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.
(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.