Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Hobknob With Famous People. Don't Be Jealous. Okay, be a little jealous but win a book.

Last night I attended an author reading at a swanky local art gallery.  At the reader's table were none other than Michelle Davidson Argyle, Jessica McQuinn, Melissa Menatti, and Dorothy J. Varney. In the audience was Natalie Whipple who has a book coming out from Harper. She wore butterfly wings on her back. Meeting professional authors is really intimidating. Of course, I'm not really much of a people person, and I can't really explain why it is intimidating. It just is. Maybe meeting people is just intimidating for me. That sounds more like it.

Anyway, above is the picture of the bookstore next to the art gallery where I purchased four books that I got signed after the reading. It's right around the corner from where I live so I kinda felt obligated to go to this. I would have felt ashamed of myself if I didn't go to a reading that took place in my backyard, especially when these ladies came from...well I don't know where they came from. But they had to burn fossil fuels to get here so in the least I wanted to go.
This is a picture of Michelle Argyle and Natalie Whipple. Michelle put me on the spot and said, "Do you know Natalie? Of course you do, right?" I stared at Natalie with a blank expression.  Honestly...I really wanted to know who Natalie was, but I actually had no idea who she was. However, that was okay. Natalie let me off the hook because her book isn't out quite yet but will be soon. It's from Harper and is going to be called Transparent if I remember correctly.  I think it has invisible people in it.  I complimented Michelle about her article on Sarah LaPolla's website. I kinda fell in with all of these Curtis Brown Literary Agent luminaries. Here's the rundown:

Nathan Bransford once worked for Curtis Brown.
Michelle Argyle won a contest on Nathan's blog.
Natalie Whipple is a writer represented by Curtis Brown.
Michelle Argyle wrote an article for Sarah LaPolla who works for Curtis Brown.

It reminds me of Malcolm's speech in Jurassic Park.

God creates dinosaurs.
God destroys dinosaurs.
God creates man.
Man destroys God.
Man creates dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs eat man.
Woman inherits the earth.

The reading was really good although the acoustics in the gallery had a few echoes and there were babies crying because I live in Utah and every woman has multiple babies. All of the readings were impressive but I especially liked the poetry from Melissa Menatti. It reminded me of Maya Angelou in its depth and originality. I bought Melissa's unique unbound book (that is part of the art in not having it bound). One cannot support poetry enough. Sometimes I fear that poetry may disappear. No one reads it anymore (except for me). Michelle was very comfortable reading. But she should be because of all the training she got being on America's Next Top Model with Tyra Banks. I think she co-wrote Modelland. #Idonthavethefactstobackthisup.

I really came because I like Michelle's book "Monarch" which I've been reading simultaneously with Charles M. Pulsipher's book "Crystal Bridge" and another book "Lor Mandela" and then a fourth by Alex Cavanaugh and a fifth by Joseph Vasicek.  That is my process...moving from book to book to give my brain a break. I usually finish three at roughly the same time.  Like I finished "Sign In Blood" and "Switched" at roughly the same time.
This is a picture of the art gallery. It was really white. White couches, white walls, and white art pieces in some places.  I have no idea why everything is white but that's Utah. Even the people are all white here so I guess maybe the furniture makes them more comfortable. That's Natalie Whipple's back with the monarch wings on. I think Michelle and Natalie must be friends (they seemed chummy).

Anyway. I already own a copy of Michelle's book Monarch on my Nook. It's good. It's a thriller. It's not filled with the first person present tense girly perspective but instead has a tough as nails CIA dude that any straight guy can man crush on or any girl swoon to (Michelle can write men).  There's blood, there's bullets, and there's outdoors "climbing trees" "running" "jumping" stuff that men and women can get into alike.  It has black and white butterflies on the pages separating scene breaks--how f'ing cool is that?

So why am I telling you about this?  Well, I want one of you lucky peeps to have an autographed pristine copy that has never been read.  So, if you comment on this post, you are in the drawing. At the end of the week, I'll random.org a name and send the book off to you.  This is my first contest and it is international so no worries there. So if you want a book, leave a comment.

That is all.


  1. I have yet to meet any of the writers you mentioned. Lucky you being in the right place at the right time.

    I believe Laura Dern's character uttered the last line. "And women inherits the Earth."

  2. Sounds like a fabulous evening. I'm jealous.

  3. That's such a charming, lovely looking bookshop! We haven't got anything like this down here, at least not in my town :(

    Sounds like an interesting night :)

  4. I want to live in that bookstore, it's so pretty. Also, so are Natalie's wings.
    I have Monarch on my tbr list, everything I've read about it tells me it's one not to miss.

