Wednesday was great! Except for starters when Jess and I headed downtown with plans to arrive early to meet her brother and have a leisurely dinner prior to her reading. Because, stupid me, as I mentioned, am geographically a dumbass, and well, I took the wrong way, but helloooo! I was following a sign that said CHICAGO!
It should have been a sign that said “TAKE THIS LONGER AND MORE TRAFFIC-CONGESTED WAY TO CHICAGO.”
It took us one hour and forty-five minutes to get to our destination, which left us with exactly 18 minutes before Jess’s reading was to start.
And yeah, about twenty minutes before we arrived, my Low Fuel Light went on.
But I told Jess that was all part of my devious plan to make sure to get her mind off track of her nerves about reading. It was all part of a plan I tell you! And actually, it was all Swishy’s fault because had she joined us, she could have driven us there safely while I backseat-drove like I did when we drove through tornadoes to get to Jess’s book launch party back in June. Damn her. All Swishy’s fault!
We finally get there, and of course, I have to pee. When I get out of the bathroom, there’s Stacey Ballis, and Jen Lancaster and it’s like a fun author party! Kristabella arrives with her very fun and animated friend Jessica, who tells a great “vomit-in-your-own-hand-while-driving” story. I was quite bummed not to be able to share my “vomit-on-the-hotel-wall-and-see-the-lady-cleaning-it-the-next-day-on-our-way-out” story, but anyway … (It’s in the archives, I think … September of 2005 or 2006).
And The Book Cellar is a great place—they have wine and cheese, so we order wine and cheese and hummus plates and hang out and listen to some really interesting local authors read from their books, and while they were all great, of course, they saved the best for last ... Ms. Jess Riley!
And she ROCKED!
She read from her NEXT novel, which I am ENTHRALLED with right now and so excited to be getting a sneak peek of the whole shebang! Let’s just say it’s an awesome love story IN JAIL with characters so real you cannot believe it. I don’t even know how to put into words how amazing it is. ALREADY. SO AMAZING. If it were a pre-order on AMAZON, I’d tell you to order it now, but Jess is very modest and hasn’t even shared it with her agent yet. Note to Jess: GET THIS BOOK OUT INTO THE WORLD ALREADY!
Wonder what Jess would do if I auctioned off a copy here on Manic Mommy … KIDDING JESS! I wouldn’t do that!
So, after the reading, we’re all sitting around drinking more wine and scrounging the leftovers from Jess’s grilled cheese plate. Stacey begins to talk about her people, and I’m thinking these are people she works with or a club she belongs to and I ask, “Your people? You have people? Who are your people? I want people!”
Everyone looks at me like I’ve got four eyeballs and six nostrils …
“The Jews,” she said.
Oh! I want ME some people too!
I guess growing up Catholic and then turning Lutheran didn’t afford me any people. That bummed me out a little bit.
Then we decide that splitting the last half of Jess’s uneaten, congealed and cold grilled cheese in thirds was not going to cut it as dinner so we decide to go to Fiddleheads, but I kept calling it Fiddlebutts; I don’t know why, but it just sounded better.
But before we head out, two really cute tall blond girls come in and are talking with Jen Lancaster, and it turns out their names are Katie and
(See: Cute Stalker Girls!)
So, Jen is as gracious and kind as you think she is in all of her books and she invites the girls to come with us and so the whole crew, including Jess’s poor brother (not poor in the sense of monetary poor, but poor because he’s surrounded by all these women who are gabbing like they’ve never chatted with other women before poor) … anyway, we all head out for dinner, and we have a great time talking about Spanish cheese, French cheese, and how I never ate an olive but I took one for the team for Jen, but I still don’t like ‘em, and we talk about fruitcakes from Steve Carral’s dad, and mini-frogs that find their way onto necks, and littleneck clams which I thought were really clams that had little necks but Stacey clarified to me that Little Neck was maybe a location?
Good times, these author events, I tell you!
So then, it was time to go and we’re outside and I’m bidding farewells to KB who heads in one direction and then say goodbye to Jen and Stacey and everyone looks at me like I’m insane and they remind me that I parked IN THE SAME LOT AS THEY DID.
Not only can I not find my way into the city of Chicago, I can also NOT find my way into the lot where I parked my car after two glasses of wine which, to be noted, I had drunk three hours prior.
I beg Jess’s brother to let me take him home cuz
This conversation ensues on our way to find a gas station:
Jess: "I remember when I was dating Beave and he was on E …"
Jess’s brother, clearly shocked & freaked out at this news: "He was on E! How’d he get E in Campbell’s Port?!?!"
Jess and I both BUST OUT LAUGHING because NO we are not talking DRUGS … we are talking her boyfriend from Campbell’s Port was on E as in EMPTY. NO GAS in the car E!
Jess: "And we would rummage through the seats in the car to find change to pay for our gas."
Yes folks, we were talking about paying for the price of a gallon of gas, and not how to score hard-core, mind-altering drugs!
And then Jess makes a comment about my boobs looking big and her brother has to confirm the comment and I’m like, “OK, am I in the car with MY OWN FREAKING SIBLINGS OR WHAT?”
And I absolutely love it! (The fact that my boobs look big, and also that I love Jess and her bro so much they feel like siblings to me!)
After filling up the tank and paying $148 for gas, we get Jess’s brother home safely and we then find our way back to my safe suburban bubble.
The next morning, we decide I’m gonna play Jess’s publicist and we call a couple Barnes & Nobles and I let them know that I have Jess Riley with me and we’re making some stops at the local bookstores and Jess would love to come in and sign their copies of Driving Sideways. One store employee proudly told us that they’ve sold a couple this week and had to order more but to please come in and sign the ones they still had. I loved being Jess’s PR gal and wish we had all day long to do this. The kiddies had fun too! See:
Anyway, this, in a nutshell was a recap of yet another great Authorpalooza! Check out the fabulous reads from Jen Lancaster, Stacey Ballis and Jess Riley, and maybe Manic Mommy someday!
Peace Up and thanks for reading! A special thanks to those of you who came by from Jennsylvania too! Oh, and big news for later this weekend -- tomorrow I hunt down my dream man ... yes, I will be at the American Idol tour and in search of Michael Johns! I just envision him singing on stage, and looking directly into MY eyes:
If I can't have you, I don't want nobody baby!