never mind. I wasn't supposed to say anything. We went from devil talk to blogging, mentioning some of the blogs we frequently visit, and I was asked about Twitter, which I admit is a guilty pleasure but I continue to question the value, at least for myself. Others may utilize to its fullest potential. We touched on Facebook versus MySpace. Julie doesn't like....nope, I can't tell you THAT. She'd kill me.


Julie with her two releases, "Just the Sexiest Man Alive" and "Practice Makes Perfect"

Before I knew it, my adventure was over. And before anyone asks, yes I really was there and not just imagining all this. I'm not quite creative enough to make this stuff up. Beth has a picture of me somewhere, and Julie mentioned me in a blog post. It was a fun day in the city. I want to thank both Beth and Julie for such an enjoyable afternoon. Alas,no scandal or juicy gossip or even a cat fight. But sometimes drama is not all it's cracked up to be.

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  1. First, wow - I'm way jealous. Sounds like you had a blast!

    Second... OMG! I love that Borders! Whenever I travel to Chicago on business, I always go there and the Books-a-Million. I can't believe it's closing. So sad.

  2. Wow! How much fun that must have been! And now you have all those secrets about both of them!

    I'm SO looking forward to Lori's event and meeting Julie & Beth. I was thrilled when Julie agreed to come.

    You're a lucky, lucky girl, Stace!

  3. That Borders is a dream store! It is huge!! Beth and Julie are my two new favorite authors for this year :D
    Again, I am so jealous about your meet and great.
    BTW, are you going to RWA this July?

  4. How fun! You are so lucky to live there. Those two authors just seem so gracious! Sounds like you had a blast.

  5. Lori, I did. I have to count my blessings. In the last 8 yrs I've gone from knowing no one who read romance to actually hanging out with favorite authors. It's amazing. And I'm really sad about the store closing too. One of their flagship locations. Doesn't seem right. Remember that scene in "You've Got Mail" when Meg Ryan's little bookstore closes? Now it's the big guys.

    Thanx Kati. I think hanging with them in June is going to be great. And they are both such interesting people - they have a lot of ideas to bring to the table.

    Kate, I think I'm going to skip RWA this year. I want to go, but I've been to D.C. so much in the last few months, plus my roomie isn't going, so I think I'll wait til next yr. Never been to Nashville.

    Carol Jean, you have some pretty cool authors in Minneapolis too, don't you? Have you ever met Neil Gaiman?

  6. We did have a blast! Such a fun way to spend an afternoon. And Stacy suggested wine next time, which is right up my alley...

    Stacy-- you're right about the "You've Got Mail" reference! How sad that in reality it's a three-story Borders store closing...

    Ooh-- Katie: I'm going to RWA this year! Are you planning to go?

  7. I had such a great time, too! Books, coffee and good talk. Excellent.

    I realized when we were taking pics I was wearing pearls. lol. Aw, geez. Wasn't trying to suggest anything--I was going to work later, and they are part of my work-wear.

    Can't wait for Lori's event! I'll let you know when I put up my blog about Borders, and also an interview from Ms. Julie.

  8. Wow Stacy it sounds like you had a ton of fun!

    I can’t wait till June. It’ll be tons of fun.

  9. What a great adventure!! It sounds like so much fun!

  10. Oh wow! That is so neat! So glad you all had a great time and had the opportunity to have lunch together.

    I'm really looking forward to Lori Foster's.

  11. Sounds like y'all had a great time. I'm bringing my niece to Chicago in May(her first visit) and she will be so upset if the Borders is already closed. I've been telling her about it forever and that is one of the places she wants to go.

  12. Sounds like one amazing afternoon! Thank you so much for sharing it :)

  13. Liza,

    From what I understand, the Borders Michigan Ave. is closing next year.

    At least we'll still have the one on State Street. :(

  14. Thanks Beth. I hate that Borders is closing such a great store. We have already had several close in the Nashville area over the last couple of years. Hopefully we won't have anymore close.

  15. Sounds like you had a great time, Stacy! I'm so happy you were able to go!

  16. I'm jealous! Looks like a blast. I love, love, loved Wicked Burn! So glad I read about it on your blog. I want to try Julie's books too. They look great.

    I'm going to miss you in June, Stace. I'm SO sad I can't go.

  17. I'm so jealous! Glad you three had a good time.

    We missed you at the signing today. Hope you had a blast at the concert!

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