Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Mystery Book Store in L.A.

Back when I was still in the planning stages of my trip to SoCal, Chris Grabenstein said, "you should really go to the Festival Pre-Party at The Mystery Book Store." He told me it was the place to be. So, I checked with my sister, and she said, "sure, I'll take a half day off of work." Me, being the ignorant Mid-Westerner that I am said, "oh, you don't have to take any time off. I don't have to be there right at 5." My sister informed me that the traffic would be horrible on a Friday evening going into L.A. The drive is already about 2 hours without Friday traffic. We left early and were still sitting in this:

But, that allowed me time to snap pictures of street signs. I was SUCH the tourist! But I was so excited to see the places I read about in my novels!

I'm not sure if you can see it in this last picture here, but the Culver Blvd/Culver City sign on the left reads "EXIT XT EXIT." Any L.A. folks who can tell me what an XT EXIT is?
But then when I actually GOT THERE! Wow! If you ever have the chance to experience one of The Mystery Book Store's Festival Pre-Parties, I highly recommend you do so.

I had the exciting pleasure of meeting so many awesome writers! And you know what? They all seemed happy to meet me as well. So, either they really were happy to meet me or they're great performers in addition to great writers! LOL

Two new writers I chatted with were Susan Arnout Smith and James Scott Bell. Very nice folks. I'll be adding their books to my TBR list.

I have been in contact with John Lescroart recently and he was there. So, I introduced myself to he and his wife. Super, super nice folks. And John's wife took this awesome picture. I think she must be experienced at this process! ;)

You'll have to be checking back to see when John shows up again on the blog!

Jeff Parker was in attendance later in the evening. Very cool to meet him as well.

It was exciting to hob nob with Gregg Hurwitz who made time to stop and chat with Michael and I. He's a transplant to L.A. but he definitely loves his adopted city. Still loves his Giants, but he's an Angelean at heart, now. He also shared with us how he met his wife - shamelessly hitting on her in a sushi restaurant. (Shamelessly was his word, not mine.) I also believe he said it was the "worst sushi restaurant"! Too funny. And of course we talked about Gregg's new book TRUST NO ONE that is coming out in a couple months. After THE CRIME WRITER, I'm definitely looking forward to TRUST NO ONE. Gregg's a fun guy and incredibly nice. If you have the chance to meet up with him some time, do it!

Most of you know that my desire to go to the L.A. Times Festival of Books stemmed from the desire to finally have a chance to meet Robert Crais. Well, when I found out the next two authors were going to be in attendance as well, I knew I'd died and gone to heaven! And for both of them to be at the pre-party Friday night, I'd definitely died and gone to heaven!

Chris Grabenstein, as you know, is the creator of my beloved John Ceepak series. In addition, he has been so great to this blog and to me. So, it was an absolute thrill to finally have the chance to meet him! We talked quite a bit throughout the night. And he was telling me that for the MIND SCRAMBLER release party in NYC, they're having a magician. He's done something unique for all of the book releases, and he is a master at unique, isn't he? Blasted I wish I lived closer to NYC. Cool stuff goes on in NYC!

And you have to give credit to someone who is tolerant enough to put up with all my signature requests. I bought two new books that he signed: one for me and one for my precious dog sitter. He also signed a book I brought from home, the page for my scrapbook AND the elephant poo paper bookmark I bought at the zoo. That's not a joke either! :) And he can rest assured that these will NEVER show up on eBay! He was telling Michael and I how some of his autographed books have shown up there. I can't fathom that; books that I have signed are so special to me, but I'm a sentimentalist. I'll never be able to part with them! :)

I was getting a little nervous that I wouldn't have the chance to see this guy because he didn't show up until a little before 8. But, I'm not complaining one bit because when he showed up, I happened to be very close to the entrance and accosted him RIGHT AWAY! And because I did, my copy of THE DARK HORSE was the first copy he signed - ever! (The bookstores received permission to sell THE DARK HORSE early for the festival - it isn't due on bookshelves until the end of May.) Well, I'm sure he signed arcs of the book (which by the way, he gave all of his arcs to librarians this year - is that cool or what?), but for the actual hard cover "hot off the presses" first edition, mine was the first he signed. Oh yeah, did I mention that this is CRAIG JOHNSON!!!!

