A QUICK WORK FROM OUR SPONSOR…AKA TABITHA. Since I suck at writing recaps, the lovely Lauren has written one for the trip we took to Louisville KY to see Julie Kagawa and then go to a second event with Julie, Katie McGarry, Kelly Creagh, Bethany Griffin, and Colette Ballard. She wrote a recap and then I’m doing a giveaway at the bottom, so ENJOY!
The hotel was dark and near deserted.
When we pulled into the empty parking lot, there were no lights in the building at all. There was a sign, but the original name on the sign was covered by a big piece of white paper that looked to be taped over the original sign. On the piece of paper was typed the words VALUE INN. By this point, I was really and truly thinking that Tabitha and I might not survive the night. There was one shady looking truck in the pitch black parking lot, there were no lights on in the building, the overhang that stretched over the main drive was half collapsed, and there was no one at the check-in desk. We went so far as to almost park in front of this horror movie set of a hotel before we noticed a bright light in the distance.
Actually, it was right beside the dark, doom hotel and it was the blaring light of a Motel 6- our real hotel. I have never been so excited to see a Motel 6 before in my entire existence. It was bright and well lit and the person at the desk was nice and normal and the room was very comfortable.
We had a time finding breakfast that morning. We decided that we were going to go to an IHOP, and according to Tabitha’s phone’s GPS, there was one nearby. What the GPS failed to mention was that the exit leading to the IHOP was closed and there was no easy or quick way to get to the road we needed to from the next exit. We drove around in several strange and slightly creepy, but pretty back roads. The scenery was gorgeous- one thing I love about Kentucky is all of the various stables and pastures with horses.
We saw so many pretty horses and I kept wanting Tabitha to stop so I could go and see them up close and get pictures of them, but she reminded me that we needed to get breakfast in a timely manner. We never did get to the IHOP, but we did stumble upon a nice Waffle House. By then we were starving so we got a couple of big breakfasts and I had some amazing chocolate milk like a real adult.
The first event of the trip was in a Barnes and Noble. We got there pretty early so we wandered around for a while and bought a few things, and when it was time to take up our waiting positions, we had a little trouble finding the place where she would be signing. We asked a few of the employees and we kept getting the same response: “Are you sure it’s today? Are you sure it’s this Barnes and Noble- you know there is one right down the road from here?” We would have been concerned that we’d driven seven/eight hours for no reason- except we had seen a sign at the front of the building about the event.
It turned out that that sign was where the event was taking place. Beside the sign was a little bar stool type chair and a small round table with stacks of Talon. We felt a bit bad for her! We had been expecting tons of people to be gathered there waiting for her, but it was just us for the longest time. One other couple showed up right when Kagawa arrived and as we were leaving, a mother and daughter arrived to see her, but that was it as far as we saw! Kagawa was amazing. AMAZING. She signed our books and took pictures with us and told us a great story about her own experience with creepy hotels.
Apparently, she had been driving down for an event when a horrible ice storm struck. Unable to continue traveling in the wretched weather, she and her husband pulled into a hotel where the check in desk was, and I am not kidding, in a house on a hill above the hotel. She said that her husband left to go up to the house on the hill to check in and when he got back, he told her that the man he had spoken to had been cleaning a gun when he walked in. At least none of our shady hotels had been that shady!
After we finished talking to her, we explored the shops that were around the Barnes and Noble. There was a Build-A-Bear workshop and when I saw that they had Toothless plushies you could make, I couldn’t resist. I’d never done a Build-A-Bear before, so I was very excited. I was afraid that they wouldn’t take me through the whole adorable process since I was an adult, but they did! There was this really cute thing where you chose a heart and kissed it and pressed it to your forehead and placed it on your knee and wished on it before placing it inside of the plushie, all of this signifying things like letting your bear know that you loved them and giving them some of your smarts and skills. It was all kind of magical.
Tabitha bought a pre-made Apple Bloom (from My Little Pony) plush and when we went outside, the cardinal mascot for the local school sports team was outside and I got my picture made with him.
For the second event, we drove down to the previously mentioned Barnes and Noble that was right down the road from the first one. We got there very early and ended up shopping around before the event. Once we’d looked around, we ate the waffles we’d had left over from our big breakfast and went back inside. There were more people for this event! The authors had a small Q & A before the signing. Tabitha asked what they considered to be the most interesting thing they learned during their research for their various novels. Ballard answered that she was able to visit a jail, Creagh went to see the Poe toaster, McGarry visited a motorcycle club, Griffin went to England, and Kagawa was able to visit Arlington.
Afterwards, they signed books and Tabitha and I visited with all of the authors. We stuck around and talked a good bit with everyone, and as things were winding down and we were about to leave, the most amazing thing ever happened. JULIE KAGAWA INVITED US TO GO TO DINNER WITH THEM! That’s right, Tabitha and I were invited out to dinner!! We could barely contain our excitement, but to our credit, we managed to agree casually and hold in our squees until we went out to the car to put our books away.
We ended up going to this pub/grill called Brick Oven Tavern and it was fantastic. I ordered a pizza and Tabitha ordered this awesome burger. McGarry had to leave before dinner, but Creagh and Griffin and Kagawa and Ballard were all there. We found out that, like us, Creagh loves My Little Pony. All of her credit and debit cards had stickers of the ponies on them! Her favorite is Pinkie Pie. She also likes bad puns! Ballard was full of helpful writing advice and told me about the importance of critique groups and told me about a few contests I could try entering. It was amazing. I am still blown away that we were able to go out with them. It was one of the best experiences and I hope that someday I can hang out with them again as a published author myself!
The journey back was uneventful. We hit a few rest stops, and we discovered that Kentucky seems to work well for us. We didn’t get lost either time we went up there! Here’s hoping that trend continues! We had a fantastic time. All of the authors were absolutely fantastic and super sweet and we can’t wait to seem them all again sometime very soon!
I’ll have two winners for this giveaway! The first winner will get this ginormous Talon poster signed by Julie Kagawa and various other swag.
The second winner will get a signed Talon bookplate plus various other swag. Click the raffle link to go to the giveaway page. Standard rules apply. US only, no cheating, may the odds be ever in your favor!
a Rafflecopter giveaway