    I love the way you wrote this post. I don't usually laugh out loud at posts about author readings, so that's a first :-)

  5. I've heard some great things about Monarch.

    And I love the title of this post so much! I am a little jealous! :) I'm also giving a book away on my blog this week, but the story that goes with it is nowhere as cool as yours.

  6. It is really enjoyable to me to attend such events. You're so lucky! There is no any event related to literature where I live, that's all concerts and ceremonies. (I'm so sad that I missed Linkin Park's concert in Seoul). Anyway, the butterflies and such things on scene breaks also make me happy. :) And thanks for making the giveaway international. :)

  7. 'Even the people are all white here so I guess maybe the furniture makes them more comfortable.'

    that's just hilarious!

  8. I am so jealous. Michelle is awesome- just finished reading her book Cinders, and will definitely be adding Monarch to my TBR pile.

    Glad you had so much fun and could support these authors.

  9. I'm so glad you had a good time. I love that speech from Jurassic Park. :)

  10. I honestly have never heard of any of those authors. I think I've sent queries to Curtis Brown before. Though I always snicker because I think there used to be a Curtis Brown who played for the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL. Obviously not the same person, although wouldn't that make for a great character? Hockey player turned lit agent...

  11. Glad you had the opportunity.

    I enjoy meeting people who are successful in a specific field. Once talking to them, I can erase the superhuman image that I have of them and realize that they have to stop and tie their shoes sometimes as well.

  12. Sounds awesome. Love the look of the bookstore. I went to an author reading once and felt like such a groupie. LOL.

  13. What a cute bookstore! I'd love to have one in my neighborhood like it. *sigh* It sounds like your hobnobbing went well and you had a good time.

  14. Nathan also used to represent Natalie. I know. Now your mind is blown.

  15. It was so great to meet you in person, Michael! And thanks for giving away a copy of Monarch! :)

    Curtis Brown is the center of our writerly world, apparently. Hence all the orange... :)

  16. I haven't met any 'real' authors yet. Just one that I'm related to, but I would be intimidated too. They have done something that I am dreaming to do and so I understand when intimidation is present.

    The book signing sounded fun, I'm glad you went, because one day you will be that author that other people will be intimidated to meet.

  17. Charlie: You are correct sir. I misquoted Malcolm.

    Deborah: You should be.

    Lee: You are the youngest nerd I know.

    Sarah: No one is safe from my humor.

    Jen: Monarch is a solid book.

    Javid: You know...you live in a fascinating part of the world so a little book store is nothing compared to the spires of Istanbul.

    N.Scott: Thank you. I do my best. Snark is my forte.

    Mary: Never read Cinders. It looks too girly for me. Monarch has Nick in it though and he's a great hero.

    Ciara: I miss Michael Crichton.

    Mutt: You can't say that anymore. And what are the credentials for being a successful lit agent. My guess is the ability to sell. I think a hockey player could do that just as good as anyone else. Especially with sports stories.

    Slamdunk: People scare me.

    E. Arroyo: It does make you feel like a groupie doesn't it? Hmmm.

    Brinda: It is charming. The inside though has that "book smell" to it of old stale paper and wood floors. I think I like the Barnes and Noble gleam better from a consumer point-of-view. But meh.

    Matthew: Your mind is more powerful than Yoda. From now on I shall call you Darth MacNish.

    Michelle: You're welcome. It also was great seeing you in person. BTW...you totally dominated that panel. IT was like you and your three assistants rather than three other authors. #justsayin

  18. You are so right about everything in Utah being either white or monochromatic. I think people gasped when we built our house with green siding rather than the usual gray or tan. I know, I am such a rebel.

  19. What a packed night of interesting people, places and books. And I love the cover art of MONARCH.

  20. Cool for you. And it's awesome that you love poetry, that's all my hubby reads.

    Natalie in the wings is so cute (yes, I know who Natalie is, well not personally, but her blog)

    And, Monarch sounds cool.

  21. Hah, that's funny, Michael. I hope I didn't dominate too much!

  22. How cool to hobnob with the stars! I think it would be nice but I'm like you, extremely shy around people. Not a people person at all.

  23. First, Rogue, that's about the most inside joke EVER.

    Second, I don't know any of these people, either, but that doesn't stop me from being jealous of you.

    Third, aren't art galleries all white because (a) that's cool, and (b) it doesn't detract from the art?

    Count me in on the drawing!

  24. Michael, many of us writers are hermits at heart. Nice run down on your evening's entertainment. I'm so in for a chance at the book based on your recommendation.

  25. I am a bit jealous, I have to admit. Sounds like fun even with crying babies. Cool things like this don't happen often enough in St George. I get nervous meeting new people too, but authors make me sweat.

    I feel myself honored to be on your nook with Michelle and Alex...and deeply humbled. They are awesome and out of my league.