He told me his hat looked better on me, but I don't know. I think he's a rather dashing fellow with and without the hat! Regardless, this picture just became my Facebook profile picture. I just love this guy. I'll be talking more about him tomorrow, too, since I attended his panel at the Festival. And I'll be talking more about his books after that since I read two more on vacation! Since it was vacation, I made time for books I really wanted to read, not necessarily the ones I NEED to read! ;)

One final note to make about the pre-party on Friday night. I also got to meet my friend and fellow blogger, Michael Alatorre! He's responsible for many of these great photos both today and tomorrow. He hung out with me at the party and at the festival. It was wonderful to meet and talk; as I've mentioned before, he's just a super person and I'm honored to call him my friend! Thank you, Michael, for helping to make this one of the most memorable weekends of my life! You're the best!

I walked out of the Mystery Book Store on Cloud 9. Literally. I don't think my feet were touching the ground. Kudos to the staff at the store for a WONDERFUL evening.

Check back tomorrow for all the skinny on the actual festival Saturday. Happy Reading!


Corey Wilde April 28, 2009 at 11:25 AM  

And people say the Internet is making everyone isolated. Right...

Great photos, Jen - and Michael!

Jen April 28, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

Corey, have you been to this store before? If you haven't and get the chance, you should go. Awesome store!

le0pard13 April 28, 2009 at 1:38 PM  

Yes, it was a fantastic evening.

I have to thank you for so much:

1. introducing me to Chris Grabenstein--a great, very personable guy. My kids were ticked pink with their personalized autographed Crossroads novel when I got home and gave it to them!

2. for bringing Gregg Hurvitz over to talk to us--another very generous author! I ran into him about 3 or 4 times at the festival. RC and him seemed to love ragging on each other re: comics. And he must be a cool guy: this lifetime Dodger fan had no problem with the fact that he still follows the S.F. Giants!

3. for honoring me with your friendship--it was simply a wonderful experience meeting you in person. You are one of the most generous, warm human beings I've had the pleasure to meet. Sharing a portion of the book festival with and your sister made it that more special an event.

Next time when you come out to the book festival, I'll bring the wife and kids to meet you--of course, the kids will probably want to hang out only with you ;-).

p.s., I'm current waiting a call back from the local CALTRANS office to see what that Exit XT Exit is trying (and failing) to say ;-). I'll let you know what I find out.

Serena April 28, 2009 at 2:24 PM  

Great photos and looks like you had a fantastic time....YIPEE! I love the photo with you in the cowboy hat!

beauvallet April 28, 2009 at 2:47 PM  

Wow, did you keep the hat? ;-) Sounds like everyone had fun. Good-oh!

Jen April 28, 2009 at 3:33 PM  

Michael, I just love you! You're so awesome!! And I can't wait for my next Festival of Books and my chance to meet the family!!

Naomi, I WISH!!! Maybe I can talk him out of it when I see him in PA in June...he's going to think I'm stalking him! LOL It was wonderful. It really was.

Kay May 3, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Jen, what a wonderful experience. Love the fact that you got to meet so many authors. I'm especially envious of your time with Chris Grabenstein and Craig Johnson. Love their books!!!

trish May 6, 2009 at 1:26 PM  

Sounds like you had a great time! I had to have dinner with family on Friday night, which is not even close to the excitement of meeting authors!

susan arnout smith October 15, 2009 at 7:38 PM  

Jen, I loved meeting you. You are so cute in Craig's hat. It's the first time I've ever seen him take it off, let alone give it to anybody else. Way to go!

Susan Arnout Smith

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP