Field trip to Atlanta: marchers, juke joints & the ALA

I went to Atlanta over the weekend. Normally, I wouldn’t take off work and drop that much cheddar for a just weekend, but a few things made it worthwhile.

Thank you, dreary Chicago weather.

I hadn’t seen the sun since last month. Last year, technically, if you want to get cute. But I wasn’t feeling very cute and if I didn’t get some natural sunlight, I was about to get stabby.

window seat with no window
An airplane window seat without a window… We’re off to a great start.

But no worries, Chicago was 30 degrees when I left. Atlanta was near 70. I thought, “Sunshine, here I come!”

Or not.

Rain. Sheets of rain. And thunder. And wind. But no worries, we were on vacation in a strange, new place to explore.

Thank you, The Color Purple, fried chicken & Lou Rawls.

I bribed my husband, JD Kaplan, with the promise of ultimate luxury and plenty of beer to go on the trip with me.

That’s a really low toilet. The counter is waist-high. But…totally luxurious, right?
Shrimp and grits are $22? OK. Just one beer for you, mister. 

But the dude on stage at the juke joint was doing an awesome set of Lou Rawls and Barry White songs. The waitress brought me a drink called The Color Purple–and it was purple. And the fried chicken was ah-mazing. Crunchy and maple-y and spicy, and pretty much fried chicken you’d dream about.

Thank you, wonderful Atlantans.

I hate discussing politics. I don’t like crowds. I’m fairly introverted. I won’t even swear in front of you until you’ve reached my inner circle of trust.

But we decided to go for a little walk.

The march was an amazingly kind-hearted gathering of 63,000 people. I heard chuckling. I saw funny signs and people looking out for each other.

And this little guy.

So, thanks, Atlanta, for that experience. And also for holding off the rain for a few hours.

Thanks, Library Journal and BiblioBoard.

The main reason for going to Georgia was a reception for the SELF-e Best Books of 2016.

Translation: nachos and wine at the OMNI Hotel in conjunction with the ALA Mid-Winter Conference.

The Bride Wore Dead won Honorable Mention in Mystery.

My obnoxious yellow arrow just covered up the fact that they picked 15 winners out of 8,000 entries.

I met some amazing other authors, Ksenia Anske and Katrina Archer, both superb fantasy novelists you should check out.

Ksenia fled from Russia. When she wears a pink hat, she means it.

How often in life are you going to get an award? Who knows. Maybe never.

My advice? If you get one, take the flight, drink The Color Purple, sit on the tiny but luxurious crapper, and find good people.


Right now, I’m working on the next Josie Tucker book. Also on tap this year is the final book in the Rise of the Masks trilogy. Are you ready to find out what happen to Mel and Ott?

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