  26. Michael,

    I am so glad you went out into the world. That book store is totally charming. You surprised me sir. I would never have thought of you as uncomfortable around people.

    You have such an out going personality and such strong opinions on so many fascinating levels and yet ...

    Well, you seemed to have a good time and I am glad for that. I would have LOVED to have been there. One would think living in a big city like Chicago there would be so many great author book signings. So not the case.

    Utah has them all. Lucky you.

    The only time I get to meet authors are when I hunt them down on my travels. Thankfully they are usually blogger friends.

    Thanks for the giveaway. It sounds like a very exciting read.

  27. Great post and I love the little bookshop. I've been following Natalie for a while, she's great. I'm so nervous around people in a setting like that my asthma would kick in and I'd cough all through the reading. Aren't you glad I wasn't there along with the babies?

  28. I am instantly jealous. Michelle and Natalie are totally awesome! But I wouldn't mind a chance at a pristine signed copy.

    Count me in! :)

  29. What a cute book store. You're always up to something interesting.

  30. Aw I'm totally jealous. Those are all writers I'd very much like to meet. Sadly, I'm stuck in SA for the foreseeable future.

    BTW, this isn't an entry for Monarch. I already own it. Loved it. :-)

  31. What a cute bookstore! It sounds like your hobnobbing went well and you had a good time.

  32. I love that speech in Jurassic Park.

    The bookstore looks awesome. Glad you had such a great experience.

  33. Great. Now, I have envy :/

    I have a copy of Monarch, but I'd rather have an autographed copy of Monarch. If I should win, I'll have a contest for my copy (which isn't read, yet, because I'm trying to finish this other stupid book, first).

  34. You shouldn't be intimidated. You're interesting and funny and all round cool!

    But I hear ya. I'm the same way with that stuff. So much so that I probably would've chickened out and stayed home, so good for you for going. It looks like it was awesome and I'm way more than a little bit jealous.

  35. Holy crap I want to visit that bookstore. So cute I could squish it! And go broke buying books. I wonder what is behind the new trend of authors doing readings at art galleries (Victoria Schwab also did a reading recently at an art gallery).

  36. Not entering to win, but thought it was cool you met all of those ladies.
    And you're a professional author - you have a book coming out in two years, don't you?

  37. If it's any comfort, poetry is still being read and taken seriously in Ireland and Britain, so here's hoping it won't vanish. Meanwhile, I too have written a thriller so I want a copy of Monarch, thank you very much.

  38. Adorable book store.




  39. Yes, one must go to readings in one's own backyard. (Note to self: must go to readings in one's own backyard.)

  40. Cool. I can't recall the last time a real author had a reading here in town. Awesome that you got to attend.

  41. Michael, you've just proven it really is a small writing world. :)

  42. What a fabulous post, I just love your humour! I'm glad you had a time, I'm going to my first ever signing in just over a week, I'm so excited!

    Anyway I'd love to enter to win a copy, thanks for the giveaway :)

  43. I love that quote. We should definitely inherit the earth.


  44. I've been following Natalie's blog and her success. I loved your post about the amazing book signing. You live in a great place!

  45. I love that she wore butterfly wings to the reading. I bet everyone there will remember that, very smart way to advertise. And I wish I had a bookstore that cute near me. Actually I just wish I had a book store near me period.

  46. What a great looking little bookstore you live next to! I'd be there all the time!

  47. WOW. If I lived by that bookstore/art gallery, I'd be there All. The. Time!

    I already have an ebook copy of Monarch, so I'm not participating in the contest, but I wanted to say that I enjoyed reading the book, too, and loved the descriptions!

    Thanks for sharing!

  48. Sounds like it was a wonderful event! I absolutely love going to hear authors speak. If I don't win your contest, I'm going to download a copy of Monarch soon. I absolutely love thrillers and your description makes it sound like this is a good one!

  49. I too enjoyed your post title. I am amazed you can read so many books at once, I usually have two going...but can't read more than that at once.
    Glad you enjoyed the readings, I enjoy reading if the author is good at it...otherwise it can actually detract form their story. Nice to know Michelle was good at it!

  50. Natalie Whipple sounds familiar. Hmm...

    My first author meeting won't happen until January. I'm going to see Ellen Hopkins who, by the by, writes novels in verse.

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  52. Hello Michael,

    Thank you so much for your comments on my book! I am glad you enjoyed the reading. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to share with the group that was there.

    Would you mind if I reference your comments on my site?

    Melissa Menatti

  53. That's fine Melissa. How did you find my blog? /hugs and welcome :)

  54. Thanks! The Blog looks great and it's always nice to find a group of people gathering around literature and the arts...it doesn't happen nearly enough.

    Looking forward to more poetry nights.